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
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 09 May 2019
Made by: Amber Rudd (The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions)
Commons

Labour Market Policy Update

Conditionality and sanctions are an important part of the welfare system, motivating claimants to engage with the support on offer to look for work while ensuring the system is fair to the taxpayer.

Sanctions must be proportionate, particularly for the most vulnerable. The level of a sanction depends on the severity of the claimant’s failure to comply with their work-related requirements. Sanctions escalate for subsequent failures, carrying greater penalties. Under current policy, a claimant on Universal Credit or Jobseeker’s Allowance may receive a three-year sanction the third or subsequent time they have failed to comply with a work-related requirement.

Three-year sanctions are rarely used, but I believe that they are counter-productive and ultimately undermine our goal of supporting people into work.

I have reviewed my Department’s internal data, which shows that a six-month sanction already provides a significant incentive for claimants to engage with the labour market regime. I agree with the Work and Pensions Select Committee that a three-year sanction is unnecessarily long and I feel that the additional incentive provided by a three-year sanction can be outweighed by the unintended impacts to the claimant due to the additional duration. For these reasons, I have now decided to remove three year sanctions and reduce the maximum sanction length to six months by the end of the year.

It is important that sanctions remain proportionate to ensure they promote the best outcomes. For this reason, the Department is currently carrying out a further evaluation into the effectiveness of UC sanctions at supporting claimants to search for work. I will consider what other improvements can be made following this and inform the House in due course.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1510
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Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 04 April 2019
Made by: Amber Rudd (The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions)
Commons

Government Response to the Pensions Dashboards Consultation

Later today I will publish the Government’s Response to the consultation on the Pensions Dashboard CP75.

Pensions dashboards will revolutionise retirement planning. They will enable people to access their pension information in a single place online, in a clear and simple form, whether that is on a laptop or tablet, and from their own home. Putting individuals in control of their data, pensions dashboards will bring together all pensions information from multiple sources, which can then be accessed at a time of their choosing.

This Government’s pensions reforms have transformed Britain’s retirement savings culture. More than 10 million people have benefitted from our revolutionary policy of automatic enrolment into workplace pensions.

On 3 December 2018 the department published a consultation Pensions Dashboards: working together for the consumer. The Government’s response to the pensions dashboards consultation outlines how the Government will facilitate the pensions industry to deliver this project.

Both the quantity and quality of the 125 responses received were helpful in informing the approach we set out. The responses we received were largely positive in nature.

The result of this feedback is that Government will facilitate the delivery of pensions dashboards as a key priority. We expect to see to see initial industry dashboards developed and tested from this year.

Government remains committed to ensuring the individual is in control of their data and is conscious of the need for pace in order to deliver dashboards. Our priority is to ensure that information is presented securely, in a clear and simple format to support consumers with their retirement planning. The response to the consultation on dashboards includes:

  • a commitment to bring forward legislation at the earliest opportunity to compel all pension providers to make consumers’ data available to them through a dashboard;
  • an expectation that the majority of schemes will be ready to ‘go live’ with their data within a three to four year window;
  • confirmation that State Pension information will be included as soon as possible; and
  • that dashboards will help to reconnect people with ‘lost’ pension pots, benefitting savers and providers.

A crucial entity in taking this forward will be the industry delivery group; made up of stakeholders from across the industry, consumer groups, regulators and government who will be accountable to the Single Financial Guidance Body board. We anticipate the delivery group should be fully operational by the end of the summer. The priorities for the delivery group in 2019 are to create a clear strategy for delivering the digital architecture, design a robust governance and security framework and to work with industry on their readiness to provide data via dashboards.

It is my firm belief that the pensions industry is best placed to develop and deliver dashboards. However, there is a role for Government in facilitating industry’s delivery of dashboards which work for consumers and put people in control of their data.

Pensions dashboards can be an enabler for a real step-change across the sector to modernise the way it communicates with its members. They also provide an opportunity to build trust with consumers, ensuring they can access their pensions information in a convenient way.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1456
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Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 28 March 2019
Made by: Amber Rudd (The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions)
Commons

Households Below Average Income Statistics

I will be making an Oral Statement on this subject later today.

WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 18 March 2019
Made by: Amber Rudd (The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions)
Commons

Collective Defined Contribution Pension Schemes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1391
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Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 12 March 2019
Made by: Amber Rudd (The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions)
Commons

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a vital reform. It overhauls a legacy system which trapped people out of work. The next stage, managed migration will move claimants of legacy benefits on to Universal Credit without a change of circumstances. As we have previously committed, the Department will pilot this approach, following the passing of an affirmative Statutory Instrument, from July 2019; starting with small numbers with no more than 10,000 claimants. This is expected to take around 12 months. We will report on our findings to Parliament and bring forward legislation for the wider roll out of managed migration. We will, as planned, complete full roll out of Universal Credit by the end of 2023.

