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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Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 17 January 2019
Made by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs )
Lords

Foreign Affairs Council – 21 January 2019

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 will attend the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) on 21 January. It will be chaired by the High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HRVP), Federica Mogherini and will take place in Brussels.

Current Affairs

The HRVP is expected to cover Venezuela, the Democratic Republic of Congo and may also raise Syria.

Disinformation

Ministers will discuss implementation of the EU Joint Action Plan on Countering Disinformation that was approved at the December European Council. We will be pushing for adequate funding to allow for full implementation and a robust process of review to ensure that the Plan achieves its objectives. We will also seek to highlight our leadership on this issue and willingness to collaborate with EU partners after March 2019. Russian State disinformation was a pre-cursor to conflict in Georgia in 2008, the invasion and illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014 and has been used across EU countries since. We have successfully countered a disinformation campaign targeted against UK interests across Europe following the Salisbury attack.

EU-LAS

Ministers will discuss the EU-League of Arab States (LAS) Summit that will take place in February in Egypt. The Summit is the first of its kind and offers an opportunity to deepen the EU’s relationship with members of the League of Arab States. The UK will support the EU’s ambition for the Summit to cover a range of priority topics including migration, Yemen and Syria. We are expecting that the FAC will discuss the decision by some members of the LAS to re-establish diplomatic relations with Syria. The UK will be clear we have no plans to do so.

EU-ASEAN

The FAC will discuss regional issues and the future of the EU- ASEAN relationship ahead of the EU-ASEAN Ministerial on the same day.

Council Conclusions

The Council is expected to adopt Conclusions on Nicaragua, ASEAN and possibly Yemen. With the French and Germans, we are also seeking approval of Conclusions on Iran that should reaffirm the EU’s continued commitment to the JCPoA whilst also highlighting our concerns about Iran’s regional and ballistic missile activity.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1252
WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 17 January 2019
Made by: Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity)
Lords

December EU Environment Council

My Hon Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment (Dr Thérèse Coffey), has today made the following statement.

I attended EU Environment Council on 20 December in Brussels. Mairi Gougeon MSP, the Scottish Minister for Rural Affairs and Natural Environment also attended.

I wish to update the House on the matters discussed.

CO2 Emission Standards for Heavy-Duty vehicles Regulation – General Approach:

Council reached an agreed position (“General Approach”) on the regulation on CO2 emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles. The European Commission had proposed an indicative 30% reduction in emissions by 2030, with a 15% reduction by 2025.

A full roundtable heard Ministers set out their respective positions. The UK intervened calling for greater ambition for 2030 and stressing the need to agree a strong overall package of measures. The Presidency presented a revised proposal; the key element being a binding 2030 target, which was sufficient to achieve a General Approach. One Member State abstained.

Regulation on LIFE – partial General Approach:

The Presidency introduced their compromise text for a partial General Approach of the LIFE programme (the EU’s financial instrument supporting environmental, nature conservation and climate action projects throughout the EU), to run from 2021-2027. In this revised text, the Presidency reintroduced the role of the LIFE committee and placed greater emphasis on geographical balance. Member States welcomed the adoption of the partial general approach. Whilst all could support the agreement, a number of Member States intervened to restate their preference for higher co-financing rates.

“A Clean Planet for All”: a long-term strategy for EU greenhouse gas emissions reductions – exchange of views:

The Commission introduced their long-term strategy on climate, which was published on 28th November 2018, which recommends that the EU aims for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, following which the Council held its first exchange of views. The Council agreed that the strategy should be discussed in multiple council formations in the coming months. Interventions focused on the aim for net zero-emissions, the importance of just transition, the recognition of specific national and regional circumstances, the contribution of technology to decarbonisation, and the role of national long-term strategies.

The UK intervened to highlight that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on 1.5 degrees underscored the urgency of tackling climate change, and welcomed the strategy as a serious response that also underlines the benefits of taking action, and stresses the need to ensure that no one is left behind in the transition. The UK highlighted the action being taken across the UK to tackle climate change, and the role of Clean Growth in the domestic Industrial Strategy. The UK welcomed the focus in the strategy on Carbon Capture Usage and Storage (CCUS), given its vital importance in reducing the costs of decarbonisation and the need for collaboration to scale up CCUS, and also highlighted the need to consider nature-based solutions.

AOB items

The following items were also discussed under Any Other Business.

1. Report on recent international meetings: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 24th session of the Conference of the Parties:

The Presidency, Commission, and Poland, which held the presidency of the Twenty Fourth Session of the Conference to the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), presented on COP24, which took place in Katowice, Poland, on 2-14 December 2018. The agreement of the rulebook underpinning the Paris Agreement was welcomed as a significant achievement.

2. Report on the implementation of the EU Strategy on adaptation to climate change:

Council noted the information from the Presidency.

3. The ‘Graz Declaration’ - Starting a new era: Clean, safe and affordable mobility for Europe:

Council noted the Presidency presentation on the Graz Declaration, which was agreed at October Informal Environment Council (29-30 October).

4. Measures at EU level to create the conditions for discontinuing the use of the environmentally problematic substances contained in plant protection products:

Council noted the information from the Belgian delegation on plant protection products.

  1. Intermediary Sessions of the Meeting of the Parties to the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (Espoo Convention) and the Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA):

Lithuania, supported by Luxembourg, presented information concerning the draft recommendations of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Espoo Convention Implementation Committee regarding the Ostrovets new nuclear project in Belarus. These recommendations will be tabled for possible endorsement by the Intermediary Session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Convention in February 2019.

