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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WS
Department for Transport
Made on: 29 July 2020
Made by: Baroness Vere of Norbiton (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport)
Lords

Consultation on draft Spaceflight Regulations

I am today publishing the consultation on draft regulations and guidance made under the 2018 Space Industry Act. This consultation seeks views on the operability and effectiveness of the draft Space Industry Regulations, Accident Investigation Regulations, Appeals Regulations, and the associated guidance documents and Regulator’s Licensing Rules. As part of this consultation, a consultation stage Impact Assessment has also been published.

The UK’s space sector is already a unique national asset – which this Government is committed to turbo-charging. The UK’s space sector can strengthen our national capabilities, create high-skilled jobs and level up the UK. To support this, the Queen’s Speech on 19 December set out the Government’s intent to establish a new National Space Council and develop a comprehensive UK Space Strategy. The launch of this consultation and the introduction of a new regulatory framework form an integral part of the work we are doing to bring commercial spaceflight to the UK and create a supportive regulatory environment which fosters growth in the sector.

Government and industry have set a target to grow the UK’s share of the global market to 10 per cent by 2030. In order to support this, our spaceflight programme aims to establish commercial vertical and horizontal small satellite launch, sub-orbital spaceflight and space tourism from UK spaceports. To help expand the UK’s spaceflight capabilities, government is funding a range of industry-led projects. Separately, we are also investing in related facilities and technology. This will provide industry with new commercial market opportunities, grow our export share and help to build new UK supply chains.

As acknowledged in the Government’s Research & Development Roadmap, regulation that enables the development, demonstration and deployment of new technologies is essential to championing companies on the technological frontier. Our regulatory framework for spaceflight will support safe and sustainable activities that will drive research, innovation and entrepreneurship in this vital sector, exploiting the unique environment of space, and providing a catalyst for growth across the space sector. This will feed into our emerging National Space Strategy as we develop further priorities for the UK and the sector in the long term and contribute this Government’s agenda to level up the whole country.

Enabling UK based space launches

Currently the space activities of UK entities are governed by the Outer Space Act 1986. This requires any UK entities who procure the launch of a satellite and/or operate a satellite in orbit to hold a licence. The UK has a well-established and globally respected licensing regime for these activities. However, UK satellite operators currently have to rely on obtaining slots on launches from other countries to get their satellites in orbit. Our aim now is to license launches from UK spaceports. I expect to see the first UK based launches during the early 2020s.

Whilst the Space Industry Act 2018 is now law, the draft secondary legislation contained in this consultation is required to create the regulatory framework necessary for commercial launch operations to be licensed in the UK. Once regulations are in force, the Space Industry Act 2018 will work alongside the Outer Space Act 1986 to regulate the spaceflight and associated activities of UK entities.

Together with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the UK Space Agency and Civil Aviation Authority we have legislated to allow for the regulation of a wide range of new commercial spaceflight technologies, including traditional vertically launched vehicles, air-launched vehicles and sub-orbital spaceplanes and balloons. We have endeavoured to produce legislation that is flexible enough to accommodate emerging technological advancements, market opportunities and changes to the international legal landscape, while keeping safety at the forefront.

To ensure that these services are carried out safely and responsibly, we are creating a new regulator for commercial spaceflight and associated activities. It is our intention that the Civil Aviation Authority will undertake all Space Industry Act 2018 regulatory functions in addition to regulating in-orbit activities under the Outer Space Act 1986.

Next steps

The deadline for responses to consultation is Wednesday 21st October 2020.

Following which I will update the House and publish the Government’s response to consultation.

WS
Department of Health and Social Care
Made on: 28 July 2020
Made by: Lord Bethell (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Innovation))
Lords

Covid-19 Update

I am proud of the immense efforts of health and social care staff across the country and all those who have contributed to the colossal effort in responding to the pandemic. We created seven new Nightingale hospitals in a matter of weeks and gained access to 8,000 beds for NHS use through an unprecedented deal with the independent sector. 33,000 beds were freed up across NHS hospitals – the equivalent of building 50 new district general hospitals as the NHS was not overwhelmed. Over nine million COVID-19 tests have now been processed UK-wide, and we have delivered over two billion items of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to NHS and social care staff across England.

My Department will continue to evolve our approach as we learn more about the disease and our ability to respond to it, for example in the areas highlighted in this statement. It is vital that we do so to inform the handling of any further waves or to respond to future disease outbreaks and other health crises. Work continues apace in the Department and the sector to prepare us for the months ahead.

Developing our understanding of the virus

As we are responding to a new disease, we are continuously learning and adapting our response. The Special Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) has been drawing on the best science in the UK and globally to provide the best, independent advice to Government. As the science has developed, so too has our response.

When COVID-19 was first discovered there was no data about either the proportion of people who have it asymptomatically (without symptoms) or whether those who have it asymptomatically are infectious. We have discovered more about asymptomatic transmission, but there is still considerable uncertainty as to the proportion and infectiousness of cases that are asymptomatic.

We have learned that COVID-19 has had a disproportionate effect on people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds and we are determined to take the right steps to protect them and minimise risks. Following the findings of the Public Health England reports published on June 2nd, the Equalities Minister – supported by the Race Disparity Unit – is doing vital work to tackle these disparities and protect our most vulnerable communities from the impact of the virus. We are working to understand the key drivers of the disparities identified and the relationships between the different risk factors. We must reduce the disparity in health outcomes that some BAME communities experience in this country.

At the beginning of the outbreak, those who were identified as clinically extremely vulnerable received a letter from their GP or hospital specialist advising them to shield. GP’s and hospital specialists involved in an individual’s care had the discretion to add individual patients to the list where they felt it was appropriate based on clinical assessments of individual needs. The latest epidemiological data from the ONS COVID-19 Infection Survey shows that the chance of encountering coronavirus in the community has continued to decline and so shielding measures are being paused. As our understanding of the virus grows, we are working with Oxford University to develop a more nuanced risk assessment approach, which we hope will be ready by the Autumn.

NHS Test and Trace

Our ability to test and trace for COVID-19 is critical if we are to tackle transmission in the community. We have bolstered the delivery of our Test and Trace programme with the appointment of Baroness Harding, who continues to provide clear leadership, facilitating the expansion of the programme and the rapid deployment of test and trace capacity. We have considered WHO recommendations and reviewed international best practice to inform our approach in the UK. We moved to targeted contact tracing once the delay phase began. One of the biggest innovations we have made is the pioneering of mass home-testing. Home testing enables anyone who can’t get to a testing site, to take a test in their own home.

As we continue to strengthen the effectiveness of the NHS Test and Trace service, we are enhancing backward contact tracing. This will form an increasingly important part of our strategy for controlling the spread of the virus as the rate of infection reduces. By extending the period of time for which we ask people for information on places they have been and activities they have engaged in, we can identify common locations and potentially undetected transmission chains. This will help us to identify more people who may have been unknowingly exposed to the virus.

