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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Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 09 September 2019
Made by: Robert Jenrick (Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Commons

Local government update

On 27 July 2019 the Prime Minister announced that the £3.6 billion Towns Fund would support an initial 100 town deals across England.

The fund is part of the Government’s plan to level up our regions and create a more united country, one where people throughout the UK can benefit from our shared prosperity.

This Government is committed to decentralise funding and decisions away from Whitehall. We have invested in the growth of local economies and devolving powers through agreeing ambitious City and Growth Deals, devolving more than £9 billion of funding to Local Enterprise Partnerships and introducing eight metro mayors in England.

However, many towns have not benefited from city-focused investment and we know that for the country to succeed, every place must play its part.

Last week I announced the 100 places I will be inviting to develop proposals for town deals. These include towns that are birthplaces of industry, that have been centres of commerce for centuries and that are bastions of the maritime economy along our coastline.

These are famous towns with great histories that unfortunately do not feel they have received benefits from the growth we are seeing elsewhere in the UK economy.

That is why we will work with these places to develop proposals for transformative investments in infrastructure, skills and culture through the Towns Fund. These deals will include the new homes, improved transport and broadband connectivity that towns need, as well as social and cultural infrastructure - from libraries and art centres to parks and vital public services. These investments will boost productivity and sustainably raise living standards, bringing communities together and giving places new energy and life.

We know that every place is different. That is why we will work with towns across the country to listen and give greater power to communities when developing innovative proposals for their area. I want Government to better understand the local assets towns have and the challenges they face. It will be through the Towns Fund that we can support these places to harness their unique strengths for future growth and community resilience.

We want to make sure that all parts of the UK can benefit from resources to boost productivity and living standards. We are in ongoing discussions with colleagues across Her Majesty’s Government about how we can better support our towns in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and make sure areas throughout the UK share in the opportunities of Brexit.

I will publish a Towns Fund prospectus shortly in order to provide greater detail on how the fund will operate. This document will set out eligibility criteria for funding and the rigorous process by which proposals will be considered, including our expectations for community involvement and maximising the impact of spending. We will then begin working with places across the country to support them in developing their proposals for the future. Their best years lie ahead of them.

The list of places I announced last week can be found here.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1793
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 09 September 2019
Made by: Viscount Younger of Leckie (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Lords

Local government update

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

On 27 July 2019 the Prime Minister announced that the £3.6 billion Towns Fund would support an initial 100 town deals across England.

The fund is part of the Government’s plan to level up our regions and create a more united country, one where people throughout the UK can benefit from our shared prosperity.

This Government is committed to decentralise funding and decisions away from Whitehall. We have invested in the growth of local economies and devolving powers through agreeing ambitious City and Growth Deals, devolving more than £9 billion of funding to Local Enterprise Partnerships and introducing eight metro mayors in England.

However, many towns have not benefited from city-focused investment and we know that for the country to succeed, every place must play its part.

Last week I announced the 100 places I will be inviting to develop proposals for town deals. These include towns that are birthplaces of industry, that have been centres of commerce for centuries and that are bastions of the maritime economy along our coastline.

These are famous towns with great histories that unfortunately do not feel they have received benefits from the growth we are seeing elsewhere in the UK economy.

That is why we will work with these places to develop proposals for transformative investments in infrastructure, skills and culture through the Towns Fund. These deals will include the new homes, improved transport and broadband connectivity that towns need, as well as social and cultural infrastructure - from libraries and art centres to parks and vital public services. These investments will boost productivity and sustainably raise living standards, bringing communities together and giving places new energy and life.

We know that every place is different. That is why we will work with towns across the country to listen and give greater power to communities when developing innovative proposals for their area. I want Government to better understand the local assets towns have and the challenges they face. It will be through the Towns Fund that we can support these places to harness their unique strengths for future growth and community resilience.

We want to make sure that all parts of the UK can benefit from resources to boost productivity and living standards. We are in ongoing discussions with colleagues across Her Majesty’s Government about how we can better support our towns in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and make sure areas throughout the UK share in the opportunities of Brexit.

I will publish a Towns Fund prospectus shortly in order to provide greater detail on how the fund will operate. This document will set out eligibility criteria for funding and the rigorous process by which proposals will be considered, including our expectations for community involvement and maximising the impact of spending. We will then begin working with places across the country to support them in developing their proposals for the future. Their best years lie ahead of them.

The list of places I announced last week can be found here.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1830
WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 09 September 2019
Made by: Baroness Stedman-Scott (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions)
Lords

Universal Credit: Reporting Childcare Costs

My honourable Friend, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Employment (Mims Davies MP) has made the following Written Statement.

Today The Universal Credit (Childcare Costs and Minimum Income Floor) (Amendment) Regulations 2019 will be laid, as well as the equivalent Northern Ireland regulations.

Universal Credit is the biggest change of the welfare system since it was created. It is a modern, flexible, personalised benefit reflecting the rapidly changing world of work.

Up to 85% of childcare costs can be reimbursed through Universal Credit. However, previously those reporting costs generally had to do so in the same month-long Universal Credit assessment period in which they were incurred for these costs to be reimbursed.

In order to ensure that busy parents have the maximum opportunity to recover childcare costs, we are laying legislation today to give extra time for working parents to claim back childcare costs. We are doubling the period during which those who claim support for childcare costs in Universal Credit can report their costs – they will now have an additional month to do so.

This extension for reporting costs provides parents with more flexibility and could help claimants with two or more children avoid losing out on more than £1,100 per month. Costs can be submitted online, and those in work while in receipt of Universal Credit can apply for up to £646.35 per month if they have one child and up to £1,108.40 for two or more children.

In addition to the childcare support provided in Universal Credit, the Government also provides a wide range of childcare support for families, including 30 free hours for three- and four-year-olds of working parents, 15 free hours for disadvantaged two-year-olds and for all three- and four-year-olds, and Tax Free Childcare.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1824
WS
Department for Education
Made on: 09 September 2019
Made by: Lord Agnew of Oulton (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System)
Lords

School Funding Update

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

Today I am confirming detailed aspects of schools and high needs funding arrangements for 2020-21. This follows a statement by the Secretary of State for Education on 3 September, which confirmed to Parliament that the funding for schools and high needs will, compared to 2019-20, rise by £2.6 billion for 2020-21, £4.8 billion for 2021-22, and £7.1 billion for 2022-23.

In 2020-21, this funding will be distributed using the Schools and High Needs National Funding Formulae (NFF). We will be publishing provisional NFF allocations at local authority and school level in October, including local authorities’ final primary and secondary units of funding for the Schools Block. Alongside this, in the usual way, we will publish technical documents setting out the detail underpinning the formulae. We will then publish final schools and high needs allocations for local authorities in the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) in December.

The Schools NFF for 2020-21 will continue to have the same factors as at present, and we will continue to implement the formula to address historic underfunding and move to a system where funding is based on need. The key aspects of the formula for 2020-21 are:

  • The minimum per pupil funding levels will be set at £3,750 for primary schools and £5,000 for secondary schools. The following year, in 2021-22, the primary minimum level will rise to £4,000.
  • The funding floor will be set at 1.84% per pupil, in line with the forecast GDP deflator, to protect per pupil allocations for all schools in real terms. This minimum increase in 2020-21 allocations will be based on the individual school’s NFF allocation in 2019-20.
  • Schools that are attracting their core NFF allocations will benefit from an increase of 4% to the formula’s core factors.
  • There will be no gains cap in the NFF, unlike the previous two years, so that all schools attract their full core allocations under the formula.
  • As previously set out, we will make a technical change to the mobility factor so that it allocates this funding using a formulaic approach, rather than on the basis of historic spend.
  • Growth funding will be based on the same methodology as this year, with the same transitional protection ensuring that no authority whose growth funding is unwinding will lose more than 0.5% of its 2019-20 schools block allocation.

The Secretary of State confirmed on 3 September the government’s intention to move to a ‘hard’ NFF for schools – where budgets will be set on the basis of a single, national formula. We recognise that this will represent a significant change and we will work closely with local authorities, schools and others to make this transition as smoothly as possible.

In 2020-21 local authorities will continue to have discretion over their schools funding formulae and, in consultation with schools, will ultimately determine allocations in their area. However, as a first step towards hardening the formula, from 2020-21 the government will make the use of the national minimum per pupil funding levels, at the values in the school NFF, compulsory for local authorities to use in their own funding formulae.

In addition, two important restrictions will continue:

  • Local authorities will continue to set a Minimum Funding Guarantee in local formulae, which in 2020-21 must be between +0.5% and +1.84%. This allows them to mirror the real terms protection in the NFF, which is the Government’s expectation.
  • Local authorities can only transfer up to 0.5% of their School Block to other blocks of the DSG, with schools forum approval. To transfer more than this, or any amount without schools forum approval, they will have to make a request to the Department for Education, even if the same amount was agreed in the past two years.

The High Needs NFF for 2020-21 will also have the same factors as at present. With over £700 million of additional funding, the formula will:

  • Ensure that every local authority will receive an increase of at least 8% per head of 2 to 18 population through the funding floor. This minimum increase in 2020-21 allocations will be based on local authorities’ high needs allocations in 2019-20, including the additional £125 million announced in December 2018.
  • Above this minimum increase, the formula will allow local authorities to see increases of up to 17%, again calculated on the basis of per head of population.

The teachers’ pay grant and teachers’ pension employer contributions grant will both continue to be paid separately from the NFF in 2020-21. We will publish the rates that determine the 2020-21 allocations in due course.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1828
WS
Department for Education
Made on: 09 September 2019
Made by: Lord Agnew of Oulton (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System)
Lords

Education Update

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

On 6 September 2019 I announced a review into special educational needs and disability (SEND) and the support available to children and young people. This will be a cross-government review and is part of government’s commitment to ensure that every child receives the best start in life, including those who need additional support because they have a special educational need or disability.

In 2014, the government introduced significant, widely supported, reforms to improve and join-up the support that children and young people with SEND receive. It is now time to review how that is working, make sure that we are supporting children and young people to reach their potential, and to take account of the lived experience of children and young people with SEND and of their parents. The review is about understanding what is happening across England for children, young people and their families and making sure money is being spent fairly, efficiently and effectively, and that the support available to children and young people is sustainable in future.

The review will look at:

  • the evidence on how the system can provide the highest quality support that enables children and young people with SEND to thrive and prepare for adulthood, including employment;
  • better helping parents to make decisions about what kind of support will be best for their child;
  • making sure support in different local areas is consistent, and that high-quality support is available across the country;
  • how we strike the right balance of state-funded provision across inclusive mainstream and specialist places;
  • aligning incentives and accountability for schools, colleges and local authorities to make sure they provide the best possible support for children and young people with SEND;
  • understanding what is causing the demand for education, health and care plans and;
  • ensuring that public money is spent in an efficient, effective and sustainable manner, placing a premium on securing high quality outcomes for those children and young people who need additional support.

The review will inform and support the government’s commitment to revise and update the SEND Code of Practice before the end of 2020.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1829
WS
Department for Education
Made on: 09 September 2019
Made by: Gavin Williamson (The Secretary of State for Education)
Commons

Education Update

On 6 September 2019 I announced a review into special educational needs and disability (SEND) and the support available to children and young people. This will be a cross-government review and is part of government’s commitment to ensure that every child receives the best start in life, including those who need additional support because they have a special educational need or disability.

In 2014, the government introduced significant, widely supported, reforms to improve and join-up the support that children and young people with SEND receive. It is now time to review how that is working, make sure that we are supporting children and young people to reach their potential, and to take account of the lived experience of children and young people with SEND and of their parents. The review is about understanding what is happening across England for children, young people and their families and making sure money is being spent fairly, efficiently and effectively, and that the support available to children and young people is sustainable in future.

The review will look at:

  • the evidence on how the system can provide the highest quality support that enables children and young people with SEND to thrive and prepare for adulthood, including employment;
  • better helping parents to make decisions about what kind of support will be best for their child;
  • making sure support in different local areas is consistent, and that high-quality support is available across the country;
  • how we strike the right balance of state-funded provision across inclusive mainstream and specialist places;
  • aligning incentives and accountability for schools, colleges and local authorities to make sure they provide the best possible support for children and young people with SEND;
  • understanding what is causing the demand for education, health and care plans and;
  • ensuring that public money is spent in an efficient, effective and sustainable manner, placing a premium on securing high quality outcomes for those children and young people who need additional support.

The review will inform and support the government’s commitment to revise and update the SEND Code of Practice before the end of 2020.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1790
WS
Department for Education
Made on: 09 September 2019
Made by: Nick Gibb (The Minister of State for School Standards)
Commons

School Funding Update

Today I am confirming detailed aspects of schools and high needs funding arrangements for 2020-21. This follows a statement by the Secretary of State for Education on 3 September, which confirmed to Parliament that the funding for schools and high needs will, compared to 2019-20, rise by £2.6 billion for 2020-21, £4.8 billion for 2021-22, and £7.1 billion for 2022-23.

In 2020-21, this funding will be distributed using the Schools and High Needs National Funding Formulae (NFF). We will be publishing provisional NFF allocations at local authority and school level in October, including local authorities’ final primary and secondary units of funding for the Schools Block. Alongside this, in the usual way, we will publish technical documents setting out the detail underpinning the formulae. We will then publish final schools and high needs allocations for local authorities in the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) in December.

The Schools NFF for 2020-21 will continue to have the same factors as at present, and we will continue to implement the formula to address historic underfunding and move to a system where funding is based on need. The key aspects of the formula for 2020-21 are:

  • The minimum per pupil funding levels will be set at £3,750 for primary schools and £5,000 for secondary schools. The following year, in 2021-22, the primary minimum level will rise to £4,000.
  • The funding floor will be set at 1.84% per pupil, in line with the forecast GDP deflator, to protect per pupil allocations for all schools in real terms. This minimum increase in 2020-21 allocations will be based on the individual school’s NFF allocation in 2019-20.
  • Schools that are attracting their core NFF allocations will benefit from an increase of 4% to the formula’s core factors.
  • There will be no gains cap in the NFF, unlike the previous two years, so that all schools attract their full core allocations under the formula.
  • As previously set out, we will make a technical change to the mobility factor so that it allocates this funding using a formulaic approach, rather than on the basis of historic spend.
  • Growth funding will be based on the same methodology as this year, with the same transitional protection ensuring that no authority whose growth funding is unwinding will lose more than 0.5% of its 2019-20 schools block allocation.

The Secretary of State confirmed on 3 September the government’s intention to move to a ‘hard’ NFF for schools – where budgets will be set on the basis of a single, national formula. We recognise that this will represent a significant change and we will work closely with local authorities, schools and others to make this transition as smoothly as possible.

In 2020-21 local authorities will continue to have discretion over their schools funding formulae and, in consultation with schools, will ultimately determine allocations in their area. However, as a first step towards hardening the formula, from 2020-21 the government will make the use of the national minimum per pupil funding levels, at the values in the school NFF, compulsory for local authorities to use in their own funding formulae.

In addition, two important restrictions will continue:

  • Local authorities will continue to set a Minimum Funding Guarantee in local formulae, which in 2020-21 must be between +0.5% and +1.84%. This allows them to mirror the real terms protection in the NFF, which is the Government’s expectation.
  • Local authorities can only transfer up to 0.5% of their School Block to other blocks of the DSG, with schools forum approval. To transfer more than this, or any amount without schools forum approval, they will have to make a request to the Department for Education, even if the same amount was agreed in the past two years.

