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
Treasury
Made on: 17 October 2019
Made by: The Earl of Courtown (Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

Signature of the Double Taxation Agreement between the United Kingdom and Gibraltar

My honourable friend the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury (Simon Clarke) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

A new Double Taxation Agreement with Gibraltar was mutually accepted in an exchange of letters signed in London on 1 October 2019 and in Gibraltar on 15 October 2019. The texts of the letters will be deposited in the Libraries of both Houses and made available on the GOV.UK website. The texts will be scheduled to a draft Order in Council and laid before the House of Commons in due course.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS19
WS
Ministry of Justice
Made on: 17 October 2019
Made by: Robert Buckland (The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice)
Commons

The Deputy Chair of the Boundary Commission for Wales

I should like to inform the House that I have made the following reappointment under Schedule 1 to the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986:

  • The Honourable Mr Justice Lewis has been re-appointed as Deputy Chair of the Boundary Commission for Wales, effective until 31 December 2019.
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS20
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 17 October 2019
Made by: Robert Jenrick (Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Commons

Housing Update

Two-thirds of social housing tenants would like to buy a home, yet only a quarter believe they will ever be able to do so. That is why I have announced today the government’s intention to reinvigorate the home ownership offer for social housing tenants, by introducing a new Right to Shared Ownership.

This will help reduce the gap between ambition and expectation, and make home ownership attainable and affordable for many more social housing tenants. It is part of the government’s wider commitment to support people and families from all backgrounds to realise their ambition to own their own home.

The Right to Shared Ownership will give housing association tenants the right to purchase a share of the home they rent and to purchase further shares in future when they can afford to do so. Alongside this, the government will also cut the minimum initial ownership stake from 25% to 10% for all shared ownership homes, making the tenure even more accessible for aspiring homeowners who are struggling to raise a deposit.

This will build on the government’s existing proposals to introduce a new national model for shared ownership. This new model will be redesigned to work effectively for aspiring home owners in today’s housing market, for example, by allowing shared owners to buy further shares in smaller increments, cutting the costly fees charged for additional shares and introducing a standardised preferred model to improve mortgage availability. The combined package will make it much easier to buy an initial share and to purchase additional shares in order to build up to full ownership.

The government intends to make the Right to Shared Ownership available to tenants in all new social homes delivered with grant in the future. Future investment will be considered at a future fiscal event.

We will also work with the housing association sector on a voluntary basis to determine what offer can be made to tenants in existing homes, so that the new Right to Shared Ownership is extended as widely as possible. The Right to Shared Ownership will not apply to tenants living in existing local authority homes, who already have the statutory Right to Buy.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS21
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 17 October 2019
Made by: Viscount Younger of Leckie (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Lords

Housing Update

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

Two-thirds of social housing tenants would like to buy a home, yet only a quarter believe they will ever be able to do so. That is why I have announced today the government’s intention to reinvigorate the home ownership offer for social housing tenants, by introducing a new Right to Shared Ownership.

This will help reduce the gap between ambition and expectation, and make home ownership attainable and affordable for many more social housing tenants. It is part of the government’s wider commitment to support people and families from all backgrounds to realise their ambition to own their own home.

The Right to Shared Ownership will give housing association tenants the right to purchase a share of the home they rent and to purchase further shares in future when they can afford to do so. Alongside this, the government will also cut the minimum initial ownership stake from 25% to 10% for all shared ownership homes, making the tenure even more accessible for aspiring homeowners who are struggling to raise a deposit.

This will build on the government’s existing proposals to introduce a new national model for shared ownership. This new model will be redesigned to work effectively for aspiring home owners in today’s housing market, for example, by allowing shared owners to buy further shares in smaller increments, cutting the costly fees charged for additional shares and introducing a standardised preferred model to improve mortgage availability. The combined package will make it much easier to buy an initial share and to purchase additional shares in order to build up to full ownership.

The government intends to make the Right to Shared Ownership available to tenants in all new social homes delivered with grant in the future. Future investment will be considered at a future fiscal event.

We will also work with the housing association sector on a voluntary basis to determine what offer can be made to tenants in existing homes, so that the new Right to Shared Ownership is extended as widely as possible. The Right to Shared Ownership will not apply to tenants living in existing local authority homes, who already have the statutory Right to Buy.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS21
WS
Ministry of Justice
Made on: 17 October 2019
Made by: Lord Keen of Elie (The Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

The Deputy Chair of the Boundary Commission for Wales

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

"I should like to inform the House that I have made the following reappointment under Schedule 1 to the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986:

  • The Honourable Mr Justice Lewis has been re-appointed as Deputy Chair of the Boundary Commission for Wales, effective until 31 December 2019."
This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS22
WS
Home Office
Made on: 17 October 2019
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Modern Slavery: 2019 UK Annual Report on Modern Slavery

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

Today, I am publishing the 2019 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 been taken to combat it over the last year.