Adult Social Care

Keeping people safe throughout this period, especially society’s most vulnerable, is the Government’s top priority. Adult social care is a devolved system, which allows flexibility to meet local needs, but has presented challenges for national co-ordination of the COVID-19 response. The DHSC has published a range of guidance tailored to care homes and care providers, domiciliary care, unpaid carers and Local Authorities on how to continue to safely provide care. Our guidance has, quite rightly, altered over time as our scientific understanding of the virus grows and, with it, our ability to combat it. We will continue to work with the sector as well as PHE, NHSE, CQC and MHCLG to develop necessary guidance and update existing guidance.

The Social Care Sector COVID-19 Support Taskforce chaired by David Pearson has been established to deliver two packages of support, the Social Care Action Plan and the Care Homes Intensive Support Package, which will help reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the sector. Both packages will improve coordination across the sector and provide the resources needed to continue responding to COVID-19.

On 15 May we published details of the £600 million Infection Control Fund for Adult Social Care, to support adult social care providers in England in reducing the rate of transmission in and between care homes, and to support wider workforce resilience. This funding can be used for minimising the movement of staff to reduce the risk of asymptomatic transmission of the virus and ensuring staff do not lose out on wages in doing so.

PPE

In April, I announced an online portal was being developed to deliver PPE to primary and social care sectors. The portal and the logistics behind it are thanks to a partnership with eBay UK, Volo, Clipper, Royal Mail and Unipart. The partnership that delivered the PPE Portal has been astounding, and eBay’s experience in delivering IT projects has been invaluable with them building the Portal in a matter of weeks. We now have over 20,000 providers invited to use the Portal.

We have been reviewing the impact of increased demand on the supply chains of medical products during a difficult Winter season. This Government continues to best prepare for this scenario, including mitigations we can put in place, from stockpiling to boosting the domestic production of PPE.

Therapeutics and Vaccines

The government is supporting a wide range of therapeutics research and innovative medicine. From the beginning we have focused on undertaking robust clinical research, which enables us to take the proper evidenced-based decisions backed by rigorous science to improve the care of UK patients. On NHS services, there has been a significant push to deliver virtual outpatient appointments, to continue to deliver a quality outpatient service.

The research effort has recruited significant numbers of patients and greatly expanded our understanding on this new disease. On 16 June the UK Government-funded RECOVERY trial, the world’s largest COVID-19 clinical trial, announced that dexamethasone was the first treatment in the world shown to reduce the risk of mortality in hospitalised COVID-19 patients requiring oxygen or ventilation. On the same day as these results were announced, NHS England issued an alert to all NHS Trusts that dexamethasone would be considered as standard of care with immediate effect and the treatment was available to patients around the UK who need it. The UK has enough dexamethasone to treat over 200,000 COVID-19 patients.

There is already progress on potential vaccines, with clinical trials in humans underway at the University of Oxford and at Imperial College, London. We’ve fully funded the Oxford clinical trials, to the cost of £20 million and human clinical trials started on 23 April. We have now committed £65.5 million to scale up manufacturing to population level doses. We have also provided Imperial College with £22.5 million to allow their vaccine to enter human trials.

WS
Department of Health and Social Care
Made on: 23 July 2020
Made by: Lord Bethell (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Innovation))
Lords

Covid-19 Update

On 11 and 13 July 2020, the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No.2) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 came into force, reopening several businesses and sectors, in order to cautiously return the economy and life to normal in light of the evolving coronavirus pandemic. We have kept the Regulations under continuous review in order to balance these cautious steps to return to normal life with ensuring that the virus remains under control.

Reopening of closed premises in England

Taking into account scientific advice and the Government’s assessment of the current state of the epidemic, I am making further amendments to the Regulations that ease some of the restrictions still in place. These amendments permit some additional businesses and venues to reopen. The amendments allow indoor; swimming pools and water parks, fitness and dance studies, gyms, sports courts and facilities to reopen from 25 July.

Changes to Leicester restrictions

The reopening of closed premises above will not apply to the City of Leicester and the Borough of Oadby and Wigston at this time. On 16 July, I made a statement in the House, outlining that we are in a position to relax some, though not all the measures in the protected area of Leicester. As of Saturday 18 July, the geographical area to which the restrictions apply was altered in the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Leicester) Regulations 2020. The local restrictions still apply within the city boundaries, along with Oadby and Wigston. Other parts of the county that were in the protected area are no longer subject to restrictions. They have been brought in line with measures applying to the rest of England.

I am also making further changes to the Leicester restrictions. From 24 July non-essential retail, betting shops, retail galleries, drive-in cinemas, and the outdoor areas of zoos and visitor farms will be allowed to reopen in Leicester, and out-of-school childcare and educational establishments will be allowed to reopen. It is as vital as ever that these premises all reopen in accordance with COVID-19 Secure guidelines. The government will continue to review the remaining restrictions in Leicester at least every 14 days with the next review due to take place before 30 July.

Further Local Restrictions

Based on our assessment of the levels of incidence and prevalence in some parts of the country, we will also pass a separate set of regulations to exclude Blackburn with Darwen and Luton local authority areas from these changes, similar to our approach to local restrictions in Leicester. This reflects the importance of mitigating transmission in these areas, where the general public must take particular care to ensure local outbreaks do not escalate. These regulations will keep indoor; swimming pools and water parks, fitness and dance studies, gyms, sports courts and facilities closed.

Requiring face coverings in shops, supermarkets, shopping centres, banks, post offices and transport hubs

Alongside the reopening of these venues – in Leicester and nationally - the Government has also introduced regulations making the wearing of face coverings mandatory in shops, supermarkets, enclosed shopping centres, banks, post offices and transport hubs. This builds on the existing legal requirement to wear them on public transport, which has been in place since 15 June. We have taken this step to give members of the public more confidence to shop safely and enhance protections for those who work in shops. While face coverings are not a substitute for distancing and hand hygiene, there is some evidence to suggest that when used correctly, face coverings may have some benefit in reducing the likelihood of someone with the infection passing it on to others, particularly if they are asymptomatic.

Whilst we expect the vast majority of the public to comply with the rules, as they have done so throughout the pandemic, the Regulations also give powers to the police and other enforcement officers to enforce this policy. In the first instance we would expect business and retailers to take steps for compliance where possible (through signs for example). However as is usual practice, if a customer is acting anti-socially or against the rules, staff will be able to call the police for support if needed.

We recognise that for some, wearing a face covering is not possible on age, health or other equalities grounds. That is why the regulations include a non-exhaustive list of exemptions from the policy, which mirror those in place for the similar regulations made on public transport. If someone is legally exempt from the Regulations, they should not be questioned or prohibited from entering a setting where these regulations apply.

For settings where these regulations do not apply, the advice remains that if you can, you should wear a face covering in other enclosed public spaces where social distancing isn’t possible and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.

The Government continues to keep all the regulations under review and will continue assessing if further measures need to be put in place. In the meantime, we have published guidance on these regulations on Gov.uk and will continue to update this to reflect the latest advice.

