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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Department for Exiting the European Union
Made on: 13 September 2018
Made by: Lord Callanan (Minister of State, Department for Exiting the European Union)
Lords

EU Exit

My Right Honourable Friend, the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, Dominic Raab, has made the following statement:

Technical Notices

As announced by the Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union on 18 July 2018, the Government is publishing a series of technical notices during August and September. On Thursday 23 August, we published 25 of these notices. Today, on Thursday 13 September, we are publishing a further 28 technical notices, and will publish more in the coming weeks. These notices are designed to inform people, businesses and stakeholders about steps they may need to take in the event of a ‘no deal’ scenario.

Notices are being published on the following areas:

  1. Accessing public sector contracts if there’s no Brexit deal.

  2. Appointing nominated persons to your business if there’s no Brexit deal.

  3. Broadcasting and video on demand if there’s no Brexit deal.

  4. Connecting Europe Facility energy funding if there's no Brexit deal.

  5. Data protection if there’s no Brexit deal.

  6. Driving in the EU if there's no Brexit deal.

  7. European Regional Development Funding if there’s no Brexit deal.

  8. European Social Fund (ESF) grants if there’s no Brexit deal.

  9. Funding for UK LIFE projects if there’s no Brexit deal.

  10. Getting an exemption from maritime security notifications if there’s no Brexit deal.

  11. Handling civil legal cases that involve EU countries if there’s no Brexit deal.

  12. Industrial emissions standards (‘Best Available Techniques’) if there’s no Brexit deal.

  13. Merger review and anti-competitive activity if there's no Brexit deal.

  14. Mobile roaming if there’s no Brexit deal.

  15. Recognition of seafarer certificates of competency if there’s no Brexit deal.

  16. Reporting CO2 emissions for new cars and vans if there’s no Brexit deal.

  17. Running an oil or gas business if there’s no Brexit deal.

  18. Satellites and space programmes if there’s no Brexit deal.

  19. Trading goods regulated under the ‘New Approach’ if there’s no Brexit deal.

  20. Trading in drug precursors if there’s no Brexit deal.

  21. Trading under the mutual recognition principle if there’s no Brexit deal.

  22. Travelling in the Common Travel Area and the associated rights of British and Irish citizens if there’s no Brexit deal.

  23. Travelling to the EU with a UK passport if there’s no Brexit deal.

  24. Travelling with a European Firearms Pass if there’s no Brexit deal.

  25. Upholding environmental standards if there’s no Brexit deal.

  26. Using and trading in fluorinated gases and ozone depleting substances if there's no Brexit deal.

  27. Vehicle type approval if there’s no UK exit deal.

  28. What telecoms businesses should do if there’s no Brexit deal.



Notices are being published on gov.uk. These can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/how-to-prepare-if-the-uk-leaves-the-eu-with-no-deal

Copies of notices will also be placed in the Libraries of both Houses to ensure all Members have access, and we will continue to ensure that technical notices are made available to Members.

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Cabinet Office
Made on: 13 September 2018
Made by: Lord Young of Cookham (Lord in Waiting (Government Whip) )
Lords

Senior Civil Service, Senior Military and Police and Crime Commissioner Pay Awards

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

I am today announcing the Government’s decision on pay for the senior civil service, senior military and police and crime commissioners.

The Government received the Senior Salary Review Body’s (SSRB) report on 2018 pay for the senior civil service, senior military and police and crime commissioners on 4 July 2018.

The Government is committed to world class public services and ensuring that public sector workers are fairly paid for the vitally important work they do. We ended the 1 per cent pay policy in September 2017 because we recognised more flexibility is now required to deliver world class public services - with higher awards in return for improvements to public sector productivity.

It is vital that 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. In reaching a final decision on all 2018/19 public sector pay awards, we have balanced a need to recognise the value and dedication of our hard-working public servants with ensuring that our public services remain affordable in the long term, to contribute to our objective of reducing public sector debt. We have also sought to ensure that pay awards are fair and consistent across public sector workforces, reflect existing pay and benefit packages, as well as recruitment and retention levels.

The Government values the independent expertise and insight of the SSRB and takes on board the valuable advice, principles outlined, and constructive challenge to the Government’s recommendations outlined in the report. Within the current context there remains a need to take into account affordability when making decisions on senior pay, as well as fairness in the approach for senior and junior grades.

Senior Civil Servants

The Government’s evidence to the SSRB in December 2017 set out a vision for a future SCS Pay framework which - in line with the Civil Service Workforce Plan - will help us attract, retain and develop the very best senior talent for government.

This new pay system will aid us in achieving our vision for a future SCS which is more diverse, experienced and professionalised, with a better mix of specialist and generalist leaders.

We are pleased that the SSRB welcome the direction of travel laid out in our vision for the future SCS and look forward to engaging with SSRB to further articulate our strategic plan to reach this vision.

Over the next year, and amongst other commitments set out in our response to the SSRB’s recommendations below, we will be articulating plans to:

  • move to a set of consistent pay ranges by professional grouping over time.
  • provide greater reward for high performers and those who develop capability by remaining in role.
  • explore options for reforming the SCS performance management system.

Taken together, this will start tackling some of the biggest issues identified with the current pay system as well as ensuring that the Civil Service is able to attract and retain key, scarce skills from the external market and balancing incentives in the current system.

The Government values the independent expertise and insight of the SSRB and takes on board the valuable advice, principles outlined, and constructive challenge to the Government’s recommendations outlined in the report.

Within the current context there remains a need to take into account affordability when making decisions on senior pay, as well as fairness in the approach for senior and junior grades.

