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 1-20 out of 1252
Results per page
Results per page 20 | 50 | 100
Expand all statements
Print selected
WS
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Made on: 23 April 2018
Made by: Matt Hancock (Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
Commons

Update on Media

On 11 April 2018, under section 57(1) of the Enterprise Act 2002, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) formally brought to my attention the acquisition by Trinity Mirror plc of certain publishing assets of Northern & Shell. The CMA considered that the transaction may raise public interest considerations for the Secretary of State under section 58 of the Act. The CMA has also launched an initial investigation into the competition aspects of the merger.

Having considered a broad range of evidence, I have today written to the parties to inform them that I am minded-to issue a Public Interest Intervention Notice on the basis that I have concerns that there may be public interest considerations - as set out in the Act - on two grounds that are relevant to this merger that warrant further investigation.

The first public interest ground is the need for free expression of opinion, and concerns the potential impact the transfer of newspapers would have on editorial decision making. In coming to this decision I have given consideration to the issue of formal mechanisms to ensure that editorial independence is maintained at the acquired titles.

The second ground is the need for a sufficient plurality of views in newspapers, to the extent that it is reasonable or practicable. In coming to this minded-to decision I have taken into account that the merged entity would own the largest share of national titles within the UK newspaper market, owning 9 out of 20 national newspaper titles, and become the second largest national newspaper organisation in circulation terms, with a 28% share of average monthly circulation based on circulation figures for 2017 among national titles, including daily and Sunday titles.

Any decision to intervene would require Ofcom to assess and report to me on the public interest considerations and for the Competition and Markets Authority to report on jurisdiction.

In line with the guidance that applies to quasi-judicial decisions, I have invited written representations from the parties and will aim to come to a final decision on whether to intervene in the merger shortly.

WS
Leader of the House of Lords
Made on: 23 April 2018
Made by: Baroness Evans of Bowes Park (The Lord Privy Seal)
Lords

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting

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

Last week I hosted the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (19 - 20 April) – the largest summit of its kind in our country’s history. Leaders from 53 countries gathered together with over 15,000 delegates, including at 90 side events, demonstrating that the Commonwealth is united not only by a common history, but by a common future.

We put young people at the heart of the summit, recognising the need to ensure the actions we took would renew the Commonwealth and promote its relevance to its people, 60% of whom are under 30.

We agreed a range of actions to build a Commonwealth which is fairer, more sustainable, more secure and more prosperous. These commitments were captured in a Communiqué and accompanying Leaders' Statement. I have placed a copy of both in the House of Commons Library.

A central theme of our leaders’ meeting was our resolve to stand together in defence of the rules based international system.

To build a more secure future, we expressed our unanimous opposition to the use of chemical weapons, and committed to strengthen the effective implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention. We also agreed the ‘Commonwealth Cyber Declaration,’ the world’s largest and most geographically diverse intergovernmental commitment on cyber-security co-operation and capacity building, helping to protect our people and businesses from ever-more sophisticated digital threats. The UK has committed £15 million to help member states boost their cyber-security capabilities.

To build a more sustainable future, we celebrated every nation of the Commonwealth having now ratified the Paris Agreement, and recommitted to pursuing efforts to limit the increase in global average temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. We also took specific action to protect our oceans and launched the ‘Commonwealth Blue Charter’, supported by the UK and Vanuatu’s ‘Clean Oceans Alliance.’ A number of Commonwealth countries have made a series of commitments to tackle the scourge of plastic pollution, including Papua New Guinea, which has banned plastic bags; Belize, which has banned plastic bags, forks and other single-use items by 2019; and New Zealand, which has announced a ban on microbeads. The UK pledged to ban plastic straws, stirrers and plastic-stemmed cotton buds, as well as announcing funding for research into tackling marine litter. With over 90% of Commonwealth citizens living in malaria-affected countries, leaders pledged to halve malaria across the Commonwealth by 2023.

To build a more prosperous future, we made a unanimous statement on the need to fight protectionism – the first Commonwealth summit to do so. We launched initiatives to break down barriers to trade through the promotion of common standards across the Commonwealth, to address systemic barriers to women’s full and equal participation in the economy, and to boost youth employment through a new Commonwealth apprenticeships programme. We also pledged to ensure that all girls and boys across the Commonwealth will be able to access at least 12 years of quality education and learning by 2030. The UK has committed a further £212 million to ensure no child is left behind.