Draft regulations to enable local or regional restrictions

The Government has also published draft regulations that set out a non-exhaustive set of options, illustrating the ways Government might legislate under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 as part of a targeted approach that responds to the particular circumstances of a local outbreak in England.

These draft regulations are intended to supplement the CONTAIN framework for controlling future outbreaks of COVID-19, published last week, and are expected to be used by Ministers should actions by local authorities - including use of new powers provided to them by the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No.3) Regulations 2020, as of 18 July - be insufficient to contain a local outbreak. Any regulations made are expected to be primarily based on one or more of the measures laid out in the draft regulations – though all regulations will be tailored to the circumstances of the specific local outbreak they are intended to address, and alternative measures might be included if those circumstances require it. As ever, as our response to COVID-19 and circumstances in local areas develop over time, we may introduce new categories of intervention and would formulate new draft regulations accordingly.

The measures in the draft regulations will allow for effective targeted interventions, while seeking to avoid a return to a national lockdown. In the event that the Government does need to make a significant intervention, it would do so in a way that targets the transmission of the virus while minimising the disruption to the economy and society.

The draft regulations and accompanying explanatory note can be found on Gov.uk. I will also deposit a copy in the Libraries of both Houses. By publishing these draft regulations, the Government hopes they may prove helpful to parliamentarians as an illustration of the way we may legislate to address local outbreaks if necessary.

WS
Treasury
Made on: 23 July 2020
Made by: Lord Agnew of Oulton (Lord Spokesperson)
Lords

Finance Bill 2020-21 draft legislation and tax documents

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

In line with the Tax Policy Making framework, the Government is publishing draft legislation to be included in Finance Bill 20-21, to allow for technical consultation and provide taxpayers with predictability over future tax policy changes.

Alongside this, the Government is making announcements on tax administration, business rates, and a number of other areas of tax policy. The Government is also publishing a number of previously announced tax policy documents. Measures that come into effect immediately or retrospectively are previously announced, or are technical amendments to ensure legislation works as intended.

As announced on 28th April, the Government has extended the consultation periods for Plastic Packaging Tax, R&D SME Tax Credit PAYE Cap, Construction Industry Scheme abuse, and Notification of uncertain tax treatment by large businesses in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. As a result of this extension, the Government will publish the draft legislation for these measures later in the Autumn.

Reform of Tax Administration

The Government is announcing a roadmap for Making Tax Digital, alongside its long-term plans for tax administration reform. These reforms are intended to make it easier to pay tax due, enhance resilience, effectiveness, and support for taxpayers.

  • The Government is publishing a document setting out its vision for a trusted, modern tax administration system that is fit for the 21st century and keeps pace with the many countries already operating digital tax regimes. This sets out an ambition for the tax system to work closer to real-time, improving its resilience, effectiveness and support for taxpayers.
  • The Government is committed to delivering a modern tax service for the UK’s increasingly digital businesses and their agents.
  • Digital tools and services can make it easier for businesses to keep on top on their tax affairs, and improve their productivity. Independent research commissioned by HMRC shows that businesses within MTD which fully integrate their accounting and tax software report spend less time on their tax. Micro-businesses who use software to manage their accounts have over 10% higher productivity, according to the Enterprise Research Centre.
  • Digital tools also reduce the scope for avoidable errors which cost the Exchequer £8.5 billion in lost revenue in 2018-19, and make the tax administration system less burdensome for those taxpayers who want to do the right thing.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has also highlighted the need for a more flexible, resilient and responsive tax system that provides businesses and HMRC with more up-to-date information on businesses and their finances, and enables easier identification and better targeting of taxpayer support.
  • The Government is therefore announcing a roadmap for HMRC’s Making Tax Digital programme. Since April 2019, most VAT-registered taxpayers with a turnover above the VAT threshold have needed to operate Making Tax Digital for their VAT returns, keeping their records digitally and updating HMRC through secure software. Over 1.4 million taxpayers are successfully using this system. This includes over 30% of VAT-registered businesses with turnover below the VAT threshold who have joined voluntarily. The Government will introduce legislation in Finance Bill 2020/21 to extend Making Tax Digital for VAT to all businesses below the VAT threshold from April 2022, to ensure every VAT-registered business takes the step to move to a modern, digital tax service.
  • The Government remains committed to extending Making Tax Digital to other taxes. The Making Tax Digital programme will therefore be extended through new regulations to businesses and landlords within Income Tax Self-Assessment from April 2023. This timetable allows businesses, landlords and agents time to plan, and gives software providers enough notice to bring new Making Tax Digital products to market, including free software for businesses with the simplest tax affairs. HMRC will expand its pilot service from April 2021 to allow businesses and landlords to test the full end-to-end service before the requirement to join.
  • The Government will also consult in the Autumn on the detail of extending Making Tax Digital to incorporated businesses with Corporate Tax obligations.
  • A consultation response will be published setting out how the Government will amend HMRC’s civil information powers, to ensure the UK can continue to comply with international tax transparency standards.

Further policy announcements:

The Government has made a number of further policy decisions which are being announced today, relating to:

Business rates revaluation

  • Under current legislation, the next revaluation would take effect on 1 April 2022 based on pre-COVID19 property values as of 1 April 2019. In May 2020, the Government announced a postponement to provide greater certainty for firms affected by the impacts of COVID19.
  • The Government is today announcing that the next revaluation of non-domestic property in England will instead take effect on 1 April 2023. So that it better reflects the impact of COVID19, it will be based on property values as of 1 April 2021.

Small Brewers Relief

  • The Government has concluded its review of this relief. In order to support growth, boost productivity and remove ‘cliff-edges’, the scheme’s taper will be smoothed. It will take effect more gradually over a wider range of production, starting at 2,100 hectolitres per year, and be converted to a cash basis. A technical consultation will be brought forward in the Autumn. The Government will also consult on the potential for a grace period for small breweries that decide to merge.

Post-EU exit alcohol review

The Government recognises the need to reform the current duty system to support the alcoholic drinks and pubs sector in the longer term, and will publish a call for evidence before end September 2020.

Tackling promoters of tax avoidance

  • Tackling promoters of tax avoidance – The Government is publishing a consultation and draft legislation on further, tougher measures to tackle those who promote and market tax avoidance schemes, as announced at Spring Budget. This builds on the anti-avoidance regimes that have already been introduced by the Government, which have helped to reduce the avoidance tax gap from £3.7bn in 2005 to 2006 to £1.7bn in 2018 to 2019. The Government will bring forward further ambitious proposals in the Autumn to strengthen its response to promoters who seek to sidestep the rules.

Employee share ownership

  • Enterprise Management Incentives (EMI) – The Government will legislate in Finance Bill 2020/21 to ensure that employers can issue new EMI share options to individuals who have been furloughed, have taken unpaid leave or have had their working hours reduced below EMI’s current statutory working time requirement as a result of COVID-19.

