Written statements

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

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

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

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Written Statement Indentifying Number – Every written statement in the House of Commons and House of Lords has a WSID per parliamentary session.
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WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 23 May 2019
Made by: Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Ministry of 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.

On the 6th of March 2019, Mr Justice Dove handed down his judgment in the case of Stephenson vs SoS MHCLG [2019] EWHC 519 (Admin). In accordance with the terms of the Court Order, paragraph 209(a) of the National Planning Policy Framework has been quashed.

For the avoidance of doubt the remainder of the National Planning Policy Framework policies and, in particular, Chapter 17 on ‘Facilitating the Sustainable Use of Minerals’ remain unchanged and extant.

For the purposes of the National Planning Policy Framework, hydrocarbon development (including unconventional oil and gas) are considered to be a mineral resource. Specific policy on the planning considerations associated with their development is set out at paragraphs 203-205 and the remainder of 209 of the National Planning Policy Framework. In particular, paragraph 204(a) of the National Planning Policy Framework states that planning policies should “provide for the extraction of mineral resources of local and national importance” with paragraph 205 stating that “[w]hen determining planning applications, great weight should be given to the benefits of mineral extraction, including to the economy”.

In addition, the Written Ministerial Statements of 16th September 2015 on ‘Shale Gas and Oil Policy’ and 17th May 2018 on ‘Planning and Energy Policy’ also remain unchanged and extant. The Written Ministerial Statements sit alongside the National Planning Policy Framework. Planning Practice Guidance is also unaffected by the ruling.

This suite of policies and guidance remain material considerations in plan making and decision taking for hydrocarbon development and they should be afforded appropriate weighting as determined by the decision maker.

We remain committed to the safe and sustainable exploration and development of our onshore shale gas resources.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1586
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 23 May 2019
Made by: James Brokenshire (Secretary of State for Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Commons

Planning update

On the 6th of March 2019, Mr Justice Dove handed down his judgment in the case of Stephenson vs SoS MHCLG [2019] EWHC 519 (Admin). In accordance with the terms of the Court Order, paragraph 209(a) of the National Planning Policy Framework has been quashed.

For the avoidance of doubt the remainder of the National Planning Policy Framework policies and, in particular, Chapter 17 on ‘Facilitating the Sustainable Use of Minerals’ remain unchanged and extant.

For the purposes of the National Planning Policy Framework, hydrocarbon development (including unconventional oil and gas) are considered to be a mineral resource. Specific policy on the planning considerations associated with their development is set out at paragraphs 203-205 and the remainder of 209 of the National Planning Policy Framework. In particular, paragraph 204(a) of the National Planning Policy Framework states that planning policies should “provide for the extraction of mineral resources of local and national importance” with paragraph 205 stating that “[w]hen determining planning applications, great weight should be given to the benefits of mineral extraction, including to the economy”.

In addition, the Written Ministerial Statements of 16th September 2015 on ‘Shale Gas and Oil Policy’ and 17th May 2018 on ‘Planning and Energy Policy’ also remain unchanged and extant. The Written Ministerial Statements sit alongside the National Planning Policy Framework. Planning Practice Guidance is also unaffected by the ruling.

This suite of policies and guidance remain material considerations in plan making and decision taking for hydrocarbon development and they should be afforded appropriate weighting as determined by the decision maker.

We remain committed to the safe and sustainable exploration and development of our onshore shale gas resources.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1549
WS
Cabinet Office
Made on: 23 May 2019
Made by: Lord Young of Cookham (Lord in Waiting (Government Whip))
Lords

Facility Time Guidance (correction)

My honourable friend the Minister for Implementation (Oliver Dowden) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement. This is a corrected version of the statement made on Monday (HLWS1529), as the House of Commons minister named was incorrect.

I wish to update the House on the progress being made to monitor Trade Union facility time usage within the public sector.

The Trade Union (Facility Time Publication Requirements) Regulations 2017 came into force on 1 April 2017, requiring public sector organisations who employ over 49 full-time equivalent employees to publish information relating to trade union usage/spend.

The Government is today publishing updated guidance to support organisations to meet this important legislative requirement. On the 3rd June we will launch a new online recording system as part of the Facility Time Publication Service, enabling all public sector organisations to centrally submit facility time data by the deadline of the 31st July. All organisations should report facility time data before this date, and guidance to this effect is included in the tool.

The Government recognises that there are significant benefits to both employers and employees when organisations and unions work together effectively to deliver high quality public services, but facility time within the public sector must be accountable and represent value for money.