The High Needs NFF for 2020-21 will also have the same factors as at present. With over £700 million of additional funding, the formula will:

  • Ensure that every local authority will receive an increase of at least 8% per head of 2 to 18 population through the funding floor. This minimum increase in 2020-21 allocations will be based on local authorities’ high needs allocations in 2019-20, including the additional £125 million announced in December 2018.
  • Above this minimum increase, the formula will allow local authorities to see increases of up to 17%, again calculated on the basis of per head of population.

The teachers’ pay grant and teachers’ pension employer contributions grant will both continue to be paid separately from the NFF in 2020-21. We will publish the rates that determine the 2020-21 allocations in due course.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1791
WS
Department for International Development
Made on: 09 September 2019
Made by: Baroness Sugg (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development)
Lords

Ebola Update

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

Since the House was last updated on the response to the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in July, sadly the situation on the ground has become even more grave - despite the brave and tireless dedication of frontline responders.

I therefore want to assure the House that the UK – in partnership with communities, local authorities and trusted international partners – is doing everything it can to save lives.

Sadly, we have recently seen new cases in areas previously unaffected by the outbreak. In August, we saw cases emerge for the first time in the province of South Kivu. And in July, a number of cases were detected in Goma, a city of two million people on the border with Rwanda, prompting the World Health Organisation to declare a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

On Thursday 29 August, a 9-year-old Congolese girl was screened as a suspected case as she and her mother crossed the border from DRC. Tragically, she was confirmed as positive with Ebola and passed away. This is the seventh Ebola outbreak in Uganda since the year 2000 and the Ugandan authorities once again deserve praise for their swift response.

When I visited Uganda last month, I saw first-hand how UK aid is helping guard against the spread of Ebola. The border screening point and treatment centre, constructed with UK support, identified the above case.

The vital importance and effectiveness of health workers and communities - and of UK aid support for them - was shown again in rapidly identifying and confirming the case of the 9-year-old girl and appropriately moving her for isolation and care. Trained frontline workers and community awareness are crucial to mapping, monitoring and vaccinating potential cases. Thankfully, no further suspect cases in Uganda have yet been identified; although follow-up monitoring and surveillance continues.

Despite successes, hard work and dedication, the outbreak is still not under control. The death toll recently passed 2,000. We will not succeed in getting Ebola under control unless the international community as a whole steps up and supports the response. The world cannot afford to ignore Ebola, as it could spread further, making it a threat to us all.

That is why, in August, I announced an additional £8 million for neighbouring countries most at risk of the spread of Ebola, namely Uganda, South Sudan, Burundi and Rwanda. This funding will deliver more temperature checks at border crossings – which have been so crucial in Uganda. It will also support Ebola treatment units and provide clean water and sanitation. This is in addition to the £45 million that UK aid has already provided for tackling the outbreak in the DRC and a previous £15 million for regional preparedness.

The British people can be proud of the UK’s leading role in the response. We are the leading supporter of regional preparedness, and one of the largest donors to the overall response, alongside the US, ECHO and the World Bank. We are saving lives and bringing this outbreak to a close.

Despite the gravity of the situation, there is some cause for optimism. More than 200,000 people have now been vaccinated against the disease, which is a truly remarkable effort. This highly effective vaccine was developed with UK support during the latter stages of the west Africa outbreak, in 2013-2016.

Moreover, recent results from the trials of therapeutic treatments have also shown positive results, showing that we can treat this disease if it is detected early enough. Around 900 people have recovered from the virus and more could stand to benefit.

Investment in research and development is a crucial part of the Department’s work. I am extremely proud of the world-leading and innovative efforts we are supporting in this area. But if we are to tackle the spread of the disease, then more must be done. We must help support the longer-term strengthening of health systems around the world. However, more immediately, the international community needs to step up to support the response in the DRC. There is absolutely no room for complacency.

In recent months the response has been underfunded by the international community. This has had a detrimental impact on response activities on the ground: without funding, frontline responders are unable to deliver life-saving support such as treating patients, tracing and vaccinating their contacts, and burying the dead safely.

The UK has consistently pushed for other countries to step up their financial support. Although more commitments have now been given, we will continue to press our friends and partners for stronger action, including in New York later this month during the United Nations General Assembly. We must also make sure that funds are made available quickly and go where they are most needed, as set out in the recently published fourth Strategic Response Plan, which is the joint UN and Government of DRC plan to tackle the disease.

As I saw so clearly during my visit to Uganda, we must break down the barriers between the international response and local communities. Dispelling the myths surrounding the virus is critical in ensuring that patients are both able and willing to seek treatment.

UK support is therefore funding a wide range of activities, from employing Ebola survivors to talk to communities about treatment, to engaging with local religious leaders to foster trust. UK aid has funded safe and dignified burials, allowing families to have their loved ones buried in line with traditional practices, while protecting themselves from the virus.

But mistrust remains, complicated by the fact that the outbreak is found in a region afflicted by decades of conflict and violence. The scale of the challenge cannot be underestimated.

Finally, I want to pay tribute to the health workers who risk their lives daily to combat the spread of this terrible disease. We have seen health workers attacked and even killed for doing their job, and I am sure that the whole House will agree that we must condemn these deplorable acts of violence.

At its heart, this must be a community-led and owned response, but with strong financial and technical support from the international community. Although the risk of Ebola to the UK population remains very low, we all know that diseases do not respect borders. I can therefore assure the House that Britain remains committed to supporting the efffort to combat Ebola for as long as it takes to end the outbreak.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1826
WS
Treasury
Made on: 09 September 2019
Made by: The Earl of Courtown (Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

Asset Sale Disclosure

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

I am informing the House of the sale of the remainder of a claim against Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander Limited (in administration) (“KSF”) acquired by the government during the 2007-2008 financial crisis. The government’s claim was held by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (“FSCS”) which compensated KSF depositors at the time of the financial crisis. This sale to Tavira Securities Limited generates proceeds of £17.8 million for the Exchequer.

Rationale

The government acquired its claim in KSF to preserve financial stability. The administration of KSF has now been running for over nine years and there is comparatively little value remaining in the residual assets. The Exchequer has received £421 million of dividends prior to this sale. In addition, FSCS has repaid to the Exchequer £2.6 billion (plus interest of £146 million) which it borrowed at the time of the financial crisis to enable it to pay compensation for covered deposits in KSF.

Continuing to hold the claim until the administration of KSF concluded was considered, but this option was discounted as the analysis suggested a sale could achieve value for money and would free up FSCS and HM Treasury capacity previously used to manage the claim to pursue other work.

FSCS discussed the sale with a number of potential counterparties, having previously examined the market for selling claims. The counterparty selected offered the highest price.

The proceeds from this sale will reduce Public Sector Net Debt. This marks the conclusion of the government’s and FSCS’s involvement in KSF.

Format and Timing

The government and FSCS concluded that this sale achieves value for money for the taxpayer having (i) conducted an analysis of whether market conditions were conducive for the sale of this asset; and (ii) conducted an assessment of the fair market value for the asset. The sale made use of a third party broker experienced in selling claims against insolvent companies, which was done to create competitive tension among potential ultimate buyers of the asset.

Fiscal Impacts

I can confirm that the sale proceeds of £17.8 million are within the hold valuation range. In 2019-20 the sale reduces Public Sector Net Debt (PSND) by £17.8 million and Public Sector Net Liabilities (PSNL) and Public Sector Net Financial Liabilities (PSNFL) by £2.3 million.

The impacts on the fiscal aggregates, in line with fiscal forecasting convention, are not discounted to present value. The net impacts of the sale on a selection of fiscal metrics are summarised as follows:

Metric

Impact

Sale proceeds

£17.8 million

Hold valuation

Net present value of the assets if held to maturity using Green Book assumptions

£9.9 million - £24.1 million

Public Sector Net Borrowing

No impact

Public Sector Net Debt

Improved by £17.8 million in 2019-20

Public Sector Net Liabilities

Improved by £2.3 million in 2019-20

Public Sector Net Financial Liabilities

Improved by £2.3 million in 2019-20

I will update the House of any further changes to the FSCS as necessary.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1827
WS
Leader of the House of Lords
Made on: 09 September 2019
Made by: Baroness Evans of Bowes Park (Lord Privy Seal & Leader of the House of Lords)
Lords

Government structures for Brexit

My Rt Hon. Friend the Prime Minister has made the following statement to the House of Commons:

I am making this statement to confirm Ministerial responsibilities for delivering Brexit.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is responsible for practical preparations within the UK for leaving the European Union on 31 October, whether that is without a deal or with the new deal the Government is seeking. The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union is responsible for direct negotiations with the European Union. This includes both the new deal the Government is seeking, and our future relationship with the European Union beyond 31 October, if we leave without a deal.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union will be supported by officials in the Cabinet Office and the Department for Exiting the European Union equally across the Brexit agenda. Officials will retain their existing reporting lines with no transfers between departments. For the purpose of delivering Brexit they will operate in a single collective group under the Department for Exiting the European Union Permanent Secretary. As a result, it has not been necessary for any staff to have formally transferred between departments.

WS
Treasury
Made on: 09 September 2019
Made by: John Glen (The Economic Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

Asset Sale Disclosure

I am informing the House of the sale of the remainder of a claim against Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander Limited (in administration) (“KSF”) acquired by the government during the 2007-2008 financial crisis. The government’s claim was held by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (“FSCS”) which compensated KSF depositors at the time of the financial crisis. This sale to Tavira Securities Limited generates proceeds of £17.8 million for the Exchequer.

Rationale

The government acquired its claim in KSF to preserve financial stability. The administration of KSF has now been running for over nine years and there is comparatively little value remaining in the residual assets. The Exchequer has received £421 million of dividends prior to this sale. In addition, FSCS has repaid to the Exchequer £2.6 billion (plus interest of £146 million) which it borrowed at the time of the financial crisis to enable it to pay compensation for covered deposits in KSF.

Continuing to hold the claim until the administration of KSF concluded was considered, but this option was discounted as the analysis suggested a sale could achieve value for money and would free up FSCS and HM Treasury capacity previously used to manage the claim to pursue other work.

FSCS discussed the sale with a number of potential counterparties, having previously examined the market for selling claims. The counterparty selected offered the highest price.

The proceeds from this sale will reduce Public Sector Net Debt. This marks the conclusion of the government’s and FSCS’s involvement in KSF.

Format and Timing

The government and FSCS concluded that this sale achieves value for money for the taxpayer having (i) conducted an analysis of whether market conditions were conducive for the sale of this asset; and (ii) conducted an assessment of the fair market value for the asset. The sale made use of a third party broker experienced in selling claims against insolvent companies, which was done to create competitive tension among potential ultimate buyers of the asset.

Fiscal Impacts

I can confirm that the sale proceeds of £17.8 million are within the hold valuation range. In 2019-20 the sale reduces Public Sector Net Debt (PSND) by £17.8 million and Public Sector Net Liabilities (PSNL) and Public Sector Net Financial Liabilities (PSNFL) by £2.3 million.

The impacts on the fiscal aggregates, in line with fiscal forecasting convention, are not discounted to present value. The net impacts of the sale on a selection of fiscal metrics are summarised as follows:

Metric

Impact

Sale proceeds

£17.8 million

Hold valuation

Net present value of the assets if held to maturity using Green Book assumptions

£9.9 million - £24.1 million

Public Sector Net Borrowing

No impact

Public Sector Net Debt

Improved by £17.8 million in 2019-20

Public Sector Net Liabilities

Improved by £2.3 million in 2019-20

Public Sector Net Financial Liabilities

Improved by £2.3 million in 2019-20

I will update the House of any further changes to the FSCS as necessary.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1788
WS
Home Office
Made on: 09 September 2019
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Immigration

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

My rt hon Friend the Home Secretary is today laying before the House a Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules (HC 2631). Copies will be made available in the Vote Office and on Gov.uk.

I have made a change to the Immigration Rules which will reduce costs and bureaucracy for doctors, dentists, nurses and midwives looking to come and work in the UK and support our NHS. This change will ensure that these medical professionals, who have passed a robust English Language test, which includes identity checks, and are required to register with their regulatory body, do not have to sit a separate, lower level immigration English language test. This will support the Government’s desire to continue to attract the best and brightest global talent to the UK and to encourage migrants to integrate into society, without compromising the safety of those using our health services.

The United Kingdom is committed to providing protection to those who need it, in accordance with its international obligations. Those who fear persecution should however claim asylum in the first safe country they reach and not put their lives at risk by making unnecessary and dangerous journeys to the UK. Illegal migration from safe countries undermines our efforts to help those most in need.

To support these principles, the Immigration Rules already provide for inadmissibility processes, under which we can decline to substantively consider the asylum claim of a claimant in the UK and remove them to a safe third country, provided the claimant has, or could have claimed asylum there, has refugee status there, or has some other relevant connection to the third country such that it would be reasonable for them to return there. This process requires the cooperation of the safe third country.

Some of these Rules are drafted in the context of the UK’s membership of the EU. As such, we are making minor amendments to the Rules, to allow us to use inadmissibility processes for broadly the same range of case types once we leave the EU.

Finally, we are also introducing wider changes through these Immigration Rules to Appendix EU which sets out the Rules governing the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). This provides the basis for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens, and their family members, to apply for UK immigration status which they will require to remain here permanently after the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.

The changes make revised provision for access to the EUSS for the family members of UK nationals returning with them from an EEA Member State or Switzerland, having lived there together while the UK national exercised their free movement rights, in line with the announcement on such access made on 4 April 2019.

We expect the vast majority of EUSS applicants to be genuine, and for there to be little need for status granted under the EUSS to be cancelled at the border or curtailed in-country. However, it is appropriate that, to safeguard the integrity of the EUSS, its status should be covered by some of the same powers as other forms of immigration leave, so that appropriate action can be taken where necessary. The changes therefore amend Part 9 of the Immigration Rules to provide additional grounds for the cancellation and curtailment of EUSS status and leave acquired having travelled to the UK with an EUSS family permit, e.g. on grounds this was obtained by deception (such as where the person had claimed to be the family member of an EEA citizen when they were not). The changes also amend Part 9 to provide discretionary grounds for EUSS status and leave acquired having travelled to the UK with an EUSS family permit, to be cancelled at the border, in a ‘no deal’ scenario, on the grounds that cancellation is conducive to the public good, as a result of the person’s post-exit conduct.

The changes provide a right of administrative review where status granted under EUSS is cancelled at the border because the person no longer meets the requirements for that status, e.g. where, as a non-EEA citizen granted pre-settled status under the EUSS, they have ceased to be the family member of an EEA citizen. Such cancellation could only occur where the person no longer met any of the bases for eligibility for status under the EUSS. The changes also bring the time frame for applying for an administrative review under the EUSS in line with all other administrative reviews in cases where the applicant is detained pending their removal from the UK, which will help ensure detention is kept to a minimum.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1823
WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 09 September 2019
Made by: Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (​Minister for the Commonwealth, the UN and South Asia)
Lords

The UK Government’s response to Hurricane Dorian in The Bahamas

My Right Honorable Friend, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Dominic Raab), has made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

In the wake of Hurricane Dorian, my thoughts are with all those who have lost their lives, their homes or have been injured in The Bahamas and elsewhere. Hurricane Dorian has caused untold damage to the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama in particular. The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) estimates that 15,000 people remain in need of urgent humanitarian assistance – a number which is less than was initially feared. The Government of The Bahamas have officially confirmed 43 deaths.

