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
Treasury
Made on: 18 December 2018
Made by: Elizabeth Truss (The Chief Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

Public Spending

HM Treasury, along with all of HM Government, is committed to ensuring that we make a success of EU-exit. At Autumn Budget 2017, my right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Philip Hammond) committed £3 billion to help departments and devolved administrations make necessary preparations for EU-exit in 2018-19 and 2019-20; this was subsequently increased by £0.5bn in the 2018 Budget, meaning the Government has invested over £4bn in preparing for EU-exit since 2016. Working with colleagues across Government to deliver on the referendum while protecting jobs, businesses and prosperity and to support departments in planning for EU-exit, HM Treasury has allocated the following funding to departments for financial year 2019-20:

Department

£m[*]

Attorney General’s Office

3

Cabinet Office

59

Competition and Markets Authority

20

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

190

Department for Culture, Media and Sport

30

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

410

Department for International Trade

128

Department for Transport

25

Department of Health and Social Care

50

Department for Work and Pensions

15

Food Standards Agency

16

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

45

HM Revenue & Customs

375

HM Treasury

35

Home Office

480

Ministry of Defence

12

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government

35

Ministry of Justice

30

Northern Ireland Office

1

Office for National Statistics

2

Police Service of Northern Ireland

16

Scotland Office

0.3

Single Intelligence Account

3

The National Archives

2

The Supreme Court

1

Wales Office

0.3

This has generated the following Barnett consequentials for the devolved administrations:

£m*

Northern Ireland Executive

20

Scottish Government

55

Welsh Government

31

* Numbers rounded to the nearest million unless otherwise stated

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1172
WS
Treasury
Made on: 06 September 2018
Made by: Elizabeth Truss (The Chief Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

Quadrennial valuations of the public service pension schemes

We undertake valuations of the public service pension schemes every four years. This is the first time that a full assessment of the pension schemes has been undertaken since the government introduced reformed schemes in 2015. The reform of the schemes addressed the rising cost of pensions, rebalancing taxpayer and member costs to ensure that public pensions were put on to an affordable and sustainable footing. The valuations are important as they ensure that the full costs of the schemes are understood and fully recognised by government.

Today I am publishing a document that sets out how the valuations are to be conducted this year. The document sets a range of assumptions that departments and the Scottish and Welsh governments must use in finalising their valuations of public service pension schemes. Our initial results show that the protections in the new cost cap mechanism mean public sector workers will get improved pension benefits for employment over the period April 2019 to March 2023. This test, known as the cost control mechanism, was introduced to offer taxpayers and employees protection from unexpected changes in pension costs. Where the value of the pension scheme to employees has changed from the levels set when reformed pension schemes were introduced in 2015, steps must be taken to return costs to that level.

There are currently more than 5 million active members of the public service pensions schemes, which cover the NHS, teachers, the armed forces, the police, firefighters, local government workers, judiciary and civil servants. The outcome of the valuations and the cost control mechanism will be confirmed later this year. Secretaries of State, and Scottish and Welsh Ministers, will then consult the appropriate Scheme Advisory Board, which consist of member and employer representatives for each of the pension schemes, to reach agreement on the steps to be taken to return costs to their target level. Where it is not possible to reach agreement, the legislation provides that remedy will be delivered by increasing the rate at which pension benefits accrue. Changes will be implemented with effect from April 2019. An additional process operates in the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) (England and Wales) run by the LGPS England and Wales Scheme Advisory Board. In accordance with stated policy, this will be allowed to complete before the HM Treasury cost control mechanism is tested.

We committed to keep the cost control mechanism under review. I will therefore be asking the Government Actuary to undertake a review of the mechanism to check whether it is working as intended and delivering government’s objective to protect taxpayers and workers from unforeseen changes in pension costs. We are committed to fairly remunerating public sector workers and to implementing the results of the valuations, but it is right that we examine whether the mechanism is operating appropriately and in line with the original policy intentions. The scope of the review will be limited to the design of the cost cap mechanism. The review will conclude in time for the next four-yearly round of valuations.

In addition, early indications are that the amount employers pay towards the schemes will need to increase. This is because of proposed changes to the discount rate, which is used to assess the current cost of future payments from the schemes, to reflect the Office for Budget Responsibility’s long-term growth forecasts. Further details will be known later this year. Some increase in costs was anticipated at Budget 16, which departments and the devolved administrations will need to meet in full. Treasury will be supporting departments with any unforeseen costs for 2019/20. Further discussions will be taken forward as part of the Spending Review.

The document is being published in draft form to allow employee representatives, public service employers and departments time to comment. Decisions will be confirmed later in the autumn, following statutory consultation with the Government Actuary.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS916
WS
Treasury
Made on: 24 July 2018
Made by: Elizabeth Truss (The Chief Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

HM Government's guarantee

In 2016, the government guaranteed funding for UK organisations in receipts of EU funds where projects are agreed before the day the UK leaves the EU. The guarantee is designed to apply in the event that the EU does not meet its financial obligations after EU Exit and provide assurance to current UK participants in EU programmes or those considering bids for EU funds prior to exit.

