Written statements

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

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

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

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WS
Home Office
Made on: 07 July 2020
Made by: Kit Malthouse (The Minister of State for Crime, Policing and the Fire Service)
Commons

Government Response to the Call for Evidence on Violence and Abuse Toward Shop Staff

Today the Government has published its formal response to the Call for Evidence on Violence and Abuse Toward Shop Staff. The Government recognises that the violence and abuse shop workers face can have a significant impact, not only physically but mentally and emotionally.

The Government launched a Call for Evidence in April 2019 on Violence and Abuse Towards Shop Staff to understand the scale of the issue, the measures which may help prevent these crimes and the extent to which existing legislation is being used to tackle them; and to identify examples of best practice. I want to emphasise that violence and abuse of shop staff is unacceptable and must not be tolerated, and we will work towards tackling these crimes. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the retail sector who have during the coronavirus pandemic worked tirelessly to keep the nation fed while implementing social distancing measures to keep the public safe.

In light of the responses to the Call for Evidence, the Government recognises that there are issues which need to be dealt with in an evidence-based manner with the support and involvement of the sector. Therefore, I have begun work with the National Retail Crime Steering Group, which we co-chair with the British Retail Consortium, to jointly develop and deliver a programme of work to drive down abuse and violence, with three key aims:

  • Deepen our understanding and address the drivers of violence and assault against shop worker;
  • Send a clear message that such crimes are not tolerated and should be recorded whenever and wherever they take place;
  • Provide effective support to those shop workers who are the victims of violence and abuse.

In delivering these priorities we will work with partners, including the Welsh Government, to ensure that plans are tailored and effective. The Call for Evidence generated a high level of interest and the Government would like to thank all those who took part and for the work they have contributed. The evidence and comments received has been vital in helping develop a better understanding of the issue. I wish to be clear that this is only the beginning of the process, rather than the conclusion as further work is needed to deliver an evidence – based response to these crimes.

The ‘Government Response to the Call for Evidence on Violence and Abuse Toward Shop Staff’ will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses

WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 07 July 2020
Made by: Mr Ben Wallace (Secretary of State for Defence)
Commons

Armed Forces Update

I am pleased to announce today the launch of a wrap around childcare pilot scheme for UK Armed Forces families. This announcement represents another significant step towards the Government meeting its manifesto commitment to provide free wrap around childcare for Forces families.

It is the latest in a series of measures which my Department has introduced with the aim of easing the unique burdens on Service families. Our Armed Forces have a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week commitment to their duties and meeting this manifesto pledge will not only provide them with the support they deserve, but also help to build the diverse workforce we need for a modernised UK Defence.

I am determined to make the Armed Forces a more modern, inclusive and family friendly employer, in order to improve the working environment for retention of all personnel but also to encourage more talented women to pursue long, and fulfilling careers in uniform.

This follows the introduction of Flexible Service last year, which allows – for the first time in the Armed Forces – personnel to flex their working arrangements to accommodate changes in personal circumstances.

By introducing these measures we plan to make life easier for Service Personnel and their families, who are required to be mobile and can be deployed at short notice. Wrap around childcare will help them to secure appropriate support when it is required, by covering early starts and late finishes for eligible working parents of children aged 4-11.

The first pilot sites of RAF High Wycombe and RAF Halton will see funding for before and after school care during term time from the start of the 2020 academic year. Further pilot sites at Catterick Garrison and the Plymouth Naval area will follow in January 2021.

Service personnel assigned to each of the pilot sites will be eligible to access the funding, regardless of the geographical location of their children within the UK. The few families located in Scotland but assigned to the first pilot sites will, therefore, begin in August.

The launch of this pilot comes amidst the wider return to education, following the disruption of the Coronavirus pandemic. Service personnel from all of our Armed Forces have provided critical support to their colleagues in health and
social care, often deployed away from home at short notice.

Their professionalism, versatility, and commitment make them the best Armed Forces in the world, and we are committed to honouring their service by providing them the best support possible.

WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 07 July 2020
Made by: Amanda Solloway (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Science, Research and Innovation))
Commons

Performance Targets for the Intellectual Property Office (an operating name of the Patent Office) for 2020-21

Our Industrial Strategy sets out the Government’s vision for making the UK the most innovative country in the world. The UK starts from a position of strength and is already ranked in the top five of the Global Innovation Index and top 10 by the World Bank as the best place to start and grow a business. But the global landscape is changing and we must continue to invest in research and development. The Industrial Strategy has set an ambition to raise total research and development to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027, helping businesses access the right funds and equip them to face the opportunities and challenges presented by new technologies and new ways of doing business.

Intellectual Property (IP) plays a crucial role in innovation and touches everything that makes modern life more enjoyable, easier, safer and prosperous. It provides inventors, creators and entrepreneurs with the confidence to invest knowing that they will reap the benefits of their investments. UK investment in IP rights reached almost £64 billion in 2016 and studies have shown that industries that rely on IP have accounted for over a quarter of UK employment and almost half of GDP. Our IP system matters. It creates jobs and economic growth and is helping to propel Britain to the forefront of innovation.

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) Corporate Plan 2020-21 explains how through its stewardship of the IP system, it will help the UK to be the most innovative and creative country in the world. It will do this through delivering excellent IP services, creating a world leading IP environment and attracting and retaining the best people by making the IPO a brilliant place to work.