To help the people and the Government of The Bahamas, the UK Government has initially committed up to £1.5 million towards the immediate humanitarian response. This funding has been provided by the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF), for the delivery of critical aid supplies by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Mounts Bay, and to support CDEMA in its work to coordinate the international response. RFA Mounts Bay was pre-positioned in the region ahead of hurricane season and is carrying specialist equipment and vital aid supplies, including hygiene kits, emergency shelter kits and water. The Royal Navy Wildcat helicopter on board is airlifting supplies, conducting reconnaissance flights and assessing damage. The UK was amongst the first to provide support and we are now glad to see that the international response is ramping up.

We have deployed a team to The Bahamas to help coordinate the emergency response and ensure aid gets where it is needed. We have also deployed additional consular staff to Nassau. They, alongside Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) staff in London, are working with the Bahamian authorities and international partners to provide support to British nationals, and to scope what, if any, further assistance may be needed.

The number of British nationals in need of support is anticipated to be low. It is low season for tourists and we estimate there were 200-400 British nationals in the worst affected areas. As the only European mission in The Bahamas, the British High Commission in Nassau has legal responsibility to provide consular support for EU nationals. The FCO has been regularly updating its Travel Advice.

The British High Commission in Nassau is working closely with the United Nations, the United States, Canada, NGOs and other partners in the region to support the Bahamian Government. Early support was also provided by the Governor’s Office in Turks and Caicos, which is a British Overseas Territory. The Cayman Islands have also sent a helicopter (jointly funded with the FCO).

The FCO, Department for International Development, Ministry of Defence, and other departments and agencies have worked closely to prepare for the hurricane season. Since 2017, the Met Office has developed improved advisory arrangements for the Caribbean, and we have been working closely to gain a better understanding of the technical data as tropical storms develop. A team of experts from across Government was tracking this storm from its development as a tropical depression over the August Bank Holiday. This meant the UK Government was well prepared to respond quickly in support of local authorities with our resources pre-deployed in the region. We will continue to assess the situation.

Any MPs who may be concerned about the welfare of particular UK nationals in The Bahamas can contact the MPs’ Hotline, details of which have been emailed to all MPs’ offices.

WS
Department of Health and Social Care
Made on: 09 September 2019
Made by: Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State)
Lords

Revised Advice on variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) Risk Reduction Measures for the UK

My Hon. Friend the Minister of State for Care (Caroline Dinenage) has made the following written statement:

I would like to inform the House that the Government, along with the Scottish Government and the Welsh Government, will be updating some specific variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) precautionary measures in England, Scotland and Wales.

In 2004, the Government was advised to establish precautionary vCJD risk reduction measures in the UK, acknowledging the unknown risks of vCJD to recipients of UK plasma and platelets. A number of measures were introduced, such as the introduction of leucodepletion of all blood components and the deferral of previously-transfused donors. These specific risk reduction measures are highly effective and will remain in place to maintain the safety of the UK blood supply.

An additional risk reduction measure adopted involved the treatment of patients born on or after 1 January 1996 with imported plasma and/or apheresis platelets. This was to reduce the risk of exposure to components that were thought to have potentially increased their risk of developing vCJD.

Over the last 15 years, accrued scientific evidence has indicated that the risk of vCJD through the transfusion of UK plasma or platelets is much lower than initially thought; there have been no known transfusion transmissions of vCJD from any blood components since the leucodepletion process was introduced. In March 2019, the independent Advisory Committee for the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs (SaBTO) reviewed the scientific evidence and operational practices, engaged with stakeholders, and recommended that some specific risk reduction measures, requiring the use of imported plasma and apheresis platelets for individuals born on or after 1 January 1996 and/or with TTP, be withdrawn.

SaBTO’s final advice has been published on the GOV.UK website, providing a comprehensive analysis of the risk attributed with updating these vCJD risk reduction measures. This advice is available online at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/sabto-reports-and-guidance-documents

Upon receiving this expert advice, the Minister of Care has approved the use of domestic plasma and pooled platelets for patients born on or after 1 January 1996 or with TTP. Other risk reduction measures will remain in place, including leucodepletion, deferral of previously-transfused donors and a ban on the manufacture of plasma derived medicinal products from plasma sourced in the UK.

NHS Blood and Transplant already sources 94% of plasma from UK donors and increasing domestic plasma use will provide further benefits relating to equitable provision of blood components, reduced operational complexity for hospitals and increased accessibility at the point of use. Clinicians who wish to prescribe and source commercial imported plasma products for patients, based on patient need and clinical preference, will continue to be able to do so in accordance with local and national guidelines.

The Minister of Care has now directed NHS Blood and Transplant (BT) to begin increasing domestic plasma acquisition in England through a managed, incremental transition. The Scottish Government and the Welsh Government have also asked their respective Blood Services to begin implementing SaBTO’s recommendation. In Northern Ireland, any decision on SaBTO’s recommendation to update vCJD risk reduction measures will be deferred until a Minister is in post.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1821
WS
Department for International Development
Made on: 09 September 2019
Made by: Alok Sharma (Secretary of State for International Development)
Commons

Ebola Update

Since the House was last updated on the response to the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in July, sadly the situation on the ground has become even more grave - despite the brave and tireless dedication of frontline responders.

I therefore want to assure the House that the UK – in partnership with communities, local authorities and trusted international partners – is doing everything it can to save lives.

Sadly, we have recently seen new cases in areas previously unaffected by the outbreak. In August, we saw cases emerge for the first time in the province of South Kivu. And in July, a number of cases were detected in Goma, a city of two million people on the border with Rwanda, prompting the World Health Organisation to declare a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

On Thursday 29 August, a 9-year-old Congolese girl was screened as a suspected case as she and her mother crossed the border from DRC. Tragically, she was confirmed as positive with Ebola and passed away. This is the seventh Ebola outbreak in Uganda since the year 2000 and the Ugandan authorities once again deserve praise for their swift response.

When I visited Uganda last month, I saw first-hand how UK aid is helping guard against the spread of Ebola. The border screening point and treatment centre, constructed with UK support, identified the above case.

The vital importance and effectiveness of health workers and communities - and of UK aid support for them - was shown again in rapidly identifying and confirming the case of the 9-year-old girl and appropriately moving her for isolation and care. Trained frontline workers and community awareness are crucial to mapping, monitoring and vaccinating potential cases. Thankfully, no further suspect cases in Uganda have yet been identified; although follow-up monitoring and surveillance continues.

Despite successes, hard work and dedication, the outbreak is still not under control. The death toll recently passed 2,000. We will not succeed in getting Ebola under control unless the international community as a whole steps up and supports the response. The world cannot afford to ignore Ebola, as it could spread further, making it a threat to us all.

That is why, in August, I announced an additional £8 million for neighbouring countries most at risk of the spread of Ebola, namely Uganda, South Sudan, Burundi and Rwanda. This funding will deliver more temperature checks at border crossings – which have been so crucial in Uganda. It will also support Ebola treatment units and provide clean water and sanitation. This is in addition to the £45 million that UK aid has already provided for tackling the outbreak in the DRC and a previous £15 million for regional preparedness.

The British people can be proud of the UK’s leading role in the response. We are the leading supporter of regional preparedness, and one of the largest donors to the overall response, alongside the US, ECHO and the World Bank. We are saving lives and bringing this outbreak to a close.

Despite the gravity of the situation, there is some cause for optimism. More than 200,000 people have now been vaccinated against the disease, which is a truly remarkable effort. This highly effective vaccine was developed with UK support during the latter stages of the west Africa outbreak, in 2013-2016.

Moreover, recent results from the trials of therapeutic treatments have also shown positive results, showing that we can treat this disease if it is detected early enough. Around 900 people have recovered from the virus and more could stand to benefit.

Investment in research and development is a crucial part of the Department’s work. I am extremely proud of the world-leading and innovative efforts we are supporting in this area. But if we are to tackle the spread of the disease, then more must be done. We must help support the longer-term strengthening of health systems around the world. However, more immediately, the international community needs to step up to support the response in the DRC. There is absolutely no room for complacency.

In recent months the response has been underfunded by the international community. This has had a detrimental impact on response activities on the ground: without funding, frontline responders are unable to deliver life-saving support such as treating patients, tracing and vaccinating their contacts, and burying the dead safely.

The UK has consistently pushed for other countries to step up their financial support. Although more commitments have now been given, we will continue to press our friends and partners for stronger action, including in New York later this month during the United Nations General Assembly. We must also make sure that funds are made available quickly and go where they are most needed, as set out in the recently published fourth Strategic Response Plan, which is the joint UN and Government of DRC plan to tackle the disease.

As I saw so clearly during my visit to Uganda, we must break down the barriers between the international response and local communities. Dispelling the myths surrounding the virus is critical in ensuring that patients are both able and willing to seek treatment.

UK support is therefore funding a wide range of activities, from employing Ebola survivors to talk to communities about treatment, to engaging with local religious leaders to foster trust. UK aid has funded safe and dignified burials, allowing families to have their loved ones buried in line with traditional practices, while protecting themselves from the virus.

But mistrust remains, complicated by the fact that the outbreak is found in a region afflicted by decades of conflict and violence. The scale of the challenge cannot be underestimated.

Finally, I want to pay tribute to the health workers who risk their lives daily to combat the spread of this terrible disease. We have seen health workers attacked and even killed for doing their job, and I am sure that the whole House will agree that we must condemn these deplorable acts of violence.

At its heart, this must be a community-led and owned response, but with strong financial and technical support from the international community. Although the risk of Ebola to the UK population remains very low, we all know that diseases do not respect borders. I can therefore assure the House that Britain remains committed to supporting the efffort to combat Ebola for as long as it takes to end the outbreak.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1789
WS
Prime Minister
Made on: 09 September 2019
Made by: Boris Johnson (Prime Minister)
Commons

Government structures for Brexit

I am making this statement to confirm Ministerial responsibilities for delivering Brexit.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is responsible for practical preparations within the UK for leaving the European Union on 31 October, whether that is without a deal or with the new deal the Government is seeking. The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union is responsible for direct negotiations with the European Union. This includes both the new deal the Government is seeking, and our future relationship with the European Union beyond 31 October, if we leave without a deal.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union will be supported by officials in the Cabinet Office and the Department for Exiting the European Union equally across the Brexit agenda. Officials will retain their existing reporting lines with no transfers between departments. For the purpose of delivering Brexit they will operate in a single collective group under the Department for Exiting the European Union Permanent Secretary. As a result, it has not been necessary for any staff to have formally transferred between departments.

WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 09 September 2019
Made by: Mims Davies (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Employment)
Commons

Universal Credit: Reporting Childcare Costs

Today The Universal Credit (Childcare Costs and Minimum Income Floor) (Amendment) Regulations 2019 will be laid, as well as the equivalent Northern Ireland regulations.

Universal Credit is the biggest change of the welfare system since it was created. It is a modern, flexible, personalised benefit reflecting the rapidly changing world of work.

Up to 85% of childcare costs can be reimbursed through Universal Credit. However, previously those reporting costs generally had to do so in the same month-long Universal Credit assessment period in which they were incurred for these costs to be reimbursed.

In order to ensure that busy parents have the maximum opportunity to recover childcare costs, we are laying legislation today to give extra time for working parents to claim back childcare costs. We are doubling the period during which those who claim support for childcare costs in Universal Credit can report their costs – they will now have an additional month to do so.

This extension for reporting costs provides parents with more flexibility and could help claimants with two or more children avoid losing out on more than £1,100 per month. Costs can be submitted online, and those in work while in receipt of Universal Credit can apply for up to £646.35 per month if they have one child and up to £1,108.40 for two or more children.

In addition to the childcare support provided in Universal Credit, the Government also provides a wide range of childcare support for families, including 30 free hours for three- and four-year-olds of working parents, 15 free hours for disadvantaged two-year-olds and for all three- and four-year-olds, and Tax Free Childcare.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1792
WS
Home Office
Made on: 09 September 2019
Made by: Seema Kennedy (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Immigration)
Commons

Immigration

My rt hon Friend the Home Secretary is today laying before the House a Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules (HC 2631). Copies will be made available in the Vote Office and on Gov.uk.

I have made a change to the Immigration Rules which will reduce costs and bureaucracy for doctors, dentists, nurses and midwives looking to come and work in the UK and support our NHS. This change will ensure that these medical professionals, who have passed a robust English Language test, which includes identity checks, and are required to register with their regulatory body, do not have to sit a separate, lower level immigration English language test. This will support the Government’s desire to continue to attract the best and brightest global talent to the UK and to encourage migrants to integrate into society, without compromising the safety of those using our health services.

The United Kingdom is committed to providing protection to those who need it, in accordance with its international obligations. Those who fear persecution should however claim asylum in the first safe country they reach and not put their lives at risk by making unnecessary and dangerous journeys to the UK. Illegal migration from safe countries undermines our efforts to help those most in need.

To support these principles, the Immigration Rules already provide for inadmissibility processes, under which we can decline to substantively consider the asylum claim of a claimant in the UK and remove them to a safe third country, provided the claimant has, or could have claimed asylum there, has refugee status there, or has some other relevant connection to the third country such that it would be reasonable for them to return there. This process requires the cooperation of the safe third country.

Some of these Rules are drafted in the context of the UK’s membership of the EU. As such, we are making minor amendments to the Rules, to allow us to use inadmissibility processes for broadly the same range of case types once we leave the EU.

Finally, we are also introducing wider changes through these Immigration Rules to Appendix EU which sets out the Rules governing the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). This provides the basis for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens, and their family members, to apply for UK immigration status which they will require to remain here permanently after the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.

The changes make revised provision for access to the EUSS for the family members of UK nationals returning with them from an EEA Member State or Switzerland, having lived there together while the UK national exercised their free movement rights, in line with the announcement on such access made on 4 April 2019.

We expect the vast majority of EUSS applicants to be genuine, and for there to be little need for status granted under the EUSS to be cancelled at the border or curtailed in-country. However, it is appropriate that, to safeguard the integrity of the EUSS, its status should be covered by some of the same powers as other forms of immigration leave, so that appropriate action can be taken where necessary. The changes therefore amend Part 9 of the Immigration Rules to provide additional grounds for the cancellation and curtailment of EUSS status and leave acquired having travelled to the UK with an EUSS family permit, e.g. on grounds this was obtained by deception (such as where the person had claimed to be the family member of an EEA citizen when they were not). The changes also amend Part 9 to provide discretionary grounds for EUSS status and leave acquired having travelled to the UK with an EUSS family permit, to be cancelled at the border, in a ‘no deal’ scenario, on the grounds that cancellation is conducive to the public good, as a result of the person’s post-exit conduct.