Senior Civil Service recommendations and response for 2018/19

This year the SSRB made six recommendations for the Senior Civil Service (SCS):

  1. all SCS members should receive a 1 per cent consolidated basic pay increase.
  2. 0.25 per cent of the paybill should be used to increase the pay band minima for all pay bands to £68,000, £90,500, and £111,500 respectively.
  3. the pay range maxima are reduced for new recruits and those currently paid below the new maxima, to £102,000, £136,000, and £167,500 respectively.
  4. 1.25 per cent should be allocated and distributed to address pay anomalies
  5. The Cabinet Office should provide evidence to demonstrate the application of the award to specific target groups of staff.
  6. the introduction of a corporate recognition scheme with awards of around £1,000.

The Government accepts the recommendation of an overall 1 per cent figure for consolidated increases but will continue to give departments flexibility to target that overall 1 per cent award at the individual level. This aligns to SSRB’s principle of targeting reward to higher performers and those lowest in the pay range and is consistent with the approach taken for delegated grades

The Government accepts the recommendation to increase the minima for all pay bands to the figures suggested by SSRB. The Government also agrees that the 1 per cent pay award should be applied after any increases from the raising of the minima.

The Government agrees in principle to the recommendation to reduce the maxima for SCS in non-market facing or niche roles . This will not be achievable for this year’s pay round as further consultation is needed to understand the makeup and workability of professional groupings before pay ranges are set.

The Government accepts the recommendation to set aside further money to address pay anomalies, and agrees to provide clear criteria for use. However to put aside the 1.25 per cent suggested would move significantly away from coherence between the approach for SCS and delegated grades and risks affordability issues. Efficiencies found from controlling movement around the system will be put aside to cover anomalies and increases to the minima, and we anticipate this to be 0.25 per cent rather than the 1.25 per cent SSRB proposed.

The Government accepts the recommendation to monitor the use of the aforementioned pay anomalies money, as well as the recommendation to extend in year non-consolidated performance related awards to 20 per cent of the eligible population and introduce a new recognition scheme for corporate contribution.

The Government notes the SSRB’s additional comments outside of the formal recommendations and commits to:

  • providing a clear articulation of the desired application of the SCS pay system, be that centralised management of the workforce, delegation to departments or a specified balance between the two.
  • review the SCS performance management system as a priority.
  • outlining clear guidance and principles to ensure the workability and fair application for the movement to pay ranges based on professional groupings.
  • exploring options for a credible capability based salary progression model.
  • providing a clear proposal on the future of the SCS 1A grade.

The Government would like to work proactively with SSRB to help develop our proposals further and invites the review body to contribute towards the further review of the Senior Civil Service pay framework including the commitments made above.

Senior Military Officers

The Government has accepted the spirit of the recommendation of a 2.5 per cent increase to senior military salaries with effect from 1 April 2018 with a 2 per cent increase to pay and a 0.5 per cent non-consolidated one-off payment. This decision is made to be consistent with the main Armed Forces’ pay award and in consideration of long term affordability. The Government has also accepted the recommendation that there is no change to the current pay differentials for senior medical and dental officers.

Police and Crime Commissioners

The Government has accepted in part the SSRB’s recommendation to increase the bottom four PCC salary bands. With effect from 1 May 2018, these pay bands will be increased by 2 per cent. PCCs taking on responsibility for the governance of fire and rescue services will also receive an additional consolidated allowance of £3,000.

The Government has accepted the SSRB’s recommendation that PCC pay should be reviewed again in 2020/21 to enable a full assessment of the role, particularly in light of the additional responsibilities for fire and rescue services; thereafter, full reviews should be conducted on a four-yearly basis. However, future reviews should be aligned to the PCC electoral cycle. A further review should therefore take place to set PCC pay ahead of the 2024 elections.

The SSRB also recommended that from May 2019, PCC salaries should be increased by 2 per cent in line with the pay award for local authority staff and that this link should continue annually until the next formal review of PCC pay. The Government has not accepted this recommendation. The role of PCCs continues to evolve and the Government is of the view that automatic pay increases are not appropriate while change is ongoing. The Government also seeks to avoid creating a disparity between PCCs and police officers whose pay increases are not automatic.

The SSRB recommended that a review of the pay structures for PCCs should be conducted in advance of the next formal review of PCC pay. The Government has not accepted this recommendation. PCC pay structures are currently aligned to those of chief police officers, and their pay is under review as part of sector-led reforms to deliver a new pay and reward framework. PCC pay structures will be reviewed following the completion of the on-going review of chief officer pay.

The SSRB recommended that PCCs who lose their seat at election should be entitled to a loss of office payment. The Government will further consider the issue.

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Department for International Development
Made on: 13 September 2018
Made by: Lord Bates (Minister of State for International Development)
Lords

Update on humanitarian situation in Idlib Governorate, Syria

My Rt Hon Friend, the Secretary of State for International Development, has today made the following statement:

The Syrian regime’s systematic and blatant disregard for international humanitarian and human rights law during the eight years long civil war has resulted in the worst humanitarian catastrophe of this century so far. An estimated 400,000 people have been killed, 13 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, 6.2 million have been internally displaced and 5.6 million refugees have fled to neighbouring countries.

The UK remains extremely concerned over escalating military action in the Northwest of Syria by the Syrian regime and its international backers, putting at risk almost 3 million people, many of whom have fled to the region to seek shelter. The last few days has seen dozens of Russian and regime airstrikes against areas of Idlib. Last weekend, we received reports of three hospitals, two White Helmets offices and three ambulances being attacked and put out of service, leaving thousands with no access to medical care. Last month alone there were over 100 civilian fatalities, and since the start the start of this month, already 30,500 people have been displaced.

A disaster in Idlib is still avoidable. It is not too late for the Syrian regime and Russia to change tack. The British Government continues to call on them to work with Turkey, the UN Security Council and the rest of the international community to find a negotiated way forward to avoid the needless loss of human life. If they were genuinely concerned about the presence of terrorist groups, this is what they would do. Sadly, the experience of Aleppo, Eastern Ghouta and elsewhere is that this is just a pretext, and that their real intention is to reimpose regime control through brutal military means regardless of the cost.

