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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Treasury
Made on: 22 July 2019
Made by: Jesse Norman (The Financial Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

HMRC Powers and Taxpayer Safeguards

Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) have a vital purpose, to collect the tax revenue that pays for the UK’s public services and benefits system. The Government recognises that public trust is essential to a healthy and effective tax system. UK citizens must know that their tax authority is fair, careful and even-handed and that it adheres to those core values in all its work.

But citizens also need to be reassured that HMRC have the powers they require to ensure that everyone pays their fair share of taxes. In some areas, particularly where HMRC are faced with fraud, evasion and complex avoidance, those powers are necessarily far-reaching. It is therefore of great public importance that they are exercised in a way that maintains public trust, with appropriate oversight and operational checks and balances, and statutory safeguards that enable taxpayers to dispute HMRC’s decisions or complain about their treatment.

I am grateful to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee for its report The Powers of HMRC: Treating Taxpayers Fairly and for the opportunity to discuss these matters with them. I have also discussed matters of trust at HMRC in detail with officials and outside stakeholders, and I am today announcing several actions HMRC are taking to maintain and develop public trust in their operations.

Professional Standards Committee

The context in which HMRC operate is changing faster than ever before. New technology presents significant opportunities to make tax administration easier for both HMRC and for taxpayers. But it also presents new challenges, as a small minority of taxpayers who wish to escape paying tax seek new ways to find unfair advantages.

As HMRC adapt to these changes, it is important both that they continue to maintain public trust in their approach to new technologies, and that the powers given by Parliament are implemented carefully and remain subject to appropriate oversight and safeguards.

So HMRC will establish a new Professional Standards Committee to advise the Commissioners of Revenue & Customs. The Committee, which will take advice from a range of independent experts, will consider, amongst other things, issues relating to the implementation of HMRC powers. The Committee will not consider individual cases or Government tax policies. HMRC will publish details of the Committee’s membership and terms of reference in the autumn.

Powers and Safeguards

The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee proposed a review of all powers granted to HMRC since the conclusion of the Powers Review in 2012. I have considered this carefully and concluded that a full review of HMRC powers is not necessary at this time. The powers granted to HMRC since 2012 were properly scrutinised before being granted by Parliament. The Government’s view is that they remain necessary and proportionate. I have, however, asked HMRC to evaluate the implementation of powers introduced since 2012 in relation to the powers and safeguards principles, engaging with stakeholders, including taxpayers and their representatives. This will be published in early 2020.

Adjudicator

The Adjudicator’s independent role in complaints handling is a core component of ensuring public trust in HMRC, and of HMRC’s evolution as a service organisation.

HMRC will undertake a comprehensive review of the findings identified in the 2019 Adjudicator’s report and will publish the results of the review by the end of this year. HMRC are working with the Adjudicator to ensure that they have effective mechanisms in place to learn quickly and appropriately from complaints and, if necessary, to make changes to their operational policy and processes.

To enable better access for taxpayers to the Adjudicator service, HMRC are also developing a secure digital channel for complaints.

Support for Taxpayers

HMRC understand that some taxpayers will always need extra help in their dealings with them and that others may need additional support at a point in time because they are dealing with a difficult life event. Some taxpayers may become anxious or distressed as a result of compliance activities, or when they get into debt. Ensuring that people who need support are treated with empathy and dignity is vital to maintaining wider public trust in HMRC.

HMRC have provided tailored assistance to taxpayers who need extra help and those in vulnerable circumstances since 2014 via their Extra Support service and also work closely with the voluntary and community sector. Working with their new Customer Experience Committee, and drawing on the experience of the Committee’s independent, external advisers, HMRC have recently embarked on a programme to strengthen the support they provide to taxpayers who need extra help. Importantly, this includes extending the Extra Support service to people who may need additional help to deal with HMRC investigations and to help resolve disputes wherever possible without litigation. HMRC will report on the effectiveness of these measures in their next annual report.

HMRC will continue to work closely with external representatives through their forums, such as the Additional Needs Working Group and Individual Stakeholder Forum, to understand taxpayers’ needs better and to improve support for taxpayers.

Transparency

HMRC have undertaken to increase transparency and enhance public trust by publishing more data and information about the exercise of their powers. HMRC will engage with stakeholders, including taxpayers and their representatives, to identify what further data and information HMRC should publish in support of these goals.

This year, as a first step towards that commitment, HMRC will expand the range of performance and management information they publish in their monthly and quarterly performance publications. Previous reporting focussed on specific aspects of their telephony and post processes, for instance, call waiting and post turnaround times, as well as compliance yield figures. From August HMRC will publish further information, including but not limited to, their debt management, registrations and repayment services.

Taxpayer experience

Compliance enquiries are a necessary and important feature of HMRC’s work in collecting the right amount of tax. Maintaining public trust in HMRC requires that these enquiries are carried out, but also that they are done in an appropriate way. Compliance enquiries can be worrying for taxpayers and HMRC are committed to ensuring that their procedures are accessible and impartial and that HMRC officers treat taxpayers with professionalism and respect. This includes taking into account the specific circumstances of taxpayers.

HMRC are reviewing taxpayers’ experiences during compliance enquiries. Drawing on taxpayer feedback, this work will look at how each stage of an enquiry or investigation can affect taxpayers. It will seek to identify improvements in the process and draw out appropriate common standards and expectations. This work includes a review of the content, language and tone of letters, to ensure that they are clear, courteous and tailored appropriately to the needs of the taxpayer, including those who need extra help. In this, HMRC are working closely with a range of stakeholder groups and forums to develop best practice, which should help HMRC to improve the way that they interact with taxpayers.

The Government will provide a further update to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee later this year on all of the areas of work outlined in this statement.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1748
WS
Treasury
Made on: 22 July 2019
Made by: Lord Young of Cookham (Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

HMRC Powers and Taxpayer Safeguards

My honourable friend the Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Jesse Norman) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) have a vital purpose, to collect the tax revenue that pays for the UK’s public services and benefits system. The Government recognises that public trust is essential to a healthy and effective tax system. UK citizens must know that their tax authority is fair, careful and even-handed and that it adheres to those core values in all its work.

But citizens also need to be reassured that HMRC have the powers they require to ensure that everyone pays their fair share of taxes. In some areas, particularly where HMRC are faced with fraud, evasion and complex avoidance, those powers are necessarily far-reaching. It is therefore of great public importance that they are exercised in a way that maintains public trust, with appropriate oversight and operational checks and balances, and statutory safeguards that enable taxpayers to dispute HMRC’s decisions or complain about their treatment.

I am grateful to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee for its report The Powers of HMRC: Treating Taxpayers Fairly and for the opportunity to discuss these matters with them. I have also discussed matters of trust at HMRC in detail with officials and outside stakeholders, and I am today announcing several actions HMRC are taking to maintain and develop public trust in their operations.

Professional Standards Committee

The context in which HMRC operate is changing faster than ever before. New technology presents significant opportunities to make tax administration easier for both HMRC and for taxpayers. But it also presents new challenges, as a small minority of taxpayers who wish to escape paying tax seek new ways to find unfair advantages.

