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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Home Office
Made on: 04 June 2018
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Counter-terrorism

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

The Government’s first priority is to keep families, communities and our country safe. Today, I have published an updated version of ‘CONTEST: The United Kingdom’s Strategy for Countering Terrorism’. The new strategy has been laid before Parliament as a Command Paper (Cm 9608), and copies are available in the Vote Office and on gov.uk.

The threat from terrorism, globally and in the UK, is higher than when we last published CONTEST in 2011. The threat from Islamist terrorism, in particular that inspired by Daesh and Al Qa’ida, remains the most severe. Northern Ireland-related terrorism continues to pose a serious threat in Northern Ireland and Great Britain, and there is a growing threat from extreme right-wing terrorism. In 2016, we proscribed an extreme right-wing terrorist group, National Action, for the first time.

In 2017, we saw a significant shift in the terrorist threat to the UK. Five attacks in London and Manchester led to the deaths of 36 innocent people, and many more injured. We responded decisively, rapidly adapting our priorities and capabilities, to break the momentum of these attacks. Since March 2017, the police and the security and intelligence agencies successfully foiled a further 12 Islamist plots, and disrupted four extreme right-wing plots.

This strategy is the culmination of a detailed review of the UK’s counter-terrorism arrangements, led by the Home Office. We have designed a new, more agile, flexible and coordinated approach to respond to the shifting nature of the threats we face, including terrorist exploitation of new technology, the increase in attacks in Europe, including the UK, as Daesh is forced into retreat in Syria and Iraq, and the speed with which people are being radicalised and plots developed. We will Introduce new counter-terrorism legislation to disrupt terrorist threats in the UK earlier, taking account of the scale of the threat and the speed at which plots are now developing. We will share information more widely and support more local interventions with individuals in our own communities who are being groomed or incited to commit or support acts of terrorism. We are piloting multi-agency centres to do this in London, Manchester and the West Midlands. We will enhance our efforts to disengage and rehabilitate those already involved in terrorism, including through the expansion of the Desistance and Disengagement Programme. And we will continue to work in partnership with the aviation industry and international partners to deliver robust and sustainable aviation security in the UK and overseas.

This strengthened strategy sets out how we will build on the UK’s formidable capabilities, experience and expertise to tackle the growing and changing threat from terrorism in all its forms.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS727
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Department for Education
Made on: 04 June 2018
Made by: Lord Agnew of Oulton (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System)
Lords

School Places

The Government is committed to creating more good school places through a diverse education system, to ensure that parents have choice and that children of all backgrounds have access to the best education.

We are investing £7 billion from 2015 to 2021 to create new school places. This forms part of our wider plan to invest more than £23 billion in the school estate by 2021. By continuing to announce the profile of allocations ahead of time, we recognise that good investment decisions require certainty.

As part of this, I am announcing a total package of £730 million of capital funding to create new school places. This includes £630 million of basic need allocations to create the places needed by September 2021. Announcing these allocations means local authorities can plan ahead with confidence, and make good strategic investment decisions to ensure they deliver good school places for every child who needs one.

We recently published the 2017 School Capacity Survey, which highlights the progress to date in providing new school places. By May 2017, our investment had already helped to create 825,000 additional school places since 2010, with 90,000 delivered in 2016/17 alone.

The vast majority of these new places are being created in good or outstanding schools. This is demonstrated through the latest school place scorecards released, which show that 91% of the new places added between 2016 and 2017 in both primary and secondary phases were created in schools rated as good or outstanding by Ofsted.

The Government is also committed to investing in school places for children with special educational needs and disabilities. As part of this, I am announcing a further £50 million top-up to the Special Provision Capital Fund to take our total investment to £265 million across 2018-21. This additional funding will help local authorities to create further school places and facilities for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities.

I am also announcing £50 million of basic need funding, contributing towards the capital costs of building a new mainstream secondary presumption free school in a targeted number of local authorities.

Details of this announcement will be published on the GOV.UK website, and copies will be placed in the House Library.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS729
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Attorney General
Made on: 04 June 2018
Made by: Lord Keen of Elie (Advocate General for Scotland)
Lords

Law Officers' Department update

Serious Fraud Office (Appointment of the Director of the Serious Fraud Office)

I am today announcing the appointment of Lisa Osofsky as the next Director of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

Under the Criminal Justice Act 1987, I appoint a person to be the Director of the Serious Fraud Office, who shall discharge their functions under my superintendence. The Prime Minister and Cabinet Secretary have been notified of this appointment.

This appointment has been conducted in line with Civil Service guidance and the process has been overseen by a Civil Service Commissioner.