Previously announced publications

The Government has published the following tax policy documents, previously announced at the Spring Budget:

  • The business rates review call for evidence
  • The call for evidence on pensions tax administration
  • The consultation on the design of a carbon emissions tax
  • The consultation on National Insurance Contributions holiday for employers of veterans
  • The consultation on whether qualifying R&D tax credit costs should include investments in data and cloud computing
  • The consultation on the Economic Crime Levy
  • The summary of responses to the call for evidence on the operation of Insurance Premium Tax
  • The summary of responses and Government next steps to the Aggregates Levy Review
  • The summary of responses to the non-UK resident SDLT surcharge consultation

For other consultations, the Government is continuing to consider the responses and will respond in due course.

Technical tax changes

In addition, the Government is publishing a small number of technical tax changes, which are previously announced or provide technical easements for policy. These include measures relating to:

  • Changes to Termination Payments Rules, Post-employment notice pay (PENP) Calculation at s. 402D(1) ITEPA 2003, and Amendment of s.27 ITEPA 2003 – Changes to current PENP calculation to avoid unfair outcomes if an employee’s pay period is defined in months, but the contractual notice period is expressed in weeks, and changes to ensure non-residents who receive PENP are taxed fairly.

Legislation with immediate effect

The Government has published legislation for the following measures that will have immediate or retrospective effect:

  • Corporate Interest Restriction amendments – The first amendment clarifies the way special provisions apply for Real Estate Investment Trusts; this comes into force today. The second amendment ensures that no penalties arise for the late filing of an Interest Restriction Return where there is a ‘reasonable excuse’; this applies from 1 April 2017 when the CIR rules commenced.
  • Enterprise Management Incentives (EMI) amendments – This legislation will apply retrospectively from 19 March, and is in addition to protecting existing EMI share options holders from the effects of COVID-19, as legislated for in the [Finance Act 2020 / previous Finance Bill].
  • Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings – This measure introduces a new relief from the Annual Tax on Enveloped Dwellings (ATED) for housing co-operatives (those which are not publicly funded providers of social housing), which own UK residential property valued in excess of £500,000. The measure will come into effect retrospectively from 1 April 2020, allowing eligible housing co-operatives to claim a refund for the 2020-21 chargeable period.

In addition to these policy announcements, consultations and technical amendments, the Government is publishing draft legislation as announced at the Spring Budget:

  • Van Benefit charge
  • Collective money purchases pension schemes
  • S4C Section 33 VATA
  • Conditionality: hidden economy

Draft legislation is accompanied by a Tax Information and Impact Note (TIIN), an Explanatory Note (EN) and, where applicable, a summary of responses to consultation document. All publications can be found on the gov.uk website. The Government’s tax consultation tracker has also been updated.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS400
WS
Cabinet Office
Made on: 22 July 2020
Made by: Julia Lopez (Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office))
Commons

Public Bodies 2019 and Public Appointments Data Report 2019

My noble Friend, the Minister of State for the Cabinet Office (Lord Agnew of Oulton) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

I am pleased to announce the publication of Public Bodies 2019 and the Public Appointments Data Report 2019 and will today be placing copies in the library of both Houses.

Public bodies play a vital role in the delivery of public services for all our citizens, covering wide-ranging functions. Well-governed, effective and efficient public bodies enable the government to deliver its priorities.

Public Bodies 2019 is an annual directory that provides a single transparent source of top-level financial and non-financial data on all executive agencies, non-departmental public bodies and non-ministerial departments across government.

The public appointments data report provides a breakdown of the diversity of public appointees who were in roles covered by the Governance Code on public appointments on 31 March 2019 and those appointed to such roles between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2019. The latter data is a subset of the information published in the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ annual report.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS417
WS
Cabinet Office
Made on: 22 July 2020
Made by: Lord Agnew of Oulton (Minister of State)
Lords

Public Bodies 2019 and Public Appointments Data Report 2019

I am pleased to announce the publication of Public Bodies 2019 and the Public Appointments Data Report 2019 and will today be placing copies in the library of both Houses.

Public bodies play a vital role in the delivery of public services for all our citizens, covering wide-ranging functions. Well-governed, effective and efficient public bodies enable the government to deliver its priorities.

Public Bodies 2019 is an annual directory that provides a single transparent source of top-level financial and non-financial data on all executive agencies, non-departmental public bodies and non-ministerial departments across government.

The public appointments data report provides a breakdown of the diversity of public appointees who were in roles covered by the Governance Code on public appointments on 31 March 2019 and those appointed to such roles between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2019. The latter data is a subset of the information published in the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ annual report.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS425
WS
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Made on: 22 July 2020
Made by: Baroness Barran (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
Lords

Supporting the deployment of 5G and extending mobile coverage - Planning Update

My Honourable Friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Digital Infrastructure, Matt Warman MP, has made the following Statement:

Widespread, reliable mobile connectivity is essential for people and businesses. That is why the government has agreed a £1 billion Shared Rural Network deal with the UK’s mobile network operators to extend 4G mobile geographical coverage to 95% of the UK by 2025. The Government is also investing £200 million in a programme of 5G testbeds and trials to encourage investment in 5G so that communities and businesses can benefit from this new technology.

It is essential that the planning system continues to support the delivery of the mobile infrastructure that we need. On 27 August 2019, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government published a joint consultation on in-principle proposed reforms to permitted development rights in England. The consultation ran for 10 weeks, closing on 4 November 2019.

Today I am pleased to inform members that we have published the Government’s response to this consultation.

We are satisfied that the proposed reforms are necessary to support the Government’s ambitions for the deployment of 5G and extending mobile coverage, particularly in rural areas, where mobile coverage tends to lag behind more urban areas. In taking forward these proposals, we will ensure that the appropriate environmental protections and other safeguards are in place to mitigate the impact of new mobile infrastructure.

Therefore, subject to a technical consultation on the detail of the proposals, including the appropriate environmental protections and other safeguards, we are intending to take forward the proposals consulted on to:

● Enable the deployment of radio equipment housing, such as equipment cabinets, on land without requiring prior approval, up to specified limits and excluding on sites of special scientific interest, to support 5G deployment;

● Strengthen existing masts up to specified limits to enable sites to be upgraded for 5G and for mast sharing without prior approval;

● Enable the deployment of building-based masts nearer to highways to support deployment of 5G and extend mobile coverage, subject to prior approval and specified limits; and,

● Enable higher new masts to deliver better mobile coverage, and mast sharing, subject to prior approval and specified limits.

These changes will benefit communities and businesses and provide greater regulatory certainty to incentivise investment in mobile infrastructure.

The mobile industry has a vital role to play in delivering these improvements and in bringing forward the infrastructure required, and we expect them to commit to further measures and assurances to ensure that the impact of new mobile deployment is minimised.

Making these changes would require amendments to existing planning legislation. Prior to any future legislative changes, we will undertake the technical consultation.