As HMRC adapt to these changes, it is important both that they continue to maintain public trust in their approach to new technologies, and that the powers given by Parliament are implemented carefully and remain subject to appropriate oversight and safeguards.

So HMRC will establish a new Professional Standards Committee to advise the Commissioners of Revenue & Customs. The Committee, which will take advice from a range of independent experts, will consider, amongst other things, issues relating to the implementation of HMRC powers. The Committee will not consider individual cases or Government tax policies. HMRC will publish details of the Committee’s membership and terms of reference in the autumn.

Powers and Safeguards

The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee proposed a review of all powers granted to HMRC since the conclusion of the Powers Review in 2012. I have considered this carefully and concluded that a full review of HMRC powers is not necessary at this time. The powers granted to HMRC since 2012 were properly scrutinised before being granted by Parliament. The Government’s view is that they remain necessary and proportionate. I have, however, asked HMRC to evaluate the implementation of powers introduced since 2012 in relation to the powers and safeguards principles, engaging with stakeholders, including taxpayers and their representatives. This will be published in early 2020.

Adjudicator

The Adjudicator’s independent role in complaints handling is a core component of ensuring public trust in HMRC, and of HMRC’s evolution as a service organisation.

HMRC will undertake a comprehensive review of the findings identified in the 2019 Adjudicator’s report and will publish the results of the review by the end of this year. HMRC are working with the Adjudicator to ensure that they have effective mechanisms in place to learn quickly and appropriately from complaints and, if necessary, to make changes to their operational policy and processes.

To enable better access for taxpayers to the Adjudicator service, HMRC are also developing a secure digital channel for complaints.

Support for Taxpayers

HMRC understand that some taxpayers will always need extra help in their dealings with them and that others may need additional support at a point in time because they are dealing with a difficult life event. Some taxpayers may become anxious or distressed as a result of compliance activities, or when they get into debt. Ensuring that people who need support are treated with empathy and dignity is vital to maintaining wider public trust in HMRC.

HMRC have provided tailored assistance to taxpayers who need extra help and those in vulnerable circumstances since 2014 via their Extra Support service and also work closely with the voluntary and community sector. Working with their new Customer Experience Committee, and drawing on the experience of the Committee’s independent, external advisers, HMRC have recently embarked on a programme to strengthen the support they provide to taxpayers who need extra help. Importantly, this includes extending the Extra Support service to people who may need additional help to deal with HMRC investigations and to help resolve disputes wherever possible without litigation. HMRC will report on the effectiveness of these measures in their next annual report.

HMRC will continue to work closely with external representatives through their forums, such as the Additional Needs Working Group and Individual Stakeholder Forum, to understand taxpayers’ needs better and to improve support for taxpayers.

Transparency

HMRC have undertaken to increase transparency and enhance public trust by publishing more data and information about the exercise of their powers. HMRC will engage with stakeholders, including taxpayers and their representatives, to identify what further data and information HMRC should publish in support of these goals.

This year, as a first step towards that commitment, HMRC will expand the range of performance and management information they publish in their monthly and quarterly performance publications. Previous reporting focussed on specific aspects of their telephony and post processes, for instance, call waiting and post turnaround times, as well as compliance yield figures. From August HMRC will publish further information, including but not limited to, their debt management, registrations and repayment services.

Taxpayer experience

Compliance enquiries are a necessary and important feature of HMRC’s work in collecting the right amount of tax. Maintaining public trust in HMRC requires that these enquiries are carried out, but also that they are done in an appropriate way. Compliance enquiries can be worrying for taxpayers and HMRC are committed to ensuring that their procedures are accessible and impartial and that HMRC officers treat taxpayers with professionalism and respect. This includes taking into account the specific circumstances of taxpayers.

HMRC are reviewing taxpayers’ experiences during compliance enquiries. Drawing on taxpayer feedback, this work will look at how each stage of an enquiry or investigation can affect taxpayers. It will seek to identify improvements in the process and draw out appropriate common standards and expectations. This work includes a review of the content, language and tone of letters, to ensure that they are clear, courteous and tailored appropriately to the needs of the taxpayer, including those who need extra help. In this, HMRC are working closely with a range of stakeholder groups and forums to develop best practice, which should help HMRC to improve the way that they interact with taxpayers.

The Government will provide a further update to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee later this year on all of the areas of work outlined in this statement.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1785
WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 22 July 2019
Made by: Earl Howe (Minister of State, Ministry of Defence)
Lords

Support for Armed Forces Personnel and Veterans

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence (The Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Our Armed Forces do an incredible job to protect us and our nation. They endure great hardships and separation from their loved ones, and they place themselves in harm’s way and bear the physical and mental scars of traumatic experiences. They are prepared to risk their lives for us. We owe them a huge debt, and we also owe them justice and fairness.

The Government is clear that the Armed Forces are not above the law. It is right that whenever the Armed Forces embark on operations outside of the UK our people and their chain of command are bound to abide by the criminal law of England and Wales, as well as international humanitarian law as set out in the Geneva Conventions. Our service men and women are required to conform to the highest standards of personal behaviour and conduct. And when they fall short they must be held to account. Justice must be served.

The Government believes that, other than in exceptional circumstances, the conclusion of investigations into allegations made against members of the Armed Forces should draw a line – addressing the uncertainty faced by Armed Forces personnel concerned about the prospect of re-investigation and prosecution many years after the event. But the law as it stands cannot allow that line to be drawn with any confidence. That is why the Government believes change is needed to afford Armed Forces personnel and veterans greater protection from the threat of prosecution for alleged historical offences committed in the course of duty outside the UK. Armed Forces personnel and veterans should not be left with the threat of prosecution hanging over their heads for years to come, in circumstances where their actions have been investigated at the time.

Similar issues arise in relation to civil litigation. Military operations in Iraq resulted in litigation against the Ministry of Defence on an industrial scale: nearly 1,000 claims seeking compensation for personal injury or death (most of which also sought compensation for human rights violations), and approximately 1,400 judicial review claims seeking an European Convention on Human Rights-compliant investigation and compensation. Although the law does provide for a time limit in such cases, the Courts are currently given broad discretion as to whether to enforce that limit. The effect is that claims have routinely been brought late, with huge numbers of compensation claims permitted to proceed long after the relevant time limit.

The later a claim is brought, especially in respect of allegations emanating from a war zone, the harder it is to assess in a fair and proportionate manner. Records may no longer be sufficiently detailed to be able to prove or disprove specific allegations, and the memories of those involved in incidents fade over time. In such circumstances, the Government may have to choose between settling claims – the merits of which have not been established – or putting Armed Forces personnel and veterans through the ordeal of giving evidence on the Ministry of Defence’s behalf. This is unfair to our personnel and to the taxpayer, who must pay the associated legal costs.

All of this goes to the heart of what is known as ‘lawfare’ – the judicialisation of war. And the risks and impacts of lawfare are clear: in terms of the financial costs; the stress and strain placed on veterans; the potential impact on the morale of serving personnel and our ability to recruit future Armed Forces personnel; and the risk that decisions taken on operations may be corrupted in order to avoid the possibility of legal proceedings many years in the future – the “chilling effect” feared by military commanders.