To build a fairer future, we agreed the critical importance of the full social, economic and political participation of all our citizens for democracy and sustainable development to thrive. In my speech to the Joint Forum Plenary on Tuesday 17 April, I set out that nobody should face persecution or discrimination because of who they are or who they love, and announced a programme of support for any Commonwealth member wanting to reform outdated legislation that permits discrimination, including against same-sex relations.

The week also provided the opportunity for bilateral meetings with Commonwealth leaders. I met Caribbean leaders on Tuesday 17 April and gave an absolute commitment that the Government will do whatever it takes - including, where appropriate, payment of compensation - to resolve the anxieties and problems which some of the Windrush generation have suffered. My Rt Hon Friend the Home Secretary will be providing a further update in Parliament later today.

We expressed deep gratitude for everything that Her Majesty The Queen has done to nurture this remarkable organisation, and agreed that the next Head of the Commonwealth shall be His Royal Highness Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales.

As we begin the UK’s two-year Chair in Office, I look forward to working with all our Commonwealth partners in fulfilling the commitments we have made, and preparing for the next meeting in Rwanda, in 2020.

WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 23 April 2018
Made by: Greg Clark (Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
Commons

Business update

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) is the regulator responsible for financial reporting and corporate governance in the UK, as well as the designated Competent Authority for independent audit in the UK.

The Government has invited Sir John Kingman to conduct a comprehensive independent review of the FRC. Sir John Kingman has a wealth of private and public sector experience which he will bring to bear in his independent review. He will be supported by an advisory board which he will convene.

The review is part of the Government's Industrial Strategy aim of creating a business environment that works for everyone, in which independent and effective regulation plays a key role.

The UK has a strong reputation as a dependable place to do business, but this needs to be continuously updated, and it is important to ensure that our regulators continue to drive high standards.

The root and branch review will assess the FRC’s governance, impact and powers, to ensure it is fit for the future. It is intended that the review will include a call for evidence, and will be completed by the end of 2018.

Further detail regarding the scope of the Review is set out in its Terms of Reference, which have been placed in the House Library.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS615
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 23 April 2018
Made by: Lord Henley (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy))
Lords

Business update

My Rt hon Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Greg Clark) has today made the following statement:

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) is the regulator responsible for financial reporting and corporate governance in the UK, as well as the designated Competent Authority for independent audit in the UK.

The Government has invited Sir John Kingman to conduct a comprehensive independent review of the FRC. Sir John Kingman has a wealth of private and public sector experience which he will bring to bear in his independent review. He will be supported by an advisory board which he will convene.

The review is part of the Government's Industrial Strategy aim of creating a business environment that works for everyone, in which independent and effective regulation plays a key role.

The UK has a strong reputation as a dependable place to do business, but this needs to be continuously updated, and it is important to ensure that our regulators continue to drive high standards.

The root and branch review will assess the FRC’s governance, impact and powers, to ensure it is fit for the future. It is intended that the review will include a call for evidence, and will be completed by the end of 2018.

Further detail regarding the scope of the Review is set out in its Terms of Reference, which have been placed in the House Library.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS635
WS
Prime Minister
Made on: 23 April 2018
Made by: Mrs Theresa May (Prime Minister)
Commons

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting

Last week I hosted the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (19 - 20 April) – the largest summit of its kind in our country’s history. Leaders from 53 countries gathered together with over 15,000 delegates, including at 90 side events, demonstrating that the Commonwealth is united not only by a common history, but by a common future.

We put young people at the heart of the summit, recognising the need to ensure the actions we took would renew the Commonwealth and promote its relevance to its people, 60% of whom are under 30.

We agreed a range of actions to build a Commonwealth which is fairer, more sustainable, more secure and more prosperous. These commitments were captured in a Communiqué and accompanying Leaders' Statement. I have placed a copy of both in the House of Commons Library.

A central theme of our leaders’ meeting was our resolve to stand together in defence of the rules based international system.

To build a more secure future, we expressed our unanimous opposition to the use of chemical weapons, and committed to strengthen the effective implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention. We also agreed the ‘Commonwealth Cyber Declaration,’ the world’s largest and most geographically diverse intergovernmental commitment on cyber-security co-operation and capacity building, helping to protect our people and businesses from ever-more sophisticated digital threats. The UK has committed £15 million to help member states boost their cyber-security capabilities.

