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 Work and Pensions
Made on: 27 April 2020
Made by: Baroness Stedman-Scott (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions)
Lords

Pensions: Response to COVID-19

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

I am writing to inform the House of the steps this Government is taking to support pension savers, pension schemes, trustees, employers and existing pensioners during the Coronavirus pandemic.

General Pensions Levy

On 31 March 2020, the Government revoked the planned increase in the general pensions levy on occupational and personal pension schemes that was due to take effect on 1 April 2020. The levy recovers funding provided by the DWP in respect of the core activities of The Pensions Ombudsman, and part of the activities of The Pensions Regulator and the Money and Pensions Service. These measures will result in an estimated £4.9m of savings for the private pensions sector.

We will now be focused on reviewing the structure of the levy and engaging with industry, at the appropriate time, on the best way forward on levy funding.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Key to supporting both businesses and pension savers is the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) which offer an unprecedented package of support for businesses. This scheme has been designed to be as straightforward as possible, ensuring it aligns with and works for most business practices.

Under this scheme, the grants available to employers will support business by covering up to 80 per cent of a furloughed worker’s regular salary, capped at £2,500 per month. Additionally, these grants will also cover employer pension contributions into registered pension schemes on behalf of furloughed employees for any workplace pension scheme. Employers can claim up to the minimum employer pension contribution of 3 per cent of qualifying earnings required under employers’ automatic enrolment duties, even if it’s not an automatic enrolment pension scheme.

By easing the burden of workplace pensions for employers with furloughed staff we are helping them better manage costs during the crisis whilst supporting long-term saving for the future. The measures recognise the importance of protecting the hard won improvements in retirement provision for millions of savers achieved through automatic enrolment.

The CJRS went live on 20th April and claims can be backdated to 1st March where workers have already been furloughed. Information on the scheme can be found here:

https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/faqs/

To help support employers, the Pensions Regulator has detailed guidance on its website here:

https://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/en/covid-19-coronavirus-what-you-need-to-consider/automatic-enrolment-and-pension-contributions-covid-19-guidance-for-employers.

We are continuing to work closely with the pensions industry to explain the detail of the CJRS scheme and to help providers take a pragmatic approach to disruptions to workplace pensions experienced by their clients.

Defined Benefit Schemes

The Government also recognises that these are challenging times for Defined Benefit pension schemes. The current scheme funding regime, overseen by the Pensions Regulator, is sufficiently flexible to cope with the current situation and the Regulator’s guidance published on 27 March sets out specific easements to its regulatory regime in recognition of the difficulties that some schemes and sponsors may have in the context of the current emergency. This can be found at:

https://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/en/covid-19-coronavirus-what-you-need-to-consider/db-scheme-funding-covid-19-guidance-for-employers

The best possible protection for members of Defined Benefit schemes is a strong profitable employer, and with the existing flexibilities and easements there is no reason why a pension scheme should push an otherwise viable employer into insolvency.

In the event where a sponsoring employer does become insolvent, and the scheme is not well enough funded to secure full benefits, the Pension Protection Fund, which is well equipped to weather market turbulence, will pay members compensation.

The Pensions Regulator has already set out its expectations of trustees of both Defined Benefit and Defined Contribution pension schemes and for employers and administrators, including the key risks they should focus on. The Regulator has confirmed that it will take a proportionate and risk-based approach towards compliance and enforcement decisions during these challenging times, with the aim of supporting employers, providers and savers.

Pension Scams and Transfers

The Government is committed to protecting savers during these unprecedented times and we are working with regulators to identify additional ways to support and safeguard individuals. At present, there is no robust evidence to suggest that savers are making hasty decisions to transfer pension funds or are being targeted by fraudsters. However, we are continuing to work closely with The Pensions Regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the Money and Pensions Advisory Service (MaPS) and pension providers to identify any new trends or issues and will take proportionate action if required.

In addition, we have supported the collaborative approach the Pensions Regulator, the FCA and MaPS have taken, communicating to savers to use MaPS, Pensions Wise or the Pensions Advisory Service channels for guidance before making decisions about retirement to protect people against scams. Furthermore, MaPS has produced information and guides to support individuals in making decisions about their money, debt and pensions at this challenging time. This includes reiterating that where appropriate Pension Wise guidance sessions can help an individual to understand their options fully. This can be found at :https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/coronavirus-what-it-means-for-you

Access to State Pension and benefits for people asked to shield themselves

There are approximately 900,000 users of the Post Office Card Account (POca) system for accessing their pensions or benefits. These POca customers ordinarily need to leave the house to access payments at the Post Office. The Department has worked closely with the National Shielding Service which is contacting clinically vulnerable citizens who have been advised by NHS England to shield as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

We launched a new service on 10th April through which we have contacted 27,000 citizens who have POca accounts and we considered who may need support to access their Benefit or State Pension payment.

The Department has worked tirelessly to identify those older, vulnerable customers who urgently require help to access their payments. For those needing help, DWP Visiting Officers are able to discuss a number of options available to customers over the phone and we have worked closely with Post Office Ltd to provide contact free cash payments by Royal Mail Special Delivery to support the most vulnerable, with guaranteed next day delivery. This cash service adds to a range of measures we are using to support these individuals shielding at home.

State Pension

In November 2019 the Government announced measures to increase most state pension rates by 3.9% in line with the annual growth in earnings, at the same time as announcing an end to the benefit freeze.

This meant that on 6 April 2020 the full rate of the basic State Pension increased from £129.20 to £134.25 per week and the full rate of the new State Pension increased from £168.60 to £175.20 per week - with working age benefits uprated by inflation. This was the largest increase in state pension in eight years.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS200
WS
Department for Education
Made on: 27 April 2020
Made by: Baroness Berridge (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System)
Lords

Arrangements for awarding qualifications this summer

My right honourable friend the Minister of State for School Standards (Nick Gibb) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I would like to update the House on arrangements for awarding qualifications in England this summer following the Secretary of State’s previous Written Ministerial Statement (HCWS176) made on 23 March.

In the Secretary of State’s previous statement, he said that the independent qualifications regulator, Ofqual, would develop and set out a process for GCSEs, AS levels and A levels that would provide a calculated grade to each student which reflects their performance as fairly as possible, and work with the exam boards to ensure this was consistently applied for all students.

On 3 April, Ofqual set out details on how GCSEs, AS and A levels will be awarded this summer. The information can be found on Gov.uk.

Ofqual has also launched a consultation on aspects of the new system for grading these qualifications, with a deadline for response of 29 April. The consultation is available on Gov.uk.

I can confirm that AS and A level results will be published on 13 August and GCSE results on 20 August, as originally planned.

Releasing results on the planned dates will enable students to progress to higher or further education and allow students time to decide whether they wish to sit exams in the autumn term, and to prepare for those exams if necessary.

I can also confirm that we are continuing to work at pace with Ofqual to determine the approaches to assessment and awarding of vocational and technical qualifications, as well as other general qualifications which are not GCSEs, AS levels or A levels. On 9 April, Ofqual set out its approach for the assessment and awarding of these qualifications. Qualifications which are used for progression to further and higher education should, as far as possible, be treated in the same way as GCSEs, AS and A levels, with students receiving a calculated result. Calculated results will draw appropriately on a range of evidence, depending on the structure of the qualification. It will not be appropriate to issue calculated results for all vocational and technical qualifications, such as those used to signal occupational competence. These qualifications should, wherever possible, receive adapted assessments. The information can be found on Gov.uk.

On 24 April, Ofqual also launched a consultation on implementation of these measures. The consultation closes on 8 May. It can be found on Gov.uk.

The aim is to ensure that results for vocational and technical qualifications and other general qualifications that are used for progression to further or higher education are made available at the same time as GCSEs, AS and A levels.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS199
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 27 April 2020
Made by: Lord Callanan (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Minister for Climate Change and Corporate Responsibility )
Lords

Departmental Contingent Liability Notification (Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme)

My Right Honourable friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Alok Sharma) has today made the following statement:

I am tabling this statement for the benefit of Honourable and Right Honourable Members to bring to their attention the details of the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

Like the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme will be facilitated by the Government-owned British Business Bank and delivered through its delivery partners. Lenders will offer loans of between £30,000 and £50 million to support viable businesses with a turnover of £45 million and above that are affected by the coronavirus outbreak. There will be no limit on the number and aggregate value of loans that can be made under the scheme.

The scheme is available on a temporary basis from 20 April for an initial six months, and can be extended as required. The key parameters of the scheme are as follows:

  • the percentage of the remaining balance of each loan that is guaranteed by the Government will be 80 per cent;

  • there will be no portfolio cap for the lender, enabling lenders to benefit from capital relief to help lenders to price loans competitively;

  • a personal guarantee approach that mirrors the existing CBILS programme (no personal guarantees permitted on loans below £250,000, and personal guarantees up to a maximum of 20 per cent of losses post-business recovery);

  • interest charged at commercial rates (but lenders are expected to ‘pass through’ benefit of the guarantee);

  • businesses with turnover of up to £250m can access a maximum debt facility of £25m, those with higher turnovers can access facilities of up to £50m; and

  • facilities will be available with a maximum term of three years.

The new scheme was launched on 20 April. The Government will be subject to a new statutory contingent liability, and I will be laying a Departmental Minute today containing a description of the liability undertaken.

For more information on this and other support for business, please go to https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/

WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 27 April 2020
Made by: Lord Callanan (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Climate Change and Corporate Responsibility))
Lords

Contingencies Fund Advance

My Honourable friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Business and Industry) Nadhim Zahawi has today made the following statement:

I hereby give notice of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy having drawn advances from the contingencies fund totalling £12,409,000,000 to enable expenditure on Covid-19 support packages for business to be spent ahead of the passage of the Supply and Appropriation Act. The schemes are:

Small Business Grant Scheme

Grant scheme for retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors.

Small Business Grant Scheme

Grant scheme for retail, hospitality, leisure sectors

Total £m

RDEL

7,330

5,079

12,409

The funding is urgently required to support businesses during the Coronavirus pandemic, and to enable local authorities to administer the scheme.

Parliamentary approval for additional resources of £12,409,000,000 will be sought in a Main Estimate for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Pending that approval, urgent expenditure estimated at £12,409,000,000 has been met by repayable cash advances from the Contingencies Fund.

The cash advances will be repaid upon receiving Royal Assent on the Supply and Appropriation Bill.

WS
Treasury
Made on: 27 April 2020
Made by: Jesse Norman (The Financial Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

Contingencies Fund Advance

HM Revenue and Customs will incur new expenditure in connection with the government’s response to the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic in 2020-21.

Parliamentary approval for additional resources of £42,000,000,000 for this new expenditure will be sought in the Main Estimate 2020-21 for HM Revenue and Customs. Pending that approval, urgent expenditure estimated at £42,000,000,000 will be met by repayable cash advances from the Contingencies Fund.

WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 27 April 2020
Made by: Guy Opperman (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Pensions & Financial Inclusion.)
Commons

Pensions: Response to COVID-19

I am writing to inform the House of the steps this Government is taking to support pension savers, pension schemes, trustees, employers and existing pensioners during the Coronavirus pandemic.

General Pensions Levy

On 31 March 2020, the Government revoked the planned increase in the general pensions levy on occupational and personal pension schemes that was due to take effect on 1 April 2020. The levy recovers funding provided by the DWP in respect of the core activities of The Pensions Ombudsman, and part of the activities of The Pensions Regulator and the Money and Pensions Service. These measures will result in an estimated £4.9m of savings for the private pensions sector.

We will now be focused on reviewing the structure of the levy and engaging with industry, at the appropriate time, on the best way forward on levy funding.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Key to supporting both businesses and pension savers is the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) which offer an unprecedented package of support for businesses. This scheme has been designed to be as straightforward as possible, ensuring it aligns with and works for most business practices.

Under this scheme, the grants available to employers will support business by covering up to 80 per cent of a furloughed worker’s regular salary, capped at £2,500 per month. Additionally, these grants will also cover employer pension contributions into registered pension schemes on behalf of furloughed employees for any workplace pension scheme. Employers can claim up to the minimum employer pension contribution of 3 per cent of qualifying earnings required under employers’ automatic enrolment duties, even if it’s not an automatic enrolment pension scheme.

By easing the burden of workplace pensions for employers with furloughed staff we are helping them better manage costs during the crisis whilst supporting long-term saving for the future. The measures recognise the importance of protecting the hard won improvements in retirement provision for millions of savers achieved through automatic enrolment.

The CJRS went live on 20th April and claims can be backdated to 1st March where workers have already been furloughed. Information on the scheme can be found here:

https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/faqs/

To help support employers, the Pensions Regulator has detailed guidance on its website here:

https://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/en/covid-19-coronavirus-what-you-need-to-consider/automatic-enrolment-and-pension-contributions-covid-19-guidance-for-employers.

We are continuing to work closely with the pensions industry to explain the detail of the CJRS scheme and to help providers take a pragmatic approach to disruptions to workplace pensions experienced by their clients.

Defined Benefit Schemes

The Government also recognises that these are challenging times for Defined Benefit pension schemes. The current scheme funding regime, overseen by the Pensions Regulator, is sufficiently flexible to cope with the current situation and the Regulator’s guidance published on 27 March sets out specific easements to its regulatory regime in recognition of the difficulties that some schemes and sponsors may have in the context of the current emergency. This can be found at:

https://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/en/covid-19-coronavirus-what-you-need-to-consider/db-scheme-funding-covid-19-guidance-for-employers

The best possible protection for members of Defined Benefit schemes is a strong profitable employer, and with the existing flexibilities and easements there is no reason why a pension scheme should push an otherwise viable employer into insolvency.