I am updating Parliament to announce that we have selected Harrogate in North Yorkshire to be our initial site for the managed migration pilot.

Harrogate has a mix of benefit claimants with a varying range of needs, in both rural and urban areas. Harrogate has also had Universal Credit since 2016 which is earlier than many other places. In that respect it does very much reflect the situation we will face across the country as we begin the broader process of moving people from the old system to the new Universal Credit system. This means the lessons we learn here will be directly applicable to places that start moving claimants from the old system to the new system in 2020 and beyond who will have started with UC in 2017 and 2018.

We will take a careful approach to delivering managed migration. Claimants will be informed of their move in advance, receive full information and support from the department to move, including through home visits where appropriate.

We do not intend to stop anyone’s benefit during the pilot. In the pilot phase, our intention is to learn how to effectively assist people onto Universal Credit and to develop processes to deliver that help. This is particularly important for vulnerable and hard-to-reach claimants, who the department will help to move across to the new system.

Managed migration will open up the world of work for thousands and deliver financial support for those whose circumstances have not changed. The process will eventually provide over £3 billion total transitional protection for 1.1 million families. Transitional protection will be available and we will help people who need it access discretionary payments which could be used, for example, to pay the equivalent of the two-week run on. Eligible claimants who received the Severe Disability Premium under the legacy system will receive transitional payments as a result of the regulations bringing them into effect.

The department is working with stakeholders to develop our approach to managed migration, with support for the most vulnerable in at the forefront of our minds. We will continue to do this as we deliver.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1370
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Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 05 March 2019
Made by: Amber Rudd (The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions)
Commons

Health and Disability Announcement

I would like to update hon. Members on the speech I will be delivering at Scope this afternoon.

This Government has a clear ambition to support people with health conditions and disabilities into work, where they can, and to live independently. We have already made significant progress but we need to continue to make improvements to better support people with health conditions and disabled people. I am pleased to set out today a number of measures we will implement to make improvements now and in the future to support disabled people and those with health conditions to achieve their aspirations.

We will improve and simplify the customer experience by no longer undertaking regular reviews of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) awards for claimants at or above State Pension age unless they tell us their needs have changed.

We will also be transforming the delivery of assessment services. I have established the Health Transformation Programme to undertake the significant task of transitioning the currently separate Work Capability Assessment (WCA) for Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit (UC), and the PIP assessment services into one unified, integrated service from 2021. To support this, we are developing a single digital platform. An integrated approach will allow for a more joined-up claimant experience across these benefits, which takes account of the multiple interactions an individual may have with DWP. We hope that developing our own digital platform will also enable a greater range of assessment providers to compete to help us deliver this important service in the future.

To enable an integrated service, we are extending the contract for the Health and Disability Assessment Service (HDAS), which includes the delivery of the WCA, and aligning it to the duration of the extended PIP contracts. This will allow for a safe and stable service now, and as we transition to the new integrated service.

This strategic transformation will also open up new opportunities to improve our functional assessments in the future. For example, we will test whether it is beneficial to claimants requiring face-to-face assessments to offer a single assessment for UC and PIP to capture all the information required for both claims in one appointment, reducing the need for claimants of both benefits to attend multiple appointments.

My Department will be testing how we increase engagement and build a trusted and strong relationship between work coaches and claimants awaiting an assessment in Universal Credit, and those found to have Limited Capability for Work. Last month, in response to the Work and Pensions Select Committee report on benefits sanctions, the Department agreed to carry out a small test where work coaches start from a point of no conditionality and scale up where appropriate, focusing on what claimants can do. This contrasts with the current approach, which starts at full conditionality and then tailors down accordingly. The Minister for Employment is taking this forward.

We will also be exploring whether we can enhance the mandatory reconsideration process to gather further evidence from claimants and make more accurate decisions sooner.

These improvements will make significant progress in better supporting those with health conditions and disabilities, but this is only the start, we can, and should, go further.

My ambition is to continue this important conversation around the future of support and I will, alongside the Minister for Disabled People, be regularly engaging with stakeholders to enable on-going conversations on the future of the health and disability agenda. This includes exploring how the welfare system can better meet the needs of claimants with disabilities and health conditions.

I am also committing to looking at whether the incentives we provide for and the expectations we have of employers are right. We will consult on proposals to encourage and support employers to play their part in helping disabled people and people with health conditions get into work and remain in work, and to improve access to occupational health. We will be seeking stakeholder input, and that of employers and other partners, in to how we make a real difference to the working lives of people with health conditions and disabilities.

In 2017 we made a manifesto commitment to see 1 million more disabled people in work by 2027. In the coming months I want to review this commitment to see if we can make it even more ambitious.

