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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Written Statement Indentifying Number – Every written statement in the House of Commons and House of Lords has a WSID per parliamentary session.
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WS
Department for Transport
Made on: 19 October 2017
Made by: Lord Callanan (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport)
Lords

Roads

My Right Honourable friend, the Secretary of State for Transport (Chris Grayling), has made the following Ministerial Statement.

I am today setting out further details of significant investment for our roads, including announcing the next two major local road schemes and 76 winners from the recent competition for National Productivity Investment Funding on local roads. This funding from the Department for Transport totals £345.3 million.

This funding includes two new large local major road schemes receiving Programme Entry approval, at Carrington Bridge in Worcester and at Middlewich in East Cheshire. The scheme in Worcester will alleviate congestion on the A4440 Southern Relief Road and receive £54.5m of funding towards a total cost of £62m. The Middlewich Eastern Bypass will alleviate congestion in the town centre and facilitate the expansion of the Magnitude employment site. It will receive £46.8m of funding towards a total cost of £56.9m.

I am today announcing the winning 76 local projects which will receive funding of £244m from the National Productivity Investment Fund, during 2018/19 and 2019/20. The schemes will help to ease congestion, provide upgrades on important local routes, as well as facilitating the unlocking of economic and job creation opportunities. They will also support, in some areas, the potential delivery of new housing developments. Further information on today’s announcement is available on the Department for Transport’s website. These projects are an essential part of ensuring we have a country which works for everyone.

The Government announced the Road Investment Strategy (RIS) in December 2014, an ambitious plan to increase much needed road capacity, boost economic development and improve road safety. It seeks to address many years of under-investment in England’s motorways and major trunk roads. Highways England have made good progress on delivery to date, completing 18 road schemes and starting work on 15 more.

Highways England has also undertaken longer-term planning work to ensure that the high level of road investment along key corridors of the network can be delivered in a way to minimise disruption and keep road users moving. These plans also help to mitigate delivery risks and achieve better value for money for the tax-payer. This planning work was referred to in recent ORR and NAO reports on the Road Investment Strategy. I confirm that Government has agreed with Highways England’s plans to optimise delivery of the RIS. This re-profiling and optimisation of delivery is consistent with Highways England’s remit and does not involve any cancellation of schemes, so the regions of England can expect continued and similar levels of road investment.

Further details can be found on Highways England’s website and press releases.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS180
WS
Department for Transport
Made on: 19 October 2017
Made by: Lord Callanan (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport)
Lords

High Speed Rail (Preparation) Act 2013, Annual Expenditure Report for 2016-17

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

The High Speed Rail (Preparation) Act annual expenditure report is published today under Section 2 of the High Speed Rail (Preparation) Act 2013. The report covers the period from 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017.

A copy of the report will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

HSR Expenditure Report (PDF Document, 887.72 KB)
This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS179
WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 19 October 2017
Made by: Baroness Buscombe (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions)
Lords

Agenda of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO), 19 October 2017, Luxembourg

My honourable Friend the Minister of State for Employment (Damian Hinds MP) has made the following Written Statement.

The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council will take place on 23 October 2017 in Luxembourg. Margot James, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, will represent the UK.

The Council will be invited to agree a general approach on the Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 96/71/EC concerning the posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services. The Council will also be invited to agree a partial general approach on the Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation 883 on the coordination of social security systems and Regulation 987 laying down the procedure for implementing Regulation 883.

The Council will be invited to adopt the text and provide authorisation to sign on behalf of the Council the Proposal for an Interinstitutional Proclamation on the European Pillar of Social Rights.

The Council will be invited to endorse: (i) the key messages from the Employment Committee based on the Annual Employment Performance Report and the Employment Performance Monitor; and (ii) the main messages from the Social Protection Committee based on the Annual Review of the Social Protection Performance Monitor.

Under any other business, the Presidency and Commission will provide information on the Tripartite Social Summit. The Presidency will provide information on the Tallinn Digital Summit. The Commission will provide information on the New Skills Agenda for Europe. There will be a presentation by the European Institute for Gender Equality on the new edition of the Gender Equality Index.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS181
WS
Home Office
Made on: 19 October 2017
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Public consultation on defining antique firearms

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

I have today launched a Government consultation on proposals for implementing legislation to define antique firearms.