In the event where a sponsoring employer does become insolvent, and the scheme is not well enough funded to secure full benefits, the Pension Protection Fund, which is well equipped to weather market turbulence, will pay members compensation.

The Pensions Regulator has already set out its expectations of trustees of both Defined Benefit and Defined Contribution pension schemes and for employers and administrators, including the key risks they should focus on. The Regulator has confirmed that it will take a proportionate and risk-based approach towards compliance and enforcement decisions during these challenging times, with the aim of supporting employers, providers and savers.

Pension Scams and Transfers

The Government is committed to protecting savers during these unprecedented times and we are working with regulators to identify additional ways to support and safeguard individuals. At present, there is no robust evidence to suggest that savers are making hasty decisions to transfer pension funds or are being targeted by fraudsters. However, we are continuing to work closely with The Pensions Regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the Money and Pensions Advisory Service (MaPS) and pension providers to identify any new trends or issues and will take proportionate action if required.

In addition, we have supported the collaborative approach the Pensions Regulator, the FCA and MaPS have taken, communicating to savers to use MaPS, Pensions Wise or the Pensions Advisory Service channels for guidance before making decisions about retirement to protect people against scams. Furthermore, MaPS has produced information and guides to support individuals in making decisions about their money, debt and pensions at this challenging time. This includes reiterating that where appropriate Pension Wise guidance sessions can help an individual to understand their options fully. This can be found at :https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/coronavirus-what-it-means-for-you

Access to State Pension and benefits for people asked to shield themselves

There are approximately 900,000 users of the Post Office Card Account (POca) system for accessing their pensions or benefits. These POca customers ordinarily need to leave the house to access payments at the Post Office. The Department has worked closely with the National Shielding Service which is contacting clinically vulnerable citizens who have been advised by NHS England to shield as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.

We launched a new service on 10th April through which we have contacted 27,000 citizens who have POca accounts and we considered who may need support to access their Benefit or State Pension payment.

The Department has worked tirelessly to identify those older, vulnerable customers who urgently require help to access their payments. For those needing help, DWP Visiting Officers are able to discuss a number of options available to customers over the phone and we have worked closely with Post Office Ltd to provide contact free cash payments by Royal Mail Special Delivery to support the most vulnerable, with guaranteed next day delivery. This cash service adds to a range of measures we are using to support these individuals shielding at home.

State Pension

In November 2019 the Government announced measures to increase most state pension rates by 3.9% in line with the annual growth in earnings, at the same time as announcing an end to the benefit freeze.

This meant that on 6 April 2020 the full rate of the basic State Pension increased from £129.20 to £134.25 per week and the full rate of the new State Pension increased from £168.60 to £175.20 per week - with working age benefits uprated by inflation. This was the largest increase in state pension in eight years.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS197
WS
Department for Education
Made on: 27 April 2020
Made by: Nick Gibb (The Minister of State for School Standards)
Commons

Arrangements for awarding qualifications this summer

I would like to update the House on arrangements for awarding qualifications in England this summer following the Secretary of State’s previous Written Ministerial Statement (HCWS176) made on 23 March.

In the Secretary of State’s previous statement, he said that the independent qualifications regulator, Ofqual, would develop and set out a process for GCSEs, AS levels and A levels that would provide a calculated grade to each student which reflects their performance as fairly as possible, and work with the exam boards to ensure this was consistently applied for all students.

On 3 April, Ofqual set out details on how GCSEs, AS and A levels will be awarded this summer. The information can be found on Gov.uk.

Ofqual has also launched a consultation on aspects of the new system for grading these qualifications, with a deadline for response of 29 April. The consultation is available on Gov.uk.

I can confirm that AS and A level results will be published on 13 August and GCSE results on 20 August, as originally planned.

Releasing results on the planned dates will enable students to progress to higher or further education and allow students time to decide whether they wish to sit exams in the autumn term, and to prepare for those exams if necessary.

I can also confirm that we are continuing to work at pace with Ofqual to determine the approaches to assessment and awarding of vocational and technical qualifications, as well as other general qualifications which are not GCSEs, AS levels or A levels. On 9 April, Ofqual set out its approach for the assessment and awarding of these qualifications. Qualifications which are used for progression to further and higher education should, as far as possible, be treated in the same way as GCSEs, AS and A levels, with students receiving a calculated result. Calculated results will draw appropriately on a range of evidence, depending on the structure of the qualification. It will not be appropriate to issue calculated results for all vocational and technical qualifications, such as those used to signal occupational competence. These qualifications should, wherever possible, receive adapted assessments. The information can be found on Gov.uk.

On 24 April, Ofqual also launched a consultation on implementation of these measures. The consultation closes on 8 May. It can be found on Gov.uk.

The aim is to ensure that results for vocational and technical qualifications and other general qualifications that are used for progression to further or higher education are made available at the same time as GCSEs, AS and A levels.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS196
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 27 April 2020
Made by: Alok Sharma (Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
Commons

Departmental Contingent Liability Notification (Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme)

I am tabling this statement for the benefit of Honourable and Right Honourable Members to bring to their attention the details of the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

Like the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme will be facilitated by the Government-owned British Business Bank and delivered through its delivery partners. Lenders will offer loans of between £30,000 and £50 million to support viable businesses with a turnover of £45 million and above that are affected by the coronavirus outbreak. There will be no limit on the number and aggregate value of loans that can be made under the scheme.

The scheme is available on a temporary basis from 20 April for an initial six months, and can be extended as required. The key parameters of the scheme are as follows:

  • the percentage of the remaining balance of each loan that is guaranteed by the Government will be 80 per cent;

  • there will be no portfolio cap for the lender, enabling lenders to benefit from capital relief to help lenders to price loans competitively;

  • a personal guarantee approach that mirrors the existing CBILS programme (no personal guarantees permitted on loans below £250,000, and personal guarantees up to a maximum of 20 per cent of losses post-business recovery);

  • interest charged at commercial rates (but lenders are expected to ‘pass through’ benefit of the guarantee);

  • businesses with turnover of up to £250m can access a maximum debt facility of £25m, those with higher turnovers can access facilities of up to £50m; and

  • facilities will be available with a maximum term of three years.

The new scheme was launched on 20 April. The Government will be subject to a new statutory contingent liability, and I will be laying a Departmental Minute today containing a description of the liability undertaken.

For more information on this and other support for business, please go to https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/

WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 27 April 2020
Made by: Nadhim Zahawi (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Business and Industry))
Commons

Contingencies Fund Advance

I hereby give notice of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy having drawn advances from the contingencies fund totalling £12,409,000,000 to enable expenditure on Covid-19 support packages for business to be spent ahead of the passage of the Supply and Appropriation Act. The schemes are:

Small Business Grant Scheme

Grant scheme for retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors.

Small Business Grant Scheme

Grant scheme for retail, hospitality, leisure sectors

Total £m

RDEL

7,330

5,079

12,409

The funding is urgently required to support businesses during the Coronavirus pandemic, and to enable local authorities to administer the scheme.

Parliamentary approval for additional resources of £12,409,000,000 will be sought in a Main Estimate for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Pending that approval, urgent expenditure estimated at £12,409,000,000 has been met by repayable cash advances from the Contingencies Fund.

The cash advances will be repaid upon receiving Royal Assent on the Supply and Appropriation Bill.

WS
Treasury
Made on: 22 April 2020
Made by: Lord Agnew of Oulton (Minister of State)
Lords

Temporary changes to pensions tax in the context of abatement for returning workers

My honourable friend the Economic Secretary to the Treasury (John Glen) has today made the following written ministerial statement.

At this time, it is important that key public sector workforces can bring back workers with relevant and valuable experience to ensure that the government can continue to provide critical public services. I am working with colleagues across government to ensure we remove any potential barriers to those who wish to return to work to help in our fight against Covid-19.

For public sector workers returning to support the government’s response to Covid-19 the government intends to temporarily suspend tax rules that would otherwise apply significant tax charges to pension income received by recently retired individuals aged between 50 and 55. This change, taken alongside complementary changes to rules for relevant public service pension schemes (subject to relevant HM Treasury agreement), will help ensure individuals’ pension income will remain protected if they return to work at this important time.

The measure is designed to ensure that we can continue to provide important public services at this time. As these proposed tax changes form part of our response to Covid-19, they will initially apply in respect of payments made in the period from 1 March to 1 June 2020.

HMRC will set out operational guidance in due course, but this measure will only apply to people returning to roles as a result of Covid-19. I am working with colleagues to identify relevant workforces who should benefit from these changes.

The government’s actions will provide relevant public sector staff associations with the assurance that their members with pensions in payment and pension benefits will be unaffected if they wish to play their part in our response to this virus.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS196
WS
Home Office
Made on: 22 April 2020
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Right to Rent Scheme

My hon Friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Immigration Compliance and the Courts (Chris Philp) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

We welcome the Court of Appeal ruling that the Right to Rent Scheme is lawful and does not breach human rights law.

The Right to Rent Scheme was launched to ensure only those lawfully in the country can access the private rental sector, and to tackle unscrupulous landlords who exploit vulnerable migrants, sometimes in very poor conditions.

In 2016, a requirement was introduced for landlords and lettings agents in England to take reasonable steps to check they are renting only to someone who has a right to do so. This is to help make sure our immigration laws are respected. It is only fair to the many people who come to the UK legally and to British citizens that accommodation is not taken by people who are here illegally.

Right to Rent checks are straightforward and apply equally to everyone seeking accommodation in the private rental sector, including British citizens, and there are penalties for landlords who fail to complete the checks and who are later found to have rented to someone without a right to be in the UK. We have adapted the checks to make it easier for landlords to carry them out during the coronavirus outbreak. Prospective renters are now able to submit scanned documents, rather than originals, to show they have a right to rent.

We have always been absolutely clear that discriminatory treatment on the part of anyone carrying out these checks is unlawful. Furthermore, the Right to Rent legislation provides for Codes of Practice which sets out what landlords are expected to do and how they can avoid unlawful discrimination.

We are therefore pleased that the Court of Appeal has overturned the High Court’s ruling and found that the Scheme has a legitimate policy purpose and is compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

As the Court noted, it is in the public interest that a coherent immigration policy should not only set out the criteria on which leave to remain is granted, but also discourage unlawful entry or the continued presence of those who have no right to enter or be here.

The Right to Rent Scheme forms an important part of our immigration policy. However, as my Rt hon Friend, the Home Secretary said in this House, we are carefully reviewing and reflecting on the recommendations in the Lessons Learned Review report, including those relating to the compliant environment. We will bring forward a detailed formal response in the next six months, as Wendy Williams recommended.

In the meantime, the provisions passed by this House in 2014 remain in force and a full evaluation of the Right to Rent Scheme is underway. The evaluation includes a call to evidence to tenants, landlords and letting agents; a large mystery shopping exercise; and surveys of landlords. Members of the Right to Rent consultative panel provided input into the design of the evaluation.

The Government is committed to tackling discrimination in all its forms and to having an immigration system which provides control, but which is also fair, humane and fully compliant with the law. The Court of Appeal has found that the Right to Rent Scheme is capable of being operated in a lawful way by landlords in all individual cases. We will continue to work with landlords and lettings agents to ensure that is the case.

WS
Treasury
Made on: 22 April 2020
Made by: John Glen (The Economic Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

Temporary changes to pensions tax in the context of abatement for returning workers

At this time, it is important that key public sector workforces can bring back workers with relevant and valuable experience to ensure that the government can continue to provide critical public services. I am working with colleagues across government to ensure we remove any potential barriers to those who wish to return to work to help in our fight against Covid-19.

For public sector workers returning to support the government’s response to Covid-19 the government intends to temporarily suspend tax rules that would otherwise apply significant tax charges to pension income received by recently retired individuals aged between 50 and 55. This change, taken alongside complementary changes to rules for relevant public service pension schemes (subject to relevant HM Treasury agreement), will help ensure individuals’ pension income will remain protected if they return to work at this important time.

The measure is designed to ensure that we can continue to provide important public services at this time. As these proposed tax changes form part of our response to Covid-19, they will initially apply in respect of payments made in the period from 1 March to 1 June 2020.

HMRC will set out operational guidance in due course, but this measure will only apply to people returning to roles as a result of Covid-19. I am working with colleagues to identify relevant workforces who should benefit from these changes.

The government’s actions will provide relevant public sector staff associations with the assurance that their members with pensions in payment and pension benefits will be unaffected if they wish to play their part in our response to this virus.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS193
WS
Home Office
Made on: 22 April 2020
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Right to Rent Scheme

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

We welcome the Court of Appeal ruling that the Right to Rent Scheme is lawful and does not breach human rights law.

The Right to Rent Scheme was launched to ensure only those lawfully in the country can access the private rental sector, and to tackle unscrupulous landlords who exploit vulnerable migrants, sometimes in very poor conditions.

In 2016, a requirement was introduced for landlords and lettings agents in England to take reasonable steps to check they are renting only to someone who has a right to do so. This is to help make sure our immigration laws are respected. It is only fair to the many people who come to the UK legally and to British citizens that accommodation is not taken by people who are here illegally.

Right to Rent checks are straightforward and apply equally to everyone seeking accommodation in the private rental sector, including British citizens, and there are penalties for landlords who fail to complete the checks and who are later found to have rented to someone without a right to be in the UK. We have adapted the checks to make it easier for landlords to carry them out during the coronavirus outbreak. Prospective renters are now able to submit scanned documents, rather than originals, to show they have a right to rent.