This is why I announced on 21st May (HCWS 1575) my plans to take forward work to address this important and concerning issue. I am pleased to be able to announce today the launch of a public consultation on legal protections measures for the Armed Forces and veterans.

The consultation document contains proposed measures which we believe can be enacted in a manner which is consistent with our obligations under domestic and international law, while providing genuine benefits to our personnel:

- First, a proposal to legislate for a presumption against prosecution of current or former Armed Forces personnel for alleged offences committed in the course of duty outside the UK more than ten years ago. This measure would in effect raise the threshold to be applied by prosecutors when considering whether a prosecution is genuinely in the public interest in such cases. Two different options are set out in the consultation document for how this measure could be enacted.

- And secondly, a proposal to ensure that going forward, the law reflects the unique pressures faced by Armed Forces personnel while deployed on operations outside the UK, through the creation of a new partial defence to murder. This would be available to current and former Armed Forces personnel who caused a death in the course of duty outside the UK through using more force than strictly necessary for the purposes of self-defence, providing that the initial decision to use force was justified. If convicted, the defence would reduce a conviction for murder to manslaughter.

As part of the consultation, we are also seeking views on a proposal to restrict the Court's discretion to extend the normal time limit for bringing civil claims for personal injury and/or death in relation to historical events outside of the UK.

We hope that the proposals set out in the consultation will help ensure that our Armed Forces receive the justice and fairness that they are owed. And, through the consultation, we hope to test and refine what is proposed with the aim of bringing forward legislation as soon as possible.

WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 22 July 2019
Made by: Penny Mordaunt (Secretary of State for Defence)
Commons

Support for Armed Forces Personnel and Veterans

Our Armed Forces do an incredible job to protect us and our nation. They endure great hardships and separation from their loved ones, and they place themselves in harm’s way and bear the physical and mental scars of traumatic experiences. They are prepared to risk their lives for us. We owe them a huge debt, and we also owe them justice and fairness.

The Government is clear that the Armed Forces are not above the law. It is right that whenever the Armed Forces embark on operations outside of the UK our people and their chain of command are bound to abide by the criminal law of England and Wales, as well as international humanitarian law as set out in the Geneva Conventions. Our service men and women are required to conform to the highest standards of personal behaviour and conduct. And when they fall short they must be held to account. Justice must be served.

The Government believes that, other than in exceptional circumstances, the conclusion of investigations into allegations made against members of the Armed Forces should draw a line – addressing the uncertainty faced by Armed Forces personnel concerned about the prospect of re-investigation and prosecution many years after the event. But the law as it stands cannot allow that line to be drawn with any confidence. That is why the Government believes change is needed to afford Armed Forces personnel and veterans greater protection from the threat of prosecution for alleged historical offences committed in the course of duty outside the UK. Armed Forces personnel and veterans should not be left with the threat of prosecution hanging over their heads for years to come, in circumstances where their actions have been investigated at the time.

Similar issues arise in relation to civil litigation. Military operations in Iraq resulted in litigation against the Ministry of Defence on an industrial scale: nearly 1,000 claims seeking compensation for personal injury or death (most of which also sought compensation for human rights violations), and approximately 1,400 judicial review claims seeking an European Convention on Human Rights-compliant investigation and compensation. Although the law does provide for a time limit in such cases, the Courts are currently given broad discretion as to whether to enforce that limit. The effect is that claims have routinely been brought late, with huge numbers of compensation claims permitted to proceed long after the relevant time limit.

The later a claim is brought, especially in respect of allegations emanating from a war zone, the harder it is to assess in a fair and proportionate manner. Records may no longer be sufficiently detailed to be able to prove or disprove specific allegations, and the memories of those involved in incidents fade over time. In such circumstances, the Government may have to choose between settling claims – the merits of which have not been established – or putting Armed Forces personnel and veterans through the ordeal of giving evidence on the Ministry of Defence’s behalf. This is unfair to our personnel and to the taxpayer, who must pay the associated legal costs.

All of this goes to the heart of what is known as ‘lawfare’ – the judicialisation of war. And the risks and impacts of lawfare are clear: in terms of the financial costs; the stress and strain placed on veterans; the potential impact on the morale of serving personnel and our ability to recruit future Armed Forces personnel; and the risk that decisions taken on operations may be corrupted in order to avoid the possibility of legal proceedings many years in the future – the “chilling effect” feared by military commanders.

This is why I announced on 21st May (HCWS 1575) my plans to take forward work to address this important and concerning issue. I am pleased to be able to announce today the launch of a public consultation on legal protections measures for the Armed Forces and veterans.

The consultation document contains proposed measures which we believe can be enacted in a manner which is consistent with our obligations under domestic and international law, while providing genuine benefits to our personnel:

- First, a proposal to legislate for a presumption against prosecution of current or former Armed Forces personnel for alleged offences committed in the course of duty outside the UK more than ten years ago. This measure would in effect raise the threshold to be applied by prosecutors when considering whether a prosecution is genuinely in the public interest in such cases. Two different options are set out in the consultation document for how this measure could be enacted.

- And secondly, a proposal to ensure that going forward, the law reflects the unique pressures faced by Armed Forces personnel while deployed on operations outside the UK, through the creation of a new partial defence to murder. This would be available to current and former Armed Forces personnel who caused a death in the course of duty outside the UK through using more force than strictly necessary for the purposes of self-defence, providing that the initial decision to use force was justified. If convicted, the defence would reduce a conviction for murder to manslaughter.

As part of the consultation, we are also seeking views on a proposal to restrict the Court's discretion to extend the normal time limit for bringing civil claims for personal injury and/or death in relation to historical events outside of the UK.

We hope that the proposals set out in the consultation will help ensure that our Armed Forces receive the justice and fairness that they are owed. And, through the consultation, we hope to test and refine what is proposed with the aim of bringing forward legislation as soon as possible.

WS
Department for Education
Made on: 22 July 2019
Made by: Lord Agnew of Oulton (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System)
Lords

Teachers Update

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Education (Damian Hinds) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) has recommended a 2.75% uplift to the minima and maxima of all pay ranges and allowances in the national pay framework, which is due to be implemented in Autumn 2019.

Last year, the government announced the largest pay rise in nearly a decade for almost a million public sector workers. Building on this, this year I have decided to accept in full the STRB’s recommendations for a 2.75% uplift to the minima and maxima of all pay ranges and allowances.

The pay award will both raise starting salaries and increase the competitiveness of the pay framework. As a result, minimum starting salaries for classroom teachers will see an increase between £652 (Rest of England) and £816 (Inner London), and classroom teachers at the top of the main pay range could see an increase between £963 and £1,110. For more experienced classroom teachers at the top of the upper pay range, it could mean an increase of between £1,084 and £1,327.

As a result, the pay ranges for all teachers and leaders will see an uplift. Thanks to the flexible performance-based pay system we have, schools can choose to give teachers and leaders a higher pay rise where this is appropriate to their local context and budget

As this award is more than the 2% we assessed was affordable in our evidence to the STRB, I will invest a further £105 million into the existing Teachers’ Pay Grant this financial year. This is on top of the £321 million funding that schools are already receiving through the Teachers’ Pay Grant in 2019-20.