6. Current legislative proposals:
The Presidency and the Commission provided an update on current environmental legislative proposals: Regulation on Taxonomy; Directive on single-use plastics; the Regulation on persistent organic pollutants (POPs) (recast); the Regulation on environmental reporting; the Directive on Drinking Water (recast); and the Regulation on CO2 from Cars and Vans:

Several Member States welcomed the proposals, in particular the progress on the Single-Use Plastics Directive. On the recast of the Drinking Water Directive the Commission urged all Member States to show flexibility and work together to make swift progress. The UK intervened to welcome the progress on single-use plastics, and outlined the work being done across the UK to tackle plastic waste. On drinking water, the UK noted the recent progress towards a compromise on materials in contact with drinking water, but indicated that there were still outstanding concerns, and on persistent organic pollutants (POPs), the UK intervened to support the Council position on Decabromodiphenyl ether (a flame retardant) and the existing approach for updating the annexes.

  1. Report on recent international meeting - Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and update from the UK on the London Illegal Wildlife Conference:

The Commission and Presidency reported back on the recent international meeting on the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt on 17-29 November. The UK intervened to welcome progress so far and to highlight the commitment that needs to be shown from governments, civil society and business in order to develop an ambitious post 2020 biodiversity framework.

Following this, the UK gave a short update on the outcomes of the London Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) Conference held on11-12 October 2018, outlining the importance of Member States continuing to work together to tackle this important issue, and the need to treat IWT as a serious organised crime.

  1. The future of European Environment Policy – Towards an 8th EU Environment Action Programme:

Council noted the information from the Presidency on plans to develop an eighth EU Environment Action Programme.

9. Environmental and climate ambition of the future CAP:

Council noted the information from the German delegation, supported by the Luxembourg delegation.

WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 17 January 2019
Made by: Earl Howe (Minister of State, Ministry of Defence)
Lords

Call-Out Order in Support of Government Contingency Planning for a No Deal EU Exit

My right hon. Friend the Minister of State for the Armed Forces (The Rt Hon Mark Lancaster TD VR) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

A new order has been made under section 56(1B) of the Reserve Forces Act 1996 to enable Reservists to be called into permanent service in support of the HMG contingency planning for a no deal EU exit scenario.

Defence is committed to assisting the Cabinet Office coordinated work programme to ensure that there are effective and proportionate contingency plans in place to mitigate the potential immediate impacts leaving the EU, under a ‘No Deal’ scenario, might have on the welfare, health and security of UK citizens and economic stability of the UK.

Reserve Forces will be on standby to deliver a range of Defence outputs such as: reinforcement of Regular sub-units, liaison officer roles and the provision of specialist skills.
A particularly important role may be the planned reinforcement of Regional Points of Command, to enable their 24/7 operation and resilience. We would also expect Reserves to be drawn upon to support the implementation of contingency plans developed by Other Government Departments.

The order shall take effect from the beginning of 10 February 2019 and shall cease to have effect at the end of 9 February 2020.

WS
Home Office
Made on: 17 January 2019
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office )
Lords

Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill

My rt hon Friend the Minister of State for Security (Ben Wallace) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

I am today placing in the Library of the House the Home Office’s analysis on the application of Standing Order 83O of the Standing Orders of the House of Commons relating to public business in respect of the Lords amendments to the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1253
WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 17 January 2019
Made by: Mark Lancaster (Minister of State ,Ministry of Defence)
Commons

Call-Out Order in Support of Government Contingency Planning for a No Deal EU Exit

A new order has been made under section 56(1B) of the Reserve Forces Act 1996 to enable Reservists to be called into permanent service in support of the HMG contingency planning for a no deal EU exit scenario.

Defence is committed to assisting the Cabinet Office coordinated work programme to ensure that there are effective and proportionate contingency plans in place to mitigate the potential immediate impacts leaving the EU, under a ‘No Deal’ scenario, might have on the welfare, health and security of UK citizens and economic stability of the UK.

Reserve Forces will be on standby to deliver a range of Defence outputs such as: reinforcement of Regular sub-units, liaison officer roles and the provision of specialist skills. A particularly important role may be the planned reinforcement of Regional Points of Command, to enable their 24/7 operation and resilience. We would also expect Reserves to be drawn upon to support the implementation of contingency plans developed by Other Government Departments.

The order shall take effect from the beginning of 10 February 2019 and shall cease to have effect at the end of 9 February 2020.

WS
Home Office
Made on: 17 January 2019
Made by: Mr Ben Wallace (The Minister of State for Security)
Commons

Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill

I am today placing in the Library of the House the Home Office’s analysis on the application of Standing Order 83O of the Standing Orders of the House of Commons relating to public business in respect of the Lords amendments to the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1218
WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 17 January 2019
Made by: Sir Alan Duncan (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs )
Commons

Foreign Affairs Council – 21 January 2019

My Right Honourable Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs will attend the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) on 21 January. It will be chaired by the High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HRVP), Federica Mogherini and will take place in Brussels.

Current Affairs

The HRVP is expected to cover Venezuela, the Democratic Republic of Congo and may also raise Syria.

Disinformation

Ministers will discuss implementation of the EU Joint Action Plan on Countering Disinformation that was approved at the December European Council. We will be pushing for adequate funding to allow for full implementation and a robust process of review to ensure that the Plan achieves its objectives. We will also seek to highlight our leadership on this issue and willingness to collaborate with EU partners after March 2019. Russian State disinformation was a pre-cursor to conflict in Georgia in 2008, the invasion and illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014 and has been used across EU countries since. We have successfully countered a disinformation campaign targeted against UK interests across Europe following the Salisbury attack.

EU-LAS

Ministers will discuss the EU-League of Arab States (LAS) Summit that will take place in February in Egypt. The Summit is the first of its kind and offers an opportunity to deepen the EU’s relationship with members of the League of Arab States. The UK will support the EU’s ambition for the Summit to cover a range of priority topics including migration, Yemen and Syria. We are expecting that the FAC will discuss the decision by some members of the LAS to re-establish diplomatic relations with Syria. The UK will be clear we have no plans to do so.

EU-ASEAN

The FAC will discuss regional issues and the future of the EU- ASEAN relationship ahead of the EU-ASEAN Ministerial on the same day.