The government is continuing to work towards a deal with the EU and under the terms of the implementation period the UK will continue to participate in the programmes financed by the current EU Budget until their closure. As a consequence, the Treasury is extending the government’s guarantee of EU funding to underwrite the UK’s allocation for structural and investment fund projects under this EU Budget period to 2020. The Treasury is also guaranteeing funding in event of a no deal for UK organisations which bid directly to the European Commission so that they can continue competing for, and securing, funding until the end of 2020. This ensures that UK organisations, such as charities, businesses and universities, will continue to receive funding over a project’s lifetime if they successfully bid into EU-funded programmes before December 2020. In addition to this guarantee, the government will establish a UK Shared Prosperity Fund. The fund will tackle inequalities between communities by raising productivity, especially in those parts of our country whose economies are furthest behind. A departmental Minute providing full details of the liabilities associated with this announcement has been laid in the House of Commons.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS897
WS
Treasury
Made on: 17 July 2018
Made by: Elizabeth Truss (The Chief Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

Managing fiscal risks and the OBR 2018 Fiscal sustainability report

Today sees the publication of two reports which underscore the need for continued fiscal responsibility: the Office for Budget Responsibility’s (OBR) 2018 Fiscal Sustainability Report (FSR) and the government’s report on Managing Fiscal Risks [CM 9647]. The publication of the FSR fulfils the OBR’s legal obligation to publish an analysis of the sustainability of the long-term public finances and an assessment of the public sector balance sheet at least once every two years. Managing Fiscal Risks fulfils the government’s obligation to respond to the OBR’s 2017 Fiscal Risks Report (FRR). These reports have been laid before Parliament today and copies are available in the Vote Office and Printed Paper Office.

These reports come at a turning point for the public finances. The government has made significant progress in repairing the public finances over the past eight years. The deficit has been cut by over three-quarters from its post-war peak of 9.9% of GDP in 2009-10 to 1.9% in 2017-18. The debt-to-GDP ratio is now forecast by the OBR to have peaked last year and to begin its first sustained fall in a generation from this year.

Both reports illustrate the long-term pressures and risks to the public finances, underscoring the importance of locking in this hard-won progress and continuing to reduce debt. As analysis by international experts and the OBR’s own fiscal stress test has shown, governments with high levels of debt are more vulnerable to shocks and have less room to use fiscal policy to mitigate their impact on the economy. Moreover, leaving government debt at current levels would see the burden of servicing that debt rise to levels not seen since the mid-1980s if interest rates normalise in the way assumed in the OBR’s long-run projections. This would pass an unacceptable burden on to the next generation. The government is therefore committed to continuing to reduce debt as a share of GDP.

The 2018 FSR projection shows that, left unaddressed, demographic change and non-demographic cost pressures on health, pensions, and social care would push the debt-to-GDP ratio to over 280% of GDP by 2067-68. One of the most important drivers of the long-run fiscal outlook in the FSR is health spending, which the OBR project will rise from 7.6% of GDP in 2022-23 to 13.8% in 2067-68 in the absence of action to increase productivity and contain costs. While this is partly explained by population ageing, most of the projected increase is due to non-demographic cost pressures - including the low productivity of the health sector relative to the rest of the economy; increases in chronic conditions; and improvements in technology and medical research leading to the provision of new drugs and treatments.

The government recognises that the NHS will need additional resources to help meet these pressures. In June, the Prime Minister announced that the NHS in England will receive an increase in funding over the next five years that equates to over £20 billion a year more in real terms by 2023-24. The government also recognises the need for action being taken to address long-term cost-drivers in health. The final settlement will be confirmed at a future fiscal event, subject to an NHS 10-year plan that delivers the efficiency, productivity, and performance improvements necessary to help address the long-term cost pressures highlighted by the OBR. The government will fund this five-year commitment in a responsible way, while continuing to meet its fiscal rules and reduce debt. As the Prime Minister has said, this will be partly funded by money that we will no longer spend on our annual membership subscription to the European Union after we have left. In addition, across the nation, taxpayers will need to contribute a bit more in a fair and balanced way to support the NHS we all use.

The government is also determined to tackle the other risks and pressures facing the public finances, to lock in the hard-won progress we have made in reducing borrowing and getting debt falling. The OBR’s 2017 Fiscal Risks Report provided the UK’s first ever survey of the potential risks to the public finances and was recognised by the IMF, OECD, and others as the most comprehensive report of its kind and the only one produced by an independent body. By publishing our response today, the government invites Parliament and the public to hold us to account for the responsible management of those risks.

Managing Fiscal Risks shows how the government is tackling these risks as we continue to repair the public finances for the benefit of current and future generations – following our balanced approach to the public finances, getting debt falling whilst investing in our vital public services and keeping taxes as low as possible.