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Department for Exiting the European Union
Made on: 24 May 2018
Made by: Lord Callanan (Minister of State for Exiting the European Union)
Lords

EU Exit

My Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (David Davis MP) has made the following written statement in the House of Commons:

Today we are publishing four documents produced by the UK negotiating team for discussion with the EU.

These cover:

  1. External Security

  2. Internal Security

  3. Galileo

  4. Economic Partnership

These will be available on Gov.uk and copies will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Tomorrow we will be publishing a document on the Exchange of Classified Information, which was produced by the UK negotiating team for discussion with the EU. This will be available on Gov.uk and a copy will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS725
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Ministry of Justice
Made on: 24 May 2018
Made by: Lord Keen of Elie (The Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

Education provision and employment support in prisons

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

"Today, the Government is launching the Education and Employment Strategy for adult prisoners. It builds on the ambitions of the November 2016 White Paper Prison Safety and Reform.

Work has the power to change people’s lives, especially those of ex-prisoners. A prison sentence rightly serves as a punishment, depriving someone of their liberty. However, for those offenders who want to turn their backs on crime, prison should also be a catalyst for change. The vision at the heart of this strategy is that when an offender enters prison they should be put, immediately, on the path to employment on release.

We know that people with criminal convictions face significant barriers on release from prison, with access to employment and education being at the forefront. Not only are many ex-prisoners often unprepared for employment on release in terms of their skills and training, there remains a stigma among some employers about hiring people with a criminal conviction. With reoffending costing the UK billions each year, this strategy sets out to help break down the barriers and prejudices offenders often face in trying to secure employment.

Our reforms to prison education will give governors the tools they need to tailor provision to the requirements of employers and the needs of their prisoner populations. This approach builds on the commitments we made in the White Paper Prison Safety and Reform, putting into practice the key principles of governor empowerment and accountability that underpinned the recommendations in Dame Sally Coates’ seminal review. Governors will control their education budget, will decide what curriculum is most appropriate for their learner population, how it is organised and, crucially, who delivers it. These are far-reaching changes that governors themselves demand.

It is essential that prisoners develop their skills and gather experience through work during custodial sentences. Prison jobs are a key part of this, as is release on temporary licence (ROTL), which enables prisoners to undertake work in real workplaces. Evidence published today underlines the link between increased use of ROTL and reduced re-offending and we are also today consulting those who make ROTL decisions and those who provide ROTL placements on how to get more risk-assessed prisoners out of their cells and into real workplaces.

For offenders who play by the rules, we want to use incentives like workplace ROTL to encourage continued good behaviour and help support a turn away from violence and disorder in our prisons. We will develop a new operational policy framework that will allow prison governors to better tailor their ROTL regime to the circumstances of each offender and the opportunities available.

The strategy also sets a range of commitments to boost employment for prisoners once they are released. These include:

  • The New Futures Network (NFN) will engage and persuade employers to take on ex-prisoners, with experts placed in every geographical prison group in a phased roll-out across England and Wales.
  • The Civil Service will recruit ex-prisoners, providing jobs and acting as a role model for other employers.
  • The DWP and MoJ will work together to explore new ways to deliver enhancements to the current benefit claim service, so that prison leavers have immediate easier access to financial support on the day of release."
This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS719
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Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 24 May 2018
Made by: Lord Henley (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy))
Lords

Pre Competiveness Council Statement

My hon Friend the Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation (Sam Gyimah), has today made the following statement:

The Competitiveness Council will take place on 28 and 29 May in Brussels.

Day one – Internal Market and Industry

The Council will receive a presentation from the Commission on the ‘Competitiveness check-up’ examining linkages between the Internal Market and industrial competitiveness from a sectoral perspective. The Council will discuss the Regulation on Mutual Recognition (part of the ‘goods package’) with the Presidency hoping to reach a general approach. The Council will also hold a policy debate on the Regulation on platform to business relations.

Under AOB the Commission will provide information on recent initiatives in the Digital Single Market, the Copyright Package, the New Deal for Consumers Package, the Company Law Package, Supplementary Protection Certificates for medicinal products and the supplementary protection certificate for medicinal products. The Commission will also provide information on the outcome of initiatives and conferences in the field of tourism and provide an update on the current state of play on the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court.

Day one will conclude with information from the Austrian delegation on their incoming Presidency work programme.

Day two – Space and Research

Day two of the Competitiveness Council will start with a policy debate on the future of European space policy.

The Research sessions will begin with a progress report on the Regulation on establishing the European High Performance Computing Joint Undertaking. The Council will then adopt Council Conclusions on accelerating knowledge circulation in the European Union and Conclusions on the European Open Science Cloud.

During the afternoon session the Council is expected to agree on the Regulation on the Regulation on the Research and Training Programme of the European Atomic Energy Community (2019-2020). This will be followed by a policy debate on research and innovation within the context of the next Multiannual Financial Framework.