Council Conclusions

The Council is expected to adopt Conclusions on Nicaragua, ASEAN and possibly Yemen. With the French and Germans, we are also seeking approval of Conclusions on Iran that should reaffirm the EU’s continued commitment to the JCPoA whilst also highlighting our concerns about Iran’s regional and ballistic missile activity.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1221
WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 17 January 2019
Made by: Dr Thérèse Coffey (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Environment)
Commons

December EU Environment Council

I attended EU Environment Council on 20 December in Brussels. Mairi Gougeon MSP, the Scottish Minister for Rural Affairs and Natural Environment also attended.

I wish to update the House on the matters discussed.

CO2 Emission Standards for Heavy-Duty vehicles Regulation – General Approach:

Council reached an agreed position (“General Approach”) on the regulation on CO2 emission standards for heavy-duty vehicles. The European Commission had proposed an indicative 30% reduction in emissions by 2030, with a 15% reduction by 2025.

A full roundtable heard Ministers set out their respective positions. The UK intervened calling for greater ambition for 2030 and stressing the need to agree a strong overall package of measures. The Presidency presented a revised proposal; the key element being a binding 2030 target, which was sufficient to achieve a General Approach. One Member State abstained.

Regulation on LIFE – partial General Approach:

The Presidency introduced their compromise text for a partial General Approach of the LIFE programme (the EU’s financial instrument supporting environmental, nature conservation and climate action projects throughout the EU), to run from 2021-2027. In this revised text, the Presidency reintroduced the role of the LIFE committee and placed greater emphasis on geographical balance. Member States welcomed the adoption of the partial general approach. Whilst all could support the agreement, a number of Member States intervened to restate their preference for higher co-financing rates.

“A Clean Planet for All”: a long-term strategy for EU greenhouse gas emissions reductions – exchange of views:

The Commission introduced their long-term strategy on climate, which was published on 28th November 2018, which recommends that the EU aims for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, following which the Council held its first exchange of views. The Council agreed that the strategy should be discussed in multiple council formations in the coming months. Interventions focused on the aim for net zero-emissions, the importance of just transition, the recognition of specific national and regional circumstances, the contribution of technology to decarbonisation, and the role of national long-term strategies.

The UK intervened to highlight that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on 1.5 degrees underscored the urgency of tackling climate change, and welcomed the strategy as a serious response that also underlines the benefits of taking action, and stresses the need to ensure that no one is left behind in the transition. The UK highlighted the action being taken across the UK to tackle climate change, and the role of Clean Growth in the domestic Industrial Strategy. The UK welcomed the focus in the strategy on Carbon Capture Usage and Storage (CCUS), given its vital importance in reducing the costs of decarbonisation and the need for collaboration to scale up CCUS, and also highlighted the need to consider nature-based solutions.

AOB items

The following items were also discussed under Any Other Business.

1. Report on recent international meetings: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 24th session of the Conference of the Parties:

The Presidency, Commission, and Poland, which held the presidency of the Twenty Fourth Session of the Conference to the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), presented on COP24, which took place in Katowice, Poland, on 2-14 December 2018. The agreement of the rulebook underpinning the Paris Agreement was welcomed as a significant achievement.

2. Report on the implementation of the EU Strategy on adaptation to climate change:

Council noted the information from the Presidency.

3. The ‘Graz Declaration’ - Starting a new era: Clean, safe and affordable mobility for Europe:

Council noted the Presidency presentation on the Graz Declaration, which was agreed at October Informal Environment Council (29-30 October).

4. Measures at EU level to create the conditions for discontinuing the use of the environmentally problematic substances contained in plant protection products:

Council noted the information from the Belgian delegation on plant protection products.

  1. Intermediary Sessions of the Meeting of the Parties to the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context (Espoo Convention) and the Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA):

Lithuania, supported by Luxembourg, presented information concerning the draft recommendations of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Espoo Convention Implementation Committee regarding the Ostrovets new nuclear project in Belarus. These recommendations will be tabled for possible endorsement by the Intermediary Session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Convention in February 2019.

6. Current legislative proposals:
The Presidency and the Commission provided an update on current environmental legislative proposals: Regulation on Taxonomy; Directive on single-use plastics; the Regulation on persistent organic pollutants (POPs) (recast); the Regulation on environmental reporting; the Directive on Drinking Water (recast); and the Regulation on CO2 from Cars and Vans:

Several Member States welcomed the proposals, in particular the progress on the Single-Use Plastics Directive. On the recast of the Drinking Water Directive the Commission urged all Member States to show flexibility and work together to make swift progress. The UK intervened to welcome the progress on single-use plastics, and outlined the work being done across the UK to tackle plastic waste. On drinking water, the UK noted the recent progress towards a compromise on materials in contact with drinking water, but indicated that there were still outstanding concerns, and on persistent organic pollutants (POPs), the UK intervened to support the Council position on Decabromodiphenyl ether (a flame retardant) and the existing approach for updating the annexes.

  1. Report on recent international meeting - Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and update from the UK on the London Illegal Wildlife Conference:

The Commission and Presidency reported back on the recent international meeting on the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt on 17-29 November. The UK intervened to welcome progress so far and to highlight the commitment that needs to be shown from governments, civil society and business in order to develop an ambitious post 2020 biodiversity framework.

Following this, the UK gave a short update on the outcomes of the London Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) Conference held on11-12 October 2018, outlining the importance of Member States continuing to work together to tackle this important issue, and the need to treat IWT as a serious organised crime.

  1. The future of European Environment Policy – Towards an 8th EU Environment Action Programme:

Council noted the information from the Presidency on plans to develop an eighth EU Environment Action Programme.

9. Environmental and climate ambition of the future CAP:

Council noted the information from the German delegation, supported by the Luxembourg delegation.

