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 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.

WS
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
WS
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.

WS
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.

WS
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
WS
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
WS
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
WS
Home Office
Made on: 24 July 2019
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) Annual Report and Accounts 2018 – 2019

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

I am today, along with the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, the Member for Hereford and South Herefordshire (Mr Jesse Norman), publishing the 2018-19 annual report and accounts for the Independent Office for Police Conduct [HC 2501]. This will be laid before the House and published on www.gov.uk. The report will also be available in the Vote Office.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1804
WS
Home Office
Made on: 24 July 2019
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister of State, Home Office)
Lords

Justice and Home Affairs post-Council statement

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

An informal meeting of EU Interior and Justice Ministers took place on 18/19 July in Helsinki, Finland. The Home Office Europe Director, Chris Jones, represented the UK for Interior Day. The Ministry of Justice Director, International and Rights, Paul Candler, represented the UK on Justice Day.

Interior Day began with a discussion on the Future of EU Internal Security, where the Presidency noted its intention to discuss further at the October JHA Council to inform the new Commission’s work programme. In a broad ranging discussion, a number of issues were raised including: the new Commission President’s commitment to promote cross-border cooperation; the importance of enhancing Europol; the use of EU funding programmes to support internal security activity; the need to modernise Prüm; the importance of SIS II; and tackling child exploitation. The UK intervened to support the broad thrust of the Presidency’s paper, focusing on the importance on access to data and challenges from new technology, especially the need for early engagement with the private sector to protect law enforcement capabilities.

The Council then discussed the Future of EU Migration policy. Ministers raised a broad range of issues, with a focus on the revision of the EU’s Common European Asylum System legislation, which remains unresolved. Other issues raised including the need to address lack of cooperation by third countries on readmission, a focus on EU-Africa co-operation to tackle illegal migration, disembarkation platforms in third countries, the need for better external checks at the EU’s borders, and the problem of secondary movements. The UK did not intervene.

Over lunch, the Finnish Presidency presented to Ministers on the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) by law enforcement, after which followed a brief discussion on the benefits and risks from the use of AI. Discussion addressed the need to protect people from both private sector capabilities and state actors, and considered how EU privacy concepts needed to be reconsidered in the law enforcement context. The Commission highlighted plans to prioritise consideration of the impact of AI, 5G and risks to digital infrastructure. The UK did not intervene.

After lunch, Ministers undertook a tabletop exercise focused on identifying and dealing with hybrid threats. Ministers were asked to consider and vote on responses to a fictional scenario. The post-scenario discussion considered the use of the EU’s solidarity clause. The UK did not intervene.

Justice Day began with a discussion on the Strengthening of the Rule of Law. Justice Ministers agreed that significant domestic responsibility for rule of law fell to them and their Ministries. National courts implemented EU law and ensured mutual trust was possible, while judicial training and judicial co-operation mechanisms were vital. All Ministers agreed, therefore, that the Justice Council should have a role. The UK noted commitment to the Rules Based International Order, highlighting in particular the work of the Venice Commission, the importance of Sustainable Development Goal 16, and the benefits of direct judicial co-operation.

The Council then discussed criminal judicial cooperation, in particular Alternatives to Detention and the issues relating to prison overcrowding. Discussion centred around the aim of considering alternatives to prison. For most, the aim was not reduction of prison populations but, rather, improved rehabilitation. Member States were clear that national rules should not be harmonised, but regarded mutual trust in appropriate sanctions, and in prison conditions, as a precondition for mutual recognition.

Over lunch, Ministers discuss civil judicial cooperation and multilateralism, including the Hague Conference and other fora such as UNIDROIT and UNCITRAL.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1805
WS
Home Office
Made on: 24 July 2019
Made by: Sajid Javid (The Secretary of State for the Home Department)
Commons

Justice and Home Affairs post-Council statement

An informal meeting of EU Interior and Justice Ministers took place on 18/19 July in Helsinki, Finland. The Home Office Europe Director, Chris Jones, represented the UK for Interior Day. The Ministry of Justice Director, International and Rights, Paul Candler, represented the UK on Justice Day.