So, in addition to our diplomatic efforts, we are working with the UN, Turkey, humanitarian agencies and our international partners to undertake contingency planning in case the regime and Russia indeed launch a full-scale offensive against Idlib in the coming days and weeks. Our aim is to ensure that the lives of innocent Syrian civilians are saved.

For this reason today I announce that the UK will provide additional aid funding of up to £32 million for the Northwest Syria. This money will help to provide shelter, clean water and sanitation, mental health services, and support heath workers and facilities. This is our second uplift of emergency funding for Northern Syria in recent weeks. On 17 August I announced a £10 million package of support, including the provision of emergency assistance and vital support for medical centres and mobile medical clinics.

Sadly, Northwest Syria is just the latest target for the regime in eight years of devastating civil war. Over that time the UK has been at the forefront of the international response, providing life-saving and life-changing support for millions of people in places like Idlib, Aleppo, Eastern Ghouta and most recently Southwest Syria. We are the second largest bilateral donor and have pledged £2.71 billion to date, our largest ever response to a single humanitarian crisis. Last year our support in Idlib governorate provided approximately 653,000 people with access to clean drinking water, immunised 1,335,000 children under five, helped 321,000 children access education and provided 398,000 medical consultations.

But money alone is not enough. We are working with the UN to ensure robust planning and preparation for Northwest Syria. With our international partners, the UK continues to use our position in the UN Security Council and the International Syria Support Group to advocate above all else for the protection of civilians, and calls on all parties to allow humanitarian agencies unfettered access to deliver aid to those most in need.

Regardless of what happens in Idlib, this sadly won’t be the end of the suffering of the Syrian people. To achieve that requires a political solution, leading to an inclusive, non-sectarian government which can unite the country and protect the rights of all Syrians. That is why we continue to support the UN-led Geneva process aimed at reaching a negotiated settlement

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS969
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Leader of the House of Lords
Made on: 13 September 2018
Made by: Baroness Evans of Bowes Park (Lord Privy Seal)
Lords

The Government’s response to 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:

On July 18 2018, the Intelligence and Security Committee’s report on Diversity and Inclusion was laid before Parliament. I responded to this on the same day in a Written Ministerial Statement.

The Government has given additional consideration to the Committee’s important conclusions and recommendations, and I have today laid a further Government response before the House.

Copies of the response have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

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Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 13 September 2018
Made by: Lord Henley (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
Lords

Retail Sector: Response to the Resolution of the House, 6 June 2018

My hon Friend,the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility (Kelly Tolhurst) has today made the following statement:

The UK’s retail sector is a driving force in our economy and plays an important social role in communities across the UK. The industry employs 3.1 million people and generated £93 billion of Gross Value Added in 2017 - 5% of UK GVA.

Change has always been an inherent part of the UK’s dynamic retail sector and the Government is clear that we want all types of retail to thrive now and in the future. We are supporting the sector as it undergoes structural change and responds to changing consumer expectations, embraces new technology and prepares for EU Exit.

Government and industry have recognised that positive action is needed to ensure the sector thrives in the future. To achieve this, and as part of the Industrial Strategy, we established the Retail Sector Council in March.

The Council is jointly chaired by the Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility and Richard Pennycook (chair of the British Retail Consortium). All retail activity in the UK is represented: large and small; independents; and traditional and online or disruptive retailers. Through the Council the Government is helping the retail industry to come together to develop sector-led solutions to support its productivity and growth. The Council has now met twice and are identifying their priorities and actions to be agreed at the next meeting later this year.

In addition, the Government is also committed to supporting the retail sector through a range of measures.

  • In July Jake Berry MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Minister for the Northern Powerhouse and Local Growth, appointed a panel of experts to diagnose issues that currently affect the health of our high streets and advise on the best practical measures to help them thrive now and in the future. Chaired by Sir John Timpson (Chairman of Timpson - the multiple service retailer) the panel will focus on what consumers and local communities want from their high streets. They are holding a series of evidence sessions across the country to hear directly from communities. The panel will look at the current challenges and work out options to ensure our town centres remain vibrant. The panel of experts have a wealth of experience and include representatives from the retail, property and design sectors.

  • We have taken action to reduce the business rates burden faced by some businesses, with reforms and reductions worth over £10bn by 2023, and the Government is currently reviewing the wider taxation of the digital economy to make sure all businesses pay their fair share.

The Government understands the concerns of those affected by job losses in the sector, and the uncertainty this can cause. Where job losses occur, Jobcentre Plus, along with other government departments, work with the companies affected to understand the level of employee support required to get people back into employment as soon as possible.

British retailing is transforming and the Government is committed to doing all it can to ensure the sector continues to thrive.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS968
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Department for International Development
Made on: 13 September 2018
Made by: Lord Bates (Minister of State for International Development)
Lords

Ebola Outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo: UK response

My Rt Hon Friend, the Secretary of State for International Development, has today made the following statement:

An outbreak of Ebola was declared in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), on 1 August. I am updating the House on what the British Government is doing to support the immediate response, to support neighbouring countries to be prepared if the outbreak were to spread, and to help countries to improve public health systems and strengthen their resilience to deadly diseases like Ebola.

DRC outbreak and UK response

The DRC Government and World Health Organisation issued a single response plan on 10 August. DFID has contributed financially and the plan is now fully funded and delivering a range of activity including vaccinations, treatment centres, mobile laboratories, case management and logistics. As the response has progressed, the authorities have identified confirmed cases beyond the initial affected area. It is highly likely that the single response plan will be revised in coming weeks, in which case the UK stands ready to provide additional funding.