For 2017-2018, compliance varied considerably across the wider public sector, with returns in some areas of just over 60%. The Civil Service saw the highest levels of compliance, with just over 99% of expected returns received.

Returns to the Civil Service show a 0.06% spend on facility time as a percentage of the pay bill, demonstrating greater accountability and an effective use of taxpayers’ money. Measures taken to encourage these sensible savings include reforms that require Trade Union representatives to spend at least 50% of their time delivering their Civil Service job. Average spend across the public sector was higher, especially in local government.

The Government encourages all public sector organisations to reduce facility time spend to the levels seen in the Civil Service, in order to ensure it achieves value for money. The Government estimates these potential savings amount to £14m across the public sector.

WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 23 May 2019
Made by: Lord Henley (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
Lords

Departmental Contingent Liability Notification

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

Today I lay before Parliament a Departmental Minute describing a contingent liability arising from an indemnity for the Official Receiver acting in the insolvency of British Steel Limited.

It is normal practice when a Government Department proposes to undertake a contingent liability of £300,000 and above, for which there is no specific statutory authority, for the Department concerned to present Parliament with a Minute, giving details of the liability created and explaining the circumstances.

British Steel Limited entered into liquidation on 22 May 2019. The Official Receiver has been appointed as liquidator and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has provided him with an indemnity in respect of:

  • carrying out the proper performance of the Official Receiver’s duties as liquidator of the Company; and
  • maintaining, securing and funding the ongoing operation of the Company’s undertaking, and distributing the assets of the Company in the ordinary course of the Official Receiver’s duties as liquidator of the Company.

It has not been possible to observe the usual waiting period for this contingent liability, since it only materialised when the Company entered into liquidation yesterday morning.

HM Treasury has approved the proposal in principle.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1585
WS
Treasury
Made on: 23 May 2019
Made by: Lord Young of Cookham (Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

Direction requiring the Financial Conduct Authority to investigate events at London Capital and Finance

My honourable friend the Economic Secretary to the Treasury (John Glen) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I have today laid a Direction before Parliament requiring the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to carry out an independent investigation into the events and circumstances surrounding the failure and placing into administration of London Capital & Finance Plc (LCF), using powers under Sections 77 and 78 of the Financial Services Act 2012.

Following a request from the FCA, I announced on 1 April the Government’s intention to direct the FCA to launch an investigation into the events at LCF and the circumstances surrounding them. Today’s Direction orders this investigation and sets out the terms on which it will be carried out.

The Direction requires the FCA to appoint an independent person to carry out the investigation on its behalf, with the approval of HM Treasury. I have approved the FCA’s appointment of Dame Elizabeth Gloster to carry out the investigation on its behalf. The investigation is expected to run for 12 months.

The investigation will look at the actions, policies and approach of the FCA, as the institution with statutory responsibility for the authorisation and supervision of LCF during the relevant period. It will focus on whether the FCA discharged its functions in a manner which enabled it to effectively fulfil its statutory objectives, and may consider any other matter deemed relevant for this purpose.

This independent investigation is separate to the investigation by the Serious Fraud Office, working in conjunction with the FCA, into individuals associated with LCF.

I have also announced today that, alongside this independent investigation, the Government will separately review the wider policy questions raised by the case. This will include research into the wider market for non-transferable securities, such as mini bonds, and their role in the economy. The Treasury will begin work alongside this to consider the regulatory arrangements currently in place for the issuance of these investments, including the Financial Promotions Order which governs the marketing of those products.

The Government is committed to creating a stronger and safer financial system. The independent investigation into the supervision of LCF will ensure that the events and circumstances surrounding the collapse of LCF are better understood. Its findings will help to properly protect those who invest their money in the future.

Copies of the Direction are available in the Vote Office and Printed Paper Office.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1584
WS
Treasury
Made on: 23 May 2019
Made by: Lord Young of Cookham (Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

ECOFIN: 17 May 2019

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

A meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) was held in Brussels on 17 May 2019. The UK was represented by Mark Bowman (Director General, International Finance, HM Treasury). The Council discussed the following:

Early Morning Session

The Eurogroup President briefed the Council on the outcomes of the 16 May meeting of the Eurogroup, and the European Commission provided an update on the current economic situation in the EU. Ministers then discussed the possibility of the European Investment Bank developing country strategies. Lastly, the Commission updated on the state of play on negotiations on the definitive system of Value Added Tax.

Excise Duties

The Council discussed the Directive on general arrangements for excise duty (recast), the Regulation on administrative cooperation of the content of electronic registers, and the Directive on the structures of excise duty on alcohol and alcoholic beverages.