The UK already has one of the best IP regimes in the world, consistently ranked as one of the top regimes in indices such as those from the US Chamber of Commerce International IP Index, and during 2020-21, the IPO will continue to contribute to building a business environment that makes the UK the best place in the world to start and run a business.

As an Executive Agency and Trading Fund of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the IPO have set targets which are agreed by Ministers and laid before Parliament. I am glad that today I can inform the House that for 2020-21 the IPO’s targets are:

  • Deliver excellent customer service with our average overall customer satisfaction at least 85%.

  • Deliver our services efficiently through continuously improving our systems, processes and ways of working to make things better for our customers and our people, reduce costs and improve the value for money we provide. Our target is to achieve efficiencies worth at least 3.5% of our core operating costs.

  • We will have created equivalent UK rights from existing EU trade marks and designs to the UK register on 31 December 2020.

  • We want to ensure that the UK’s IP framework incentivises the development and adoption of AI technologies, supporting the government’s ambition of putting the UK at the forefront of the AI and data revolution. We will do this by developing our understanding of how AI impacts the IP framework through launching a call for views and publishing our response so as to provide the clarity our customers need to confidently invest in AI.

It is important to note that our plan and our targets were developed prior to the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic. At present our targets are unchanged but we will review this as the impact of the virus becomes clearer. We have the ability to adapt our finance and resource models according to emerging trends and we will do so. We will also work with BEIS and our other partner organisations to review our priorities regularly, ensuring we support wider government responses to the economic impact of the virus and seek to focus our efforts and resources where they will have the most significant impact driving the UK innovation and creative economy.

WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 07 July 2020
Made by: Johnny Mercer (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Minister for Defence People and Veterans )
Commons

Armed Forces Pay Review Body Appointments

I am pleased to announce that the Secretary of State for Defence has appointed Miss Jenni Douglas Todd, Mr Julian Miller CB and Rear Admiral William Entwisle OBE MVO as members of the Armed Forces’ Pay Review Body. Their appointment commenced on 20 May 2020 and will run until 30 April 2023. These appointments have been conducted in accordance with the Governance Code for Public Appointments.

WS
Department of Health and Social Care
Made on: 07 July 2020
Made by: Matt Hancock (Secretary of State for Health and Social Care)
Commons

Coronavirus Update

On 26 March 2020, the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 came into force, imposing restrictions on people’s movements and gatherings, and requiring the closure of certain retail and public premises, to protect public health in light of the coronavirus pandemic. We have kept these Regulations under continual review and have amended these regulations four times.

On 23 June 2020, the Prime Minister announced in parliament the changes being made following the fourth review of the Coronavirus Regulations. Due to the substantial changes being made at this point, I am revoking the existing Regulations and replacing them with The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 2) (England) Regulations 2020. This approach will mean that the Regulations are clearer and easier for the general public to understand.

These new regulations mean that from 4 July, a wide range of sectors have been permitted to re-open, with guidance that COVID-19 Secure measures are implemented in their re-opening. This includes the hospitality, leisure, tourism, and recreation sectors. Group prayer and collective worship, overnight stays in self-contained accommodation, including hotels, second homes, and B&Bs are also allowed. Although most businesses are now able to open, a number remain which are still considered too high risk to reopen due to the likely prolonged exposure and close contact between individuals; these businesses are listed in the Regulations as having to remain closed.

These new regulations have also removed the restriction on overnight stays. The previous gathering limits have been removed from legislation and replaced with a 30 person limit on gatherings in private dwellings, ships or boats, and public outdoor spaces. This new gathering limit will ensure that police have the powers to prevent the type of gatherings taking place which are not likely to be able to follow social distancing measures, such as house parties, boat parties or raves. These gathering limits are subject to exceptions. These Regulations have removed most of the restrictions placed on individuals by the previous set of Regulations, however the Government has provided clear guidance outlining what steps people should be taking to protect themselves or others. This outlines that gatherings should be limited to two households indoors, or two households or six people outdoors (whichever is greater). It is very important that everyone continues to follow the guidance – and continues to socially distance from those they do not live with (or have not formed a support bubble with).

As national restrictions are rightly relaxed to reflect the lower infection rates, we must ensure that we have the ability to act swiftly and effectively where risky behaviour occurs. These Regulations therefore introduce new powers for the Secretary of State to either restrict access to or close public outdoor places (for example beauty spots) by a Direction if this is judged necessary to protect public health.

As I announced to the House on 29 June, the changes coming into effect on the 4 July will not apply in Leicester. This follows a rise in cases and is based on clinical advice. In addition, non-essential retail based in Leicester has had to close. The new Regulations make this a legal requirement. In addition, they will prohibit overnight stays by Leicester residents inside and outside of Leicester, and by residents from elsewhere within Leicester. They will continue to prohibit gatherings of more than six people outdoors and mixing between households, apart from where this is allowed by the support bubble policy. The new regulations will continue to only allow places of worship to open for specific reasons, including private prayer. We are continuing to monitor the situation and we will review the whether this position can be changed by 18 July.

Publicly available Government guidance on Gov.uk is being updated to ensure it fully corresponds with the new Regulations.