We constantly reflect on how we can improve and know that improvements come from listening to people and adapting. As such, we plan to commission independent research to understand the needs of disabled people to live independent lives and how health and disability benefits can better support them.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1343
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Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 11 February 2019
Made by: Amber Rudd (The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions)
Commons

Private Pensions Update

I am pleased to announce today, two important steps to ensure millions of people have greater security in retirement.

A Stronger Pensions Regulator

Today, the Government has published its response to the consultation “Protecting Defined Benefit Pension Schemes – A Stronger Pensions Regulator”. This outlined its approach, as set out in the 2018 White Paper, to strengthen, clarify and streamline the Defined Benefit pension system.

The Government will introduce two new criminal offences to prevent and penalise mismanagement of pension schemes.

The first will target individuals who wilfully or recklessly mishandle pension schemes, endangering workers’ pensions, by such things as chronic mismanagement of a business; or allowing huge unsustainable deficits to build up; or taking huge investment risks; or a combination thereof. We will introduce a new custodial sentence of up to seven years’ imprisonment or an unlimited fine for this offence. This brings the punishment in line with similar offences in financial services.

The second, which will attract an unlimited fine, will target individuals who fail to comply with a Contribution Notice, which is issued by The Pensions Regulator requiring a specified amount of money to be paid into the pension scheme by that individual. We will also introduce a new civil penalty of up to £1 million for this offence.

We have also provided an update on measures to strengthen the Regulator’s information gathering powers, such as enhancing their interview and inspection powers previously announced in the White Paper.

The changes will build on the robust system that is already in place to protect Defined Benefit pension schemes, further protecting individuals’ pensions and ensure greater clarity for employers.

The Government’s full response to the Consultation is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/protecting-defined-benefit-pension-schemes-a-stronger-pensions-regulator

10 million workers automatically enrolled into pensions

Today we announce the milestone of 10 million workers having been automatically enrolled into a workplace pension.

Automatic enrolment is transforming the savings culture of this country by normalising workplace pension saving. It is enabling millions of workers to look forward to a more secure future and a better retirement.

Between 2012 and 2017, the proportion of eligible employees saving in a workplace pension rose from 55 per cent to 84 per cent. The private sector has seen the largest increases over this period, with participation rates almost equalising among eligible men and women in 2017. The increase has also been particularly marked among younger workers and those with low earnings. Among eligible employees aged 22 to 29 years, participation increased from 35 per cent to 79 per cent; and 76 per cent of people earning £10-£20 thousand are now saving, a rise of 42 percentage points since 2012.

Employers’ support is key to the success of automatic enrolment. In the last two years, thousands of small and micro employers have enrolled eligible workers into a pension for the first time. Automatic enrolment is now business as usual.

In addition, we brought in the first of the planned increases in minimum contribution rates, in April 2018, raising the overall minimum contribution level to 5 per cent. From April 2019, the second planned increase, to a minimum 8 per cent, will enable many workers to save even more.

The government is committed to building on the 10 million milestone to support more workers, no matter what job, to save for a better retirement.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1287
WS
Home Office
Made on: 25 April 2018
Made by: Amber Rudd (The Secretary of State for the Home Department)
Commons

Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) – Interim Report

I am pleased to announce that the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has, in accordance with its Terms of Reference, today published its Interim Report [HC 954]. Pursuant to Section 26 of the Inquiries Act 2005, I am also laying a copy of the report before the House.

The report will be published on the Inquiry’s website, www.iicsa.org.uk, and at Gov.UK . Copies will also be available in the Vote Office.

The Interim Report provides an overview of the work undertaken by the Inquiry so far, together with emerging themes and recommendations.

Across Government, the Interim Report will be given careful and proper consideration. Discussions with Business Managers are currently in hand to schedule a debate to be held in Government time to enable the House to fully discuss the content.

I would like to thank Professor Jay and the Panel for their continued work to uncover the truth, expose what went wrong in the past and to learn the lessons for the future.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS625
WS
Home Office
Made on: 28 March 2018
Made by: Amber Rudd (The Secretary of State for the Home Department)
Commons

Report of the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation on the use of terrorism legislation in Operation CLASSIFIC, the investigation into the 22 March 2017 Westminster Bridge terrorist attack

In accordance with section 36(5) of the Terrorism Act 2006, Max Hill QC, the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, has prepared a report on the use of terrorism legislation in Operation CLASSIFIC, the investigation into the Westminster Bridge attack.

I am today laying this report before the House, and copies will be available in the Vote Office. It will also be published on GOV.UK.

I am grateful to Max Hill QC for his report. I will carefully consider its contents and the recommendations he makes, and will respond formally in due course.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS579
WS
Home Office
Made on: 26 March 2018
Made by: Amber Rudd (The Secretary of State for the Home Department)
Commons

Fire Reform

I am pleased to announce that I have approved proposals from the Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC) for Cambridgeshire (Jason Ablewhite), Staffordshire (Matthew Ellis) and West Mercia (John Campion) to take on governance of their local fire and rescue service(s).

