Written statements

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

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

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

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WS
Home Office
Made on: 19 July 2018
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Independent Office for Police Conduct Annual Report

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

I am today, along with my rt hon Friend the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, publishing the 2017-2018 Annual Report and Accounts for the Independent Office for Police Conduct [HC 1331]. This will be laid before the House and published on www.gov.uk . The report will also be available in the Vote Office.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS886
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Department for International Trade
Made on: 19 July 2018
Made by: Baroness Fairhead (Minister of State for Trade and Export Promotion)
Lords

EU trade agreement impact analysis and process

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

I am pleased to announce that my Department will today publish an impact assessment for the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (FTA). I have separately written to the Scrutiny Committees in both Houses of Parliament such that they can consider this evidence as part of their important review of this Agreement. A copy of this impact assessment will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Negotiations with Singapore concluded in October 2014. The European Commission has now presented the final negotiated texts to the Council of the European Union (Council). The Council will now decide whether to adopt the necessary Council Decision authorising signature and conclusion, with a vote in October 2018.

The Agreement is expected to promote bilateral trade and economic growth between the EU and Singapore by eliminating most tariffs and reducing non-tariff measures that businesses face when trading goods and services and when investing.

I will also today lay the European Union (Definition of Treaties) (Economic Partnership Agreements and Trade Agreement) (Eastern and Southern Africa States, Southern African Development Community States, Ghana and Ecuador) Order 2018 to designate the Ecuador – EU Andean Accession and these Economic Partnership Agreements as Treaties in accordance with the European Communities Act 1972.

The EU, Ecuador, Colombia and Peru signed the Protocol of Accession of Ecuador to the EU-Andean Free Trade Agreement (known as the EU-Andean FTA) on 11 November 2016. The protocol has been provisionally applied since 1 January 2017.

On the 28 July 2016, the EU signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with Ghana. The EPA has been provisionally applied since 15 December 2016.

On the 10 June 2016, the EU signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with 6 countries from the Southern African Development Community (SADC): Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland (now known as Eswatini) (the 'SADC EPA states'). The EPA has been provisionally applied since 10 October 2016, except in the case of Mozambique, where it has been provisionally applied since 4 February 2018.

On the 24 August 2009, the EU signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the Eastern and Southern Africa countries: Madagascar, Mauritius, the Seychelles and Zimbabwe (the ‘ESA countries’). In July 2017, the Comoros signed the Agreement, and they are currently in the process of ratification. The EPA has been provisionally applied since 14 May 2012, except in the case of the Comoros, where it will be applied pending ratification by the government of the Comoros. These agreements require ratification by the EU Member States to come fully into effect.

I will lay this Order concurrently with the laying of the text of the Agreements as Command Papers under the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act for scrutiny. This is in effect the start of the formal process of ratification of the Agreements in the UK.

These Agreements will boost the economies of the UK, the EU, and partner countries by promoting trade and economic growth. The European Union’s Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) have a development focus that goes beyond trade, by including co-operation and assistance for partner countries. They aim to promote trade – and ultimately contribute, through increased trade and investment, to sustainable development and poverty reduction.

I will also lay before the House an Explanatory Memorandum to this Order. This explains the background and rationale of the Agreements and ratification. At the same time, we are publishing our economic impact assessments of these Agreements. Copies of these documents are being placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

The Government remains committed to supporting the EU’s ambitious trade and development agendas including the EU Free Trade Agreements it is putting in place. The UK ratification of these Agreements whilst the UK is still an EU Member State is a sound demonstration of this commitment.

The Government has been clear it will seek a seamless transition to replicate the effects of the Agreements when we leave the EU in line with our policy.

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Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 19 July 2018
Made by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Lords

Tailored Review of the British Council

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

I am announcing today the start of a Tailored Review of the British Council, the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. Established by Royal Charter in 1940, the British Council builds relationships and understanding between the people of the UK and other countries.

As a Non-Department Public Body (NDPB) sponsored by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), the British Council is required to undergo a Tailored Review at least once in every parliament. The principal aims of Tailored Reviews are to ensure public bodies remain fit for purpose, are well governed and properly accountable for what they do.

The Review will provide a robust scrutiny of, and assurance on, the continuing need for the British Council – both its function and its form. It will then assess the governance and control arrangements in place to ensure they are compliant with the recognised principles of good corporate governance and delivering good value for money. The structure, efficiency and effectiveness of the British Council will be considered throughout the Review.

A Challenge Panel, chaired by a FCO Non-Executive Director, will examine the findings of both stages of the Review.

The Review will follow guidance published in 2016 by the Cabinet Office: ‘Tailored Reviews: guidance on reviews of public bodies’ https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/tailored-reviews-of-public-bodies-guidance. The Terms of Reference for the review can be found on gov.uk.

In conducting this Tailored Review, officials will engage with a broad range of stakeholders across the UK and overseas, including across UK Government, Devolved Administrations, foreign governments, business and civil society, as well as with the British Council’s own staff and management.

I shall inform the House of the outcome of the Review when it is completed and copies of the report of the Review will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS881
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Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 19 July 2018
Made by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Lords

Provision of Policing Support to Jordan

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

The United Kingdom is strongly committed to supporting Jordan’s security and stability. Through a Conflict Stability and Security Fund project worth £9 million over two years, the UK is helping the Jordanian Public Security Directorate (PSD) and Gendarmerie to develop its community policing, critical incident response and investigative counter-terrorist policing capabilities. The support delivers against the objectives of Her Majesty’s Government, in particular our security objective, on building Jordanian capability to enhance both its own security and its ability to tackle internal and regional threats in a manner compliant with human rights.