We have always been absolutely clear that discriminatory treatment on the part of anyone carrying out these checks is unlawful. Furthermore, the Right to Rent legislation provides for Codes of Practice which sets out what landlords are expected to do and how they can avoid unlawful discrimination.

We are therefore pleased that the Court of Appeal has overturned the High Court’s ruling and found that the Scheme has a legitimate policy purpose and is compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

As the Court noted, it is in the public interest that a coherent immigration policy should not only set out the criteria on which leave to remain is granted, but also discourage unlawful entry or the continued presence of those who have no right to enter or be here.

The Right to Rent Scheme forms an important part of our immigration policy. However, as my Rt hon Friend, the Home Secretary said in this House, we are carefully reviewing and reflecting on the recommendations in the Lessons Learned Review report, including those relating to the compliant environment. We will bring forward a detailed formal response in the next six months, as Wendy Williams recommended.

In the meantime, the provisions passed by this House in 2014 remain in force and a full evaluation of the Right to Rent Scheme is underway. The evaluation includes a call to evidence to tenants, landlords and letting agents; a large mystery shopping exercise; and surveys of landlords. Members of the Right to Rent consultative panel provided input into the design of the evaluation.

The Government is committed to tackling discrimination in all its forms and to having an immigration system which provides control, but which is also fair, humane and fully compliant with the law. The Court of Appeal has found that the Right to Rent Scheme is capable of being operated in a lawful way by landlords in all individual cases. We will continue to work with landlords and lettings agents to ensure that is the case.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS195
WS
Home Office
Made on: 22 April 2020
Made by: Chris Philp (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Immigration Compliance and the Courts)
Commons

Right to Rent Scheme

We welcome the Court of Appeal ruling that the Right to Rent Scheme is lawful and does not breach human rights law.

The Right to Rent Scheme was launched to ensure only those lawfully in the country can access the private rental sector, and to tackle unscrupulous landlords who exploit vulnerable migrants, sometimes in very poor conditions.

In 2016, a requirement was introduced for landlords and lettings agents in England to take reasonable steps to check they are renting only to someone who has a right to do so. This is to help make sure our immigration laws are respected. It is only fair to the many people who come to the UK legally and to British citizens that accommodation is not taken by people who are here illegally.

Right to Rent checks are straightforward and apply equally to everyone seeking accommodation in the private rental sector, including British citizens, and there are penalties for landlords who fail to complete the checks and who are later found to have rented to someone without a right to be in the UK. We have adapted the checks to make it easier for landlords to carry them out during the coronavirus outbreak. Prospective renters are now able to submit scanned documents, rather than originals, to show they have a right to rent.

We have always been absolutely clear that discriminatory treatment on the part of anyone carrying out these checks is unlawful. Furthermore, the Right to Rent legislation provides for Codes of Practice which sets out what landlords are expected to do and how they can avoid unlawful discrimination.

We are therefore pleased that the Court of Appeal has overturned the High Court’s ruling and found that the Scheme has a legitimate policy purpose and is compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

As the Court noted, it is in the public interest that a coherent immigration policy should not only set out the criteria on which leave to remain is granted, but also discourage unlawful entry or the continued presence of those who have no right to enter or be here.

The Right to Rent Scheme forms an important part of our immigration policy. However, as my Rt hon Friend, the Home Secretary said in this House, we are carefully reviewing and reflecting on the recommendations in the Lessons Learned Review report, including those relating to the compliant environment. We will bring forward a detailed formal response in the next six months, as Wendy Williams recommended.

In the meantime, the provisions passed by this House in 2014 remain in force and a full evaluation of the Right to Rent Scheme is underway. The evaluation includes a call to evidence to tenants, landlords and letting agents; a large mystery shopping exercise; and surveys of landlords. Members of the Right to Rent consultative panel provided input into the design of the evaluation.

The Government is committed to tackling discrimination in all its forms and to having an immigration system which provides control, but which is also fair, humane and fully compliant with the law. The Court of Appeal has found that the Right to Rent Scheme is capable of being operated in a lawful way by landlords in all individual cases. We will continue to work with landlords and lettings agents to ensure that is the case.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS191
WS
Ministry of Justice
Made on: 21 April 2020
Made by: Lord Keen of Elie (The Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

Implementation of the Whiplash Reform Programme

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

"I would like to provide an update on next steps for the Whiplash Reform Programme.

The Government remains firmly committed to implementing these measures which are intended to control the number and cost of whiplash claims. Under the Programme, we will increase the small claims track limit for road traffic accident related personal injury claims to £5,000; as well as introduce a fixed tariff of damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity for whiplash injuries, and a ban on the making or accepting of offers to settle a whiplash claim without a medical report.

The Government indicated on 27 February 2020 that after careful consideration it had decided to implement the whiplash reforms in August 2020. However, it is apparent that the current Covid-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on the medical, legal and insurance sectors. While the whiplash reform measures remain important, the Government is committed to acting to ease the disruption and pressures caused by the Covid-19 outbreak where it can.

As a result, the Government has considered representations from key stakeholder groups and agrees that now is not the time to press ahead with significant transformational change to the personal injury sector.

We have therefore decided to delay the implementation of the whiplash reform programme to April 2021. This will enable key sectors of this country’s business to focus their energies on delivering their response to Covid-19, and will allow the Government to focus on delivering key services in the justice area during this difficult time.

The Government will continue to monitor developments in relation to the current pandemic and will, if necessary, make further announcements in regard to the implementation of these important reforms."

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS194
WS
Ministry of Justice
Made on: 21 April 2020
Made by: Robert Buckland (The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice)
Commons

Implementation of the Whiplash Reform Programme

I would like to provide an update on next steps for the Whiplash Reform Programme.

The Government remains firmly committed to implementing these measures which are intended to control the number and cost of whiplash claims. Under the Programme, we will increase the small claims track limit for road traffic accident related personal injury claims to £5,000; as well as introduce a fixed tariff of damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity for whiplash injuries, and a ban on the making or accepting of offers to settle a whiplash claim without a medical report.

The Government indicated on 27 February 2020 that after careful consideration it had decided to implement the whiplash reforms in August 2020. However, it is apparent that the current Covid-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on the medical, legal and insurance sectors. While the whiplash reform measures remain important, the Government is committed to acting to ease the disruption and pressures caused by the Covid-19 outbreak where it can.

As a result, the Government has considered representations from key stakeholder groups and agrees that now is not the time to press ahead with significant transformational change to the personal injury sector.

We have therefore decided to delay the implementation of the whiplash reform programme to April 2021. This will enable key sectors of this country’s business to focus their energies on delivering their response to Covid-19, and will allow the Government to focus on delivering key services in the justice area during this difficult time.

The Government will continue to monitor developments in relation to the current pandemic and will, if necessary, make further announcements in regard to the implementation of these important reforms.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS190
WS
Department for Education
Made on: 21 April 2020
Made by: Baroness Berridge (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System)
Lords

Support for Education Settings/Providers

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Education (Gavin Williamson) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Support for education settings/providers

I am writing to inform the House of further steps this Government is taking to support the education system and children and young people manage the consequences of COVID-19.

Attendance in schools

Schools have been closed to all but the children of critical workers and vulnerable children since Monday, March 23. They will remain closed until further notice, except for children of critical workers and vulnerable children, who are encouraged to attend where it is appropriate for them to do so.

Today we have published the numbers of children of critical workers and vulnerable children in attendance at schools since 23 March and up to 17 April. The figures are available on Gov.uk. Attendance statistics will now be published on a weekly basis, looking back at the previous school week. Further data will be available next Tuesday, covering the period up to 24 April.

Key findings are as follows –

  • Figures show the attendance rate amongst pupils in educational establishments was 0.9% during the week commencing 6 April, which would have been the first week of the Easter holidays, having originally been above 3% in the first week of schools being closed except for children of critical workers and vulnerable children.
  • 24,000 of the children in attendance on Friday 17 April were classed as vulnerable; 62,000 of the children in attendance on Friday 17 April were children of critical workers.
  • Statistics also show that the number of teachers attending school has been falling, which suggests that schools are adapting to lower numbers of pupils and the latest advice on social distancing.

These figures illustrate the incredible effort families all over the country are making as we fight the coronavirus, with well over 90% of children staying home.

Supporting attendance of vulnerable children and young people

Our first priority has always been protecting the wellbeing of children and young people, but particularly those vulnerable young people with special educational needs or a social worker.

Schools remain open for them, as they also do for children of critical workers, and we encourage vulnerable children and young people to attend educational settings unless they have underlying health conditions that put them at severe risk.

We have refreshed our guidance in relation to this group to set out our expectations of how educational settings and local authorities should encourage and support vulnerable children and young people at this time and how non-attendance should be followed up. This can be found on Gov.uk.

Free School Meals

We thank schools for continuing to support those children that are eligible for free school meals, including during the Easter break. We know that support is being provided through their existing schools food suppliers or through the national voucher scheme Government has put in place. Today I can confirm that Aldi will be added to the list of supermarkets where vouchers will be redeemable. That is in addition to Sainsbury’s, Tesco’s, Waitrose, M&S, Asda and Morrison’s.

New support for remote education and access to social services

Most children are not attending schools, and we are extremely grateful for how schools and colleges have adapted so rapidly to new ways of working by moving resources online, working remotely and changing the way they support their students and each other.

We have already published an initial list of high quality online educational resources including how to support physical and mental wellbeing and materials for teaching children with special educational needs and disabilities. Many commercial providers have also offered high quality educational resources at discounts or for free.

In addition, to support the hard work of schools in delivering remote education, the Oak National Academy was launched on Monday 20 April. This brand-new enterprise has been created by 40 teachers from some of the leading schools across England, backed by government grant funding. It will provide 180 video lessons each week, across a broad range of subjects from maths to art to languages, for every year group from Reception through to Year 10.

The BBC has also launched its own education package across TV and online, featuring celebrities and some of the best teachers – helping to keep children learning and supporting parents.

This is alongside new guidance we published on Sunday 19 April for parents on how best to support their child’s education and development at home. This can be found on Gov.uk.

To ensure that as many children as possible can access online learning, we have ordered laptops to help disadvantaged young people who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for exams (in year 10).

We will also provide laptops or tablets for care leavers and children with social workers (including families with pre-school age children) to help them stay in touch with the services they need, keeping them safe as well as supporting home learning.

And if disadvantaged children in year 10, care leavers and children with a social worker at secondary school cannot access the internet, we’ll provide free 4G routers to get them connected while schools are closed. We are also working with some of the major telecommunications providers to exempt certain educational resource sites from data charges.

For 16-19 year olds, colleges, schools or other providers can support those without access to devices or connections through their flexible bursary funding. Where additional funding is needed to provide this support, providers can apply to have their bursary funds topped up to ensure those who need it have access.

NSPCC Helpline

To further protect children from harm, we are continuing to support NSPCC’s Childline and are working with them to expand the adult helpline by providing them with £1.6 million. This means children have someone to call, and more adults will be able to raise concerns and seek advice about the safety and wellbeing of any child they are worried about.

Care leavers

We recognise that young people who have left care or are just about to, whether that’s from a foster family or residential care, are especially vulnerable right now.

I am asking local authorities to ensure no one has to leave care during this period, by looking very carefully at whether it is safe for those young people who would have been due to move out of their care to do so and to give care leavers extra support.


The £1.6 billion of additional funding announced by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on Saturday will help local authorities give care leavers, and other vulnerable groups, the support that they need at this difficult time.

Flexibility to use early years entitlement funding to secure childcare for critical workers and vulnerable children

It is vital that we secure sufficient childcare for critical workers and vulnerable children through the COVID-19 pandemic, and ensure the sector is able to function and allow parents to return to work afterwards. I want to thank the local authorities, childminders, nurseries and schools that are working together to ensure sufficient childcare in their areas. To help them do this, we are providing a range of financial support.

As most early years providers have mixed private and public incomes, we have published guidance setting out how providers can access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) while still receiving early entitlement funding. This confirmed that providers can access the CJRS to cover up to the proportion of its pay bill which could be considered to have been paid for from that provider’s private income.

We will also be publishing guidance to support local authorities to use their free entitlement funding differently, redistributing it – in exceptional cases and in a clearly focused and targeted way – in order to secure childcare for the children of critical workers and for vulnerable children, where their usual arrangements are no longer possible.

This ability to redistribute will enable local authorities to ensure that critical workers, including NHS staff, are able to access childcare where they need it. Any setting which sees their early entitlement funding reduced in order to fund childcare places elsewhere will be able to increase the proportion of their salary bill eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme in line with the department’s guidance on access to the scheme.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS193
WS
Department for Education
Made on: 21 April 2020
Made by: Gavin Williamson (The Secretary of State for Education)
Commons

Support for Education Settings/Providers

Support for education settings/providers

I am writing to inform the House of further steps this Government is taking to support the education system and children and young people manage the consequences of COVID-19.

Attendance in schools

Schools have been closed to all but the children of critical workers and vulnerable children since Monday, March 23. They will remain closed until further notice, except for children of critical workers and vulnerable children, who are encouraged to attend where it is appropriate for them to do so.

Today we have published the numbers of children of critical workers and vulnerable children in attendance at schools since 23 March and up to 17 April. The figures are available on Gov.uk. Attendance statistics will now be published on a weekly basis, looking back at the previous school week. Further data will be available next Tuesday, covering the period up to 24 April.