Interior Day began with a discussion on the Future of EU Internal Security, where the Presidency noted its intention to discuss further at the October JHA Council to inform the new Commission’s work programme. In a broad ranging discussion, a number of issues were raised including: the new Commission President’s commitment to promote cross-border cooperation; the importance of enhancing Europol; the use of EU funding programmes to support internal security activity; the need to modernise Prüm; the importance of SIS II; and tackling child exploitation. The UK intervened to support the broad thrust of the Presidency’s paper, focusing on the importance on access to data and challenges from new technology, especially the need for early engagement with the private sector to protect law enforcement capabilities.

The Council then discussed the Future of EU Migration policy. Ministers raised a broad range of issues, with a focus on the revision of the EU’s Common European Asylum System legislation, which remains unresolved. Other issues raised including the need to address lack of cooperation by third countries on readmission, a focus on EU-Africa co-operation to tackle illegal migration, disembarkation platforms in third countries, the need for better external checks at the EU’s borders, and the problem of secondary movements. The UK did not intervene.

Over lunch, the Finnish Presidency presented to Ministers on the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) by law enforcement, after which followed a brief discussion on the benefits and risks from the use of AI. Discussion addressed the need to protect people from both private sector capabilities and state actors, and considered how EU privacy concepts needed to be reconsidered in the law enforcement context. The Commission highlighted plans to prioritise consideration of the impact of AI, 5G and risks to digital infrastructure. The UK did not intervene.

After lunch, Ministers undertook a tabletop exercise focused on identifying and dealing with hybrid threats. Ministers were asked to consider and vote on responses to a fictional scenario. The post-scenario discussion considered the use of the EU’s solidarity clause. The UK did not intervene.

Justice Day began with a discussion on the Strengthening of the Rule of Law. Justice Ministers agreed that significant domestic responsibility for rule of law fell to them and their Ministries. National courts implemented EU law and ensured mutual trust was possible, while judicial training and judicial co-operation mechanisms were vital. All Ministers agreed, therefore, that the Justice Council should have a role. The UK noted commitment to the Rules Based International Order, highlighting in particular the work of the Venice Commission, the importance of Sustainable Development Goal 16, and the benefits of direct judicial co-operation.

The Council then discussed criminal judicial cooperation, in particular Alternatives to Detention and the issues relating to prison overcrowding. Discussion centred around the aim of considering alternatives to prison. For most, the aim was not reduction of prison populations but, rather, improved rehabilitation. Member States were clear that national rules should not be harmonised, but regarded mutual trust in appropriate sanctions, and in prison conditions, as a precondition for mutual recognition.

Over lunch, Ministers discuss civil judicial cooperation and multilateralism, including the Hague Conference and other fora such as UNIDROIT and UNCITRAL.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1767
WS
Home Office
Made on: 24 July 2019
Made by: Mr Nick Hurd (The Minister of State for Policing and the Fire Service)
Commons

Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) Annual Report and Accounts 2018 – 2019

I am today, along with the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, the Member for Hereford and South Herefordshire (Mr Jesse Norman), publishing the 2018-19 annual report and accounts for the Independent Office for Police Conduct [HC 2501]. This will be laid before the House and published on www.gov.uk. The report will also be available in the Vote Office.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1768
WS
Home Office
Made on: 23 July 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 (Sajid Javid) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

I am today making an announcement on a number of issues related to immigration. These include an expansion of the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) in line with the recommendations of the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) and a planned future amendment in the Immigration Rules to Section 67 leave. I am also providing an update on the Home Office’s response to cheating in English language tests and the Border, Immigration and Citizenship System (BICS) independent review.

Migration Advisory Committee review of the Shortage Occupation List

On 29 May, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) published the outcome of its full review of the Shortage Occupation List (SOL). I am very grateful to the MAC for a very thorough and comprehensive piece of work. The MAC recommended a number of changes to the main UK-wide SOL, expanding the list to cover a range of high-skilled occupations, including a number of health and social care, engineering and digital technology occupations.

The Government is happy to accept all of the MAC’s recommendations on the composition of the SOL and the necessary amendments will be made in the Autumn Immigration Rules changes.