To build a more sustainable future, we celebrated every nation of the Commonwealth having now ratified the Paris Agreement, and recommitted to pursuing efforts to limit the increase in global average temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. We also took specific action to protect our oceans and launched the ‘Commonwealth Blue Charter’, supported by the UK and Vanuatu’s ‘Clean Oceans Alliance.’ A number of Commonwealth countries have made a series of commitments to tackle the scourge of plastic pollution, including Papua New Guinea, which has banned plastic bags; Belize, which has banned plastic bags, forks and other single-use items by 2019; and New Zealand, which has announced a ban on microbeads. The UK pledged to ban plastic straws, stirrers and plastic-stemmed cotton buds, as well as announcing funding for research into tackling marine litter. With over 90% of Commonwealth citizens living in malaria-affected countries, leaders pledged to halve malaria across the Commonwealth by 2023.

To build a more prosperous future, we made a unanimous statement on the need to fight protectionism – the first Commonwealth summit to do so. We launched initiatives to break down barriers to trade through the promotion of common standards across the Commonwealth, to address systemic barriers to women’s full and equal participation in the economy, and to boost youth employment through a new Commonwealth apprenticeships programme. We also pledged to ensure that all girls and boys across the Commonwealth will be able to access at least 12 years of quality education and learning by 2030. The UK has committed a further £212 million to ensure no child is left behind.

To build a fairer future, we agreed the critical importance of the full social, economic and political participation of all our citizens for democracy and sustainable development to thrive. In my speech to the Joint Forum Plenary on Tuesday 17 April, I set out that nobody should face persecution or discrimination because of who they are or who they love, and announced a programme of support for any Commonwealth member wanting to reform outdated legislation that permits discrimination, including against same-sex relations.

The week also provided the opportunity for bilateral meetings with Commonwealth leaders. I met Caribbean leaders on Tuesday 17 April and gave an absolute commitment that the Government will do whatever it takes - including, where appropriate, payment of compensation - to resolve the anxieties and problems which some of the Windrush generation have suffered. My Rt Hon Friend the Home Secretary will be providing a further update in Parliament later today.

We expressed deep gratitude for everything that Her Majesty The Queen has done to nurture this remarkable organisation, and agreed that the next Head of the Commonwealth shall be His Royal Highness Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales.

As we begin the UK’s two-year Chair in Office, I look forward to working with all our Commonwealth partners in fulfilling the commitments we have made, and preparing for the next meeting in Rwanda, in 2020.

WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 23 April 2018
Made by: Earl Howe (Minister of State for Defence)
Lords

Submarine Delivery Agency

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

In Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015, the Government committed to creating the dedicated submarine delivery body in order that we can better manage the complex submarine procurement, support and disposal programmes. We have established the Defence Nuclear Organisation, led by the Director General Nuclear, in the Ministry of Defence and the Submarine Delivery Agency was formally established as an Executive Agency on 1 April 2018.

We will create a high-performing delivery organisation capable of managing industry to schedule and cost in order to provide world class capabilities to support our deterrent and submarine operations. The Agency has the authority and freedom to recruit and retain the best people to manage the submarine enterprise.

The SDA is held to account through performance indicators and metrics under the following themes:

  • Corporate performance. To confirm the SDA is delivering the benefits associated with being established as a dedicated delivery organisation focussing on the submarine enterprise; and to ensure that the SDA has the right people with the right skills in the right place to deliver the agreed Programme of Work.

  • Performance against the acquisition programme. To provide confidence in the SDA’s ability to deliver the programme to the agreed performance, time and cost.

  • Performance against the in-service support programme. To provide confidence in the programme.

  • Supply Chain. To assure the SDA’s relationship with industry and the supply chain to achieve cost-efficient delivery for the SDA’s customers, as well as protecting our ability to deliver underwater capability in the future.

  • Safety and Security. To confirm that the SDA is embedding a culture that achieves continuous improvement in safety and security through a robust and consistent application of processes and development of lessons learned.

Further details of the SDA’s governance structure, function and policies are contained in the Framework Document. The Agency’s strategic objectives are set out in the Corporate Plan. I have placed copies of both documents in the Library of the House.

WS
Department for Transport
Made on: 23 April 2018
Made by: Baroness Sugg (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport )
Lords

Light Dues 2018-19

My Honourable Friend, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport (Nusrat Ghani) has made the following Ministerial Statement.

A strong and growing maritime industry is vital to the economy of the United Kingdom and it is critical that we treasure and protect this vital artery if we are to remain a world-leading maritime centre.

The work of the General Lighthouse Authorities, which provide and maintain marine aids to navigation and respond to new wrecks and navigation dangers in some of the busiest waters in the world, is crucial to underpinning that vision whilst maintaining our vigorous safety record and continuously improving standards of safety.