Key findings are as follows –

  • Figures show the attendance rate amongst pupils in educational establishments was 0.9% during the week commencing 6 April, which would have been the first week of the Easter holidays, having originally been above 3% in the first week of schools being closed except for children of critical workers and vulnerable children.
  • 24,000 of the children in attendance on Friday 17 April were classed as vulnerable; 62,000 of the children in attendance on Friday 17 April were children of critical workers.
  • Statistics also show that the number of teachers attending school has been falling, which suggests that schools are adapting to lower numbers of pupils and the latest advice on social distancing.

These figures illustrate the incredible effort families all over the country are making as we fight the coronavirus, with well over 90% of children staying home.

Supporting attendance of vulnerable children and young people

Our first priority has always been protecting the wellbeing of children and young people, but particularly those vulnerable young people with special educational needs or a social worker.

Schools remain open for them, as they also do for children of critical workers, and we encourage vulnerable children and young people to attend educational settings unless they have underlying health conditions that put them at severe risk.

We have refreshed our guidance in relation to this group to set out our expectations of how educational settings and local authorities should encourage and support vulnerable children and young people at this time and how non-attendance should be followed up. This can be found on Gov.uk.

Free School Meals

We thank schools for continuing to support those children that are eligible for free school meals, including during the Easter break. We know that support is being provided through their existing schools food suppliers or through the national voucher scheme Government has put in place. Today I can confirm that Aldi will be added to the list of supermarkets where vouchers will be redeemable. That is in addition to Sainsbury’s, Tesco’s, Waitrose, M&S, Asda and Morrison’s.

New support for remote education and access to social services

Most children are not attending schools, and we are extremely grateful for how schools and colleges have adapted so rapidly to new ways of working by moving resources online, working remotely and changing the way they support their students and each other.

We have already published an initial list of high quality online educational resources including how to support physical and mental wellbeing and materials for teaching children with special educational needs and disabilities. Many commercial providers have also offered high quality educational resources at discounts or for free.

In addition, to support the hard work of schools in delivering remote education, the Oak National Academy was launched on Monday 20 April. This brand-new enterprise has been created by 40 teachers from some of the leading schools across England, backed by government grant funding. It will provide 180 video lessons each week, across a broad range of subjects from maths to art to languages, for every year group from Reception through to Year 10.

The BBC has also launched its own education package across TV and online, featuring celebrities and some of the best teachers – helping to keep children learning and supporting parents.

This is alongside new guidance we published on Sunday 19 April for parents on how best to support their child’s education and development at home. This can be found on Gov.uk.

To ensure that as many children as possible can access online learning, we have ordered laptops to help disadvantaged young people who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for exams (in year 10).

We will also provide laptops or tablets for care leavers and children with social workers (including families with pre-school age children) to help them stay in touch with the services they need, keeping them safe as well as supporting home learning.

And if disadvantaged children in year 10, care leavers and children with a social worker at secondary school cannot access the internet, we’ll provide free 4G routers to get them connected while schools are closed. We are also working with some of the major telecommunications providers to exempt certain educational resource sites from data charges.

For 16-19 year olds, colleges, schools or other providers can support those without access to devices or connections through their flexible bursary funding. Where additional funding is needed to provide this support, providers can apply to have their bursary funds topped up to ensure those who need it have access.

NSPCC Helpline

To further protect children from harm, we are continuing to support NSPCC’s Childline and are working with them to expand the adult helpline by providing them with £1.6 million. This means children have someone to call, and more adults will be able to raise concerns and seek advice about the safety and wellbeing of any child they are worried about.

Care leavers

We recognise that young people who have left care or are just about to, whether that’s from a foster family or residential care, are especially vulnerable right now.

I am asking local authorities to ensure no one has to leave care during this period, by looking very carefully at whether it is safe for those young people who would have been due to move out of their care to do so and to give care leavers extra support.


The £1.6 billion of additional funding announced by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on Saturday will help local authorities give care leavers, and other vulnerable groups, the support that they need at this difficult time.

Flexibility to use early years entitlement funding to secure childcare for critical workers and vulnerable children

It is vital that we secure sufficient childcare for critical workers and vulnerable children through the COVID-19 pandemic, and ensure the sector is able to function and allow parents to return to work afterwards. I want to thank the local authorities, childminders, nurseries and schools that are working together to ensure sufficient childcare in their areas. To help them do this, we are providing a range of financial support.

As most early years providers have mixed private and public incomes, we have published guidance setting out how providers can access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) while still receiving early entitlement funding. This confirmed that providers can access the CJRS to cover up to the proportion of its pay bill which could be considered to have been paid for from that provider’s private income.

We will also be publishing guidance to support local authorities to use their free entitlement funding differently, redistributing it – in exceptional cases and in a clearly focused and targeted way – in order to secure childcare for the children of critical workers and for vulnerable children, where their usual arrangements are no longer possible.

This ability to redistribute will enable local authorities to ensure that critical workers, including NHS staff, are able to access childcare where they need it. Any setting which sees their early entitlement funding reduced in order to fund childcare places elsewhere will be able to increase the proportion of their salary bill eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme in line with the department’s guidance on access to the scheme.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS189
WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 21 April 2020
Made by: Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Rural Affairs and Biosecurity )
Lords

Update on Defra sectors

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

Coronavirus presents unprecedented challenges to the businesses we rely on to provide essential services which keep people safe – including food supply, water and waste.

Many businesses in these sectors have benefited from Government schemes to support all businesses, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and the Small Business Grant Scheme and support for the self-employed.

Beyond this, the Government has taken specific action to support the food, farming, water and waste sectors in the delivery of critical services.

  • Fisheries: The fishing sector has seen considerable impacts because of the closure of restaurants both here and in Europe and severe market disruption. Last week we announced a new £10 million support scheme to help the catching and aquaculture sector in England and boost local supply chains. Vessel owners and aquaculture businesses will receive payments to help cover their fixed costs. On Monday we began to contact eligible vessel owners. The MMO has published the details of the scheme on gov.uk.

  • Dairy: In particular, the dairy sector has felt a significant impact as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Between 5 and 10 per cent of total milk production goes to the food service trade and there is therefore a small proportion of milk production that currently has no home. The vast majority of Britain's 10,000 dairy farmers continue to supply their contracts at the usual price and larger processors have been largely unaffected by the market disruption because of their scale and diversified nature. In order to support the affected farmers, on Friday we announced that we will set aside some elements of competition law to make it easier for processors to come together and voluntarily work out how to ease production down in order to create the space in the market for that milk that currently has no home and to support a recovery in the spot price. We have asked the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (which supports the interests of dairy farmers and the wider farming industry) and Dairy UK (which represents the processors) to coordinate a proposal and discussions are already underway.

  • Livestock: There has been a drop in demand in various cuts, for example steaks, leading to carcass balance problems in the beef, poultry meat and pig meat sectors. We have encouraged supermarkets to put steaks on promotion and, while the price of beef cattle has reduced in recent weeks, retailers are also reporting an increase in meat sales. Although the price of beef cattle, poultry and pigs has dropped, it still remains higher than in previous years. Quite a lot of beef, poultry meat and pig meat has gone into storage so we continue to monitor this market closely.

  • Waste: The waste sector has been impacted by social distancing, staff shortages and an increase in waste produced by households compared to a decrease in demand for commercial collections. Defra has published guidance to local authorities to help them prioritise their waste streams to keep important services like black bin bag collections moving, and worked with the waste sector to develop an online platform called WasteSupport which facilitates the sharing of resources between local authorities and commercial operators. This was launched by the sector at the end of last week. We are looking at how we can keep other services operating such as household waste recycling centres, and are aware of reports of increases in fly-tipping.

  • Supermarkets: following a significant spike in consumer demand, we have now seen stock levels in supermarkets improve and panic buying has stopped. To support the food sector, the government temporarily relaxed competition law and regulations relating to driver hours and delivery times so that the sector could work together to keep putting food on the shelves.

  • Ornamental horticulture: the closure of garden centres has had an impact on some specialist plant producers in the ornamental horticultural sector. Online sales have been able to continue and the Government is keeping the situation under review but concluded last week that it was too early to ease any restrictions on such retail environments. The First Secretary set out the five tests on which the Government would base any assessment of easing the current measure. We must all continue to stay at home, in order to protect the NHS and save lives.

The Government will continue to support these essential services; I want to thank all those who have rallied in an extraordinary way to respond to this unprecedented challenge.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS192
WS
Department for Education
Made on: 21 April 2020
Made by: Baroness Berridge (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System)
Lords

Schools Capital Funding

My right honourable friend the Minister of State for School Standards (Nick Gibb) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Today, I am confirming £2.2bn of capital funding to maintain and improve the condition of the school estate and to create new school places. Funding allocations were published on 15 April 2020. This investment will support the Government’s priority to ensure that every child has the opportunity of a place at a good school, whatever their background.

As part of our investment of £23 billion in the school estate by 2021, we have now announced over £1.4 billion of condition funding for the financial year 2020-21. This package includes:

  • £800 million for local authorities, large multi-academy trusts and academy sponsors, and dioceses, and other large voluntary aided school groups, to invest in maintaining and improving the condition of their schools.
  • Over £400 million available through the Condition Improvement Fund for essential maintenance projects at small and stand-alone academy trusts, voluntary aided schools and sixth-form colleges.
  • Over £200 million of Devolved Formula Capital allocated directly for schools to spend on capital projects to meet their own priorities.

In addition, we have announced nearly £750 million of new funding to create new school places needed for September 2022. This funding, which is over and above our commitment to invest £23 billion in the school estate by 2021, will allow local authorities to plan ahead with confidence, and to invest strategically to ensure they deliver good school places for every child who needs one.

This funding was announced on 15 April 2020. Full details have been published on the Department for Education section on the GOV.UK website.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS191
WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 21 April 2020
Made by: George Eustice (Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs )
Commons

Update on Defra sectors

Coronavirus presents unprecedented challenges to the businesses we rely on to provide essential services which keep people safe – including food supply, water and waste.

Many businesses in these sectors have benefited from Government schemes to support all businesses, including the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and the Small Business Grant Scheme and support for the self-employed.

Beyond this, the Government has taken specific action to support the food, farming, water and waste sectors in the delivery of critical services.

  • Fisheries: The fishing sector has seen considerable impacts because of the closure of restaurants both here and in Europe and severe market disruption. Last week we announced a new £10 million support scheme to help the catching and aquaculture sector in England and boost local supply chains. Vessel owners and aquaculture businesses will receive payments to help cover their fixed costs. On Monday we began to contact eligible vessel owners. The MMO has published the details of the scheme on gov.uk.

  • Dairy: In particular, the dairy sector has felt a significant impact as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Between 5 and 10 per cent of total milk production goes to the food service trade and there is therefore a small proportion of milk production that currently has no home. The vast majority of Britain's 10,000 dairy farmers continue to supply their contracts at the usual price and larger processors have been largely unaffected by the market disruption because of their scale and diversified nature. In order to support the affected farmers, on Friday we announced that we will set aside some elements of competition law to make it easier for processors to come together and voluntarily work out how to ease production down in order to create the space in the market for that milk that currently has no home and to support a recovery in the spot price. We have asked the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (which supports the interests of dairy farmers and the wider farming industry) and Dairy UK (which represents the processors) to coordinate a proposal and discussions are already underway.

  • Livestock: There has been a drop in demand in various cuts, for example steaks, leading to carcass balance problems in the beef, poultry meat and pig meat sectors. We have encouraged supermarkets to put steaks on promotion and, while the price of beef cattle has reduced in recent weeks, retailers are also reporting an increase in meat sales. Although the price of beef cattle, poultry and pigs has dropped, it still remains higher than in previous years. Quite a lot of beef, poultry meat and pig meat has gone into storage so we continue to monitor this market closely.

  • Waste: The waste sector has been impacted by social distancing, staff shortages and an increase in waste produced by households compared to a decrease in demand for commercial collections. Defra has published guidance to local authorities to help them prioritise their waste streams to keep important services like black bin bag collections moving, and worked with the waste sector to develop an online platform called WasteSupport which facilitates the sharing of resources between local authorities and commercial operators. This was launched by the sector at the end of last week. We are looking at how we can keep other services operating such as household waste recycling centres, and are aware of reports of increases in fly-tipping.

  • Supermarkets: following a significant spike in consumer demand, we have now seen stock levels in supermarkets improve and panic buying has stopped. To support the food sector, the government temporarily relaxed competition law and regulations relating to driver hours and delivery times so that the sector could work together to keep putting food on the shelves.

  • Ornamental horticulture: the closure of garden centres has had an impact on some specialist plant producers in the ornamental horticultural sector. Online sales have been able to continue and the Government is keeping the situation under review but concluded last week that it was too early to ease any restrictions on such retail environments. The First Secretary set out the five tests on which the Government would base any assessment of easing the current measure. We must all continue to stay at home, in order to protect the NHS and save lives.

The Government will continue to support these essential services; I want to thank all those who have rallied in an extraordinary way to respond to this unprecedented challenge.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS188
WS
Department for Education
Made on: 21 April 2020
Made by: Nick Gibb (The Minister of State for School Standards)
Commons

Schools Capital Funding

Today, I am confirming £2.2bn of capital funding to maintain and improve the condition of the school estate and to create new school places. Funding allocations were published on 15 April 2020. This investment will support the Government’s priority to ensure that every child has the opportunity of a place at a good school, whatever their background.