The UK also supports other international response mechanisms which are contributing to tackling this latest outbreak, including the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Contingency Fund for Emergencies. The UK is the largest donor to CERF and the second largest donor to the WHO Contingency Fund.

We are supporting this Ebola response in other ways. In 2014, DFID worked with the Wellcome Trust to develop an Ebola vaccine, which was subsequently developed by others into the vaccine now being administered by the WHO, Médecins Sans Frontières and the DRC Government. This vaccine was also used in the previous Ebola outbreak in DRC, in May. Furthermore, an epidemiologist from the UK Public Health Rapid Support Team was deployed with the WHO Team of Experts to the affected area to carry out initial technical assessments.

Neighbouring countries and preparedness

This is a serious outbreak, taking place in a conflict- affected region close to the borders of Rwanda and Uganda. The region also hosts a high number of refugees and internally displaced persons. Preparedness work in neighbouring countries is therefore critically important.

A member of the UK’s Emergency Medical Team has been deployed to Rwanda, to support the WHO in helping Rwanda to prepare in case of potential spread of Ebola over the border with the DRC.

In Uganda, the UK is supporting the Ministry of Health and WHO preparedness work, and will provide funding for WHO, UNICEF, the UN High Commission for Refugees and the World Food Programme.

In South Sudan, we provided initial funding to WHO to support preparatory work. We will consider with other donors, including the United States, the best way to support further contingency measures.

Risk to UK is low, but we are prepared

Public Health England assesses the risk of this outbreak to the UK as negligible to very low. It will continue to monitor and assess the outbreak closely. The UK remains ready to respond should that risk change.

There is no link between Ebola and Monkeypox.

Longer-term UK support to tackle deadly diseases

Deadly diseases like Ebola, Zika and Yellow Fever pose a serious threat to global health security. The 2014 outbreak in West Africa threatened to affect 1.4 million people, cost African economies at least US$1.6 billion, and required a major international effort to contain, with the UK leading the response in Sierra Leone.

We have a vested interest in helping sub-Saharan Africa improve public health systems and build resilience against these diseases. DFID is investing £40 million over four years through the Tackling Deadly Diseases in Africa Programme (TDDAP) to support preparedness, detection and response work in the countries most at risk. This is complemented by Public Health England’s £16 million programme focused on preventing and responding to similar outbreaks. TDDAP is designed to reduce the impact of communicable disease outbreaks and epidemics on African populations. This will also benefit the UK, by reducing the risk of an outbreak spreading far beyond its source.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS966
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Department for Exiting the European Union
Made on: 13 September 2018
Made by: Lord Callanan (Minister of State, Department for Exiting the European Union)
Lords

General Affairs Council, 18 September 2018

I will attend the General Affairs Council in Brussels on 18 September 2018 to represent the UK. Until we leave the European Union, we remain committed to fulfilling our rights and obligations as a full member.

The provisional agenda includes:

Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027

Ministers will discuss progress on the Multiannual Financial Framework proposals with the Presidency.

Presentation of the priorities of the Austrian Presidency

The Presidency is expected to present its top priority areas during its six month tenure. These are: security and illegal migration; maintaining competitiveness through digitalisation; stability in the Western Balkans; and securing an orderly Brexit.

Preparation of the European Council on 18 October 2018

The Council will discuss the draft conclusions for the October European Council. The conclusions are expected to cover Migration; Internal Security; and External Relations.

Rule of Law in Poland/Article 7(1)

The Council will hold a hearing on Article 7(1). The Commission and Poland will provide updates on the issue, and Member States will be invited to pose questions to Poland on its response to the Commission’s concerns on the Rule of Law.

Legislative programming

On 12 September 2018, the Commission published a ‘Letter of Intent’ which set out its proposals for the Commission Work Programme for 2019. Ministers will debate the proposals included in the letter before the CWP for 2019 is adopted in October. Ministers will also consider progress on legislative files in the Joint Declaration on the EU's legislative priorities for 2018-19.



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Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 13 September 2018
Made by: Lord Gardiner of Kimble (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity, and Lords Minister)
Lords

Bovine TB

The Minister of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (George Eustice) has today made the following statement.

I want to update the House on the implementation of the government’s strategy to eradicate bovine TB in England by 2038.

Today the Animal and Plant Health Agency has published data showing there has been a drop in TB incidence in the first two cull areas where the number of new confirmed breakdowns has dropped by around 50%. In Gloucestershire the incidence rate has dropped from 10.4% before culling began to 5.6% in the twelve months following the fourth cull. While in Somerset it has dropped from 24% to 12%.

Data on TB incidence in the next eight areas has also been published today although, as we anticipated, it is too early to see any impact on TB in those areas.

Bovine TB remains one of the greatest animal health threats to the UK and the government is continuing to take strong action to eradicate the disease and protect the future of our dairy and beef industries. Today I am announcing further steps to enhance and strengthen our eradication strategy; opening a new round of applications to our badger vaccination grant scheme and issuing new licences for badger control in 2018.

Although it does not provide complete protection or cure infected animals (which continue to spread TB), badger vaccination has a role to play and 3 projects have received government funding in 2018 to vaccinate badgers in the Edge Area of England. Therefore, applications for the ‘Badger Edge Vaccination Scheme’ will be re-opened later this year, with grant funding available to private groups wishing to carry out badger vaccination in the Edge Area. Groups will receive at least 50% funding towards their eligible costs.

There is broad scientific consensus that badgers are implicated in the spread of TB to cattle. This year, following the effective licensed badger control operations in 2017, culling operations will take place across 39% of the High Risk Area. This includes a further ten new areas which have been licenced to undertake culling operations in 2018. Alongside our robust cattle movement and testing regime, this will allow us to achieve and maintain long term reductions in the level of TB in cattle across the South West and Midlands, where the disease is widespread.