We will now develop the technical consultation, working with mobile industry representatives, relevant regulators including Ofcom, representatives of local planning authorities and those representing protected areas, to ensure that the appropriate environmental protections and other safeguards are in place to mitigate the impact of new mobile infrastructure. This includes strengthening the Code of Best Practice on Mobile Network Development in England, which provides guidance to mobile network operators and local planning authorities.

As planning law is a devolved matter, any future legislative changes will apply to England only, but we will continue to work closely with the Devolved Administrations to ensure that the planning regime continues to support the deployment of mobile infrastructure.



WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 22 July 2020
Made by: Christopher Pincher (Minister of State for Housing )
Commons

Affordable Homes Guarantee Scheme 2020

Today, I am laying before Parliament a Departmental Minute setting out the details of a contingent liability that the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government intends to incur under the Infrastructure (Financial Assistance) Act 2012. The contingent liability will be created by a new £3bn Affordable Homes Guarantee Scheme.

The new Affordable Homes Guarantee Scheme – announced at Spring Statement 2019 – will be delivered by a delivery partner on behalf of the Ministry under the oversight of Homes England. The delivery partner is being appointed through a fair, open and competitive procurement process, and we have appointed a preferred bidder with whom we will agree the detailed operational arrangements. We plan on awarding the contract over the coming weeks and for the scheme to be open for business by the end of the year. In delivering the scheme, the delivery partner will raise capital from bond market investors and on-lend the proceeds to Registered Providers of affordable housing in England. The Ministry will guarantee both the proceeds to bond investors and payments by borrowers to the issuing entity.

Through the scheme the Government will boost investment in providers of affordable housing and support the delivery of a significant number of new affordable homes for those whose housing needs are not currently met by the market.

WS
Home Office
Made on: 22 July 2020
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Hong Kong British National (Overseas) Visa and Suspension of Extradition Treaty with Hong Kong

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

The decision of the Chinese Government to impose its national security legislation on Hong Kong is a matter of deep regret to this Government. This legislation and its strict implementation constitutes a clear breach of the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, undermining the “one country, two systems” framework. It cannot be ignored.

I set out here the Government’s plans for a new Hong Kong British National (Overseas) (BN(O)) Visa and for the suspension of our Extradition Treaty with Hong Kong.

Hong Kong BN(O) Visa

Before the handover of the UK’s responsibilities for Hong Kong, we created the British National (Overseas) (BN(O)) nationality status which was opened to people in Hong Kong, through a registration process, to those who had British Dependent Territories citizenship. This status recognised the special and enduring ties the UK has with those people as a result of our role in Hong Kong before 1997. Now that China through its actions has changed the circumstances that BN(O) citizens find themselves in, it is right that we should change the entitlements which are attached to BN(O) status. I have decided to significantly improve those entitlements, to reassure BN(O) citizens that they have options to live in the UK if they decide that is an appropriate choice for them.

Today I am laying before the House a command paper (CP 280) providing further detail on a new bespoke Hong Kong BN(O) Visa, covering eligibility, conditions and entitlements, the application process, timing, the position for BN(O) citizens in the UK, and arrangements for BN(O) citizens arriving at the border.

BN(O) citizens in Hong Kong are in a unique position, which is why I have designed a policy which is specific to them in the wider immigration system. It will not set a precedent. It is a proportionate response to the situation which has arisen. The UK is entitled to decide on the rights attaching to BN(O) status which it has previously conferred and that is what I am doing with these changes.

My offer to BN(O) citizens is therefore a very generous one. There will be no skills tests or minimum income requirements, economic needs tests or caps on numbers. I am giving BN(O) citizens the opportunity to acquire full British citizenship. They do not need to have a job before coming to the UK - they can look for work once here. They may bring their immediate dependants, including non-BN(O) citizens.

At the same time, it is not an unconditional offer. BN(O) citizens will need to support themselves independently while living in the UK; they must meet strict criminality checks and stay of good character; they will need to pay visa fees, the Immigration Health Surcharge and, if they subsequently apply for citizenship after they become settled, the fee and meet the criteria. These are reasonable things to ask of BN(O) citizens, and BN(O) citizens will need to ask themselves whether coming to the UK to put down roots here is the right choice for them. It is a choice I am making available and I welcome warmly all those who decide to take it.

We are planning to open the Hong Kong BN(O) Visa for applications from January 2021. BN(O) citizens do not need to hold a BN(O) passport in order to apply for the visa – so there is no need to apply for or renew a BN(O) passport specifically for this purpose. All BN(O) citizens will need a visa to be able to settle in the UK.

We understand there will be cases where the children of BN(O) citizens will not normally be eligible because they were born after 1997 (so are not BN(O) citizens) and are over 18 so they would not normally be considered as a dependant in the UK’s immigration system. Therefore, in compelling and compassionate circumstances, and where applications are made as a family unit, we will use discretion to grant a visa to the children of BN(O) citizens who fall into this category and who are still dependent on the BN(O) citizen.

If the above doesn’t apply then the existing youth mobility scheme is open to people in Hong Kong aged between 18-30, with 1000 places currently available each year. Individuals from Hong Kong will also be able to apply to come to the UK under the terms of the UK’s new Points Based System, which will enable individuals to come to the UK in a wider range of professions and at a lower general salary threshold than in the past.

The Home Office looks forward to receiving applications for this visa.

Extradition

The imposition of new National Security Legislation has significantly changed the assumptions underpinning the 1998 Agreement for the Surrender of Fugitive Offenders, our extradition treaty with Hong Kong. The Government remains especially concerned about Articles 55 to 59 of the law, which could give mainland authorities the ability to assume jurisdiction over certain cases and try those cases in Chinese courts.

The National Security Law provides no legal or judicial safeguards in such cases. The decision can be made by the mainland authorities with no reference to the Hong Kong Government. Other than access to a lawyer there are no legal or judicial safeguards in such cases and mainland systems of investigation, trial and punishment, about which the international community has long standing concerns, would apply. If China applies that legislation extraterritorially, it will pose a risk not only to Hong Kong residents who travel abroad, but potentially to British and other Nationals travelling into Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong Department of Justice has therefore been notified of our intention to suspend the extradition treaty, immediately and indefinitely, until the UK is sufficiently assured that the new National Security Agency established by China in Hong Kong will not be able to initiate extradition requests to the UK, that extradition requests will not be sent in relation to newly created offences under the National Security Law; and that people extradited from the UK could never be transferred from Hong Kong to mainland China without the UK's explicit consent.

The suspension will protect those resident in the UK, including those who may soon be here by virtue of the new immigration route, from unwarranted pursuit through the provisions of the Extradition Treaty.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS421
WS
Home Office
Made on: 22 July 2020
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

UK Anti-Corruption Strategy – Year 2 Update

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

Today, I am publishing the second annual Update on the UK Anti-Corruption Strategy 2017-2022. The government is committed to providing an annual written update to parliament on progress.