The report sets out the specific steps the government is taking to mitigate key sources of risk identified by the OBR. These include actions to reduce the likelihood and cost of financial crises, adapting the tax system to a changing economy, improving the sustainability of the State Pension in light of rising longevity, tightening controls over the issuance of loans and guarantees, and managing the government’s inflation exposure by considering the appropriate balance of index-linked and conventional gilts.

It also highlights that in the long-run, boosting productivity growth would accelerate the return to fiscal sustainability and alleviate pressures on taxpayers and public services. The government is taking forward a comprehensive strategy for boosting productivity based on supporting long-term investment in physical, human and intellectual capital.

Supporting the vision set out in the modern Industrial Strategy, the government is increasing investment in key productivity-boosting infrastructure. The National Productivity Investment Fund will provide £31 billion of additional investment in areas critical to improving productivity and £1 billion in improving the UK’s digital infrastructure. We have increased public support for R&D to its highest level in 30 years and are committed to increasing public and private investment in R&D to 2.4% of GDP by 2027.

The government is also committed to making sure that Britain is the world’s most attractive location for private investment. We are supporting UK businesses by delivering a competitive tax system that supports growth and investment – including by reducing the corporation tax rate from 28% to 19% today, the lowest in the G20.

Building human capital through strengthening education and training is a priority for the government. We are taking action to transform technical education and help prepare people for the high-skilled jobs of the future, by investing in apprenticeships through the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, introducing a National Retraining Scheme, and introducing T-levels, which will mean that all 16-18 olds have a choice of technical and academic routes of equal status and quality.

These OBR reports and the government’s Managing Fiscal Risks report keep the UK at the frontier of fiscal management internationally and demonstrate the government’s commitment to fiscal transparency and accountability. No other government is so open about the risks to the public finances or more determined to manage them responsibly for the benefit of current and future generations.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS838
WS
Treasury
Made on: 29 March 2018
Made by: Elizabeth Truss (The Chief Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

Employer Supported Childcare

This government is providing more help with the cost of childcare to working parents than ever before. As well as introducing Tax-Free Childcare in April 2017, the government has doubled the free childcare available to working parents of 3 and 4 year olds in England to 30 hours a week, and increased the support available through Universal Credit to cover up to 85% of childcare costs. In 2019/20 the government will spend around £6 billion on childcare support – a record amount.

Since opening the Childcare Choices service through which parents apply for 30 hours free childcare and Tax-Free Childcare more than 370,000 customers have successfully applied and are now using the service. Of these, more than 335,000 parents are eligible for 30 hours free childcare. Over 210,000 have a Tax-Free Childcare account. The government will encourage more parents to take up the offer they are entitled to.

Parents can apply via the Childcare Choices service for both 30 hours free childcare and Tax-Free Childcare. The application is straightforward and can be accessed via: https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/.

Tax-Free Childcare is a fairer and better targeted system than childcare vouchers. Through Tax-Free Childcare all families who are eligible can get support regardless of who their employer is, or whether they are self-employed, and support is based on the number of children in a family, rather than the number of parents. Tax-Free Childcare is targeted at a similar income population as childcare vouchers but will provide support to nearly 1 million more families compared to the number currently using vouchers.

The decision to phase out childcare vouchers and directly contracted childcare, and replace this support with Tax-Free Childcare was made in 2013, and received parliamentary approval through the Childcare Payments Act 2014.

Today the government has made The Income Tax (Limited Exemptions for Qualifying Childcare Vouchers and other Childcare) (Relevant Day) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/462). These Regulations set 4th October 2018 as the date when childcare vouchers and directly contracted childcare, part of Employer Supported Childcare, will close to new entrants. After that date, parents who are already using vouchers can continue to do so for as long as they remain with their employer, and their employer continues to offer the scheme.

To reflect concerns about the timing of the closure of childcare vouchers and the transition to Tax-Free Childcare, the government has decided to keep childcare vouchers open for a further six months until October. This will allow more time for Tax-Free Childcare to bed in, for awareness to increase and for families to understand the support they can receive under the scheme. Now that Tax-Free Childcare is fully rolled out, the government will keep it under review to ensure it is delivering the support needed for working families.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS595
WS
Treasury
Made on: 29 March 2018
Made by: Elizabeth Truss (The Chief Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

Convergence Programme

Article 121 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) requires the UK to send an annual Convergence Programme to the European Commission reporting upon its fiscal situation and policies. The UK’s Convergence Programme will be sent to the European Commission by 30 April. This deadline was set in accordance with the European Semester timetable for both Convergence and National Reform Programmes. The UK will continue to have all of the rights, obligations and benefits that membership brings up until the point we leave the EU, and as such the Government will continue to submit the UK’s Convergence Programme until that time.

Section 5 of the European Communities (Amendment) Act 1993 requires that the content of the Convergence Programme must be drawn from an assessment of the UK’s economic and budgetary position which has been presented to Parliament by the Government for its approval. This assessment is based on the Autumn Budget 2017 report and the most recent Office for Budget Responsibility’s Economic and Fiscal Outlook and it is this content, not the Convergence Programme itself, which requires the approval of the House for the purposes of the Act.