I have carefully considered each proposal, taking into account representations made by the public, police and fire personnel, and relevant local authorities in response to each PCC’s local consultation. In each case I obtained an Independent Assessment of the PCCs’ proposal, carried out by the Chartered Institute for Public Finance and Accounting (CIPFA), which I have had regard to and today publish in the interests of transparency. A copy of each of the Independent Assessments will be placed in the House Library and published on Gov.UK shortly.

Having had regard to this material, I am of the view that in each case, a transfer of fire governance to the PCC is in the interests of economy, efficiency and effectiveness, and that there is no adverse effect on public safety.

These PCCs will join Roger Hirst of Essex, who became the country’s first Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner in October 2017. My officials will now prepare the necessary statutory instrument to give effect to these proposals in the coming months.

As directly accountable leaders overseeing both fire and policing, each PCC can increase efficiency and effectiveness, maximise available resources and improve the service delivered to the public. I look forward to seeing the benefits this will bring to each area.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS565
WS
Home Office
Made on: 15 March 2018
Made by: Amber Rudd (The Secretary of State for the Home Department)
Commons

Commission for Countering Extremism

I am today confirming Ms Sara Khan’s appointment to the role of Lead Commissioner of the Government’s new Commission for Countering Extremism. All necessary pre-employment checks have been completed.

Ms Khan’s appointment follows a rigorous and transparent competition carried out in accordance with the Cabinet Office’s Governance Code on Public Appointments. I am delighted that Ms Khan will drive forward the vital work of the Commission for Countering Extremism. Ms Khan’s extensive experience in countering extremism and defending the rights of women and girls, and her determination to confront and challenge extremism wherever it resides makes her ideally suited to this role.

Extremism causes a wide range of harms, including the promotion of hatred and division, discrimination against women and girls, the encouragement of isolation, and the rejection of our democratic system and the rule of law. The Commission for Countering Extremism will have a clear remit to identify extremism in all its forms, whether online or in our communities.

As we consider new approaches to tackling extremism, I believe that there is much that can be learnt from how society sought to tackle racism in the last century. In particular how the state and civil society worked together to take on and challenge a set of attitudes and beliefs that have no place in this country.

I have agreed with Ms Khan that her early priorities will include:

• Engaging widely and openly on extremism and Britain’s values across the public sector, communities, civil society, and with legal and academic experts.
• Producing a strategic assessment of the threat we face from extremism, and the current response.
• Advising Ministers on the Commission’s future structures, work programme and the appointment of further commissioners. This advice will in part be informed by the Lead Commissioner’s engagement with stakeholders.

The Commission will also produce an annual report on its work.

Alongside this statement, I have today published a Charter for the Commission, which sets out its relationship with the Government and the public. The Commission for Countering Extremism will initially be established as a non-statutory expert committee of the Home Office. It will operate independently, at arm’s length from Government.

The Commission will play a crucial role in supporting the Government and its partners to tackle the scourge of extremism and stand up for the shared values of the mainstream majority. I look forward to working with Ms Khan on this shared agenda.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS527
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Home Office
Made on: 08 March 2018
Made by: Amber Rudd (The Secretary of State for the Home Department)
Commons

Publication of the National Crime Agency Remuneration Review Body: Fourth Report 2018

The National Crime Agency (NCA) Remuneration Review Body has made recommendations on pay and allowances for NCA officers designated with operational powers, and observations on the NCA’s proposals to reform pay arrangements. I would like to thank the Chair and members of the Review Body for their careful consideration of the evidence from the NCA, the Home Office, HMT and the trades unions.

The Government is committed to the delivery of world class public services, and ensuring that public sector workers are fairly remunerated for the vitally important work that they do. That is why we ended the across-the-board 1% pay award policy for public sector workforces in September 2017. We recognised that some flexibility would be required in certain areas.

Each workforce is different and pay awards should therefore reflect the particular circumstances faced by those public workers and their recruitment and retention levels. It is also vital that our world class public services continue modernising to maximise the contribution of our public servants, so they can continue to do their incredible work, improving our lives and keeping us safe.

Previous Review Body reports highlighted the need for reform to NCA pay arrangements and I welcome the Review Body’s support for the NCA’s proposed changes as an important step in that direction. There are two main elements to the pay reform: officers in two grades performing intelligence and investigator roles can opt into a new spot rate pay structure; and for the remaining workforce existing pay bands are being compressed. These changes are highly targeted, focussing on roles where there is evidence that pay has fallen significantly behind the market rate, and critical to the Agency’s ability to improve productivity and transform to meet the rapidly evolving threat from serious and organised crime. This targeted pay reform will support the NCA’s ability to recruit and retain highly skilled staff to continue to fulfil their vital role.