WS
Department for Exiting the European Union
Made on: 16 January 2019
Made by: Lord Callanan (Minister of State, Department for Exiting the European Union)
Lords

General Affairs Council, January 2019

I represented the UK at the General Affairs Council (GAC) meeting on 8 January in Brussels. A provisional report of the meeting and the conclusions adopted can be found on the Council of the European Union’s website at:

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/meetings/gac/2019/01/08/

Presentation of the Priorities of the Romanian Presidency

The Romanian Presidency provided an overview of the priorities for its first Presidency, which began on 1 January 2019. The priorities of the Presidency are organised around the four pillars of: a Europe of convergence, a safer Europe, Europe as a Stronger Global Actor and a Europe of Common Values. The Presidency reminded Ministers of the challenges that lay ahead during its six month tenure and called for strengthened cohesion amongst Member States.

Multiannual Financial Framework 2021 - 2027

Ministers discussed the progress required on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) negotiations over the course of the Romanian Presidency. The Presidency indicated that it intended to include the MFF on the agenda of every meeting of the GAC during its six month tenure, with the intention of reaching an agreement on the negotiations in the European Council in autumn 2019. The Commission reiterated the need to reach agreement by autumn and indicated that it wished to see agreement on spending in areas such as Digital Europe and a new partnership with Africa.

Coordinated Response on Disinformation

Ministers discussed how to respond to the threat of disinformation, taking into consideration the forthcoming European Parliamentary elections. The discussion followed a number of recent initiatives at EU level on tackling disinformation, such as the ‘Joint Action Plan against Disinformation’, which was endorsed by EU leaders at the December European Council. Ministers discussed which elements of the Action Plan should be prioritised.

I intervened to stress the importance of cooperation with third parties, including NATO. I also underlined the value that the UK placed on the support and cooperation it received from Member States following the attack in Salisbury last year, when we worked closely and shared information on the Russian disinformation campaign.

Legislative Files

The Presidency provided an overview of various legislative files that it wanted to advance during the coming months, including: the MFF 2021 - 2027, the Digital Single Market, the Banking Union, security-related files and Brexit Preparedness proposals. The Commission pressed for the conclusion of as many files as possible before the European Parliamentary elections.

WS
Department for Exiting the European Union
Made on: 16 January 2019
Made by: Mr Robin Walker (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Exiting the European Union)
Commons

General Affairs Council, January 2019

Lord Callanan, Minister of State for Exiting the European Union, has made the following statement:

I represented the UK at the General Affairs Council (GAC) meeting on 8 January in Brussels. A provisional report of the meeting and the conclusions adopted can be found on the Council of the European Union’s website at:

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/meetings/gac/2019/01/08/

Presentation of the Priorities of the Romanian Presidency

The Romanian Presidency provided an overview of the priorities for its first Presidency, which began on 1 January 2019. The priorities of the Presidency are organised around the four pillars of: a Europe of convergence, a safer Europe, Europe as a Stronger Global Actor and a Europe of Common Values. The Presidency reminded Ministers of the challenges that lay ahead during its six month tenure and called for strengthened cohesion amongst Member States.

Multiannual Financial Framework 2021 - 2027

Ministers discussed the progress required on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) negotiations over the course of the Romanian Presidency. The Presidency indicated that it intended to include the MFF on the agenda of every meeting of the GAC during its six month tenure, with the intention of reaching an agreement on the negotiations in the European Council in autumn 2019. The Commission reiterated the need to reach agreement by autumn and indicated that it wished to see agreement on spending in areas such as Digital Europe and a new partnership with Africa.

Coordinated Response on Disinformation

Ministers discussed how to respond to the threat of disinformation, taking into consideration the forthcoming European Parliamentary elections. The discussion followed a number of recent initiatives at EU level on tackling disinformation, such as the ‘Joint Action Plan against Disinformation’, which was endorsed by EU leaders at the December European Council. Ministers discussed which elements of the Action Plan should be prioritised.

I intervened to stress the importance of cooperation with third parties, including NATO. I also underlined the value that the UK placed on the support and cooperation it received from Member States following the attack in Salisbury last year, when we worked closely and shared information on the Russian disinformation campaign.

Legislative Files

The Presidency provided an overview of various legislative files that it wanted to advance during the coming months, including: the MFF 2021 - 2027, the Digital Single Market, the Banking Union, security-related files and Brexit Preparedness proposals. The Commission pressed for the conclusion of as many files as possible before the European Parliamentary elections.



WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 15 January 2019
Made by: Baroness Buscombe (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions)
Lords

Pensions Update

My honourable Friend [Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Pensions & Financial Inclusion] (Guy Opperman MP) has made the following Written Statement.

The Government’s reforms to the welfare system are designed to support those who need it and help people into work. We have reduced pensioner poverty to close to historically low levels and the triple lock on the State Pension has helped lift the incomes of millions of pensioners. Since 2010, we have increased the annual level of the basic State Pension by £1,450. In 2018/19 we will spend £121.5 billion on benefits for pensioners and by 2023/24 this rises to £143.5 billion.

In 2012, Parliament voted to modernise the welfare system to ensure that couples, where one person is of working age and the other person is over state pension age, access support, where it is needed, through the working age benefit regime. This replaces the previous system whereby the household could access either Pension Credit and pension age Housing Benefit, or working-age benefits.

Pension Credit is designed to provide long-term support for pensioner households who are no longer economically active. It is not designed to support working age claimants. This change will ensure that the same work incentives apply to the younger partner as apply to other people of the same age, and taxpayer support is directed where it is needed most.

I set out to Parliament last year that this change would be implemented once Universal Credit was available nationally for new claims. Today I can confirm that this change will be introduced from 15th May 2019. The change is being brought into effect in Great Britain through a Commencement Order[1] under the Welfare Reform Act 2012. There will be an equivalent Order to introduce the change for Northern Ireland.

Couples with one partner under State Pension age who are already in receipt of Pension Credit or pension-age Housing Benefit at the point of change will be unaffected while they remain entitled to either benefit.