In order to reach this objective, the British Embassy in Amman is granting equipment totalling £742,853.24 for support to the PSD and Gendarmerie. This includes infrastructure, vehicles, and IT equipment (hardware and software).

The provision of this assistance is fully in line with this Government’s security and stability objectives in the Middle East. Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials carry out regular reviews of our programmes in Jordan to ensure that objectives are being met, and that value for money is being achieved.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS880
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Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 19 July 2018
Made by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Lords

Developments in the Organization for Security & Cooperation in Europe since December 2017

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

I represented the United Kingdom at the 24th Ministerial Council Meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) held in Vienna on 7-8 December 2017, hosted by Austrian Chair-in-Office, Sebastian Kurz. The Council is the top decision-making body of the OSCE and was attended by Ministers from across its 57 participating states. A number of new commitments were agreed, including on combating trafficking in human beings, on small arms and light weapons, and on reducing the risk of conflict stemming from the use of information and communication technologies.

In my intervention at the Ministerial Council, I reaffirmed the United Kingdom’s support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. I condemned Russia’s destabilising actions in eastern Ukraine and illegal annexation of Crimea, and we co-sponsored an event in the margins of the Ministerial Council for Crimean Tatar leaders. The United Kingdom is the second largest contributor of secondees to the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM), which plays a crucial role in monitoring the ceasefire and events on the ground. I paid tribute during my intervention to SMM paramedic Joseph Stone, who tragically lost his life on patrol in April 2017. The United Kingdom continues to call on all parties to ensure the safety both of our monitors and of civilians in Eastern Ukraine.

The 2017 Ministerial Council discussed the continuation of the Structured Dialogue launched in 2016, aimed at reducing risk of military conflict. We welcome the Dialogue as an opportunity to rebuild trust among all stakeholders of European Security in the OSCE area. The process will take time, but we value the work done so far, including discussions on threat perceptions, challenges to the rules-based order, military-to-military contact, and trends in military force postures and exercises. At the Ministerial Council, the United Kingdom delivered a statement on behalf of 29 Allies restating the importance of enhancing military transparency, and of full implementation and updating of relevant commitments.

The OSCE is a vital forum for addressing the ‘protracted conflicts’ which remain a threat to European security, and during the Ministerial Council I reiterated our firm support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Government welcomes progress on confidence building measures relating to the conflict in Moldova agreed in the 5+2 format meetings in Vienna in 2017 and in Rome in 2018. We also continue to support the Minsk Co-Chairs in their efforts to find a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

The Government remains committed to the security and stability of the Western Balkans. We provide over 5 million Euros per annum to OSCE’s extensive field presence in the Western Balkans through assessed contributions and also give extra-budgetary funding to support work on media freedom, electoral reform, safe storage of small arms and light weapons, strengthening the rule of law, and processing of war crimes cases. The office of the OSCE’s Representative on Freedom of the Media chaired a discussion on media freedom at the Western Balkans Summit in London on 9-10 July. The Government also supports security and stability in Central Asia through our assessed contributions and through extra-budgetary funding to OSCE field missions, supporting work in areas such as judicial independence, rule of law, border controls, counter-terrorism, cyber security, and freedom of religion or belief.

The United Kingdom is using its second year chairing the OSCE Human Dimension Committee to support the 2017 Italian Chairmanship and promote discussion of issues relevant to everyday lives across the OSCE area in the field of human rights, fundamental freedoms and democracy. 2018 meetings have covered issues such as Human Rights Defenders, Freedom of Religion or Belief, and Roma and Sinti Girls’ Education. The Committee has also addressed cross-dimensional issues such as human trafficking and violence against women. The Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on Post-Holocaust Issues, Lord Pickles, spoke at an OSCE Chairmanship conference on Anti-Semitism in Rome in January and a UK-led event on racism in Vienna in May. Throughout this period, the United Kingdom, with EU partners, has continued to raise human rights concerns at the OSCE. At the Ministerial Council, the UK joined a Declaration by 44 states expressing concern at deteriorating respect for human rights and space for civil society in parts of the OSCE region.

OSCE work on arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation, along with counter-terrorism and cyber security, plays an important role in pursuit of our security objectives. We continue to promote efforts in the OSCE to strengthen and modernise conventional arms control in Europe, based on principles such as respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, reciprocity, transparency, and host nation consent. We welcome the OSCE Ministerial Council Decision to reinforce and expand efforts to reduce the threat posed by small arms and light weapons and stockpiles of conventional ammunition.

I was able to underline the UK’s commitment to European Security, the OSCE and to multilateral cooperation when I met the new OSCE Secretary General, Thomas Greminger, during his visit to London in May.

Slovakia has begun preparations for its OSCE Chairmanship, which starts in January 2019. We look forward to working with them to promote shared priorities, uphold shared principles and commitments and to increase security and cooperation in Europe.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS879
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Home Office
Made on: 19 July 2018
Made by: Sajid Javid (The Secretary of State for the Home Department)
Commons

Immigration

I am today publishing a consultation paper on the design of a compensation scheme that will help to right the wrongs suffered by those of the Windrush generation who have faced difficulties and suffered losses as a result of measures that are in place to tackle illegal immigration [Cm 9654].

I have been very clear both that the Government deeply regrets what has happened to some of the Windrush generation and that we are determined to put it right. A series of measures are in place to help achieve this. We are supporting those affected directly to gain confirmation of their immigration status. The Windrush taskforce, established in April, has provided documentation to over 2,000 people to demonstrate their right to live in the UK. We are conducting a Lessons Learned review, with independent oversight and challenge, to look at what happened and what the HO can do to ensure that it acts differently in future. Today I am also fulfilling the commitment to publish the terms of reference and methodology for that Review by summer recess and a copy of each will be placed in the House Library. The review aims to complete its findings by the end of March 2019 and I can confirm that the findings from the review will be published.