To support implementation of these changes, the 2017/18 award will be backdated to 1 August 2017 and the 2018/19 award implemented on 1 August 2018. The award is as follows:

• A varied award for staff in two targeted operational grades choosing to opt into the new pay structure and move onto new terms and conditions, including an increase in contracted hours;

• A minimum one per cent award for all officers not eligible for the new pay structure and not already receiving the pay range maximum for their grade;
• A one per cent award made up of consolidated and non-consolidated elements for officers not eligible for the new pay structure and already in receipt of the maximum for their grade or reaching it;
• A one per cent increase to the London Weighting payment in 2017/18. 2018/19 will be determined following a formal review of the allowance.

These awards will be fully funded within the NCA’s existing budget. The small number of officers electing to remain on the terms and conditions of pre-cursor organisations will remain on their 2016/17 pay rates.

Copies of the NCA Remuneration Review Body’s report are available in the Vote Office and at GOV.UK.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS508
WS
Home Office
Made on: 08 March 2018
Made by: Amber Rudd (The Secretary of State for the Home Department )
Commons

Public consultation on transforming the response to domestic abuse

The Prime Minister, Justice Secretary and I are today launching a consultation which seeks to address domestic abuse at every stage from prevention through to rehabilitation.

Domestic abuse is an inexcusable and devastating form of abuse that can have a lifelong impact on its victims and their families. There are approximately two million reported victims every year, and domestic abuse accounts for over 10% of all police recorded crime and nearly 20% of all police charges.

This Government has taken strong action to tackle domestic abuse. We are the first country to criminalise coercive and controlling behaviour, and we have introduced Domestic Violence Protection Orders and the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme. We have made legislative changes to legal aid to make it more accessible. Last year we also amended electoral law to make it easier for survivors of domestic abuse to register to vote, while keeping their name and address private.


In addition this year we have introduced a Secure Tenancies (Victims of Domestic Abuse) Bill that will maintain the status of survivors living in social housing with an existing lifetime tenancy when they move to a new social property. We have provided £20 million for accommodation based services such as refuges, which is already providing 2,200 additional beds in refuges and safe accommodation benefiting 19,000 victims. The best available data shows bed spaces have increased by 10% since 2010 and we are committed to supporting refuges and providing stable funding in the future.


We are reviewing the way in which refuges and supported housing are delivered and have heard the concerns about how our proposals will work in practice. We are working with all the charities and organisations working on the frontline, asking them to come forward with their ideas on how best to deliver this. That process is ongoing – and we’ve been clear no options are off the table as we work with them to ensure women requiring support in their time of need are not let down.


However we know there is more to do and that is why this Government is committed to transforming how we think about and tackle domestic abuse. We want victims to feel supported so that they can seek help and to rebuild their lives, safe in the knowledge that their perpetrator will be pursued and prosecuted.

The consultation seeks views under the four main themes set out below with the central aim of prevention running through each.

• Promote awareness – Proposals to help put domestic abuse at the top of everyone’s agenda, and raise public and professionals’ awareness
• Protect and support – Proposals to enhance the safety of victims and the support that they receive.
• Pursue and deter – Proposals to ensure an effective response to perpetrators from initial police response through to conviction and management of offenders (including rehabilitation).
• Improve Performance – Proposals to drive consistency and better performance in the response to domestic abuse across all local areas and agencies/sectors.

The Government welcomes responses from victims and survivors, charities, specialist organisations, experts and professionals across policing, criminal justice, health, welfare, education, social services, employment and local authorities who deal with these issues on a daily basis.

We are seeking a combination of legislative and non-legislative solutions for delivering the proposals set out in the consultation. Where primary legislation is required, the responses to the consultation will inform the content of the draft Domestic Abuse Bill announced in the Queen’s speech.

The consultation will run for 12 weeks to 31 May.

A copy of the consultation paper will be placed in the Library of the House and will be available online at www.gov.uk.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS506
WS
Home Office
Made on: 01 March 2018
Made by: Amber Rudd (The Secretary of State for the Home Department)
Commons

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse’s report on the Child Migration Programmes case study

I am pleased to announce that the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has today published its first regular report, which can be found at www.iicsa.org.uk.

This report relates to its Child Migration Programmes case study. The child migration policy was misguided and deeply flawed. Successive governments have accepted that the policy of child migration was wrong. The 2010 national apology has been reaffirmed in each subsequent year. Over £9m has been made available to former child migrants to help them be reunited with their families.