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

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS20
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 17 October 2019
Made by: Lord Duncan of Springbank (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Minister for Climate Change)
Lords

Infrastructure Update

My hon friend the Minister for Business and Industry (Nadhim Zahawi) has today made the following statement:

Today I am pleased to designate the National Policy Statement for Geological Disposal Infrastructure, which was laid in parliament on 4 July.

This is an important milestone in finding a solution to manage the UK’s higher activity radioactive waste and this marks the final step in the parliamentary process for the National Policy Statement.

It is important that we who have benefitted from nuclear technology take appropriate steps now to manage the waste created from using that technology. Nuclear technology has provided clean energy to our homes and businesses and will continue to play an important role as we transition to a carbon neutral economy. For a long time, we have also used radioactive materials to treat and diagnose serious illnesses, to deliver research and development and to help deliver industrial processes. Radioactive waste is created from a variety of sources including electricity generation, defence and healthcare, and geological disposal is internationally recognised as the safest and most secure means of permanently managing a proportion of this waste not suitable for other management regimes.

The National Policy Statement for Geological Disposal Infrastructure sets out the need for such disposal infrastructure to safely and securely manage the UK’s higher activity radioactive wastes. The National Policy Statement provides an appropriate and effective framework for the Planning Inspectorate and the Secretary of State for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to examine and make decisions on development consent applications for geological disposal infrastructure in England

In order to support the requirements for the designation of the National Policy Statement for Geological Disposal Infrastructure, I am also publishing the Final Habitats Regulations Assessment Report and the Post Adoption Statement for the Appraisal of Sustainability on the department’s website.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS18
WS
Department for International Development
Made on: 17 October 2019
Made by: Baroness Sugg (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development)
Lords

Aid Update

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

This week marks one year on since the UK Department for International Development hosted the 2018 Safeguarding Summit, Putting People First: tackling sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment in the aid sector.

In early 2018 the aid sector’s failure over many years to prevent and respond to sexual exploitation, abuse and sexual harassment (SEAH) came into sharp relief.

The shocking stories that emerged exposed how aid workers had been allowed to get away with sexual misconduct. Their actions undermined trust in the whole sector and all the positive work that it does.

So from February 2018 DFID set out to work with others to change the way the aid sector tackles SEAH, from root to branch.

The October 2018 summit in London was an important milestone. More than 500 organisations came together to make commitments for change. This included 22 donors - who provide 90% of global ODA. We committed to global standards on prevention and improved processes covering ethical behaviour, robust recruitment and complaints processes.

These were not empty promises. Work is ongoing to put victims and survivors first and drive real culture change across the aid sector. This includes:

  • DFID’s £10 million project with INTERPOL to help stop perpetrators of SEAH moving around the aid sector by strengthening criminal record checks and information sharing between countries. Regional hubs are being set up and priority countries have been identified.
  • The Misconduct Disclosure Scheme, which means employers can share data on conduct and disciplinary records related to sexual misconduct with greater confidence. It is still early days, but the over 1,500 requests for information since January have prevented the hiring of at least 10 individuals.
  • Awarding the contract this month for DFID’s £10 million Resource and Support Hub to provide guidance, support and training to NGOs and others and access to independent investigators for smaller charities.

Today, DFID is publishing three reports showing some of the progress made and the challenges remaining.

The first has updates from each of the eight groups which made commitments at the summit: donors, UK NGOs, private sector suppliers, the United Nations, International Financial Institutions, CDC, research funders, and Gavi and the Global Fund. Initiatives include new tools and guidance for NGOs; mechanisms to collaborate and learn lessons among private sector suppliers; a new reporting tool for United Nations staff; the development of a Good Guidance Note by International Financial Institutions and CDC; an evidence review of safeguarding challenges by research funders; and the rollout of new training by Gavi and the Global Fund.

The second covers how donors are meeting their commitments. This includes the adoption of a new OECD Development Assistance Committee recommendation on ending SEAH in the aid sector; work to align donor SEAH clauses in funding agreements with multilateral agencies; and collective leverage to drive change across the UN. Donors are continuing to strengthen accountability, build more robust systems and drive culture change across the whole international system. The third gives more details about what DFID has done.