We also committed to establish a compensation scheme for those who have suffered loss as a result of these difficulties. On 10 May I launched a Call for Evidence, to help us understand what went wrong, when and the effects it has had on people’s lives. That closed on 8 June and we received over 650 responses. I have been moved by the stories people have told. There has been genuine suffering, which should never have happened. I am also inspired by the way many of the respondents moved half way round the world to help rebuild the UK, and established their homes and lives here. It is also clear from these stories that these are strong communities which support each other and contribute significantly to the life and prosperity of the UK.

I want to move quickly, but carefully, from this initial Call for Evidence to the next stage. Based on the Call for Evidence and the independent advice we are receiving from Martin Forde QC, we have designed a consultation exercise to help us build and set up a compensation scheme. We are suggesting the scheme should be open to anyone who would be eligible for assistance of any type under the existing Windrush Scheme being operated by the taskforce, and we are consulting on the types of losses and impacts that we should compensate for.

We received representations to extend the initial Call for Evidence and therefore I am keen to ensure that the consultation exercise is thorough and allows sufficient opportunity for everyone who wants to respond, to do so. The consultation will last 12 weeks, closing on 11 October 2018. We are encouraging responses from a wide range of people, but particularly the communities affected. I am working with the Caribbean High Commissioners to ensure the consultation reaches the right people abroad. The consultation document will be accessible online and offline. My officials will promote the consultation using appropriate media channels including social media. Throughout the consultation period we will engage with key stakeholders and community organisations to encourage responses, providing copies of the document and guidance for it to be completed, along with the offer of dedicated events with Home Office staff within community groups to facilitate responses. The independent advisor to the scheme, Martin Forde QC, will be talking directly to individuals affected and their representatives, as well as community leaders.

Following the consultation my priority will be to establish a scheme which will pay appropriate compensation as soon as possible. In the meantime, we will continue to offer people direct support to establish their immigration status.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS858
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Home Office
Made on: 19 July 2018
Made by: Mr Nick Hurd (The Minister of State for Policing and the Fire Service)
Commons

Independent Office for Police Conduct Annual Report

I am today, along with my rt hon Friend the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, publishing the 2017-2018 Annual Report and Accounts for the Independent Office for Police Conduct [HC 1331]. This will be laid before the House and published on www.gov.uk . The report will also be available in the Vote Office.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS855
WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 19 July 2018
Made by: Gavin Williamson (Secretary of State for Defence)
Commons

Service Personnel

On 12 March 2018, I announced that the Ministry of Defence (MOD) would be looking to mitigate the impact of income tax rises in Scotland affecting thousands of Armed Forces personnel in Scotland. New income tax bands and increased tax levels for Tax Year 2018-19, as compared to the rest of the UK, will result in the majority of military personnel living in Scotland, those earning more than £26,000 per annum, paying more tax this year in comparison to their counterparts living in the rest of the UK.

It has been decided that for this tax year the MOD will make a financial mitigation payment to all those Regular Service personnel negatively impacted by Scottish tax by £12 a year (or £1 a month) or higher. However, it has also been decided the amount of mitigation provided will be capped at £1,500. The financial mitigation payment will be paid retrospectively after the end of the tax year. It will be grossed up to ensure that when income tax and national insurance deductions are made the value of the payment closely matches the difference in tax experienced up to the £1,500 cap.

The MOD will continue to review the situation and decide each tax year whether the impact on UK Armed Forces warrants an offer of financial mitigation to support Service personnel in Scotland.

It is estimated that these payments will be made to up to 8,000 Regular Service personnel and will cost the MOD in the region of £4 million in Financial Year 2019-20.

WS
Home Office
Made on: 19 July 2018
Made by: Victoria Atkins (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability)
Commons

Gangmasters Licensing Authority Annual Report and the Disclosure and Barring Service Annual Report

Today the Annual Reports and Accounts for the Gangmasters Licensing Authority 2016-2017 [HC 1402] and the Disclosure and Barring Service 2017-18 [HC 1367] are being laid before the House and will published on www.gov.uk . Copies of both reports will also be available in the Vote Office.

The 2018-2019 Business Plan for the Disclosure and Barring Service is also being published today and a copy will be placed in the House Library and will be made available on www.gov.uk.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS857
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Ministry of Defence
Made on: 19 July 2018
Made by: Gavin Williamson (Secretary of State for Defence)
Commons

Modernising Defence Progaramme - Update

In January, together with the Prime Minister and Chancellor, I launched the Government’s Modernising Defence Programme (MDP). The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is now able to share our headline conclusions. Throughout the MDP, the Department has worked with colleagues across Whitehall, with academics, subject matter experts, allies and partners and ran a public consultation exercise.

The MDP was launched after the National Security Capability Review acknowledged the increasing security challenges we are facing. Its purpose was to deliver better military capability to meet the increasing threat environment and value for money in a sustainable and affordable way. Defence protects our people, projects our global influence, and promotes our prosperity. And, at this key moment as the UK leaves the European Union, Defence and the Armed Forces will continue to deliver security in Europe and further afield, helping to make Global Britain a reality.

Threats and risks to national security have diversified and become more complex since 2015. Although we anticipated many of the threats and risks we now face, we underestimated the pace at which they would intensify and combine to challenge UK national security at home and threaten the rules-based international order that has delivered peace, security and prosperity over many decades. And, we did not fully understand the ways in which they would interact with each other.