In February 2017, Government published an employer-led Strategy “Fuller Working Lives: A Partnership Approach”, which sets out the importance of Fuller Working Lives for employers and individuals. It also sets out action Government is taking to support older workers to remain in the labour market.

[1] The Welfare Reform Act 2012 (Commencement No. 31 and Savings and Transitional Provisions and Commencement No. 21 and 23 and Transitional and Transitory Provisions (Amendment)) Order 2019

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1249
WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 14 January 2019
Made by: Guy Opperman (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Pensions & Financial Inclusion)
Commons

Pensions Update

The Government’s reforms to the welfare system are designed to support those who need it and help people into work. We have reduced pensioner poverty to close to historically low levels and the triple lock on the State Pension has helped lift the incomes of millions of pensioners. Since 2010, we have increased the annual level of the basic State Pension by £1,450. In 2018/19 we will spend £121.5 billion on benefits for pensioners and by 2023/24 this rises to £143.5 billion.

In 2012, Parliament voted to modernise the welfare system to ensure that couples, where one person is of working age and the other person is over state pension age, access support, where it is needed, through the working age benefit regime. This replaces the previous system whereby the household could access either Pension Credit and pension age Housing Benefit, or working-age benefits.

Pension Credit is designed to provide long-term support for pensioner households who are no longer economically active. It is not designed to support working age claimants. This change will ensure that the same work incentives apply to the younger partner as apply to other people of the same age, and taxpayer support is directed where it is needed most.

I set out to Parliament last year that this change would be implemented once Universal Credit was available nationally for new claims. Today I can confirm that this change will be introduced from 15th May 2019. The change is being brought into effect in Great Britain through a Commencement Order[1] under the Welfare Reform Act 2012. There will be an equivalent Order to introduce the change for Northern Ireland.

Couples with one partner under State Pension age who are already in receipt of Pension Credit or pension-age Housing Benefit at the point of change will be unaffected while they remain entitled to either benefit.

In February 2017, Government published an employer-led Strategy “Fuller Working Lives: A Partnership Approach”, which sets out the importance of Fuller Working Lives for employers and individuals. It also sets out action Government is taking to support older workers to remain in the labour market.

[1] The Welfare Reform Act 2012 (Commencement No. 31 and Savings and Transitional Provisions and Commencement No. 21 and 23 and Transitional and Transitory Provisions (Amendment)) Order 2019

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1216
WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 14 January 2019
Made by: Michael Gove (The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs )
Commons

Clean Air Strategy

Today, the Government published its ambitious Clean Air Strategy, building upon an extensive consultation process last year.

Air pollution is the UK’s top environmental risk to human health, ranking alongside cancer, heart disease and obesity in its impact. It causes more harm than passive smoking. The actions outlined in this Clean Air Strategy will save society £1.7 billion every year by 2020, rising to £5.3 billion every year from 2030.

This comprehensive Strategy shows how we will tackle air pollution and meet our legal targets to reduce five key, damaging air pollutants (nitrogen oxides, ammonia, volatile organic compounds, particulate matter and sulphur dioxide) by 2020 and 2030. The new Strategy also sets out our world-leading ambition to reduce public exposure to particulate matter in line with World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines. The Government is committed to halve the number of people living where concentrations of particulate matter are above this limit by 2025, but we want to go even further than this, and so we will set a new, ambitious, long-term air quality target.

Transport is a significant source of some types of air pollution, and we are already acting to tackle emissions from this source, with our NO2 Plan, investing £3.5 billion in cleaner vehicle technology. The Government is also reaffirming its commitment to end the sale of conventional new diesel and petrol cars and vans from 2040.

However, transport is not the only source of pollution, this Strategy will reduce emissions coming from all sources. Burning wood and coal to heat in homes makes up 38% of the UK’s harmful particulate matter emissions. This is why we will ensure only the cleanest fuels will be available for sale and only the cleanest stoves will be available to buy and install by 2022. We will also make existing clean air legislation easier to enforce, and work with Local Authorities to increase the rate of upgrades of inefficient and polluting heating appliances.

The agriculture sector accounts for 88% of UK emissions of ammonia. Our Clean Air Strategy sets out the concerted action we will take to tackle ammonia from farming by supporting farmers to invest in infrastructure and equipment that will reduce emissions. We are also introducing new regulations which require farms to use low emission farming techniques as well as regulations to minimise pollution from fertiliser use.

We will continue to support investment in clean air and, in partnership with UK Research and Investment (UKRI), we have launched a joint research programme worth £19.6 million to promote cleaner technologies. This will support the UK to continue to become world leaders in clean technology.

Government wants to help people live well for longer, and this Strategy supports the Department of Health and Social Care’s prevention strategy, and the NHS 10 Year Plan. We have also improved how we count the cost of air pollution, publishing revised damage costs today, which show the cost to society of air pollution is greater than previously thought. These costs reflect our improved understanding of the long-term health impacts of air pollution, incorporating the costs of additional health conditions such heart disease and childhood asthma. This new work means that the estimated benefits of this strategy are even larger than previously anticipated.

This Strategy is a key part of our 25 year plan to leave the environment in a better state than we found it. The Government will shortly bring forward an Environment Bill which will include primary legislation on air quality.

Government cannot act alone in tackling air pollution and our strategy sets out how we will work with businesses, farmers and industry to implement lasting solutions to reduce air pollution, and the importance of each of us taking action and playing an important role in cleaning up our air for the next generation.

WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 14 January 2019
Made by: Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity)
Lords

Clean Air Strategy

My Right Hon Friend the Secretary of State (Michael Gove) has today made the following statement.

Today, the Government published its ambitious Clean Air Strategy, building upon an extensive consultation process last year.