The MAC also suggested that, in order to combat the particular challenges faced by some remote communities, the Government should pilot a scheme that facilitated migration to these areas. The Government accepts that this is an idea worth pursuing. Further details will be given in due course.

Section 67 Leave

In June 2018, we introduced section 67 leave to fulfil our legal obligation to those children transferred to the UK under section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016. This ensures that those unaccompanied children transferred to the United Kingdom under section 67, and who do not qualify for refugee status or humanitarian protection, are able to remain in this country and build a life here. This form of leave allows them to study, work, access public funds and healthcare, and is a route to settlement which they would not ordinarily have had.

Currently, the Immigration Rules only provide for section 67 leave to be granted to those who have already had an application for refugee status or humanitarian protection refused. This means that upon arrival in the United Kingdom, the child is required to go through the process of claiming asylum, including providing an account of why they fled their country of origin.

We intend to amend the existing Rules to allow those transferring under section 67 to receive this form of leave immediately, as soon as they arrive. This will provide the children, and the local authorities who will care for them, with additional reassurance and guarantee their status in the UK at the earliest opportunity.

Children who have already been transferred to the UK under section 67 and are currently having their asylum claims assessed will also be entitled to section 67 leave automatically once this amendment has been made. Children granted section 67 leave on arrival will still have the opportunity to claim asylum. Should they be successful in an asylum claim, those who qualify will receive refugee or humanitarian protection status.

The Government is absolutely committed to transferring the specified number of 480 unaccompanied children under section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016 as soon as possible.

The Home Office’s response to cheating in English language tests

Five years ago, the scale of this issue was uncovered by Panorama. Their footage revealed systematic cheating in test centres run on behalf of the company ETS. Further investigation showed just how widespread this fraud was. 25 people who were involved have been convicted and sentenced to over 70 years in prison. Further criminal investigations are ongoing, with a further 14 due in court next month.

Our approach to taking action on students has been endorsed by the courts, who have consistently found the evidence the Home Office had was enough to prompt the action that was taken at the time.

Despite this, there have remained concerns that some people who did not cheat may have been caught up and I am aware that some people found it hard to challenge the accusations against them. So earlier this year, I commissioned officials for advice.

This is a complex matter given that we need to work within existing legal frameworks relating to appeal rights, judicial review and administrative review.

I have therefore asked officials to review our guidance to ensure that we are taking the right decisions on these cases to ensure we are properly balancing a belief that deception was committed some years ago against other factors that would normally lead to leave being granted, especially where children are involved. We will update operational guidance to ensure no further action is taken in cases where there is no evidence an ETS certificate was used in an immigration application.

We continue to look at other options, including whether there is a need for those who feel they have been wronged to be able to ask for their case to be reviewed. We intend to make further announcements about this and will update the House in due course.

Review of the Border, Immigration and Citizenship System

In October 2018, I committed to conducting a review of the Border, Immigration and Citizenship System (BICS). The purpose of this review will be to ensure the BICS is ready and able to deliver a world class immigration system.

The review will focus on whether the BICS has in place the right systems, structures, accountability and working practices to deliver against its goals. It will be forward looking in its nature. It will not consider individual policies or goals, but rather whether the system has the right capabilities to deliver against those stated objectives.

I am pleased to announce today that I have appointed Kate Lampard CBE to lead the review. Kate has previously held senior non-executive roles in the NHS, chaired the Financial Ombudsman Service, and has undertaken important reviews for Government. She has a wealth of skills and experience to bring to this critically important task.

I will place a copy of the terms of reference for the review in the Libraries of both Houses. The review will aim to complete by early 2020.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1803
WS
Home Office
Made on: 23 July 2019
Made by: Sajid Javid (The Secretary of State for the Home Department)
Commons

Immigration

I am today making an announcement on a number of issues related to immigration. These include an expansion of the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) in line with the recommendations of the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) and a planned future amendment in the Immigration Rules to Section 67 leave. I am also providing an update on the Home Office’s response to cheating in English language tests and the Border, Immigration and Citizenship System (BICS) independent review.