Antique firearms are exempt from most of the controls placed on firearms if they are held as a ‘curiosity or ornament’. There has previously been no statutory definition of an ‘antique firearm – only non-statutory guidance. This has created legal uncertainty which has been exploited by criminals to obtain old but functioning firearms for use in crime. Since 2008, there have been four fatalities linked to antique firearms. The number of antique firearms recovered in criminal circumstances has increased from four in 2007 to 91 in 2016.

The Government included in the Policing and Crime Act 2017 provisions to define an ‘antique firearm’ in regulations. This consultation will inform the content of those regulations and provide a statutory definition which will ensure that old firearms that still pose a danger to the public are no longer exempt from control. It will also provide legal clarity on the definition of an antique firearm to help law enforcement tackle criminal use.

The consultation seeks views on:

  • the obsolete cartridges and propulsion systems used by old firearms that can be considered antique;
  • a cut-off date of manufacture, after which a firearm will not be considered antique; and
  • arrangements for the ongoing review of the regulations.

The Government welcomes responses to this consultation from everyone involved with antique firearms, including the police, dealers, museums and individual collectors. We will take account of all views before deciding on the final shape of the regulations.

The consultation will run for eight weeks.

A copy of the consultation paper will be placed in the House Library and will be available on the Government’s website at gov.uk.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS182
WS
Home Office
Made on: 19 October 2017
Made by: Mr Nick Hurd (The Minister of State for Fire and Policing )
Commons

Public consultation on defining antique firearms

I have today launched a Government consultation on proposals for implementing legislation to define antique firearms.

Antique firearms are exempt from most of the controls placed on firearms if they are held as a ‘curiosity or ornament’. There has previously been no statutory definition of an ‘antique firearm – only non-statutory guidance. This has created legal uncertainty which has been exploited by criminals to obtain old but functioning firearms for use in crime. Since 2008, there have been four fatalities linked to antique firearms. The number of antique firearms recovered in criminal circumstances has increased from four in 2007 to 91 in 2016.

The Government included in the Policing and Crime Act 2017 provisions to define an ‘antique firearm’ in regulations. This consultation will inform the content of those regulations and provide a statutory definition which will ensure that old firearms that still pose a danger to the public are no longer exempt from control. It will also provide legal clarity on the definition of an antique firearm to help law enforcement tackle criminal use.

The consultation seeks views on:

  • the obsolete cartridges and propulsion systems used by old firearms that can be considered antique;
  • a cut-off date of manufacture, after which a firearm will not be considered antique; and
  • arrangements for the ongoing review of the regulations.

The Government welcomes responses to this consultation from everyone involved with antique firearms, including the police, dealers, museums and individual collectors. We will take account of all views before deciding on the final shape of the regulations.

The consultation will run for eight weeks.

A copy of the consultation paper will be placed in the House Library and will be available on the Government’s website at gov.uk.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS179
WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 19 October 2017
Made by: Damian Hinds (Minister of State for Employment)
Commons

Agenda of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO), 19 October 2017, Luxembourg

The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council will take place on 23 October 2017 in Luxembourg. Margot James, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, will represent the UK.

The Council will be invited to agree a general approach on the Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 96/71/EC concerning the posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services. The Council will also be invited to agree a partial general approach on the Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation 883 on the coordination of social security systems and Regulation 987 laying down the procedure for implementing Regulation 883.

The Council will be invited to adopt the text and provide authorisation to sign on behalf of the Council the Proposal for an Interinstitutional Proclamation on the European Pillar of Social Rights.

The Council will be invited to endorse: (i) the key messages from the Employment Committee based on the Annual Employment Performance Report and the Employment Performance Monitor; and (ii) the main messages from the Social Protection Committee based on the Annual Review of the Social Protection Performance Monitor.

Under any other business, the Presidency and Commission will provide information on the Tripartite Social Summit. The Presidency will provide information on the Tallinn Digital Summit. The Commission will provide information on the New Skills Agenda for Europe. There will be a presentation by the European Institute for Gender Equality on the new edition of the Gender Equality Index.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS180
WS
Department for Transport
Made on: 19 October 2017
Made by: Chris Grayling (The Secretary of State for Transport)
Commons

Roads

I am today setting out further details of significant investment for our roads, including announcing the next two major local road schemes and 76 winners from the recent competition for National Productivity Investment Funding on local roads. This funding from the Department for Transport totals £345.3 million.