Last year, we specifically targeted early career pay because of the growing retention challenges within the first 5 years of a teacher’s career. The STRB has recognised the improvements we have made to the unqualified and main pay ranges following the 2% uplift to the main pay range in 2017 and 3.5% uplift to both in 2018.

It is now vitally important to increase the competitiveness of the pay framework and help address the teacher supply challenges across the workforce. This year’s pay award will also support the Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy, which I published in January this year. The strategy underpins the Early Career Framework, which provides a fully funded 2-year package of support for all early career teachers.

In addition to their pay, teachers continue to benefit from defined benefit pensions, which are amongst the most generous available.

Thanks to the government’s balanced approach to public finances – getting debt to fall as a share of our economy, while investing in our vital services and keeping taxes low – we are able to continue our flexible approach to pay policy, allowing us to attract and retain the best people for our schools.

We consider all pay awards in light of wider pressures on public spending. Public sector pay needs to be fair both for public sector workers and the taxpayer. Around a quarter of all public spending is spent on pay and we need to ensure that our public services remain affordable for the future.

It is also vital that our world class public services continue to modernise to meet rising demand for the incredible services they provide, which improve our lives and keep us safe.

I am grateful for the in-depth considerations the STRB has given in concluding their report and recommendations for the 2019 teachers’ pay award.

I will deposit in the House libraries a full list of the recommendations and my proposed approach for all pay and allowance ranges.

My officials will write to all of the statutory consultees involved in the STRB’s 29th remit and invite them to contribute to a consultation on my response to these recommendations and on a revised School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document and Pay Order. The consultation will last for 8 weeks.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1766
WS
Department for International Trade
Made on: 22 July 2019
Made by: Viscount Younger of Leckie (Government Whip)
Lords

Response to the consultation on UK Export Finance’s Foreign Content policy

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

The Government will today publish the response to the consultation on UK Export Finance’s (UKEF) Foreign Content policy. It sets out the approach UKEF will take to determine the level of non-UK goods, services and intangible assets in transaction supported by UKEF.

The purpose of the new approach is to ensure that UKEF’s support is flexible and meets the needs of UK exporters to help them win business overseas, fulfilling UKEF’s mission to ensure that no viable UK export fails for lack of finance or insurance from the private sector, while operating at no net cost to the taxpayer.

The consultation, published in April 2019, was part of UKEF’s commitment in the Government’s Export Strategy to review its products and policies to ensure they reflect the full breadth of its capability and the needs of business. The consultation received 28 responses, which were largely supportive of the approach proposed by Government in the consultation and reinforced the need for its foreign content policy to adapt to increasingly globalised supply chains.

The new policy ensures that UKEF will implement a principles-based approach to Foreign Content, recognising the full contribution of the UK supply chain. This approach will supplement UKEF’s current UK content requirement, making it easier for UKEF to consider support for scenarios which are outside of a specific export contract, but which nevertheless are conducive to supporting and developing UK exports.

This approach will broaden the availability of UKEF support for all sectors including those to which it has not traditionally provided support. To align with this expectation, UKEF will be updating its definitions to clarify UKEF’s ability to support intangible assets.

A copy of the consultation response will be placed in the libraries of the House.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1761
WS
Ministry of Justice
Made on: 22 July 2019
Made by: Lord Keen of Elie (The Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

Prisons and Probation

My right honourable friend the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice (David Gauke) has made the following Written Statement.

"Today I would like to update the House on prisons and probation following the Opposition day debate of 14 May 2019.

Our prison and probation systems have faced challenges in recent years, with changes in population, changes in the nature of crimes being committed and wider societal changes impacting the criminal justice sector, such as the use of Spice and other psychoactive substances. We need to ensure that our prisons and probation services provide appropriate punishment, and work with offenders to stop the root causes of criminality, supporting them to re-join their communities.

HMP Birmingham was an exceptional case caused by a number of complex factors and the Government had been working closely with G4S to try and resolve the issues in HMP Birmingham. However, it became increasingly clear that G4S alone were not able to make the improvements that were so badly needed. That is why the Government took decisive action to step in and did so at no additional costs to the taxpayer.

However, the Government is clear that the exceptional experience of HMP Birmingham is no more representative of the wider contribution of the private sector to our justice system than individual failings in the public sector are in the public estate. The Government remains committed to ensuring a mixed market for delivery of services in the justice system. Partnering with the private and voluntary sectors offers the taxpayer greater value for money, greater diversity of provision and greater innovation than we would see from the public sector alone. Our policy remains a commitment to what works; we will continue to resist ideological calls to spend taxpayers money in a particular sector, regardless of value proposition.

Government contracts are never awarded lightly: each is awarded following a robust process. Government has always been compliant with procurement regulations and follows these diligently when assessing supplier’s suitability.

Through the competition processes we undertake a rigorous financial and operational assessment of bids put forward by any existing or potential operator to ensure bids are of sufficient quality, value for money and affordability. The Government also ensures, through the procurement and contract management processes, that we have sufficient measures in place to have confidence in the delivery and maintenance of the contracted services over their lifetime.

The Chief Inspector of Prisons has highlighted many examples of excellent performance by private prisons in his inspection reports and competition for custodial services in England and Wales is well established, and has been in place since the early 1990s. Privately managed prison providers achieve the majority of their targets, and their performance is closely monitored by the robust contract management processes HMPPS has in place.

Privately-managed prisons have also pioneered the use of modern technology to improve the running of establishments and help promote rehabilitation – innovations that in many cases are still not widely found in the public estate. This includes the development of in-cell telephony to help prisoners maintain ties with their families; interactive story-time activities between prisoners and their children; and the introduction of electronic kiosks, which allow prisoners to have greater control of managing their day-to-day lives.

Private probation providers have drawn on prior experience delivering employability services to improve the sourcing of Unpaid Work placements for offenders on community sentences, with nine out of 13 Community Rehabilitation Companies rated ‘Good’ for the delivery of Unpaid Work by HM Inspectorate of Probation. CRCs have also demonstrated their potential to drive innovation in rehabilitation programmes, with London CRC helping pioneer the Safer Streets Partnership to tackle gangs and knife crime and Kent, Surrey and Sussex CRC developing the first behavioural intervention targeted at stalking offences.

The government therefore rejects the call to end plans to run competitions for new private prisons. We are also committed to ensuring a mixed market for service delivery in the probation system, with offender management delivered by the National Probation Service, but up to £280m allocated for contracting of unpaid work and rehabilitative services from the private and voluntary sector. In addition, we plan to ringfence an initial £20 million per year for a Regional Outcome and Innovation Fund to be spent on innovative, cross-cutting approaches. There will inevitably in any large organisation be occasional instances where service delivery is not as expected, regardless of whether the public or private sectors are responsible. In these instances, we ensure prompt action is taken to rectify any identified issues, and to learn lessons. This Government will not shy away from learning lessons where they are required – and will not seek to denigrate the dedicated work of large numbers of those who deliver our public services simply because of who their employer is.