In order to eradicate a pocket of infection in both cattle and badgers in the Low Risk Area, we have also licenced an area within Cumbria to undertake culling operations in 2018. Along with 6 monthly cattle testing, movement restrictions and good biosecurity on farms this approach offers the best opportunity to deal quickly with this real and serious threat in the Low Risk Area.

To ensure we have a successful and resilient industry as the UK enters a new trading relationship with the world, we are determined to implement all available measures necessary to eradicate this devastating disease as quickly as possible. To aid this, a review, led by Professor Sir Charles Godfray, is looking at options to take the bTB Strategy to the next phase and will report to Ministers by the end of September 2018. The findings will be published in due course along with information on next steps.

WS
Home Office
Made on: 13 September 2018
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Immigration

My rt hon Friend the Minister of State for Immigration (Caroline Nokes) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

As part of the clearance of the Calais camp in October 2016 the Government transferred 769 unaccompanied children to the UK, all of whom claimed Asylum in the UK. The Government acted decisively at this time to remove vulnerable children from a dangerous situation where they were at risk of violence and abuse. The unique situation in Calais and unprecedented action we took to safeguard children demonstrated the Government’s commitment to supporting the most vulnerable children affected by the migration crisis.

Of the 769 cases, 220 cases were transferred in accordance with s67 Immigration Act 2016 (‘’the Dubs amendment), and formed the first tranche of these cases. Some of these cases did not qualify for Refugee or Humanitarian protection under the existing rules, as such, in June 2018 we introduced a new form of leave (section 67 leave) for these cases.

The remaining 549 cases were transferred to reunite with family members already in the UK. These cases have been considered carefully and on their individual merits, and a large proportion of these cases have been recognised as refugees.

It is our view that all those 549 transferred from Calais to the UK to reunite with family should be able to remain here with their family members. In keeping with our commitments to family unity, we do not consider that it would be in their best interests to separate children from their families, having received significant support from UK authorities to reunite and integrate.

It is our intention to introduce, by laying a new Immigration Rule, a new form of leave for any of these cases that have not already been considered refugees. This leave will only be available for those that were bought over as part of the Calais clearance exercise in October 2016, who were under the age of 18 at this time, and who had recognised family ties in the UK. Individuals who qualify for this leave will have the right to study, work, access public funds and healthcare, and can apply for settlement after ten years.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS961
WS
Home Office
Made on: 13 September 2018
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Reports of the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation on the Operation in 2016 of the Terrorism Act 2000 and Part 1 of the Terrorism Act 2006 and on the Westminster Bridge Terrorist Attack

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

In accordance with section 36 of the Terrorism Act 2006, Max Hill QC, the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, prepared a report on the operation in 2016 of the Terrorism Act 2000 and Part 1 of the Terrorism Act 2006, which was laid before the House on 25 January 2018. He also prepared a report on the use of terrorism legislation following the Westminster Bridge terrorist attack, which was laid before the House on 22 March 2018.

I am grateful to Mr Hill for his reports and have carefully considered the recommendations and observations included in them. I am today laying before the House the Government’s responses to both reports, copies of which will be available in the Vote Office. They will also be published on GOV.UK.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS960
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Home Office
Made on: 13 September 2018
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Outcome of the Abortion Clinic Protest Review

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

As Parliament will be aware, concerns were raised with my predecessor about the tactics of some of the protest activities taking place outside abortion clinics in England and Wales. In response, she ordered an in-depth assessment to understand the scale and nature of the protests and to establish if more needs to be done to protect those requiring an abortion.

Understandably, there has been a significant level of interest in this review. The Home Office published a call for evidence in January this year and received over 2,500 responses. These came from a range of interested parties, including abortion service providers, abortion service clients, those engaging in anti-abortion demonstrations, police forces and local authorities. The review explored the existing laws to protect people from harassment and intimidation. It also considered the experiences of other countries in addressing problems relating to anti-abortion activities outside clinics and hospitals.

The review gathered upsetting examples of harassment and the damaging impact this behaviour has had on individuals. This behaviour can leave patients distressed and has caused some to rebook their appointments and not follow medical advice in order to avoid the protestors. In some of these cases, protest activities can involve handing out model foetuses, displaying graphic images, following people, blocking their paths and even assaulting them. However, what is clear from the evidence we gathered is that these activities are not the norm, and predominantly, anti-abortion activities are more passive in nature. The main activities reported to us that take place during protests include praying, displaying banners and handing out leaflets. There were relatively few reports of the more aggressive activities described above. Nevertheless, I recognise that all anti-abortion activities can have an adverse effect, and I would like to extend my sympathies to those going through this extremely difficult and personal process.

Through the review, we also found that anti-abortion demonstrations take place outside a small number of abortion facilities. In 2017, there were 363 hospitals and clinics in England and Wales that carried out abortions. Through the review, we found that 36 hospitals and clinics have experienced anti-abortion demonstrations.

Having considered the evidence of the review, I have therefore reached the conclusion that introducing national buffer zones would not be a proportionate response, considering the experiences of the majority of hospitals and clinics, and considering that the majority of activities are more passive in nature.

In making my decision, I am also aware that legislation already exists to restrict protest activities that cause harm to others. For example, under the Public Order Act 1986, it is an offence to display images or words that may cause harassment, alarm or distress. This Act also gives the police powers to impose conditions on a static demonstration if they believe it may result in serious public disorder, serious damage to property or serious disruption to the life of the community or if the purpose of the assembly is to intimidate others. There are also offences under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 when someone pursues a course of conduct which they know will amount to the harassment of another person.

Civil legislation also exists and can be used to restrict harmful protest activities. We have seen evidence that such legislation has been effective. Ealing Council recently introduced a Public Spaces Protection Order under the Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 to restrict anti-abortion demonstrations. The Government will publish information on the current legal remedies that are available in tackling intimidation and harassment.