We have been clear that any sexual misconduct is totally unacceptable. But we know that sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment in the aid sector still happens far too often.

The international work led by DFID over the last year has generated good momentum and is starting to deliver results. But we must collectively keep working until every individual feels able to speak up and challenge abuses of power wherever they occur.

We must continue to do all we reasonably can to make zero tolerance a reality, by which we mean responding appropriately to every single report or case.

We must prevent SEAH from happening, listen to those affected, respond appropriately when allegations are made, and learn from every single case.

This is just the beginning of a long-term process.

I will build on the work of my predecessors to maintain momentum, to ensure the failings of the past do not happen again and to deliver better results for the people we serve.

If we do not get things right on safeguarding, and ensure the protection of the most vulnerable, then we fail in our ultimate goal to support the world’s poorest and jeopardise all the positive work aid does.

The commitments made at the London summit are having a positive impact. But more is required by every organisation and every programme if we are going to stop sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment in the aid sector. Something which we must achieve.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS17
WS
Home Office
Made on: 17 October 2019
Made by: Priti Patel (The Secretary of State for the Home Department)
Commons

Modern Slavery: 2019 UK Annual Report on Modern Slavery

Today, I am publishing the 2019 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 been taken to combat it over the last year.

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

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS19
WS
Treasury
Made on: 17 October 2019
Made by: Mr Simon Clarke (The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

Signature of the Double Taxation Agreement between the United Kingdom and Gibraltar

A new Double Taxation Agreement with Gibraltar was mutually accepted in an exchange of letters signed in London on 1 October 2019 and in Gibraltar on 15 October 2019. The texts of the letters will be deposited in the Libraries of both Houses and made available on the GOV.UK website. The texts will be scheduled to a draft Order in Council and laid before the House of Commons in due course.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS22
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 17 October 2019
Made by: Nadhim Zahawi (Minister for Business and Industry)
Commons

Infrastructure Update

Today I am pleased to designate the National Policy Statement for Geological Disposal Infrastructure, which was laid in parliament on 4 July.

This is an important milestone in finding a solution to manage the UK’s higher activity radioactive waste and this marks the final step in the parliamentary process for the National Policy Statement.

It is important that we who have benefitted from nuclear technology take appropriate steps now to manage the waste created from using that technology. Nuclear technology has provided clean energy to our homes and businesses and will continue to play an important role as we transition to a carbon neutral economy. For a long time, we have also used radioactive materials to treat and diagnose serious illnesses, to deliver research and development and to help deliver industrial processes. Radioactive waste is created from a variety of sources including electricity generation, defence and healthcare, and geological disposal is internationally recognised as the safest and most secure means of permanently managing a proportion of this waste not suitable for other management regimes.

The National Policy Statement for Geological Disposal Infrastructure sets out the need for such disposal infrastructure to safely and securely manage the UK’s higher activity radioactive wastes. The National Policy Statement provides an appropriate and effective framework for the Planning Inspectorate and the Secretary of State for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to examine and make decisions on development consent applications for geological disposal infrastructure in England

In order to support the requirements for the designation of the National Policy Statement for Geological Disposal Infrastructure, I am also publishing the Final Habitats Regulations Assessment Report and the Post Adoption Statement for the Appraisal of Sustainability on the department’s website.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS18
WS
Department for International Development
Made on: 17 October 2019
Made by: Alok Sharma (Secretary of State for International Development)
Commons

Aid Update

This week marks one year on since the UK Department for International Development hosted the 2018 Safeguarding Summit, Putting People First: tackling sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment in the aid sector.

In early 2018 the aid sector’s failure over many years to prevent and respond to sexual exploitation, abuse and sexual harassment (SEAH) came into sharp relief.

The shocking stories that emerged exposed how aid workers had been allowed to get away with sexual misconduct. Their actions undermined trust in the whole sector and all the positive work that it does.

So from February 2018 DFID set out to work with others to change the way the aid sector tackles SEAH, from root to branch.

The October 2018 summit in London was an important milestone. More than 500 organisations came together to make commitments for change. This included 22 donors - who provide 90% of global ODA. We committed to global standards on prevention and improved processes covering ethical behaviour, robust recruitment and complaints processes.