As part of our investment of £23 billion in the school estate by 2021, we have now announced over £1.4 billion of condition funding for the financial year 2020-21. This package includes:

  • £800 million for local authorities, large multi-academy trusts and academy sponsors, and dioceses, and other large voluntary aided school groups, to invest in maintaining and improving the condition of their schools.
  • Over £400 million available through the Condition Improvement Fund for essential maintenance projects at small and stand-alone academy trusts, voluntary aided schools and sixth-form colleges.
  • Over £200 million of Devolved Formula Capital allocated directly for schools to spend on capital projects to meet their own priorities.

In addition, we have announced nearly £750 million of new funding to create new school places needed for September 2022. This funding, which is over and above our commitment to invest £23 billion in the school estate by 2021, will allow local authorities to plan ahead with confidence, and to invest strategically to ensure they deliver good school places for every child who needs one.

This funding was announced on 15 April 2020. Full details have been published on the Department for Education section on the GOV.UK website.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS187
WS
Cabinet Office
Made on: 25 March 2020
Made by: Michael Gove (Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office )
Commons

First meeting of the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee

The first meeting of the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee will take place on 30 March 2020 by remote means.

The meeting will be co-chaired by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Rt Hon Michael Gove MP and Vice-President of the European Commission, Maroš Šefčovič.

The agenda will include four items:

  1. Introduction and opening remarks from co-chairs

  2. UK/EU Updates on implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement

  3. Tasks and responsibilities of the Specialised Committees

  4. AOB

The UK Delegation will include:

● Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Rt Hon Michael Gove MP

● The Paymaster General, Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt MP



This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS186
WS
Cabinet Office
Made on: 25 March 2020
Made by: Lord True (Minister of State for the Cabinet Office)
Lords

First meeting of the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee

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

The first meeting of the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee will take place on 30 March 2020 by remote means.

The meeting will be co-chaired by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Rt Hon Michael Gove MP and Vice-President of the European Commission, Maroš Šefčovič.

The agenda will include four items:

  1. Introduction and opening remarks from co-chairs

  2. UK/EU Updates on implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement

  3. Tasks and responsibilities of the Specialised Committees

  4. AOB

The UK Delegation will include:

● Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Rt Hon Michael Gove MP

● The Paymaster General, Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt MP



This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS190
WS
Home Office
Made on: 25 March 2020
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Simplification of the Immigration Rules

My hon Friend the Parliamentary under Secretary of State for Future Borders and Immigration (Kevin Foster) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

This government is committed to creating a firm and fair immigration system that prioritises the skills people have to offer, not where their passport comes from, and restores public trust by ensuring the immigration system truly works for this country.

The Immigration Rules form one of the foundations of our immigration system. So I am pleased today to publish our response to the Law Commission’s report and recommendations on simplifying the Immigration Rules. I am extremely grateful to the Law Commission for their detailed and constructive work.

The first recommendation from the Law Commission is we should overhaul the Immigration Rules, consolidating and streamlining, based on the principles they have identified. I am pleased to announce we accept this recommendation. Our aim is to complete this overhaul by January 2021.

Simplified rules will be at the heart of Britain’s new, global points-based immigration system.

For far too long, users have struggled to understand the confusing and complex Immigration Rules. They create barriers for employers who want to bring skilled workers to the UK; to colleges who want to encourage international students to come to the UK, and to the brightest and best migrants from around the world who want to make a contribution to the UK.

We will cut through the complexity and make the Rules clear, consistent and accessible, to encourage those who have the skills or talent to benefit the UK, and to crack down on illegal migration and remove those who abuse our hospitality by committing criminal offences.

In line with the Law Commission’s recommendations, I have already established a Simplification of the Rules Review Committee to look at the drafting and structure of the Rules. The Committee will ensure the simplification principles put in place now continue to apply in future, whilst providing ongoing support to continuously improve and adapt the Rules in our changing world.

The Law Commission made 41 recommendations for change. We accept 24 of the recommendations, and partially accept the other 17 recommendations. Where we have not fully accepted a recommendation that does not mean we disagree with the ambition behind the recommendations, it generally means we want to explore how it can be delivered in practice.

Simplification of the Immigration rules, the global points-based immigration system, and the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill which will end free movement, will deliver the biggest shake-up of the immigration system in a generation.

The Government’s response has been published on gov.uk and can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/simplifying-the-immigration-rules-a-response.

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

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS186
WS
Treasury
Made on: 25 March 2020
Made by: Jesse Norman (The Financial Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

Oil and Gas Decommissioning Relief Deeds

At Budget 2013, the government announced it would begin signing decommissioning relief deeds. These deeds represented a new contractual approach to provide oil and gas companies with certainty on the level of tax relief they will receive on future decommissioning costs.

Since October 2013, the government has entered into 96 decommissioning relief deeds.

Oil & Gas UK estimates that these deeds have so far unlocked approximately £8.1bn of capital, which can now be invested elsewhere.

The government committed to report to Parliament every year on progress with the decommissioning relief deeds. The report for financial year 2018-19 is provided below.

  1. Number of decommissioning relief agreements entered into: the government entered into 5 decommissioning relief agreements in 2018-19.
  2. Total number of decommissioning relief agreements in force at the end of that year: 92 decommissioning relief agreements were in force at the end of the year.
  3. Number of payments made under any decommissioning relief agreements during that year, and the amount of each payment: one payment was made under a decommissioning relief agreement in 2018-19, for £43.2m[1]. This was made in relation to the provision recognised by HM Treasury in 2015, as a result of a company defaulting on its decommissioning obligations.
  4. Total number of payments that have been made under any decommissioning relief agreements as at the end of that year, and the total amount of those payments: four payments have been made under any decommissioning relief agreement as at the end of the 2018-19 financial year, totalling £94.0m.
  5. Estimate of the maximum amount liable to be paid under any decommissioning relief agreements: the government has not made any changes to the tax regime that would generate a liability to be paid under any decommissioning relief agreements. HM Treasury’s 2019-20 accounts will recognise a provision of £285.9m in respect of decommissioning expenditure incurred as a result of a company defaulting on their decommissioning obligations[2]. The majority of this is expected to be realised over the next four years.

[1] This figure takes into account a revision made to a claim in 2017-18 that was reported in a previous Written Ministerial Statement (HCWS1435).

[2] This figure takes into account payments made subsequent to the financial year covered by this Written Ministerial Statement.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS184
WS
Treasury
Made on: 25 March 2020
Made by: John Glen (The Economic Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

Financial Services Update

In preparation for leaving the European Union, HM Treasury made over 50 EU Exit Statutory Instruments under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 to ensure the UK’s financial services regulatory regime stood ready for all scenarios at exit day. This included introducing a range of temporary permissions and transitional regimes to minimise any disruption to firms and consumers as we leave the EU.

The UK has now left the EU and entered a Transition Period, which will last until 31 December 2020. The European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020 (“EUWAA 2020”) delayed those parts of the EU Exit Statutory Instruments that would have come into force immediately before, on, or after exit day so they instead come into force at the end of the Transition Period. As a result of further secondary legislation made under the EUWAA 2020, the temporary permissions and transitional regimes will also now apply at the end of the Transition Period.

While, in general, the same laws and rules will apply at the end of the Transition Period, HM Treasury recognises it will be important, irrespective of the agreement that is reached between the EU and UK, for the regulators to have the flexibility to smooth any adjustments to the UK’s regulatory regime for financial services at the end of the Transition Period.

The department will therefore retain the regulators’ “Temporary Transitional Power” (TTP), which was introduced via the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019, and shift its application such that it is available for use by the UK regulators for a period of two years from the end of the Transition Period.

The TTP will allow the Bank of England, the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority to phase-in changes to UK regulatory requirements so that firms can adjust to the UK’s post-Transition Period regime in an orderly way, in line with the objectives already set by Parliament.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS183
WS
Treasury
Made on: 25 March 2020
Made by: John Glen (The Economic Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

Pensions Update

The government is developing proposals to address the unlawful age discrimination identified by the Court of Appeal in the 2015 reforms to the Judicial and Firefighters’ pension schemes.

On 15 July 2019, the government announced it would take steps to remove this discrimination retrospectively (HCWS1725). It confirmed that this would apply to pension scheme members with relevant service across all those public service pension schemes that were introduced in 2014 and 2015, regardless of whether individuals had made a claim. This is a complex undertaking, and it is important to get it right.

Since February 2020 relevant pension schemes have been conducting technical discussions with member and employer representatives to seek initial views on the government’s high-level proposals for removing the discrimination.

I am grateful for the constructive engagement of trade unions, staff associations, public service employers and other stakeholders in these discussions. The government is considering the initial views of stakeholders and continuing to work through the details of the technical design elements of the proposals. Detailed proposals will be published later in the year and will be subject to public consultation. The government will welcome views on these proposals.

For the avoidance of doubt, members of public service pension schemes with relevant service will not need to make a claim in order for the eventual changes to apply to them.

I would like to reassure members that their pension entitlements are safe. The proposals the government is considering would allow relevant members to make a choice as to whether they accrued service in the legacy or reformed schemes for periods of relevant service, depending on what is better for them. The government will provide more detail later in the year, but if an individual’s pension circumstances change as a result, the government may also need to consider whether previous tax years back to 2015-16 should be re-opened in relation to their pension.

The government will also set out its proposal to remove the discrimination for future service in the forthcoming consultation.

In January 2019, the government announced a pause to the cost control mechanism in public service pension schemes, due to uncertainty about benefit entitlements arising from the McCloud judgment. Alongside its proposals for addressing discrimination, the government will also provide an update on the cost control mechanism.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS182
WS
Treasury
Made on: 25 March 2020
Made by: Lord Agnew of Oulton (Minister of State)
Lords

Oil and Gas Decommissioning Relief Deeds

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

At Budget 2013, the government announced it would begin signing decommissioning relief deeds. These deeds represented a new contractual approach to provide oil and gas companies with certainty on the level of tax relief they will receive on future decommissioning costs.

Since October 2013, the government has entered into 96 decommissioning relief deeds.

Oil & Gas UK estimates that these deeds have so far unlocked approximately £8.1bn of capital, which can now be invested elsewhere.

The government committed to report to Parliament every year on progress with the decommissioning relief deeds. The report for financial year 2018-19 is provided below.

  1. Number of decommissioning relief agreements entered into: the government entered into 5 decommissioning relief agreements in 2018-19.
  2. Total number of decommissioning relief agreements in force at the end of that year: 92 decommissioning relief agreements were in force at the end of the year.
  3. Number of payments made under any decommissioning relief agreements during that year, and the amount of each payment: one payment was made under a decommissioning relief agreement in 2018-19, for £43.2m[1]. This was made in relation to the provision recognised by HM Treasury in 2015, as a result of a company defaulting on its decommissioning obligations.
  4. Total number of payments that have been made under any decommissioning relief agreements as at the end of that year, and the total amount of those payments: four payments have been made under any decommissioning relief agreement as at the end of the 2018-19 financial year, totalling £94.0m.
  5. Estimate of the maximum amount liable to be paid under any decommissioning relief agreements: the government has not made any changes to the tax regime that would generate a liability to be paid under any decommissioning relief agreements. HM Treasury’s 2019-20 accounts will recognise a provision of £285.9m in respect of decommissioning expenditure incurred as a result of a company defaulting on their decommissioning obligations[2]. The majority of this is expected to be realised over the next four years.

[1] This figure takes into account a revision made to a claim in 2017-18 that was reported in a previous Written Ministerial Statement (HCWS1435).

[2] This figure takes into account payments made subsequent to the financial year covered by this Written Ministerial Statement.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS189
WS
Treasury
Made on: 25 March 2020
Made by: Lord Agnew of Oulton (Minister of State)
Lords

Financial Services Update

My honourable friend the Economic Secretary to the Treasury (John Glen) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

In preparation for leaving the European Union, HM Treasury made over 50 EU Exit Statutory Instruments under the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 to ensure the UK’s financial services regulatory regime stood ready for all scenarios at exit day. This included introducing a range of temporary permissions and transitional regimes to minimise any disruption to firms and consumers as we leave the EU.

The UK has now left the EU and entered a Transition Period, which will last until 31 December 2020. The European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Act 2020 (“EUWAA 2020”) delayed those parts of the EU Exit Statutory Instruments that would have come into force immediately before, on, or after exit day so they instead come into force at the end of the Transition Period. As a result of further secondary legislation made under the EUWAA 2020, the temporary permissions and transitional regimes will also now apply at the end of the Transition Period.

While, in general, the same laws and rules will apply at the end of the Transition Period, HM Treasury recognises it will be important, irrespective of the agreement that is reached between the EU and UK, for the regulators to have the flexibility to smooth any adjustments to the UK’s regulatory regime for financial services at the end of the Transition Period.

The department will therefore retain the regulators’ “Temporary Transitional Power” (TTP), which was introduced via the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019, and shift its application such that it is available for use by the UK regulators for a period of two years from the end of the Transition Period.

The TTP will allow the Bank of England, the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority to phase-in changes to UK regulatory requirements so that firms can adjust to the UK’s post-Transition Period regime in an orderly way, in line with the objectives already set by Parliament.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS188
WS
Treasury
Made on: 25 March 2020
Made by: Lord Agnew of Oulton (Minister of State)
Lords

Pensions Update

My honourable friend the Economic Secretary to the Treasury (John Glen) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The government is developing proposals to address the unlawful age discrimination identified by the Court of Appeal in the 2015 reforms to the Judicial and Firefighters’ pension schemes.

On 15 July 2019, the government announced it would take steps to remove this discrimination retrospectively (HCWS1725). It confirmed that this would apply to pension scheme members with relevant service across all those public service pension schemes that were introduced in 2014 and 2015, regardless of whether individuals had made a claim. This is a complex undertaking, and it is important to get it right.