WS
Department for International Trade
Made on: 07 July 2020
Made by: Elizabeth Truss (Secretary of State for International Trade)
Commons

Trade Update

I want to update the House on the steps that have been taken to comply with the judgment of the Court of Appeal of 20 June 2019 regarding licences for military exports to Saudi Arabia for possible use in the conflict in Yemen.

The legal proceedings concerned the decisions of the then Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills of 9 December 2015:

  • Not to suspend extant export licences for the sale or transfer of arms and military equipment to Saudi Arabia for possible use in the conflict in Yemen; and
  • To continue to grant further such licences.

The legal proceedings concerned Criterion 2c of the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria – which requires the Government to assess Saudi Arabia’s attitude towards relevant principles of international law and provides that the Government will not grant a licence if there is a clear risk that the items might be used in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law (IHL).

The Divisional Court found in favour of the Government in its judgment of July 2017, noting that we applied a rigorous and robust, multi-layered process of analysis to making our licensing decisions. Our approach has focused on a predictive evaluation of risk as to the attitude and future conduct of the Saudi-led coalition, recognising the inherent difficulties of seeking to reach findings on IHL for specific incidents where we do not have access to complete information. Even so, this analysis has always incorporated a detailed and careful review of past allegations of incidents of concern. This included analysis, to the extent possible, of whether there were patterns of concern, in particular arising from trends in the number of allegations of civilian casualties and of damage to key civilian infrastructure. The Court of Appeal broadly endorsed this decision-making process.

The principal issue in the Court of Appeal was whether this analysis needed to go further. In the Court’s judgment, the question of whether there was an historic pattern of breaches of IHL was a question which required to be faced. Even if it could not be answered with reasonable confidence for every incident, at least the attempt had to be made. It was because we had not reached findings on whether specific incidents constituted breaches of IHL as part of our assessment of clear risk, under Criterion 2c, that the Court of Appeal concluded that our decision-making process was irrational and therefore unlawful.

To address the Court of Appeal’s judgment, we have developed a revised methodology in respect of all allegations which it is assessed are likely to have occurred and to have been caused by fixed wing aircraft, reflecting the factual circumstances that the court proceedings concerned. Each of those allegations has been subject to detailed analysis by reference to the relevant principles of IHL and in the light of all the information and intelligence available. An evaluation has then been made, in respect of each incident, whether it is possible that it constitutes a breach of IHL or whether it is unlikely that it represents a breach. For a number of incidents, as envisaged by the Court of Appeal, there is insufficient information to make this evaluation. Where an incident is assessed as being a “possible” breach, it is regarded – for the purposes of the Criterion 2c analysis – as if it were a breach of IHL. By setting the threshold as “possible” the IHL analysis has captured the widest range of relevant potential IHL breaches, to provide a base from which to assess the prospective risk for Criterion 2c.

The IHL analysis has now been applied to all credible incidents of concern of which we are aware. Some of these incidents have been assessed as “possible” violations of IHL. These have therefore been factored into the overall Criterion 2c Analysis on the basis that they are violations of IHL.

We have sought to determine whether these “violations” are indicative of:

(i) any patterns of non-compliance;

(ii) a lack of commitment on the part of Saudi Arabia to comply with IHL; and/or

(iii) a lack of capacity or systemic weaknesses which might give rise to a clear risk of IHL breaches.

We have similarly looked for patterns and trends across the incidents which have been assessed as being unlikely to be breaches of IHL and those for which there is insufficient information to make an assessment.

This analysis has not revealed any such patterns, trends or systemic weaknesses. It is noted, in particular, that the incidents which have been assessed to be possible violations of IHL occurred at different times, in different circumstances and for different reasons. The conclusion is that these are isolated incidents.

I want to emphasise that the IHL analysis is just one part of the Criterion 2c assessment. In re-taking these decisions, I have taken into account the full range of information available to the Government. In the light of all that information and analysis, I have concluded that, notwithstanding the isolated incidents which have been factored into the analysis as historic violations of IHL, Saudi Arabia has a genuine intent and the capacity to comply with IHL.

On that basis, I have assessed that there is not a clear risk that the export of arms and military equipment to Saudi Arabia might be used in the commission of a serious violation of IHL.

Having now re-taken the decisions that were the subject of judicial review on the correct legal basis, as required by the Order of the Court of Appeal of 20 June, it follows that the undertaking that my predecessor gave to the Court – that we would not grant any new licences for the export of arms or military equipment to Saudi Arabia for possible use in Yemen – falls away. The broader commitment that was given to Parliament, relating to licences for Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners, also no longer applies.

The Government will now begin the process of clearing the backlog of licence applications for Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners that has built up since 20 June last year. Each application will, of course, be carefully assessed against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria and a licence would not be granted if to do so would be a breach of the Criteria. It may take some months to clear this backlog.

Finally, as indicated in the statement made to the House on 20 June 2019, we sought permission to appeal to the Supreme Court against the Court of Appeal’s judgment. Permission was granted by the Court of Appeal on 9 July 2019. In light of the revised methodology which I have just described, I will now be taking steps to withdraw this appeal.