These were not empty promises. Work is ongoing to put victims and survivors first and drive real culture change across the aid sector. This includes:

  • DFID’s £10 million project with INTERPOL to help stop perpetrators of SEAH moving around the aid sector by strengthening criminal record checks and information sharing between countries. Regional hubs are being set up and priority countries have been identified.
  • The Misconduct Disclosure Scheme, which means employers can share data on conduct and disciplinary records related to sexual misconduct with greater confidence. It is still early days, but the over 1,500 requests for information since January have prevented the hiring of at least 10 individuals.
  • Awarding the contract this month for DFID’s £10 million Resource and Support Hub to provide guidance, support and training to NGOs and others and access to independent investigators for smaller charities.

Today, DFID is publishing three reports showing some of the progress made and the challenges remaining.

The first has updates from each of the eight groups which made commitments at the summit: donors, UK NGOs, private sector suppliers, the United Nations, International Financial Institutions, CDC, research funders, and Gavi and the Global Fund. Initiatives include new tools and guidance for NGOs; mechanisms to collaborate and learn lessons among private sector suppliers; a new reporting tool for United Nations staff; the development of a Good Guidance Note by International Financial Institutions and CDC; an evidence review of safeguarding challenges by research funders; and the rollout of new training by Gavi and the Global Fund.

The second covers how donors are meeting their commitments. This includes the adoption of a new OECD Development Assistance Committee recommendation on ending SEAH in the aid sector; work to align donor SEAH clauses in funding agreements with multilateral agencies; and collective leverage to drive change across the UN. Donors are continuing to strengthen accountability, build more robust systems and drive culture change across the whole international system. The third gives more details about what DFID has done.

We have been clear that any sexual misconduct is totally unacceptable. But we know that sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment in the aid sector still happens far too often.

The international work led by DFID over the last year has generated good momentum and is starting to deliver results. But we must collectively keep working until every individual feels able to speak up and challenge abuses of power wherever they occur.

We must continue to do all we reasonably can to make zero tolerance a reality, by which we mean responding appropriately to every single report or case.

We must prevent SEAH from happening, listen to those affected, respond appropriately when allegations are made, and learn from every single case.

This is just the beginning of a long-term process.

I will build on the work of my predecessors to maintain momentum, to ensure the failings of the past do not happen again and to deliver better results for the people we serve.

If we do not get things right on safeguarding, and ensure the protection of the most vulnerable, then we fail in our ultimate goal to support the world’s poorest and jeopardise all the positive work aid does.

The commitments made at the London summit are having a positive impact. But more is required by every organisation and every programme if we are going to stop sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment in the aid sector. Something which we must achieve.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS17
WS
Ministry of Justice
Made on: 16 October 2019
Made by: Robert Buckland (The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice)
Commons

Justice and Home Affairs post-Council statement

The Justice and Home Affairs Council of the Finnish EU Presidency recently took place in Luxembourg. The JHA Counsellor at the Permanent Representation of the UK to the EU attended Justice Day on 7th October. The UK did not attend Interior Day on 8th October.

The UK Government decided that from 1 September until Brexit day, UK Ministers and officials will only attend EU meetings where the UK has a significant national interest in the outcome of the discussions.

Justice Day began with a discussion on the EU Action against corruption, in the broader context of the debate on rule of law and mutual recognition. All Member States supported the need to take action against corruption. The Presidency concluded that there was support for a new comprehensive EU Strategy or Action Plan. The EU work should bring added value and as such should look first at using its existing tools. Member States also supported the EU becoming a full member of the Group of States against corruption (GRECO), so that the EU Institutions are held to the same standards as GRECO members.

Ministers adopted the supplementary negotiating directives on EU accession to the ECHR. The Commission committed to restarting negotiations as soon as possible, whilst ensuring that the EU would reform its internal rules ahead of agreement with the Council of Europe.

The Council Conclusions on the “EU Charter of Fundamental Rights after 10 Years: a State of Play and future work” were waved through without debate.

During lunch, Ministers discussed the rights of victims of crime, particularly the most vulnerable, including children and victims of domestic and sexual violence. The Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) cited the 2.5 million children across the EU who are involved in criminal proceedings in different forms. The need for a multi-agency approach was noted, with care of victims being about more than the criminal justice system alone. It also entailed medical, social and psychological care. The Presidency concluded that they would consider this issue further at the December Council.

After lunch, the FRA Director presented the ‘Fundamental Rights Challenges in 2020 and Beyond’ paper. Many Member States touched on the importance of the link between rule of law and fundamental rights and the importance of the EU moving forwards on artificial intelligence with a fundamental rights focus.

The Commission then welcomed the progress made following the introduction of the Code of Conduct but called for further work to be done by the next Commission on disinformation and online hate speech.