Under AOB, the Commission will provide information on the outcome of the Presidency event dedicated to Space (held in Sofia on 17-19 April 2018).

Day two will conclude with information from the Austrian delegation on their incoming Presidency work programme.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS717
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Department for Exiting the European Union
Made on: 24 May 2018
Made by: Lord Callanan (Minister of State for Exiting the European Union)
Lords

General Affairs Council, 14 May 2018

I represented the UK at the General Affairs Council (GAC) meeting in Brussels on Monday 14 May 2018. The agenda covered the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) post-2020, the Annotated draft agenda for the European Council on 28-29 June 2018, and Rule of Law in Poland / Article 7(1) Treaty on European Union (TEU) Reasoned Proposal.

A provisional report of the meeting and the conclusions adopted can be found on the Council of the European Union’s website at:

http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/meetings/gac/2018/05/14/

Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) post-2020

Günther Oettinger, European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources, presented the Commission’s proposal for a post-2020 MFF. He set out the political context and the need for funding for new priorities, such as migration and defence. I expressed the UK’s interest in participating in programmes promoting science, education and mutual security.

Annotated draft agenda for the European Council on 28-29 June 2018

The Presidency presented the annotated draft agenda for June European Council (JEC), which included: Migration; Security and Defence; Jobs, Growth and Competitiveness; Innovation and Digital; and External Relations. Trade and Enlargement may also be added to the agenda.

I intervened on the Security and Defence item to highlight the importance of maintaining momentum in facing challenges like terrorism and organised crime. I also welcomed discussion on a continued response to the attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury on 4 March. On Trade, I expressed that the UK remained concerned over US proposals to introduce tariffs for aluminium and steel imports and continued to press for an EU-wide exemption. I also stated that the UK would welcome discussion of this issue at JEC.

Rule of Law in Poland / Article 7(1) TEU Reasoned Proposal

Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans updated Ministers on the ongoing dialogue between the Commission and Poland. He concluded that Poland’s recent reforms were insufficient to remove the risk of a threat to the rule of law and that more progress was needed. Ministers highlighted the need for continuation of dialogue and further reforms by Poland. The Commission indicated its intention to continue dialogue with Poland and provide a final opinion on the matter at the June GAC.

I intervened to highlight the importance of the rule of law, welcomed the progress so far, and emphasised that the best solution was one reached through constructive dialogue.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS724
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Home Office
Made on: 24 May 2018
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Immigration

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

I have been very clear that the Government deeply regrets what has happened to some of the Windrush generation and our determination to put it right. Both my predecessor as Home Secretary and I have set out to Parliament the immediate steps that we took to assist those in the Windrush generation but were clear that this was simply a precursor for a more formal arrangement.

I have today laid a statutory instrument which will bring into force the “Windrush scheme” which will ensure that members of the Windrush generation, their children born in the UK and who arrived in UK as minors, and others who have been in the United Kingdom for a long period of time, will be able to obtain the documents to confirm their status and, in appropriate cases, be able to obtain British citizenship free of charge.

The Windrush Scheme, which will be a distinct scheme, will make it easier for those concerned to receive the support they need and to understand what is on offer. Those applying under the scheme will benefit from the services of the taskforce which help people to navigate the immigration system and will continue to take a sympathetic and proactive approach when assisting people in confirming their status.

The new scheme will come into operation next Wednesday, 30 May. Breaching the normal 21 day rule between laying a Statutory Instrument and its commencement is not something which I have done lightly and I am very mindful of the need to observe normal Parliamentary protocols. However, my judgement is that the imperative to get the new scheme up and running as swiftly as possible requires this course of action. The immigration Minister has written to the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments and the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee to explain further our reasoning.

The new scheme will ensure that members of the Windrush generation – Commonwealth citizens who were settled in the UK before 1973 - will be able to apply to become British citizens more easily. They will be deemed to have met the normal requirement for knowledge of language and life in the UK and will not be required to attend a citizenship ceremony, unless they want to. There will be no fees to pay.

Commonwealth citizens who were settled before 1973 but who do not wish to become British citizens, those who are not eligible, and citizens of other nationalities who were settled before 1973 will be provided with documents which confirm their right to remain permanently in the UK and to access services. Again, there will be no fees payable.

Children of the Windrush generation who were born in the UK will themselves be British, though in some cases they may want a document to confirm that status. Others will have the right to register as British. We will facilitate that through the taskforce and waive any application fees involved.

We are providing that a child of a member of the Windrush generation who was born abroad and who came to live in the UK before they were 18 and is still here is eligible for a free application for a document confirming their status or, if they wish, a free application for citizenship.