WS
Department for Transport
Made on: 06 July 2020
Made by: Grant Shapps (Secretary of State for Transport)
Commons

Travel Corridors

It is vitally important that we manage the risk of a second wave of coronavirus and keep the number of cases of COVID-19 in the UK as low as possible. Health protection Regulations concerning international travel came into force in all parts of the UK on 8 June. These require people who arrive in the UK from outside the Common Travel Area to self-isolate for 14 days and to complete a passenger locator form. The Regulations have helped to reduce the risk of importing cases into the UK.

For arrivals from some countries and territories into England, where the risk of importing COVID-19 is sufficiently low, the Government considers that it can now end the self-isolation requirement. Therefore, passengers will not be required to self-isolate when they are returning from travel abroad or arriving as visitors to England from a number of exempt countries and territories. Contact information will still need to be provided on arrival except by people on a small list of exemptions.

The process to date

We have been guided by the science and worked closely with health and policy experts from across government to ensure the steps we are taking will minimise the risk of importing COVID-19 cases, while helping to open our travel and tourism sector.

The Joint Biosecurity Centre, in close consultation with Public Health England and the Chief Medical Officer, has developed an approach to assessing the public health risk associated with inbound travel from specific countries and territories. The categorisation has been informed by an estimate of the proportion of the population that is currently infectious in each country, virus incidence rates, trends in incidence and deaths, transmission status and international epidemic intelligence as well as information on a country’s testing capacity and an assessment of the quality of the data available. Data has been used from official sources in each country and modelling by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, as well as from Public Health England and the National Travel Health Network and Centre. Other data sources may be used in the future.

This categorisation has informed the Government’s decisions about relaxation of border measures and has allowed us to establish travel corridors through which passengers arriving in England from certain countries and territories will be exempted from the requirement to self-isolate. Those who have visited or transited through any non-exempt country or territory within the 14 days preceding their arrival will be required to self-isolate for the remainder of the 14-day period since they last left such a country or territory. The decision on these exemptions forms part of the first review of the health protection Regulations concerning international travel which apply in England. FCO travel advice should always be consulted before booking any travel.

The Government is continuing to discuss this approach with the Devolved Administrations who will set out their own approach in time. Passengers travelling from overseas to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland from outside the Common Travel Area should ensure they follow the laws and guidance which apply there.

Countries and territories exemption list

From 10 July, unless they have visited or transited through any non-exempt country or territory in the preceding 14 days, passengers arriving from the following countries and territories will not be required to self-isolate on arrival in England:

Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Australia, Austria, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Bonaire St Eustatius and Saba, Croatia, Curaçao, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Faroe Islands, Fiji, Finland, France, French Polynesia, Germany, Greece, Greenland, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Réunion, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malta, Mauritius, Monaco, New Caledonia, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Seychelles, St Barthélemy, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, St Pierre and Miquelon, San Marino, Serbia, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey, Vatican City State, Vietnam.

Ireland is already exempt as part of the Common Travel Area, as are the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. In addition, we will be exempting the 14 British Overseas Territories. We will keep the conditions in these countries and territories under review. If they worsen we will not hesitate to reintroduce self-isolation requirements.

In addition, the UK Government will be making a small number of sector-specific exemptions to the border health measures as a result of the first review. From 7 July, certain transport workers who do not come into contact with passengers in the course of their journey to England will no longer be required to complete the passenger locator form. This will help pilots, seafarers, and Eurostar and Eurotunnel drivers who make regular crossings without coming into contact with passengers. There will also be additional exemptions for certain groups, including elite sportspersons and essential support staff returning to England or participating in certain elite sports events, and individuals coming to England to work on British film and television productions.

Next steps

My Rt Hon Friend, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and First Secretary of State has announced exemptions to the global advisory against all but essential travel. Travellers should review this advice before making travel plans, and purchase travel insurance.

The Government will keep the requirements and exemptions set out in the Regulations under review. The next review of the Regulations will be by 27 July 2020. For further information, please visit https://www.gov.uk/uk-border-control.

I hope this announcement provides good news to the many of us who want to enjoy a holiday abroad this year, visit family and friends overseas or travel to do business and will help protect jobs in the international transport and tourism sectors. The Government continues to work closely with international partners around the world to discuss arrangements for travellers arriving from the UK and will continue this engagement ahead of the changes coming into force.

WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 06 July 2020
Made by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Lords

Human Rights Update

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

I have today laid before Parliament, under the powers of the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018, the Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations 2020.

These Regulations enable sanctions to be imposed on those who are involved in serious violations or abuses of human rights. This sanctions regime is not about punishing countries or peoples. It is a smart tool allowing the Government to impose both asset freezes and travel bans on specific individuals or entities in order to provide accountability for and deter serious violations of human rights around the world and prevent those responsible from coming to the UK or laundering their assets here. These sanctions will help to ensure that the UK is not a safe haven for those involved in serious human rights violations, including those who profit from such activities.

The Regulations allow for Ministers to impose sanctions on persons who are involved in activities that would amount to a serious violation of the right to life; the right not to be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; and the right to be free from slavery, not to be held in servitude or required to perform forced or compulsory labour. The Global Human Rights sanctions regime can be used to target different forms of involvement in such violations of human rights, including those who profit from them. The Regulations allow for non-State actors as well as State actors to be designated.