Across Government, we look forward to viewing this report and considering how we can respond to its content. Meanwhile I would like to thank Professor Jay and her Panel for their continued work to uncover the truth, expose what went wrong in the past and to learn the lessons for the future.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS487
WS
Home Office
Made on: 01 March 2018
Made by: Amber Rudd (The Secretary of State for the Home Department)
Commons

Terrorism

Today the Security Service reduced the threat level to Great Britain from Northern Ireland-related terrorism from SUBSTANTIAL to MODERATE. This means that a terrorist attack is possible, but not likely.

The threat level to the UK from international terrorism remains at SEVERE, and the threat level to Northern Ireland from Northern Ireland-related terrorism also remains at SEVERE, meaning that an attack is highly likely.

Threat levels are designed to give a broad indication of the likelihood of a terrorist attack. They are a tool for security practitioners working across different sectors and the police to use in determining what protective security response may be required. They also keep the public informed and give context to the protective security measures which we all encounter in our daily lives.

Despite the change which has been made today, there remains a real and serious threat against the United Kingdom from terrorism and I would ask the public to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious activity to the police regardless of the threat level.

The decision to change this threat level is taken by the Security Service independently of Ministers and is based on the very latest intelligence, considering factors such as capability, intent and timescale. Threat levels are kept under constant review.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS486
WS
Home Office
Made on: 27 February 2018
Made by: Amber Rudd (The Secretary of State for the Home Department)
Commons

Immigration

New figures published on Thursday 22 February show that the UK is more than half way towards meeting its commitment to resettle 20,000 people through the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS) by 2020.

The latest quarterly Home Office immigration statistics show that 10,538 refugees have been resettled on the VPRS, one of the largest global resettlement programmes, since it began.

The VPRS is just one of the routes by which the UK is helping to resettle refugees. In 2017, a total of 6,212 people were resettled in the UK - a 19% increase on 2016 - with 4,832 of these people coming through the VPRS. 539 people arrived under the Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme (VCRS) which will resettle up to 3,000 at-risk children and their families from the Middle East and North Africa region by 2020. The latest figures take the total number of children that the UK has provided asylum or an alternative form of protection to since the start of 2010 to 28,000.

As a country we can be proud that we are over half way towards honouring our commitment of resettling 20,000 of the most vulnerable refugees who have fled Syria by 2020 so they can rebuild their lives here in safety. Nearly half are children and more people are arriving every month.

The VPRS is a joint scheme between the Home Office, the Department for International Development and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

The UK’s resettlement schemes are just one of the ways the Government is supporting vulnerable children and adults who have fled danger and conflict. The UK remains the second largest donor in humanitarian assistance and has pledged £2.46 billion in UK aid to Syria and the neighbouring countries, its largest ever response to a single humanitarian crisis.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS480
WS
Home Office
Made on: 01 February 2018
Made by: Amber Rudd (The Secretary of State for the Home Department)
Commons

Faith Practices

The Government has today published the independent review into the application of Sharia law in England and Wales. The review has been laid before the House (Cm 9560). Copies of the report will be available from the Vote Office and it is also available on the Home Office website.

The review was commissioned by the then Home Secretary in May 2016 and was chaired by Professor Mona Siddiqui, an internationally renowned expert in Islamic and inter-religious studies. Professor Siddiqui was supported by a review panel of experts that included experienced family law barrister Sam Momtaz QC, retired high court judge Sir Mark Hedley, and specialist family law solicitor Anne Marie Hutchinson OBE QC. The panel was advised by two religious and theological experts, Imam Sayed Ali Abbas Razawi and Imam Qari Asim.

Sharia law has no jurisdiction in England and Wales and the decisions of Sharia councils are not legally binding. The review focused on whether and to what extent the application of Sharia law by Sharia councils may be incompatible with the law in England and Wales. This included ways in which Sharia law may be being misused or exploited in a way that may discriminate against certain groups, undermine shared values and cause social harms.

To gather evidence the review team issued a public call for evidence and ran a number of oral evidence sessions. During the course of the review, the review chair and panel heard evidence from stakeholders including users of Sharia councils, women’s rights groups, academics, lawyers and Sharia councils. I am grateful to Professor Siddiqui for the thoroughness of her review and for the review team’s comprehensive report.

The review found that most of the work of Sharia councils concerns Islamic divorces, and that the applicants are mostly women. While there are a number of reasons women desire an Islamic divorce, a significant driver is because some Muslim couples do not have a civil marriage as well as an Islamic ceremony. The review also found evidence of a range of practices across Sharia councils, both positive and negative. The review concludes with a series of recommendations to Government.