The UK Anti-Corruption Strategy provides a framework to guide Government anti-corruption policies and actions. This update sets out the significant progress that the UK has made on implementing many of the commitments of the Anti-Corruption Strategy during 2019, whilst recognising that a more challenging global environment has led to some areas of more limited progress. Corruption undermines our national security and prosperity. It corrodes trust in our institutions and threatens our borders. Without strong anti-corruption measures it is harder for British businesses to compete in the new and emerging markets we are starting to foster.

The Year 2 Update demonstrates that the Government is determined to deliver on its commitment to combat corruption in order to keep our citizens safe, to help secure a more prosperous society and to strengthen trust in our domestic and international institutions. The unprecedented challenge posed by COVID-19 only heightens the relevance and urgency of this activity. The Government will continue to combat corruption and to promote integrity and transparency at home and overseas, working with international allies and through multilateral institutions to address existing and emerging threats, raise standards and promote collective action.

I have written to the Devolved Administrations as the Update is of direct interest to them.

A copy of the Year 2 Update report will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses and also published on GOV.UK.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS420
WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 22 July 2020
Made by: Baroness Sugg (Minister for the Overseas Territories and Sustainable Development)
Lords

London Croughton Annex

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

I informed the House on 20 December that I had instructed my officials to discuss with the United States a revision of the immunity arrangements at the Croughton Annex for US personnel and their families, following the road collision of 27 August 2019 in which Harry Dunn was killed. As I set out previously to the House, the status of US staff under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (VCDR) at the Croughton Annex is the subject of special arrangements between the UK and US governments, captured in exchanges of notes dating back to 1995. Those arrangements contained a waiver of immunity from criminal jurisdiction for US staff outside the course of their duties, but no such waiver for their family members.

I am glad to inform the House today that we have concluded those discussions with the US and agreed a revision of the arrangements. I welcome the constructive engagement of our US allies in these discussions.

First and foremost, the US waiver of immunity from criminal jurisdiction is now expressly extended to the family members of US staff at the Croughton Annex, thus ending the anomaly in the previous arrangements and permitting the criminal prosecution of the family members of those staff, should these tragic circumstances ever arise again.

Second, the waiver from criminal jurisdiction now extends also to all Embassy staff serving at the Croughton Annex in respect of acts outside their official duties, not just Administrative and Technical staff.

Third, the revised arrangements contain a further and new waiver in respect of inviolability. The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations not only provides for immunity from jurisdiction, but also provides for the separate privilege of inviolability, including complete protection from arrest and detention. The earlier Croughton arrangements contained no waiver of inviolability. This is addressed in the revised arrangements.

I am therefore pleased to report to the House that we have secured the agreement of the US so that the Croughton arrangements could not in future be used in the same way as in the tragic case of Harry Dunn. These changes took effect by way of an exchange of notes on 20 July.

Separately, we have continued to press the US on the need to improve road safety at RAF Croughton. I welcome the steps taken by the US base commander to extend mandatory requirements for driving training and instruction for all US staff on the base, and the improvement of road signage within the base and vehicles of staff to remind them to drive on the left.

I welcome the action of local authorities to add added extra signage outside the base to remind drivers to drive on the left.

I am pleased to inform the House that my RHF the Secretary of State for Transport has launched a safety review of roads around the 10 US Visiting Forces (USVF) bases in England. This entails working with the Ministry of Defence, Highways England and respective police and local authorities – in the case of Croughton, the Northamptonshire Police and South Northamptonshire Council.

We have the deepest sympathy for Harry Dunn’s family. No family should have to experience what they have gone through and I recognise that these changes will not bring Harry back. However, I hope that the knowledge that the Croughton arrangements have been revised and that a family in their position would now see justice done brings some small measure of comfort.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS419
WS
Leader of the House of Lords
Made on: 22 July 2020
Made by: Baroness Evans of Bowes Park (Lord Privy Seal)
Lords

Machinery of Government

My Rt Hon Friend the Prime Minister has made the following statement:

Machinery of Government

I am making this statement to bring to the House's attention the following Machinery of Government change.

Government use of data

Responsibility for government use of data has transferred from the Department for Digital Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) to the Cabinet Office. DCMS will retain responsibility for data policy for the economy and society. This change will help ensure that government data is used most effectively to drive policy making and service delivery. The change is effective immediately.

WS
Home Office
Made on: 22 July 2020
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) Annual Report and Accounts 2019 – 2020

My hon Friend the Minister of State for Crime, Policing and the Fire Service (Kit Malthouse) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

I am today, along with my Right Honourable Friend the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, (Jesse Norman), publishing the 2019-20 annual report and accounts for the Independent Office for Police Conduct [HC 511]. This will be laid before the House and published on www.gov.uk. The report will also be available in the Vote Office.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS423
WS
Cabinet Office
Made on: 22 July 2020
Made by: Lord True (Minister of State)
Lords

Consultation on 2025 UK Border Strategy

My Rt Hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Rt Hon Michael Gove MP), has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

When the Transition Period with the European Union concludes at the end of this year, we will leave the Single Market and Customs Union. As we embark on a new chapter for this country, we have the opportunity to design a future border that delivers maximum benefit to the UK.

Today, the UK Government will publish a public consultation to invite stakeholders to share ideas and evidence to help develop a 2025 UK Border Strategy that will deliver the world's most effective border by 2025. A border that is more streamlined and user-centric, that helps businesses take advantage of new trading relationships around the world, whilst maintaining high-levels of security to protect the public, the environment and public health.

Our goal is to publish a 2025 UK Border Strategy by the end of the year setting out a clear vision and roadmap that the Government and border industry, working together, can deliver.

This announcement follows the launch of the public information campaign, The UK's new start: let's get going, and the publication of the Border Operating Model on Monday 13 July that set out how businesses and industry can prepare for the end of the Transition Period.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS418
WS
Home Office
Made on: 22 July 2020
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Launching a review of the Police and Crime Commissioner model

My hon Friend the Minister of State for Crime, Policing and the Fire Service (Kit Malthouse) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

I wish to set out to the House details of a review into the role of Police and Crime Commissioners.

The Government’s manifesto committed to strengthening the accountability of PCCs and expanding their role. Police and Crime Commissioners were introduced in 2012 to give the public a direct say over policing in their area. Since coming into post, they have brought real local accountability to policing and are working to give local communities a stronger voice.

After eight years it is right that we step back and consider how we can continue to evolve the PCC model. It is important that PCCs are strong, visible leaders in the fight against crime and have the legitimacy and tools to hold their police forces to account effectively.

To deliver this commitment, I am today announcing a two-part internal review into the role of PCCs.

Part one will commence in late July and report to the Home Secretary and myself by October 2020. It will be focussed on changes required to strengthen the model which, where possible, can be delivered ahead of the 2021 PCC elections. In particular, it will: consider how to strengthen the accountability, resilience, legitimacy and scrutiny mechanisms of the existing model to drive up standards; identify and share best practice across the sector; and examine the effectiveness of the relationship between PCCs and Chief Constables and the checks and balances currently in place.