Ministers also approved the Council Conclusions on Eurojust. Eurojust presented the Counter Terrorism Register which was launched in September. Member States agreed that the register would build upon the spirit of cooperation reached in the 2005 Council Decision to support the work of Eurojust.

The Commission briefed the Council on the latest EU-US senior officials meeting, reiterating the limited mandate due to the ongoing E-Evidence negotiations. The second senior officials meeting would take place in early November to make progress before the EU-US Ministerial on 10th December. Security Commissioner Sir Julian King briefed on the progress made on the Budapest Convention. The Presidency concluded that it would return to the issue in December.

The Commission considered that the appointment of the European Public Prosecutor would give a boost to the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) being set up and reminded participating Member States to nominate their three nominees as to be ready before November 2020.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS16
WS
Ministry of Justice
Made on: 16 October 2019
Made by: Lord Keen of Elie (The Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

Justice and Home Affairs post-Council statement

My right honourable friend the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice (Robert Buckland) has made the following Written Statement:

"The Justice and Home Affairs Council of the Finnish EU Presidency recently took place in Luxembourg. The JHA Counsellor at the Permanent Representation of the UK to the EU attended Justice Day on 7th October. The UK did not attend Interior Day on 8th October.

The UK Government decided that from 1 September until Brexit day, UK Ministers and officials will only attend EU meetings where the UK has a significant national interest in the outcome of the discussions.

Justice Day began with a discussion on the EU Action against corruption, in the broader context of the debate on rule of law and mutual recognition. All Member States supported the need to take action against corruption. The Presidency concluded that there was support for a new comprehensive EU Strategy or Action Plan. The EU work should bring added value and as such should look first at using its existing tools. Member States also supported the EU becoming a full member of the Group of States against corruption (GRECO), so that the EU Institutions are held to the same standards as GRECO members.

Ministers adopted the supplementary negotiating directives on EU accession to the ECHR. The Commission committed to restarting negotiations as soon as possible, whilst ensuring that the EU would reform its internal rules ahead of agreement with the Council of Europe.

The Council Conclusions on the “EU Charter of Fundamental Rights after 10 Years: a State of Play and future work” were waved through without debate.

During lunch, Ministers discussed the rights of victims of crime, particularly the most vulnerable, including children and victims of domestic and sexual violence. The Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) cited the 2.5 million children across the EU who are involved in criminal proceedings in different forms. The need for a multi-agency approach was noted, with care of victims being about more than the criminal justice system alone. It also entailed medical, social and psychological care. The Presidency concluded that they would consider this issue further at the December Council.

After lunch, the FRA Director presented the ‘Fundamental Rights Challenges in 2020 and Beyond’ paper. Many Member States touched on the importance of the link between rule of law and fundamental rights and the importance of the EU moving forwards on artificial intelligence with a fundamental rights focus.

The Commission then welcomed the progress made following the introduction of the Code of Conduct but called for further work to be done by the next Commission on disinformation and online hate speech.

Ministers also approved the Council Conclusions on Eurojust. Eurojust presented the Counter Terrorism Register which was launched in September. Member States agreed that the register would build upon the spirit of cooperation reached in the 2005 Council Decision to support the work of Eurojust.

The Commission briefed the Council on the latest EU-US senior officials meeting, reiterating the limited mandate due to the ongoing E-Evidence negotiations. The second senior officials meeting would take place in early November to make progress before the EU-US Ministerial on 10th December. Security Commissioner Sir Julian King briefed on the progress made on the Budapest Convention. The Presidency concluded that it would return to the issue in December.

The Commission considered that the appointment of the European Public Prosecutor would give a boost to the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) being set up and reminded participating Member States to nominate their three nominees as to be ready before November 2020."

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS16
WS
Cabinet Office
Made on: 16 October 2019
Made by: The Earl of Courtown (Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (Lords Deputy Chief Whip))
Lords

Office for Veterans' Affairs

My Rt Hon. Friend, the Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office (Oliver Dowden) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

I would like to update the House on the work of the new Office for Veterans’ Affairs, which was announced by the Prime Minister in July.

As the Minister attending Cabinet with responsibility for veterans, I have been appointed to oversee the Office with the Minister for Defence People and Veterans.

Veterans have offered to make the ultimate sacrifice in defence of our country, so the Government has a moral duty to them and their loved ones to provide the best possible support after they leave service.

Our ambition is for the UK to be the best place in the world to be a veteran and the Office for Veterans’ Affairs will be a champion for our ex-servicemen and women at the centre of government. It will promote the outstanding contribution veterans are already making to our economy and society and ensure no individual who needs help is left behind after they leave service.