Alongside this, the character of warfare has changed since 2015. We are in a period of constant aggressive competition between states, often developing into undeclared confrontation and, in some cases, proxy conflicts. Technology, especially digital technology, is developing at a breath-taking pace, making pervasive many capabilities once only imagined in science fiction.

Our adversaries are working to take advantage of this contested environment by systematically identifying and exploiting our vulnerabilities and those of our allies and partners. Peer and near-peer states are investing heavily in both conventional and emerging technologies, and are increasingly adopting hybrid or asymmetric approaches to gain advantage. This has included attacking our digital networks and those of our allies, and operating in unconventional and legally questionable ways. Broader developments in the world including demographic change, increasing urbanisation, the risk of pandemics, resource and environmental pressures will all contribute to a global strategic context which will become more complex.

All this means that the challenges to our national security and prosperity – and to our allies’ and partners’ security and prosperity – are increasingly complex, ambiguous, destabilising and potentially catastrophic.

Work in the first phase of the MDP has reviewed this changing strategic context and how our Armed Forces need to be able to respond. We have reviewed our existing capability plans, and begun to shape new policy approaches and identify investment priorities, and through workstreams, we have developed a blueprint for a major programme of top-down transformative reform to defence.

In all of this, we have been guided by the three key roles that our Armed Forces should be able to fulfil in the 21st century:

1. Contribute to strengthening global security through our leading role in NATO, and provide the structures and capabilities to defend the UK;

2. Meet the challenges of the wider threats to international security and stability, including through operations and activities alongside our global allies and partners. Defence must be engaged and outward looking, meeting the challenges of our age, from state-based competition and confrontation, violent extremism and terrorism, instability and crises in Africa and Asia, illegal and irregular migration, serious and organised crime, to climate change and environmental disasters.

3. Act independently, when appropriate, to protect UK interests and citizens overseas, leading multi-national operations and developing strong defence relationships with partners around the world.

Headline conclusions

1. Our Armed Forces need to be ready and able to match the pace at which our adversaries now move.

The pace at which our adversaries can act against us has grown quickly since SDSR 2015. Today, our adversaries disguise their actions by launching attacks that are hard to attribute, or by operating below the conventional threshold for a decisive, collective response. Whilst our Armed Forces already protect us against these challenges every hour of every day, we need to be able to respond to this new character of warfare, both in the traditional land, sea and air domains, as well as in the new domains of space and cyber. The MDP will make sure that the Armed Forces can continue to protect our prosperity and security, whilst reinforcing Britain’s place in the world.

To defend our national security, we should make the best possible use of the unique mix of hard and soft power that makes the UK a major global actor: from our economic levers to our wider diplomatic and cultural influence on the world’s stage. This integrated, collective approach to national security is captured in the Government’s Fusion Doctrine. Defence has a vital and increasing role in underwriting it, including through contributing to deterring and disrupting hostile state activity, delivering the CONTEST counter-terrorism strategy in the UK and overseas, or supporting wider security and prosperity objectives.

The Armed Forces have a unique network of alliances and friendships spanning every corner of every continent. We have made significant progress in making Defence more ‘international by design’, and we will look at how we could do more. We have already strengthened relationships with key allies and partners, including through ambitious capability collaborations, and we will seek to go further still. We will consider our global defence network, to make sure we have the right military and civilian staff deployed around the world. We will seek to optimise our programme of world-class international education and training, which is so highly valued by our allies and partners, and gives the UK competitive advantage and strategic influence across the globe. And we will continue to lead multinational forces and deepen our relationships across the globe.

Most importantly, we need to make sure we can respond rapidly to future crises on our terms. Our elite and high-readiness forces are critical in this regard, enabled by collective training and our high-end exercise programme. We will consider how we can rebalance our training and equipment to mainland Europe, the Far East and the Middle East and review our overseas basing to improve our interoperability with allies and partners. NATO’s Readiness Initiative will also play an important role in this endeavour. Equally, our ability to respond rapidly will depend on an improved understanding and anticipation of the strategic confrontations that define this era: we will therefore build a Strategic Net Assessment capability in the MOD. Strategic Net Assessment looks across all dimensions of competition – political, economic, military, resources – to assess how the choices of both friends and foes may play out over the short, medium and long-term. Its conclusions can be used to develop more nuanced and better-informed strategy, so we can better anticipate our adversaries’ actions and counter them more effectively.

As outlined in SDSR 2015, protecting our security safeguards our prosperity, so our Armed Forces will continue to provide the assurance and reassurance for our global trade and development commitments, and support our ambitions for Global Britain. As we continue our commitment to Defence investment we will consider a much more agile approach to the development of future equipment, with a clear focus on the increasing flexibility required to maintain strategic advantage over our adversaries.

2. A fighting force fit for the challenges of the 21st century

We intend to modernise our force structure so that it is better able to meet the increasing threats we face. The key design principles of Joint Force 2025 are right; we want Armed Forces able to operate with agility and pace in the information age. Our Armed Forces need to be able to meet a full range of missions now and into the future. This includes, if necessary, warfighting operations under NATO Article 5 and further afield.

We need to be able to meet future threats and face down our adversaries to continue to protect our prosperity and security. We may need to accelerate elements of the programme to meet the most acute threats sooner. Equally, we might want to introduce new capabilities or equipment that provide significant advantage in the immediate term. We intend, in each case, to look to the right balance of conventional and novel capabilities to meet the threats we face.

Alongside this, we will consider how to improve our resilience, so that our networks and systems across defence are protected against cyber-attack and infiltration, and our submarines can continue to avoid detection. We will also strengthen our equipment, training and facilities, like the investment we are making in a Chemical Weapons Defence Centre to counter Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear threats like we saw in Salisbury and Amesbury. Through advancing our resilience we will make sure our forces and bases are better protected.