Article 121, along with Article 126 of the TFEU, is the legal basis for the Stability and Growth Pact, which is the co-ordination mechanism for EU fiscal policies and requires Member States to avoid excessive government deficits. Although the UK participates in the Stability and Growth Pact, by virtue of its protocol to the treaty opting out of the euro, it is only required to "endeavour to avoid" excessive deficits. Unlike the euro area Member States, the UK is not subject to sanctions at any stage of the European Semester process.

Subject to the progress of parliamentary business, debates will be held soon in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, in order for both Houses to approve this assessment before the Convergence Programme is sent to the Commission. While the Convergence Programme itself is not subject to Parliamentary approval or amendment, I will deposit a copy of the document in the Libraries of both Houses and copies will be available through the Vote Office and Printed Paper Office in advance of the debates.

The UK's Convergence Programme will be available electronically via HM Treasury’s website prior to it being sent to the European Commission.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS596
WS
Treasury
Made on: 19 March 2018
Made by: Elizabeth Truss (The Chief Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

ECOFIN: 13 March 2018

A meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) was held in Brussels on 13 March 2018. The UK was represented by Mark Bowman (Director General, International Finance, HM Treasury). Council discussed the following:

Early Morning Session

The Eurogroup President briefed Ministers on the outcomes of the 12 March meeting of the Eurogroup, and the Commission provided an update on the current economic situation in the EU. Council also discussed progress on the Banking Package, aimed at reducing risk in the banking industry, agreeing to defer agreement on a general approach until a later date.

Mandatory Disclosure Rules

The Council reached political agreement on the Council Directive regarding the mandatory automatic exchange of information in the field of taxation in relation to reportable cross-border arrangements.

Current Financial Services Legislative Proposals

The Bulgarian Presidency provided an update on current legislative proposals in the field of financial services. The Commission presented a package of proposals relating to the EU’s Capital Markets Union.

European Semester 2018

The Council exchanged views on the implementation of country-specific recommendations with a focus on productivity growth. Ireland and the Netherlands provided presentations on their experience of reforms to improve productivity growth. The Council also adopted the conclusions on the European Court of Auditors Special Report on the Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure (MIP).

G20 Meeting

The Council approved the EU Terms of reference for the G20 meeting on 19-20 March in Buenos Aires.

Status of the Implementation of Financial Services Legislation

The Commission informed the Council on the status of the implementation of financial services legislation.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS540
WS
Treasury
Made on: 16 March 2018
Made by: Elizabeth Truss (The Chief Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

Annual European Union Finances Statement

I have today laid before Parliament the European Union Finances 2017: statement on the 2017 EU Budget and measures to counter fraud and financial mismanagement (Cm 9576). This is a routine annual publication. It is the thirty seventh in the series.

The statement gives details of revenue and expenditure in the 2017 European Union Budget, recent developments in EU financial management and measures to counter fraud against the EU Budget. It also includes a chapter and annex updating on the use of EU funds in the UK over the period.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS537
WS
Treasury
Made on: 13 March 2018
Made by: Elizabeth Truss (The Chief Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

Spring Statement

Making a success of EU exit is a priority for the Government and the Treasury. At the Autumn Budget 2017, my right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Philip Hammond) committed £3 billion over the next two financial years to helping departments and the devolved administrations to prepare. Working with colleagues across government to prioritise the essential programmes to realise the opportunities from EU exit, the Treasury has allocated funding to departments as follows in 2018-19:

Department

£m

Cabinet Office

49.4

Competition and Markets Authority

23.6

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

185.1

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

26.2

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

310.0

Department for International Trade

74.0

Department for Transport

75.8

Department of Health and Social Care

21.1

Food Standards Agency

14.0

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

29.6

HM Revenue & Customs

260.0

HM Treasury

24.8

Home Office

395.0

Ministry of Defence

12.7

Ministry of Justice

17.3

Northern Ireland Office

0.4

Office for National Statistics

2.0

Scotland Office

0.3

The National Archives

1.2

Wales Office

0.3

This has generated the following Barnett consequentials for the devolved administrations:

£m

Northern Ireland Executive

15.2

Scottish Government

37.3

Welsh Government

21.4

This Government is committed to seeking a new future economic partnership with the European Union and this funding will help us to prepare for all eventualities. As the negotiations continue, we will need to reflect upon any progress and consider requirements accordingly. I will work with my colleagues across government to ensure these allocations achieve value for money for the taxpayer. Final allocations will be made at the 2018-19 Supplementary Estimates in early 2019.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS521
WS
Treasury
Made on: 12 March 2018
Made by: Elizabeth Truss (The Chief Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

ECOFIN: 13 March 2018

A meeting of The Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) will be held in Brussels on 13 March 2018. EU Finance Ministers will discuss the following:

Early Morning Session

The Eurogroup President will brief the Council on the outcomes of the 12 March meeting of the Eurogroup, and the European Commission will provide an update on the current economic situation in the EU.