As part of the recent spending round, £5 million of Government funding was secured to staff and resource the new Office.

Colonel (Retired) David Richmond CBE has now been appointed as the Head of the Office for Veterans’ Affairs and has started work in the Cabinet Office this week. David Richmond was the most senior officer injured in combat in Afghanistan and subsequently became the Director of Recovery at Help for Heroes.

One of the Office’s first tasks will be to produce a detailed work programme informed by the responses to the government consultation on the Strategy for our Veterans. David Richmond and his team will be engaging widely with veterans, charities, the Devolved Administrations, local authorities and Parliamentarians so that the work of the Office reflects the needs of veterans and their families, with a particular focus on:

  • Pulling together all functions of Government, and better collaboration with charity sector provision, in order to ensure this Nation’s life-long duty to those who have served

  • Ensuring that every single veteran and their family knows where to turn to access support if required

  • Helping to generate a ‘single view of the veteran’ by making better use of data to understand veterans’ needs and where gaps in provision exist

  • Improving the perception of veterans and showcasing the brilliant contribution they make after leaving service.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS15
WS
Home Office
Made on: 16 October 2019
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Government Response to the SNP Opposition Day Debate - A Fair Immigration System

My hon Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Immigration (Seema Kennedy) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

People from all over the world have come to the UK and helped make this nation what it is today, and this Government welcomes the contribution migrants make to the UK’s economy, society and culture.

Leaving the EU allows us to introduce a new points-based immigration system and we have commissioned the independent Migration Advisory Committee to conduct a review of the Australian immigration system and other international comparators, as the first step in creating our new fairer immigration system.

The new immigration system will be a single system, where it is people’s skills that matter, not where they come from. For example, our new Graduate route will be open to international students who have successfully completed a course of study in any subject at undergraduate level or above at an approved UK Higher Education Provider. It will build on action to help recruit and retain the best and brightest global talent.

But a fair system also means a controlled system. My Right Honourable Friend, the Prime Minister, has confirmed he is not getting into a numbers game in respect of migration, but it is only fair to those who play by the rules and everyone else that those working, living and accessing public services are doing so legally. It is right that the system distinguishes effectively between those with lawful status and those here illegally.

In that respect, we are keen to ensure that the experiences of the Windrush generation are not repeated. One of the key lessons we have learnt is that declaratory systems do not work. The EU Settlement Scheme means that, in years to come, EU citizens will always have the evidence that they need to continue living in the UK as they do now. Simply to grant all EU citizens a status in law, and not require them to obtain evidence of this, would significantly increase the risk of another Windrush.

The EU Settlement Scheme, is a fair, simple and straightforward system for EU citizens to secure their immigration status in UK law. The system is working well, and the latest internal figures show we have received two million applications and are processing up to 20,000 a day.

Settled and pre-settled status reflects the residence rights that EU citizens currently have under EU free movement rules. EU citizens resident in the UK for less than five years can get pre-settled status, which protects their current rights to live, work, receive benefits and access services, qualifying for settled status once five years residence is complete.

Fairness also means ensuring we provide protection to those most in need of it. This Government has great respect for human rights and has evidenced this through a long and proud history of supporting refugees and other vulnerable people. Over 75,000 individuals have been granted some form of protection since 2010.

In 2015 we committed to resettle up to 20,000 refugees affected by the conflict in Syria by 2020 – and we are well over three-quarters of the way there, resettling over 17,000. We have re-affirmed this commitment to resettlement beyond the current commitments by creating a new consolidated global resettlement scheme, resettling in the region of 5,000 refugees in its first year of operation.

Immigration is a reserved matter and this Government believes it is right that it stays that way, but we do recognise the need for some regional variation, which is why Scotland already benefits from a separate Shortage Occupation List.

It is also why, earlier this year, we commissioned the MAC to advise on issues concerning potential future salary thresholds.

This Government believes that a controlled immigration system that serves the best interests of the whole of the UK, that rewards hard work and talent, that is based on a person’s skills and what they have to offer rather than where they come from; and that provides protection to the most vulnerable, is a system that constitutes fairness. That is the system that this Government is working to deliver.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS14
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 16 October 2019
Made by: Viscount Younger of Leckie (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Lords

Domestic Abuse Support

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

My Department has published the government response to the consultation on the Future Delivery of Support for Victims and their Children in Accommodation-Based Domestic Abuse Services.

Through the consultation we heard from victims and survivors, service providers, local authorities and other public agencies, as well as other professionals who support victims including children every day. All responses to the consultation were carefully considered – I am grateful to everyone who took the time to respond, providing vital insight and evidence.