We will also use part one of the review to help us map out our longer-term ambition for the expansion of the PCC role. In relation to fire, the Government is clear that further reform of fire and rescue services is required in order to respond to the recommendations from Phase 1 of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry and to build on the findings from Sir Tom Winsor’s State of Fire and Rescue Report, both of which demonstrate the clear challenges and improvements required in professionalism, people and governance. The review will consider further options and opportunities to strengthen fire governance and accountability, drawing on the lessons from the first cycle of fire governance transfers to PCCs.

The review will also be fully aligned with the Government’s commitment to expand the benefits of devolution across England through the Local Recovery and Devolution White Paper. Mayors of Combined Authorities should be powerful local figures with the ability to drive public safety, as well as economic growth and local recovery. We plan to develop the role of PCCs with that longer-term trajectory in mind, building on the models in London and Greater Manchester.

I would like to be clear that neither Part one or Part two of the review will consider a wholly new governance model for policing or examine the 43 police force model.

An Advisory Group will support part one of the review, comprising senior external stakeholders with expertise in the policing and fire sectors. It will also be important that the public’s views on those who represent them in policing are heard and the review team will seek to engage a sample of citizens and local and national victims’ groups as appropriate.

Part two of the review will commence after the 2021 elections and will allow us to consider further ways to strengthen and expand the role of PCCs, including the role PCCs play in tackling re-offending to help reduce crime. It will focus on longer-term reforms and the potential for wider efficiencies to be made within the system with a view to implementation ahead of the 2024 elections.

I will place a copy of the Terms of Reference for part one of the review in the Libraries of both Houses.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS416
WS
Home Office
Made on: 22 July 2020
Made by: Kit Malthouse (The Minister of State for Crime, Policing and the Fire Service)
Commons

Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) Annual Report and Accounts 2019 – 2020

I am today, along with my Right Honourable Friend the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, (Jesse Norman), publishing the 2019-20 annual report and accounts for the Independent Office for Police Conduct [HC 511]. This will be laid before the House and published on www.gov.uk. The report will also be available in the Vote Office.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS411
WS
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Made on: 22 July 2020
Made by: Matt Warman (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for for Digital Infrastructure )
Commons

Supporting the deployment of 5G and extending mobile coverage – Planning Update

Widespread, reliable mobile connectivity is essential for people and businesses. That is why the government has agreed a £1 billion Shared Rural Network deal with the UK’s mobile network operators to extend 4G mobile geographical coverage to 95% of the UK by 2025. The Government is also investing £200 million in a programme of 5G testbeds and trials to encourage investment in 5G so that communities and businesses can benefit from this new technology.

It is essential that the planning system continues to support the delivery of the mobile infrastructure that we need. On 27 August 2019, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government published a joint consultation on in-principle proposed reforms to permitted development rights in England. The consultation ran for 10 weeks, closing on 4 November 2019.

Today I am pleased to inform members that we have published the Government’s response to this consultation.

We are satisfied that the proposed reforms are necessary to support the Government’s ambitions for the deployment of 5G and extending mobile coverage, particularly in rural areas, where mobile coverage tends to lag behind more urban areas. In taking forward these proposals, we will ensure that the appropriate environmental protections and other safeguards are in place to mitigate the impact of new mobile infrastructure.

Therefore, subject to a technical consultation on the detail of the proposals, including the appropriate environmental protections and other safeguards, we are intending to take forward the proposals consulted on to:

● Enable the deployment of radio equipment housing, such as equipment cabinets, on land without requiring prior approval, up to specified limits and excluding on sites of special scientific interest, to support 5G deployment;

● Strengthen existing masts up to specified limits to enable sites to be upgraded for 5G and for mast sharing without prior approval;

● Enable the deployment of building-based masts nearer to highways to support deployment of 5G and extend mobile coverage, subject to prior approval and specified limits; and,

● Enable higher new masts to deliver better mobile coverage, and mast sharing, subject to prior approval and specified limits.

These changes will benefit communities and businesses and provide greater regulatory certainty to incentivise investment in mobile infrastructure.

The mobile industry has a vital role to play in delivering these improvements and in bringing forward the infrastructure required, and we expect them to commit to further measures and assurances to ensure that the impact of new mobile deployment is minimised.

Making these changes would require amendments to existing planning legislation. Prior to any future legislative changes, we will undertake the technical consultation.

We will now develop the technical consultation, working with mobile industry representatives, relevant regulators including Ofcom, representatives of local planning authorities and those representing protected areas, to ensure that the appropriate environmental protections and other safeguards are in place to mitigate the impact of new mobile infrastructure. This includes strengthening the Code of Best Practice on Mobile Network Development in England, which provides guidance to mobile network operators and local planning authorities.

As planning law is a devolved matter, any future legislative changes will apply to England only, but we will continue to work closely with the Devolved Administrations to ensure that the planning regime continues to support the deployment of mobile infrastructure.

WS
Home Office
Made on: 22 July 2020
Made by: Priti Patel (The Secretary of State for the Home Department)
Commons

Hong Kong British National (Overseas) Visa and Suspension of Extradition Treaty with Hong Kong

The decision of the Chinese Government to impose its national security legislation on Hong Kong is a matter of deep regret to this Government. This legislation and its strict implementation constitutes a clear breach of the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, undermining the “one country, two systems” framework. It cannot be ignored.

I set out here the Government’s plans for a new Hong Kong British National (Overseas) (BN(O)) Visa and for the suspension of our Extradition Treaty with Hong Kong.

Hong Kong BN(O) Visa

Before the handover of the UK’s responsibilities for Hong Kong, we created the British National (Overseas) (BN(O)) nationality status which was opened to people in Hong Kong, through a registration process, to those who had British Dependent Territories citizenship. This status recognised the special and enduring ties the UK has with those people as a result of our role in Hong Kong before 1997. Now that China through its actions has changed the circumstances that BN(O) citizens find themselves in, it is right that we should change the entitlements which are attached to BN(O) status. I have decided to significantly improve those entitlements, to reassure BN(O) citizens that they have options to live in the UK if they decide that is an appropriate choice for them.

Today I am laying before the House a command paper (CP 280) providing further detail on a new bespoke Hong Kong BN(O) Visa, covering eligibility, conditions and entitlements, the application process, timing, the position for BN(O) citizens in the UK, and arrangements for BN(O) citizens arriving at the border.

BN(O) citizens in Hong Kong are in a unique position, which is why I have designed a policy which is specific to them in the wider immigration system. It will not set a precedent. It is a proportionate response to the situation which has arisen. The UK is entitled to decide on the rights attaching to BN(O) status which it has previously conferred and that is what I am doing with these changes.

My offer to BN(O) citizens is therefore a very generous one. There will be no skills tests or minimum income requirements, economic needs tests or caps on numbers. I am giving BN(O) citizens the opportunity to acquire full British citizenship. They do not need to have a job before coming to the UK - they can look for work once here. They may bring their immediate dependants, including non-BN(O) citizens.