This funding includes two new large local major road schemes receiving Programme Entry approval, at Carrington Bridge in Worcester and at Middlewich in East Cheshire. The scheme in Worcester will alleviate congestion on the A4440 Southern Relief Road and receive £54.5m of funding towards a total cost of £62m. The Middlewich Eastern Bypass will alleviate congestion in the town centre and facilitate the expansion of the Magnitude employment site. It will receive £46.8m of funding towards a total cost of £56.9m.

I am today announcing the winning 76 local projects which will receive funding of £244m from the National Productivity Investment Fund, during 2018/19 and 2019/20. The schemes will help to ease congestion, provide upgrades on important local routes, as well as facilitating the unlocking of economic and job creation opportunities. They will also support, in some areas, the potential delivery of new housing developments. Further information on today’s announcement is available on the Department for Transport’s website. These projects are an essential part of ensuring we have a country which works for everyone.

The Government announced the Road Investment Strategy (RIS) in December 2014, an ambitious plan to increase much needed road capacity, boost economic development and improve road safety. It seeks to address many years of under-investment in England’s motorways and major trunk roads. Highways England have made good progress on delivery to date, completing 18 road schemes and starting work on 15 more.

Highways England has also undertaken longer-term planning work to ensure that the high level of road investment along key corridors of the network can be delivered in a way to minimise disruption and keep road users moving. These plans also help to mitigate delivery risks and achieve better value for money for the tax-payer. This planning work was referred to in recent ORR and NAO reports on the Road Investment Strategy. I confirm that Government has agreed with Highways England’s plans to optimise delivery of the RIS. This re-profiling and optimisation of delivery is consistent with Highways England’s remit and does not involve any cancellation of schemes, so the regions of England can expect continued and similar levels of road investment.

Further details can be found on Highways England’s website and press releases.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS182
WS
Department for Transport
Made on: 19 October 2017
Made by: Paul Maynard (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport)
Commons

High Speed Rail (Preparation) Act 2013, Annual Expenditure Report for 2016-17

The High Speed Rail (Preparation) Act annual expenditure report is published today under Section 2 of the High Speed Rail (Preparation) Act 2013. The report covers the period from 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017.

A copy of the report will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

HSR Expenditure Report (PDF Document, 887.72 KB)
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS181
WS
HM Treasury
Made on: 17 October 2017
Made by: Andrew Jones (The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

The Crown Estate Transfer Scheme 2017

The Smith Commission Agreement recommended that the management of The Crown Estate’s assets in Scotland should be devolved. It also stated that, following this transfer, responsibility for the management of those assets should be further devolved to local authority areas. It was agreed that the UK Government would not determine how the Scottish Government managed further devolution. The Crown Estate Transfer Scheme 2017 brought this change into law on 1 April 2017.

During the passage of the Scotland Bill which implemented the Smith Commission recommendations, the UK Government promised that it would update Parliament on progress made by the Scottish Government with the onward devolution of management of The Crown Estate assets via a Written Ministerial Statement six months after the transfer.

The Scottish Government held a consultation on the long term management of The Crown Estate in Scotland, including opportunities for further devolution. The consultation opened on 4 January and closed on 29 March 2017. It covered four key areas:

  1. Vision

  2. Managing Crown Estate Assets for Scotland and Communities

  3. Securing the Benefits for Scotland and Communities

  4. Assessing Impact

The Scottish Government is currently in the process of analysing the consultation responses. These will inform policy and proposals for a Bill to be introduced in the current session of the Scottish Parliament.

The consultation document is available at https://consult.scotland.gov.uk/crown-estate-strategy-unit/long-term-management-of-the-crown-estate/supporting_documents/00512706.pdf

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS178
WS
HM Treasury
Made on: 17 October 2017
Made by: Lord Bates (Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

The Crown Estate Transfer Scheme 2017

My honourable friend The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury (Andrew Jones) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The Smith Commission Agreement recommended that the management of The Crown Estate’s assets in Scotland should be devolved. It also stated that, following this transfer, responsibility for the management of those assets should be further devolved to local authority areas. It was agreed that the UK Government would not determine how the Scottish Government managed further devolution. The Crown Estate Transfer Scheme 2017 brought this change into law on 1 April 2017.