Reductions in the three General Lighthouse Authorities’ running costs have enabled the UK to reduce light dues for four successive years. For 2018-19 I intend to freeze light dues rates at 37½p per net registered tonne. This will mean that light dues will have fallen by 28 per cent in real terms since 2010.

Light dues rates will continue to be reviewed on an annual basis to ensure that the General Lighthouse Authorities are challenged to provide an effective and efficient service which offers value for money to light dues payers.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS628
WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 23 April 2018
Made by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs )
Lords

Safe Schools Declaration

My right Honourable Friend, the Secretary for State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Boris Johnson), has made the following written Ministerial statement:

I am today announcing that the UK will endorse the Safe Schools Declaration underlining our political support for the protection of schools during military operations and armed conflict. Furthermore, the UK will encourage relevant international partners to endorse the Declaration.

The Safe Schools Declaration is a pledge; an assurance from governments to take all feasible measures to protect schools during armed conflict.

The provision of education in conflict zones and humanitarian situations puts affected populations back on track, establishes routine and purpose, shapes belief in the future, and supports the process of reconstruction.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS631
WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 23 April 2018
Made by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs )
Lords

NATO PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY

My right Honourable Friend, the Secretary for State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Boris Johnson), has made the following written Ministerial statement:

The rt. hon. Member for Mid Sussex (Sir Nicholas Soames) has replaced the hon. Member for Filton and Bradley Stoke (Jack Lopresti) as a Member of the United Kingdom delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS630
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 23 April 2018
Made by: Lord Henley (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) )
Lords

Performance Targets for the Intellectual Property Office (an operating name of the Patent Office) for 2018 – 2019

My hon friend Sam Gyimah, the Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation has made the following written ministerial statement:

As an Executive Agency and Trading Fund of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, we set targets which are agreed by Ministers and laid before Parliament. For 2018 – 2019 our targets are:

At least 85% of our customers will rate us 8/10 or higher in overall satisfaction.

We will have prepared the systems supporting our trade marks and designs services for the UK’s exit from the EU and the implementation of the EU Trade Mark Directive.

We will offer faster handling of patent applications, by providing an examination report with a search report when both are requested at the application date, and meeting at least 90% of requests for an accelerated two-month turnaround for search, publication and examination.

We will ensure that all of the Intellectual Property Office’ Statutory Instruments relating to EU exit are drafted and ready for laying as required by the legislative authorities.

60% of the businesses we reach and survey confirm that they have made an informed decision on their IP

We will deliver our part of the Creative Industries Sector Deal and alongside industry develop appropriate voluntary measures targeting: online market places, social media and digital advertising

We will develop and launch ‘The Deal’, clarifying the mutual expectations between IPO and its employees.

We will externally validate and benchmark our provision for the mental health of our people.

We will demonstrate an efficiency gain of at least 3.5%.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS629
WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 23 April 2018
Made by: Gavin Williamson (Secretary of State for Defence)
Commons

Submarine Delivery Agency

In Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015, the Government committed to creating the dedicated submarine delivery body in order that we can better manage the complex submarine procurement, support and disposal programmes. We have established the Defence Nuclear Organisation, led by the Director General Nuclear, in the Ministry of Defence and the Submarine Delivery Agency was formally established as an Executive Agency on 1 April 2018.

We will create a high-performing delivery organisation capable of managing industry to schedule and cost in order to provide world class capabilities to support our deterrent and submarine operations. The Agency has the authority and freedom to recruit and retain the best people to manage the submarine enterprise.

The SDA is held to account through performance indicators and metrics under the following themes:

  • Corporate performance. To confirm the SDA is delivering the benefits associated with being established as a dedicated delivery organisation focussing on the submarine enterprise; and to ensure that the SDA has the right people with the right skills in the right place to deliver the agreed Programme of Work.

  • Performance against the acquisition programme. To provide confidence in the SDA’s ability to deliver the programme to the agreed performance, time and cost.

  • Performance against the in-service support programme. To provide confidence in the programme.

  • Supply Chain. To assure the SDA’s relationship with industry and the supply chain to achieve cost-efficient delivery for the SDA’s customers, as well as protecting our ability to deliver underwater capability in the future.

  • Safety and Security. To confirm that the SDA is embedding a culture that achieves continuous improvement in safety and security through a robust and consistent application of processes and development of lessons learned.