The majority of respondents agreed with the proposals as set out. Government will therefore introduce a statutory duty on local authorities, placing clearer accountability on local areas to ensure the needs of survivors and victims within safe accommodation are met in a consistent way across England. By introducing this statutory duty, we want to ensure all victims of domestic abuse are able to access support within safe accommodation that meets their specific individual needs. All victims, no matter their background, should feel safe and supported as they recover from this terrible crime.

Under this new duty Tier One authorities (County Councils, Metropolitan, and Unitary Authorities, and the Greater London Authority) in England will be required to convene a Local Domestic Abuse Partnership Board to support them in undertaking local needs assessments and developing local strategies. Tier One authorities will also be required to effectively commission services based on a robust needs assessment, and report back to Government demonstrating how they have met the needs identified. The duty will also require Tier Two authorities in two-tier areas (District, City, and Borough Councils) to co-operate with the lead Tier One authority.

To support local authorities, my department will develop statutory guidance which will set out government’s expectations of local authorities in delivering this duty. We will also establish a ministerial-led National Steering Group to monitor and evaluate delivery of support within safe accommodation – working closely with the newly appointed Domestic Abuse Commissioner.

The full response can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/support-for-victims-of-domestic-abuse-in-safe-accommodation

The Domestic Abuse Bill demonstrates the Government’s commitment to supporting all victims of domestic abuse. The Government will now introduce this new statutory duty as an amendment to the Domestic Abuse Bill at the earliest opportunity, to enable proper parliamentary scrutiny.

My officials will continue to work closely with local authorities, national organisations, and specialist domestic abuse service providers to ensure the proposals are effectively delivered on the ground.

I am also pleased to announce ahead of this new duty coming into force in 2021, that we are confirming today a further domestic abuse accommodation services funding round for 2020/21. Councils will be invited to bid for a share of £15 million – a 20% increase on 2019/20 – to ensure essential support services are able to run for those that need them.

A copy of the Government response to the consultation will be placed in the Library of the House.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS10
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Cabinet Office
Made on: 16 October 2019
Made by: Oliver Dowden (Paymaster General and Minister for Cabinet Office)
Commons

Office for Veterans' Affairs

I would like to update the House on the work of the new Office for Veterans’ Affairs, which was announced by the Prime Minister in July.

As the Minister attending Cabinet with responsibility for veterans, I have been appointed to oversee the Office with the Minister for Defence People and Veterans.

Veterans have offered to make the ultimate sacrifice in defence of our country, so the Government has a moral duty to them and their loved ones to provide the best possible support after they leave service.

Our ambition is for the UK to be the best place in the world to be a veteran and the Office for Veterans’ Affairs will be a champion for our ex-servicemen and women at the centre of government. It will promote the outstanding contribution veterans are already making to our economy and society and ensure no individual who needs help is left behind after they leave service.

As part of the recent spending round, £5 million of Government funding was secured to staff and resource the new Office.

Colonel (Retired) David Richmond CBE has now been appointed as the Head of the Office for Veterans’ Affairs and has started work in the Cabinet Office this week. David Richmond was the most senior officer injured in combat in Afghanistan and subsequently became the Director of Recovery at Help for Heroes.

One of the Office’s first tasks will be to produce a detailed work programme informed by the responses to the government consultation on the Strategy for our Veterans. David Richmond and his team will be engaging widely with veterans, charities, the Devolved Administrations, local authorities and Parliamentarians so that the work of the Office reflects the needs of veterans and their families, with a particular focus on:

  • Pulling together all functions of Government, and better collaboration with charity sector provision, in order to ensure this Nation’s life-long duty to those who have served

  • Ensuring that every single veteran and their family knows where to turn to access support if required

  • Helping to generate a ‘single view of the veteran’ by making better use of data to understand veterans’ needs and where gaps in provision exist

  • Improving the perception of veterans and showcasing the brilliant contribution they make after leaving service.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS15
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Home Office
Made on: 16 October 2019
Made by: Seema Kennedy (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Immigration)
Commons

Government Response to the SNP Opposition Day Debate - A Fair Immigration System

People from all over the world have come to the UK and helped make this nation what it is today, and this Government welcomes the contribution migrants make to the UK’s economy, society and culture.

Leaving the EU allows us to introduce a new points-based immigration system and we have commissioned the independent Migration Advisory Committee to conduct a review of the Australian immigration system and other international comparators, as the first step in creating our new fairer immigration system.