During the passage of the Scotland Bill which implemented the Smith Commission recommendations, the UK Government promised that it would update Parliament on progress made by the Scottish Government with the onward devolution of management of The Crown Estate assets via a Written Ministerial Statement six months after the transfer.

The Scottish Government held a consultation on the long term management of The Crown Estate in Scotland, including opportunities for further devolution. The consultation opened on 4 January and closed on 29 March 2017. It covered four key areas:

  1. Vision

  2. Managing Crown Estate Assets for Scotland and Communities

  3. Securing the Benefits for Scotland and Communities

  4. Assessing Impact

The Scottish Government is currently in the process of analysing the consultation responses. These will inform policy and proposals for a Bill to be introduced in the current session of the Scottish Parliament.

The consultation document is available at https://consult.scotland.gov.uk/crown-estate-strategy-unit/long-term-management-of-the-crown-estate/supporting_documents/00512706.pdf

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS178
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 17 October 2017
Made by: Lord Prior of Brampton (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
Lords

International Investment

My Rt Hon Friend, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industry Strategy (Greg Clark), has made the following written ministerial statement:

The Government is today publishing a Green Paper: “National Security and Infrastructure Investment Review”. This sets out proposals for amending the current regime in relation to national security and investment.

First, the Government is introducing amendments to the Enterprise Act 2002. For most sectors, the Government is only able to intervene in mergers involving companies with a UK turnover of over £70 million, or where the parties’ combined share of supply increases to 25% or more. This means mergers or acquisitions of some smaller businesses whose ownership is critical to our national security cannot be scrutinised.

The Government proposes to amend the thresholds in two areas: the dual use and military sector, and certain parts of advanced technology, namely the design of computer chips and quantum technology. For these two areas only, we will lower the threshold for Government intervention to businesses with a UK turnover of over £1 million, and remove the requirement for a merger to increase a business’s share of supply to or over 25%.

The Government is also consulting on longer-term proposals, including:

  • introducing a ‘call-in’ power modelled on the existing power within the Enterprise Act 2002, to allow the Government to scrutinise a broader range of transactions for national security concerns within a voluntary notification regime; and/or
  • introducing a mandatory notification regime for foreign investment in parts of the economy which are critical for our national security. Mandatory notification could also be required for foreign investment in key new projects or specific businesses or assets.

These proposals will ensure that our arrangements for protecting national security are more closely aligned with those of major, developed economies, and more robust to the changing nature of threats to our national security.

The Green Paper delivers on the commitment made in the Queen’s Speech to bring forward proposals to consolidate and strengthen Government’s powers to protect national security.

I will be making an oral statement in the House later today and placing a copy of the Green Paper in the Libraries of both Houses.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS177
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 17 October 2017
Made by: Greg Clark (Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy )
Commons

International Investment

The Government is today publishing a Green Paper: “National Security and Infrastructure Investment Review”. This sets out proposals for amending the current regime in relation to national security and investment.

First, the Government is introducing amendments to the Enterprise Act 2002. For most sectors, the Government is only able to intervene in mergers involving companies with a UK turnover of over £70 million, or where the parties’ combined share of supply increases to 25% or more. This means mergers or acquisitions of some smaller businesses whose ownership is critical to our national security cannot be scrutinised.

The Government proposes to amend the thresholds in two areas: the dual use and military sector, and certain parts of advanced technology, namely the design of computer chips and quantum technology. For these two areas only, we will lower the threshold for Government intervention to businesses with a UK turnover of over £1 million, and remove the requirement for a merger to increase a business’s share of supply to or over 25%.

The Government is also consulting on longer-term proposals, including:

  • introducing a ‘call-in’ power modelled on the existing power within the Enterprise Act 2002, to allow the Government to scrutinise a broader range of transactions for national security concerns within a voluntary notification regime; and/or
  • introducing a mandatory notification regime for foreign investment in parts of the economy which are critical for our national security. Mandatory notification could also be required for foreign investment in key new projects or specific businesses or assets.

These proposals will ensure that our arrangements for protecting national security are more closely aligned with those of major, developed economies, and more robust to the changing nature of threats to our national security.

The Green Paper delivers on the commitment made in the Queen’s Speech to bring forward proposals to consolidate and strengthen Government’s powers to protect national security.