Migration Advisory Committee review of the Shortage Occupation List

On 29 May, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) published the outcome of its full review of the Shortage Occupation List (SOL). I am very grateful to the MAC for a very thorough and comprehensive piece of work. The MAC recommended a number of changes to the main UK-wide SOL, expanding the list to cover a range of high-skilled occupations, including a number of health and social care, engineering and digital technology occupations.

The Government is happy to accept all of the MAC’s recommendations on the composition of the SOL and the necessary amendments will be made in the Autumn Immigration Rules changes.

The MAC also suggested that, in order to combat the particular challenges faced by some remote communities, the Government should pilot a scheme that facilitated migration to these areas. The Government accepts that this is an idea worth pursuing. Further details will be given in due course.

Section 67 Leave

In June 2018, we introduced section 67 leave to fulfil our legal obligation to those children transferred to the UK under section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016. This ensures that those unaccompanied children transferred to the United Kingdom under section 67, and who do not qualify for refugee status or humanitarian protection, are able to remain in this country and build a life here. This form of leave allows them to study, work, access public funds and healthcare, and is a route to settlement which they would not ordinarily have had.

Currently, the Immigration Rules only provide for section 67 leave to be granted to those who have already had an application for refugee status or humanitarian protection refused. This means that upon arrival in the United Kingdom, the child is required to go through the process of claiming asylum, including providing an account of why they fled their country of origin.

We intend to amend the existing Rules to allow those transferring under section 67 to receive this form of leave immediately, as soon as they arrive. This will provide the children, and the local authorities who will care for them, with additional reassurance and guarantee their status in the UK at the earliest opportunity.

Children who have already been transferred to the UK under section 67 and are currently having their asylum claims assessed will also be entitled to section 67 leave automatically once this amendment has been made. Children granted section 67 leave on arrival will still have the opportunity to claim asylum. Should they be successful in an asylum claim, those who qualify will receive refugee or humanitarian protection status.

The Government is absolutely committed to transferring the specified number of 480 unaccompanied children under section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016 as soon as possible.

The Home Office’s response to cheating in English language tests

Five years ago, the scale of this issue was uncovered by Panorama. Their footage revealed systematic cheating in test centres run on behalf of the company ETS. Further investigation showed just how widespread this fraud was. 25 people who were involved have been convicted and sentenced to over 70 years in prison. Further criminal investigations are ongoing, with a further 14 due in court next month.

Our approach to taking action on students has been endorsed by the courts, who have consistently found the evidence the Home Office had was enough to prompt the action that was taken at the time.

Despite this, there have remained concerns that some people who did not cheat may have been caught up and I am aware that some people found it hard to challenge the accusations against them. So earlier this year, I commissioned officials for advice.

This is a complex matter given that we need to work within existing legal frameworks relating to appeal rights, judicial review and administrative review.

I have therefore asked officials to review our guidance to ensure that we are taking the right decisions on these cases to ensure we are properly balancing a belief that deception was committed some years ago against other factors that would normally lead to leave being granted, especially where children are involved. We will update operational guidance to ensure no further action is taken in cases where there is no evidence an ETS certificate was used in an immigration application.

We continue to look at other options, including whether there is a need for those who feel they have been wronged to be able to ask for their case to be reviewed. We intend to make further announcements about this and will update the House in due course.

Review of the Border, Immigration and Citizenship System

In October 2018, I committed to conducting a review of the Border, Immigration and Citizenship System (BICS). The purpose of this review will be to ensure the BICS is ready and able to deliver a world class immigration system.

The review will focus on whether the BICS has in place the right systems, structures, accountability and working practices to deliver against its goals. It will be forward looking in its nature. It will not consider individual policies or goals, but rather whether the system has the right capabilities to deliver against those stated objectives.

I am pleased to announce today that I have appointed Kate Lampard CBE to lead the review. Kate has previously held senior non-executive roles in the NHS, chaired the Financial Ombudsman Service, and has undertaken important reviews for Government. She has a wealth of skills and experience to bring to this critically important task.

I will place a copy of the terms of reference for the review in the Libraries of both Houses. The review will aim to complete by early 2020.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1766
WS
Department for Education
Made on: 23 July 2019
Made by: Lord Agnew of Oulton (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System)
Lords

Correction

My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families (Nadhim Zahawi) has made the following written ministerial statement.