Current Financial Services Legislative Proposals

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

International Meetings

The Council held an exchange of views on digital taxation in the international context, and the Presidency and Commission updated the Council on the outcomes of the G20, IMF and World Bank spring meetings that took place in April. The Council then mandated the Economic and Financial Committee to approve the Terms of Reference for the upcoming G20 meeting in June. Lastly, the Finnish delegation debriefed the Council on the first meeting of the Finance Ministers Coalition for Climate Action.

European Semester

The Council adopted conclusions on the outcomes of the 2019 In-Depth Reviews of macroeconomic imbalances in Member States as part of the Macroeconomic Imbalances Procedure; and the implementation of 2018 Country-Specific Recommendations.

Institutional Cycle Priorities

Under the non-legislative AOB, the Presidency informed the Council on the follow-up discussions in regards to priorities for the next institutional cycle in the ECOFIN area.

Working Lunch

Following on from the discussions at April informal ECOFIN in Bucharest, EU Finance Ministers held a working lunch to discuss the challenges of labour mobility and their potential solutions, followed by an exchange of views on the way forward in areas of the Economic and Monetary Union, specifically in regards to the Reform Support Programme.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1583
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 23 May 2019
Made by: Greg Clark (Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
Commons

Departmental Contingent Liability Notification

Today I lay before Parliament a Departmental Minute describing a contingent liability arising from an indemnity for the Official Receiver acting in the insolvency of British Steel Limited.

It is normal practice when a Government Department proposes to undertake a contingent liability of £300,000 and above, for which there is no specific statutory authority, for the Department concerned to present Parliament with a Minute, giving details of the liability created and explaining the circumstances.

British Steel Limited entered into liquidation on 22 May 2019. The Official Receiver has been appointed as liquidator and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has provided him with an indemnity in respect of:

  • carrying out the proper performance of the Official Receiver’s duties as liquidator of the Company; and
  • maintaining, securing and funding the ongoing operation of the Company’s undertaking, and distributing the assets of the Company in the ordinary course of the Official Receiver’s duties as liquidator of the Company.

It has not been possible to observe the usual waiting period for this contingent liability, since it only materialised when the Company entered into liquidation yesterday morning.

HM Treasury has approved the proposal in principle.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1547
WS
Treasury
Made on: 23 May 2019
Made by: John Glen (The Economic Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

Direction requiring the Financial Conduct Authority to investigate events at London Capital and Finance

I have today laid a Direction before Parliament requiring the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to carry out an independent investigation into the events and circumstances surrounding the failure and placing into administration of London Capital & Finance Plc (LCF), using powers under Sections 77 and 78 of the Financial Services Act 2012.

Following a request from the FCA, I announced on 1 April the Government’s intention to direct the FCA to launch an investigation into the events at LCF and the circumstances surrounding them. Today’s Direction orders this investigation and sets out the terms on which it will be carried out.

The Direction requires the FCA to appoint an independent person to carry out the investigation on its behalf, with the approval of HM Treasury. I have approved the FCA’s appointment of Dame Elizabeth Gloster to carry out the investigation on its behalf. The investigation is expected to run for 12 months.

The investigation will look at the actions, policies and approach of the FCA, as the institution with statutory responsibility for the authorisation and supervision of LCF during the relevant period. It will focus on whether the FCA discharged its functions in a manner which enabled it to effectively fulfil its statutory objectives, and may consider any other matter deemed relevant for this purpose.

This independent investigation is separate to the investigation by the Serious Fraud Office, working in conjunction with the FCA, into individuals associated with LCF.

I have also announced today that, alongside this independent investigation, the Government will separately review the wider policy questions raised by the case. This will include research into the wider market for non-transferable securities, such as mini bonds, and their role in the economy. The Treasury will begin work alongside this to consider the regulatory arrangements currently in place for the issuance of these investments, including the Financial Promotions Order which governs the marketing of those products.

The Government is committed to creating a stronger and safer financial system. The independent investigation into the supervision of LCF will ensure that the events and circumstances surrounding the collapse of LCF are better understood. Its findings will help to properly protect those who invest their money in the future.

Copies of the Direction are available in the Vote Office and Printed Paper Office.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1546
WS
Treasury
Made on: 23 May 2019
Made by: Mr Philip Hammond (The Chancellor of the Exchequer)
Commons

ECOFIN: 17 May 2019

A meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) was held in Brussels on 17 May 2019. The UK was represented by Mark Bowman (Director General, International Finance, HM Treasury). The Council discussed the following:

Early Morning Session

The Eurogroup President briefed the Council on the outcomes of the 16 May meeting of the Eurogroup, and the European Commission provided an update on the current economic situation in the EU. Ministers then discussed the possibility of the European Investment Bank developing country strategies. Lastly, the Commission updated on the state of play on negotiations on the definitive system of Value Added Tax.