Further details of the SDA’s governance structure, function and policies are contained in the Framework Document. The Agency’s strategic objectives are set out in the Corporate Plan. I have placed copies of both documents in the Library of the House.

WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 23 April 2018
Made by: Guto Bebb (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence)
Commons

Contingent Liability

I have today laid before Parliament a Departmental Minute describing a Contingent Liability (CL) in the region of £150 million associated with the Initial Airport Services Contract (IASC) at RAF Brize Norton. This initiative is part of Programme GATEWAY, which was established to develop an Enhanced Operating Model for the Station. The IASC will ensure the continuity of existing contracted technical support services following the expiry of the current Multi Activity Contract (MAC) on 30 September 2018. It will also offer benefits through the contractorisation of additional services, including elements of ground engineering, logistics and support administration. By expanding the existing MAC service provision, it will release military liability to meet the Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015 growth plan and release Civil Service posts in support of the planned Civil Service headcount reduction. It will also provide a value for money service contract through rationalisation and economies of scale. The maximum CL is in the region of £150 million, which ensured healthy competition from prospective tenderers. There is also a further CL of £2,880,000 associated with the indemnity given to contractors for Terminal Redundancy Liability associated with ex-Authority staff. The Treasury has approved the proposal in principle. If, during the period of fourteen Parliamentary sitting days beginning on the date on which this minute was laid before the House, a Member signifies an objection by giving notice of a Parliamentary Question or a Motion relating to the Minute, or by otherwise raising the matter in the House, final approval will be withheld pending an examination of the objection.

WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 23 April 2018
Made by: Boris Johnson (The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs )
Commons

Safe Schools Declaration

I am today announcing that the UK will endorse the Safe Schools Declaration underlining our political support for the protection of schools during military operations and armed conflict. Furthermore, the UK will encourage relevant international partners to endorse the Declaration.

The Safe Schools Declaration is a pledge; an assurance from governments to take all feasible measures to protect schools during armed conflict.

The provision of education in conflict zones and humanitarian situations puts affected populations back on track, establishes routine and purpose, shapes belief in the future, and supports the process of reconstruction.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS612
WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 23 April 2018
Made by: Boris Johnson (The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs )
Commons

NATO PARLIAMENTARY ASSEMBLY

The rt. hon. Member for Mid Sussex (Sir Nicholas Soames) has replaced the hon. Member for Filton and Bradley Stoke (Jack Lopresti) as a Member of the United Kingdom delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS611
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 23 April 2018
Made by: Mr Sam Gyimah (Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation )
Commons

Performance Targets for the Intellectual Property Office (an operating name of the Patent Office) for 2018 – 2019

As an Executive Agency and Trading Fund of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, we set targets which are agreed by Ministers and laid before Parliament. For 2018 – 2019 our targets are:

At least 85% of our customers will rate us 8/10 or higher in overall satisfaction.

We will have prepared the systems supporting our trade marks and designs services for the UK’s exit from the EU and the implementation of the EU Trade Mark Directive.

We will offer faster handling of patent applications, by providing an examination report with a search report when both are requested at the application date, and meeting at least 90% of requests for an accelerated two-month turnaround for search, publication and examination.

We will ensure that all of the Intellectual Property Office’ Statutory Instruments relating to EU exit are drafted and ready for laying as required by the legislative authorities.

60% of the businesses we reach and survey confirm that they have made an informed decision on their IP

We will deliver our part of the Creative Industries Sector Deal and alongside industry develop appropriate voluntary measures targeting: online market places, social media and digital advertising

We will develop and launch ‘The Deal’, clarifying the mutual expectations between IPO and its employees.

We will externally validate and benchmark our provision for the mental health of our people.

We will demonstrate an efficiency gain of at least 3.5%.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS610
WS
Department for Transport
Made on: 23 April 2018
Made by: Ms Nusrat Ghani (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport)
Commons

Light Dues 2018-19

A strong and growing maritime industry is vital to the economy of the United Kingdom and it is critical that we treasure and protect this vital artery if we are to remain a world-leading maritime centre.

The work of the General Lighthouse Authorities, which provide and maintain marine aids to navigation and respond to new wrecks and navigation dangers in some of the busiest waters in the world, is crucial to underpinning that vision whilst maintaining our vigorous safety record and continuously improving standards of safety.

Reductions in the three General Lighthouse Authorities’ running costs have enabled the UK to reduce light dues for four successive years. For 2018-19 I intend to freeze light dues rates at 37½p per net registered tonne. This will mean that light dues will have fallen by 28 per cent in real terms since 2010.