Instead, this government is committed to ensuring that all our prisons, public or private, are places of safety and reform, and that our probation services maximise their performance in keeping the public safe by helping offenders on community orders or leaving prison to turn their lives around in the community."

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1783
WS
Ministry of Justice
Made on: 22 July 2019
Made by: Mr David Gauke (The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice)
Commons

Prisons and Probation

Today I would like to update the House on prisons and probation following the Opposition day debate of 14 May 2019.

Our prison and probation systems have faced challenges in recent years, with changes in population, changes in the nature of crimes being committed and wider societal changes impacting the criminal justice sector, such as the use of Spice and other psychoactive substances. We need to ensure that our prisons and probation services provide appropriate punishment, and work with offenders to stop the root causes of criminality, supporting them to re-join their communities.

HMP Birmingham was an exceptional case caused by a number of complex factors and the Government had been working closely with G4S to try and resolve the issues in HMP Birmingham. However, it became increasingly clear that G4S alone were not able to make the improvements that were so badly needed. That is why the Government took decisive action to step in and did so at no additional costs to the taxpayer.

However, the Government is clear that the exceptional experience of HMP Birmingham is no more representative of the wider contribution of the private sector to our justice system than individual failings in the public sector are in the public estate. The Government remains committed to ensuring a mixed market for delivery of services in the justice system. Partnering with the private and voluntary sectors offers the taxpayer greater value for money, greater diversity of provision and greater innovation than we would see from the public sector alone. Our policy remains a commitment to what works; we will continue to resist ideological calls to spend taxpayers money in a particular sector, regardless of value proposition.

Government contracts are never awarded lightly: each is awarded following a robust process. Government has always been compliant with procurement regulations and follows these diligently when assessing supplier’s suitability.

Through the competition processes we undertake a rigorous financial and operational assessment of bids put forward by any existing or potential operator to ensure bids are of sufficient quality, value for money and affordability. The Government also ensures, through the procurement and contract management processes, that we have sufficient measures in place to have confidence in the delivery and maintenance of the contracted services over their lifetime.

The Chief Inspector of Prisons has highlighted many examples of excellent performance by private prisons in his inspection reports and competition for custodial services in England and Wales is well established, and has been in place since the early 1990s. Privately managed prison providers achieve the majority of their targets, and their performance is closely monitored by the robust contract management processes HMPPS has in place.

Privately-managed prisons have also pioneered the use of modern technology to improve the running of establishments and help promote rehabilitation – innovations that in many cases are still not widely found in the public estate. This includes the development of in-cell telephony to help prisoners maintain ties with their families; interactive story-time activities between prisoners and their children; and the introduction of electronic kiosks, which allow prisoners to have greater control of managing their day-to-day lives.

Private probation providers have drawn on prior experience delivering employability services to improve the sourcing of Unpaid Work placements for offenders on community sentences, with nine out of 13 Community Rehabilitation Companies rated ‘Good’ for the delivery of Unpaid Work by HM Inspectorate of Probation. CRCs have also demonstrated their potential to drive innovation in rehabilitation programmes, with London CRC helping pioneer the Safer Streets Partnership to tackle gangs and knife crime and Kent, Surrey and Sussex CRC developing the first behavioural intervention targeted at stalking offences.

The government therefore rejects the call to end plans to run competitions for new private prisons. We are also committed to ensuring a mixed market for service delivery in the probation system, with offender management delivered by the National Probation Service, but up to £280m allocated for contracting of unpaid work and rehabilitative services from the private and voluntary sector. In addition, we plan to ringfence an initial £20 million per year for a Regional Outcome and Innovation Fund to be spent on innovative, cross-cutting approaches. There will inevitably in any large organisation be occasional instances where service delivery is not as expected, regardless of whether the public or private sectors are responsible. In these instances, we ensure prompt action is taken to rectify any identified issues, and to learn lessons. This Government will not shy away from learning lessons where they are required – and will not seek to denigrate the dedicated work of large numbers of those who deliver our public services simply because of who their employer is.

Instead, this government is committed to ensuring that all our prisons, public or private, are places of safety and reform, and that our probation services maximise their performance in keeping the public safe by helping offenders on community orders or leaving prison to turn their lives around in the community.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1744
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Women and Equalities
Made on: 22 July 2019
Made by: Penny Mordaunt (Secretary of State for Women and Equalities)
Commons

Proposals to Support Families

In the Good Work Plan, the Government announced the largest upgrade to workers’ rights in a generation and set out a series of ambitious reforms to ensure the UK leads the world in meeting the challenges of the changing world of work. Building on these reforms, today the Government has launched a consultation on measures to support parents to enter, remain in and return to the workforce. Employees who feel that they are more in control of the balance between home and work commitments are more likely to be engaged at work. Their employers will benefit from greater employee loyalty, commitment and motivation and are likely to be able to draw on a wider pool of talent when recruiting.

The consultation seeks views on:

  • high-level options for reforming parental leave and pay, and the costs, benefits and trade-offs of potential reforms;

  • a proposal for a new entitlement to Neonatal Leave and Pay for parents of babies who require neonatal care following birth;

  • whether employers should have a duty to consider whether a job can be done flexibly and make that clear when advertising a role;

  • options for requiring large employers (those with 250 or more employees) to publish their family related leave and pay policies.

The Government’s modern Industrial Strategy is creating a fairer and more equal workplace, to boost productivity and earning power for all. The consultation supports this by helping people manage their wider commitments in life benefiting both families and employers.

The consultation on parental leave and pay will run for 16 weeks and will end on 8 November. The remaining consultations will run for 12 weeks until 11 October 2019. The consultation can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/good-work-plan-proposals-to-support-families.

I am placing a copy of the consultation in the Library of the House.

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Women and Equalities
Made on: 22 July 2019
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister for Equalities)
Lords

Proposals to Support Families

My Rt Hon. Friend the Minister for Women and Equalities (The Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt MP) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

In the Good Work Plan, the Government announced the largest upgrade to workers’ rights in a generation and set out a series of ambitious reforms to ensure the UK leads the world in meeting the challenges of the changing world of work. Building on these reforms, today the Government has launched a consultation on measures to support parents to enter, remain in and return to the workforce. Employees who feel that they are more in control of the balance between home and work commitments are more likely to be engaged at work. Their employers will benefit from greater employee loyalty, commitment and motivation and are likely to be able to draw on a wider pool of talent when recruiting.

The consultation seeks views on:

  • high-level options for reforming parental leave and pay, and the costs, benefits and trade-offs of potential reforms;

  • a proposal for a new entitlement to Neonatal Leave and Pay for parents of babies who require neonatal care following birth;

  • whether employers should have a duty to consider whether a job can be done flexibly and make that clear when advertising a role;

  • options for requiring large employers (those with 250 or more employees) to publish their family related leave and pay policies.

The Government’s modern Industrial Strategy is creating a fairer and more equal workplace, to boost productivity and earning power for all. The consultation supports this by helping people manage their wider commitments in life benefiting both families and employers.

The consultation on parental leave and pay will run for 16 weeks and will end on 8 November. The remaining consultations will run for 12 weeks until 11 October 2019. The consultation can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/good-work-plan-proposals-to-support-families.