Excise Duties

The Council discussed the Directive on general arrangements for excise duty (recast), the Regulation on administrative cooperation of the content of electronic registers, and the Directive on the structures of excise duty on alcohol and alcoholic beverages.

Current Financial Services Legislative Proposals

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

International Meetings

The Council held an exchange of views on digital taxation in the international context, and the Presidency and Commission updated the Council on the outcomes of the G20, IMF and World Bank spring meetings that took place in April. The Council then mandated the Economic and Financial Committee to approve the Terms of Reference for the upcoming G20 meeting in June. Lastly, the Finnish delegation debriefed the Council on the first meeting of the Finance Ministers Coalition for Climate Action.

European Semester

The Council adopted conclusions on the outcomes of the 2019 In-Depth Reviews of macroeconomic imbalances in Member States as part of the Macroeconomic Imbalances Procedure; and the implementation of 2018 Country-Specific Recommendations.

Institutional Cycle Priorities

Under the non-legislative AOB, the Presidency informed the Council on the follow-up discussions in regards to priorities for the next institutional cycle in the ECOFIN area.

Working Lunch

Following on from the discussions at April informal ECOFIN in Bucharest, EU Finance Ministers held a working lunch to discuss the challenges of labour mobility and their potential solutions, followed by an exchange of views on the way forward in areas of the Economic and Monetary Union, specifically in regards to the Reform Support Programme.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1545
WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 23 May 2019
Made by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Lords

FCO Services

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

FCO Services operates as a trading fund of the FCO. I have set it the following performance targets for 2019-2020:

  1. Achievement of a return on capital employed of at least 3.5% (statutory commitment)
  2. A productivity ratio of at least 80%, measuring actual billable hours vs. available billable hours
  3. In-year customer satisfaction results averaging at least 80%
  4. A Your Say score for “Employee Engagement” of at least 60%
  5. An average Your Say score for “My Manager” of at least 63%

FCO Services will report to Parliament on its success against these targets through its Annual Report and Accounts for 2019-2020.

FCO Services is a Trading Fund of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). It provides a range of integrated, secure services worldwide to the FCO and other UK Government departments, supporting the delivery of government agendas. Services include protective security, estates and construction, cloud computing, communications and monitoring, logistics, translation and interpreting. This is combined with a portfolio of global maintenance work. FCO Services also manages the UK National Authority for Counter Eavesdropping (UK NACE), helping protect UK assets from physical, electronic and cyber-attack.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1582
WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 23 May 2019
Made by: Mark Field (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Commons

FCO Services

FCO Services operates as a trading fund of the FCO. I have set it the following performance targets for 2019-2020:

  1. Achievement of a return on capital employed of at least 3.5% (statutory commitment)
  2. A productivity ratio of at least 80%, measuring actual billable hours vs. available billable hours
  3. In-year customer satisfaction results averaging at least 80%
  4. A Your Say score for “Employee Engagement” of at least 60%
  5. An average Your Say score for “My Manager” of at least 63%

FCO Services will report to Parliament on its success against these targets through its Annual Report and Accounts for 2019-2020.

FCO Services is a Trading Fund of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). It provides a range of integrated, secure services worldwide to the FCO and other UK Government departments, supporting the delivery of government agendas. Services include protective security, estates and construction, cloud computing, communications and monitoring, logistics, translation and interpreting. This is combined with a portfolio of global maintenance work. FCO Services also manages the UK National Authority for Counter Eavesdropping (UK NACE), helping protect UK assets from physical, electronic and cyber-attack.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1544
WS
Department for International Trade
Made on: 22 May 2019
Made by: Viscount Younger of Leckie (Government Spokesperson)
Lords

Pre-Council: EU Foreign Affairs Council (Trade) 27 May 2019

My hon Friend the Minister of State for Trade Policy (George Hollinbery MP) has today made the following statement.

The EU Trade Foreign Affairs Council will take place in Brussels on 27 May 2019.

The substantive items on 27 May will be:

Non-legislative items: the state of play of World Trade Organization modernisation and negotiations, the state of play of EU-US trade relations, and an exchange of views on preparation for signature of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement and Investment Protection Agreement.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1577
WS
Ministry of Justice
Made on: 22 May 2019
Made by: Lord Keen of Elie (Lords Spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice)
Lords

Interim response to The Sentencing Code Volume 1: Report (Law Com No382)

My honourable friend the Minister of State for Justice (Robert Buckland) has made the following Written Statement.