A fighting force fit for the challenges of the 21st century also means our Armed Forces need to be able to operate in the space domain. So, to guide future investment in our satellites and wider space capabilities we will publish a Space Strategy.

To operate effectively in the information age, we need ‘information advantage’. Conflicts of the future will increasingly be won and lost based on who uses information technology most effectively: sensors, computing, communication, cyber and machine learning, artificial intelligence and autonomy. We will consider how to enhance our ability to collect, analyse, disseminate and act very rapidly on the vast quantities of data that characterise the contemporary operating environment. That will allow us to understand how our adversaries are thinking, how they may choose to act against us, and how we can deter or defeat them.

We are also looking at how to update the way we fight. For much of the last two decades, the UK has been conducting or contributing to significant overseas operations, in Afghanistan, Iraq and the wider Middle East. Our adversaries have learned a lot about how we operate, and how they can disrupt our preferred methods. So, we are considering what a more active and dynamic approach to operations in all five domains – land, sea, air, space and cyberspace – should look like.

At the same time, we will consider how to modernise our approach to technology and innovation. By taking a more coordinated approach to technology and experimentation, with better central oversight, we may be able to pursue opportunities for modernisation more aggressively and accept higher levels of risk pursuing novel ideas. We intend to invest in a series of ‘Spearhead’ initiatives on key new technologies and increase our spending on innovation, science and technology. Pursuing this approach will allow us to become quicker at turning advances in research and development into strategic advantage. In support of this, we will publish a ‘Defence Technology Framework’, setting out the Department’s technology priorities so that we can focus efforts and guide strategy, investment and plans across Defence as a whole.

And we should also ensure that we use the combined talents of our Whole Force of Regulars, Reserves, civil servants and industry partners more effectively. The character of conflict and the world of work more generally are changing, so Defence will need to up-skill our people, harness the advantages offered by Reserves, and reflect the expectations of the modern workforce.

3. Transforming the business of Defence to deliver a robust, credible, modern and affordable force

We are re-setting and re-energising the way MOD is led, organised and managed, with clearer responsibilities and accountabilities to deliver better value for money. We will embrace approaches, processes, technologies and best practice with a proven track record of success elsewhere. We will encourage a culture of experimentation, and change our acquisition and commercial processes to better support the rapid and incremental adoption of new and emerging technologies.

To help create financial headroom for the additional modernisation, we will consider how to deliver greater efficiency by adopting ambitious, digitally-enabled business modernisation. In parallel, we will consider removing existing areas of overlap and duplication within our force structure and burden-sharing more effectively with allies and partners.

We intend to adopt a more collaborative and demanding approach to our relationship with industry, centred around an agreed set of productivity, efficiency, skills and innovation challenges that we need to meet together. At the same time, in the next stages of our work we will consider what we might do to grow even further the already considerable contribution that Defence makes to UK prosperity. The important work conducted by the Honourable Member for Ludlow, Philip Dunne MP, in his independent report can inform these considerations.

Conclusion

The first phase of the MDP has looked to set the direction we intend to take. It has clarified three key themes we should consider in the next phase: firstly, our Armed Forces need to be ready and able to match the pace at which our adversaries now move. Secondly, our Armed Forces need to be a fighting force fit for the challenges of the 21st century. And, finally, we need to transform the business of Defence to deliver a robust, credible, modern and affordable force.

The Prime Minister, Chancellor and I will continue to work closely throughout the next phase of the MDP, and I will keep the House updated as decisions are made.

We will continue to meet our commitment to our partners and maintain a full spectrum of nuclear, conventional and cyber capabilities to match our global ambition. With one of the largest Defence budgets in the world, and the highest in Europe, our Defence budget is increasing in real terms by £1 billion a year during this Parliament. The stage is now set for the next phase of this programme of work to ensure UK defence and our Armed Forces can continue to keep our country safe, our people and interests around the world secure, and help ensure that the UK can continue to play a major role on the world stage.

WS
Department for International Trade
Made on: 19 July 2018
Made by: George Hollingbery (Minister of State for Trade Policy)
Commons

EU trade agreement impact analysis and process

I am pleased to announce that my Department will today publish an impact assessment for the EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement (FTA). I have separately written to the Scrutiny Committees in both Houses of Parliament such that they can consider this evidence as part of their important review of this Agreement. A copy of this impact assessment will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Negotiations with Singapore concluded in October 2014. The European Commission has now presented the final negotiated texts to the Council of the European Union (Council). The Council will now decide whether to adopt the necessary Council Decision authorising signature and conclusion, with a vote in October 2018.

The Agreement is expected to promote bilateral trade and economic growth between the EU and Singapore by eliminating most tariffs and reducing non-tariff measures that businesses face when trading goods and services and when investing.

I will also today lay the European Union (Definition of Treaties) (Economic Partnership Agreements and Trade Agreement) (Eastern and Southern Africa States, Southern African Development Community States, Ghana and Ecuador) Order 2018 to designate the Ecuador – EU Andean Accession and these Economic Partnership Agreements as Treaties in accordance with the European Communities Act 1972.

The EU, Ecuador, Colombia and Peru signed the Protocol of Accession of Ecuador to the EU-Andean Free Trade Agreement (known as the EU-Andean FTA) on 11 November 2016. The protocol has been provisionally applied since 1 January 2017.

On the 28 July 2016, the EU signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with Ghana. The EPA has been provisionally applied since 15 December 2016.