In this country, it is a long-standing tradition that people are free to gather together and to demonstrate their views. This is something to be rightly proud of. However, it is vital that how views are demonstrated is carried out within the law, and never more so than on such an issue that can have such a personal impact on individuals. This Government is absolutely clear that no-one should feel harassed or intimidated simply for exercising their legal right to pregnancy advice and abortion services, and I am adamant that where a crime is committed, the police have the powers to act so that people feel protected.

Where protesters are breaking the law, we will do all we can to ensure those people are brought to justice and for support to be provided to victims. I am asking the police to work closely with abortion service providers, offering advice on public safety and security, as well as helping to ensure that all incidents of intimidation and harassment are recorded and appropriate action taken. The police will also continue to actively engage in community discussions in areas facing heightened tensions.

We want to ensure that all those who are affected are properly supported. Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) have a role to play with their responsibility for commissioning victim support services. This year, the Government has allocated £68m to PCCs to locally commission or provide support services for victims of crime. I am asking PCCs to ensure that services are available and accessible to those affected by crimes that are committed during abortion clinic protests, regardless of whether the crimes have been reported to the police.

We are engaging with the Welsh Government on the outcome of the review.

While the evidence today suggests that national buffer zones would not be a proportionate response, I will keep this important matter under review.

I thank Members across this House for their engagement on this issue.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS958
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Department for Transport
Made on: 12 September 2018
Made by: Baroness Sugg (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport )
Lords

Road scheme update

My Honourable Friend, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport (Jesse Norman), has made the following Ministerial Statement.

England’s road network is a huge national asset and a cornerstone of our present and future economic prosperity. Across the country the Government is investing in this network, in order to open up new opportunities, improve productivity and connect people and businesses.

As part of this, after considerable consultation and review, the Government is announcing today the preferred corridor for the new Oxford-Cambridge Expressway, accepting the recommendations of Highways England.

The Expressway, which fills a major gap in the national road network, will work together with the proposed East West Rail link to revolutionise east-west connectivity. In so doing, it will help unlock the commercial development of up to one million new homes.

The Expressway is projected to take up to 40 minutes off the journey between the A34 south of Oxford and the M1, so that hundreds of thousands of people will be brought within reach of high quality jobs in centres of rapid growth such as Oxford Science Park. The preferred corridor identified today runs alongside the planned route of East West Rail, so that consumers have a variety of road and rail travel options.

This decision determines the broad area within which the road will be developed: the process of designing a specific route will now get under way, involving extensive further consultation with local people to find the best available options. Members of the public will be able to comment on the full set of front-running designs in a public consultation next year, and the road is on schedule to be open to traffic by 2030.

The choice of this corridor means that the Government has ruled out construction in the area of the Otmoor nature reserve, underlining its desire to protect the natural environment.

The Government also recognises that no one corridor can support every proposed development across the area. It is therefore commissioning England’s Economic Heartland to carry out a study of how to provide better connectivity across the wider area, so that places outside of the preferred corridor enjoy the benefits of growth as far as possible.

Between 2015 and 2021 the Government is investing £15 billion to improve the UK’s busiest roads. Already, it has opened the first all-motorway link from Newcastle to London; and after 45 years without change the Department for Transport is working with Transport for the North to develop three upgrades to capacity across the Pennines.

The Government is also spending billions to transform connectivity in the South West with the dualling of the A303 and A30, and to create better access to and from our ports and airports through projects such as the Lower Thames Crossing and upgrade of the A14 link between the Midlands and Felixstowe.

The common theme linking all these projects is the need to create and upgrade the UK’s infrastructure. So too it is here with the New Oxford-Cambridge expressway.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS952
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Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 12 September 2018
Made by: Baroness Buscombe (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions)
Lords

The Child Support (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2018

My honourable Friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Family Support, Housing & Child Maintenance (Justin Tomlinson MP) has made the following Written Statement.

On 12 July 2018, I made a statement to the House about laying the Child Support regulations on 12 July 2018.

I wish to give notice that I intend to re-lay these regulations to clarify some minor points in regulation 2.

These are that:

  • The non-resident parent (NRP) can be either the sole, or one of a number of beneficiaries to an asset for the purpose of assuming a notional income from it.

  • The Secretary of State would make the decision as to whether the sale of an asset would be unreasonable or may cause hardship to the child of a NRP.

  • A minor amendment to the definition of virtual currency; and

  • The definition of asset will now include assets owned jointly by, or held in the joint names of, the non-resident parent and another individual or individuals. This is to ensure that a provision which was intended to offer protection to third parties cannot be exploited by an NRP by transferring assets into joint names.

The regulations are subject to the affirmative procedure and I look forward to discussing them with colleagues in due course.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS956
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Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 12 September 2018
Made by: Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Lords

Housing Land Supply in Oxfordshire

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

In March this year the Government committed to the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal, to support ambitious plans to deliver 100,000 homes by 2031. The Oxfordshire-wide Joint Statutory Spatial Plan to be adopted by 2021 will be supported by £215 million of funding to help deliver more affordable housing and infrastructure improvements to support sustainable development across the county.

Paragraph 217 of the National Planning Policy Framework sets out that the Government will explore potential planning freedoms and flexibilities, for example where this would facilitate an increase in the amount of housing that can be delivered. Such freedoms and flexibilities are to be considered by the Government on a case by case basis. In this instance the Government has worked closely with the authorities in Oxfordshire to agree planning freedoms and flexibilities that will support the ambitious plan-led approach through a Joint Spatial Strategy and the Housing Deal.