Air pollution is the UK’s top environmental risk to human health, ranking alongside cancer, heart disease and obesity in its impact. It causes more harm than passive smoking. The actions outlined in this Clean Air Strategy will save society £1.7 billion every year by 2020, rising to £5.3 billion every year from 2030.

This comprehensive Strategy shows how we will tackle air pollution and meet our legal targets to reduce five key, damaging air pollutants (nitrogen oxides, ammonia, volatile organic compounds, particulate matter and sulphur dioxide) by 2020 and 2030. The new Strategy also sets out our world-leading ambition to reduce public exposure to particulate matter in line with World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines. The Government is committed to halve the number of people living where concentrations of particulate matter are above this limit by 2025, but we want to go even further than this, and so we will set a new, ambitious, long-term air quality target.

Transport is a significant source of some types of air pollution, and we are already acting to tackle emissions from this source, with our NO2 Plan, investing £3.5 billion in cleaner vehicle technology. The Government is also reaffirming its commitment to end the sale of conventional new diesel and petrol cars and vans from 2040.

However, transport is not the only source of pollution, this Strategy will reduce emissions coming from all sources. Burning wood and coal to heat in homes makes up 38% of the UK’s harmful particulate matter emissions. This is why we will ensure only the cleanest fuels will be available for sale and only the cleanest stoves will be available to buy and install by 2022. We will also make existing clean air legislation easier to enforce, and work with Local Authorities to increase the rate of upgrades of inefficient and polluting heating appliances.

The agriculture sector accounts for 88% of UK emissions of ammonia. Our Clean Air Strategy sets out the concerted action we will take to tackle ammonia from farming by supporting farmers to invest in infrastructure and equipment that will reduce emissions. We are also introducing new regulations which require farms to use low emission farming techniques as well as regulations to minimise pollution from fertiliser use.

We will continue to support investment in clean air and, in partnership with UK Research and Investment (UKRI), we have launched a joint research programme worth £19.6 million to promote cleaner technologies. This will support the UK to continue to become world leaders in clean technology.

Government wants to help people live well for longer, and this Strategy supports the Department of Health and Social Care’s prevention strategy, and the NHS 10 Year Plan. We have also improved how we count the cost of air pollution, publishing revised damage costs today, which show the cost to society of air pollution is greater than previously thought. These costs reflect our improved understanding of the long-term health impacts of air pollution, incorporating the costs of additional health conditions such heart disease and childhood asthma. This new work means that the estimated benefits of this strategy are even larger than previously anticipated.

This Strategy is a key part of our 25 year plan to leave the environment in a better state than we found it. The Government will shortly bring forward an Environment Bill which will include primary legislation on air quality.

Government cannot act alone in tackling air pollution and our strategy sets out how we will work with businesses, farmers and industry to implement lasting solutions to reduce air pollution, and the importance of each of us taking action and playing an important role in cleaning up our air for the next generation.

WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 14 January 2019
Made by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Lords

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting: Update on delivery

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

In April, the UK hosted the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). The summit was the largest of its kind in our history. 46 Heads of Government and 49 Foreign Ministers met and agreed a range of actions to build a Commonwealth that is fairer, more sustainable, more prosperous, and more secure.

As Chair-in-Office, the UK has continued to work with the three pillars of the Commonwealth – the Commonwealth Secretariat, its member states, and its organisations and networks to deliver on commitments made at CHOGM. To support this work, the UK announced over £500 million of projects under the four themes discussed at the summit. An overview of these commitments and projects has been placed in the Library of the House and I am pleased to report progress in a number of areas today.

To build a fairer Commonwealth, the UK is supporting nine Commonwealth member states deliver 12 years of quality education for girls by 2030. I co-chaired the first meeting of the Platform for Girls’ Education with the Kenyan Education Minister, Amina Mohamed, in September. The Platform will work together throughout the UK’s period as Chair-in-Office and report on progress ahead of the CHOGM 2020 in Rwanda. The UK has also partnered with the Secretariat for Pacific Communities to launch the Pacific Commonwealth Equality Project, which will enable Pacific leaders to champion and advance human rights by strengthening the capacity of their countries to deliver on their international human rights commitments. Reinforcing the belief that effective Parliaments are one of the principal institutions of any functioning democracy, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association launched updated benchmarks for democratic legislatures in November. Following the offer made by my right honourable Friend the Prime Minister, a number of Commonwealth countries have expressed interest in reviewing and reforming outdated legislation that makes it possible to discriminate on the grounds of sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation. The Equality and Justice Alliance has held the first meeting of its Group of Experts, convened the first regional dialogue of high-level champions of reform, and has engaged national and regional civil society to support this work.

To build a more sustainable Commonwealth, the UK is delivering on the Commonwealth Blue Charter by helping member states protect and sustainably develop the ocean. Twenty-three Commonwealth countries have signed up to the UK and Vanuatu led ‘Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance’ (CCOA) to tackle marine plastic pollution. Two of these countries joined the Alliance at the first CCOA Ministerial Meeting chaired by my noble Friend Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for the Commonwealth, in the margins of the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference in Nairobi in November. During her visit to Kenya, my right honourable Friend, the Prime Minister also announced a Young Leaders’ Plastic Challenge Badge to help an estimated 100,000 young people in the Commonwealth become leaders in raising awareness about reducing plastic consumption. In response to the challenge of climate change, the UK and New Zealand are also providing support for the establishment of a Regional Pacific Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) Hub, which will help Pacific Island Countries implement the Paris Agreement.

To build a more prosperous Commonwealth, the UK is helping member states harness trade and investment as a means of delivering inclusive economic growth and prosperity. The Commonwealth Trade Facilitation Programme is helping member states implement the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement, creating more efficient customs procedures and boosting intra-Commonwealth trade. Scoping missions have already taken place in Eswatini, Tonga and Zambia; and technical support has already been delivered in Sierra Leone and Malawi. In October, Guyana became the first country to partner with the UK-funded Commonwealth Marine Economies Programme to develop a national Maritime Economy Plan. The programme is supporting the sustainable development and growth of 17 Commonwealth Small Island Developing States. To support inclusive and sustainable trade, the UK has partnered with the International Trade Centre to deliver ‘SheTrades Commonwealth’. The project aims to promote women’s economic empowerment by helping women-owned businesses to trade internationally. Following its launch in Bangladesh, Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria, over 2,300 women entrepreneurs have registered with the initiative and 518 companies have attended capacity building events.