Mandatory Disclosure Rules

The Council will be invited to reach political agreement on the Council Directive regarding the mandatory automatic exchange of information in the field of taxation in relation to reportable cross-border arrangements.

Banking Package

The Council will be invited to agree on a general approach on the legislative proposals included in the Banking Package (Capital Requirements Regulation (CRR) and Directive (CRD), Single Resolution Mechanism Regulation (SRMR), and the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (BRRD)).

Current Financial Services Legislative Proposals

The Bulgarian Presidency will provide an update on current legislative proposals in the field of financial services and the Commission will present its most recent Capital Markets Union package.

European Semester 2018

Following a presentation by the Commission on its 2018 Country Reports, the Council will hold an exchange of views on the implementation of country-specific recommendations with a focus on productivity growth. The Council will also be requested to adopt the conclusions on the European Court of Auditors Special Report on the Macroeconomic Imbalance Procedure (MIP).

G20 Meeting

The Council will be invited to approve the EU Terms of reference for the G20 meeting on 19-20 March in Buenos Aires.

Status of the Implementation of Financial Services Legislation

The Commission will inform the Council on the status of the implementation of financial services legislation.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS517
WS
HM Treasury
Made on: 21 February 2018
Made by: Elizabeth Truss (The Chief Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

Public Service Pension Indexation and Revaluation 2018

Legislation governing public service pensions requires them to be increased annually by the same percentage as additional pensions (State Earnings Related Pension and State Second Pension). Public service pensions will therefore be increased from 9 April 2018 by 3 per cent, in line with the annual increase in the Consumer Prices Index up to September 2017, except for those public service pensions which have been in payment for less than a year, which will receive a pro-rata increase.

Separately, in the new career average public service pension schemes, pensions in accrual are revalued annually in relation to either prices or earnings depending on the terms specified in their scheme regulations. The Public Service Pensions Act 2013 requires HMT to specify a measure of prices and of earnings to be used for revaluation by these schemes.

The prices measure is the Consumer Prices Index up to September 2017. Public service schemes which rely on a measure of prices, therefore, will use the figure of 3 per cent for the prices element of revaluation.

The earnings measure is the Whole Economy Average Weekly Earnings (non-seasonally adjusted and including bonuses and arrears) up to September 2017. Public service schemes which rely on a measure of earnings, therefore, will use the figure of 3 per cent for the earnings element of revaluation.

Revaluation is one part of the amount of pension that members earn in a year and needs to be considered in conjunction with the amount of in year accrual. Typically, schemes with lower revaluation will have faster accrual and therefore members will earn more pension per year. The following list shows how the main public service schemes will be affected by revaluation:

Scheme

Police

Fire

Civil

Service

NHS

Teachers

LGPS

Armed

Forces

Judicial

Revaluation for active member

4.25%

3%

3%

4.5%

4.6%

3%

3%

3%

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS462
WS
HM Treasury
Made on: 15 January 2018
Made by: Elizabeth Truss (The Chief Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

Tax-Free Childcare rollout update

In April 2017 the Government launched Tax-Free Childcare, which helps working parents with the cost of childcare with up to £2,000 of support per child. Today we will open the scheme to parents whose youngest child is under 9, or who turn 9 today. We will be opening the scheme to all remaining eligible families on 14th February. This means all eligible parents will be able to apply for Tax-Free Childcare before the end of this financial year.

This government is giving more help with the cost of childcare to working parents than ever before. We introduced Tax-Free Childcare in April 2017, and have doubled the free childcare available to working parents of 3 and 4 year olds to 30 hours a week. In 2019/20 we will be spending around £6bn on childcare support – a record amount of support.

Since opening the childcare service, through which parents apply for 30 hours free childcare and Tax-Free Childcare, more than 325,000 customers have successfully applied and are now using the service. Of these, more than 295,000 parents are eligible for 30 hours free childcare. Over 170,000 have a Tax-Free Childcare account and we have begun activity to further raise awareness of Tax-Free Childcare. We want to encourage more parents to take up the offer they are entitled to.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS394
WS
HM Treasury
Made on: 18 December 2017
Made by: Elizabeth Truss (The Chief Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

Cash Ratio Deposits

Cash Ratio Deposits (CRDs) are non-interest bearing assets deposited with the Bank of England by banks and building societies. They are used by the Bank to finance its policy functions, in particular its efforts to secure price stability and the stability of the financial system in general, from which these institutions are key beneficiaries.

The CRD scheme was extended to include building societies, and was placed on a statutory basis, when the Bank of England Act became law in 1998. The scheme has been reviewed every five years since. The last review in 2013 resulted in the CRD ratio being increased from 0.11% to 0.18%, following a public consultation. As part of the 2013 review, the Government committed to reviewing the scheme again within five years. The Treasury, working closely with the Bank, will now begin that review.