I will be making an oral statement in the House later today and placing a copy of the Green Paper in the Libraries of both Houses.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS177
WS
Department for Communities and Local Government
Made on: 16 October 2017
Made by: Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government)
Lords

Homelessness

My Hon Friend the Minister for Local Government (Marcus Jones) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I am today updating the House on a commitment I made during the passage of the Homelessness Reduction Act – the Member for Harrow East’s Private Member’s Bill – to fund the additional duties contained within the Act in line with the new burdens doctrine. Following further discussions with local authorities on the new duties, the Government is providing an additional £11.7 million in new burdens funding, taking the total amount of new burdens funding from £61 million to £72.7 million.

The Government will provide £72.7 million to local authorities to meet the new burdens costs associated with the new duties contained within the Act over the course of the Spending Review. It is anticipated that the additional duties to prevent homelessness will lead to savings for local authorities thereafter.

I am also announcing the local authority allocations of the new burdens funding. The Government has worked with local authorities and the Local Government Association to test the methodology behind the distribution, as well as the core assumptions of the costs of administering the new duties. The distribution reflects the differing need in different authorities. The funding has been allocated according to a formula which reflects where resource pressures are likely to increase as a result of administering the new duties contained in the Act. The details of allocations and new burdens assessment are attached.

Today I am also launching a consultation on the Homelessness Code of Guidance which will support local authorities’ work to prepare for the implementation of the Act. Additionally, Government will be providing local authorities with an equally distributed share of £3 million to support them in upgrading their data systems to monitor the impact of the Homelessness Reduction Act.

The Homelessness Reduction Act will significantly reform England’s homelessness legislation and ensure that more people get the help they need to prevent and relieve homeless. It forms part of the Government’s end-to-end approach to tackling homelessness, helping both those at risk of homelessness and those experiencing a crisis. The new burdens funding for the Act sits alongside other funding for homelessness, including the £315 million Homelessness Prevention funding, our £50 million homelessness prevention package and the £402 million Flexible Homelessness Support Grant.

NB allocation (Word Document, 41.1 KB)
HRA new Burdens (Word Document, 105.75 KB)
This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS176
WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 16 October 2017
Made by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Lords

Foreign Affairs Council – 17 July 2017

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

My Right Honourable Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs attended the Foreign Affairs Council on 17 July. The Foreign Affairs Council was chaired by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini. The meeting was held in Brussels.

Foreign Affairs Council

The meeting covered discussions on the EU Global Strategy, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Libya and Migration.

EU Global Strategy

The Council had a discussion on the implementation on the EU Global Strategy; Foreign Ministers provided guidance on the priorities for 2017 – 2018.

DPRK

The discussion was shaped by the Council Conclusions, agreed in the EU Political and Security Committee earlier in the day. Ministers focused on the threat the DPRK posted to global security and condemned its pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles programme in violation multiple UN Security Council resolutions.

Libya

The Council adopted Conclusions on Libya. With the EU warmly welcoming the appointment of Ghassan Salame as the new Special Representative of the UN Secretary General. The Council also agreed to extend the CSDP mission EUBAM Libya until 31 December 2018. The Council underlined the importance of Operation Sophia (the EU’s naval operation to disrupt the business model of human smugglers and traffickers in the Southern Central Mediterranean).

Migration

Foreign Ministers discussed migration, focusing on the situation in the Central Mediterranean Route, together with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, and the Director-General of the International Organisation for Migration William Lacy Swing.

Ministers agreed a number of measures without discussion:

- The Council adopted a crisis management concept for a new civilian CSDP mission in Iraq.
- On 17 July 2017, the Council added 16 persons to the list of those targeted by EU restrictive measures against the Syrian regime.
- The Council adopted Conclusions on Pakistan, stating that the EU has a clear interest in a stable, secure, and democratic Pakistan.
- The Council adopted Conclusions on addressing the risks of famine.
- The Council adopted Conclusions on the EU priorities at the UN and at the 72nd UN General Assembly.
- The Council endorsed the EU-ASEAN plan of action 2018 – 2022.

WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 16 October 2017
Made by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Lords

Foreign Affairs Council – 15 May 2017

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

My Right Honourable Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs attended the Foreign Affairs Council on 15 May. The Foreign Affairs Council was chaired by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini. The meeting was held in Brussels.

Foreign Affairs Council

Agenda items included Security and Defence, Horn of Africa, EU-Africa and the Eastern Partnership.