"I am today announcing the government’s interim response to the Law Commission’s report on the Sentencing Code, published on 22 November 2018. The interim response can be found here (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/government-response-to-law-commission-report-on-the-sentencing-code). I am also announcing the Government’s intention to introduce the Sentencing (Pre-consolidation Amendments) Bill to Parliament, which will pave the way for the Sentencing Code.

The Law Commission’s draft Sentencing Code is a consolidation of legislation governing sentencing procedure which aims to ensure that the law relating to sentencing procedure is readily comprehensible and operates within a clear framework as efficiently as possible. For the Code to operate as intended, there are some amendments required to the existing law to facilitate the consolidation and to remove historic, and now redundant, layers of legislation. To enable this the Law Commission has also drafted a pre-consolidation amendment bill. Neither the Code nor the pre-consolidation amendments make any changes to existing offences and penalties, nor do they introduce any new substantive law or sentencing disposals.

The key recommendation of the report is that the draft legislation be enacted. The government welcomes the Law Commission’s report and draft legislation and considers the consolidation of sentencing procedure to be a major step forward in simplifying what is often a complex and technical area of law. It is absolutely vital that unnecessary errors made in our criminal justice system are minimised, and that the courts, offenders, and victims of crime and their families are not put through the time and expense of unnecessary appeals.

The Ministry of Justice is looking carefully at substantive sentencing reform. For example, there is persuasive evidence showing that community sentences, in certain circumstances, are more effective than short custodial sentences in reducing reoffending, and therefore keeping the public safe. At this stage, we are still considering options and have not ruled anything in or out. However, questions of substantive reform are distinct from the important task of making sure that sentencing procedural law is clear and accessible to those that need to use it. We believe the Sentencing Code provides that clarity and transparency. I will bring forward more detailed proposals in due course, but I emphasise that the opportunity for the consolidation of complex sentencing procedural law presented by the Code is a separate matter, and should be brought forward separately.

The Law Commission have also made some further recommendations to the government for the reform of sentencing law. These have not been given effect in the draft legislation and both Bills as drafted by the Law Commission can be enacted without taking these additional recommendations forward. The government is grateful for the in-depth analysis that has gone into these complex issues during consultation, acknowledging that in some cases they were unsuitable for inclusion as part of the consolidation process or outside the terms of reference for the project. For those reasons, we do not propose that these recommendations be taken forward at this time, whilst noting that the benefit of the Sentencing Code is that it will be readily open to Parliament in future to make such changes. We will, however, provide a fuller response to these further recommendations raised by the Law Commission in due course.

The government thanks the Law Commission for the considerable effort that has gone into producing the report and draft legislation. Whilst the Sentencing Code itself should be brought forward through the parliamentary procedure for Law Commission consolidation bills, I am pleased to announce that the government will be introducing the Sentencing (Pre-consolidation Amendments) Bill to Parliament, giving effect to the pre-consolidation amendments, through the special procedure which is available for Law Commission recommended Bills."

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1581
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 22 May 2019
Made by: Lord Henley (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
Lords

Pre Competitiveness Council Statement

My hon Friend the Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation (Chris Skidmore) has today made the following statement:

The ‘Internal Market and Industry Day’ of the Competitiveness Council will take place on 27 May 2019. Katrina Williams, Deputy Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the European Union, will represent the UK.

The ‘Research and Space Day’ of the Competitiveness Council will take place on 28 May 2019. Chris Skidmore MP, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, will represent the UK.

Day one – Internal Market and Industry

The ‘Internal Market and Industry Day’ will consider a number of non-legislative items, including a competitiveness “check-up”. Attendees will be asked to debate and agree the adoption of Conclusions on ‘A new level of ambition for a competitive Single Market’ and ‘An EU Industrial Policy Strategy: A Vision for 2030’. This will be followed by the adoption of ‘Conclusions on the competitiveness of the tourism sector as a driver for sustainable growth, jobs and social cohesion in the EU for the next decade’.

Under any other business, there will be updates on the following current legislative proposals: (a) the Directive on cross-border conversions, mergers and divisions; (b) the Directive on the modernisation of the EU consumer protection rules; (c) the Directive on representative actions for the protection of the collective interests of consumers; and (d) the Regulation on the general safety of vehicles.

The Presidency will also provide information on Better Regulation and the Forum dedicated to the auto industry. Finally, the Finnish delegation will provide information on the work programme of the incoming Finnish Presidency.

Day two – Research and Space

The ‘Research and Space Day’ of the Competitiveness Council will begin with a session on space, during which the Council will hold a policy debate on ‘Strengthening Europe's role as a global actor and promoting international cooperation, space diplomacy and contributing to building the global space governance’.