The introduction of this autonomous human rights sanctions regime will give the UK an additional, powerful tool to support human rights across the world, and underpin Global Britain’s role as a force for good in the world.

Today, I will also publish the first persons to be designated under this new sanctions regime.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS337
WS
Department for Education
Made on: 06 July 2020
Made by: Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay (The Lords Spokesperson (Department for Education) (Higher Education))
Lords

Higher Education Student Finance

My honourable friend the Minister of State for Universities (Michelle Donelan) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I am announcing details of student finance arrangements for higher education students undertaking a course of study in the 2021/22 academic year starting on 1 August 2021.

Maximum tuition fees for the 2021/22 academic year in England will be maintained at the levels that apply in the 2020/21 academic year, the fourth year in succession that fees have been frozen. This means that the maximum level of tuition fees for a standard full-time undergraduate course will remain at £9,250 for the 2021/22 academic year.

Maximum undergraduate loans for living costs will be increased by forecast inflation (3.1%) in 2021/22. And the same increase will apply to maximum grants for students with child or adult dependants who are attending full-time undergraduate courses in 2021/22.

We are also increasing support for students undertaking postgraduate courses in 2021/22. Maximum loans for students starting master’s degree and doctoral degree courses from 1 August 2021 onwards will be increased by forecast inflation (3.1%) in 2021/22.

I am also announcing today changes to Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) that will increase flexibility for students to access the support that they need. The undergraduate DSA, which is currently structured as four separate sub-allowances, will be simplified into one allowance in line with the postgraduate DSA.

The same maximum allowance (£25,000) will apply to both full-time and part-time undergraduate and postgraduate DSA recipients in 2021/22. This will apply for both new and continuing students. An exception for travel costs will be made to this maximum cap, which means that travel costs will in effect continue to be uncapped.

I am announcing today that individuals who have been granted Indefinite Leave to Remain as a bereaved partner, and resident in the United Kingdom and Islands since the grant of such leave, will not be required to demonstrate three years’ ordinary residence in the United Kingdom and Islands before the start of a course to qualify for student support and home fee status in relation to new higher education courses from 1 August 2021 onwards.

I am also announcing today that individuals in protection based categories (those with Humanitarian Protection Leave, Calais Leave, Section 67 Leave and Stateless Leave) starting or continuing higher education courses in 2021/22 will no longer be required to demonstrate three years’ ordinary residence in the United Kingdom and Islands before the start of a course to qualify for student support and home fee status.

Further details of the student support package for 2021/22 are set out in the attached document.

I expect to lay regulations implementing changes to student finance for undergraduates and postgraduates for 2021/22 later in 2020. These regulations will be subject to Parliamentary scrutiny.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS336
WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 06 July 2020
Made by: Dominic Raab (Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Commons

Human Rights Update

I have today laid before Parliament, under the powers of the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018, the Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations 2020.

These Regulations enable sanctions to be imposed on those who are involved in serious violations or abuses of human rights. This sanctions regime is not about punishing countries or peoples. It is a smart tool allowing the Government to impose both asset freezes and travel bans on specific individuals or entities in order to provide accountability for and deter serious violations of human rights around the world and prevent those responsible from coming to the UK or laundering their assets here. These sanctions will help to ensure that the UK is not a safe haven for those involved in serious human rights violations, including those who profit from such activities.

The Regulations allow for Ministers to impose sanctions on persons who are involved in activities that would amount to a serious violation of the right to life; the right not to be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; and the right to be free from slavery, not to be held in servitude or required to perform forced or compulsory labour. The Global Human Rights sanctions regime can be used to target different forms of involvement in such violations of human rights, including those who profit from them. The Regulations allow for non-State actors as well as State actors to be designated.

The introduction of this autonomous human rights sanctions regime will give the UK an additional, powerful tool to support human rights across the world, and underpin Global Britain’s role as a force for good in the world.

Today, I will also publish the first persons to be designated under this new sanctions regime.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS330
WS
Cabinet Office
Made on: 06 July 2020
Made by: Lord True (Minister of State)
Lords

Transfer of Cabinet Office Historic Records

My Rt Hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Rt Hon Michael Gove MP) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

The Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010 amended the Public Records Act and introduced a 20-year rule for the transfer of historic government records to The National Archives. This replaced the 30-year rule in force since 1967. The Act made provision to phase in this change over 10 years, beginning in 2013. The transitional arrangements require the Cabinet Office to transfer records of 1997 and 1998 by the end of this year. The Cabinet Office’s historic records include those of the Prime Minister’s Office. This statement provides an update on the impact of COVID-19 on our work in this area.

Since 2015, the Cabinet Office has made two transfers a year, in July and December. The July opening is discretionary and reflects the Cabinet Office’s commitment to opening as much as possible as early as possible.

Measures to contain COVID-19 have inevitably had an impact on work in this area. It will not, therefore, be possible to transfer records in July this year. Whilst work has continued as normal in many areas across the Department, archival work requires physical access to hard copy files to complete the review and preparation of documents for transfer.

In addition, The National Archives building in Kew closed to the public and staff on 17 March 2020 and at present is unable to facilitate the transfer of new records.