On the 10 June 2016, the EU signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with 6 countries from the Southern African Development Community (SADC): Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland (now known as Eswatini) (the 'SADC EPA states'). The EPA has been provisionally applied since 10 October 2016, except in the case of Mozambique, where it has been provisionally applied since 4 February 2018.

On the 24 August 2009, the EU signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the Eastern and Southern Africa countries: Madagascar, Mauritius, the Seychelles and Zimbabwe (the ‘ESA countries’). In July 2017, the Comoros signed the Agreement, and they are currently in the process of ratification. The EPA has been provisionally applied since 14 May 2012, except in the case of the Comoros, where it will be applied pending ratification by the government of the Comoros. These agreements require ratification by the EU Member States to come fully into effect.

I will lay this Order concurrently with the laying of the text of the Agreements as Command Papers under the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act for scrutiny. This is in effect the start of the formal process of ratification of the Agreements in the UK.

These Agreements will boost the economies of the UK, the EU, and partner countries by promoting trade and economic growth. The European Union’s Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) have a development focus that goes beyond trade, by including co-operation and assistance for partner countries. They aim to promote trade – and ultimately contribute, through increased trade and investment, to sustainable development and poverty reduction.

I will also lay before the House an Explanatory Memorandum to this Order. This explains the background and rationale of the Agreements and ratification. At the same time, we are publishing our economic impact assessments of these Agreements. Copies of these documents are being placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

The Government remains committed to supporting the EU’s ambitious trade and development agendas including the EU Free Trade Agreements it is putting in place. The UK ratification of these Agreements whilst the UK is still an EU Member State is a sound demonstration of this commitment.

The Government has been clear it will seek a seamless transition to replicate the effects of the Agreements when we leave the EU in line with our policy.

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Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 19 July 2018
Made by: Mark Field (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Commons

Tailored Review of the British Council

I am announcing today the start of a Tailored Review of the British Council, the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. Established by Royal Charter in 1940, the British Council builds relationships and understanding between the people of the UK and other countries.

As a Non-Department Public Body (NDPB) sponsored by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), the British Council is required to undergo a Tailored Review at least once in every parliament. The principal aims of Tailored Reviews are to ensure public bodies remain fit for purpose, are well governed and properly accountable for what they do.

The Review will provide a robust scrutiny of, and assurance on, the continuing need for the British Council – both its function and its form. It will then assess the governance and control arrangements in place to ensure they are compliant with the recognised principles of good corporate governance and delivering good value for money. The structure, efficiency and effectiveness of the British Council will be considered throughout the Review.

A Challenge Panel, chaired by a FCO Non-Executive Director, will examine the findings of both stages of the Review.

The Review will follow guidance published in 2016 by the Cabinet Office: ‘Tailored Reviews: guidance on reviews of public bodies’ https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/tailored-reviews-of-public-bodies-guidance. The Terms of Reference for the review can be found on gov.uk.

In conducting this Tailored Review, officials will engage with a broad range of stakeholders across the UK and overseas, including across UK Government, Devolved Administrations, foreign governments, business and civil society, as well as with the British Council’s own staff and management.

I shall inform the House of the outcome of the Review when it is completed and copies of the report of the Review will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS853
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Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 19 July 2018
Made by: Mr Jeremy Hunt (Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Commons

Provision of Policing Support to Jordan

The United Kingdom is strongly committed to supporting Jordan’s security and stability. Through a Conflict Stability and Security Fund project worth £9 million over two years, the UK is helping the Jordanian Public Security Directorate (PSD) and Gendarmerie to develop its community policing, critical incident response and investigative counter-terrorist policing capabilities. The support delivers against the objectives of Her Majesty’s Government, in particular our security objective, on building Jordanian capability to enhance both its own security and its ability to tackle internal and regional threats in a manner compliant with human rights.

In order to reach this objective, the British Embassy in Amman is granting equipment totalling £742,853.24 for support to the PSD and Gendarmerie. This includes infrastructure, vehicles, and IT equipment (hardware and software).

The provision of this assistance is fully in line with this Government’s security and stability objectives in the Middle East. Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials carry out regular reviews of our programmes in Jordan to ensure that objectives are being met, and that value for money is being achieved.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS852
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Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 19 July 2018
Made by: Sir Alan Duncan (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Commons

Developments in the Organization for Security & Cooperation in Europe since December 2017

I represented the United Kingdom at the 24th Ministerial Council Meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) held in Vienna on 7-8 December 2017, hosted by Austrian Chair-in-Office, Sebastian Kurz. The Council is the top decision-making body of the OSCE and was attended by Ministers from across its 57 participating states. A number of new commitments were agreed, including on combating trafficking in human beings, on small arms and light weapons, and on reducing the risk of conflict stemming from the use of information and communication technologies.

In my intervention at the Ministerial Council, I reaffirmed the United Kingdom’s support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. I condemned Russia’s destabilising actions in eastern Ukraine and illegal annexation of Crimea, and we co-sponsored an event in the margins of the Ministerial Council for Crimean Tatar leaders. The United Kingdom is the second largest contributor of secondees to the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM), which plays a crucial role in monitoring the ceasefire and events on the ground. I paid tribute during my intervention to SMM paramedic Joseph Stone, who tragically lost his life on patrol in April 2017. The United Kingdom continues to call on all parties to ensure the safety both of our monitors and of civilians in Eastern Ukraine.

The 2017 Ministerial Council discussed the continuation of the Structured Dialogue launched in 2016, aimed at reducing risk of military conflict. We welcome the Dialogue as an opportunity to rebuild trust among all stakeholders of European Security in the OSCE area. The process will take time, but we value the work done so far, including discussions on threat perceptions, challenges to the rules-based order, military-to-military contact, and trends in military force postures and exercises. At the Ministerial Council, the United Kingdom delivered a statement on behalf of 29 Allies restating the importance of enhancing military transparency, and of full implementation and updating of relevant commitments.