The Competitiveness Council will then break for the 280th European Space Agency (ESA) Council where the UK, as an ESA Member state, will vote on the ESA resolution ‘Space as an enabler’. The Council will then reconvene for the 9th EU-ESA Space Council where there will be an exchange of views and adoption of Conclusions on ‘Space as an enabler’.

The research session will start with a policy debate concerning ‘Research and innovation as a driving force for a more competitive European Union’. Finally, the Finnish delegation will provide information on the work programme of the incoming Finnish Presidency.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1579
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 22 May 2019
Made by: Lord Henley (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
Lords

Register of Beneficial Owners of Overseas Entities Update

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

Our modern Industrial Strategy seeks to maintain the UK’s global reputation as a good place to do business. People come to Britain confident in our high corporate standards, including market transparency, which foster confidence and trust. Transactions are improved and the market has greater confidence when people know who they are doing business with, whilst lack of transparency can facilitate criminal behaviour.

The 2017 National Risk Assessment of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing highlights the fact that property continues to be an attractive vehicle for criminal investment, in particular for high end money laundering. The risks relating to abuse of property are most acute where property is owned anonymously through corporate structures or trusts.

This Government committed at the 2016 International Anti-Corruption Summit to create a register showing the beneficial owners of overseas entities which own or buy property in the UK. The Government also committed in primary legislation, through Section 50 of the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018, to report to Parliament annually on the progress that has been made towards putting in place such a register.

Over the past year, significant progress has been made towards the introduction of the register.

The Government published a Draft Registration of Overseas Entities Bill on 23 July 2018 and invited comment on it from interested parties. 29 responses were received from civil society groups, the property sector and others, which has informed the development of the register. The Draft Bill and Explanatory Notes set out how the register will operate.

A Joint Committee was appointed to consider and report on the Draft Bill. The Commons members of the committee were appointed on 19 February 2019. The Lords members were appointed on 25 February 2019. The Committee held a number of evidence sessions, including one on the 25 March 2019 at which I gave evidence. They also invited interested individuals and organisations to submit written evidence to their inquiry.

The Committee made recommendations in a report to both Houses, published on 20 May 2019. The Government welcomes the committee’s thorough and helpful scrutiny of the Bill. We are considering their recommendations and will publish a response in due course.

The Government intends to introduce the Bill to Parliament as soon as parliamentary time allows. We will continue to work closely with interested parties, including our delivery partners, in developing secondary legislation and preparing for implementation. Following Royal Assent and the making of secondary legislation, the Government intends that the register will be operational in 2021.

The UK continues to lead the global fight against illicit finance. The Financial Action Task Force completed a landmark review of the UK’s regime for tackling money laundering in December 2018, concluding that we have some of the strongest controls in the world.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1580
WS
Home Office
Made on: 22 May 2019
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Modern Slavery

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

Today I am laying before the House the final report of the Independent Review of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (CP 100). Copies of the report will be available from the Vote Office and it will also be published on Gov.UK.

Under the leadership of the Prime Minister, the rt hon Theresa May MP, the UK has transformed its response to modern slavery over the last five years. The Modern Slavery Act 2015 was the first legislation of its kind in the world. The Act provided law enforcement with new tools and powers to apprehend perpetrators, new duties on businesses to publish transparency in supply chains statements, enhanced protections for victims and created the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner role. The impact of the Act is evident: more victims than ever before are being identified and supported, more offenders are being prosecuted and convicted and thousands of companies have published transparency statements and are taking action to prevent slavery and trafficking in their supply chains.

Alongside the Act, this Government is delivering a comprehensive programme of policy measures to tackle modern slavery. We are reforming the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) to improve the support available to victims and to streamline the decision-making process. We are continuing to hold businesses to account on their obligations to publish transparency statements and central Government departments will publish a transparency in supply chains statement this year, to set out the steps we are taking through public procurement to prevent the risks of modern slavery in our supply chains. We are also working with international partners to drive action to address modern slavery risks in supply chains and public procurement.

We continue to play a leadership role internationally, pushing for co-ordinated action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals on modern slavery, supported by a commitment of £200 million of UK aid, as well as building partnerships with countries from where the UK receives high numbers of victims. To build on this work, the Government recently awarded a further £5 million in grants to seven organisations through the Modern Slavery Innovation Fund to trial new and innovative approaches to tackle this heinous crime.