I remain fully committed to meeting our obligations under public records legislation. The Department is undertaking an assessment of the wider impact of the COVID-19 restrictions on work in this area. We will work with the National Archives and the Advisory Council on National Records and Archives and will provide a further update to the House in due course.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS335
WS
Home Office
Made on: 06 July 2020
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Independent verification of the MI5 Compliance Improvement Review

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

On 15 July 2019, my predecessor made a Written Ministerial Statement regarding the MI5 Compliance Improvement Review conducted by Sir Martin Donnelly. Sir Martin made 14 recommendations focused on achieving lasting improvements in the areas of compliance, openness and legal assurance.

The Director General of MI5 and I remain fully committed to the implementation of the recommendations.

As Sir Martin recommended, it is my intention to independently verify the implementation of his recommendations. However, it has become apparent that, due to the impacts of Covid-19, the start of this verification, which was originally due to be completed by the end of June 2020, will have to be postponed.

MI5 expect to complete implementation of Sir Martin’s recommendations by the end of 2020. The independent verification will therefore commence at the beginning of 2021.

I have full confidence in the integrity of MI5 officers and their commitment to complying with legal obligations. They do a vital job in keeping our country safe, a task that, at this time of uncertainty, is more important than ever.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS334
WS
Department for Education
Made on: 06 July 2020
Made by: Michelle Donelan (The Minister of State for Universities)
Commons

Higher Education Student Finance

I am announcing details of student finance arrangements for higher education students undertaking a course of study in the 2021/22 academic year starting on 1 August 2021.

Maximum tuition fees for the 2021/22 academic year in England will be maintained at the levels that apply in the 2020/21 academic year, the fourth year in succession that fees have been frozen. This means that the maximum level of tuition fees for a standard full-time undergraduate course will remain at £9,250 for the 2021/22 academic year.

Maximum undergraduate loans for living costs will be increased by forecast inflation (3.1%) in 2021/22. And the same increase will apply to maximum grants for students with child or adult dependants who are attending full-time undergraduate courses in 2021/22.

We are also increasing support for students undertaking postgraduate courses in 2021/22. Maximum loans for students starting master’s degree and doctoral degree courses from 1 August 2021 onwards will be increased by forecast inflation (3.1%) in 2021/22.

I am also announcing today changes to Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) that will increase flexibility for students to access the support that they need. The undergraduate DSA, which is currently structured as four separate sub-allowances, will be simplified into one allowance in line with the postgraduate DSA.

The same maximum allowance (£25,000) will apply to both full-time and part-time undergraduate and postgraduate DSA recipients in 2021/22. This will apply for both new and continuing students. An exception for travel costs will be made to this maximum cap, which means that travel costs will in effect continue to be uncapped.

I am announcing today that individuals who have been granted Indefinite Leave to Remain as a bereaved partner, and resident in the United Kingdom and Islands since the grant of such leave, will not be required to demonstrate three years’ ordinary residence in the United Kingdom and Islands before the start of a course to qualify for student support and home fee status in relation to new higher education courses from 1 August 2021 onwards.

I am also announcing today that individuals in protection based categories (those with Humanitarian Protection Leave, Calais Leave, Section 67 Leave and Stateless Leave) starting or continuing higher education courses in 2021/22 will no longer be required to demonstrate three years’ ordinary residence in the United Kingdom and Islands before the start of a course to qualify for student support and home fee status.

Further details of the student support package for 2021/22 are set out in the attached document.

I expect to lay regulations implementing changes to student finance for undergraduates and postgraduates for 2021/22 later in 2020. These regulations will be subject to Parliamentary scrutiny.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS329
WS
Cabinet Office
Made on: 06 July 2020
Made by: Michael Gove (Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office )
Commons

Transfer of Cabinet Office Historic Records

The Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010 amended the Public Records Act and introduced a 20-year rule for the transfer of historic government records to The National Archives. This replaced the 30-year rule in force since 1967. The Act made provision to phase in this change over 10 years, beginning in 2013. The transitional arrangements require the Cabinet Office to transfer records of 1997 and 1998 by the end of this year. The Cabinet Office’s historic records include those of the Prime Minister’s Office. This statement provides an update on the impact of COVID-19 on our work in this area.

Since 2015, the Cabinet Office has made two transfers a year, in July and December. The July opening is discretionary and reflects the Cabinet Office’s commitment to opening as much as possible as early as possible.

Measures to contain COVID-19 have inevitably had an impact on work in this area. It will not, therefore, be possible to transfer records in July this year. Whilst work has continued as normal in many areas across the Department, archival work requires physical access to hard copy files to complete the review and preparation of documents for transfer.

In addition, The National Archives building in Kew closed to the public and staff on 17 March 2020 and at present is unable to facilitate the transfer of new records.

I remain fully committed to meeting our obligations under public records legislation. The Department is undertaking an assessment of the wider impact of the COVID-19 restrictions on work in this area. We will work with the National Archives and the Advisory Council on National Records and Archives and will provide a further update to the House in due course.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS328
WS
Home Office
Made on: 06 July 2020
Made by: Priti Patel (The Secretary of State for the Home Department)
Commons

Independent verification of the MI5 Compliance Improvement Review

On 15 July 2019, my predecessor made a Written Ministerial Statement regarding the MI5 Compliance Improvement Review conducted by Sir Martin Donnelly. Sir Martin made 14 recommendations focused on achieving lasting improvements in the areas of compliance, openness and legal assurance.