The review will include an assessment of the detailed arrangements of the scheme as well as the continuing suitability of the scheme itself compared to alternative sources of funding. It will also address the impact of the scheme on the eligible institutions. The broad conclusions of the review will be the subject of a public consultation.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS358
WS
HM Treasury
Made on: 01 December 2017
Made by: Elizabeth Truss (The Chief Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

ECOFIN: 7 November 2017

A formal meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) was held in Brussels on 07 November. European Finance Ministers discussed the following items:

European Free Trade Association (EFTA) dialogue

In their annual meeting, Ministers met with representatives from the EFTA group of countries to exchange views on how best to make economic growth inclusive.

Early Morning Session

The Eurogroup President briefed Ministers on the outcomes of the 06 November meeting of the Eurogroup, and the Commission provided an update on the current economic situation in the EU. Ministers decided that Pilar Jurado Borrego, Director General of Spanish Customs, is to be the EU’s single candidate for the position of Secretary General of the World Customs Organisation. Ministers were also debriefed by the Economic and Finance Committee (EFC) Chair on the EFC’s discussion of the Single Supervisory Mechanism review.

VAT e-commerce package

Ministers considered the various items which make up the VAT e-commerce legislative package.

Review of the European System of Financial Supervision

The Commission presented its legislative proposals on Financial Supervision to Ministers. This was followed by an exchange of views.

Current financial services legislative proposals

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

Insolvency

The Commission presented its proposals on resolving existing non-performing loans, preventing the build-up of future non-performing loans and measures to increase the efficiency of the general insolvency framework in Member States.

Follow-up to the G20 Meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors and of the IMF Annual Meetings in Washington

Minsters received information from the Presidency and the Commission on the outcomes of the 12-15 October G20 and IMF meetings.

European Court of Auditors’ annual report

The President of the Court of Auditors presented the Auditors’ report on the implementation of the budget of the European Union for the 2016 financial year.

Statistical package

The Council discussed the autumn statistical package, reviewed progress achieved and Ministers exchanged views on the prospects for European cooperation on statistics. Council conclusions were also approved.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS295
WS
HM Treasury
Made on: 07 November 2017
Made by: Elizabeth Truss (The Chief Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

ECOFIN: 7 November 2017

A meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) will be held in Brussels on 07 November. EU Finance Ministers will discuss the following items:

European Free Trade Association (EFTA) dialogue

Ministers will have their annual meeting with representatives from the EFTA group of countries, to exchange views on how best to make economic growth inclusive.

Early Morning Session

The Eurogroup President will brief Ministers on the outcomes of the 06 November meeting of the Eurogroup, and the Commission will provide an update on the current economic situation in the EU. Ministers will also discuss the EU’s common candidate for the position of Secretary General of the World Customs Organisation.

VAT e-commerce package

Ministers will consider various items which make up the VAT legislative package, including Council Regulation.

Review of the European System of Financial Supervision

The Commission will present to Ministers its legislative proposals on Financial Supervision, followed by an exchange of views.

Current financial services legislative proposals

The Council Presidency will provide an update on current legislative proposals in the field of financial services.

Insolvency

The Commission will present its proposals on resolving existing non-performing loans, preventing the build-up of future non-performing loans and measures to increase the efficiency of the general insolvency framework in Member States.

Follow-up to the G20 Meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors and of the IMF Annual Meetings in Washington

Minsters will receive information from the Presidency and the Commission on the outcomes of the 12-15 October G20 and IMF meetings.

European Court of Auditors’ annual report

The President of the Court of Auditors will present the Auditors’ report on the implementation of the budget of the European Union for the 2016 financial year.

Statistical package

The Council will discuss the autumn statistical package, review progress achieved and exchange views on the prospects for European cooperation on statistics. Ministers will also be invited to adopt Council conclusions.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS229
WS
HM Treasury
Made on: 24 October 2017
Made by: Elizabeth Truss (The Chief Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

ECOFIN: 10 October 2017

A formal meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) was held in Luxembourg on 10 October.

Ministers discussed the following items:

Early Morning Session

The Eurogroup President briefed Ministers on the outcomes of the Eurogroup meeting held on 09 October, and the Commission presented its regular update on the economic situation in the EU. Ministers also discussed the European Commission’s use of discretion in assessing Member States’ compliance with the preventive arm of the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP).

Definitive VAT System

The Commission presented their legislative proposals for a Definitive VAT system and the creation of a ‘Single EU VAT area’.

Current Financial Service Legislative Proposals

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

Digital Taxation

The Commission presented its communication of 21 September on ‘A Fair and Efficient Tax System in the EU for the Digital Single Market’, and the Presidency provided a follow-up to the Tallinn Digital Summit held on 29 September.

European Semester 2017

The Council exchanged views on lessons learnt from the 2017 European Semester process.