I am placing a copy of the consultation in the Library of the House.

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Cabinet Office
Made on: 22 July 2019
Made by: Baroness Evans of Bowes Park (Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Lords)
Lords

National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015 - Third Annual Report

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

Today, I am pleased to announce the publication of the third annual report of the National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR). This also provides an annual update on the National Security Capability Review (NSCR). I will be placing a copy of the report in the Libraries of the House and publishing the report on gov.uk.

In the SDSR, we committed to giving Parliament an annual update on implementation of the strategy. This Annual Report sets out our progress in delivering on our SDSR and NSCR commitments and shows how the United Kingdom continues to meet the threats and challenges posed by a changing world, proving the merits of Fusion doctrine, as introduced in last year’s NSCR.

The NSCR reinforced our vision and values set out in the National Security Strategy and SDSR of a secure and prosperous United Kingdom with global reach and influence. Our overarching National Security Objectives: Protect Our People; Project Our Global Influence; and Promote Our Prosperity, continues to be the foundation of our National Security approach. In support of each of these objectives, we have made significant progress on a cross-government programme of activity, overseen by a sub-Committee of the National Security Council (NSC).

Much has changed since the National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review was published in November 2015 – not least the United Kingdom’s historic decision to leave the European Union. Whilst the principal threats to our national security remain the same, we face a challenge from a resurgence of state based threats. These threats are more complex and are testing the norms of the rules-based international system on which we have come to rely for our prosperity and security. Nevertheless, NATO remains the bedrock of the UK’s defence and the leading instrument of our national security.

Our outlook remains outward facing and the UK will not shy away from defending democratic principles across the globe whilst ensuring British values are safeguarded at home. We value that outreach, and our partnerships and relationships across the world which are the envy of friend and foe alike. They have proven time and again to be a critical factor in our successes on the global stage.

In the SDSR, we made 89 principal commitments. As at March 2019, we have completed 32, with the rest being progressed. The SDSR pledged to deliver a number of complex major projects and programmes, some with a delivery timescale of a decade or more; progress on these is as we would expect at this stage. The NSCR provided 27 further significant commitments of which 3 have already been completed.

We remain the only country in the G20 to meet both the expenditure targets of 2% of GDP on Defence and 0.7% of gross national income on overseas development, driving forward the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

NSS and SDSR Third Annual Report (PDF Document, 1.12 MB)
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Home Office
Made on: 22 July 2019
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Announcement of the reappointment of the Chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD)

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

I am pleased to announce that Dr Owen Bowden-Jones has been reappointed to the ACMD both as a member and as its Chair. This re-appointment is for a 3-year term, beginning on 1st January 2020. Dr Bowden-Jones is an experienced clinician who provides assessment and treatment for people experiencing harms from emerging problem drugs.

The ACMD was established under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and provides advice to Government on issues related to the harms of drugs. It also has a statutory role under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1781
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Home Office
Made on: 22 July 2019
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (1 March 2019 to 31 May 2019)

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

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

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

TPIM notices in force (as of 31 May 2019)3
TPIM notices in respect of British citizens (as of 31 May 2019)3
TPIM notices extended (during the reporting period)0
TPIM notices revoked (during the reporting period)1
TPIM notices revived (during the reporting period)0
Variations made to measures specified in TPIM notices (during the reporting period)4
Applications to vary measures specified in TPIM notices refused (during the reporting period)0
The number of current subjects relocated under TPIM legislation (as of 28 February 2019)1

The TPIM Review Group (TRG) keeps every TPIM notice under regular and formal review. The second quarter TRG meetings took place on 4 and 13 June 2019.

On 15 March 2019 an individual was convicted for seven breaches of his TPIM notice and was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment.

On 22 March 2019 the trial of an individual charged with breaching his TPIM notice was discontinued as the jury could not reach a majority verdict. The CPS elected not to seek a re-trial as it was assessed not to be in the public interest.

On 13 May 2019 an individual was sentenced for one breach of his TPIM notice. He was sentenced to two years imprisonment (suspended for two years), a 12 hour curfew to be observed for 12 months, 150 hours unpaid work, 18 months attendance at an extremist risk guidance and identity help programme and a victim surcharge and collection order.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1780
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Home Office
Made on: 22 July 2019
Made by: Sajid Javid (The Secretary of State for the Home Department)
Commons

Announcement of the reappointment of the Chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD)

I am pleased to announce that Dr Owen Bowden-Jones has been reappointed to the ACMD both as a member and as its Chair. This re-appointment is for a 3-year term, beginning on 1st January 2020. Dr Bowden-Jones is an experienced clinician who provides assessment and treatment for people experiencing harms from emerging problem drugs.

The ACMD was established under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and provides advice to Government on issues related to the harms of drugs. It also has a statutory role under the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1741
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Home Office
Made on: 22 July 2019
Made by: Sajid Javid (The Secretary of State for the Home Department)
Commons

Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (1 March 2019 to 31 May 2019)

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

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

TPIM notices in force (as of 31 May 2019)3
TPIM notices in respect of British citizens (as of 31 May 2019)3
TPIM notices extended (during the reporting period)0
TPIM notices revoked (during the reporting period)1
TPIM notices revived (during the reporting period)0
Variations made to measures specified in TPIM notices (during the reporting period)4
Applications to vary measures specified in TPIM notices refused (during the reporting period)0
The number of current subjects relocated under TPIM legislation (as of 28 February 2019)1

The TPIM Review Group (TRG) keeps every TPIM notice under regular and formal review. The second quarter TRG meetings took place on 4 and 13 June 2019.

On 15 March 2019 an individual was convicted for seven breaches of his TPIM notice and was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment.

On 22 March 2019 the trial of an individual charged with breaching his TPIM notice was discontinued as the jury could not reach a majority verdict. The CPS elected not to seek a re-trial as it was assessed not to be in the public interest.

On 13 May 2019 an individual was sentenced for one breach of his TPIM notice. He was sentenced to two years imprisonment (suspended for two years), a 12 hour curfew to be observed for 12 months, 150 hours unpaid work, 18 months attendance at an extremist risk guidance and identity help programme and a victim surcharge and collection order.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1740
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Department of Health and Social Care
Made on: 22 July 2019
Made by: Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Lords))
Lords

Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework

My Hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health and Primary Care (Seema Kennedy) has made the following written statement:

I am delighted to be able to announce a land mark 5-year settlement for the Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework. This deal will transform the role of community pharmacy and embed them as the first port of call for minor illness and health advice in England.

Every day, in England there are around 1.6 million visits to community pharmacies. No appointment is necessary, and a person does not need to be registered with a pharmacy to benefit from their support or advice. The potential for community pharmacies to play a greater role across a wide range of health priorities is evident.

Over the last few months we have worked with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) to develop a future vison for community pharmacy and expand their role across three key areas: prevention, urgent care and medicines safety.

We have agreed a settlement that will now translate this vision into practice and begin to transform the role of community pharmacy. It will see community pharmacies better utilised and integrated within the primary medical and community services we are working to deliver.