The Director General of MI5 and I remain fully committed to the implementation of the recommendations.

As Sir Martin recommended, it is my intention to independently verify the implementation of his recommendations. However, it has become apparent that, due to the impacts of Covid-19, the start of this verification, which was originally due to be completed by the end of June 2020, will have to be postponed.

MI5 expect to complete implementation of Sir Martin’s recommendations by the end of 2020. The independent verification will therefore commence at the beginning of 2021.

I have full confidence in the integrity of MI5 officers and their commitment to complying with legal obligations. They do a vital job in keeping our country safe, a task that, at this time of uncertainty, is more important than ever.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS327
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 02 July 2020
Made by: Lord Callanan (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Climate Change and Corporate Responsibility))
Lords

Business Update

My Right Honourable friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Alok Sharma) has today made the following statement:

I would like to update the House on a commercial agreement that the Government has concluded with Celsa Steel (UK) Ltd.

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government has set out a far-reaching package of support to protect jobs and the UK economy. However, in exceptional circumstances, where a viable company of strategic importance has exhausted all other options available to it, the Government has said that we will consider bespoke support on a ‘last resort’ basis.

There is an extremely high bar for making use of taxpayers’ money in this way, and any companies seeking support from the Government should do so only as an absolute last resort.

Such circumstances applied to Celsa, which is a key supplier to the construction industry.

While commercial confidentiality prevents me from setting out detail, I can assure the House that the Government has agreed terms that will protect taxpayers’ money and ensure that the financial burden is shared with the company’s shareholders and lenders.

The Government has agreed legally binding contractual conditions with Celsa on employment, climate change and tax. We have also put in place legally binding conditions on corporate governance, including restraints on executive pay and bonuses. We would expect any company seeking such support from the taxpayer to play their role in our society’s shared endeavours and challenges in the same way.

More broadly, the Government has already taken wide-ranging actions to support the UK steel industry, including more than £300 million in relief for electricity costs since 2013. We have also created public procurement guidelines with annual reports on the proportion of public sector steel bought from British companies, and details of a steel pipeline on national infrastructure projects worth around £500 million over the next decade.

This agreement achieves a positive outcome and secures over 1000 jobs, including more than 800 positions at the company’s main sites in South Wales.

We want to praise the commitment of Celsa’s workforce and management. Our focus is now on working with all parties to secure the company’s future success, as well as ensuring that the loan is repaid and Celsa continue to deliver employment, climate change, corporate governance, and tax commitments.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS332
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 02 July 2020
Made by: Lord Greenhalgh (Minister of State for Building Safety and Communities)
Lords

Local Government Update

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

I wish to set out to the House the further measures this Government is putting in place so that local government can continue to fulfil its essential role in the national response to Covid-19 and lead us through the next phase of recovery.

I said at the start of the pandemic that we would ensure local authorities have the resources they need. To do that, the Government has provided £27 billion to support local councils, businesses and communities; including £3.8 billion of support specifically for local authorities. This funding has allowed councils to deliver for their communities: including helping get rough sleepers off the streets, establishing our shielding programme, controlling infection in care homes and providing support for 800,000 small and medium-sized businesses.

The comprehensive plan I am announcing today demonstrates my commitment by ensuring that local councils have the certainty they need to manage their finances to the end of the financial year. The plan covers Covid-related expenditure, income losses from sales, fees and charges, and irrecoverable tax losses.

Additional funding for spending pressures

We recognise the pressures on councils and our communities have not yet passed, and today I have announced a further £500 million to help ensure that councils have the money they need to meet costs in the coming months. I would like to thank councils for the financial information they have provided, and I will continue to work with my cabinet colleagues to monitor the pressures on the sector.

This award follows two previous rounds of grant allocations. The first was primarily focussed on getting emergency support into Adult Social Care. The second round addressed both expenditure pressures and income shortfalls. With the benefit of better data, we now plan to address income shortfalls separately to expenditure and so we have created a new formula for the additional £500 million. This formula will reflect the factors which the data returns have told us correlate most closely with expenditure, and will take account of population, deprivation and the way that service costs vary across the country. Details on allocations will be announced in due course.

Non-tax income

The pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on councils' income from sales, fees and charges - for which they could not have planned. To help mitigate this, the Government is also introducing a co-payment scheme to compensate local authorities for relevant, irrecoverable losses in 2020-21. Under this scheme councils bear the first 5% of losses compared to their budgeted income – reflecting the fact these income sources are by their nature volatile from one year to the next – but the Government will support those worst affected by covering 75p in every pound of losses beyond this.

Irrecoverable tax losses

I am also committed to supporting the sector through an apportionment of irrecoverable Council Tax and Business Rates losses between central and local government, to be agreed at the Spending Review. I have announced today that the repayment of collection fund deficits arising in 2020-21, will be spread over the next three years rather than the usual period of a year, giving councils breathing space in setting budgets for next year.