To build a more secure Commonwealth, the UK is enhancing cooperation on cyber security by helping member states identify and address vulnerabilities and gaps in capacity. In support of the Commonwealth Cyber Declaration, the UK has partnered with the World Bank to deliver national cyber security reviews in a range of member states. We are on track to meet the commitment for every Commonwealth member state to voluntarily undertake a review by CHOGM 2020. The UK is also enabling Commonwealth countries to strengthen their national responses to modern slavery. This will include a legislative drafting seminar in March 2019 that will bring together parliamentarians from across the Commonwealth to consider how their legislation and wider national responses to modern slavery can be strengthened. Further training on how to tackle online child exploitation will be provided to 19 Commonwealth countries over the next 18 months.

Finally, we have sought to strengthen cooperation in international organisations. In Geneva, my noble Friend Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon hosted a meeting of Commonwealth Permanent Representatives to discuss greater cooperation between Commonwealth Missions in advance of the Human Rights Council. New Zealand has hosted two similar meetings to discuss WTO reform. My right honourable Friend, the Prime Minister also included a passage on the Commonwealth in her speech to the UN General Assembly. She spoke explicitly as Commonwealth Chair-in-Office on behalf of the Heads of Government of 53 Commonwealth countries – over a quarter of the UN membership – to reaffirm their shared commitment to work together within a rules based international system to address shared global challenges.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1247
WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 14 January 2019
Made by: Earl Howe (Minster of Stae ( Ministry of Defence))
Lords

Review of the Implementation of the National Shipbuilding Strategy

My hon Friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Defence Procurement (Stuart Andrew) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

As stated in the National Shipbuilding Strategy, Sir John Parker has agreed to review the progress that has been made on implementation. I am pleased to announce that Sir John has begun the review process and will report to the Secretary of State for Defence by the summer.

WS
Department of Health and Social Care
Made on: 14 January 2019
Made by: Baroness Manzoor (Baroness in Waiting (Government Whip))
Lords

Patient rights and responsibilities

My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Mental Health, Inequalities and Suicide Prevention (Jackie Doyle-Price) has made the following written statement:

I have today laid before Parliament a report on the effect of the NHS Constitution. The report has also been published on GOV.UK, alongside an updated version of the handbook to the NHS Constitution.

The NHS Constitution, like the NHS, belongs to us all. It sets out the principles and values that underpin the NHS in England, and the rights to which patients, the public and staff are entitled, and pledges that the NHS has additionally made towards them. It also makes clear the responsibilities which we all have for supporting the NHS to operate fairly and effectively, and explanation of these has been strengthened in the handbook. We must all play our part in helping to make the NHS as good as it can be for ourselves, for our children, and for our grandchildren.

The report is based on an independent survey of staff, patients and the public. It describes how they view the impact of the Constitution, and its value in promoting and raising standards of care.

Many of us are increasingly turning to authoritative sources, such as the NHS website, for information on what they can expect from the NHS, how we can use it well, and how we can look after our own health.

In strengthening the patient and public responsibilities section in the Constitution handbook, which reflects our response to recommendations made in the House of Lords report on the Long-term sustainability of the NHS and Adult Social Care, we have made clearer that patients and the public have a vital role to play in ensuring that the NHS remains sustainable, with its resources focused on those who need them most.

We have a dedicated NHS workforce, who work incredibly hard to deliver high quality care to all those who need it, when they need it. Despite the pressures they are under, they remain proud to be a part of the NHS, and firmly support the need for a Constitution. Awareness of the Constitution among staff is high, and among those who feel informed about the Constitution, more than ever said that it positively influences their day to day work. This highlights the Constitution’s ability to empower and enthuse staff to do their best for patients. As we work with the NHS to take forward its new Long Term Plan, published on 7 January 2019 and underpinned by a funding settlement that will see the NHS budget grow by £20.5bn in real terms by 2023/24, the Constitution continues to represent everything that the NHS stands for.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1245
WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 14 January 2019
Made by: Mr Jeremy Hunt (Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs )
Commons

Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting: Update on delivery

In April, the UK hosted the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). The summit was the largest of its kind in our history. 46 Heads of Government and 49 Foreign Ministers met and agreed a range of actions to build a Commonwealth that is fairer, more sustainable, more prosperous, and more secure.

As Chair-in-Office, the UK has continued to work with the three pillars of the Commonwealth – the Commonwealth Secretariat, its member states, and its organisations and networks to deliver on commitments made at CHOGM. To support this work, the UK announced over £500 million of projects under the four themes discussed at the summit. An overview of these commitments and projects has been placed in the Library of the House and I am pleased to report progress in a number of areas today.

To build a fairer Commonwealth, the UK is supporting nine Commonwealth member states deliver 12 years of quality education for girls by 2030. I co-chaired the first meeting of the Platform for Girls’ Education with the Kenyan Education Minister, Amina Mohamed, in September. The Platform will work together throughout the UK’s period as Chair-in-Office and report on progress ahead of the CHOGM 2020 in Rwanda. The UK has also partnered with the Secretariat for Pacific Communities to launch the Pacific Commonwealth Equality Project, which will enable Pacific leaders to champion and advance human rights by strengthening the capacity of their countries to deliver on their international human rights commitments. Reinforcing the belief that effective Parliaments are one of the principal institutions of any functioning democracy, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association launched updated benchmarks for democratic legislatures in November. Following the offer made by my right honourable Friend the Prime Minister, a number of Commonwealth countries have expressed interest in reviewing and reforming outdated legislation that makes it possible to discriminate on the grounds of sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation. The Equality and Justice Alliance has held the first meeting of its Group of Experts, convened the first regional dialogue of high-level champions of reform, and has engaged national and regional civil society to support this work.