As part of the Housing Deal, Oxfordshire sought flexibility from the National Planning Policy Framework policy on maintaining a 5 year housing land supply. This policy supports the delivery of housing by ensuring sufficient land is coming forward to meet housing need. However, we recognise the ambitious plans in Oxford to deliver above their housing need in the long term. The Government wants to support this strategic approach to supporting housing delivery through joint working. We have therefore agreed to provide a short term flexibility which will support the delivery of the local plans for the area and ensure that the local authorities can focus their efforts on their Joint Spatial Strategy. The Government recognises that in the short term this will result in fewer permissions being granted under paragraph 11 of the National Planning Policy Framework but the Government believes that it is important to support these ambitious plans that will deliver more housing in the longer term.

Having considered the responses from a local consultation, which closed on the 12th July 2018, I am today implementing a temporary change to housing land supply policies as they apply in Oxfordshire.

For the purposes of decision-taking under paragraph 11(d), footnote 7 of the National Planning Policy Framework will apply where the authorities in Oxfordshire cannot demonstrate a three year supply of deliverable housing sites (with the appropriate buffer, as set out in paragraph 73). This policy flexibility does not apply to the Housing Delivery Test limb of footnote 7 of the National Planning Policy Framework nor plan making policy in paragraph 67. If a local authority intends to fix their land supply under paragraph 74 they will still be required to demonstrate a minimum of five year supply of deliverable housing sites, with the appropriate buffer.

This statement is a material consideration in planning decisions and applies to those local planning authorities in Oxfordshire with whom the Government has agreed the Oxfordshire Housing and Growth Deal, namely Cherwell District Council, Oxford City Council, South Oxfordshire District Council, Vale of White Horse District Council and West Oxfordshire District Council. This statement applies from today and remains in effect until the adoption of the Joint Statutory Spatial Plan in each area, provided the timescales agreed in the Housing and Growth Deal are adhered to. I will monitor progress against these timescales and keep the planning flexibility set out in this statement under review.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS955
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Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 12 September 2018
Made by: Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity)
Lords

Agriculture Bill

My Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Michael Gove) has today made the following statement.

Today, I am introducing the Agriculture Bill into the House of Commons, fulfilling the government’s promise to deliver a Green Brexit. The Bill marks a decisive shift in our support for farmers. It ensures we will reward them properly at last for the work they do to enhance the environment around us. It will help them grow more high quality food in a more sustainable way, and it will ensure public money is spent more efficiently and effectively.

Nearly three quarters of England is farmland. For too long, Brussels has set the rules on how we maintain and enhance our distinctive environment, and how we grow crops and improve food production. The European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy has held back Britain, economically and environmentally. Bureaucracy has stifled innovation. Subsidies have been paid based on the size of individual land holdings, not the contribution farmers make to society. Habitats have been lost and soil health eroded.

The Agriculture Bill sets out our new policy of paying public money for public goods. Its framework for investing money in wildlife habitats, clean air and water, and healthy soil – natural assets upon which our wellbeing and economic prosperity depend – will help reduce flood risk, prevent and mitigate the effects of climate change, and ensure that the public enjoy easier access to our countryside. The Bill will help us leave the environment in a better state for future generations, as set out in the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan.

On this, Back British Farming Day, the Agriculture Bill also sets out how we will support a profitable sector producing high-quality food, encourage innovative new entrants to this way of life, and help farmers get a fair price for their produce. In order to provide certainty, farmers will be supported over a seven year transition period as we as leave the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). The Bill includes measures to incentivise more long-term thinking and investment, and help farm businesses become more resilient and productive. And we will be introducing transitional support schemes to enable on-farm investment, for example in equipment and technology to deliver public goods and to support new entrants to get into farming. This is an ambitious Bill – representing the first new domestic farming policy in nearly 50 years – which ensures that our farmers’ contribution to maintaining our countryside and producing healthy food will be greater than ever before. It is the first step towards a brighter, better and greener future for farming and our natural world outside the EU.

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Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 12 September 2018
Made by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Lords

Informal meeting of European Union (EU) Foreign Ministers (Gymnich): 30-31 August 2018

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

My Right Honourable Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs attended the bi-annual informal meeting of EU Foreign Ministers (known as the Gymnich) on 30-31 August in Vienna, Austria. The Gymnich was hosted by the Austrian Federal Minister for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, Karin Kneissl, and was chaired by the High Representative and Vice President of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini. Discussions centred on the Middle East, Transatlantic relations, the Western Balkans, and Multilateralism.

Foreign Ministers of the Candidate Countries joined EU Ministers over dinner on 30 August and during the morning of 31 August.

The format of the Gymnich is designed to allow EU Foreign Ministers to engage in informal discussion on a number of issues. In contrast to the Foreign Affairs Council (the next of which will be held on 15 October), Ministers do not take formal decisions or agree Conclusions at the Gymnich.

Middle East

Ministers held a broad discussion on the Middle East that covered the Middle East Peace Process (MEPP), Syria and Iran. Ministers reiterated that a two state solution was the only realistic option, confirmed the EU’s support for the United Nations’ and Egypt’s work on Gaza and commitment to continuing support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). On Syria, Ministers voiced concerns about possible military action on Idlib and the resulting humanitarian impact. Finally on Iran, Ministers agreed on the need to preserve the nuclear deal but voiced concerns about Iran’s actions in the region including in Syria. My Right Honourable Friend spoke about the risk of regional tension and the role of Russia in Syria.

Transatlantic relations

Ministers noted that the EU and United States of America (USA) were close partners on a number of areas, and shared the same values. There were some policy differences but these should not overshadow other areas on which there is excellent cooperation. My Right Honourable Friend shared his thoughts following his recent visit to Washington.

Western Balkans

Ministers discussed the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia that the EU is facilitating with the aim of reaching a legally binding agreement. Ministers noted the forthcoming elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina; they hoped the results would not cause a vacuum and the EU could continue to support work on the reform agenda there.

Ministers also touched on the referendum in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and expressed their full support for the agreement that was reached between Athens and Skopje on 17 June.