Security and Defence

The Security and Defence discussion centred on HRVP Mogherini and the European Commission updating Foreign Ministers on a variety of dossiers, including the Military Planning and Conduct Capability, Permanent Structured Cooperation, the Coordinated Annual Review of Defence, the forthcoming ATHENA review, CSDP and the European Defence Fund.

Horn of Africa

There was widespread agreement amongst Foreign Ministers that the Horn was of strategic importance for Europe. Mogherini and several others warmly thanked the UK for the London Conference which offered an opportunity to stabilise Somalia. Other areas highlighted for increased EU action were the border conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea, the Nile basin tensions between Egypt and Ethiopia, and using the EU-strategic partnership with Ethiopia to deliver messages on human rights and political reform.

EU-Africa

Mogherini introduced the 4 May EEAS/Commission Joint Communication (JC) on the future direction of the EU-Africa relationship, including deliverables for the November Africa-EU Summit. There were two main themes: creating more resilient states and societies, and generating jobs - especially for young people. Member States welcomed the JC and its proposals to increase investment, jobs, and improve education. Foreign Ministers had lunch with African Union Chair Faki.

Eastern Partnership

Foreign Ministers looked forward to the Eastern Partnership Summit in November and discussed how best to build strong links with partners.

Ministers agreed a number of measures without discussion:
- The Council adopted Conclusions on Venezuela
- The Council adopted Conclusions on indigenous peoples
- The Council approved a concept of operations on regionalisation of CSDP action in the Sahel.
- The Council approved the staff rules of the EU Satellite Centre (SATCEN).
- The Council approved the High Representative Report on the Operation ALTHEA in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- The Council adopted a decision mobilising €2.64 million under the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) to provide support to 964 dismissed workers made redundant in four Finnish enterprises operating in the manufacture of computer, electronic and optical products sector.

WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 16 October 2017
Made by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Lords

Informal Meeting of EU Foreign Ministers (Gymnich): 28 April 2017

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

I attended the bi-annual informal meeting of EU Foreign Ministers (known as the Gymnich) on 28 April in Valletta, Malta. The Gymnich was hosted by Dr George Vella, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malta and was chaired by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini. Discussion centred on Turkey, Globalisation, the EU Global Strategy and the previous day’s violence in the Macedonia parliament.

Johannes Hahn (EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations) also attended. David McAllister (Chairman of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee) was present for the opening session on Turkey. EU Foreign Ministers met with the Foreign Ministers of the candidate countries in the afternoon.

The format of the Gymnich is designed to allow EU Foreign Ministers to engage in informal discussion on a number of issues. In contrast to the Foreign Affairs Council (the next of which will be held on 19 June), Ministers do not take formal decisions or agree Conclusions at the Gymnich.

Gymnich discussion

Turkey

EU Foreign Ministers discussed Turkey in the opening session, agreeing on the need to maintain a dialogue with this strategic partner. I welcomed this consensus and stressed the importance of the tone of our engagement. In the afternoon, EU Foreign Ministers were joined by their Turkish counterpart (Cavusoglu) who touched on a number of matters of shared interest, including the result of the recent constitutional referendum.

Globalisation

Ms. Mogherini introduced a discussion on how to ensure the global trade agenda delivers demonstrable benefits for all EU citizens.

EU Global Strategy (EUGS)

Ms. Mogherini gave the assembled EU Foreign Ministers an account of the EU’s activity in the foreign and security policy sphere since the publication of the Global Strategy (EUGS) last June.

Violence in the FYROM Parliament

Several Member States condemned the violence in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia parliament on 27 April. The FYROM Foreign Minister (Poposki) said there could be no justification for the violence and that those responsible would be brought to justice.

WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 16 October 2017
Made by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Lords

Foreign Affairs Council – 3 April 2017

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

My Right Honourable Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs attended the Foreign Affairs Council on 3 April. The Foreign Affairs Council was chaired by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, (HRVP), Federica Mogherini. The meeting was held in Brussels.

Foreign Affairs Council

Agenda items included Syria, Yemen and Libya. Aboul Gheit, Secretary General of the Arab League, debriefed on the Arab Summit in Amman over lunch at the invitation of the HRVP.