To build a more sustainable Commonwealth, the UK is delivering on the Commonwealth Blue Charter by helping member states protect and sustainably develop the ocean. Twenty-three Commonwealth countries have signed up to the UK and Vanuatu led ‘Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance’ (CCOA) to tackle marine plastic pollution. Two of these countries joined the Alliance at the first CCOA Ministerial Meeting chaired by my noble Friend Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for the Commonwealth, in the margins of the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference in Nairobi in November. During her visit to Kenya, my right honourable Friend, the Prime Minister also announced a Young Leaders’ Plastic Challenge Badge to help an estimated 100,000 young people in the Commonwealth become leaders in raising awareness about reducing plastic consumption. In response to the challenge of climate change, the UK and New Zealand are also providing support for the establishment of a Regional Pacific Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) Hub, which will help Pacific Island Countries implement the Paris Agreement.

To build a more prosperous Commonwealth, the UK is helping member states harness trade and investment as a means of delivering inclusive economic growth and prosperity. The Commonwealth Trade Facilitation Programme is helping member states implement the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement, creating more efficient customs procedures and boosting intra-Commonwealth trade. Scoping missions have already taken place in Eswatini, Tonga and Zambia; and technical support has already been delivered in Sierra Leone and Malawi. In October, Guyana became the first country to partner with the UK-funded Commonwealth Marine Economies Programme to develop a national Maritime Economy Plan. The programme is supporting the sustainable development and growth of 17 Commonwealth Small Island Developing States. To support inclusive and sustainable trade, the UK has partnered with the International Trade Centre to deliver ‘SheTrades Commonwealth’. The project aims to promote women’s economic empowerment by helping women-owned businesses to trade internationally. Following its launch in Bangladesh, Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria, over 2,300 women entrepreneurs have registered with the initiative and 518 companies have attended capacity building events.

To build a more secure Commonwealth, the UK is enhancing cooperation on cyber security by helping member states identify and address vulnerabilities and gaps in capacity. In support of the Commonwealth Cyber Declaration, the UK has partnered with the World Bank to deliver national cyber security reviews in a range of member states. We are on track to meet the commitment for every Commonwealth member state to voluntarily undertake a review by CHOGM 2020. The UK is also enabling Commonwealth countries to strengthen their national responses to modern slavery. This will include a legislative drafting seminar in March 2019 that will bring together parliamentarians from across the Commonwealth to consider how their legislation and wider national responses to modern slavery can be strengthened. Further training on how to tackle online child exploitation will be provided to 19 Commonwealth countries over the next 18 months.

Finally, we have sought to strengthen cooperation in international organisations. In Geneva, my noble Friend Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon hosted a meeting of Commonwealth Permanent Representatives to discuss greater cooperation between Commonwealth Missions in advance of the Human Rights Council. New Zealand has hosted two similar meetings to discuss WTO reform. My right honourable Friend, the Prime Minister also included a passage on the Commonwealth in her speech to the UN General Assembly. She spoke explicitly as Commonwealth Chair-in-Office on behalf of the Heads of Government of 53 Commonwealth countries – over a quarter of the UN membership – to reaffirm their shared commitment to work together within a rules based international system to address shared global challenges.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1214
WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 14 January 2019
Made by: Stuart Andrew (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Defence (Ministry of Defence) )
Commons

Review of the Implementation of the National Shipbuilding Strategy

As stated in the National Shipbuilding Strategy, Sir John Parker has agreed to review the progress that has been made on implementation. I am pleased to announce that Sir John has begun the review process and will report to the Secretary of State for Defence by the summer.

WS
Department of Health and Social Care
Made on: 14 January 2019
Made by: Jackie Doyle-Price (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Mental Health, Inequalities and Suicide Prevention)
Commons

Patient rights and responsibilities

I have today laid before Parliament a report on the effect of the NHS Constitution. The report has also been published on GOV.UK, alongside an updated version of the handbook to the NHS Constitution.

The NHS Constitution, like the NHS, belongs to us all. It sets out the principles and values that underpin the NHS in England, and the rights to which patients, the public and staff are entitled, and pledges that the NHS has additionally made towards them. It also makes clear the responsibilities which we all have for supporting the NHS to operate fairly and effectively, and explanation of these has been strengthened in the handbook. We must all play our part in helping to make the NHS as good as it can be for ourselves, for our children, and for our grandchildren.

The report is based on an independent survey of staff, patients and the public. It describes how they view the impact of the Constitution, and its value in promoting and raising standards of care.

Many of us are increasingly turning to authoritative sources, such as the NHS website, for information on what they can expect from the NHS, how we can use it well, and how we can look after our own health.

In strengthening the patient and public responsibilities section in the Constitution handbook, which reflects our response to recommendations made in the House of Lords report on the Long-term sustainability of the NHS and Adult Social Care, we have made clearer that patients and the public have a vital role to play in ensuring that the NHS remains sustainable, with its resources focused on those who need them most.

We have a dedicated NHS workforce, who work incredibly hard to deliver high quality care to all those who need it, when they need it. Despite the pressures they are under, they remain proud to be a part of the NHS, and firmly support the need for a Constitution. Awareness of the Constitution among staff is high, and among those who feel informed about the Constitution, more than ever said that it positively influences their day to day work. This highlights the Constitution’s ability to empower and enthuse staff to do their best for patients. As we work with the NHS to take forward its new Long Term Plan, published on 7 January 2019 and underpinned by a funding settlement that will see the NHS budget grow by £20.5bn in real terms by 2023/24, the Constitution continues to represent everything that the NHS stands for.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1212
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