The changes provide a right of administrative review where status granted under EUSS is cancelled at the border because the person no longer meets the requirements for that status, e.g. where, as a non-EEA citizen granted pre-settled status under the EUSS, they have ceased to be the family member of an EEA citizen. Such cancellation could only occur where the person no longer met any of the bases for eligibility for status under the EUSS. The changes also bring the time frame for applying for an administrative review under the EUSS in line with all other administrative reviews in cases where the applicant is detained pending their removal from the UK, which will help ensure detention is kept to a minimum.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1786
WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 09 September 2019
Made by: Dominic Raab (Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Commons

The UK Government’s response to Hurricane Dorian in The Bahamas

In the wake of Hurricane Dorian, my thoughts are with all those who have lost their lives, their homes or have been injured in The Bahamas and elsewhere. Hurricane Dorian has caused untold damage to the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama in particular. The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) estimates that 15,000 people remain in need of urgent humanitarian assistance – a number which is less than was initially feared. The Government of The Bahamas have officially confirmed 43 deaths.

To help the people and the Government of The Bahamas, the UK Government has initially committed up to £1.5 million towards the immediate humanitarian response. This funding has been provided by the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF), for the delivery of critical aid supplies by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Mounts Bay, and to support CDEMA in its work to coordinate the international response. RFA Mounts Bay was pre-positioned in the region ahead of hurricane season and is carrying specialist equipment and vital aid supplies, including hygiene kits, emergency shelter kits and water. The Royal Navy Wildcat helicopter on board is airlifting supplies, conducting reconnaissance flights and assessing damage. The UK was amongst the first to provide support and we are now glad to see that the international response is ramping up.

We have deployed a team to The Bahamas to help coordinate the emergency response and ensure aid gets where it is needed. We have also deployed additional consular staff to Nassau. They, alongside Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) staff in London, are working with the Bahamian authorities and international partners to provide support to British nationals, and to scope what, if any, further assistance may be needed.

The number of British nationals in need of support is anticipated to be low. It is low season for tourists and we estimate there were 200-400 British nationals in the worst affected areas. As the only European mission in The Bahamas, the British High Commission in Nassau has legal responsibility to provide consular support for EU nationals. The FCO has been regularly updating its Travel Advice.

The British High Commission in Nassau is working closely with the United Nations, the United States, Canada, NGOs and other partners in the region to support the Bahamian Government. Early support was also provided by the Governor’s Office in Turks and Caicos, which is a British Overseas Territory. The Cayman Islands have also sent a helicopter (jointly funded with the FCO).

The FCO, Department for International Development, Ministry of Defence, and other departments and agencies have worked closely to prepare for the hurricane season. Since 2017, the Met Office has developed improved advisory arrangements for the Caribbean, and we have been working closely to gain a better understanding of the technical data as tropical storms develop. A team of experts from across Government was tracking this storm from its development as a tropical depression over the August Bank Holiday. This meant the UK Government was well prepared to respond quickly in support of local authorities with our resources pre-deployed in the region. We will continue to assess the situation.

Any MPs who may be concerned about the welfare of particular UK nationals in The Bahamas can contact the MPs’ Hotline, details of which have been emailed to all MPs’ offices.

WS
Department of Health and Social Care
Made on: 09 September 2019
Made by: Caroline Dinenage (Minister of State for Care)
Commons

Revised Advice on variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) Risk Reduction Measures for the UK

I would like to inform the House that the Government, along with the Scottish Government and the Welsh Government, will be updating some specific variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) precautionary measures in England, Scotland and Wales.

In 2004, the Government was advised to establish precautionary vCJD risk reduction measures in the UK, acknowledging the unknown risks of vCJD to recipients of UK plasma and platelets. A number of measures were introduced, such as the introduction of leucodepletion of all blood components and the deferral of previously-transfused donors. These specific risk reduction measures are highly effective and will remain in place to maintain the safety of the UK blood supply.

An additional risk reduction measure adopted involved the treatment of patients born on or after 1 January 1996 with imported plasma and/or apheresis platelets. This was to reduce the risk of exposure to components that were thought to have potentially increased their risk of developing vCJD.

Over the last 15 years, accrued scientific evidence has indicated that the risk of vCJD through the transfusion of UK plasma or platelets is much lower than initially thought; there have been no known transfusion transmissions of vCJD from any blood components since the leucodepletion process was introduced. In March 2019, the independent Advisory Committee for the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs (SaBTO) reviewed the scientific evidence and operational practices, engaged with stakeholders, and recommended that some specific risk reduction measures, requiring the use of imported plasma and apheresis platelets for individuals born on or after 1 January 1996 and/or with TTP, be withdrawn.

SaBTO’s final advice has been published on the GOV.UK website, providing a comprehensive analysis of the risk attributed with updating these vCJD risk reduction measures. This advice is available online at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/sabto-reports-and-guidance-documents

Upon receiving this expert advice, the Minister of Care has approved the use of domestic plasma and pooled platelets for patients born on or after 1 January 1996 or with TTP. Other risk reduction measures will remain in place, including leucodepletion, deferral of previously-transfused donors and a ban on the manufacture of plasma derived medicinal products from plasma sourced in the UK.

NHS Blood and Transplant already sources 94% of plasma from UK donors and increasing domestic plasma use will provide further benefits relating to equitable provision of blood components, reduced operational complexity for hospitals and increased accessibility at the point of use. Clinicians who wish to prescribe and source commercial imported plasma products for patients, based on patient need and clinical preference, will continue to be able to do so in accordance with local and national guidelines.

The Minister of Care has now directed NHS Blood and Transplant (BT) to begin increasing domestic plasma acquisition in England through a managed, incremental transition. The Scottish Government and the Welsh Government have also asked their respective Blood Services to begin implementing SaBTO’s recommendation. In Northern Ireland, any decision on SaBTO’s recommendation to update vCJD risk reduction measures will be deferred until a Minister is in post.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1784
WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 05 September 2019
Made by: Baroness Stedman-Scott (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions)
Lords

Jobseekers (Back to Work Schemes) Act 2013

My honourable Friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Employment (Mims Davies MP) has made the following Written Statement.

I will, later today, lay a draft Remedial Order to amend the Jobseekers (Back to Work Schemes) Act 2013, along with the Government Statement, setting out our response to the Report from the Joint Committee on Human Rights and other representations my Department received on the proposal for the draft Order when this was laid in Parliament between 28 June and 31 October 2018.

The draft Remedial Order ensures the right to a fair hearing for a small group of claimants who had lodged an appeal against a sanction decision that was retrospectively validated by the 2013 Act, if that appeal case had not been finally determined, abandoned or withdrawn before 26 March 2013. For these appeal cases, the draft Order gives the Courts the ability to find in the individual’s favour and enables the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to change the sanction decision and refund the amount withheld, without those affected individuals having to continue with their appeal, wherever possible.

In 2013, the Courts ruled that the Jobseeker’s Allowance (Employment, Skills and Enterprise Schemes) Regulations 2011 (ESE Regulations) that underpinned a range of programmes of support to help people into work did not describe the individual schemes in enough detail, and that our referral letters did not say enough about the activities required. The Jobseeker’s Allowance (Mandatory Work Activity Scheme) Regulations 2011 (MWA Regulations) contained identical requirements about the content of referral letters. The 2013 Act reinstated the original policy intent of these Regulations. This ensured that job seekers who had failed to take all reasonable steps to increase their chances of finding work between 2011 and 2013 did not unfairly obtain advantage over claimants who complied with the benefit conditionality requirements.

The Court of Appeal has ruled that the 2013 Act is effective in retrospectively validating sanction decisions and notifications. The Court of Appeal also ruled that the 2013 Act was incompatible with article 6(1) (the right to a fair hearing) of the European Convention on Human Rights. It did not prevent people from appealing if they felt they had a good reason for not participating in one of the employment schemes, but it meant that their appeal would be unsuccessful if it related to their compliance with the ESE Regulations or the referral notification they received under the ESE Regulations or the MWA Regulations. The Court of Appeal found that the 2013 Act was effective and that there was no breach of the European Convention on Human Rights for the vast majority of claimants affected by the 2013 Act. The incompatibility with Article 6 (1) arises only where a claimant had an undetermined appeal still in the Tribunal system on the 26 March 2013, the date the Act came into force. The Court’s decision does not affect the continuing validity of the 2013 Act.

I used the non-urgent Remedial Order process to allow time for Parliamentary scrutiny. This requires that an initial proposed draft Remedial Order is laid in both Houses for a period of 60 days for consultation. The Joint Committee on Human Rights also consulted on the proposal and published its Report on 31 October 2019. The initial proposed draft Remedial Order restored the right to a fair hearing for ESE Regulation appeal cases because the appellants in the Court of Appeal case were appealing sanctions decisions made under these Regulations. An Upper Tribunal Judge has since questioned whether a limited group of Mandatory Work Activity (MWA) appeal cases might also be included, as their rights under Article 6(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights arguably may also have been affected by the 2013 Act.

I have thoroughly considered his question and I believe that certain MWA Regulation appeal cases are in a similar position to the ESE appeal cases that were specifically examined by the Court of Appeal. I have, therefore, revised the proposed draft Remedial Order to ensure that all claimants who had a pending appeal in the Tribunal system on 26th March 2013 that may have been affected when the retrospective provisions of the 2013 Act came into effect are included in the draft Remedial Order.

There are no other groups similarly affected by the 2013 Act. The revised draft Remedial Order remains limited to circumstances that were incompatible with Article 6(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights. I will lay the draft Order later today for consideration by Parliament for a period of 60 days, it is then subject to affirmative resolution.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1819
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 05 September 2019
Made by: Viscount Younger of Leckie (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Lords

Building Safety

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

I updated the House today in an Oral Statement on the Government's progress on building safety and set out this administration’s approach. As set out in the Statement, I am consulting on changes to fire safety regulations for new-build blocks of flats. We will seek to commit to requiring sprinkler systems as standard in a wider range of new flats. We will also consult on requiring better signs and evacuation alert systems to support effective firefighting. A link to the consultation document ‘Sprinklers and other fire safety measures in new high-rise blocks of flats’ is here https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/sprinklers-and-other-fire-safety-measures-in-new-high-rise-blocks-of-flats and I will deposit copies of this consultation in the Library of the House.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1820
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 05 September 2019
Made by: Robert Jenrick (Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Commons

Building Safety

I updated the House today in an Oral Statement on the Government's progress on building safety and set out this administration’s approach. As set out in the Statement, I am consulting on changes to fire safety regulations for new-build blocks of flats. We will seek to commit to requiring sprinkler systems as standard in a wider range of new flats. We will also consult on requiring better signs and evacuation alert systems to support effective firefighting. A link to the consultation document ‘Sprinklers and other fire safety measures in new high-rise blocks of flats’ is here https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/sprinklers-and-other-fire-safety-measures-in-new-high-rise-blocks-of-flats and I will deposit copies of this consultation in the Library of the House.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1782
WS
Department for Exiting the European Union
Made on: 05 September 2019
Made by: Lord Callanan (Minister of State for Exiting the European Union)
Lords

General Affairs Council, July 2019

I represented the UK at the General Affairs Council (GAC) in Brussels on 18 July 2019. From September 1 until exit day, the UK will no longer attend most EU meetings, in order to make the best possible use of UK resources. The UK is still committed to the duty of sincere cooperation and this decision is not intended in any way to frustrate the functioning of the EU. A provisional report of the meeting and the conclusions adopted can be found on the Council of the European Union’s website at:

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/meetings/gac/2019/07/18/

Multiannual Financial Framework 2021 - 2027

The Presidency presented its plan for approaching the next phase of negotiations on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2021-2027, and indicated its commitment to the European Council’s objective of concluding the MFF by the end of the year. To prepare for discussions between EU Leaders on the MFF in October, the Presidency outlined a new timetable for delivery and prepared a questionnaire for Member States to complete over the summer. The Commission welcomed the timetable and noted the need to consider the views of the new European Parliament.

Presentation of the priorities of the Finnish Presidency

The Presidency delivered a presentation on its priorities for the next six months. The overarching priorities include strengthening common values and the rule of law; making the EU more competitive and socially inclusive; strengthening the EU’s position as a global leader in climate action; and protecting the security of citizens comprehensively. Other issues to be discussed throughout 2019 in the GAC format include the MFF, rule of law, enlargement and hybrid threats.

Implementation of the Strategic Agenda 2019-2024

Ministers discussed the implementation of the new EU Strategic Agenda 2019-24. The Strategic Agenda was adopted by the European Council on 20 June 2019 and will guide the overarching priorities for the next institutional cycle. The priority areas are: protecting citizens and freedoms; developing a strong and vibrant economic base; building a climate-neutral green, fair and social Europe; and promoting European interests and values on the global stage.

Ministers discussed how the Strategic Agenda could be implemented. The discussion was guided by a Presidency paper which provided an initial indication as to which Council configuration would consider the main issues and set out proposed timings for these discussions. Member States agreed on ensuring a coherent agenda across all three institutions; supported greater engagement with citizens and national Parliaments through clear communication; and stressed the importance of achieving concrete results. I intervened to welcome the broad themes of the Finnish Presidency and stated that the UK would support its delivery of priorities whilst we remained a Member State. I also reaffirmed the UK’s continued commitment and support for the security and competitiveness of the EU, and welcomed the greater focus on hybrid threats and cyber threats.

Several Member States referred to the programme set out by Commission President-elect von der Leyen, and called for the Strategic Agenda to inform the Commission Work Programme. The GAC will return to this agenda item in October and December, while the European Council will discuss the follow-up to the Strategic Agenda at the October European Council.

Commission communication on further strengthening the Rule of Law

The Commission presented its new communication on further strengthening the rule of law in the EU which was adopted on 17 July. The proposals centered on the three pillars of promotion, prevention and response and included a Commission-driven ‘Rule of Law Review Cycle’ and an ‘Annual Rule of Law Review’. These proposals will engage all Member States to prevent backtracking on the rule of law.

Rule of Law in Poland / Article 7 (1) TEU Reasoned Proposal

The Commission provided a further update on the rule of law in Poland. This followed the recent judgment of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on Poland’s Supreme Court law.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1818
WS
Department for Work and Pensions
Made on: 05 September 2019
Made by: Mims Davies (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Employment)
Commons

Jobseekers (Back to Work Schemes) Act 2013

I will, later today, lay a draft Remedial Order to amend the Jobseekers (Back to Work Schemes) Act 2013, along with the Government Statement, setting out our response to the Report from the Joint Committee on Human Rights and other representations my Department received on the proposal for the draft Order when this was laid in Parliament between 28 June and 31 October 2018.

The draft Remedial Order ensures the right to a fair hearing for a small group of claimants who had lodged an appeal against a sanction decision that was retrospectively validated by the 2013 Act, if that appeal case had not been finally determined, abandoned or withdrawn before 26 March 2013. For these appeal cases, the draft Order gives the Courts the ability to find in the individual’s favour and enables the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to change the sanction decision and refund the amount withheld, without those affected individuals having to continue with their appeal, wherever possible.

In 2013, the Courts ruled that the Jobseeker’s Allowance (Employment, Skills and Enterprise Schemes) Regulations 2011 (ESE Regulations) that underpinned a range of programmes of support to help people into work did not describe the individual schemes in enough detail, and that our referral letters did not say enough about the activities required. The Jobseeker’s Allowance (Mandatory Work Activity Scheme) Regulations 2011 (MWA Regulations) contained identical requirements about the content of referral letters. The 2013 Act reinstated the original policy intent of these Regulations. This ensured that job seekers who had failed to take all reasonable steps to increase their chances of finding work between 2011 and 2013 did not unfairly obtain advantage over claimants who complied with the benefit conditionality requirements.