Light dues rates will continue to be reviewed on an annual basis to ensure that the General Lighthouse Authorities are challenged to provide an effective and efficient service which offers value for money to light dues payers.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS613
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 19 April 2018
Made by: Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Lords

Local Government Finance: Response to the Resolution of the House, 28th March 2018

My Hon Friend, the Minister for Local Government ( Rishi Sunak) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I am writing in response to the Opposition Day Debate on ‘Reductions in Local Government Funding’ of 28 March and the resolution of the House made that day. This Government recognises the vital role of local government in delivering the front-line services which communities across the country rely on. I am writing to the House to confirm the support this Government is providing to ensure Councils have the resources they need to deliver vital local services.

In February, the 2018/19 Local Government Finance Settlement set out the resources available to councils in England. This is the third year of a four year offer which was approved by Parliament, as was the case in both preceding years. The multi-year settlement was also overwhelmingly accepted by Councils, 97 per cent of whom took up the offer in return for publishing efficiency plans. It has provided greater certainty, allowing Councils to plan ahead and secure value for money.

Through the settlement, Local Government has been given access to £45.1 billion in 2018-19 and £45.6 billion in 2019-20. This is an overall increase since 17-18 of £1.3 billion. This recognises both the growing pressure on local government’s services and higher-than-expected inflation levels. For adult social care in particular, a further £150 million was provided for 2018/19, which we expect will help support sustainable local care markets, in addition to the £2 billion announced at Spring Budget 2017. With this, and other measures, the Government has given councils access to £9.4 billion dedicated funding for adult social care over three years.

Informed by the representations received from Councils, organisations and members of the public, we are ensuring that the sector is equipped to drive economic growth, to think and act creatively and to deliver for their residents. We are clear that is about more than just the funding. Through additional flexibilities and responsibilities, we are responding to the sector’s request for more control over the money they raise as well as the tools to make this money go further.

Local authorities already have a strong incentive to grow their economies through 50 per cent business rates retention and benefit from the additional income that growth in their business rates brings. Over 150 local authorities in sixteen pilot areas are incentivised further by retaining 100 per cent of their growth in business rates.

We are also looking towards the future. We are undertaking a review of local authorities’ relative needs and resources to address concerns about the fairness of current funding distributions. The consultation has now closed and my Department is carefully assessing over 300 responses from a wide range of stakeholders. We have sought the views of councils, representative associations and others to capture the key factors which should be included in a new funding formula and we will continue to collaborate with local government on this. We aim to implement its findings in 2020-21.

Local government also has a vital role to play in helping the broken housing market. The recent allocation of £866 million from the Housing Infrastructure Fund for 133 local authority projects will help to deliver some 200,000 additional homes, and we have also announced an additional £1 billion of borrowing headroom to enable local authorities in the highest value areas to build more homes for social and affordable rent.

We further announced last month the 45 areas across England we are working with to develop Forward Funding infrastructure projects, with up to £4.1 billion of funding available to unlock a potential 400,000 homes. These are strategic, long term projects which will deliver housing not just for now, but for generations to come - creating new settlements, growing places and supporting local authority ambition for growth and regeneration.

This Government remains firmly committed to ensuring local government has the support and resource it needs to deliver its services effectively and efficiently, whilst protecting hard-working taxpayers from excessive council tax rises.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS627
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 19 April 2018
Made by: Rishi Sunak (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Minister for Local Government)
Commons

Local Government Finance: Response to the Resolution of the House, 28th March 2018

I am writing in response to the Opposition Day Debate on ‘Reductions in Local Government Funding’ of 28 March and the resolution of the House made that day. This Government recognises the vital role of local government in delivering the front-line services which communities across the country rely on. I am writing to the House to confirm the support this Government is providing to ensure Councils have the resources they need to deliver vital local services.

In February, the 2018/19 Local Government Finance Settlement set out the resources available to councils in England. This is the third year of a four year offer which was approved by Parliament, as was the case in both preceding years. The multi-year settlement was also overwhelmingly accepted by Councils, 97 per cent of whom took up the offer in return for publishing efficiency plans. It has provided greater certainty, allowing Councils to plan ahead and secure value for money.