The review made three recommendations:

  • Recommendation 1 (legislative change): amendments to marriage law to (a) ensure that civil marriages are conducted before or at the same time as the Islamic marriage ceremony and (b) establish the right to a civil divorce.
  • Recommendation 2 (building understanding): proposes developing programmes to (i) raise Muslim couples’ awareness that Islamic marriages do not afford them the protections under the law that come with a civil marriage because their partnership is not recognised as a legal marriage; and (ii) encourages Muslim couples that have or are having an Islamic marriage to register for a civil marriage as well.
  • Recommendation 3 (regulation of Sharia councils): proposes regulating Sharia councils through the creation of a State established body that would create a Code of Practice for Sharia councils to accept and implement.

The Government will carefully consider the review’s findings. The review team’s failure to reach a unanimous agreement on recommendation three (regulation of Sharia councils) demonstrates the complexity of the issues. The Government considers that the proposal to create a State-facilitated or endorsed regulation scheme for Sharia councils would confer upon them legitimacy as alternative forms of dispute resolution. The Government does not consider there to be a role for the State to act in this way. Britain has a long tradition of freedom of worship and religious tolerance and regulation could add legitimacy to the perception of the existence of a parallel legal system even though the outcomes of Sharia Councils have no standing in civil law, as the independent review has made clear. Many people of different faiths follow religious codes and practices and benefit from their guidance. The Government has no intention of changing this position and for this reason cannot accept recommendation three.

The review found some evidence of Sharia councils forcing women to make concessions to gain a divorce, of inadequate safeguarding policies, and a failure to signpost applicants to legal remedies. This is not acceptable. Where Sharia councils exist, they must abide by the law. Legislation is in place to protect the rights of women and prevent discriminatory practice. The Government will work with the appropriate regulatory authorities to ensure that this legislation and the protections it establishes are being enforced fully and effectively.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS432
WS
Home Office
Made on: 25 January 2018
Made by: Amber Rudd (The Secretary of State for the Home Department)
Commons

Report of the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation on the Operation in 2016 of the Terrorism Act 2000 and Part 1 of the Terrorism Act 2006

In accordance with section 36(5) of the Terrorism Act 2006, Max Hill QC, the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, has prepared a report on the operation in 2016 of the Terrorism Act 2000 and Part 1 of the Terrorism Act 2006.

I am today laying this report before the House, and copies will be available in the Vote Office. It will also be published on GOV.UK.

I am grateful to Max Hill for his report. I will carefully consider its contents and the recommendations he makes, and will respond formally in due course.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS421
WS
Home Office
Made on: 19 January 2018
Made by: Amber Rudd (The Secretary of State for the Home Department)
Commons

Migration

The UK and France share a special relationship. The operation of juxtaposed controls, provided for by bilateral agreements, is an essential element of our border strategy. Since the juxtaposed controls were introduced, the number of asylum claims made in the UK has decreased dramatically. Before the controls were in place, asylum claims reached over 84,000 a year, three times higher than the 26,617 claims in 2016/17. The reduction in claims we have seen has significantly reduced the impact on public services and the UK taxpayer – with every reduction by 10,000 asylum claims saving the UK at least £70 million in costs.

Juxtaposed controls play a hugely important role in protecting our national security and have significant economic value for both the UK and France – creating a smooth border and making trade more efficient. Having UK border controls based in France allows Border Force officers to check passengers and freight destined for the UK in France, ensuring we can take action against illegal migrants, those trying to smuggle people into the UK and criminals attempting to bring illegal goods into the country, before they reach British soil.

Yesterday, we signed a supplementary agreement that demonstrates the UK and France’s long-term commitment to the future of the juxtaposed controls, recognising that they are in the common interest. This Treaty with France - the Treaty between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the French Republic Concerning the Reinforcement of Cooperation for the Coordinated Management of their Shared Border, Recognising the Importance of Cooperation at the Juxtaposed Controls – is established to sit alongside the Le Touquet and Canterbury treaties and will come into force on 1 February 2018. In securing the future of juxtaposed controls in this way we are able to strengthen operational cooperation, both in northern France and further upstream, to reduce the illegal flows into France. The Treaty will not affect the operation of our juxtaposed controls, but demonstrates the UK and France’s long term commitment to their successful operation, and secures some of the mechanisms that we need to further strengthen our joint capabilities to prevent the formation of any new migrant camps.

Building on the successful cooperation of the clearance and relocation of the migrant camp in Calais in 2016, the UK and France have now agreed a comprehensive ‘whole of route’ approach to migration. The aim is to reduce the number of migrants making the dangerous and illegal journey to northern France and manage the pressure on our shared border from those who do travel. The elements are to:

  • jointly work upstream in source and transit countries to discourage migrants who do not have any lawful basis for doing so from making the dangerous journey to northern France;
  • invest in strengthening our shared border through investment in port security and infrastructure and further improving operational cooperation with France; and,
  • work to ensure that migrants who have travelled illegally to Northern France are able to quickly claim asylum in France so we can meet our international obligations.