My predecessor undertook to consider the position of those who came to the UK between 1973 and 1988, when immigration and nationality law changed. Unlike the earlier generation, these people should have had documentary evidence of their entitlement to be in the UK but may no longer be able to prove it. Where they are lawfully in the UK, they can apply for the necessary documentation confirming that free of charge.

There is already provision in the immigration system for people whose permanent residence status has lapsed, through a prolonged absence from the UK, to resume their residence here, by obtaining a returning resident visa. It is limited to people who have spent most of their lives in the UK. I am adjusting the visa rules to ensure they are interpreted generously in respect of the Windrush generation, who spent a considerable time in the UK and who may have been unaware that they were forfeiting residence here when they left, for example because they considered themselves British. Again, that application will be made available free of charge.

Equally, there are those of the Windrush generation who retired to another country but want to return to the UK temporarily as visitors to see friends and family. I believe we should make a generous offer to the Windrush generation, recognising their special position and relationship with this country and that those who qualify can apply for a visit visa free of charge, valid for 10 years.

In my Written Ministerial Statement of 10 May, I announced the opening of the call for evidence on compensation. I am pleased to say that there has been a good response with almost 100 responses received to date. In addition, the Home Office has started an active programme of outreach to understand better the experiences of individuals and help inform the design of the compensation scheme. My officials have made contact with a number of community organisations and their representatives, and have attended events in a number of Hon Members’ constituencies. This programme will continue and expand in the weeks ahead, working with Martin Forde QC, the Independent Person that is overseeing the design of the scheme.

All of this is about swiftly putting wrong the injustices that have been done to the Windrush generation. However, it is also fundamentally important that the lessons from this episode are learned for the future, so that this never happens again.

As I made clear to the House on 2 May, I will therefore ensure that a thorough review is conducted of what happened and why, looking particularly at:

  • how members of the Windrush generation came to be entangled in measures designed for illegal immigrants;
  • why that was not spotted sooner; and
  • whether the right corrective measures are now in place.

I will also be taking steps to ensure that the review is subject to robust independent oversight and challenge.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS722
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Treasury
Made on: 24 May 2018
Made by: Lord Bates (Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

ECOFIN: 25 May 2018

My right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Philip Hammond) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

A meeting of The Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) will be held in Brussels on 25 May 2018. EU Finance Ministers will discuss the following:

Early Morning Session

The Eurogroup President will brief the Council on the outcomes of the 24 May meeting of the Eurogroup, and the European Commission will provide an update on the current economic situation in the EU.

Banking Package

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

Strengthening Administrative Cooperation

The Council will be invited to agree a general approach to strengthen administrative cooperation in the area of VAT.

General Reverse Charge Mechanism

The Council will be invited to agree a general approach on the VAT General Reverse Charge Mechanism.

E-Publications

The Council will be invited to agree a general approach on reduced rates for VAT e-publications.

Current Financial Services Legislative Proposals

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

European Semester

The Council will be invited to adopt Council conclusions on the In-Depth Reviews of macroeconomic imbalances in Member States as part of the Macroeconomic Imbalances Procedure, and the implementation of 2017 Country-Specific Recommendations as assessed in the Commission’s Country Reports, published on 07 March.

2018 Ageing Report

The Council will be invited to adopt Council conclusions on the 2018 Ageing Report on age-related spending and the sustainability of public finances.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS718
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Home Office
Made on: 24 May 2018
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Opt-In Decision: Council Decisions authorising negotiations between the EU and Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Algeria to conclude agreements on the exchange of personal data with Europol

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

Until the UK leaves it remains a full member of the European Union with all the rights and responsibilities this entails. The Government will continue to consider the application of the UK’s right to opt in to, or opt out of, forthcoming EU legislation in the area of Justice and Home Affairs on a case by case basis, with a view to maximising our country’s security, protecting our civil liberties and enhancing our ability to control immigration.

The Government has decided to opt-in to Council Decisions authorising negotiations between the EU and Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, Algeria to conclude agreements on the exchange of personal data with Europol.

The UK values the role of Europol in helping law enforcement agencies coordinate investigations in cross border serious and organised crime and terrorism. As Europol doesn’t currently have data sharing agreements with any other countries in the Mediterranean and North African region, these agreements could help to increase the security of the UK through helping to improve counter-terrorism, organised crime and illegal migration efforts in that region.

Opting in provides an opportunity for us to influence the negotiation of these agreements, including to ensure that UK concerns around human rights are reflected.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS723
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Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 24 May 2018
Made by: Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity)
Lords

Bovine TB

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

I wish to update the House on the Government’s strategy to eradicate bovine TB (bTB) in England by 2038. The measures I am announcing today will help to strengthen disease control and expand our options to tackle new outbreaks of bTB.