This agreement will come into effect from October 2019 and will mark the start of a series of developments that will continue over the course of the settlement period, through to 2024.

We will continue to work with the PSNC, and NHS England and Improvement to further deliver this programme of work in partnership.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1777
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Ministry of Justice
Made on: 22 July 2019
Made by: Lord Keen of Elie (The Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

Enforcement Update

My right honourable friend the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice (David Gauke) has made the following Written Statement.

"Further to a Statement made by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, Lucy Frazer MP, on 26 November 2018, I wanted to update the House on the Ministry of Justice’s review of the implementation of the enforcement agent reforms contained in the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007. These reforms, which came into force in 2014, aimed to provide protection to debtors from the aggressive pursuit of their debt from enforcement agents, whilst balancing this against the need for effective enforcement.

Our review was launched with a call for evidence on 26 November 2018 that ran to 17 February 2019. This sought to provide further information on the operation of the reforms following the Government’s publication of the first post-implementation review on 2 April 2018. This review found that the reforms had led to many positive changes, including improved transparency and consistency, both in terms of the enforcement process and the fees charged by enforcement agents. The report noted, however, that some enforcement agents were still perceived to be acting aggressively and not complying with the new rules.

We received nearly 300 responses to the call for evidence from: individuals who have been visited by enforcement agents; enforcement agents, firms and trade associations; local authorities and other creditors; advice organisations and charities; MPs and members of the judiciary.

I am grateful to the Justice Committee for conducting an inquiry into this important issue. We are carefully considering its recommendations for further reform. We will provide a full response to the report and to our call for evidence, following further engagement with stakeholders over the summer.

Based on their data, civil enforcement agents now enforce around 3 million civil cases each year. Creditors need an effective, sustainable way to ensure that they receive the money owed to them. At the same time, the government must ensure that those in debt, especially the vulnerable, including those with mental health issues, are treated fairly and given the protections they deserve.

Enforcement agents carry out an important job in often very challenging circumstances.

Many firms have made considerable efforts to make sure that they are treating those in debt fairly, but complaints continue. All enforcement agents must operate to the same high standards. So, we will be pushing forward with a reform package to make sure that people do not face aggressive action from enforcement agents and to improve trust in the industry as a whole.

One area of our focus will be how people can make complaints against enforcement agents. Data submitted to our call for evidence has shown that the volume of complaints made about enforcement agents is much lower than would be expected relative to the volume of debts enforced, and compared to similar industries. Whilst this may in part be due to improvements in the sector, we believe that there are a number of barriers in the current complaints system that may deter people from making a complaint. We will look to address these with enforcement agents and others with a view to making the complaints system more effective, transparent and independent.

We are also considering what role independent regulation of enforcement agents could potentially play in ensuring that vulnerable debtors are treated fairly. We believe that regulation of this sector could be strengthened but we do not yet have a firm view on the form this should take. It is an issue that would benefit from further discussions with stakeholders. We are clear that any further regulation must be effective, proportionate and sustainable.

Alongside considering these reforms, we wish to bring quicker changes to the system to improve how enforcement agents operate. Our call for evidence and the Justice Committee’s inquiry found strong evidence that body-worn cameras are important in protecting both those in debt and enforcement agents, raising standards in the industry and enabling complaints to be properly investigated. We will be taking forward work to make use of body-worn cameras mandatory for all private enforcement agents and to produce best practice guidance.

Under the current system, all enforcement agents have to demonstrate knowledge of the law, customer care, dealing with conflict situations and identifying vulnerable situations. We believe that there is a good case, however, to look again at the guidance and requirements for how enforcement agents interact with those in debt, with a view to addressing any unfair treatment of vulnerable people, including those with mental health issues.

The Ministry of Justice proposes to engage with the enforcement industry, debt advice agencies, creditors and others on these and other issues over the summer before responding in full to its call for evidence and the Justice Committee report. The response will include a full analysis of the variety of evidence submitted to the review and set out proposals for reform to enhance the regulation of enforcement agents. We will consult on any proposals for legislative reform.

This work forms part of wider cross-government efforts to improve the treatment of those in debt. This includes work by HM Treasury to implement a ‘breathing space’ and statutory debt repayment plan for people in problem debt and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government review of how local authorities can improve the way they collect Council Tax debt."

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1776
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Ministry of Defence
Made on: 22 July 2019
Made by: Earl Howe (Minister of State, Ministry of Defence)
Lords

Combat Air Strategy Update

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence (Penny Mordaunt) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The Combat Air Strategy was launched a year ago on the opening day of the Farnborough Airshow, the birth place of aviation. It re-affirmed the Government’s commitment to the Combat Air sector, laying out a clear vision for our nation to remain at the leading edge of this sector and providing a clear roadmap to achieve this.

On publication of the strategy, my right hon. Friend, the then Secretary of State for Defence, made a commitment to update the House annually on implementation of the strategy and the programmes it launched. Today I provide this update.

It is worth reflecting on the strategy and its key themes. First, it recognised the strength of our industry and its contribution to the well-being of our nation. This sector is economically, strategically important and is enables sovereign decision-making on where and how to deploy our military capability. Secondly, it makes clear that partnering with like-minded allies is the best means to deliver our collective objectives. The update will therefore cover both themes – domestic developments, as well as international.

Domestic Update

Alongside the launch of the strategy, the Department re-affirmed our commitment to the approximately £2 billion Future Combat Air System Technology Initiative (FCAS TI). This initiative will mature the technologies needed for our future combat air systems and crucially, develop key skills across both Government and industry. The central pillar of FCAS TI is ‘Team Tempest’, a co-funded partnership between Government and our industry partners. Over the last year this partnership has driven a step change in relationships and behaviours between Government and industry by aligning incentives, sharing costs and benefits and creating common interest in pace and agility. The team is on track to delivering 17 European-firsts and 7-world firsts. The first of these has already been achieved – the embedding of an electrical starter generator by Rolls-Royce within the main body of a powerful military aircraft engine. This increases the power density and reduces the complexity of future aircraft engines, resulting in more efficient engine designs and is fully exploitable to Rolls-Royce’s multi-billion pound civil business. This technology will continue to be matured in the coming years, leading to a fully integrated novel power and propulsion system.

This partnership, and the private and public funding underpinning it, already supports over 1,000 jobs, many of them in high-end design, across the breadth of the country, from BAE Systems in Lancashire, to Rolls-Royce in Bristol and to Leonardo in Edinburgh and Luton. This number is set to rise to 1,800 by the end of this year.

The strategy recognised that there is significant capability residing in UK companies of all sizes and therefore, we are engaging with companies beyond our ‘Team Tempest’ partners. My right hon. Friend, the Minister for Defence Procurement hosted an Industry Engagement Day on the 19 March at Farnborough where 180 companies representing a wide range of capabilities and sizes, received briefs on the technologies being matured by ‘Team Tempest’ and the opportunities that exist for further collaboration. I am pleased to announce that the ‘Team Tempest’ partners have subsequently engaged an additional 500 companies and so far, have let over 120 sub-contracts in support of Team Tempest activities.