The OSCE is a vital forum for addressing the ‘protracted conflicts’ which remain a threat to European security, and during the Ministerial Council I reiterated our firm support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Government welcomes progress on confidence building measures relating to the conflict in Moldova agreed in the 5+2 format meetings in Vienna in 2017 and in Rome in 2018. We also continue to support the Minsk Co-Chairs in their efforts to find a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

The Government remains committed to the security and stability of the Western Balkans. We provide over 5 million Euros per annum to OSCE’s extensive field presence in the Western Balkans through assessed contributions and also give extra-budgetary funding to support work on media freedom, electoral reform, safe storage of small arms and light weapons, strengthening the rule of law, and processing of war crimes cases. The office of the OSCE’s Representative on Freedom of the Media chaired a discussion on media freedom at the Western Balkans Summit in London on 9-10 July. The Government also supports security and stability in Central Asia through our assessed contributions and through extra-budgetary funding to OSCE field missions, supporting work in areas such as judicial independence, rule of law, border controls, counter-terrorism, cyber security, and freedom of religion or belief.

The United Kingdom is using its second year chairing the OSCE Human Dimension Committee to support the 2017 Italian Chairmanship and promote discussion of issues relevant to everyday lives across the OSCE area in the field of human rights, fundamental freedoms and democracy. 2018 meetings have covered issues such as Human Rights Defenders, Freedom of Religion or Belief, and Roma and Sinti Girls’ Education. The Committee has also addressed cross-dimensional issues such as human trafficking and violence against women. The Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on Post-Holocaust Issues, Lord Pickles, spoke at an OSCE Chairmanship conference on Anti-Semitism in Rome in January and a UK-led event on racism in Vienna in May. Throughout this period, the United Kingdom, with EU partners, has continued to raise human rights concerns at the OSCE. At the Ministerial Council, the UK joined a Declaration by 44 states expressing concern at deteriorating respect for human rights and space for civil society in parts of the OSCE region.

OSCE work on arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation, along with counter-terrorism and cyber security, plays an important role in pursuit of our security objectives. We continue to promote efforts in the OSCE to strengthen and modernise conventional arms control in Europe, based on principles such as respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, reciprocity, transparency, and host nation consent. We welcome the OSCE Ministerial Council Decision to reinforce and expand efforts to reduce the threat posed by small arms and light weapons and stockpiles of conventional ammunition.

I was able to underline the UK’s commitment to European Security, the OSCE and to multilateral cooperation when I met the new OSCE Secretary General, Thomas Greminger, during his visit to London in May.

Slovakia has begun preparations for its OSCE Chairmanship, which starts in January 2019. We look forward to working with them to promote shared priorities, uphold shared principles and commitments and to increase security and cooperation in Europe.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS851
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Department for International Trade
Made on: 19 July 2018
Made by: Dr Liam Fox (Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade)
Commons

Submission of UK's Goods Schedule at the World Trade Organization

I have previously informed the House that in order to fulfil our obligations at the World Trade Organization (WTO) as we leave the European Union we will prepare UK-specific schedules of concessions and commitments. I have today sent to the secretariat of the WTO the UK schedule for goods and I will place a copy in the library.

This schedule replicates, as far as possible, our current obligations. We see this as a technical exercise for which the WTO’s 1980 procedures provide the appropriate legal mechanism. That will be our first step.

Presenting our own UK Schedules at the WTO is a necessary part of our leaving the EU. It does not in any way prejudge the outcome of the eventual UK-EU trading arrangements.

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Department for International Trade
Made on: 19 July 2018
Made by: Baroness Fairhead (Minister of State for Trade Export and Promotion)
Lords

Submission of UK's Goods Schedule at the World Trade Organization

My Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade (Dr Liam Fox) has today made the following statement:

I have previously informed the House that in order to fulfil our obligations at the World Trade Organization (WTO) as we leave the European Union we will prepare UK-specific schedules of concessions and commitments. I have today sent to the secretariat of the WTO the UK schedule for goods and I will place a copy in the library.

This schedule replicates, as far as possible, our current obligations. We see this as a technical exercise for which the WTO’s 1980 procedures provide the appropriate legal mechanism. That will be our first step.

Presenting our own UK Schedules at the WTO is a necessary part of our leaving the EU. It does not in any way prejudge the outcome of the eventual UK-EU trading arrangements.

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Leader of the House of Lords
Made on: 18 July 2018
Made by: Baroness Evans of Bowes Park (Lord Privy Seal)
Lords

Publication of the Intelligence and Security Committee’s Diversity and Inclusion Report

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

The Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament (ISC) has undertaken a review of diversity and inclusion in the UK intelligence and security community focusing on four key protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010: gender, race, sexuality and disability. The Committee has now completed its inquiry and its report has today been laid in parliament.

The Government welcomes the publication of the ISC’s Report. The Report recognises that the intelligence and security community needs to attract and draw upon the skills, talent and experience of all sectors of our society in order to continue its vital work effectively, and to reflect the diverse population it protects. The Report acknowledges the significant progress that has taken place in recent years, highlighting the work of staff networks, innovative and inclusive recruitment campaigns and the facilitation of more flexible working patterns and styles. There is clearly room for improvement and senior leaders remain committed to ensuring the intelligence and security community is as inclusive as possible.

The Government thanks the ISC for its work. We will give full consideration to the conclusions and recommendations contained in the Report and will respond formally in due course.