Any other business (AOB)

Under AOB Ministers briefly discussed the situation in Venezuela and Operation Sophia.

Multilateralism

The Foreign Ministers of the Candidate countries joined EU Ministers for this working session. Ministers reaffirmed the importance of multilateralism given current risks to the Rules Based International Order, and the example the EU can set in this regard.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS950
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Department of Health and Social Care
Made on: 12 September 2018
Made by: Lord O'Shaughnessy (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health)
Lords

Government response to the Learning Disabilities Mortality Review Programme Second Annual Report

My hon. Friend the Minister of State for Care (Caroline Dinenage) has made the following written statement:

I am today announcing the publication of the Government’s response to the recommendations of the second annual report of the Learning Disabilities Mortality Review (LeDeR) programme. The response is attached.

The LeDeR programme is the first national mortality review of its kind. It was established in June 2015 to help reduce early deaths and health inequalities for people with a learning disability. It does this by supporting local areas in England to put in place robust processes to review the deaths of people with a learning disability and to ensure that the learning from these reviews is put into practice. The programme is led by the University of Bristol and commissioned by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) on behalf of NHS England.

The University of Bristol published their second annual report of the programme on 4 May 2018, which covered the period from 1 July 2016 to 30 November 2017. During that time, 1,311 deaths were notified to the LeDeR programme and 103 reviews were completed and approved by the LeDeR quality assurance process. In thirteen of the cases reviewed, the individual’s health had been adversely affected by external factors including delays in care or treatment; gaps in service provision; organisational dysfunction; or neglect or abuse.

As I outlined to the House on 8 May (Official Report 8 May 2018, Vol. 640, Col. 545), the report makes a series of national recommendations that are aimed at NHS England, as well as health and care commissioners and providers.

The Government accepts the Review’s recommendations and we are publishing today our plan for making progress against each of them. The Government is already taking action, alongside its system partners, to address the concerns raised in the report. We need to promote universal awareness amongst health staff of the needs of people with learning disabilities, and we are taking steps to make this happen. By March 2019, we will complete a public consultation on proposals for mandatory learning disability training for all health and care staff.

This Government is committed to reducing the health inequalities that people with learning disabilities face, and reducing the number of people with learning disabilities whose deaths may have been preventable with different health and care interventions. The LeDeR programme was introduced to ensure local, evidence-based action is taken to improve support for people with a learning disability, and while we clearly have a great deal further to go to improve outcomes, it is resulting in commissioners focusing their attention on their local mortality rates and the reasons for them.

Government response (PDF Document, 383.95 KB)
This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS951
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Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 12 September 2018
Made by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Lords

Tailored Review of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy

I am announcing today the start of a Tailored Review of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD), an Executive Non Departmental Public Body (NDPB), sponsored by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

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.

Established in 1992, the focus of the WFD’s work has been on strengthening democracy in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.

Since its last Review in 2014, WFD has expanded this focus to include open government partnership, civil society strengthening, electoral assistance, inclusive politics and women’s political empowerment.

The Review will provide a robust scrutiny of and assurance on the continuing need for WFD – both its function and its form. If this process finds the Foundation should be retained in its current form and status, it will then consider how WFD can deliver on its core mandate more effectively and efficiently. It will also assess the control and governance arrangements that are in place to ensure that WFD and the FCO are complying with recognised principles of good corporate governance. The structure, efficiency and effectiveness of the WFD will be considered throughout the Review.

In conducting this Tailored Review, officials will engage with stakeholders across the UK and overseas, including across the UK Government, Devolved Administrations, civil society, as well as with Westminster of Foundation for Democracy’s staff and management.

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.

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: HCWS953
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Ministry of Defence
Made on: 11 September 2018
Made by: Earl Howe (Minister of State, Ministry of Defence)
Lords

Opposition Day Defence Industry and Shipbuilding Debate: 11 July 2018

My right hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Minister for Defence People and Veterans (The Rt Hon Tobias Ellwood MP) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I wish to clarify statements I made during the Opposition Day Debate on the Defence Industry and Shipbuilding, Official Report, 11 July 2018, Vol. 644. The information should have been:

No UK shipyard provided a final bid for the auxiliary oiler ships recently purchased from South Korea. It cannot therefore be known whether the ships would have cost twice as much had they been purchased from a UK shipyard. However, the prices offered by South Korean yards were substantially lower than those of any alternative and, as a result, taxpayers are paying less than they would have had we adopted a different strategy.

Considering the totality of the programme, including UK customisation work, the programme has a UK work content worth some £180 million, around a third of the total acquisition costs.

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Cabinet Office
Made on: 10 September 2018
Made by: Lord Young of Cookham (Lord in Waiting (Government Whip))
Lords

Boundary Commissions

My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office (David Lidington) has made the following written ministerial statement:

I have today laid before each House, in accordance with the provisions of the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986, copies of the reports setting out recommendations for new constituency boundaries by the Boundary Commission for England and the Boundary Commission for Wales.

Under the same provisions, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland has today laid before each House a copy of the report by the Boundary Commission for Scotland, and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has today laid before each House a copy of the report by the Boundary Commission for Northern Ireland.

In 2016, the Boundary Commissions for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland began the Boundary Review. The independent and impartial Boundary Commissions have been conducting the Boundary Review as laid out in legislation passed by Parliament which provides for more equal seats and reduces the number of constituencies from 650 to 600, with equally sized constituencies based on up to date demographic data.

My Right Hon. Friends the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, the Secretary of State for Scotland, the Secretary of State for Wales and I have written today to all Members of this House representing existing constituencies in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, advising them on the laying of the reports. The reports will be published on GOV.UK. The Boundary Commissions will also be publishing their reports on their websites.

In accordance with the provisions of the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986, the adoption of the reports will require approval of both Houses.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS947
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