Since February 2020 relevant pension schemes have been conducting technical discussions with member and employer representatives to seek initial views on the government’s high-level proposals for removing the discrimination.

I am grateful for the constructive engagement of trade unions, staff associations, public service employers and other stakeholders in these discussions. The government is considering the initial views of stakeholders and continuing to work through the details of the technical design elements of the proposals. Detailed proposals will be published later in the year and will be subject to public consultation. The government will welcome views on these proposals.

For the avoidance of doubt, members of public service pension schemes with relevant service will not need to make a claim in order for the eventual changes to apply to them.

I would like to reassure members that their pension entitlements are safe. The proposals the government is considering would allow relevant members to make a choice as to whether they accrued service in the legacy or reformed schemes for periods of relevant service, depending on what is better for them. The government will provide more detail later in the year, but if an individual’s pension circumstances change as a result, the government may also need to consider whether previous tax years back to 2015-16 should be re-opened in relation to their pension.

The government will also set out its proposal to remove the discrimination for future service in the forthcoming consultation.

In January 2019, the government announced a pause to the cost control mechanism in public service pension schemes, due to uncertainty about benefit entitlements arising from the McCloud judgment. Alongside its proposals for addressing discrimination, the government will also provide an update on the cost control mechanism.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS187
WS
Ministry of Justice
Made on: 25 March 2020
Made by: Lord Keen of Elie (The Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

Tenth Annual Report of the UK’s National Preventive Mechanism

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

"The United Nations Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT), which the UK ratified in December 2003, requires States Parties to establish a “National Preventive Mechanism” (NPM) to carry out visits to places of detention to prevent torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

The Government established the UK NPM in March 2009 (Hansard 31 March 2009, Vol. 490, Part No. 57, Column 56WS). The UK NPM is currently composed of 21 scrutiny bodies covering the whole of the UK.

Following previous practice, I have presented to Parliament the 10th NPM’s annual report (Command Paper CP 228). This report covers the period from 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019. I commend the important work that the NPM has carried out over this period and the NPM’s independent role in safeguarding the human rights of detainees across the UK. I also note the NPM’s observations around prisons, children in detention, police custody, immigration detention and court custody. The Government is committed to making prisons places of safety and reform. We are investing an additional £2.75 billion to transform jails, with tough new security measures including x-ray body scanners, and creating 10,000 modern prison places to rehabilitate offenders. Our long-term ambition is to replace Secure Training Centres and Young Offender Institutions with Secure Schools, putting education, healthcare and purposeful activity at the heart of young offender rehabilitation."

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS185
WS
Home Office
Made on: 25 March 2020
Made by: Kevin Foster (The Parliamentary under Secretary of State for Future Borders and Immigration)
Commons

Simplification of the Immigration Rules

This government is committed to creating a firm and fair immigration system that prioritises the skills people have to offer, not where their passport comes from, and restores public trust by ensuring the immigration system truly works for this country.

The Immigration Rules form one of the foundations of our immigration system. So I am pleased today to publish our response to the Law Commission’s report and recommendations on simplifying the Immigration Rules. I am extremely grateful to the Law Commission for their detailed and constructive work.

The first recommendation from the Law Commission is we should overhaul the Immigration Rules, consolidating and streamlining, based on the principles they have identified. I am pleased to announce we accept this recommendation. Our aim is to complete this overhaul by January 2021.

Simplified rules will be at the heart of Britain’s new, global points-based immigration system.

For far too long, users have struggled to understand the confusing and complex Immigration Rules. They create barriers for employers who want to bring skilled workers to the UK; to colleges who want to encourage international students to come to the UK, and to the brightest and best migrants from around the world who want to make a contribution to the UK.

We will cut through the complexity and make the Rules clear, consistent and accessible, to encourage those who have the skills or talent to benefit the UK, and to crack down on illegal migration and remove those who abuse our hospitality by committing criminal offences.

In line with the Law Commission’s recommendations, I have already established a Simplification of the Rules Review Committee to look at the drafting and structure of the Rules. The Committee will ensure the simplification principles put in place now continue to apply in future, whilst providing ongoing support to continuously improve and adapt the Rules in our changing world.

The Law Commission made 41 recommendations for change. We accept 24 of the recommendations, and partially accept the other 17 recommendations. Where we have not fully accepted a recommendation that does not mean we disagree with the ambition behind the recommendations, it generally means we want to explore how it can be delivered in practice.

Simplification of the Immigration rules, the global points-based immigration system, and the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill which will end free movement, will deliver the biggest shake-up of the immigration system in a generation.

The Government’s response has been published on gov.uk and can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/simplifying-the-immigration-rules-a-response.

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

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS185
WS
Ministry of Justice
Made on: 24 March 2020
Made by: Robert Buckland (The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice)
Commons

Tenth Annual Report of the UK’s National Preventive Mechanism

The United Nations Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT), which the UK ratified in December 2003, requires States Parties to establish a “National Preventive Mechanism” (NPM) to carry out visits to places of detention to prevent torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

The Government established the UK NPM in March 2009 (Hansard 31 March 2009, Vol. 490, Part No. 57, Column 56WS). The UK NPM is currently composed of 21 scrutiny bodies covering the whole of the UK.

Following previous practice, I have presented to Parliament the 10th NPM’s annual report (Command Paper CP 228). This report covers the period from 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019. I commend the important work that the NPM has carried out over this period and the NPM’s independent role in safeguarding the human rights of detainees across the UK. I also note the NPM’s observations around prisons, children in detention, police custody, immigration detention and court custody. The Government is committed to making prisons places of safety and reform. We are investing an additional £2.75 billion to transform jails, with tough new security measures including x-ray body scanners, and creating 10,000 modern prison places to rehabilitate offenders. Our long-term ambition is to replace Secure Training Centres and Young Offender Institutions with Secure Schools, putting education, healthcare and purposeful activity at the heart of young offender rehabilitation.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS181
WS
Treasury
Made on: 24 March 2020
Made by: Rishi Sunak (The Chancellor of the Exchequer)
Commons

Notification of Contingent Liability

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Bank of England decided at its meeting ending on 19 March to ask for an expansion in the maximum limit of purchases that may be undertaken by the Asset Purchase Facility (APF). This will encompass up to £200 billion of further purchases of gilts and corporate bonds to support the economy through the disruption caused by Covid-19.

In light of the evidence on the impact of Covid-19 on the global and domestic economy, and conditions in the UK and international government bond markets, the MPC judged further asset purchases financed by the issuance of central bank reserves should be undertaken to enable the MPC to meet its statutory objectives. The MPC expects that purchases of corporate bonds will improve the availability of credit to UK companies and that further purchases of gilts will reduce borrowing costs, raise asset prices, affect expectations and confidence, and thereby support the economy. I have therefore authorised an increase in the total size of the APF of £200 billion. This will bring the maximum total size of the APF from £445 to £645 billion.

In line with the requirements in the MPC remit, the amendments to the APF that could affect the allocation of credit and pose risks to the Exchequer have been discussed with Treasury officials. The risk control framework previously agreed with the Treasury will remain in place, and HM Treasury will keep monitoring risks to public funds from the Facility through regular risk oversight meetings and enhanced information sharing with the Bank.

There will continue to be an opportunity for the Treasury to provide views to the MPC on the design of the schemes within the APF, as they affect the Government’s broader economic objectives and may pose risks to the Exchequer.

The Government will continue to indemnify the Bank and the APF from any losses arising out of, or in connection with, the facility. If the liability is called, provision for any payment will be sought through the normal supply procedure.

A full departmental Minute has been laid in the House of Commons providing more detail on this contingent liability.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS180
WS
Treasury
Made on: 24 March 2020
Made by: Lord Agnew of Oulton (Minister of State)
Lords

Notification of Contingent Liability

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

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Bank of England decided at its meeting ending on 19 March to ask for an expansion in the maximum limit of purchases that may be undertaken by the Asset Purchase Facility (APF). This will encompass up to £200 billion of further purchases of gilts and corporate bonds to support the economy through the disruption caused by Covid-19.

In light of the evidence on the impact of Covid-19 on the global and domestic economy, and conditions in the UK and international government bond markets, the MPC judged further asset purchases financed by the issuance of central bank reserves should be undertaken to enable the MPC to meet its statutory objectives. The MPC expects that purchases of corporate bonds will improve the availability of credit to UK companies and that further purchases of gilts will reduce borrowing costs, raise asset prices, affect expectations and confidence, and thereby support the economy. I have therefore authorised an increase in the total size of the APF of £200 billion. This will bring the maximum total size of the APF from £445 to £645 billion.

In line with the requirements in the MPC remit, the amendments to the APF that could affect the allocation of credit and pose risks to the Exchequer have been discussed with Treasury officials. The risk control framework previously agreed with the Treasury will remain in place, and HM Treasury will keep monitoring risks to public funds from the Facility through regular risk oversight meetings and enhanced information sharing with the Bank.

There will continue to be an opportunity for the Treasury to provide views to the MPC on the design of the schemes within the APF, as they affect the Government’s broader economic objectives and may pose risks to the Exchequer.

The Government will continue to indemnify the Bank and the APF from any losses arising out of, or in connection with, the facility. If the liability is called, provision for any payment will be sought through the normal supply procedure.

A full departmental Minute has been laid in the House of Commons providing more detail on this contingent liability.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS184
WS
Cabinet Office
Made on: 24 March 2020
Made by: Lord True (Minister of State for the Cabinet Office)
Lords

Update: Strengthening Democracy

My Hon. Friend, the Minister of State for the Cabinet Office (Chloe Smith) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

In the written statement of 19 March, ‘Postponement of electoral events’ (HCWS174 and HLWS169), the Government outlined its proposals for urgent electoral legislation to postpone forthcoming elections as part of the wider steps to tackle the spread of the coronavirus.

Working to ensure the health and safety of the British public is the Government’s top priority. We still however have a responsibility to govern, plan for the future and ensure that where possible, essential Parliamentary business continues and legal obligations are met.

The House of Commons may debate the Government’s policy stance on UK Parliamentary boundaries on Friday 27 March, in light of the Private Members’ Bill tabled by the Hon. Member for Wellingborough (Peter Bone).

I believe clearly setting out the Government’s emerging policy position would provide clarity for Parliament, the public and electoral administrators. Given this policy area is of direct relevance to the Commons, it is important that the first Chamber is properly informed.

This is also pertinent because at present, the Government is legally required to give effect to the recommendations from the Boundary Commissions as set out in their 2018 reports - including reducing the number of constituencies to 600. In this statement I lay out the Government’s thinking on this matter.

Need for equal and updated boundaries

The Conservative Government committed, in its 2019 Manifesto, to delivering updated and equal UK Parliamentary boundaries with the essential aim of making sure that every vote counts the same - a cornerstone of democracy.

The last boundary review to be implemented in England was based on data from 2000; the last to be implemented in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland used data from 2001-2003. In effect, our current constituencies reflect how the UK population was at the beginning of the century. Today’s youngest voters have been born since then: this disregards significant changes in demographics, house building and geographical migration.

The Government has also taken into account representations from colleagues on all sides of the House, and from the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee.

When Parliamentary time allows, the Government is minded to bring forward primary legislation to set the framework for future boundary reviews, including the next review due to begin in early 2021. Such provisions would cover the number of constituencies, the frequency of reviews, the boundary review process, and the process by which those recommendations are brought into legal effect.

Maintaining 650 seats

Legislation currently provides that, on implementation of the 2018 Boundary Review recommendations, the number of constituencies in the UK shall be 600. The Government is minded to instead make provision for the number of parliamentary constituencies to remain at 650. In doing so, we would also remove the statutory obligation to implement the 2018 Boundary Review recommendations and the statutory obligation on the Government to make arrangements to review the reduction in constituencies to 600 by 30 November 2020.

Under current legislation the Boundary Commissions are required to report on their next review by October 2023. In order to meet this deadline they would have to begin that review in early 2021. Without changes to primary legislation, there would be a legal obligation for the Boundary Commissions to undertake that review on the basis of 600 constituencies.

This is a change in policy from the position previously legislated for under the Coalition Government. Since that policy was established in the Coalition Agreement, the United Kingdom has now left the European Union. The UK Parliament will have a greater workload now we are taking back control and regaining our political and economic independence. It is therefore sensible for the number of parliamentary constituencies to remain at 650.

Electoral quota tolerance

The Boundary Commissions are generally required to propose constituencies whose electorates vary in size by no more than +/- 5% from the average (“the electoral quota”). The Government is not minded to amend this tolerance level which achieves equal and fair boundaries whilst allowing the Boundary Commissions the flexibility to take account of other factors, such as physical geographical features and local ties, subject to the overriding principle of equality in constituency size.

Equal representation

Updated and equal boundaries will ensure that every constituent nation in the United Kingdom has equal representation in the UK Parliament, and deliver parity of representation across the United Kingdom's constituencies.

Under the existing legislation, passed in 2011, there are four protected constituencies where the electoral quota tolerance does not apply on account of their unique geography: Orkney and Shetland, Na h-Eileanan an Iar, and two seats for the Isle of Wight. The Government is not minded to make changes to these protected constituencies, or to propose any more protected constituencies given the need to ensure equal representation.

Boundary review cycle

Under the current legislation, boundary reviews must take place every five years. As the Government also intends to repeal the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, future boundary reviews will inevitably be decoupled from the cycle of general elections. We need to strike a balance between regularly updated parliamentary constituencies and the disruption caused to local communities and their MPs by boundaries changing at every general election.