Following the recent consultation on the principle of allowing badger control in the Low Risk Area (LRA) of England, I am announcing my intention to enable badger control measures in the LRA in the rare event that disease in badgers is linked with infected herds. This will allow any such outbreaks to be tackled rapidly to prevent bTB from spreading further within the wildlife and cattle populations. It will also help preserve the LRA’s low incidence status.

Badger control in the LRA is expected to be permitted only in very exceptional circumstances where veterinary epidemiologists judge an area to meet the published criteria for a bTB ‘hotspot’. Any decision on whether to implement badger control in a specific LRA location will be taken by the Defra Secretary of State after considering all relevant scientific and veterinary advice. All the stringent licensing criteria set out in Defra’s Guidance to Natural England will need to be met by the cull company.

In summer 2017 we consulted on a proposal to pay compensation at 50 per cent of the average market price for any animal brought into a TB breakdown herd which then fails a TB test whilst that breakdown is still ongoing. This already happens in Wales and I have decided that it should apply in England from 1 November 2018. The proposal is intended to encourage herd owners to take further steps to improve their disease controls in a sensible and proportionate manner. One way they can do this is to seek accreditation under a scheme based on the standards laid down by the Cattle Health Certification Standards (CHeCS) body. Herds which are accredited at the time of the breakdown will continue to receive 100 per cent compensation for all compulsorily slaughtered cattle.

In a further strengthening of our testing regime, in December 2017 we confirmed that surveillance testing for most herds in the High Risk Area will take place at six monthly intervals to improve early detection and eradication of disease, and to prevent it spreading to new areas. We have decided that this change should take effect from early 2020, when the next generation of TB testing contracts with veterinary delivery partners will be put in place.

The TB strategy review led by Professor Sir Charles Godfray, announced in February, is considering how to take the strategy to the next phase, so we are able to deploy all tools to tackle this terrible disease. Currently in their evidence-gathering phase, the reviewers are examining progress with implementation and how we can improve, enhance or accelerate our approach.

Copies of the summary of consultation responses and way forward document have been placed in the Library of the House.

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Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 24 May 2018
Made by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs )
Lords

Foreign Affairs Council – 28 May 2018

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

I will attend the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) on 28 May. The Foreign Affairs Council will be chaired by the High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HRVP), Federica Mogherini. The meeting will be held in Brussels.

The FAC will discuss current affairs, Iran, DRC, Post-Cotonou and Venezuela and possibly the Middle East Peace Process (MEPP).
Foreign Affairs Council.

Iran

Ministers will have a substantive discussion on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) following the decision of the US to withdraw from the agreement. The FAC will consider a package of economic measures being drawn up by the EU that aim to protect European business interests and enable the EU to continue to meet commitments to sanctions relief to Iran under the JCPoA. The UK continues to view the Iran nuclear deal as important for our shared security, and therefore remain firmly committed to ensuring it is upheld. To this end, we are working with the remaining parties to the deal.

Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

Ministers will have an initial discussion on the political situation in the DRC. They will consider progress towards overdue Presidential elections, now scheduled for 23 December 2018, which we hope will see the first peaceful transition of power in the independent history of the country. The UK is a leading voice in international efforts to ensure these elections take place as planned. We will focus on the need to ensure that the international community remains united in putting pressure on the Government of the DRC to meet the democratic aspirations of its people.

Post-Cotonou

The FAC will adopt the negotiating mandate for a post-2020 agreement between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of countries. The FAC will give an initial political steer to the Commission ahead of the negotiations, which will be formally launched at the EU-ACP Council of Ministers in Togo on 31 May

Venezuela

Ministers will discuss the political situation in Venezuela following Presidential elections held on 20 May. The FAC will also consider how to respond to the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Venezuela and its impact on the region.

MEPP

Following the opening of the US Embassy to Israel in Jerusalem and recent violence along the Gaza border, Ministers will have an exchange of views on prospects for the Middle East Peace Process.
Any other business (AOB)

Under AOB, the UK and France are planning to update the FAC on their ongoing efforts to strengthen compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Council Conclusions

The FAC is expected to adopt Conclusions on strengthening civilian CSDP, enhanced EU security engagement in and with Asia, the special report by the European Court of Auditors: "Election Observation Missions - Efforts made to follow up recommendations but better monitoring needed”, and on small arms and light weapons.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS721
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Department for International Development
Made on: 23 May 2018
Made by: Lord Bates (Minister of State for International Development)
Lords

UK Response to the Ebola Outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

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

Following the declaration of an outbreak of Ebola in Equateur Province, Democratic Republic of the Congo, on 8th May, I am updating the House on what the British Government is doing to support the response.

The Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the World Health Organisation are leading the response. They have issued a joint funding appeal and response plan. The UK has acted quickly in support of the Government and the WHO.