The new immigration system will be a single system, where it is people’s skills that matter, not where they come from. For example, our new Graduate route will be open to international students who have successfully completed a course of study in any subject at undergraduate level or above at an approved UK Higher Education Provider. It will build on action to help recruit and retain the best and brightest global talent.

But a fair system also means a controlled system. My Right Honourable Friend, the Prime Minister, has confirmed he is not getting into a numbers game in respect of migration, but it is only fair to those who play by the rules and everyone else that those working, living and accessing public services are doing so legally. It is right that the system distinguishes effectively between those with lawful status and those here illegally.

In that respect, we are keen to ensure that the experiences of the Windrush generation are not repeated. One of the key lessons we have learnt is that declaratory systems do not work. The EU Settlement Scheme means that, in years to come, EU citizens will always have the evidence that they need to continue living in the UK as they do now. Simply to grant all EU citizens a status in law, and not require them to obtain evidence of this, would significantly increase the risk of another Windrush.

The EU Settlement Scheme, is a fair, simple and straightforward system for EU citizens to secure their immigration status in UK law. The system is working well, and the latest internal figures show we have received two million applications and are processing up to 20,000 a day.

Settled and pre-settled status reflects the residence rights that EU citizens currently have under EU free movement rules. EU citizens resident in the UK for less than five years can get pre-settled status, which protects their current rights to live, work, receive benefits and access services, qualifying for settled status once five years residence is complete.

Fairness also means ensuring we provide protection to those most in need of it. This Government has great respect for human rights and has evidenced this through a long and proud history of supporting refugees and other vulnerable people. Over 75,000 individuals have been granted some form of protection since 2010.

In 2015 we committed to resettle up to 20,000 refugees affected by the conflict in Syria by 2020 – and we are well over three-quarters of the way there, resettling over 17,000. We have re-affirmed this commitment to resettlement beyond the current commitments by creating a new consolidated global resettlement scheme, resettling in the region of 5,000 refugees in its first year of operation.

Immigration is a reserved matter and this Government believes it is right that it stays that way, but we do recognise the need for some regional variation, which is why Scotland already benefits from a separate Shortage Occupation List.

It is also why, earlier this year, we commissioned the MAC to advise on issues concerning potential future salary thresholds.

This Government believes that a controlled immigration system that serves the best interests of the whole of the UK, that rewards hard work and talent, that is based on a person’s skills and what they have to offer rather than where they come from; and that provides protection to the most vulnerable, is a system that constitutes fairness. That is the system that this Government is working to deliver.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS14
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Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Made on: 16 October 2019
Made by: Baroness Barran (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
Lords

ONLINE HARMS

My Rt Hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (Nicky Morgan) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:



Protecting children is at the heart of our online harms agenda, and is key to wider government priorities. Going online can be beneficial for children, who use the internet for connecting with peers, to access educational resources and for entertainment. However, the government is concerned about the prevalence of adult content online, which is easily accessible to children, and believes it is vital that children are protected from accessing inappropriate, harmful content.

The government published the Online Harms White Paper in April this year. It proposed the establishment of a duty of care on companies to improve online safety, overseen by an independent regulator with strong enforcement powers to deal with non-compliance. Since the White Paper’s publication, the government’s proposals have continued to develop at pace. The government announced as part of the Queen’s Speech that we will publish draft legislation for pre-legislative scrutiny. It is important that our policy aims and our overall policy on protecting children from online harms are developed coherently in view of these developments with the aim of bringing forward the most comprehensive approach possible to protecting children.

The government has concluded that this objective of coherence will be best achieved through our wider online harms proposals and, as a consequence, will not be commencing Part 3 of the Digital Economy Act 2017 concerning age verification for online pornography. The Digital Economy Act objectives will therefore be delivered through our proposed online harms regulatory regime. This course of action will give the regulator discretion on the most effective means for companies to meet their duty of care. As currently drafted, the Digital Economy Act does not cover social media platforms.

The government’s commitment to protecting children online is unwavering. Adult content is too easily accessed online and more needs to be done to protect children from harm. We want to deliver the most comprehensive approach to keeping children safe online and recognised in the Online Harms White Paper the role that technology can play in keeping all users, particularly children, safe. We are committed to the UK becoming a world-leader in the development of online safety technology and to ensure companies of all sizes have access to, and adopt, innovative solutions to improve the safety of their users. This includes age verification tools and we expect them to continue to play a key role in protecting children online.


We will continue to engage with members of Parliament on the provisions of the online harms regime to ensure the most comprehensive online harms proposals which deliver on the objectives of the Digital Economy Act.

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