The Court of Appeal has ruled that the 2013 Act is effective in retrospectively validating sanction decisions and notifications. The Court of Appeal also ruled that the 2013 Act was incompatible with article 6(1) (the right to a fair hearing) of the European Convention on Human Rights. It did not prevent people from appealing if they felt they had a good reason for not participating in one of the employment schemes, but it meant that their appeal would be unsuccessful if it related to their compliance with the ESE Regulations or the referral notification they received under the ESE Regulations or the MWA Regulations. The Court of Appeal found that the 2013 Act was effective and that there was no breach of the European Convention on Human Rights for the vast majority of claimants affected by the 2013 Act. The incompatibility with Article 6 (1) arises only where a claimant had an undetermined appeal still in the Tribunal system on the 26 March 2013, the date the Act came into force. The Court’s decision does not affect the continuing validity of the 2013 Act.

I used the non-urgent Remedial Order process to allow time for Parliamentary scrutiny. This requires that an initial proposed draft Remedial Order is laid in both Houses for a period of 60 days for consultation. The Joint Committee on Human Rights also consulted on the proposal and published its Report on 31 October 2019. The initial proposed draft Remedial Order restored the right to a fair hearing for ESE Regulation appeal cases because the appellants in the Court of Appeal case were appealing sanctions decisions made under these Regulations. An Upper Tribunal Judge has since questioned whether a limited group of Mandatory Work Activity (MWA) appeal cases might also be included, as their rights under Article 6(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights arguably may also have been affected by the 2013 Act.

I have thoroughly considered his question and I believe that certain MWA Regulation appeal cases are in a similar position to the ESE appeal cases that were specifically examined by the Court of Appeal. I have, therefore, revised the proposed draft Remedial Order to ensure that all claimants who had a pending appeal in the Tribunal system on 26th March 2013 that may have been affected when the retrospective provisions of the 2013 Act came into effect are included in the draft Remedial Order.

There are no other groups similarly affected by the 2013 Act. The revised draft Remedial Order remains limited to circumstances that were incompatible with Article 6(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights. I will lay the draft Order later today for consideration by Parliament for a period of 60 days, it is then subject to affirmative resolution.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1783
WS
Department for Exiting the European Union
Made on: 05 September 2019
Made by: James Duddridge (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Exiting the European Union)
Commons

General Affairs Council, July 2019

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

I represented the UK at the General Affairs Council (GAC) in Brussels on 18 July 2019. From September 1 until exit day, the UK will no longer attend most EU meetings, in order to make the best possible use of UK resources. The UK is still committed to the duty of sincere cooperation and this decision is not intended in any way to frustrate the functioning of the EU. A provisional report of the meeting and the conclusions adopted can be found on the Council of the European Union’s website at:

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/meetings/gac/2019/07/18/

Multiannual Financial Framework 2021 - 2027

The Presidency presented its plan for approaching the next phase of negotiations on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2021-2027, and indicated its commitment to the European Council’s objective of concluding the MFF by the end of the year. To prepare for discussions between EU Leaders on the MFF in October, the Presidency outlined a new timetable for delivery and prepared a questionnaire for Member States to complete over the summer. The Commission welcomed the timetable and noted the need to consider the views of the new European Parliament.

Presentation of the priorities of the Finnish Presidency

The Presidency delivered a presentation on its priorities for the next six months. The overarching priorities include strengthening common values and the rule of law; making the EU more competitive and socially inclusive; strengthening the EU’s position as a global leader in climate action; and protecting the security of citizens comprehensively. Other issues to be discussed throughout 2019 in the GAC format include the MFF, rule of law, enlargement and hybrid threats.

Implementation of the Strategic Agenda 2019-2024

Ministers discussed the implementation of the new EU Strategic Agenda 2019-24. The Strategic Agenda was adopted by the European Council on 20 June 2019 and will guide the overarching priorities for the next institutional cycle. The priority areas are: protecting citizens and freedoms; developing a strong and vibrant economic base; building a climate-neutral green, fair and social Europe; and promoting European interests and values on the global stage.

Ministers discussed how the Strategic Agenda could be implemented. The discussion was guided by a Presidency paper which provided an initial indication as to which Council configuration would consider the main issues and set out proposed timings for these discussions. Member States agreed on ensuring a coherent agenda across all three institutions; supported greater engagement with citizens and national Parliaments through clear communication; and stressed the importance of achieving concrete results. I intervened to welcome the broad themes of the Finnish Presidency and stated that the UK would support its delivery of priorities whilst we remained a Member State. I also reaffirmed the UK’s continued commitment and support for the security and competitiveness of the EU, and welcomed the greater focus on hybrid threats and cyber threats.

Several Member States referred to the programme set out by Commission President-elect von der Leyen, and called for the Strategic Agenda to inform the Commission Work Programme. The GAC will return to this agenda item in October and December, while the European Council will discuss the follow-up to the Strategic Agenda at the October European Council.

Commission communication on further strengthening the Rule of Law

The Commission presented its new communication on further strengthening the rule of law in the EU which was adopted on 17 July. The proposals centered on the three pillars of promotion, prevention and response and included a Commission-driven ‘Rule of Law Review Cycle’ and an ‘Annual Rule of Law Review’. These proposals will engage all Member States to prevent backtracking on the rule of law.

Rule of Law in Poland / Article 7 (1) TEU Reasoned Proposal

The Commission provided a further update on the rule of law in Poland. This followed the recent judgment of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on Poland’s Supreme Court law.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1781
WS
Home Office
Made on: 04 September 2019
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Immigration

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

After Brexit, the Government will take back control by introducing a new, fairer immigration system that prioritises skills and what people can contribute to the UK, rather than where they come from. Yesterday we commissioned the independent Migration Advisory Committee to review the benefits of a points-based system and what best practice can be learnt from other international comparators, including the Australian immigration system.

In a no deal scenario, free movement as it currently stands will end at 11pm on 31 October. The UK will no longer be under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. EU citizens will be subject to stricter criminality checks and further changes will be introduced to show that UK has left the EU. I am today publishing a policy statement setting out these changes, and further information will be published in due course.

The Government recognises the need to provide EU citizens, employers and others with certainty about the arrangements that will be in place after Brexit. Border crossing arrangements will not change. However, we do not believe it is right to allow people moving to the UK after Brexit to have the same rights as the EU residents who have lived here, in some cases for decades.

After careful consideration, myself, the Prime Minister and Cabinet have therefore agreed that EU citizens moving here after a no deal Brexit will be able to access a temporary immigration status, until the new skills-based immigration system goes live at the start of 2021.

To this effect, the Home Office will open a new European Temporary Leave to Remain scheme for EU citizens and their close family members moving to the UK after Brexit, in a no deal scenario. When the Scheme opens it will be voluntary, and we will not charge a fee. It will be open until the end of 2020 and EU citizens who apply will be able to secure a 36-month temporary immigration status which will extend beyond the launch of the UK’s future immigration system. Once the future system opens at the start of 2021, anyone without European Temporary Leave to Remain will have to qualify under the provisions in the future system if they wish to stay in the UK. In contrast, those who have applied for the bespoke interim scheme will have more time to transition into the future system and will not need to qualify until their temporary leave expires.

The same arrangements will apply to nationals of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

The 3.4 million EU citizens already resident here, and their family members, deserve a privileged position. They are our family, friends and neighbours and we want them to stay. We have set up the EU Settlement Scheme to enable them to secure their status under UK law and – in a no deal scenario – they have until at least 31 December 2020 to apply. Already over 1 million people have successfully been granted status.

Until the future immigration system is introduced, all EU citizens will be able to prove their rights to take up employment and rent property, as now, by using a passport or national identity card. Their rights to claim benefits and access services in the UK will remain unchanged.

Irish citizens will continue to be able to enter, live and work in the UK without requiring permission. The UK and Irish Governments have made firm commitments to protect Common Travel Area arrangements, including the associated rights of British and Irish citizens in each other’s state.

For EU citizens and their family members moving to the UK after Brexit freedom of movement in its current form will end on 31 October. EU citizens who still want to make a contribution to the UK, will soon have a route by which they can secure the certainty of status they need in advance of the future system going live in 2021.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1817
WS
Home Office
Made on: 04 September 2019
Made by: Priti Patel (The Secretary of State for the Home Department)
Commons

Immigration

After Brexit, the Government will take back control by introducing a new, fairer immigration system that prioritises skills and what people can contribute to the UK, rather than where they come from. Yesterday we commissioned the independent Migration Advisory Committee to review the benefits of a points-based system and what best practice can be learnt from other international comparators, including the Australian immigration system.

In a no deal scenario, free movement as it currently stands will end at 11pm on 31 October. The UK will no longer be under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. EU citizens will be subject to stricter criminality checks and further changes will be introduced to show that UK has left the EU. I am today publishing a policy statement setting out these changes, and further information will be published in due course.

The Government recognises the need to provide EU citizens, employers and others with certainty about the arrangements that will be in place after Brexit. Border crossing arrangements will not change. However, we do not believe it is right to allow people moving to the UK after Brexit to have the same rights as the EU residents who have lived here, in some cases for decades.

After careful consideration, myself, the Prime Minister and Cabinet have therefore agreed that EU citizens moving here after a no deal Brexit will be able to access a temporary immigration status, until the new skills-based immigration system goes live at the start of 2021.

To this effect, the Home Office will open a new European Temporary Leave to Remain scheme for EU citizens and their close family members moving to the UK after Brexit, in a no deal scenario. When the Scheme opens it will be voluntary, and we will not charge a fee. It will be open until the end of 2020 and EU citizens who apply will be able to secure a 36-month temporary immigration status which will extend beyond the launch of the UK’s future immigration system. Once the future system opens at the start of 2021, anyone without European Temporary Leave to Remain will have to qualify under the provisions in the future system if they wish to stay in the UK. In contrast, those who have applied for the bespoke interim scheme will have more time to transition into the future system and will not need to qualify until their temporary leave expires.

The same arrangements will apply to nationals of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

The 3.4 million EU citizens already resident here, and their family members, deserve a privileged position. They are our family, friends and neighbours and we want them to stay. We have set up the EU Settlement Scheme to enable them to secure their status under UK law and – in a no deal scenario – they have until at least 31 December 2020 to apply. Already over 1 million people have successfully been granted status.

Until the future immigration system is introduced, all EU citizens will be able to prove their rights to take up employment and rent property, as now, by using a passport or national identity card. Their rights to claim benefits and access services in the UK will remain unchanged.

Irish citizens will continue to be able to enter, live and work in the UK without requiring permission. The UK and Irish Governments have made firm commitments to protect Common Travel Area arrangements, including the associated rights of British and Irish citizens in each other’s state.

For EU citizens and their family members moving to the UK after Brexit freedom of movement in its current form will end on 31 October. EU citizens who still want to make a contribution to the UK, will soon have a route by which they can secure the certainty of status they need in advance of the future system going live in 2021.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1780
WS
Northern Ireland Office
Made on: 04 September 2019
Made by: Lord Duncan of Springbank (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Northern Ireland)
Lords

Report under Section 4 of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions) Act 2018

My Right Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Julian Smith) has today made the following statement:

This statement is issued in accordance with section 4 of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions) Act 2018 (‘the Act’). Section 4 of the Act requires that I, as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, report on a quarterly basis on guidance issued under that section of the Act, and report on how I plan to address the impact of the absence of Northern Ireland Ministers on human rights obligations within three months of the day the Act was passed.

The Act received Royal Assent on 1 November 2018. Following careful consideration of the sensitive issues section 4 deals with, and in consultation with the Northern Ireland Civil Service, guidance under section 4 was published on 17 December 2018.

The guidance notes that it does not, and cannot be used to, change the current law on abortion or same sex marriage in Northern Ireland. Both issues remain devolved matters in Northern Ireland. The guidance provides that all relevant Northern Ireland departments should continue to have regard to all of their legal obligations, including the Human Rights Act 1998 and sections 24 and 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, in exercising any relevant functions in relation to abortion and same sex marriage.

Two reports required under section 4 have been published as Written Ministerial Statements on 30 January 2019 and 1 May 2019.

I have consulted the Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service in the preparation of this report. He has reaffirmed the continuing commitment of the NICS to have regard to their legal obligations when exercising any relevant functions in relation to abortion and same sex marriage.

The Government’s preference remains that any change to law on either of these sensitive devolved issues is taken forward by a restored Executive and functioning Assembly. It remains the hope that devolved government can be restored at the earliest opportunity through the current talks process.

However, we recognise the strength of feeling on same-sex marriage and abortion law reform demonstrated by a majority of MPs supporting the addition of sections 8 and 9 to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019. These sections require the Government to regulate in order to provide access to abortion services and same-sex marriage (and opposite-sex civil partnerships) in Northern Ireland, if there is no restored Executive by 21 October 2019.

There are a range of sensitive policy issues that need to be carefully addressed on both issues. We will work with relevant Whitehall departments and the Northern Ireland Civil Service to take all necessary steps between now and 21 October 2019 to ensure that, if the Executive has not been restored by that date, relevant regulations can come into force in accordance with the timescales specified in the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019.

WS
Northern Ireland Office
Made on: 04 September 2019
Made by: Lord Duncan of Springbank (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Northern Ireland)
Lords

Publication of reports under the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019

My Right Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Julian Smith) has today made the following statement:

I am today formally laying in the House, under section three of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019, reports on progress towards forming an Executive and other matters.

Northern Ireland has been without a sitting Assembly and Executive since January 2017. Since becoming Secretary of State for Northern Ireland I have made working to restore the devolved institutions my absolute priority.

Whilst significant gaps remain on rights, identity and culture, the Government’s assessment is that the range of outstanding issues in the cross-party talks is relatively narrow.

This means it should prove possible - with intensive engagement - to resolve the strands of talks on the Programme for Government, Transparency and Sustainability relatively swiftly. There has been good engagement too on the Petition of Concern.

While the parties remain engaged and are demonstrating a willingness to find solutions to the remaining critical issues, a renewed determination to find agreement will be needed if the process is to conclude in the coming weeks.

Northern Ireland needs a restored Executive and the political leadership that would bring. The UK Government, working closely with the Irish Government in accordance with the three-stranded approach, will now intensify our efforts to put forward compromise solutions to the parties. If that does not succeed, then my next update to the House will set out next steps to ensure adequate governance in Northern Ireland and the protection of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement.

The reports I have laid in the House today also address other critical issues for Northern Ireland. These include a report on the progress of implementing the recommendations made by the Report of the Inquiry into Historical Institutional Abuse in Northern Ireland. I want to pay particular tribute to the survivors I have met, who waited so long for acknowledgment and accountability for the appalling abuse that they suffered. Good progress has been made on drafting legislation to deliver redress for the survivors, and I will continue to press for a slot to introduce the legislation at Westminster as soon as possible.

I have also laid a report setting out next steps on abortion in Northern Ireland. The Government acknowledges that this is a highly sensitive subject and I continue to believe it would be better in principle if it could be addressed by the democratic institutions in Northern Ireland.

Given the very long and drawn out cross-party talks process, the House spoke clearly in July this year. There are now legal obligations for the Government to deliver change to the law on abortion in Northern Ireland in the event that the Executive is not restored. The Government will update the House and the public regularly on the steps it is taking, mindful that the legal obligation will be triggered from 21 October in the absence of an Executive. This will result in the repeal of the relevant criminal law in Northern Ireland [sections 58 and 59 of the Offences against the Person Act 1861] - and a moratorium will also come into effect on that date, meaning that no criminal investigation may be carried out, and no criminal proceedings may be brought or continued after this time.