Through the settlement, Local Government has been given access to £45.1 billion in 2018-19 and £45.6 billion in 2019-20. This is an overall increase since 17-18 of £1.3 billion. This recognises both the growing pressure on local government’s services and higher-than-expected inflation levels. For adult social care in particular, a further £150 million was provided for 2018/19, which we expect will help support sustainable local care markets, in addition to the £2 billion announced at Spring Budget 2017. With this, and other measures, the Government has given councils access to £9.4 billion dedicated funding for adult social care over three years.

Informed by the representations received from Councils, organisations and members of the public, we are ensuring that the sector is equipped to drive economic growth, to think and act creatively and to deliver for their residents. We are clear that is about more than just the funding. Through additional flexibilities and responsibilities, we are responding to the sector’s request for more control over the money they raise as well as the tools to make this money go further.

Local authorities already have a strong incentive to grow their economies through 50 per cent business rates retention and benefit from the additional income that growth in their business rates brings. Over 150 local authorities in sixteen pilot areas are incentivised further by retaining 100 per cent of their growth in business rates.

We are also looking towards the future. We are undertaking a review of local authorities’ relative needs and resources to address concerns about the fairness of current funding distributions. The consultation has now closed and my Department is carefully assessing over 300 responses from a wide range of stakeholders. We have sought the views of councils, representative associations and others to capture the key factors which should be included in a new funding formula and we will continue to collaborate with local government on this. We aim to implement its findings in 2020-21.

Local government also has a vital role to play in helping the broken housing market. The recent allocation of £866 million from the Housing Infrastructure Fund for 133 local authority projects will help to deliver some 200,000 additional homes, and we have also announced an additional £1 billion of borrowing headroom to enable local authorities in the highest value areas to build more homes for social and affordable rent.

We further announced last month the 45 areas across England we are working with to develop Forward Funding infrastructure projects, with up to £4.1 billion of funding available to unlock a potential 400,000 homes. These are strategic, long term projects which will deliver housing not just for now, but for generations to come - creating new settlements, growing places and supporting local authority ambition for growth and regeneration.

This Government remains firmly committed to ensuring local government has the support and resource it needs to deliver its services effectively and efficiently, whilst protecting hard-working taxpayers from excessive council tax rises.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS609
WS
Home Office
Made on: 19 April 2018
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Police Funding

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

Following the debate on police funding held in this House on 28 March 2018 and the motion of this House, the Government wishes to highlight that it is committed to protecting the public and providing the resources necessary for the police to do their critical work. At the 2015 Spending Review, the Government protected overall police spending (the combination of Government grants to Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs), police precept, and spending on national priorities such as the Police Transformation Fund) in real terms. Counter-Terrorism police grant was also specifically protected.

Before taking decisions on the 2018/19 settlement, the Government was determined to ensure that we continued to enable the police to respond to changing demands on them. I visited or spoke with every police force in England and Wales to better understand the demands they face and how these can best be managed. I saw for myself the exceptional attitude and hard work of police officers and staff around the country, and listened to the evidence about the genuine increases in demand they are facing.

Crime as traditionally measured by the Independent Crime Survey for England and Wales – widely regarded as the best long-term measure of the crime people experience – is down by more than a third since 2010 and by more than two thirds since its peak in 1995. However, we recognise that there have been material changes in the demands on policing since the 2015 Spending Review. Demand on the police from crimes reported to them has grown and shifted to more complex and resource intensive work such as investigating child sexual exploitation and modern slavery. At the same time the terrorist threat has changed.

We included four key elements in the police funding settlement for 2018/19 to enable the police to respond effectively: an increase in funding, greater future funding certainty, clear opportunities for substantial improvements in productivity and efficiency, and greater financial transparency to ensure effective use is made of police financial reserves.

Following the Spending Review in 2015, the Government committed to protecting force level funding in cash terms over the Spending Review period, when police precept and Government grant are taken together. The 2018/19 settlement changed this by enabling every PCC to maintain their funding in real terms. This was achieved by a combination of protecting the Government grant to PCCs in cash terms (compared to 2017/18) so PCCs retain the full benefit from any additional local precept income, and increasing flexibility to raise precept without calling a referendum (in England). The vast majority of PCCs used the additional flexibility to increase precept, resulting in an over £280m increase in funding in 2018/19. In addition, many PCCs have set out proposals to use this extra funding to improve frontline policing.

We are also increasing investment in national policing priorities such as police technology and Special Grant by around £130m in 2018/19 compared to 2017/18. This reflects our commitment to support the police to deliver a modern digitally enabled workforce, and to manage major events such as the Commonwealth Summit and terrorist attacks. We are maintaining the size of the Police Transformation Fund at £175 million in order to help drive police reform.