The Government is minded to consider that conducting boundary reviews every eight years strikes the right balance. An eight-year review cycle would generally allow for updated constituencies to be in place for two general elections before being reviewed in time for a third general election.

Implementing the recommendations of the independent Boundary Commissions

Currently, at the end of a boundary review, the Government lays the reports of the independent and impartial Boundary Commissions before Parliament. The recommendations contained in the reports are then brought into effect by way of an Order in Council that must be approved by Parliament by the affirmative procedure before it can be made.

The Government is minded to continue to provide that the reports are still laid before Parliament (by the Speaker who is Chair of the Boundary Commissions) but would change the means of bringing the Boundary Commissions’ recommendations into effect. The new recommended constituency boundaries will be brought into effect automatically by the Order in Council.

This change would provide certainty that the recommendations of the independent Boundary Commissions - developed through a robust and impartial process that is open to extensive consultation - would then be implemented without interference. Parliament, of course, would remain sovereign and can amend primary legislation as it sees fit.

Engagement with political parties

The Government is keen to establish the broad support of Parliament for such changes and will engage with the political parties represented in the UK Parliament on such proposals.

This will include engagement with the Parliamentary Parties Panel on the technical measures planned. These include provisions relating to the length of time the Boundary Commissions have to conduct their reviews within the boundary review cycle and the process involved in the reviews, such as public hearings and consultation. I hope there is scope for broad cross-party agreement on such improvements.

In due course, the Government hopes that such reforms will strengthen democratic accountability of Parliament to the British people.

I hope this provides clarity on the Government’s policy intent over this Parliament. Of course, as stated above, the Government’s immediate legislative priority will be taking the necessary steps to protect the health and safety of the British public.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS183
WS
Cabinet Office
Made on: 24 March 2020
Made by: Chloe Smith (Minister of State for the Cabinet Office)
Commons

Update: Strengthening Democracy

In the written statement of 19 March, ‘Postponement of electoral events’ (HCWS174 and HLWS169), the Government outlined its proposals for urgent electoral legislation to postpone forthcoming elections as part of the wider steps to tackle the spread of the coronavirus.

Working to ensure the health and safety of the British public is the Government’s top priority. We still however have a responsibility to govern, plan for the future and ensure that where possible, essential Parliamentary business continues and legal obligations are met.

The House of Commons may debate the Government’s policy stance on UK Parliamentary boundaries on Friday 27 March, in light of the Private Members’ Bill tabled by the Hon. Member for Wellingborough (Peter Bone).

I believe clearly setting out the Government’s emerging policy position would provide clarity for Parliament, the public and electoral administrators. Given this policy area is of direct relevance to the Commons, it is important that the first Chamber is properly informed.

This is also pertinent because at present, the Government is legally required to give effect to the recommendations from the Boundary Commissions as set out in their 2018 reports - including reducing the number of constituencies to 600. In this statement I lay out the Government’s thinking on this matter.

Need for equal and updated boundaries

The Conservative Government committed, in its 2019 Manifesto, to delivering updated and equal UK Parliamentary boundaries with the essential aim of making sure that every vote counts the same - a cornerstone of democracy.

The last boundary review to be implemented in England was based on data from 2000; the last to be implemented in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland used data from 2001-2003. In effect, our current constituencies reflect how the UK population was at the beginning of the century. Today’s youngest voters have been born since then: this disregards significant changes in demographics, house building and geographical migration.

The Government has also taken into account representations from colleagues on all sides of the House, and from the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee.

When Parliamentary time allows, the Government is minded to bring forward primary legislation to set the framework for future boundary reviews, including the next review due to begin in early 2021. Such provisions would cover the number of constituencies, the frequency of reviews, the boundary review process, and the process by which those recommendations are brought into legal effect.

Maintaining 650 seats

Legislation currently provides that, on implementation of the 2018 Boundary Review recommendations, the number of constituencies in the UK shall be 600. The Government is minded to instead make provision for the number of parliamentary constituencies to remain at 650. In doing so, we would also remove the statutory obligation to implement the 2018 Boundary Review recommendations and the statutory obligation on the Government to make arrangements to review the reduction in constituencies to 600 by 30 November 2020.

Under current legislation the Boundary Commissions are required to report on their next review by October 2023. In order to meet this deadline they would have to begin that review in early 2021. Without changes to primary legislation, there would be a legal obligation for the Boundary Commissions to undertake that review on the basis of 600 constituencies.

This is a change in policy from the position previously legislated for under the Coalition Government. Since that policy was established in the Coalition Agreement, the United Kingdom has now left the European Union. The UK Parliament will have a greater workload now we are taking back control and regaining our political and economic independence. It is therefore sensible for the number of parliamentary constituencies to remain at 650.

Electoral quota tolerance

The Boundary Commissions are generally required to propose constituencies whose electorates vary in size by no more than +/- 5% from the average (“the electoral quota”). The Government is not minded to amend this tolerance level which achieves equal and fair boundaries whilst allowing the Boundary Commissions the flexibility to take account of other factors, such as physical geographical features and local ties, subject to the overriding principle of equality in constituency size.

Equal representation

Updated and equal boundaries will ensure that every constituent nation in the United Kingdom has equal representation in the UK Parliament, and deliver parity of representation across the United Kingdom's constituencies.

Under the existing legislation, passed in 2011, there are four protected constituencies where the electoral quota tolerance does not apply on account of their unique geography: Orkney and Shetland, Na h-Eileanan an Iar, and two seats for the Isle of Wight. The Government is not minded to make changes to these protected constituencies, or to propose any more protected constituencies given the need to ensure equal representation.

Boundary review cycle

Under the current legislation, boundary reviews must take place every five years. As the Government also intends to repeal the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, future boundary reviews will inevitably be decoupled from the cycle of general elections. We need to strike a balance between regularly updated parliamentary constituencies and the disruption caused to local communities and their MPs by boundaries changing at every general election.

The Government is minded to consider that conducting boundary reviews every eight years strikes the right balance. An eight-year review cycle would generally allow for updated constituencies to be in place for two general elections before being reviewed in time for a third general election.

Implementing the recommendations of the independent Boundary Commissions

Currently, at the end of a boundary review, the Government lays the reports of the independent and impartial Boundary Commissions before Parliament. The recommendations contained in the reports are then brought into effect by way of an Order in Council that must be approved by Parliament by the affirmative procedure before it can be made.

The Government is minded to continue to provide that the reports are still laid before Parliament (by the Speaker who is Chair of the Boundary Commissions) but would change the means of bringing the Boundary Commissions’ recommendations into effect. The new recommended constituency boundaries will be brought into effect automatically by the Order in Council.

This change would provide certainty that the recommendations of the independent Boundary Commissions - developed through a robust and impartial process that is open to extensive consultation - would then be implemented without interference. Parliament, of course, would remain sovereign and can amend primary legislation as it sees fit.

Engagement with political parties

The Government is keen to establish the broad support of Parliament for such changes and will engage with the political parties represented in the UK Parliament on such proposals.

This will include engagement with the Parliamentary Parties Panel on the technical measures planned. These include provisions relating to the length of time the Boundary Commissions have to conduct their reviews within the boundary review cycle and the process involved in the reviews, such as public hearings and consultation. I hope there is scope for broad cross-party agreement on such improvements.

In due course, the Government hopes that such reforms will strengthen democratic accountability of Parliament to the British people.

I hope this provides clarity on the Government’s policy intent over this Parliament. Of course, as stated above, the Government’s immediate legislative priority will be taking the necessary steps to protect the health and safety of the British public.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS179
WS
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Made on: 24 March 2020
Made by: Baroness Barran (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
Lords

Media Matters

My Right Honourable Friend the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden MP, has made the following Statement:

On 22 January 2020, DCMS informed the House that my predecessor had issued a Public Interest Intervention Notice (PIIN) in respect of the acquisition by Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) of JPI Media Publications Ltd, and thus the i newspaper.

The PIIN triggered the requirement for the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to report to me on jurisdictional and competition matters, and for Ofcom to report on the following media public interest consideration:

  • the need for, to the extent that it is reasonable and practicable, a sufficient plurality of views in newspapers in each market for newspapers in the United Kingdom or a part of the United Kingdom.

I received the CMA and Ofcom reports on by the deadline of 13 March and have today published these on the gov.uk website.

I accept the CMA’s findings that whilst it is, or may be, the case that a relevant merger situation has been created, the merger does not give rise to a realistic prospect of a substantial lessening of competition in any market.

I have also agreed with Ofcom that the merger does not raise concerns in relation to plurality of views in newspapers.

In light of this, and having considered representations submitted by interested parties in response to the PIIN, DCMS has written to the parties today confirming my decision not to refer the merger for a Phase 2 investigation.

The role of the Secretary of State in this process is quasi-judicial and procedures are in place to ensure that I act independently and have followed a process which is fair and impartial.

WS
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Made on: 24 March 2020
Made by: Oliver Dowden (Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
Commons

Media Matters

On 22 January 2020, DCMS informed the House that my predecessor had issued a Public Interest Intervention Notice (PIIN) in respect of the acquisition by Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) of JPI Media Publications Ltd, and thus the i newspaper.

The PIIN triggered the requirement for the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to report to me on jurisdictional and competition matters, and for Ofcom to report on the following media public interest consideration:

  • the need for, to the extent that it is reasonable and practicable, a sufficient plurality of views in newspapers in each market for newspapers in the United Kingdom or a part of the United Kingdom.

I received the CMA and Ofcom reports on by the deadline of 13 March and have today published these on the gov.uk website.

I accept the CMA’s findings that whilst it is, or may be, the case that a relevant merger situation has been created, the merger does not give rise to a realistic prospect of a substantial lessening of competition in any market.

I have also agreed with Ofcom that the merger does not raise concerns in relation to plurality of views in newspapers.

In light of this, and having considered representations submitted by interested parties in response to the PIIN, DCMS has written to the parties today confirming my decision not to refer the merger for a Phase 2 investigation.

The role of the Secretary of State in this process is quasi-judicial and procedures are in place to ensure that I act independently and have followed a process which is fair and impartial.

WS
Treasury
Made on: 24 March 2020
Made by: The Earl of Courtown (Treasury Spokesperson)
Lords

Contingencies Fund Bill

I have made a statement under Section 19(1)(a) of the Human Rights Act 1998 that, in my view, the provisions of the Contingencies Fund Bill are compatible with the convention rights. A copy of the statement has been placed in the Library of the House.

WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 24 March 2020
Made by: Baroness Goldie (Minister of State, Ministry of Defence)
Lords

Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Associations Annual Report 2019

My hon. Friend the Minister for the Armed Forces (James Heappey MP) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I am today publishing the report of the Review of the Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Associations 2019.

The Review’s purpose was to assess and challenge the continuing requirement, efficiency and good governance of the thirteen RFCAs and, their Joint Committee, the Council of RFCAs. The Review was undertaken by MOD, and an independent Challenge Panel was appointed to assure its robustness and impartiality. The Review was conducted with the full participation of the RFCA community, and gathered evidence from a wide range of stakeholders across government, Defence and the RFCAs’ customers at the national and regional levels. I would like to thank all those who contributed to the Review.

The Review concluded that the functions of the RFCAs remain valued and necessary and the RFCAs should continue in their role of key partner to Defence – a point made clear by the wide range of beneficiaries of the RFCAs’ work. The Review makes a number of recommendations to strengthen the relationship between Defence and the RFCAs, ensuring the RFCAs are on a stable, sustainable footing to continue to deliver advocacy and support for Reserves and Cadets across the UK.

Defence is currently working with other government departments and the RFCAs to understand how best to implement the recommendations. This will be announced in due course.

The Report will be placed in the library of the House.

WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 24 March 2020
Made by: Baroness Goldie (Minister of State ( Ministry of Defence))
Lords

RAF Battle Honours for Operations in Afghanistan

I am today announcing that Her Majesty The Queen has been graciously pleased to approve the award of Battle Honours to squadrons of Her Majesty’s Royal Air Force for their participation in operations in Afghanistan during the period 7 October 2001 to 31 December 2014.

Battle Honours may be “awarded to commemorate any notable battle, action or engagement in which aircrew or Royal Air Force Regiment personnel played a memorable part”. There are two levels of Battle Honour within the Royal Air Force. The first is the award of a Battle Honour which recognises that a squadron played a notable and significant role in the campaign. The second, higher level confers the right to emblazon the Battle Honour on the Standard itself. Battle Honours with emblazonment are reserved for those squadrons which are involved in direct confrontation with an enemy and demonstrate gallantry and spirit under fire.

Six operational flying squadrons and nine Royal Air Force Regiment squadrons were awarded the highest honour of a Battle Honour with the right to emblazon. Battle Honours were approved for twenty-six operational flying squadrons for their participation in operations in Afghanistan.