By no later than 31 March 2020, a new legal regime allowing for lawful access to abortion services, implementing the recommendations of the 2018 Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) Report, will be in place.

The full list of reports is as follows:

  • Gambling
  • Human trafficking
  • Victims’ payment
  • Historical institutional abuse
  • A single report covering:

○ Executive formation

○ Transparency of political donations

○ Higher education and a Derry university

○ Presumption of non-prosecution

○ Troubles related guidance

○ Abortion law review

  • Armed forces covenant
  • Definition of a victim

Both Houses will debate the motions on the first reports relating to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019.

WS
Treasury
Made on: 04 September 2019
Made by: The Earl of Courtown (Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

Operation of the UK’s Counter-Terrorist Asset Freezing Regime: 1 April 2019 to 30 June 2019

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

Under the Terrorist Asset-Freezing etc. Act 2010 (TAFA 2010), the Treasury is required to prepare a quarterly report regarding its exercise of the powers conferred on it by Part 1 of TAFA 2010. This written statement satisfies that requirement for the period 1 April 2019 to 30 June 2019.

This report also covers the UK’s implementation of the UN’s ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida asset freezing regime (ISIL-AQ), and the operation of the EU’s asset freezing regime under EU Regulation (EC) 2580/2001 concerning external terrorist threats to the EU (also referred to as the CP 931 regime).

Under the ISIL-AQ asset freezing regime, the UN has responsibility for designations and the Treasury, through the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI), has responsibility for licensing and compliance with the regime in the UK under the ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida (Asset-Freezing) Regulations 2011.

Under EU Regulation 2580/2001, the EU has responsibility for designations and OFSI has responsibility for licensing and compliance with the regime in the UK under Part 1 of TAFA 2010.

EU Regulation (2016/1686) was implemented on 22 September 2016. This permits the EU to make autonomous Al-Qaida and ISIL (Da’esh) listings.

The following tables set out the key asset-freezing activity in the UK during the quarter.

Asset-freezing table April-June (Word Document, 26.62 KB)
This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1814
WS
Northern Ireland Office
Made on: 04 September 2019
Made by: Julian Smith (Secretary of State for Northern Ireland)
Commons

Report under section 4 of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions) Act 2018

This statement is issued in accordance with section 4 of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions) Act 2018 (‘the Act’). Section 4 of the Act requires that I, as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, report on a quarterly basis on guidance issued under that section of the Act, and report on how I plan to address the impact of the absence of Northern Ireland Ministers on human rights obligations within three months of the day the Act was passed.

The Act received Royal Assent on 1 November 2018. Following careful consideration of the sensitive issues section 4 deals with, and in consultation with the Northern Ireland Civil Service, guidance under section 4 was published on 17 December 2018.

The guidance notes that it does not, and cannot be used to, change the current law on abortion or same sex marriage in Northern Ireland. Both issues remain devolved matters in Northern Ireland. The guidance provides that all relevant Northern Ireland departments should continue to have regard to all of their legal obligations, including the Human Rights Act 1998 and sections 24 and 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, in exercising any relevant functions in relation to abortion and same sex marriage.

Two reports required under section 4 have been published as Written Ministerial Statements on 30 January 2019 and 1 May 2019.

I have consulted the Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service in the preparation of this report. He has reaffirmed the continuing commitment of the NICS to have regard to their legal obligations when exercising any relevant functions in relation to abortion and same sex marriage.

The Government’s preference remains that any change to law on either of these sensitive devolved issues is taken forward by a restored Executive and functioning Assembly. It remains the hope that devolved government can be restored at the earliest opportunity through the current talks process.

However, we recognise the strength of feeling on same-sex marriage and abortion law reform demonstrated by a majority of MPs supporting the addition of sections 8 and 9 to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019. These sections require the Government to regulate in order to provide access to abortion services and same-sex marriage (and opposite-sex civil partnerships) in Northern Ireland, if there is no restored Executive by 21 October 2019.

There are a range of sensitive policy issues that need to be carefully addressed on both issues. We will work with relevant Whitehall departments and the Northern Ireland Civil Service to take all necessary steps between now and 21 October 2019 to ensure that, if the Executive has not been restored by that date, relevant regulations can come into force in accordance with the timescales specified in the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019.

WS
Treasury
Made on: 04 September 2019
Made by: The Earl of Courtown (Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

Operation of the UK’s Counter-Terrorist Asset Freezing Regime: 1 January 2019 to 31 March 2019

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

Under the Terrorist Asset-Freezing etc. Act 2010 (TAFA 2010), the Treasury is required to prepare a quarterly report regarding its exercise of the powers conferred on it by Part 1 of TAFA 2010. This written statement satisfies that requirement for the period 1 January 2019 to 31 March 2019.

This report also covers the UK’s implementation of the UN’s ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida asset freezing regime (ISIL-AQ), and the operation of the EU’s asset freezing regime under EU Regulation (EC) 2580/2001 concerning external terrorist threats to the EU (also referred to as the CP 931 regime).

Under the ISIL-AQ asset freezing regime, the UN has responsibility for designations and the Treasury, through the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI), has responsibility for licensing and compliance with the regime in the UK under the ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida (Asset-Freezing) Regulations 2011.

Under EU Regulation 2580/2001, the EU has responsibility for designations and OFSI has responsibility for licensing and compliance with the regime in the UK under Part 1 of TAFA 2010.

EU Regulation (2016/1686) was implemented on 22 September 2016. This permits the EU to make autonomous Al-Qaida and ISIL (Da’esh) listings.

The following tables set out the key asset-freezing activity in the UK during the quarter.

Asset-freezing table Jan-March (Word Document, 26.54 KB)
This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1813
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Northern Ireland Office
Made on: 04 September 2019
Made by: Julian Smith (Secretary of State for Northern Ireland)
Commons

Publication of reports under the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019

I am today formally laying in the House, under section three of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019, reports on progress towards forming an Executive and other matters.

Northern Ireland has been without a sitting Assembly and Executive since January 2017. Since becoming Secretary of State for Northern Ireland I have made working to restore the devolved institutions my absolute priority.

Whilst significant gaps remain on rights, identity and culture, the Government’s assessment is that the range of outstanding issues in the cross-party talks is relatively narrow.

This means it should prove possible - with intensive engagement - to resolve the strands of talks on the Programme for Government, Transparency and Sustainability relatively swiftly. There has been good engagement too on the Petition of Concern.

While the parties remain engaged and are demonstrating a willingness to find solutions to the remaining critical issues, a renewed determination to find agreement will be needed if the process is to conclude in the coming weeks.

Northern Ireland needs a restored Executive and the political leadership that would bring. The UK Government, working closely with the Irish Government in accordance with the three-stranded approach, will now intensify our efforts to put forward compromise solutions to the parties. If that does not succeed, then my next update to the House will set out next steps to ensure adequate governance in Northern Ireland and the protection of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement.

The reports I have laid in the House today also address other critical issues for Northern Ireland. These include a report on the progress of implementing the recommendations made by the Report of the Inquiry into Historical Institutional Abuse in Northern Ireland. I want to pay particular tribute to the survivors I have met, who waited so long for acknowledgment and accountability for the appalling abuse that they suffered. Good progress has been made on drafting legislation to deliver redress for the survivors, and I will continue to press for a slot to introduce the legislation at Westminster as soon as possible.

I have also laid a report setting out next steps on abortion in Northern Ireland. The Government acknowledges that this is a highly sensitive subject and I continue to believe it would be better in principle if it could be addressed by the democratic institutions in Northern Ireland.

Given the very long and drawn out cross-party talks process, the House spoke clearly in July this year. There are now legal obligations for the Government to deliver change to the law on abortion in Northern Ireland in the event that the Executive is not restored. The Government will update the House and the public regularly on the steps it is taking, mindful that the legal obligation will be triggered from 21 October in the absence of an Executive. This will result in the repeal of the relevant criminal law in Northern Ireland [sections 58 and 59 of the Offences against the Person Act 1861] - and a moratorium will also come into effect on that date, meaning that no criminal investigation may be carried out, and no criminal proceedings may be brought or continued after this time.

By no later than 31 March 2020, a new legal regime allowing for lawful access to abortion services, implementing the recommendations of the 2018 Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) Report, will be in place.

The full list of reports is as follows:

  • Gambling
  • Human trafficking
  • Victims’ payment
  • Historical institutional abuse
  • A single report covering:

○ Executive formation

○ Transparency of political donations

○ Higher education and a Derry university

○ Presumption of non-prosecution

○ Troubles related guidance

○ Abortion law review

  • Armed forces covenant
  • Definition of a victim

Both Houses will debate the motions on the first reports relating to the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019.

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Treasury
Made on: 04 September 2019
Made by: John Glen (The Economic Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

Operation of the UK’s Counter-Terrorist Asset Freezing Regime: 1 April 2019 to 30 June 2019

Under the Terrorist Asset-Freezing etc. Act 2010 (TAFA 2010), the Treasury is required to prepare a quarterly report regarding its exercise of the powers conferred on it by Part 1 of TAFA 2010. This written statement satisfies that requirement for the period 1 April 2019 to 30 June 2019.

This report also covers the UK’s implementation of the UN’s ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida asset freezing regime (ISIL-AQ), and the operation of the EU’s asset freezing regime under EU Regulation (EC) 2580/2001 concerning external terrorist threats to the EU (also referred to as the CP 931 regime).

Under the ISIL-AQ asset freezing regime, the UN has responsibility for designations and the Treasury, through the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI), has responsibility for licensing and compliance with the regime in the UK under the ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida (Asset-Freezing) Regulations 2011.

Under EU Regulation 2580/2001, the EU has responsibility for designations and OFSI has responsibility for licensing and compliance with the regime in the UK under Part 1 of TAFA 2010.

EU Regulation (2016/1686) was implemented on 22 September 2016. This permits the EU to make autonomous Al-Qaida and ISIL (Da’esh) listings.

The annexed tables set out the key asset-freezing activity in the UK during the quarter.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1777
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Treasury
Made on: 04 September 2019
Made by: John Glen (The Economic Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

Operation of the UK’s Counter-Terrorist Asset Freezing Regime: 1 January 2019 to 31 March 2019

Under the Terrorist Asset-Freezing etc. Act 2010 (TAFA 2010), the Treasury is required to prepare a quarterly report regarding its exercise of the powers conferred on it by Part 1 of TAFA 2010. This written statement satisfies that requirement for the period 1 January 2019 to 31 March 2019.

This report also covers the UK’s implementation of the UN’s ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida asset freezing regime (ISIL-AQ), and the operation of the EU’s asset freezing regime under EU Regulation (EC) 2580/2001 concerning external terrorist threats to the EU (also referred to as the CP 931 regime).

Under the ISIL-AQ asset freezing regime, the UN has responsibility for designations and the Treasury, through the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI), has responsibility for licensing and compliance with the regime in the UK under the ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qaida (Asset-Freezing) Regulations 2011.

Under EU Regulation 2580/2001, the EU has responsibility for designations and OFSI has responsibility for licensing and compliance with the regime in the UK under Part 1 of TAFA 2010.

EU Regulation (2016/1686) was implemented on 22 September 2016. This permits the EU to make autonomous Al-Qaida and ISIL (Da’esh) listings.

The annexed tables set out the key asset-freezing activity in the UK during the quarter.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1776
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Treasury
Made on: 04 September 2019
Made by: John Glen (The Economic Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

Bilateral loan to Ireland under the Loans to Ireland Act 2010

I would like to update Parliament on the loan to Ireland.

In December 2010, the UK agreed to provide a bilateral loan of £3.2 billion as part of a €67.5 billion international assistance package for Ireland. The loan was disbursed in 8 tranches. The final tranche was drawn down on 26 September 2013. Ireland has made interest payments on the loan every six months since the first disbursement.

On 30 July, in line with the agreed repayment schedule, HM Treasury received a total payment of £404,642,604.73 from Ireland. This comprises the repayment of £403,370,000 in principal and £1,272,604.73 in accrued interest.

As required under the Loans to Ireland Act 2010, HM Treasury laid a Statutory Report to Parliament on 1 April 2019 covering the period from 1 October to 31 March 2019. The Report set out details of future payments up to the final repayment on 26 March 2021. The government continues to expect the loan to be repaid in full and on time.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/791132/Ireland_loan_statutory_report_April_2019_web.pdf

The next Statutory Report will cover the period from 1 April to 30 September 2019. HM Treasury will report fully on all repayments received during this period in the Report.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1775
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Treasury
Made on: 04 September 2019
Made by: The Earl of Courtown (Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

Bilateral loan to Ireland under the Loans to Ireland Act 2010

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

I would like to update Parliament on the loan to Ireland.

In December 2010, the UK agreed to provide a bilateral loan of £3.2 billion as part of a €67.5 billion international assistance package for Ireland. The loan was disbursed in 8 tranches. The final tranche was drawn down on 26 September 2013. Ireland has made interest payments on the loan every six months since the first disbursement.

On 30 July, in line with the agreed repayment schedule, HM Treasury received a total payment of £404,642,604.73 from Ireland. This comprises the repayment of £403,370,000 in principal and £1,272,604.73 in accrued interest.

As required under the Loans to Ireland Act 2010, HM Treasury laid a Statutory Report to Parliament on 1 April 2019 covering the period from 1 October to 31 March 2019. The Report set out details of future payments up to the final repayment on 26 March 2021. The government continues to expect the loan to be repaid in full and on time.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/791132/Ireland_loan_statutory_report_April_2019_web.pdf

The next Statutory Report will cover the period from 1 April to 30 September 2019. HM Treasury will report fully on all repayments received during this period in the Report.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1812
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Department for Education
Made on: 03 September 2019
Made by: Lord Agnew of Oulton (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for the School System))
Lords

Education Funding Update

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

Today I will be making an Oral Statement in the House, updating on the schools and colleges funding package announced by the Prime Minister last weekend.

The package includes a cash increase compared to 2019-20 of £2.6bn to core schools funding next year, with increases of £4.8bn and £7.1bn in 2021-22 and 2022-23 respectively.

This is in addition to the £1.5bn per year that we will continue to provide to fund additional pension costs for teachers over the next three years.

We will also be investing an extra £400m in 16-19 education next year – the single biggest annual increase for the sector since 2010.

My statement will set out core schools funding at a national level. Illustrative school level allocations and provisional local authority level allocations through the schools and high needs National Funding Formulae will be announced next month. I will then write to members with further details on the impact for schools and local areas.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1811
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Department for Education
Made on: 03 September 2019
Made by: Gavin Williamson (The Secretary of State for Education)
Commons

Education Funding Update

Today I will be making an Oral Statement in the House, updating on the schools and colleges funding package announced by the Prime Minister last weekend.

The package includes a cash increase compared to 2019-20 of £2.6bn to core schools funding next year, with increases of £4.8bn and £7.1bn in 2021-22 and 2022-23 respectively.

This is in addition to the £1.5bn per year that we will continue to provide to fund additional pension costs for teachers over the next three years.

We will also be investing an extra £400m in 16-19 education next year – the single biggest annual increase for the sector since 2010.