Syria

The Council discussed the situation in Syria and adopted Council Conclusions. The discussion reaffirmed the EU remained committed to a political solution to the crisis. Planning for post-conflict assistance needed to start, but there could be no reconstruction assistance until a credible political transition was firmly underway. The Council agreed to adopt the EU strategy on Syria.

Yemen

The Council discussed the situation in Yemen and adopted Council Conclusions. HRVP Mogherini discussed a potential EU role in Yemen to restart political talks. Foreign Ministers reaffirmed the seriousness of the situation in Yemen and discussed a new framework that had been presented to the warring parties.

Libya

Council members discussed the situation in Libya following the first meeting of the Libya Quartet on 18 March 2017. They discussed common ground between the parties and underlined the EU’s commitment to supporting Libyans in finding unity and stability within the framework of the Libyan Political Agreement.

Ministers agreed a number of measures without discussion:

- The Council adopted Conclusions on the promotion and protection of the rights of the child.
- The Council adopted Conclusions on Somalia
- The Council adopted a decision supporting the UN Programme of Actions to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Lights Weapons (SALW) in All Its Aspects.
- The Council extended its decision 2014/129/CFSP until 2 July 2017 in order to ensure the smooth continuation of the work of the EU non-proliferation consortium of think-tanks, based on the funds still available.
- The Council amended the restrictive measures in view of the situation in Yemen to transpose an update by the United Nations related to four persons subject to restrictive measures.
- The Council adopted a new EU policy on training for the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).
- The Council approved the exercise specifications for the EU crisis management military exercise in 2017 (MILEX17).

WS
Department for Communities and Local Government
Made on: 16 October 2017
Made by: Mr Marcus Jones (Minister for Local Government )
Commons

Homelessness

I am today updating the House on a commitment I made during the passage of the Homelessness Reduction Act – the Member for Harrow East’s Private Member’s Bill – to fund the additional duties contained within the Act in line with the new burdens doctrine. Following further discussions with local authorities on the new duties, the Government is providing an additional £11.7 million in new burdens funding, taking the total amount of new burdens funding from £61 million to £72.7 million.

The Government will provide £72.7 million to local authorities to meet the new burdens costs associated with the new duties contained within the Act over the course of the Spending Review. It is anticipated that the additional duties to prevent homelessness will lead to savings for local authorities thereafter.

I am also announcing the local authority allocations of the new burdens funding. The Government has worked with local authorities and the Local Government Association to test the methodology behind the distribution, as well as the core assumptions of the costs of administering the new duties. The distribution reflects the differing need in different authorities. The funding has been allocated according to a formula which reflects where resource pressures are likely to increase as a result of administering the new duties contained in the Act. The details of allocations and new burdens assessment are attached.

Today I am also launching a consultation on the Homelessness Code of Guidance which will support local authorities’ work to prepare for the implementation of the Act. Additionally, Government will be providing local authorities with an equally distributed share of £3 million to support them in upgrading their data systems to monitor the impact of the Homelessness Reduction Act.

The Homelessness Reduction Act will significantly reform England’s homelessness legislation and ensure that more people get the help they need to prevent and relieve homeless. It forms part of the Government’s end-to-end approach to tackling homelessness, helping both those at risk of homelessness and those experiencing a crisis. The new burdens funding for the Act sits alongside other funding for homelessness, including the £315 million Homelessness Prevention funding, our £50 million homelessness prevention package and the £402 million Flexible Homelessness Support Grant.

HRA New Burdens (Word Document, 105.75 KB)
NB allocation (Word Document, 41.1 KB)
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS176
WS
Home Office
Made on: 16 October 2017
Made by: Amber Rudd (The Secretary of State for the Home Department)
Commons

Modern Slavery: 2017 UK Annual Report on Modern Slavery

Today, I am publishing the 2017 UK Annual Report on Modern Slavery. The Report covers the whole of the UK and has been drafted in collaboration with the Northern Ireland Executive, the Scottish Government and the Welsh Government. This report sets out an assessment of the scale of modern slavery in the UK, and outlines the actions that have taken to combat it over the last year.

A copy of the report will be placed in the House Library.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS167
WS
Home Office
Made on: 16 October 2017
Made by: Amber Rudd (The Secretary of State for the Home Department)
Commons

Annual Report of the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner

I am pleased to announce that I am today laying before the House the 2017 annual report of the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner. Copies of the report are available in the Vote Office.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS168
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