A Battle Honour with the right to emblazon ‘AFGHANISTAN 2001-2014’ on their Squadron Standard is awarded to:

No. 7 Squadron RAF

No. 3 Squadron RAF Regiment

No. 18 (Bomber) Squadron RAF

No. 15 Squadron RAF Regiment

No. 27 Squadron RAF

No. 27 Squadron RAF Regiment

No. 28 (Army Cooperation) Squadron RAF

No. 34 Squadron RAF Regiment

No. 47 Squadron RAF

No. 51 Squadron RAF Regiment

No. 78 Squadron RAF

No. 58 Squadron RAF Regiment

No. 1 Squadron RAF Regiment

No. 63 Squadron RAF Regiment

No. II Squadron RAF Regiment

A Battle Honour is awarded to:

No. 1 (Fighter) Squadron RAF

No. 30 Squadron RAF

No. II (Army Cooperation) Squadron RAF

No. 31 Squadron RAF

No. 3 (Fighter) Squadron RAF

No. 32 (The Royal) Squadron RAF

No. IV (Army Cooperation) Squadron RAF

No. 39 Squadron RAF

No. V (Army Cooperation) Squadron RAF

No. 51 Squadron RAF

No. 8 Squadron RAF

No. LXX Squadron RAF

No. IX (Bomber) Squadron RAF

No. 99 Squadron RAF

No. 10 Squadron RAF

No. 101 Squadron RAF

No. 12 (Bomber) Squadron RAF

No. 120 Squadron RAF

No. XIII Squadron RAF

No. 201 Squadron RAF

No. 14 Squadron RAF

No. 206 Squadron RAF

No. 23 Squadron RAF

No. 216 Squadron RAF

No. XXIV Squadron RAF

No. 617 Squadron RAF

WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 24 March 2020
Made by: Baroness Goldie (Minister of State ( Ministry of Defence))
Lords

RAF Battle Honours for Operations Vulcan and Barras

I am today announcing that Her Majesty The Queen has been graciously pleased to approve the award of Battle Honours to squadrons of Her Majesty’s Royal Air Force, for their participation in Operation VULCAN (Bosnia) during the period August to September 1995 and Operation BARRAS (Sierra Leone) during the period August to September 2000.

Battle Honours may be “awarded to commemorate any notable battle, action or engagement in which aircrew or Royal Air Force Regiment personnel played a memorable part”. There are two levels of Battle Honour within the Royal Air Force. The first is the award of a Battle Honour which recognises that a squadron played a notable and significant role in the campaign. The second, higher level confers the right to emblazon the Battle Honour on the Standard itself. This ultimate accolade of Battle Honours with emblazonment is reserved for those squadrons which are involved in direct confrontation with an enemy and demonstrate gallantry and spirit under fire.

The highest honour of Battle Honour with the right to emblazon has been awarded to two squadrons for their participation on Operation VULCAN.

The highest honour of Battle Honour with the right to emblazon has been awarded to one squadron for their participation on Operation BARRAS.

A Battle Honour with the right to emblazon ‘BOSNIA 1995’ on their Squadron Standard is awarded to:

No. IV (Army Cooperation) Squadron RAF

No. 6 Squadron RAF

A Battle Honour with the right to emblazon ‘SIERRA LEONE 2000’ on their Squadron Standard is awarded to:

No. 7 Squadron RAF

WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 24 March 2020
Made by: Baroness Goldie (Minister of State ( Ministry of Defence))
Lords

RAF Battle Honours for Operation TELIC (Post War)

On the 10 October 2017, the Minister in the House of Lords made a Written Ministerial Statement announcing the award of Battle Honours to squadrons of Her Majesty’s Royal Air Force, for their participation in Operation TELIC Post-War Consolidation and Reconstruction Phase during the period 1 May 2003 – 22 May 2011.

I am today announcing that Her Majesty The Queen has been graciously pleased to approve the award of a Battle Honour to one further squadron of Her Majesty’s Royal Air Force for their participation in Operation TELIC Post-War Consolidation and Reconstruction Phase during the period 1 May 2003 – 22 May 2011.

Battle Honours may be “awarded to commemorate any notable battle, action or engagement in which aircrew or Royal Air Force Regiment personnel played a memorable part”. There are two levels of Battle Honour within the Royal Air Force. The first is the award of a Battle Honour which recognises that a squadron played a notable and significant role in the campaign. The second, higher level confers the right to emblazon the Battle Honour on the Standard itself. This ultimate accolade is reserved for those squadrons which are involved in direct confrontation with an enemy and demonstrate gallantry and spirit under fire.

In addition to the twenty-seven Battle Honours and eight Battle Honours with the right to emblazon previously approved for squadron’s participation on Operation TELIC, one further operational flying squadron has been approved for the award of a Battle Honour.

A Battle Honour Is awarded to:

No. 78 Squadron RAF

WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 24 March 2020
Made by: Lord Callanan (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Climate Change and Corporate Responsibility))
Lords

Departmental Contingent Liability Notification (Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme)

My Right Honourable friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Alok Sharma) has today made the following statement:

I am tabling this statement for the benefit of Honourable and Right Honourable Members to bring to their attention the details of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 11 March 2020.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme will be facilitated by the Government-owned British Business Bank and delivered through its delivery partners. Lenders will offer loans of up to £5 million to support small and medium sized businesses with a turnover up to £45 million that are affected by the coronavirus outbreak. There will be no limit on the number and aggregate value of loans that can be made under the scheme.

The scheme is based on the British Business Bank’s existing Enterprise Finance Guarantee scheme, is available on a temporary basis and can be extended as required. The key parameters of the scheme are as follows:

  • The percentage of the remaining balance of each loan that is guaranteed by the Government will be increased to 80 per cent (currently 75 per cent of each EFG loan is guaranteed);

  • A cap on gross Government liability at the level of the lender’s whole CBILS portfolio of 75 per cent of losses (currently the Government’s gross liability is capped at 20 per cent of losses across the lender’s whole EFG portfolio);

  • A government grant (the 'business interruption payment') will be provided for the benefit of businesses, equal to the fees and interest incurred on the facility for the first twelve months. The maximum grant payable is capped at a level that will allow a significant majority of businesses to be compensated in full. A lower cap applies to businesses in some sectors;

  • The lender must establish that the SME has a viable business proposition assessed according to its normal commercial lending criteria. However, where there are some concerns over the short-term business performance due to Covid-19 impacts, provided the lender reasonably believes that the finance will help the business to ‘trade out’ of any short-term cashflow difficulty, then the business is considered eligible for the scheme; and

  • Subject to the lender’s policy, businesses can access CBILS loans up to a value of £250,000 without the lender undertaking an assessment of their security position (currently, only businesses that have been assessed by the lender as having insufficient security can access EFG loans).

The new scheme was launched on 23 March, will run for an initial period of six months, and will be extended as required. The Government will be subject to a greater contingent liability than is the case for the Enterprise Finance Guarantee, and I will be laying a Departmental Minute today containing a description of the liability undertaken.

For more information on this and other support for business, please go to https://www.businesssupport.gov.uk/

WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 24 March 2020
Made by: James Heappey (Minister of State for the Armed Forces)
Commons

RAF Battle Honours for Operation TELIC (Post War)

My noble Friend the Minister in the House of Lords (The Rt Hon Baroness Goldie DL) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

On the 10 October 2017, the Minister in the House of Lords made a Written Ministerial Statement announcing the award of Battle Honours to squadrons of Her Majesty’s Royal Air Force, for their participation in Operation TELIC Post-War Consolidation and Reconstruction Phase during the period 1 May 2003 – 22 May 2011.

I am today announcing that Her Majesty The Queen has been graciously pleased to approve the award of a Battle Honour to one further squadron of Her Majesty’s Royal Air Force for their participation in Operation TELIC Post-War Consolidation and Reconstruction Phase during the period 1 May 2003 – 22 May 2011.

Battle Honours may be “awarded to commemorate any notable battle, action or engagement in which aircrew or Royal Air Force Regiment personnel played a memorable part”. There are two levels of Battle Honour within the Royal Air Force. The first is the award of a Battle Honour which recognises that a squadron played a notable and significant role in the campaign. The second, higher level confers the right to emblazon the Battle Honour on the Standard itself. This ultimate accolade is reserved for those squadrons which are involved in direct confrontation with an enemy and demonstrate gallantry and spirit under fire.

In addition to the twenty-seven Battle Honours and eight Battle Honours with the right to emblazon previously approved for squadron’s participation on Operation TELIC, one further operational flying squadron has been approved for the award of a Battle Honour.

A Battle Honour Is awarded to:

No. 78 Squadron RAF

WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 24 March 2020
Made by: James Heappey (Minister for the Armed Forces)
Commons

RAF Battle Honours for Operations Vulcan and Barras

My noble Friend the Minister in the House of Lords (The Rt Hon Baroness Goldie DL) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I am today announcing that Her Majesty The Queen has been graciously pleased to approve the award of Battle Honours to squadrons of Her Majesty’s Royal Air Force, for their participation in Operation VULCAN (Bosnia) during the period August to September 1995 and Operation BARRAS (Sierra Leone) during the period August to September 2000.

Battle Honours may be “awarded to commemorate any notable battle, action or engagement in which aircrew or Royal Air Force Regiment personnel played a memorable part”. There are two levels of Battle Honour within the Royal Air Force. The first is the award of a Battle Honour which recognises that a squadron played a notable and significant role in the campaign. The second, higher level confers the right to emblazon the Battle Honour on the Standard itself. This ultimate accolade of Battle Honours with emblazonment is reserved for those squadrons which are involved in direct confrontation with an enemy and demonstrate gallantry and spirit under fire.

The highest honour of Battle Honour with the right to emblazon has been awarded to two squadrons for their participation on Operation VULCAN.

The highest honour of Battle Honour with the right to emblazon has been awarded to one squadron for their participation on Operation BARRAS.

A Battle Honour with the right to emblazon ‘BOSNIA 1995’ on their Squadron Standard is awarded to:

No. IV (Army Cooperation) Squadron RAF

No. 6 Squadron RAF

A Battle Honour with the right to emblazon ‘SIERRA LEONE 2000’ on their Squadron Standard is awarded to:

No.7 Squadron RAF



WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 24 March 2020
Made by: James Heappey (Minister for the Armed Forces)
Commons

RAF Battle Honours for Operations in Afghanistan

My noble Friend the Minister in the House of Lords (The Rt Hon Baroness Goldie DL) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I am today announcing that Her Majesty The Queen has been graciously pleased to approve the award of Battle Honours to squadrons of Her Majesty’s Royal Air Force for their participation in operations in Afghanistan during the period 7 October 2001 to 31 December 2014.

Battle Honours may be “awarded to commemorate any notable battle, action or engagement in which aircrew or Royal Air Force Regiment personnel played a memorable part”. There are two levels of Battle Honour within the Royal Air Force. The first is the award of a Battle Honour which recognises that a squadron played a notable and significant role in the campaign. The second, higher level confers the right to emblazon the Battle Honour on the Standard itself. Battle Honours with emblazonment are reserved for those squadrons which are involved in direct confrontation with an enemy and demonstrate gallantry and spirit under fire.

Six operational flying squadrons and nine Royal Air Force Regiment squadrons were awarded the highest honour of a Battle Honour with the right to emblazon. Battle Honours were approved for twenty-six operational flying squadrons for their participation in operations in Afghanistan.

A Battle Honour with the right to emblazon ‘AFGHANISTAN 2001-2014’ on their Squadron Standard is awarded to:

No. 7 Squadron RAF

No. 3 Squadron RAF Regiment

No. 18 (Bomber) Squadron RAF

No. 15 Squadron RAF Regiment

No. 27 Squadron RAF

No. 27 Squadron RAF Regiment

No. 28 (Army Cooperation) Squadron RAF

No. 34 Squadron RAF Regiment

No. 47 Squadron RAF

No. 51 Squadron RAF Regiment

No. 78 Squadron RAF

No. 58 Squadron RAF Regiment

No. 1 Squadron RAF Regiment

No. 63 Squadron RAF Regiment

No. II Squadron RAF Regiment

A Battle Honour is awarded to:

No. 1 (Fighter) Squadron RAF

No. 30 Squadron RAF

No. II (Army Cooperation) Squadron RAF

No. 31 Squadron RAF

No. 3 (Fighter) Squadron RAF

No. 32 (The Royal) Squadron RAF

No. IV (Army Cooperation) Squadron RAF

No. 39 Squadron RAF

No. V (Army Cooperation) Squadron RAF

No. 51 Squadron RAF

No. 8 Squadron RAF

No. LXX Squadron RAF

No. IX (Bomber) Squadron RAF

No. 99 Squadron RAF

No. 10 Squadron RAF

No. 101 Squadron RAF

No. 12 (Bomber) Squadron RAF

No. 120 Squadron RAF

No. XIII Squadron RAF

No. 201 Squadron RAF

No. 14 Squadron RAF

No. 206 Squadron RAF

No. 23 Squadron RAF

No. 216 Squadron RAF

No. XXIV Squadron RAF

No. 617 Squadron RAF

WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 24 March 2020
Made by: James Heappey (Minister for the Armed Forces)
Commons

Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Associations Annual Report 2019

I am today publishing the report of the Review of the Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Associations 2019.

The Review’s purpose was to assess and challenge the continuing requirement, efficiency and good governance of the thirteen RFCAs and, their Joint Committee, the Council of RFCAs. The Review was undertaken by MOD, and an independent Challenge Panel was appointed to assure its robustness and impartiality. The Review was conducted with the full participation of the RFCA community, and gathered evidence from a wide range of stakeholders across government, Defence and the RFCAs’ customers at the national and regional levels. I would like to thank all those who contributed to the Review.

The Review concluded that the functions of the RFCAs remain valued and necessary and the RFCAs should continue in their role of key partner to Defence – a point made clear by the wide range of beneficiaries of the RFCAs’ work. The Review makes a number of recommendations to strengthen the relationship between Defence and the RFCAs, ensuring the RFCAs are on a stable, sustainable footing to continue to deliver advocacy and support for Reserves and Cadets across the UK.

Defence is currently working with other Government Departments and the RFCAs to understand how best to implement the recommendations. This will be announced in due course.

The Report will be placed in the library of the House.

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