My statement will set out core schools funding at a national level. Illustrative school level allocations and provisional local authority level allocations through the schools and high needs National Funding Formulae will be announced next month. I will then write to members with further details on the impact for schools and local areas.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1774
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Ministry of Defence
Made on: 03 September 2019
Made by: Baroness Goldie (Minister of State, Ministry of Defence)
Lords

Reserve Forces and Cadets Associations External Scrutiny Team Report 2019

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence (Ben Wallace MP) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I have today placed in the Library of the House a copy of a report into the condition of the Reserves and delivery of the Future Reserves 2020 programme compiled by the Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Associations External Scrutiny Team. I am most grateful to the Team for their work. The report raises interesting points which, after a thorough examination, I will respond to later in the year.

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Department for Transport
Made on: 03 September 2019
Made by: Baroness Vere of Norbiton (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport)
Lords

HS2 Update

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

The Prime Minister and I have been clear about the potential for transport investment to drive growth, redistribute opportunity and support towns and cities across the UK. But we have been equally clear that the costs and benefits of those investments must stack up.

The Government announced on 21 August 2019 an independent, cross-party review led by Douglas Oakervee into whether and how HS2 should proceed. The review will consider its affordability, deliverability, benefits, scope and phasing, including its relationship with Northern Powerhouse Rail. I have published the terms of reference in full on gov.uk.

The Chair will be supported by a Deputy Chair, Lord Berkeley, and a panel of experts from business, academia and transport to ensure an independent, thorough and objective assessment of the programme. Panellists will provide input to, and be consulted on, the report’s conclusions.

The review will report to me this autumn. I will discuss its findings with the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer. Its recommendations will inform our decisions on our next steps.

HS2 is the single largest project of this Government. One important aspect of the panel's work is to consider whether both the costs, and the benefits, of the scheme have been correctly identified. HS2’s business case has been founded on increasing capacity on our constrained rail network, improving connectivity, and stimulating economic growth and regeneration. The current budget was established in 2013 and later adjusted to 2015 prices. Since that time, significant concerns have been raised.

I want the House to have the full picture. There is no future in obscuring the true costs of a large infrastructure project – as well as the potential benefits.

The recently appointed Chairman of HS2 Ltd, Allan Cook, provided his advice to me on the cost and deliverability of the current scheme shortly after my appointment as Transport Secretary – and I want the House to have the full details at the earliest opportunity. I am determined to set out everything that is currently known, so I have today placed a copy of the advice in the Libraries of both Houses. This has only been redacted where commercially necessary, and the Oakervee Review panel will of course see the report in full.

Colleagues will see that the Chairman of HS2 does not believe that the current scheme design can be delivered within the budget of £55.7 billion, set in 2015 prices. Instead he estimates that the current scheme requires a total budget - including contingency - in the range of £72 to £78 billion, again in 2015 prices.

Regarding schedule, the Chairman does not believe the current schedule of 2026 for initial services on Phase One is realistic. In line with lessons from other major transport infrastructure projects, his advice proposes a range of dates for the start of service. He recommends 2028 to 2031 for Phase One - with a staged opening, starting with initial services between London Old Oak Common and Birmingham Curzon Street, followed by services to and from London Euston later. He expects Phase 2b, the full high-speed line to Manchester and Leeds, to open between 2035 and 2040.

He has also suggested that Phase 2a, West Midlands to Crewe, could be delivered to the same timetable as Phase 1, subject to Parliamentary approval. Finally, he is of the view that the benefits of the current scheme are substantially undervalued. HS2 Ltd continues to refine its estimates of cost, benefits and schedule. All these will be considered within the scope of the Oakervee review.

I said when I announced the independent review into HS2 that I now want Doug Oakervee and his panel to assess independently these findings from the Chairman of HS2 Ltd and other available evidence. That review will provide independent recommendations on whether and how we proceed with the project.

Furthermore, the costs and benefits of HS2 have been quoted in 2015 prices since the last Spending Review. While this allows a stable set of numbers to compare against, it also risks being misconstrued and understating the relative cost of the project, and indeed its benefits.

I therefore think it is worth also updating the House in current prices. Adjusting by construction cost inflation, the range set out in Allan Cook’s report is equivalent to £81 to £88 billion in 2019 prices, against a budget equivalent to £62.4 billion.

To be clear, these additions do not represent an increase in the project’s underlying costs, and are largely a point of presentation. Nonetheless, I will discuss with the Chancellor the case for updating the costs and benefits of HS2 to current prices to ensure transparency. Again, this is another reason for an independent review.

During the short period in which the independent review completes its work I have authorised HS2 Ltd to continue the current works that are taking place on the project. This will ensure we are ready to proceed without further delay for the main construction stage of Phase 1 in the event that the Government chooses to continue. Similarly, I intend to continue to progress the next stages of the hybrid Bill for Phase 2a, West Midlands to Crewe, in the House of Lords while the review is ongoing.

This update is intended to provide colleagues with the information they require about the current status of the HS2 programme. An independent review is now underway to give us the facts about the costs of the HS2 project. I want to be clear with colleagues that there is no future for a project like this without being transparent and open, so we will be candid when challenges emerge. Therefore, as soon as I have a clear sense of the costs and benefits from Doug Oakervee’s review I will update the House.

In the same spirit, my Permanent Secretary has today written to the National Audit Office, offering my department’s support – in their inquiry already underway – in auditing not only the project’s cost and schedule pressures, but the steps taken in response to these.

We all in this House know we must invest in modern infrastructure to ensure the future prosperity of our country and its people. We look back to past achievements with a sense of pride – from the canals and railways that ensured the UK led the world into the Industrial Revolution, to the space ports and launch sites we are now considering that will make the UK a global leader in space. These endeavours both inspire and improve the quality of our everyday lives. It is therefore right that we subject every project to the most rigorous scrutiny; and if we are to truly maximise every opportunity, this must always be done with an open mind and a clean sheet of paper.

HS2 Allan Cook Advice (PDF Document, 826.26 KB)
This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1809
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Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 03 September 2019
Made by: Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State )
Lords

Flooding over the summer and Reservoir Review

My Rt. Hon Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Theresa Villiers) has today made the following statement:

This summer saw significant rainfall that unfortunately impacted several communities. In June, properties and farmland were flooded after the River Steeping broke its banks leading to a quick response from the EA supported by the RAF. At the end of July there was significant rainfall which led to flooding in several communities. The flash flooding in North Yorkshire saw homes, businesses and farms affected as well as causing damage to roads and bridges resulting in travel disruption On 1 August further heavy rainfall led to the spillway of Toddbrook Reservoir experiencing damage. This did not lead to a breach of the dam itself, but to ensure the safety of Whaley Bridge, a decision was taken by the Local Resilience Forum to evacuate 1500 people until the authorities could be assured there was no ongoing risk. The local community responded with grace and patience despite the disruption this caused to their daily lives, which we are grateful for. Recovery continues in both North Yorkshire and Wainfleet, where the local authorities are working with those affected.

In Whaley Bridge, everyone was able to return home within a week. The Canal and River Trust, supported by the EA, fire service, voluntary organisations, contractors and the RAF worked to reduce the water levels in the reservoir and shoring up the damaged spillway with over 500 one tonne bags of aggregate to effect a temporary, but stable, repair. COBR engaged a panel of experts, led by GO–Science, to review and advise on the engineers’ safety report and immediate management of the reservoir, before the Local Resilience Forum made the decision to end the evacuation.

A plan is in place to ensure the water levels are monitored and remain at safe levels until full repairs are completed. As the body responsible for Toddbrook Reservoir, the Canal and River Trust (CRT) is now fully assessing the damage and identifying the most appropriate long terms repairs to provide confidence in the long term safety of this dam. As the regulator, the EA will assess the proposals. My officials in Defra will also work with the CRT as they consider the long term future of the reservoir taking into account both the views of the local community and their legal obligations.

I wish to thank the Whaley Bridge residents displaced from their homes for their forbearance and patience in difficult circumstances. I also want to recognise and thank the emergency services, local authorities, the Environment Agency, our service men and women, contractors and the very many volunteers who responded in all of these situations to both mitigate the immediate impacts or risks and support those who were affected.

On 10th August the government announced a £5.25m package of support for these communities which included support to the local authorities for the extra costs, funding for bridge repairs and support to farmers for any uninsurable costs.

We have an excellent reservoir safety record in this country, but it is important that we learn from this incident to ensure such infrastructure, and the legislation that governs it, is and remains fit for purpose. To that end, I am commissioning an independent review which will investigate what might have led to the damage, whether there was anything that could have prevent or predicted it and identify any lessons learned. This review will supplement the future report from the Canal and Rivers Trust into their assessment of the factors that led to the damaged spillway.

Any lessons learned will be shared with other reservoir owners to inform their inspection and maintenance regimes, to be used to make recommendations to Ministers to update the implementation of current regulations, including inspection guidance, and/or to suggest any changes required to current reservoir safety legislation. I am expecting an interim report by the end of the year.

In advance of this piece of work the Environment Agency, as the regulator for reservoir safety, have contacted the operators of over 2,000 reservoirs since the Toddbrook incident requesting that all operators check that there are no safety concerns. The EA has identified eight reservoirs that have concrete spillways with some similarity to Toddbrook Reservoir and has followed up directly with the owners of these eight reservoirs to secure additional inspections. At this stage there is no indication of any concerns with any of these eight reservoirs. The EA is also carrying out inspections of their own reservoirs directly, and the Department is writing to reservoir owners and the local resilience forums to ensure they have up to date flood and evacuation plans in place.

Climate change and population growth mean that the risks from flooding and coastal erosion are increasing. That is why government is looking to update the flood and coastal erosion policy framework to ensure that we can continue to manage these risks effectively into the future. By the end of 2019, the government will set out its policies to better prepare the country for flooding and coastal erosion in a government policy statement on flooding and coastal erosion. The government will also set out plans for a step change in broader infrastructure investment through the publication of a National Infrastructure Strategy later in the autumn. Informed by this government policy, the Environment Agency will update its national strategy for flood and coastal erosion risk management.

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Ministry of Defence
Made on: 03 September 2019
Made by: Mr Ben Wallace (Secretary of State for Defence)
Commons

Reserve Forces and Cadets Associations External Scrutiny Team Report 2019

I have today placed in the Library of the House a copy of a report into the condition of the Reserves and delivery of the Future Reserves 2020 programme compiled by the Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Associations External Scrutiny Team. I am most grateful to the Team for their work. The report raises interesting points which, after a thorough examination, I will respond to later in the year.

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Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 03 September 2019
Made by: Lord Duncan of Springbank (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Minister for Climate Change)
Lords

British Steel Update

My Rt hon friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Andrea Leadsom) has today made the following statement:

I want to update the House on the latest developments regarding British Steel Limited.

On 22 May British Steel entered insolvency, and control of the company passed to the court appointed Official Receiver. The Government provided an indemnity to the Official Receiver which enabled British Steel to continue to trade, customers to receive orders, key suppliers to maintain their services, and staff to continue to be employed.

Since then, the Official Receiver has been running an independent sales process with a view to finding a secure future for British Steel. The Government has worked tirelessly with the Official Receiver and all interested parties to leave no stone unturned to find a suitable buyer for the company and to keep steel coming off the production line.

Following several weeks of discussions with a number of interested parties, on the 16 August the Official Receiver confirmed it had accepted a bid from Ataer Holding AS for the whole business. This is an important and positive step towards protecting thousands of direct jobs and many more in the supply chain, and to securing steelmaking operations at British Steel’s sites in Scunthorpe, Skinningrove and on Teesside.

Work is now continuing to seek to finalise the details of a sale and the Government will continue to work closely with the Official Receiver and the preferred bidder during this process.

This has been a worrying time for British Steel’s dedicated workers, their families, those in the supply chain and their wider communities. Throughout this process their welfare has been paramount. This positive step, and the ability to secure a new owner, is due in large part to their commitment to securing the future of the company. This commitment and drive was abundantly clear in my visit to the site in Scunthorpe with the Industry Minister, during my first week as Business Secretary.

The Government’s determination, coupled with the support of members from across the House of Commons, ensured every possible step was taken to secure a buyer and throughout the process our focus remained firmly on securing a buyer who could take the whole business forward.

While much remains to be achieved, Ataer has a long-term, strategic vision for growing British Steel with their parent company OYAK publicly stating that if this sale goes through their priority will be to increase production capacity and investment.  Ataer is already in the steel industry, as the largest shareholder in Erdermir, Turkey’s largest flat steel producer. In the first three months of this year alone, Erdermir posted profits of $186m and 2.4m tonnes of liquid steel production.

While the completion of the sale is by no means certain, the Government will continue to fully engage with all relevant parties as the sales process continues.

I would like to pay special tribute to the excellent work and dedication of the British Steel Support Group as well as that of my predecessor, the Rt. Hon member for Tunbridge Wells. The Support Group includes members from across the House of Commons, local political leaders, local enterprise partnerships, trade union representatives, British Steel management, in addition to Make UK and the FSB. Working constructively with Government, this body has been instrumental in helping to move to the next stage of this process.

While there are challenges in the global steel market, the opportunities for growth are substantial – including an additional £3.8bn per year of potential domestic sales for UK steel producers from 2030. Britain and the rest of the world will continue to need high-quality steel, and British steel is among the best in the world. The Government has already taken wide-ranging action to support the industry including compensation for energy costs and introducing specific public procurement guidelines for steel.

Each one of British Steel’s sites has a proud record of steelmaking excellence which we are determined to see continue. I want to reassure colleagues that the Government remains firmly committed to securing a bright future for British Steel. In the days and weeks ahead we will continue to work closely with all parties to leave no stone unturned to finalise the sale and will take every possible step to ensure a long-term future for these valuable operations.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1806
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Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 03 September 2019
Made by: Lord Duncan of Springbank (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Minister for Climate Change)
Lords

Clean Steel Fund and Low Carbon Hydrogen Production Fund

My Rt hon friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Andrea Leadsom) has today made the following statement:

Moving to net zero greenhouse gas emissions for the UK economy requires transformation across all sectors of the economy and unprecedented levels of investment in green and low carbon technologies. The UK is a world leader in clean growth and in setting our ambitious, legally binding, target of achieving net zero emissions across the economy by 2050 we have demonstrated our commitment to maintain this position.

A vibrant steel sector is of vital importance to the UK economy. The sector employs 32,000 people and supports up to a further 40,000 jobs through its supply chains. With longstanding expertise in steel making, the UK is well positioned to demonstrate international leadership in clean steel and realise domestic growth and export opportunities in associated products and technical knowledge.

Today, the UK steel sector is a significant source of emissions contributing 15% to industrial greenhouse gas emissions. The integrated steel works at the British Steel site in Scunthorpe and the Tata Steel UK site Port Talbot are the two largest industrial sources of emissions in the UK.

We believe the time is right to provide dedicated support to our steel industry, to help put it on a pathway to decarbonisation in line with our net zero commitments. As a signal of that support, on 29th August, Government announced a £250 million Clean Steel Fund.

There are a range of different decarbonisation options for steel production: switching to lower carbon fuels, including hydrogen; industrial carbon capture; and energy and material efficiency. In order to better understand the needs of the steel sector and which pathways best meet our objectives we issued a call for evidence alongside the fund’s announcement to inform its future design. We will work with the steel sector and other stakeholders to develop timelines for the fund and to identify how to maximise the economic and environmental benefits of these decarbonisation options.