Preparation of the G20 Meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors and of the IMF Annual Meetings between 12 and 15 October in Washington

Minsters agreed the EU’s G20 Terms of Reference and International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) statement, ahead of the Annual Meetings in Washington.

Climate Finance for COP23

The Council approved Council Conclusions on Climate Finance ahead of the UN climate change Conference of Parties (COP23) which will take place in Bonn on 6-17 November.

Implementation of Financial Services Legislation

Ministers received an update from the Commission on the status of implementation of existing financial services legislation.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS197
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HM Treasury
Made on: 12 October 2017
Made by: Elizabeth Truss (The Chief Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

Spending Authority

It is important that departments can start spending to prepare for Brexit when they need to do so. Managing Public Money requires that expenditure on new services must rest on specific legislation. However, delaying spend until legislation has reached Royal Assent could jeopardise readiness for Brexit.

To address this, for the small proportion of spending affected, ministers can issue a technical direction, allowing critical spending to be incurred ahead of Royal Assent, whilst ensuring transparency to Parliament.

In these cases, the use of a Direction will be a matter of timing. Departments will still need to ensure spending is in all other respects regular, proper, feasible and good value for money, in the usual way. I have asked my officials to write to all departments explaining this process. They will also write to the Public Accounts Committee - this letter will be published to ensure full transparency.

As confirmed yesterday, by the Prime Minister to the House and by the Chancellor to the Treasury Committee, the Treasury has committed over £250 million of additional spending in 2017-18 to prepare for Brexit from the Reserve. Departmental allocations will be set out at Supplementary Estimates in the usual way. An update on Brexit spending will also be provided at the Autumn Budget.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS163
WS
HM Treasury
Made on: 10 October 2017
Made by: Elizabeth Truss (The Chief Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

ECOFIN 10 October 2017 and Informal ECOFIN 15-16 September 2017

A meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) will be held in Luxembourg on 10th October. EU Finance Ministers will discuss the following items:

Early Morning Session

The Eurogroup President will brief Ministers on the outcomes of the 9th October meeting of the Eurogroup, and Ministers will discuss the current economic situation. Ministers will also discuss the European Commission’s use of discretion in assessing Member States’ compliance with the preventive arm of the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP).

Current Financial Service Legislative Proposals

The Council Presidency will provide an update on current legislative proposals in the field of financial services.

Definitive VAT System

The Commission will present their proposals for a Definitive VAT system and the creation of a ‘Single EU VAT area’.

European Semester 2017

The Council will exchange views on a report evaluating the 2017 European Semester process and reflect on lessons learnt.

Preparation of the G20 Meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors and of the IMF Annual Meetings between 12 and 15 October in Washington

Minsters will agree the EU’s G20 Terms of Reference and International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) statement, ahead of the Annual Meetings in Washington.

Climate Finance for COP23

The Council will agree Council conclusions on climate finance in preparation for the COP23 UN Climate Change Conference in November.

Digital Taxation

The Commission will present its communication of 21 September on ‘A Fair and Efficient Tax System in the EU for the Digital Single Market’. As well as input from the Presidency, the Commission will also provide a follow-up to the Tallinn Digital Summit that was held on 29th September.

Implementation of Financial Services Legislation

Ministers will receive an update from the Commission on implementation of existing financial services legislation.

An informal meeting of The Economic and Financial Affairs Council was held in Tallinn on 15-16 September 2017. The UK was represented by my right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Philip Hammond). EU Finance Ministers discussed the following items:

Working Lunch - Deepening the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and Maximising the Effectiveness of EU Finances

Based on the European Commission reflection papers, Ministers discussed the interlinkages between future development of the economic and monetary union and the framework on EU finances.

Working Session I

Ministers were joined by Central Bank Governors for the first Working Session. Two items were discussed.

a) Deepening of the EMU: Interaction of Rules and Institutions

Ministers and Central Bank Governors discussed the implications of the deepening of the Economic and Monetary Union for the EU’s economic and fiscal policy framework.

b) Capital Markets Union: Technological Innovation and Financial Regulation (FinTech)

Ministers and Central Bank Governors then focussed on the implications of intensified technological innovations to the functioning, development and stability of banking and capital markets. The discussion drew on analysis by Bruegel and included participation from the European Parliament, the European Central Bank, the Commission, and the European Securities and Markets Authority.

Working Session II

a) Corporate Taxation Challenges of the Digital Economy

Following a presentation by the Estonian Presidency, Ministers discussed how to modernise the corporate income tax rules in a way that would take in to account the new business modes using digital technology. Commissioner Dombrovskis and José Ángel Gurría (Secretary-General of the OECD) also contributed to the discussion to set out their respective positions.

b) Cost Efficiency and Sustainability of Customs IT Systems

Ministers discussed the governance reform of the Customs Union, particularly considering customs IT infrastructure that would assure the sustainable and cost efficient electronic systems worthy of a Digital Single Market. This builds on previous discussions regarding the development of an EU Customs IT strategy and looks to proposals for a centrally developed customs IT system to be rolled out across Europe from 2025.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS151
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HM Treasury
Made on: 12 September 2017
Made by: Elizabeth Truss (The Chief Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

Public services

Our public sector workers are among the most extraordinarily talented and hardworking people in our society. They, like everyone else, deserve to have fulfilling jobs that are fairly rewarded.