The UK has a shared interest in cooperating with France to manage migratory pressures. The support announced as part of the UK France Summit will help ensure migrant camps do not reform and that those willing to engage with the asylum system in France can claim asylum there. It also includes working with France to facilitate the return of migrants with no legal right to be in Europe to countries further upstream where they can be lawfully admitted.

Our cooperation with France on migration and our shared border is a long term commitment. Just as we invest in our borders around the rest of the UK, it is only right that we constantly monitor whether there is more we can be doing at the UK border controls in France and Belgium. Signing the Treaty yesterday ensures a continuation of operational cooperation in a number of ways. It reaffirms both parties’ commitments to the operation of procedures for determining the Member State responsible for an asylum claim under the Dublin III Regulation. It establishes a new coordination centre for operational cooperation at our shared border and strengthens cooperation on returns. It sets up a strategic dialogue and commits both countries to working towards joint practical measures in countries upstream, further demonstrating our commitment and leadership on this agenda. These practical measures will help to reduce flows to northern France and underpin our joint commitment to fight modern slavery and human trafficking.

In addition, the UK and France recognise their humanitarian responsibilities towards unaccompanied asylum-seeking and refugee children. In 2016, the UK transferred over 750 unaccompanied minors from France as part of our comprehensive support for the Calais camp clearance. We have also announced a number of further measures in respect of unaccompanied asylum-seeking and refugee children:

  • France, Greece and Italy will now be able to refer unaccompanied children who arrived in Europe before 18 January 2018 to the UK under section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016. The Government had previously insisted on the previous eligibility date of 20 March 2016 to avoid establishing an open-ended relocation scheme from Europe, as this would increase the pull factor that puts children’s lives at risk. After extensive discussion with France, Greece and Italy, we have agreed to amend the eligibility date on an exceptional basis to ensure we can transfer the circa. 260 remaining unaccompanied children and meet our obligation under section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016. Over 220 children are already here and we are fully committed to transferring the specified number of 480 children as soon as possible, in line with our published policy. The specified number of 480 under section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016 remains unchanged following the UK France Summit.
  • The allocation of a £3.6M development fund, as part of the UK’s overall £45.5M funding commitment, which the UK intends to use to work with France to identify projects which support genuine claims through the Dublin process and ensure that those with no prospect of transferring to the UK are informed of their options.
  • The strengthening of cooperation with France on the operation of the Dublin Regulation, including shorter timescales for decisions and transfers. These commitments apply whilst both the UK and France are participants in the Dublin Regulation.
  • The deployment of a UK Liaison Officer to France by 1 April 2018.

The Government has not agreed to any new obligations to take more unaccompanied children from Europe. The commitments set out in the Treaty and this Written Ministerial Statement will improve joint working with France and support the delivery of existing obligations.

The deal that we have done yesterday recognises the importance of the juxtapose controls for both the UK and France, and seals confirmation by President Macron to ensuring that we work together to operate them as efficiently as possible, and sets up a new phase of cooperation that will enable us to break the cycle of camps forming in northern France.

We have a shared interest in cooperating with France on our whole of route approach to migration and the commitments set out at the UK France Summit and in this Written Ministerial Statement further underline the value of our enduring strategic relationship.

WS
Home Office
Made on: 18 January 2018
Made by: Amber Rudd (The Secretary of State for the Home Department)
Commons

Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (01 September 2017 to 30 November 2017)

Section 19(1) of the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011 (the Act) requires the Secretary of State to report to Parliament as soon as reasonably practicable after the end of every relevant three-month period on the exercise of her TPIM powers under the Act during that period.

The level of information provided will always be subject to slight variations based on operational advice.

TPIM notices in force (as of 30 November 2017)

7

TPIM notices in respect of British citizens (as of 30 November 2017)

6

TPIM notices extended (during the reporting period)

2

TPIM notices revoked (during the reporting period)

0

TPIM notices revived (during the reporting period)

0

Variations made to measures specified in TPIM notices (during the reporting period)

10

Applications to vary measures specified in TPIM notices refused (during the

reporting period)

0

The number of current subjects relocated under TPIM legislation (as of 30

November 2017)

7

The TPIM Review Group (TRG) keeps every TPIM notice under regular and formal review. The most recent TRG meetings took place on 4, 6, 26 and 27 September. The next round of TRG’s will take place during December 2017.

On 11 October 2017 a TPIM subject was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment following an earlier guilty plea to two breaches of the association measure of the TPIM notice.

The case of Secretary of State for the Home Department v LF [2017] EWHC 26859 (Admin) was heard at the High Court between 17 and 21 July 2017. In a judgment dated 30 October 2017 Mrs Justice Laing upheld the Secretary of State’s decision to impose a TPIM notice on LF. In the same judgment Mrs Justice Laing ordered a minor variation to LF’s police reporting requirement. This judgment can be found at www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2017/2685.html

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS403
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