I have announced today that the Department for International Development (DFID) will be providing £5 million in funding to the World Health Organisation’s response plan. This money will be made available immediately and will support the delivery of a range of WHO activities, including: surveillance, case management, laboratories, coordination, logistics, and operational readiness in neighbouring areas.

In addition to direct support to the joint Government of DRC and WHO appeal, the UK has already supported a variety of elements of the response to the outbreak. The UK has been instrumental in ensuring that lessons have been learned from previous Ebola outbreaks. For example from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, we have learned the important of acting early and making sure sufficient resources are allocated from the outset. We have invested heavily in global preparedness, early response mechanisms, and vaccines.

In 2014, DFID worked with the Wellcome Trust to develop an experimental Ebola vaccine, thousands of doses of this vaccine are currently being issued by WHO, Médecins Sans Frontières and the Government of DRC through support from UK aid and Gavi, the Vaccines Alliance. Health workers and other frontline staff began receiving the vaccine on 21st May.

Three experts from the Department of Health and Social Care’s UK Public Health Rapid Support Team – two epidemiologists and a data scientist – are being deployed to the DRC imminently to assist our partners in tracking the spread of the disease so that it can be tackled quickly and effectively. Laboratory support has also been offered.

The UK is also a major supporter to a wide range of organisations and response mechanisms which are currently tackling the outbreak. The UK is the largest contributor to the United Nations’ Central Fund for Emergencies and the second largest contributor to the World Health Organisation’s Contingency Fund for Emergencies, including £4 million from the Department of Health and Social Care in March this year. Each of these have provided $2 million for the response. DFID has also made available £1 million from its joint research initiative on epidemic preparedness with Wellcome, alongside a further £2 million available from Wellcome to support improved diagnosis and treatment. The UK aid-supported Start Network of 42 international aid agencies has mobilised £250,000 to help tackle the outbreak. The UK also provides funding to the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service, which has mobilised two helicopters and an aeroplane to meet the logistical needs of the Ebola response.

In addition to the emergency Ebola response, DFID’s new £40 million Tackling Deadly Diseases in Africa programme (TDDAP) is enhancing longer-term preparedness, detection, and response in the region. £20.5m will enable WHO to do this. It builds on the UK’s support to WHO’s reform efforts and systems strengthening following the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. This is already delivering a much-improved and better coordinated response to the current Ebola outbreak in DRC, helping to prevent it from developing into an epidemic that could seriously threaten more lives and prosperity across Africa

and the world. In the future, the programme will also support another specialist regional organisation; this component is currently out to tender. TDDAP also contains a contingency mechanism of up to an additional £20m, which allows the UK to swiftly respond to emergencies like in DRC.

The WHO’s International Health Regulations Emergency Committee met on Friday 18th May and concluded that the Ebola outbreak in the DRC did not presently constitute a global health emergency. However, the committee concluded that the risk to the public in the DRC itself was "very high" and the risk to countries in the region was high.

In our increasingly interconnected world, diseases like Ebola do not respect borders. As a result of lessons learned from the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the UK is working to strengthen the international response to health threats in order to ensure future outbreaks are identified quickly and tackled effectively This has included supporting the WHO in Africa to reform and improve their response. Helping countries to identify diseases early – and to limit their spread across borders – is beneficial for all of us: preventing potentially devastating damage in developing countries, and reducing risk to the UK population at home.

The WHO continues to assess the international risk of this outbreak as low. Public Health England has assessed the risk to the UK as negligible to very low and will continue to review this. Led by the Government Chief Scientist, the Department of Health and Social Care, and the Chief Medical Officer, with support from the Cabinet Office, colleagues across Government have ensured that the UK is in a state of readiness to respond should that risk change. The Government will continue to monitor the situation closely and will adapt its international and, if necessary, a UK domestic response as the situation evolves.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS710
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Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 23 May 2018
Made by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Lords

Saudi Arabia

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

The conflict in Yemen is now in its fourth year. Houthi rebels took the capital Sana’a by force in 2014 and displaced the legitimate Government of Yemen, as recognised by the UN Security Council. Coalition action is designed to facilitate the restoration of effective governance.

The Houthis have consistently failed to adhere to UN Security Council Resolutions, including by launching missile attacks against Saudi Arabia and shipping in the Bab al-Mandab strait. Saudi Arabia continues to be the subject of regular missile attacks from the Houthis in Yemen. Since November 2017, Riyadh has been targeted on at least six occasions. In addition, the Houthis continue to launch frequent rocket attacks against the southern cities of Jizan, Najran and Khamis Mushayt. The Houthis have stated their intention to continue these attacks against Saudi Arabia and to launch additional attacks against neighbouring countries, seriously endangering regional security. The UK supports the legitimate right of Saudi Arabia to respond to this critical threat. The UK has a national interest in stopping Houthi missile attacks that serve only to escalate the conflict and worsen the humanitarian situation.