The Combat Air Sector is likely to be a key driver in new technologies and skills in areas such as automation, machine learning, advanced manufacturing and big data which will have broader benefit to the economy. Crucial to the long-term sustainability of this sector is ensuring that the skills needed in the future are identified, the workforce trained and that ultimately these skills are transferred to the next generation. Team Tempest has therefore established a dedicated STEM engagement team to inspire young people to be involved in this sector. This approach, along with the assurance provided by the strategy has resulted in record numbers of young people joining the workforce. This year, Leonardo MW will recruit 104 graduates and 62 apprentices, with the majority planned to be involved in Team Tempest activities. Similarly, BAE Systems is planning to recruit approximately 700 apprentices and 300 graduates to grow the percentage (currently 10%) of their Team Tempest workforce that are graduates and apprentices.

Working closely with officials from the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the Department has launched a skills index to monitor the health of industrial and government skills critical to the delivery of our national objectives. Industry have provided their inputs and we are analysing the results and intend to present our findings in September. The skills index will be used to inform and measure the success of interventions such as FCAS TI, to ensure the health of the sector.

International Update

On F-35, in February, the avionic and aircraft component repair hub in North Wales was awarded a second major assignment of work worth some £500 million by the US Government. This will create hundreds of additional jobs in the UK and was the result of working closely with industry to deliver a national campaign approach.

On Typhoon, the strategy confirmed our commitment to continue to invest in this remarkable platform. In June, NETMA, on behalf of the UK and the other European Partner Nations, awarded a €54 million contract for the Typhoon Long Term Evolution study to industry which will explore how to maximise Typhoon’s capability for this decade and beyond.

The FCAS TI programme is maturing technologies for national usage, as well with our international partners. We are contracting our industry to work with their French counterparts on technologies that would maximise interoperability of our current and future platforms, recognising that, as currently envisioned, the Franco-German Système de Combat Aérien Futur (SCAF) acquisition programme does not meet the objectives laid out in our strategy. We are also investing in the development of the next generation Lift Fan for the F-35B, to reduce weight and improve the overall effectiveness of this world beating platform.

Our next generation acquisition programme will define and deliver the capabilities required when the backbone of the RAF, the Typhoon, leaves service. The team delivering this is working at pace, having within a few months of forming, delivered the Strategic Outline (Business) Case, which confirmed acquisition options to deliver our future combat air capability, which are now being explored and tested with potential international partners.

Despite challenging international dynamics, the Department has made great strides in our discussions with potential partners. With the support of wider Government (most notably officials from the FCO and DIT) and our industry, we have launched feasibility studies with potential partners.

We have discovered that there is a great appetite to collaborate with us. We offer a unique partnering approach, recognising the need to deliver ours and our partners’ benefits together, learning from our rich history of collaboration. This approach provides the firm leadership needed and appears to be an attractive alternative to the traditional, dominant-junior partner relationships.

Last week I signed a Memorandum of Understanding with my Swedish counterpart on this topic. This marks a significant step in aligning our nations, recognising both nations have highly capable Combat Air sectors. We will work together to mutually develop our understanding of the systems required to deliver our future requirements and how best to develop, deliver and ultimately support them. Beyond Sweden, we are furthering our engagement with other potential partners and I aim to sign similar arrangements over the next year.

From progress to date, we believe that Europe can afford two separate Combat Air programmes. We are investing in technologies, such as open systems architectures and advanced design and manufacturing techniques which offer significant reductions to the time and cost of design, manufacture, in-service upgrades and modifications. We are also ensuring that collaboration will be with partners whose strategic objectives align with our own, including the determination to reduce costs. We recognise that in an effective and efficient collaboration, there will be an optimum number of partners, which may include those outside of Europe.

The strategy’s next major steps are to continue the Concept Phase until December 2020, gathering evidence on the acquisition options presented and then submit the Outline Business Case. This will select the preferred acquisition route and concept to be taken forward into the assessment phase.

WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 22 July 2019
Made by: Earl Howe (Minister of State, Ministry of Defence)
Lords

UN Mission Update

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence (The Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt MP) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Reflecting our continued commitment to multilateralism and international peace and security, the UK continues to support increased engagement in the Sahel under the Government's new strategic approach to Africa.

We have committed to reinforcing our support for countries on the front line of instability, including stepping up to the UK’s role in tackling the underlying causes of poverty and conflict in Mali and the wider Sahel region (Mali, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania).

I therefore wish to announce to the House the intention to expand the UK’s contribution to The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) by deploying a Long-Range Reconnaissance Task Group of 250 personnel in 2020. The UK will support the Mission in implementing its mandated tasks - to support the implementation of the peace Agreement, promote stability in central Mali and to protect civilians, including supporting the rights of women and children.

The UK’s intent is to provide the UN with high-quality forces to missions where their capabilities are most in demand. The UK contribution will provide improved situational awareness and information provision that will help the Mission – military and civilian – in support of the mandate, to progress towards a long-term and sustainable peace in Mali. This will signal a significant shift in the UK’s approach to peacekeeping as we bridge the gap between those who pay and those who deliver by providing a highly employable, highly capable task force.

This announcement is a significant uplift from the two military staff officers the UK currently contributes to MINUSMA HQ, and the funding of a civilian role to support the UN’s work on Sahel issues. It also demonstrates a continued commitment to UN peacekeeping following the completion of our commitment in 2020 to the UN mission in South Sudan.

The UK is committed to supporting the international community in combating instability in Mali, as well as strengthening our wider military engagement across the Sahel region, and is proud to do so under the auspices of the United Nations.

WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 22 July 2019
Made by: Penny Mordaunt (Secretary of State for Defence)
Commons

UN Mission Update

Reflecting our continued commitment to multilateralism and international peace and security, the UK continues to support increased engagement in the Sahel under the Government's new strategic approach to Africa.

We have committed to reinforcing our support for countries on the front line of instability, including stepping up to the UK’s role in tackling the underlying causes of poverty and conflict in Mali and the wider Sahel region (Mali, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania).

I therefore wish to announce to the House the intention to expand the UK’s contribution to The United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) by deploying a Long-Range Reconnaissance Task Group of 250 personnel in 2020. The UK will support the Mission in implementing its mandated tasks - to support the implementation of the peace Agreement, promote stability in central Mali and to protect civilians, including supporting the rights of women and children.

The UK’s intent is to provide the UN with high-quality forces to missions where their capabilities are most in demand. The UK contribution will provide improved situational awareness and information provision that will help the Mission – military and civilian – in support of the mandate, to progress towards a long-term and sustainable peace in Mali. This will signal a significant shift in the UK’s approach to peacekeeping as we bridge the gap between those who pay and those who deliver by providing a highly employable, highly capable task force.

This announcement is a significant uplift from the two military staff officers the UK currently contributes to MINUSMA HQ, and the funding of a civilian role to support the UN’s work on Sahel issues. It also demonstrates a continued commitment to UN peacekeeping following the completion of our commitment in 2020 to the UN mission in South Sudan.

The UK is committed to supporting the international community in combating instability in Mali, as well as strengthening our wider military engagement across the Sahel region, and is proud to do so under the auspices of the United Nations.

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