We take a balanced approach to public spending, dealing with our debts to keep our economy strong, while also making sure we invest in our public services.

The Government will continue to ensure that the overall package for public sector workers is fair to them and ensures that we can deliver world class public services, while also being affordable within the public finances and fair to taxpayers as a whole.

The last Spending Review budgeted for one per cent average basic pay awards, in addition to progression pay for specific workforces, and there will still be a need for pay discipline over the coming years, to ensure the affordability of the public services and the sustainability of public sector employment.

However, the Government recognises that in some parts of the public sector, particularly in areas of skill shortage, more flexibility may be required to deliver world class public services including in return for improvements to public sector productivity.

The detail of 2018/19 pay remits for specific Pay Review Bodies will be discussed and agreed as part of the Budget process and set out in due course.

Police and prison officer pay awards

The following sets out the Government’s response to the recommendations in the third annual report of the Police Remuneration Review Body (PRRB) and the sixteenth report of the Prison Service Pay Review Body (PSPRB) which were published today.

My Right Honourable Friend the Home Secretary (Amber Rudd) has decided to award officers in the PRRB remit group a pay award worth a total of two per cent to each officer in 2017/18, consisting of a one per cent consolidated pay increase in addition to a one-off one per cent non-consolidated payment to officers in that remit group. This award will be funded within existing budgets.

The police pay award will be implemented with effect from 1 September 2017 as follows:

  • A one per cent increase to base pay for all ranks.

  • An additional one-off non-consolidated payment to officers at federated and superintending ranks.

  • A one per cent increase to the London Weighting payment.

  • A one per cent increase to the Dog Handlers’ Allowance.

The Home Secretary’s full decision on all recommendations will be published alongside the PRRB report, on their website. These awards will be funded within existing budgets.

In addition, the Supplement to the 2017 Report of the Senior Salaries Review Body making recommendations on the pay of chief police officers has also been published today. The Home Secretary has accepted these recommendations.

My Right Honourable Friend the Justice Secretary (David Lidington) has accepted the PSPRB recommendations, giving all prison staff a pay increase. This pay award will help recruit and retain staff with the right experience and expertise to keep our prisons safe and secure. This is in line with the recommendation of the PSPRB. This award will be funded within existing budgets.

The prison officer pay award is as follows and will be implemented in October’s pay and backdated to 1 April 2017:

  • All Prison officers and operational support grades in bands 2-5 will receive a consolidated increase of at least £400, including those on their pay band maximum.

  • All uniformed staff on ‘Fair & Sustainable’ terms in Bands 2-5 below the maximum will also progress by one pay point.

  • Managers in bands 7-11 on ‘Fair & Sustainable’ terms will receive pay progression above 1% depending on their performance rating and place in their pay band.

  • Managers on closed grades will get at least 1%, and those below their pay scale maximum will get more.

I thank all three Chairs and members of the independent Pay Review Bodies for their hard work in producing these recommendations.

Copies of the reports are available in the Vote Office and will be published online.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS128
WS
HM Treasury
Made on: 18 July 2017
Made by: Elizabeth Truss (The Chief Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

Chlidcare services rollout - update

We know the cost of childcare is an important issue for working families – that’s why we have made childcare more affordable, given parents more choice and raised standards of provision, supporting parents into work and helping them with the costs they face.

In total, the Government will provide over £6 billion of funding per annum in childcare support by 2019-20 to working families and those on low incomes. For parents across the UK, Tax-Free Childcare will cut childcare costs by up to £2,000 per year for each child under 12 years old, or £4,000 per year for disabled children under 17 years old.

We introduced the childcare service on 21 April 2017 by accepting applications from parents of children under 4 years old (born on or after 1st September 2013). On 14 July the government extended the service to a cohort of parents with children born on or after 1 April 2013 to ensure that these parents can access the 30 hours offer for their 4 year old child before the start of the school term in September. This enables even more families to benefit from the government’s childcare offer and helps busy families with children under 5 who want to claim a 30 hours free childcare place for September.

The Childcare Choices website brings together all the government’s childcare schemes in one place for the first time, and eligible parents can apply for Tax-Free Childcare and 30 hours free childcare through a single and simple application.

They can apply for all their children at the same time once their youngest child qualifies, saving time and avoiding the need to provide the same information twice. All eligible parents will be able to apply for Tax-Free Childcare by the end of 2017.

Parents can apply via the childcare service for both 30 hours free childcare and Tax-Free Childcare. The application is straightforward and can be accessed via the childcare choices website: https://www.childcarechoices.gov.uk/.

To date, over 150,000 parents have successfully applied to the service and over 45,000 childcare providers have signed up.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS68
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