However, this Government is not complacent, and we are determined to lead global efforts to eradicate modern slavery, particularly as the methods used by criminals to exploit vulnerable people and our understanding of the crime evolves. That is why in July 2018 I commissioned rt hon Frank Field MP, rt hon Maria Miller MP and the noble Baroness Butler-Sloss GBE to conduct an independent Review of the Modern Slavery Act. The Review considered four themes relating to provisions in the Act: the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, transparency in supply chains, legal application and the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner. The final report has made a total of 80 recommendations.

I am grateful to the reviewers and all of those who contributed to the Review for their commitment and comprehensive analysis. The Government intends to consider all recommendations in depth, before making a formal response in summer 2019.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1578
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 22 May 2019
Made by: Lord Henley (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
Lords

Contigency Fund update

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

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has sought a repayable cash advance from the Contingencies Fund of £14,700,000 to ensure the CMA’s relocation to Canary Wharf remains on schedule.

The CMA will receive its voted funding for this project at the Main Estimate, and consequently may only draw the related cash from the Consolidated Fund after the Supply and Appropriation Act has received Royal Assent in July 2019. This requirement has arisen because the 2019-20 capital expenditure for the construction works at the CMA’s new offices at Cabot Square exceeds the Vote on Account for capital expenditure prior to Royal Assent. The requirement to include the voted funding in the Main Estimate was agreed after the Vote on Account for 2019-20 was approved.

The cash advance will ensure the project stays on track and on budget and to ensure that the CMA also meets its operational needs.

Parliamentary approval for additional capital of £14,700,000 will be sought in the Main Estimate for the CMA. Pending that approval, urgent expenditure estimated at £14,700,000 will be met by repayable cash advance from the Contingencies Fund.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1576
WS
Ministry of Justice
Made on: 22 May 2019
Made by: Robert Buckland (Minister of State for Justice)
Commons

Interim response to The Sentencing Code Volume 1: Report (Law Com No382)

I am today announcing the government’s interim response to the Law Commission’s report on the Sentencing Code, published on 22 November 2018. The interim response can be found here (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/government-response-to-law-commission-report-on-the-sentencing-code). I am also announcing the Government’s intention to introduce the Sentencing (Pre-consolidation Amendments) Bill to Parliament, which will pave the way for the Sentencing Code.

The Law Commission’s draft Sentencing Code is a consolidation of legislation governing sentencing procedure which aims to ensure that the law relating to sentencing procedure is readily comprehensible and operates within a clear framework as efficiently as possible. For the Code to operate as intended, there are some amendments required to the existing law to facilitate the consolidation and to remove historic, and now redundant, layers of legislation. To enable this the Law Commission has also drafted a pre-consolidation amendment bill. Neither the Code nor the pre-consolidation amendments make any changes to existing offences and penalties, nor do they introduce any new substantive law or sentencing disposals.

The key recommendation of the report is that the draft legislation be enacted. The government welcomes the Law Commission’s report and draft legislation and considers the consolidation of sentencing procedure to be a major step forward in simplifying what is often a complex and technical area of law. It is absolutely vital that unnecessary errors made in our criminal justice system are minimised, and that the courts, offenders, and victims of crime and their families are not put through the time and expense of unnecessary appeals.

The Ministry of Justice is looking carefully at substantive sentencing reform. For example, there is persuasive evidence showing that community sentences, in certain circumstances, are more effective than short custodial sentences in reducing reoffending, and therefore keeping the public safe. At this stage, we are still considering options and have not ruled anything in or out. However, questions of substantive reform are distinct from the important task of making sure that sentencing procedural law is clear and accessible to those that need to use it. We believe the Sentencing Code provides that clarity and transparency. I will bring forward more detailed proposals in due course, but I emphasise that the opportunity for the consolidation of complex sentencing procedural law presented by the Code is a separate matter, and should be brought forward separately.

The Law Commission have also made some further recommendations to the government for the reform of sentencing law. These have not been given effect in the draft legislation and both Bills as drafted by the Law Commission can be enacted without taking these additional recommendations forward. The government is grateful for the in-depth analysis that has gone into these complex issues during consultation, acknowledging that in some cases they were unsuitable for inclusion as part of the consolidation process or outside the terms of reference for the project. For those reasons, we do not propose that these recommendations be taken forward at this time, whilst noting that the benefit of the Sentencing Code is that it will be readily open to Parliament in future to make such changes. We will, however, provide a fuller response to these further recommendations raised by the Law Commission in due course.