At the same time, it is not an unconditional offer. BN(O) citizens will need to support themselves independently while living in the UK; they must meet strict criminality checks and stay of good character; they will need to pay visa fees, the Immigration Health Surcharge and, if they subsequently apply for citizenship after they become settled, the fee and meet the criteria. These are reasonable things to ask of BN(O) citizens, and BN(O) citizens will need to ask themselves whether coming to the UK to put down roots here is the right choice for them. It is a choice I am making available and I welcome warmly all those who decide to take it.

We are planning to open the Hong Kong BN(O) Visa for applications from January 2021. BN(O) citizens do not need to hold a BN(O) passport in order to apply for the visa – so there is no need to apply for or renew a BN(O) passport specifically for this purpose. All BN(O) citizens will need a visa to be able to settle in the UK.

We understand there will be cases where the children of BN(O) citizens will not normally be eligible because they were born after 1997 (so are not BN(O) citizens) and are over 18 so they would not normally be considered as a dependant in the UK’s immigration system. Therefore, in compelling and compassionate circumstances, and where applications are made as a family unit, we will use discretion to grant a visa to the children of BN(O) citizens who fall into this category and who are still dependent on the BN(O) citizen.

If the above doesn’t apply then the existing youth mobility scheme is open to people in Hong Kong aged between 18-30, with 1000 places currently available each year. Individuals from Hong Kong will also be able to apply to come to the UK under the terms of the UK’s new Points Based System, which will enable individuals to come to the UK in a wider range of professions and at a lower general salary threshold than in the past.

The Home Office looks forward to receiving applications for this visa.

Extradition

The imposition of new National Security Legislation has significantly changed the assumptions underpinning the 1998 Agreement for the Surrender of Fugitive Offenders, our extradition treaty with Hong Kong. The Government remains especially concerned about Articles 55 to 59 of the law, which could give mainland authorities the ability to assume jurisdiction over certain cases and try those cases in Chinese courts.

The National Security Law provides no legal or judicial safeguards in such cases. The decision can be made by the mainland authorities with no reference to the Hong Kong Government. Other than access to a lawyer there are no legal or judicial safeguards in such cases and mainland systems of investigation, trial and punishment, about which the international community has long standing concerns, would apply. If China applies that legislation extraterritorially, it will pose a risk not only to Hong Kong residents who travel abroad, but potentially to British and other Nationals travelling into Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong Department of Justice has therefore been notified of our intention to suspend the extradition treaty, immediately and indefinitely, until the UK is sufficiently assured that the new National Security Agency established by China in Hong Kong will not be able to initiate extradition requests to the UK, that extradition requests will not be sent in relation to newly created offences under the National Security Law; and that people extradited from the UK could never be transferred from Hong Kong to mainland China without the UK's explicit consent.

The suspension will protect those resident in the UK, including those who may soon be here by virtue of the new immigration route, from unwarranted pursuit through the provisions of the Extradition Treaty.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS415
WS
Home Office
Made on: 22 July 2020
Made by: James Brokenshire (The Minister of State for Security)
Commons

UK Anti-Corruption Strategy – Year 2 Update

Today, I am publishing the second annual Update on the UK Anti-Corruption Strategy 2017-2022. The government is committed to providing an annual written update to parliament on progress.

The UK Anti-Corruption Strategy provides a framework to guide Government anti-corruption policies and actions. This update sets out the significant progress that the UK has made on implementing many of the commitments of the Anti-Corruption Strategy during 2019, whilst recognising that a more challenging global environment has led to some areas of more limited progress. Corruption undermines our national security and prosperity. It corrodes trust in our institutions and threatens our borders. Without strong anti-corruption measures it is harder for British businesses to compete in the new and emerging markets we are starting to foster.

The Year 2 Update demonstrates that the Government is determined to deliver on its commitment to combat corruption in order to keep our citizens safe, to help secure a more prosperous society and to strengthen trust in our domestic and international institutions. The unprecedented challenge posed by COVID-19 only heightens the relevance and urgency of this activity. The Government will continue to combat corruption and to promote integrity and transparency at home and overseas, working with international allies and through multilateral institutions to address existing and emerging threats, raise standards and promote collective action.

I have written to the Devolved Administrations as the Update is of direct interest to them.

A copy of the Year 2 Update report will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses and also published on GOV.UK.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS414
WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 22 July 2020
Made by: Dominic Raab (Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Commons

London Croughton Annex

I informed the House on 20 December that I had instructed my officials to discuss with the United States a revision of the immunity arrangements at the Croughton Annex for US personnel and their families, following the road collision of 27 August 2019 in which Harry Dunn was killed. As I set out previously to the House, the status of US staff under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (VCDR) at the Croughton Annex is the subject of special arrangements between the UK and US governments, captured in exchanges of notes dating back to 1995. Those arrangements contained a waiver of immunity from criminal jurisdiction for US staff outside the course of their duties, but no such waiver for their family members.

I am glad to inform the House today that we have concluded those discussions with the US and agreed a revision of the arrangements. I welcome the constructive engagement of our US allies in these discussions.

First and foremost, the US waiver of immunity from criminal jurisdiction is now expressly extended to the family members of US staff at the Croughton Annex, thus ending the anomaly in the previous arrangements and permitting the criminal prosecution of the family members of those staff, should these tragic circumstances ever arise again.

Second, the waiver from criminal jurisdiction now extends also to all Embassy staff serving at the Croughton Annex in respect of acts outside their official duties, not just Administrative and Technical staff.

Third, the revised arrangements contain a further and new waiver in respect of inviolability. The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations not only provides for immunity from jurisdiction, but also provides for the separate privilege of inviolability, including complete protection from arrest and detention. The earlier Croughton arrangements contained no waiver of inviolability. This is addressed in the revised arrangements.

I am therefore pleased to report to the House that we have secured the agreement of the US so that the Croughton arrangements could not in future be used in the same way as in the tragic case of Harry Dunn. These changes took effect by way of an exchange of notes on 20 July.

Separately, we have continued to press the US on the need to improve road safety at RAF Croughton. I welcome the steps taken by the US base commander to extend mandatory requirements for driving training and instruction for all US staff on the base, and the improvement of road signage within the base and vehicles of staff to remind them to drive on the left.

I welcome the action of local authorities to add added extra signage outside the base to remind drivers to drive on the left.

I am pleased to inform the House that my RHF the Secretary of State for Transport has launched a safety review of roads around the 10 US Visiting Forces (USVF) bases in England. This entails working with the Ministry of Defence, Highways England and respective police and local authorities – in the case of Croughton, the Northamptonshire Police and South Northamptonshire Council.

We have the deepest sympathy for Harry Dunn’s family. No family should have to experience what they have gone through and I recognise that these changes will not bring Harry back. However, I hope that the knowledge that the Croughton arrangements have been revised and that a family in their position would now see justice done brings some small measure of comfort.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS413
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