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Leader of the House of Lords
Made on: 18 July 2018
Made by: Baroness Evans of Bowes Park (Lord Privy Seal)
Lords

Machinery of Government - Child Death Review Policy

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

This written statement confirms that child death review policy will transfer from the Department for Education to the Department for Health and Social Care. More than 80 per cent of child deaths have medical or public health causes. The Department of Health and Social Care, its arm’s-length bodies and the wider NHS have a responsibility to support understanding of children’s deaths and translating learning into actions to reduce preventable deaths.

The transfer was recommended by the Wood Review of the role and functions of Local Safeguarding Children Boards, published in March 2016. It includes responsibility for issuing statutory guidance relating to child death reviews, supporting child death review partners with the implementation of this guidance alongside NHS England, and putting in place transitional arrangements involving NHS Digital for the collection of Local Safeguarding Children Boards child death review data, and then, once operational, by the National Child Mortality Database.

Related areas that remain the responsibility of the Department for Education include children’s social care, including safeguarding children and child protection.

These changes will be effective from today, 18 July 2018.

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Cabinet Office
Made on: 18 July 2018
Made by: Lord Young of Cookham (Lord in Waiting (Government Whip))
Lords

Conflict, Stability and Security Fund Allocations 2018/19

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I wish to update the House on the progress of the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) for the Financial Year 2017/18, as well as to announce the initial regional and thematic allocations for this Financial Year 2018/19.

The CSSF is a cross-government fund which uses both Official Development Assistance (ODA) and non-ODA resources to deliver against both national security and UK Aid objectives, through security, defence, peacekeeping, peace-building and stability activity.

Following a review of the cross-government funds, undertaken as part of the National Security Capability Review, Ministerial oversight of the CSSF and the Prosperity Fund is now the responsibility of a sub committee of the National Security Council. I chair this sub committee, which met for the first time on 13 June, and ensures that both funds deliver effectively on national security priorities and UK Aid objectives.

Examples of successful programmes and results, as well as ways in which the CSSF has made improvements, are included in the CSSF Annual Report, published today. A copy of this document will be placed in the libraries of both Houses and has been published on GOV.UK.

In 2017/18, the CSSF spent £1,182 million against a cross-government allocation of £1,188 million (99.5%). A further breakdown of spend against regional and thematic allocation, by department and by discretionary and non-discretionary spend, is included in the Annual Report. The initial allocated budget for the Fund is £1,279 million for FY 2018/19.

FY 18/19 Allocations

Allocation

Non-ODA

ODA

Total

Middle East, North Africa

£30.5 m

£177.1 m

£207.6 m

South Asia

£18.5 m

£89.7 m

£108.2 m

Africa (sub-Saharan)

£34.0 m

£58.9 m

£92.8 m

Overseas Territories

£44.0 m

£4.5 m

£48.5 m

Eastern Europe, Central Asia

£25.7 m

£16.9 m

£42.5 m

Western Balkans

£5.7 m

£22.4 m

£28.0 m

Americas

£.3 m

£9.7 m

£10.0 m

Good Governance Fund (Western Balkans and Eastern Europe)

-

£33.0 m

£33.0 m

Asia Pacific

-

£3.0 m

£3.0 m

REGIONAL TOTAL

£158.6 m

£415.0 m

£573.7 m

Migration

£10.0 m

£18.5 m

£28.5 m

Counter Extremism

£13.3 m

£14.2 m

£27.5 m

Multilateral Strategy

£3.0 m

£51.5 m

£54.5 m

THEMATIC TOTAL

£26.3 m

£84.2 m

£110.5 m

Peacekeeping

£303.2 m

£82.8 m

£386.0 m

MOD DMAP

£50.0 m

-

£50.0 m

MOD Afghan Security

£100.0 m

-

£100.0 m

MOD UNFICYP

£18.1 m

-

£18.1 m

MOD UN Ops Africa

£20.0 m

-

£20.0 m

Non-Discretionary TOTAL

£491.3 m

£82.8 m

£574.1 m

Corporate Delivery Support & Other (this includes Stabilisation Unit, Joint Funds Unit and pilot activities)

£5.1 m

£15.2 m

£20.4 m

TOTAL CSSF

£681.4 m

£597.2 m

£1278.7 m

WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 18 July 2018
Made by: Baroness Buscombe (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions)
Lords

Employment and Support Allowance

My Right Honourable Friend the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (The Rt. Hon.Esther McVey MP) has made the following Written Statement.

On 15 March I provided the House with a statement setting out how the work my Department was undertaking to correct underpayments that occurred when converting Incapacity Benefit claims to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) between 2011 and 2014 was progressing. I wanted to take this opportunity to provide the House with a further update.

In March I explained that my Department would resource this exercise with 400 staff to make sure we could review cases at pace. This work is now underway with staff reviewing cases, contacting claimants and correcting claims; so far we have paid out over £40 million in arrears.

The Department has analysed the relationship between “official error” and section 27 of the Social Security Act 1998 in regulating how and to what extent arrears can be paid. As a result of the conclusions of this analysis, we will now be paying arrears to those affected back to their date of conversion to ESA.

My Department will be contacting all those identified as potentially affected as planned. Once an individual is contacted, and the relevant information gathered, they can expect to receive appropriate payment within 12 weeks. I can also confirm that once contacted, individuals will be provided with a dedicated free phone number on which they can make contact with the Department.

Where we have already corrected cases and paid arrears from 21 October 2014 we will review the case again and pay any additional arrears that are due prior to that date.

I hope this will help Members to provide reassurance, to their constituents who think they may have been affected, that they will receive all the money they are entitled to.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS877
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