Counter-terrorism police is receiving a £50m (7%) increase in like for like funding when compared to 2017/18, enabling the counter-terrorism budget to increase to £757m, including £29m for the uplift in armed policing from the Police Transformation Fund. Once the armed uplift programme is complete, there will be around 7,000 armed officers in England and Wales which exceeds the number of firearms officers in 2010. This is a significant additional investment in the vital work of counter-terrorism police officers across the country. These specialist armed officers will be better trained and equipped than ever before to deal with the full range of complex terrorist attacks.

Separately, the Home Office has also provided £9.8m in Special Grant funding to cover the costs of the police response to the Manchester Arena attack and a further £7.6m to support the costs in London.

Overall, police funding across the system is increasing by around £460m year on year, including police precept. The House of Commons debated and voted for the police funding settlement on 7 February, as is done on an annual basis.

The motion debated by the House on 28 March referenced the UK Statistics Authority’s recent work on police funding statements. The Government recognises that police funding is a complex topic and is committed to presenting and explaining police funding clearly. The UK Statistics Authority suggested the Home Office should produce a regular analysis of police funding in line with the principles set out in the Code of Practice for Statistics. The Home Office Chief Statistician is currently considering how this could be achieved.

Police leaders rightly highlighted to me that one year of additional financial support would not be sufficient to mitigate the challenges the police face. It is also important that PCCs and Chief Constables can plan effectively. Therefore the Government committed at the police settlement to protect police grant in cash terms, and repeat the additional precept flexibility in 2019/20, so long as significant progress is made this year on efficiency and productivity. This approach gives policing the opportunity to make major improvements in efficiency, and use those gains to improve services to the public.

Efficiency and productivity are essential to a sustainable plan to enable the police to manage challenging demands. Since the police funding settlement, I have been working with the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners and the National Police Chiefs Council to agree concrete proposals to save around £120m through better procurement and use of shared services. We are also working with the police to deliver the benefits of better, digitally enabled working. The motion debated on 28 March called for 10,000 additional officers. The motion did not make reference to efficiency or productivity. If all forces could deliver the same one hour per officer per day of productivity benefits from mobile working as the best in a recent sample with eight forces, this has the potential to free up the equivalent of 11,000 extra officers nationally to provide the proactive policing that committed police officers want to deliver. The Government believes that it is essential that we work with the police to realise these productivity benefits, rather than focusing on extra funding or having a sterile debate on officer numbers alone.

We are also encouraging the police to make effective and prudent use of their financial reserves. As at March 2017 PCCs held usable resource reserves of over £1.6bn. This compares to £1.4bn in 2011. Current reserves held represent 15% of annual police funding to PCCs. There are good reasons for holding reserves, including to invest in better ICT to help officers work smartly. However, PCCs’ plans for using their reserves must be robust and open to public scrutiny. That is why we set out new guidance in January requiring them to publish their reserves strategies in plain English, with a clear justification for each reserve held, as well as publishing national information on the level of reserves held.

Taken together, the Government has listened to the police, we have substantially increased police funding in 2018/19, we have demonstrated our complete commitment to protecting the public from terrorism, and we have provided the police with the tools to respond to changing demand.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS626
WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 19 April 2018
Made by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Lords

Expansion of UK diplomatic network in the Commonwealth

My Right Honourable Friend, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Boris Johnson), has made the following written Ministerial statement:

Global Britain is this government’s ambition to increase the UK’s national security, prosperity and influence, signalling our resolve to remain a big and influential player on the world stage.

In March, I announced plans to open around 10 new sovereign missions over the next two years, drawing on additional funding granted to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to enhance our diplomatic capability overseas.

During the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London this week, I am announcing the location of nine new missions: six High Commissions in Lesotho (Maseru); Swaziland (Mbabane); the Bahamas (Nassau); Tonga (Nuku’Alofa); Samoa (Apia); Vanuatu (Port Vila); and a further three missions, in Antigua and Barbuda (St John’s); Grenada (St George’s); and St Vincent & the Grenadines (Kingstown). These new missions will strengthen the UK’s diplomatic influence in the Commonwealth and help to deliver the UK’s security and prosperity objectives.

This expansion of our diplomatic network in the Commonwealth, which marks the beginning of the UK’s two-year tenure as Chair, demonstrates our commitment to making an even greater success of this historic and important network of like-minded friends.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS625
Expand all statements
Print selected
Showing 1-20 out of 1252
Results per page
Results per page 20 | 50 | 100