The government thanks the Law Commission for the considerable effort that has gone into producing the report and draft legislation. Whilst the Sentencing Code itself should be brought forward through the parliamentary procedure for Law Commission consolidation bills, I am pleased to announce that the government will be introducing the Sentencing (Pre-consolidation Amendments) Bill to Parliament, giving effect to the pre-consolidation amendments, through the special procedure which is available for Law Commission recommended Bills.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1542
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 22 May 2019
Made by: Kelly Tolhurst (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility)
Commons

Register of Beneficial Owners of Overseas Entities Update

Our modern Industrial Strategy seeks to maintain the UK’s global reputation as a good place to do business. People come to Britain confident in our high corporate standards, including market transparency, which foster confidence and trust. Transactions are improved and the market has greater confidence when people know who they are doing business with, whilst lack of transparency can facilitate criminal behaviour.

The 2017 National Risk Assessment of Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing highlights the fact that property continues to be an attractive vehicle for criminal investment, in particular for high end money laundering. The risks relating to abuse of property are most acute where property is owned anonymously through corporate structures or trusts.

This Government committed at the 2016 International Anti-Corruption Summit to create a register showing the beneficial owners of overseas entities which own or buy property in the UK. The Government also committed in primary legislation, through Section 50 of the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018, to report to Parliament annually on the progress that has been made towards putting in place such a register.

Over the past year, significant progress has been made towards the introduction of the register.

The Government published a Draft Registration of Overseas Entities Bill on 23 July 2018 and invited comment on it from interested parties. 29 responses were received from civil society groups, the property sector and others, which has informed the development of the register. The Draft Bill and Explanatory Notes set out how the register will operate.

A Joint Committee was appointed to consider and report on the Draft Bill. The Commons members of the committee were appointed on 19 February 2019. The Lords members were appointed on 25 February 2019. The Committee held a number of evidence sessions, including one on the 25 March 2019 at which I gave evidence. They also invited interested individuals and organisations to submit written evidence to their inquiry.

The Committee made recommendations in a report to both Houses, published on 20 May 2019. The Government welcomes the committee’s thorough and helpful scrutiny of the Bill. We are considering their recommendations and will publish a response in due course.

The Government intends to introduce the Bill to Parliament as soon as parliamentary time allows. We will continue to work closely with interested parties, including our delivery partners, in developing secondary legislation and preparing for implementation. Following Royal Assent and the making of secondary legislation, the Government intends that the register will be operational in 2021.

The UK continues to lead the global fight against illicit finance. The Financial Action Task Force completed a landmark review of the UK’s regime for tackling money laundering in December 2018, concluding that we have some of the strongest controls in the world.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1540
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 22 May 2019
Made by: Chris Skidmore (Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation)
Commons

Pre Competitiveness Council Statement

The ‘Internal Market and Industry Day’ of the Competitiveness Council will take place on 27 May 2019. Katrina Williams, Deputy Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the European Union, will represent the UK.

The ‘Research and Space Day’ of the Competitiveness Council will take place on 28 May 2019. Chris Skidmore MP, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, will represent the UK.

Day one – Internal Market and Industry

The ‘Internal Market and Industry Day’ will consider a number of non-legislative items, including a competitiveness “check-up”. Attendees will be asked to debate and agree the adoption of Conclusions on ‘A new level of ambition for a competitive Single Market’ and ‘An EU Industrial Policy Strategy: A Vision for 2030’. This will be followed by the adoption of ‘Conclusions on the competitiveness of the tourism sector as a driver for sustainable growth, jobs and social cohesion in the EU for the next decade’.

Under any other business, there will be updates on the following current legislative proposals: (a) the Directive on cross-border conversions, mergers and divisions; (b) the Directive on the modernisation of the EU consumer protection rules; (c) the Directive on representative actions for the protection of the collective interests of consumers; and (d) the Regulation on the general safety of vehicles.

The Presidency with also provide information on Better Regulation and the Forum dedicated to the auto industry. Finally, the Finnish delegation will provide information on the work programme of the incoming Finnish Presidency.

Day two – Research and Space

The ‘Research and Space Day’ of the Competitiveness Council will begin with a session on space, during which the Council will hold a policy debate on ‘Strengthening Europe's role as a global actor and promoting international cooperation, space diplomacy and contributing to building the global space governance’.

The Competitiveness Council will then break for the 280th European Space Agency (ESA) Council where the UK, as an ESA Member state, will vote on the ESA resolution ‘Space as an enabler’. The Council will then reconvene for the 9th EU-ESA Space Council where there will be an exchange of views and adoption of Conclusions on ‘Space as an enabler’.

The research session will start with a policy debate concerning ‘Research and innovation as a driving force for a more competitive European Union’. Finally, the Finnish delegation will provide information on the work programme of the incoming Finnish Presidency.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1541
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