The United Kingdom remains committed to supporting the legitimate security needs of Saudi Arabia and guarding against the danger of regional escalation. The UK has now agreed to work with the Saudis to mitigate the threat from these missiles. This will involve UK personnel providing information, advice and assistance limited to this particular objective. To be clear, the UK is not a member of the Saudi-Led Coalition. We do not have any role in setting Coalition policy, or in executing air strikes. All UK military personnel in Saudi Arabia remain under UK command and control.

The UK’s partnership with Saudi Arabia also demands that we provide them with honest advice. We regularly remind the Saudi Government, and other members of the military Coalition, of the importance of compliance with international humanitarian law. I did so most recently with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on 17 May. The UK Government takes its arms export responsibilities very seriously and operates one of the most robust arms export control regimes in the world. All export license applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, taking account of all relevant factors at the time of the application. The Criteria state that the Government will not grant a licence if there is a clear risk that the items might be used in a commission of a serious violation of IHL.

This war has gone on for too long. The UK continues to lead diplomatic efforts to bring an end to the conflict. We are committed to supporting the work of the UN Special Envoy for Yemen. We have been clear that there can be no military solution. We continue to encourage all parties to return to negotiations and engage in the UN-led political process in good faith, to work towards a political settlement.

Meanwhile, the people of Yemen continue to suffer. As well as pressing hard for a comprehensive political solution, we are addressing the humanitarian crisis. This is a key priority for the UK. On 3 April, we pledged an additional £170 million to Yemen to cover the financial year 2018/2019. This makes the UK the fourth largest humanitarian donor to Yemen. UK funding will meet the immediate food needs of 2.5 million Yemenis, and comes on top of over £400 million in bilateral support since the conflict began in 2015.

Yemen is a priority for the Government. The solution remains political, not military. As the UN Special Envoy said to the Security Council on 17 April there is a risk that military escalation by all sides may undermine the prospects for peace. The legitimate national security interests of Saudi Arabia and neighbouring countries must be preserved. At the same time there is a need for all sides to get behind the UN Special Envoy’s plans for stopping the conflict and reaching a comprehensive political settlement. This is the best way to protect the people of Yemen and address their needs. We intend that our additional support to Saudi Arabia will help to provide enough reassurance regarding their national security to enable them to focus their efforts on supporting a political solution.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS716
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Department for Transport
Made on: 23 May 2018
Made by: Baroness Sugg (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport )
Lords

Framework document for High Speed 2 Ltd (HS2 Ltd)

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

I have today placed in the libraries of both houses a revised Framework Document for High Speed 2 Ltd (HS2 Ltd).

HS2 Ltd is a corporate body established on 14 January 2009 to develop, promote and deliver the UK’s new high speed rail network.

The document deals with matters relating to the Secretary of State’s role as shareholder of the company, its relationship with the Department and respective accountabilities and governance.

HS2 Framework App 1 (PDF Document, 640.7 KB)
HS2 Framework (PDF Document, 9.08 MB)
This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS709
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Cabinet Office
Made on: 23 May 2018
Made by: Lord Young of Cookham (Lord in Waiting (Government Whip))
Lords

Publication of Updated Single Departmental Plans

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

The Government has today published an updated set of Single Departmental Plans for 2018/19, covering the duration of the Parliament.

These set out each government department’s objectives and how they will achieve them. Taken together, they show how departments are working to deliver the Government’s programme.

For the first time, the plans also include equality objectives that each department has set itself to help it advance equality. This is just one of the steps we are taking towards improving outcomes for all citizens and making the Civil Service the UK’s most inclusive employer.

They also indicate how departments are contributing to the domestic delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Single Departmental Plans allow Parliament and the public to track the Government’s progress and performance against a number of indicators. Annual Report and Resources Accounts show how a department has performed against the objectives in their Single Departmental Plan, at the end of the financial year.

Single Departmental Plans will be revised annually to reflect new priorities or changes in responsibilities.

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Ministry of Justice
Made on: 23 May 2018
Made by: Lord Keen of Elie (The Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

Courts update

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

"Today we have introduced the Courts and Tribunals (Judiciary and Functions of Staff) Bill in the House of Lords.

New legislation underpins our agenda to modernise the courts and tribunals, make them fit for the 21st Century and deliver better value for taxpayers. We are working alongside the judiciary to deliver these far-reaching reforms, which will make access to justice quicker and easier for all. The Bill will support and enable these vital reforms to the justice system.

We are delivering significant reform in advance of legislation. For example, we have delivered high-quality, new digital services through a number of pilots; the public can now apply for uncontested divorce online, apply for probate online, make pleas online for low level offences (such as traffic offences or evading bus fare), respond to jury summonses, track social security appeals online, and issue and respond to civil money claims. Over 6,000 people have used these pilots and got straightforward, digital access to the courts for the first time.