Taken together, these measures will give local councils sufficient confidence to continue to deliver the services their communities rely on. Nevertheless, my department will continue to work closely with councils to monitor the situation as it develops, and I will return to the House setting out any further measures necessary should a changing situation require it.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS333
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 02 July 2020
Made by: Robert Jenrick (Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Commons

Local Government Update

I wish to set out to the House the further measures this Government is putting in place so that local government can continue to fulfil its essential role in the national response to Covid-19 and lead us through the next phase of recovery.

I said at the start of the pandemic that we would ensure local authorities have the resources they need. To do that, the Government has provided £27 billion to support local councils, businesses and communities; including £3.8 billion of support specifically for local authorities. This funding has allowed councils to deliver for their communities: including helping get rough sleepers off the streets, establishing our shielding programme, controlling infection in care homes and providing support for 800,000 small and medium-sized businesses.

The comprehensive plan I am announcing today demonstrates my commitment by ensuring that local councils have the certainty they need to manage their finances to the end of the financial year. The plan covers Covid-related expenditure, income losses from sales, fees and charges, and irrecoverable tax losses.

Additional funding for spending pressures

We recognise the pressures on councils and our communities have not yet passed, and today I have announced a further £500 million to help ensure that councils have the money they need to meet costs in the coming months. I would like to thank councils for the financial information they have provided, and I will continue to work with my cabinet colleagues to monitor the pressures on the sector.

This award follows two previous rounds of grant allocations. The first was primarily focussed on getting emergency support into Adult Social Care. The second round addressed both expenditure pressures and income shortfalls. With the benefit of better data, we now plan to address income shortfalls separately to expenditure and so we have created a new formula for the additional £500 million. This formula will reflect the factors which the data returns have told us correlate most closely with expenditure, and will take account of population, deprivation and the way that service costs vary across the country. Details on allocations will be announced in due course.

Non-tax income

The pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on councils' income from sales, fees and charges - for which they could not have planned. To help mitigate this, the Government is also introducing a co-payment scheme to compensate local authorities for relevant, irrecoverable losses in 2020-21. Under this scheme councils bear the first 5% of losses compared to their budgeted income – reflecting the fact these income sources are by their nature volatile from one year to the next – but the Government will support those worst affected by covering 75p in every pound of losses beyond this.

Irrecoverable tax losses

I am also committed to supporting the sector through an apportionment of irrecoverable Council Tax and Business Rates losses between central and local government, to be agreed at the Spending Review. I have announced today that the repayment of collection fund deficits arising in 2020-21, will be spread over the next three years rather than the usual period of a year, giving councils breathing space in setting budgets for next year.

Taken together, these measures will give local councils sufficient confidence to continue to deliver the services their communities rely on. Nevertheless, my department will continue to work closely with councils to monitor the situation as it develops, and I will return to the House setting out any further measures necessary should a changing situation require it.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS325
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 02 July 2020
Made by: Alok Sharma (Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
Commons

Business Update

I would like to update the House on a commercial agreement that the Government has concluded with Celsa Steel (UK) Ltd.

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government has set out a far-reaching package of support to protect jobs and the UK economy. However, in exceptional circumstances, where a viable company of strategic importance has exhausted all other options available to it, the Government has said that we will consider bespoke support on a ‘last resort’ basis.

There is an extremely high bar for making use of taxpayers’ money in this way, and any companies seeking support from the Government should do so only as an absolute last resort.

Such circumstances applied to Celsa, which is a key supplier to the construction industry.

While commercial confidentiality prevents me from setting out detail, I can assure the House that the Government has agreed terms that will protect taxpayers’ money and ensure that the financial burden is shared with the company’s shareholders and lenders.

The Government has agreed legally binding contractual conditions with Celsa on employment, climate change and tax. We have also put in place legally binding conditions on corporate governance, including restraints on executive pay and bonuses. We would expect any company seeking such support from the taxpayer to play their role in our society’s shared endeavours and challenges in the same way.

More broadly, the Government has already taken wide-ranging actions to support the UK steel industry, including more than £300 million in relief for electricity costs since 2013. We have also created public procurement guidelines with annual reports on the proportion of public sector steel bought from British companies, and details of a steel pipeline on national infrastructure projects worth around £500 million over the next decade.

This agreement achieves a positive outcome and secures over 1000 jobs, including more than 800 positions at the company’s main sites in South Wales.

We want to praise the commitment of Celsa’s workforce and management. Our focus is now on working with all parties to secure the company’s future success, as well as ensuring that the loan is repaid and Celsa continue to deliver employment, climate change, corporate governance, and tax commitments.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS326
WS
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Made on: 02 July 2020
Made by: Baroness Barran (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
Lords

DCMS Contingencies Fund Advance


My Right Honourable Friend the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden MP, has made the following Statement:

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The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has sought in its Main Estimate 2020-21 (Central Government Supply Estimates, 2020-21, Main Supply Estimates, HC 293 published 4 May 2020) the resources, capital and cash it requires to operate for this financial year.

The funds associated with this Estimate will not be released until the Supply and Appropriation Bill achieves Royal Assent later in the summer. The department has therefore sought a contingencies fund advance which will be repaid once Royal Assent has been obtained.

Parliamentary approval for resources of £550,327,000 and capital of £41,808,000 has been sought in a Main Estimate for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Pending that approval, urgent expenditure estimated at £592,135,000 will be met by repayable cash advances from the Contingencies Fund.

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