Information supplied by the HR Capability and Business Partnering Division of the Department for Education has been identified as containing incorrect facts in the response provided to two Parliamentary Questions from the Honourable Member for Ashton-under-Lyne concerning the number and proportion of staff employed in each group of the Department that are apprentices (PQ226124).

In response to PQ226124, the correct figures for the end of February 2019 are that the Department for Education employed 251 apprentices. These can be broken down as follows:

Area

No of apprentices

No of employees per area

Proportion that are apprentices

Early Years and School Group

40

1901

2%

Education and Skills Funding Agency

77

1543

5%

Government Equalities Office

0

103

0%

Higher and Further Education

9

501

2%

Operations Group

110

1740

6%

Social Care, Mobility and Equalities

15

677

2%

Legal Advisors Office

0

14

0%

251

6479

4%

The Government Equalities Office is captured in Department for Education data because they were still employees of the Department for Education at the end of February. Legal Advisers Office remain departmental employees.

Following the identification of this issue, we have completed an audit of our database. A rigorous new process has been put in place to ensure the robustness of our data.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1801
WS
Department for Transport
Made on: 23 July 2019
Made by: Baroness Vere of Norbiton (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State)
Lords

Annual Update on Crossrail 2019

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

It has been a challenging year for the Crossrail project. Since August 2018 when Crossrail Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Transport for London (TfL), announced that the opening of the Elizabeth line through central London would be delayed, the project has been fully reviewed and reset.

Crossrail Ltd, TfL and the Department for Transport (DfT) have taken significant action in response to issues raised in the independent reviews by KPMG, as well as the reports from the National Audit Office, the Public Accounts Committee and the London Assembly’s Transport Committee. Lessons have been learned and Crossrail Ltd and both project Sponsors, DfT and TfL, remain fully committed to the completion of the project which will transform London rail transport, and carry around 200 million passengers per year.

Actions taken this year have included:

  • The commissioning and completion of two wide ranging and detailed independent reviews into the project’s governance, commercial and financial agreements with all recommendations acted upon by June 2019.

  • The agreement in December 2018 to an additional £2.15bn financing package to deliver the final stages of the project in a way that is fair to the UK taxpayer.

  • The appointment of a new executive leadership team within Crossrail Ltd, a review of the organisational structure to ensure maximum efficiency, and the strengthening of the Crossrail Board to ensure the right skills are in place right across the organisation and its Board.

  • The announcement in April 2019 of a revised schedule which confirmed a six month window for delivery of the central tunnel section between Abbey Wood and Paddington (not including Bond Street), with a mid-point in December 2020, with more certainty to follow as testing progresses.

  • The publication in April 2019 of a joint report by the Department for Transport and the Infrastructure Projects Authority (IPA) on lessons learned from the sponsorship of major projects including Crossrail.

Despite the challenges, the project has seen some key achievements during this year. Main dynamic testing of the trains commenced in January, and Crossrail Ltd recently achieved a further milestone with the commencement of close-headway testing of multiple trains in June.

Fifteen new Class 345 trains are in operation on the eastern and western parts of the route, building reliability and achieving a high standard of performance. Testing of the trains in the Heathrow tunnels is continuing and a TfL Rail service between Paddington and Reading is planned to commence in December of this year. This will be another important stepping stone to the opening of the full railway as soon as possible after the central section is completed.

The Network Rail (NR) On Network works on the eastern and western sections of the Crossrail route are well advanced. Over the past year, work completed has included the installation of the steelwork for new accessible footbridges, stairs and lift shafts at Ealing Broadway, West Ealing and Acton Main Line. The contracts to build and upgrade six ticket halls between Acton Main Line and West Drayton have been awarded, and the new ticket halls at Forest Gate and Gidea Park have now opened to the public.

Updated costings for Network Rail’s programme show that the costs are now forecast at around £2.8bn. The additional costs are the result of some work taking longer than planned and have been managed by Network Rail from within its own internal budgets. No further funding has been provided from Government, and this has not had an impact on any other programmes.

Further details on Crossrail Limited’s funding and finances in the period to 29 May 2019 are set out in the table below.