Recognising that availability of low carbon hydrogen at scale is a constraint to large industrial users considering fuel switching, Government has also announced a new £100 million Low Carbon Hydrogen Production Fund. The fund will support the deployment of low carbon hydrogen production capacity and encourage private sector investment. This could enable a pathway to lower carbon steel production and support broader efforts to reduce emissions across the energy system, including transport, other industry, power and potentially heat in buildings. The Government intends to consult on the shape of the Fund during 2020 with a view to launching the Fund for bids in 2021.

Together these funds will be a vital part of transforming UK industry and allow us to seize the opportunities of clean growth, which are at the heart of our modern Industrial Strategy.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1807
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Department for Transport
Made on: 03 September 2019
Made by: Grant Shapps (Secretary of State for Transport)
Commons

HS2 Update

The Prime Minister and I have been clear about the potential for transport investment to drive growth, redistribute opportunity and support towns and cities across the UK. But we have been equally clear that the costs and benefits of those investments must stack up.

The Government announced on 21 August 2019 an independent, cross-party review led by Douglas Oakervee into whether and how HS2 should proceed. The review will consider its affordability, deliverability, benefits, scope and phasing, including its relationship with Northern Powerhouse Rail. I have published the terms of reference in full on gov.uk.

The Chair will be supported by a Deputy Chair, Lord Berkeley, and a panel of experts from business, academia and transport to ensure an independent, thorough and objective assessment of the programme. Panellists will provide input to, and be consulted on, the report’s conclusions.

The review will report to me this autumn. I will discuss its findings with the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer. Its recommendations will inform our decisions on our next steps.

HS2 is the single largest project of this Government. One important aspect of the panel's work is to consider whether both the costs, and the benefits, of the scheme have been correctly identified. HS2’s business case has been founded on increasing capacity on our constrained rail network, improving connectivity, and stimulating economic growth and regeneration. The current budget was established in 2013 and later adjusted to 2015 prices. Since that time, significant concerns have been raised.

I want the House to have the full picture. There is no future in obscuring the true costs of a large infrastructure project – as well as the potential benefits.

The recently appointed Chairman of HS2 Ltd, Allan Cook, provided his advice to me on the cost and deliverability of the current scheme shortly after my appointment as Transport Secretary – and I want the House to have the full details at the earliest opportunity. I am determined to set out everything that is currently known, so I have today placed a copy of the advice in the Libraries of both Houses. This has only been redacted where commercially necessary, and the Oakervee Review panel will of course see the report in full.

Colleagues will see that the Chairman of HS2 does not believe that the current scheme design can be delivered within the budget of £55.7 billion, set in 2015 prices. Instead he estimates that the current scheme requires a total budget - including contingency - in the range of £72 to £78 billion, again in 2015 prices.

Regarding schedule, the Chairman does not believe the current schedule of 2026 for initial services on Phase One is realistic. In line with lessons from other major transport infrastructure projects, his advice proposes a range of dates for the start of service. He recommends 2028 to 2031 for Phase One - with a staged opening, starting with initial services between London Old Oak Common and Birmingham Curzon Street, followed by services to and from London Euston later. He expects Phase 2b, the full high-speed line to Manchester and Leeds, to open between 2035 and 2040.

He has also suggested that Phase 2a, West Midlands to Crewe, could be delivered to the same timetable as Phase 1, subject to Parliamentary approval. Finally, he is of the view that the benefits of the current scheme are substantially undervalued. HS2 Ltd continues to refine its estimates of cost, benefits and schedule. All these will be considered within the scope of the Oakervee review.

I said when I announced the independent review into HS2 that I now want Doug Oakervee and his panel to assess independently these findings from the Chairman of HS2 Ltd and other available evidence. That review will provide independent recommendations on whether and how we proceed with the project.

Furthermore, the costs and benefits of HS2 have been quoted in 2015 prices since the last Spending Review. While this allows a stable set of numbers to compare against, it also risks being misconstrued and understating the relative cost of the project, and indeed its benefits.

I therefore think it is worth also updating the House in current prices. Adjusting by construction cost inflation, the range set out in Allan Cook’s report is equivalent to £81 to £88 billion in 2019 prices, against a budget equivalent to £62.4 billion.

To be clear, these additions do not represent an increase in the project’s underlying costs, and are largely a point of presentation. Nonetheless, I will discuss with the Chancellor the case for updating the costs and benefits of HS2 to current prices to ensure transparency. Again, this is another reason for an independent review.

During the short period in which the independent review completes its work I have authorised HS2 Ltd to continue the current works that are taking place on the project. This will ensure we are ready to proceed without further delay for the main construction stage of Phase 1 in the event that the Government chooses to continue. Similarly, I intend to continue to progress the next stages of the hybrid Bill for Phase 2a, West Midlands to Crewe, in the House of Lords while the review is ongoing.

This update is intended to provide colleagues with the information they require about the current status of the HS2 programme. An independent review is now underway to give us the facts about the costs of the HS2 project. I want to be clear with colleagues that there is no future for a project like this without being transparent and open, so we will be candid when challenges emerge. Therefore, as soon as I have a clear sense of the costs and benefits from Doug Oakervee’s review I will update the House.

In the same spirit, my Permanent Secretary has today written to the National Audit Office, offering my department’s support – in their inquiry already underway – in auditing not only the project’s cost and schedule pressures, but the steps taken in response to these.

We all in this House know we must invest in modern infrastructure to ensure the future prosperity of our country and its people. We look back to past achievements with a sense of pride – from the canals and railways that ensured the UK led the world into the Industrial Revolution, to the space ports and launch sites we are now considering that will make the UK a global leader in space. These endeavours both inspire and improve the quality of our everyday lives. It is therefore right that we subject every project to the most rigorous scrutiny; and if we are to truly maximise every opportunity, this must always be done with an open mind and a clean sheet of paper.

HS2 Allan Cook Advice (PDF Document, 826.26 KB)
This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1772
WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 03 September 2019
Made by: Theresa Villiers (Secretary of State)
Commons

Flooding over the summer and Reservoir Review

This summer saw significant rainfall that unfortunately impacted several communities. In June, properties and farmland were flooded after the River Steeping broke its banks leading to a quick response from the EA supported by the RAF. At the end of July there was significant rainfall which led to flooding in several communities. The flash flooding in North Yorkshire saw homes, businesses and farms affected as well as causing damage to roads and bridges resulting in travel disruption On 1 August further heavy rainfall led to the spillway of Toddbrook Reservoir experiencing damage. This did not lead to a breach of the dam itself, but to ensure the safety of Whaley Bridge, a decision was taken by the Local Resilience Forum to evacuate 1500 people until the authorities could be assured there was no ongoing risk. The local community responded with grace and patience despite the disruption this caused to their daily lives, which we are grateful for. Recovery continues in both North Yorkshire and Wainfleet, where the local authorities are working with those affected.

In Whaley Bridge, everyone was able to return home within a week. The Canal and River Trust, supported by the EA, fire service, voluntary organisations, contractors and the RAF worked to reduce the water levels in the reservoir and shoring up the damaged spillway with over 500 one tonne bags of aggregate to effect a temporary, but stable, repair. COBR engaged a panel of experts, led by GO–Science, to review and advise on the engineers’ safety report and immediate management of the reservoir, before the Local Resilience Forum made the decision to end the evacuation.

A plan is in place to ensure the water levels are monitored and remain at safe levels until full repairs are completed. As the body responsible for Toddbrook Reservoir, the Canal and River Trust (CRT) is now fully assessing the damage and identifying the most appropriate long terms repairs to provide confidence in the long term safety of this dam. As the regulator, the EA will assess the proposals. My officials in Defra will also work with the CRT as they consider the long term future of the reservoir taking into account both the views of the local community and their legal obligations.

I wish to thank the Whaley Bridge residents displaced from their homes for their forbearance and patience in difficult circumstances. I also want to recognise and thank the emergency services, local authorities, the Environment Agency, our service men and women, contractors and the very many volunteers who responded in all of these situations to both mitigate the immediate impacts or risks and support those who were affected.

On 10th August the government announced a £5.25m package of support for these communities which included support to the local authorities for the extra costs, funding for bridge repairs and support to farmers for any uninsurable costs.

We have an excellent reservoir safety record in this country, but it is important that we learn from this incident to ensure such infrastructure, and the legislation that governs it, is and remains fit for purpose. To that end, I am commissioning an independent review which will investigate what might have led to the damage, whether there was anything that could have prevent or predicted it and identify any lessons learned. This review will supplement the future report from the Canal and Rivers Trust into their assessment of the factors that led to the damaged spillway.

Any lessons learned will be shared with other reservoir owners to inform their inspection and maintenance regimes, to be used to make recommendations to Ministers to update the implementation of current regulations, including inspection guidance, and/or to suggest any changes required to current reservoir safety legislation. I am expecting an interim report by the end of the year.

In advance of this piece of work the Environment Agency, as the regulator for reservoir safety, have contacted the operators of over 2,000 reservoirs since the Toddbrook incident requesting that all operators check that there are no safety concerns. The EA has identified eight reservoirs that have concrete spillways with some similarity to Toddbrook Reservoir and has followed up directly with the owners of these eight reservoirs to secure additional inspections. At this stage there is no indication of any concerns with any of these eight reservoirs. The EA is also carrying out inspections of their own reservoirs directly, and the Department is writing to reservoir owners and the local resilience forums to ensure they have up to date flood and evacuation plans in place.

Climate change and population growth mean that the risks from flooding and coastal erosion are increasing. That is why government is looking to update the flood and coastal erosion policy framework to ensure that we can continue to manage these risks effectively into the future. By the end of 2019, the government will set out its policies to better prepare the country for flooding and coastal erosion in a government policy statement on flooding and coastal erosion. The government will also set out plans for a step change in broader infrastructure investment through the publication of a National Infrastructure Strategy later in the autumn. Informed by this government policy, the Environment Agency will update its national strategy for flood and coastal erosion risk management.

WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 03 September 2019
Made by: Andrea Leadsom (Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
Commons

Clean Steel Fund and Low Carbon Hydrogen Production Fund

Moving to net zero greenhouse gas emissions for the UK economy requires transformation across all sectors of the economy and unprecedented levels of investment in green and low carbon technologies. The UK is a world leader in clean growth and in setting our ambitious, legally binding, target of achieving net zero emissions across the economy by 2050 we have demonstrated our commitment to maintain this position.

A vibrant steel sector is of vital importance to the UK economy. The sector employs 32,000 people and supports up to a further 40,000 jobs through its supply chains. With longstanding expertise in steel making, the UK is well positioned to demonstrate international leadership in clean steel and realise domestic growth and export opportunities in associated products and technical knowledge.

Today, the UK steel sector is a significant source of emissions contributing 15% to industrial greenhouse gas emissions. The integrated steel works at the British Steel site in Scunthorpe and the Tata Steel UK site Port Talbot are the two largest industrial sources of emissions in the UK.

We believe the time is right to provide dedicated support to our steel industry, to help put it on a pathway to decarbonisation in line with our net zero commitments. As a signal of that support, on 29th August, Government announced a £250 million Clean Steel Fund.

There are a range of different decarbonisation options for steel production: switching to lower carbon fuels, including hydrogen; industrial carbon capture; and energy and material efficiency. In order to better understand the needs of the steel sector and which pathways best meet our objectives we issued a call for evidence alongside the fund’s announcement to inform its future design. We will work with the steel sector and other stakeholders to develop timelines for the fund and to identify how to maximise the economic and environmental benefits of these decarbonisation options.

Recognising that availability of low carbon hydrogen at scale is a constraint to large industrial users considering fuel switching, Government has also announced a new £100 million Low Carbon Hydrogen Production Fund. The fund will support the deployment of low carbon hydrogen production capacity and encourage private sector investment. This could enable a pathway to lower carbon steel production and support broader efforts to reduce emissions across the energy system, including transport, other industry, power and potentially heat in buildings. The Government intends to consult on the shape of the Fund during 2020 with a view to launching the Fund for bids in 2021.

Together these funds will be a vital part of transforming UK industry and allow us to seize the opportunities of clean growth, which are at the heart of our modern Industrial Strategy.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1769
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 03 September 2019
Made by: Andrea Leadsom (Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
Commons

British Steel Update

I want to update the House on the latest developments regarding British Steel Limited.

On 22 May British Steel entered insolvency, and control of the company passed to the court appointed Official Receiver. The Government provided an indemnity to the Official Receiver which enabled British Steel to continue to trade, customers to receive orders, key suppliers to maintain their services, and staff to continue to be employed.

Since then, the Official Receiver has been running an independent sales process with a view to finding a secure future for British Steel. The Government has worked tirelessly with the Official Receiver and all interested parties to leave no stone unturned to find a suitable buyer for the company and to keep steel coming off the production line.

Following several weeks of discussions with a number of interested parties, on the 16 August the Official Receiver confirmed it had accepted a bid from Ataer Holding AS for the whole business. This is an important and positive step towards protecting thousands of direct jobs and many more in the supply chain, and to securing steelmaking operations at British Steel’s sites in Scunthorpe, Skinningrove and on Teesside.

Work is  now continuing  to seek to  finalise the details of a sale and the Government will continue to work closely with the Official Receiver and  the preferred  bidder during this process.

This has been a worrying time for British Steel’s dedicated workers, their families, those in the supply chain and their wider communities. Throughout this process their welfare has been paramount. This positive step, and the ability to secure a new owner, is due in large part to their commitment to securing the future of the company. This commitment and drive was abundantly clear in my visit to the site in Scunthorpe with the Industry Minister, during my first week as Business Secretary.

The Government’s determination, coupled with the support of members from across the House of Commons, ensured every possible step was taken to secure a buyer and throughout the process our focus remained firmly on securing a buyer who could take the whole business forward.

While much remains to be achieved, Ataer has a long-term, strategic vision for growing British Steel with their parent company OYAK publicly stating that if this sale goes through their priority will be to increase production capacity and investment.  Ataer is already in the steel industry, as the largest shareholder in Erdermir, Turkey’s largest flat steel producer. In the first three months of this year alone, Erdermir posted profits of $186m and 2.4m tonnes of liquid steel production.

While the completion of the sale is by no means certain, the Government will continue to fully engage with all relevant parties as the sales process continues.

I would like to pay special tribute to the excellent work and dedication of the British Steel Support Group as well as that of my predecessor, the Rt. Hon member for Tunbridge Wells. The Support Group includes members from across the House of Commons, local political leaders, local enterprise partnerships, trade union representatives, British Steel management, in addition to Make UK and the FSB. Working constructively with Government, this body has been instrumental in helping to move to the next stage of this process.

While there are challenges in the global steel market, the opportunities for growth are substantial – including an additional £3.8bn per year of potential domestic sales for UK steel producers from 2030. Britain and the rest of the world will continue to need high-quality steel, and British steel is among the best in the world. The Government has already taken wide-ranging action to support the industry including compensation for energy costs and introducing specific public procurement guidelines for steel.

Each one of British Steel’s sites has a proud record of steelmaking excellence which we are determined to see continue. I want to reassure colleagues that the Government remains firmly committed to securing a bright future for British Steel. In the days and weeks ahead we will continue to work closely with all parties to leave no stone unturned to finalise the sale and will take every possible step to ensure a long-term future for these valuable operations.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1770
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