Today’s Courts and Tribunals (Judiciary and Functions of Staff) Bill contains measures that are essential to enabling the judiciary to respond to the changing demands of a reformed courts and tribunals system and delivering better services to users. Our world class judiciary is a highly valuable resource and we want to enable them to continue to deploy their time and expertise where and when it is most needed. The Bill will introduce much greater flexibility to the deployment of judges. It will also free up judges’ time to focus on more complex matters by allowing suitably qualified and experienced court and tribunal staff to be authorised to handle uncontroversial, straightforward matters under judicial supervision. The measures in the Bill will also increase the efficiency of the courts and tribunals.

Further court reform legislation will follow, as soon as parliamentary time allows.

I am placing the Delegated Powers Memorandum and the accompanying impact assessments in the House libraries."

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS715
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Department of Health and Social Care
Made on: 23 May 2018
Made by: Lord O'Shaughnessy (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health)
Lords

Terms of reference for the review of the Fit and Proper Persons Requirement

My hon. Friend the Minister of State for Health (Stephen Barclay) has made the following written statement:

On 8 February 2018, the Government accepted the recommendations made by Dr Bill Kirkup in his report into Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust. This included a recommendation to the Department of Health and Social Care to undertake a review of the Fit and Proper Persons Requirement (FPPR). The current scope of the FPPR is to ensure that people who have senior level responsibility for the quality and safety of care are fit and proper to carry out their role. The FPPR was introduced in response to concerns raised following investigations into Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust and Winterbourne View Hospital.

Today, I can announce the arrangements for the review, which will be led by Tom Kark QC. The review will commence shortly, with a document review to begin in June and July 2018 and principal evidence gathering to be undertaken in August and September 2018. Tom Kark QC led the team of counsel to the public inquiry into the serious failings in care at the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation trust from 2010 to 2013.

The review will consider the scope, operation and purpose of the fit and proper person test as a means of specifically preventing the re-deployment or re-employment of senior NHS managers where their conduct has fallen short of the values of the NHS. It will engage and discuss these issues with a range of interested parties, including, but not limited to, the Care Quality Commission, NHS Improvement, NHS England, relevant Parliamentarians, and patients and relatives. I have discussed the terms of the review with the Member for West Lancashire.

NHS Improvement (NHSI) has led on the health and care system’s wider response to the recommendations made in the Kirkup Review. The NHSI Board paper published on 22 March sets out NHSI’s response to the recommendations in the Kirkup review, and a further update on progress against these agreed actions will be discussed at NHSI’s next Board meeting on 24 May.

The Kark Review will aim to report its conclusions and recommendations by autumn this year. The report will be published and I will make arrangements for its presentation to Parliament. I attach a copy of the draft Terms of Reference, which will be finalised with input from Tom Kark QC.

Terms of Reference (PDF Document, 233.55 KB)
This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS713
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Department for Exiting the European Union
Made on: 23 May 2018
Made by: Lord Callanan (Minister of State for Exiting the European Union)
Lords

EU Exit

My Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (David Davis MP) has made the following written statement in the House of Commons:

Today we are publishing two documents produced by the UK negotiating team for discussion with the EU.

These cover:

  1. Science, Research and Innovation.

  2. The Exchange and Protection of Personal Data.

These will be available on Gov.uk and a copy of both will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS712
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Ministry of Defence
Made on: 23 May 2018
Made by: Earl Howe (Minister of State, Ministry of Defence)
Lords

Armed Forces Covenant in Northern Ireland - Response to a Resolution of the House - 7 March 2018

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

I would like to thank all hon. and right hon. Members for their contributions to the Opposition Day Debate about the Armed Forces Covenant in Northern Ireland on 7 March 2018. The passionate and constructive comments of Members clearly demonstrated this House’s support for our Armed Forces.

The Covenant has always applied throughout the UK, including in Northern Ireland and there are a number of initiatives under way to ensure the Armed Forces community in Northern Ireland is treated fairly, supported, and not disadvantaged in accessing public and private goods and services.

The newly-formed Northern Ireland Veterans Support Office (NI VSO) - embedded in the Reserve Forces and Cadets Association for Northern Ireland and acting on behalf of the confederation of service charities - functions as a single point of contact for veterans who feel unable to access public bodies or service charities for services.

We have allocated £300,000 over five years to improve the capacity and capability of Local Authorities and other service providers in Northern Ireland to apply for Covenant Funding.

Any UK Armed Forces veteran living in Northern Ireland who feels that they cannot access the support they require from public sector service providers should contact the NI VSO, either direct or via the network of local veteran’s champions. The NI VSO can provide bespoke support and advice through its partner organisations tailored to the specifics of each individual case.

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