The coming months will be critical for the project as Crossrail Ltd work to complete the installation and integration of the tunnel, stations and signalling systems, and Network Rail continue their works on surface sections of the route. It remains a hugely complex project and uncertainty and risk remains across the programme, with significant testing and integration work remaining. The new leadership team has committed to being fully open and transparent as it works through the final stages of the project, which is supported by the Department and TfL. However, it is positive that Crossrail Ltd now has a new plan in place to complete the outstanding works and bring the Elizabeth line into passenger service at the earliest possible date. When complete, the Elizabeth line will transform the rail network in London, reducing overcrowding and increasing central London rail capacity by 10%.

During the passage of the Crossrail Bill through Parliament, a commitment was given that an annual statement would be published until the completion of the construction of Crossrail, setting out information about the project’s funding and finances. The relevant information is as follows:

Total funding amounts provided to Crossrail Limited by the Department for Transport and TfL in relation to the construction of Crossrail to the end of the period (22 July 2008 to 29 May 2019)

£ 13,165,913,790

Expenditure incurred (including committed land and property spend not yet paid out) by Crossrail Limited in relation to the construction of Crossrail in the period (30 May 2018 to 29 May 2019) (excluding recoverable VAT on Land and Property purchases)

£ 1,481,243,170

Total expenditure incurred (including committed land and property spend not yet paid out) by Crossrail Limited in relation to the construction of Crossrail to the end of the period (22 July 2008 to 29 May 2019) (excluding recoverable VAT on Land and Property purchases)

£ 13,958,459,007

The amounts realised by the disposal of any land or property for the purposes of the construction of Crossrail by the Secretary of State, TfL or Crossrail Limited in the period covered by the statement.

£ 143,778,674

The numbers above are drawn from Crossrail Limited’s books of account and have been prepared on a consistent basis with the update provided last year. The figure for expenditure incurred includes monies already paid out in relevant period, including committed land and property expenditure where this has not yet been paid. It does not include future expenditure on contracts that have been awarded.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1802
WS
Department for Transport
Made on: 23 July 2019
Made by: Chris Grayling (Secretary of State for Transport)
Commons

Annual Update on Crossrail 2019

It has been a challenging year for the Crossrail project. Since August 2018 when Crossrail Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Transport for London (TfL), announced that the opening of the Elizabeth line through central London would be delayed, the project has been fully reviewed and reset.

Crossrail Ltd, TfL and the Department for Transport (DfT) have taken significant action in response to issues raised in the independent reviews by KPMG, as well as the reports from the National Audit Office, the Public Accounts Committee and the London Assembly’s Transport Committee. Lessons have been learned and Crossrail Ltd and both project Sponsors, DfT and TfL, remain fully committed to the completion of the project which will transform London rail transport, and carry around 200 million passengers per year.

Actions taken this year have included:

  • The commissioning and completion of two wide ranging and detailed independent reviews into the project’s governance, commercial and financial agreements with all recommendations acted upon by June 2019.

  • The agreement in December 2018 to an additional £2.15bn financing package to deliver the final stages of the project in a way that is fair to the UK taxpayer.

  • The appointment of a new executive leadership team within Crossrail Ltd, a review of the organisational structure to ensure maximum efficiency, and the strengthening of the Crossrail Board to ensure the right skills are in place right across the organisation and its Board.

  • The announcement in April 2019 of a revised schedule which confirmed a six month window for delivery of the central tunnel section between Abbey Wood and Paddington (not including Bond Street), with a mid-point in December 2020, with more certainty to follow as testing progresses.

  • The publication in April 2019 of a joint report by the Department for Transport and the Infrastructure Projects Authority (IPA) on lessons learned from the sponsorship of major projects including Crossrail.

Despite the challenges, the project has seen some key achievements during this year. Main dynamic testing of the trains commenced in January, and Crossrail Ltd recently achieved a further milestone with the commencement of close-headway testing of multiple trains in June.

Fifteen new Class 345 trains are in operation on the eastern and western parts of the route, building reliability and achieving a high standard of performance. Testing of the trains in the Heathrow tunnels is continuing and a TfL Rail service between Paddington and Reading is planned to commence in December of this year. This will be another important stepping stone to the opening of the full railway as soon as possible after the central section is completed.

The Network Rail (NR) On Network works on the eastern and western sections of the Crossrail route are well advanced. Over the past year, work completed has included the installation of the steelwork for new accessible footbridges, stairs and lift shafts at Ealing Broadway, West Ealing and Acton Main Line. The contracts to build and upgrade six ticket halls between Acton Main Line and West Drayton have been awarded, and the new ticket halls at Forest Gate and Gidea Park have now opened to the public.

Updated costings for Network Rail’s programme show that the costs are now forecast at around £2.8bn. The additional costs are the result of some work taking longer than planned and have been managed by Network Rail from within its own internal budgets. No further funding has been provided from Government, and this has not had an impact on any other programmes.

Further details on Crossrail Limited’s funding and finances in the period to 29 May 2019 are set out in the table below.

The coming months will be critical for the project as Crossrail Ltd work to complete the installation and integration of the tunnel, stations and signalling systems, and Network Rail continue their works on surface sections of the route. It remains a hugely complex project and uncertainty and risk remains across the programme, with significant testing and integration work remaining. The new leadership team has committed to being fully open and transparent as it works through the final stages of the project, which is supported by the Department and TfL. However, it is positive that Crossrail Ltd now has a new plan in place to complete the outstanding works and bring the Elizabeth line into passenger service at the earliest possible date. When complete, the Elizabeth line will transform the rail network in London, reducing overcrowding and increasing central London rail capacity by 10%.

During the passage of the Crossrail Bill through Parliament, a commitment was given that an annual statement would be published until the completion of the construction of Crossrail, setting out information about the project’s funding and finances. The relevant information is as follows:

Total funding amounts provided to Crossrail Limited by the Department for Transport and TfL in relation to the construction of Crossrail to the end of the period (22 July 2008 to 29 May 2019)

£ 13,165,913,790

Expenditure incurred (including committed land and property spend not yet paid out) by Crossrail Limited in relation to the construction of Crossrail in the period (30 May 2018 to 29 May 2019) (excluding recoverable VAT on Land and Property purchases)

£ 1,481,243,170

Total expenditure incurred (including committed land and property spend not yet paid out) by Crossrail Limited in relation to the construction of Crossrail to the end of the period (22 July 2008 to 29 May 2019) (excluding recoverable VAT on Land and Property purchases)

£ 13,958,459,007

The amounts realised by the disposal of any land or property for the purposes of the construction of Crossrail by the Secretary of State, TfL or Crossrail Limited in the period covered by the statement.

£ 143,778,674

The numbers above are drawn from Crossrail Limited’s books of account and have been prepared on a consistent basis with the update provided last year. The figure for expenditure incurred includes monies already paid out in relevant period, including committed land and property expenditure where this has not yet been paid. It does not include future expenditure on contracts that have been awarded.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1764
WS
Department for Education
Made on: 23 July 2019
Made by: Nadhim Zahawi (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families)
Commons

Correction

Information supplied by the HR Capability and Business Partnering Division of the Department for Education has been identified as containing incorrect facts in the response provided to two Parliamentary Questions from the Honourable Member for Ashton-under-Lyne concerning the number and proportion of staff employed in each group of the Department that are apprentices (PQ226124).

In response to PQ226124, the correct figures for the end of February 2019 are that the Department for Education employed 251 apprentices. These can be broken down as follows:

Area

No of apprentices

No of employees per area

Proportion that are apprentices

Early Years and School Group

40

1901

2%

Education and Skills Funding Agency

77

1543

5%

Government Equalities Office

0

103

0%

Higher and Further Education

9

501

2%

Operations Group

110

1740

6%

Social Care, Mobility and Equalities

15

677

2%

Legal Advisors Office

0

14

0%

251

6479

4%

The Government Equalities Office is captured in Department for Education data because they were still employees of the Department for Education at the end of February. Legal Advisers Office remain departmental employees.

Following the identification of this issue, we have completed an audit of our database. A rigorous new process has been put in place to ensure the robustness of our data.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1765
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