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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Department for Education
Made on: 23 July 2019
Made by: Chris Skidmore (The Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation)
Commons

Higher Education Student Finance

I am announcing details of student finance arrangements for higher education students undertaking a course of study in the 2020/21 academic year starting on 1 August 2020.

Maximum tuition fees for the 2020/21 academic year in England will be maintained at the levels that apply in the 2019/20 academic year, the third year in succession that fees have been frozen. This means that the maximum level of tuition fees for a standard full-time course will remain at £9,250 for the 2020/21 academic year.

Maximum undergraduate loans for living costs will be increased by forecast inflation (2.9%) in 2020/21. And the same increase will apply to maximum disabled students’ allowances for students with disabilities undertaking full-time and part-time undergraduate courses in 2020/21. Maximum grants for students with child or adult dependants who are attending full-time undergraduate courses in 2020/21 will also increase by forecast inflation in 2020/21.

We are also increasing support for students undertaking postgraduate courses in 2020/21. Maximum loans for students starting master’s degree and doctoral degree courses from 1 August 2020 onwards will be increased by forecast inflation (2.9%) in 2020/21. And the same increase will apply to the maximum disabled students’ allowance for postgraduate students with disabilities in 2020/21.

Further details of the student support package for 2020/21 are set out in the attached document.

I expect to lay regulations implementing changes to student finance for undergraduates and postgraduates for 2020/21 late in 2019 or early in 2020. These regulations will be subject to Parliamentary scrutiny.

The Government will consider the recommendations of the independent panel to the Review of Post-18 Education and Funding, published on 30 May 2019, and will conclude the review at the Spending Review later this year.

Higher Education Student Finance for 2020/21

1) Fees for full-time and part-time undergraduate students.

Maximum fees for full-time and part-time undergraduate courses will remain at 2019/20 levels in 2020/21.

The maximum fee for standard full-time courses offered by Approved (Fee Cap) Providers with an Access and Participation Plan (APP) and a Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Award (TEF) will remain at £9,250 in 2020/21.

The maximum fee for full-time accelerated degree courses offered by Approved (Fee Cap) Providers with an APP and a TEF will remain at £11,100 in 2020/21.

The maximum fee for part-time courses offered by Approved (Fee Cap) Providers with an APP and a TEF will remain at £6,935 in 2020/21.

Lower maximum fees will remain at 2019/20 levels in 2020/21 for (i) courses offered by providers without an APP and/or a TEF and (ii) overseas study years, work placement years and short final years of full-time courses.

Students undertaking courses at Approved (Fee Cap) Providers will be able to apply for up-front tuition fee loans to meet the full costs of their tuition.

Maximum fees for undergraduate courses offered by Approved Providers are not capped. Students undertaking courses at Approved Providers will be able to apply for up-front tuition fee loans towards the costs of their tuition which will remain at 2019/20 levels in 2020/21: up to £6,165 for a standard full-time course; up to £7,400 for a full-time accelerated degree course and up to £4,625 for a part-time course.

2) Living costs support for full-time undergraduate students.

Loans for living costs for new full-time students and continuing full-time students starting their courses on or after 1 August 2016.

Maximum loans for living costs for new full-time students and eligible continuing full-time students starting their courses on or after 1 August 2016 will be increased by forecast inflation (2.9%) in 2020/21.

The maximum loan for living costs for 2020/21 will be £9,203 for students living away from home and studying outside London. The equivalent loan rate for students living away from home and studying in London will be £12,010; for those living in the parental home during their studies, £7,747; and for those studying overseas as part of their UK course, £10,539.

Loans for living costs for new full-time students and continuing full-time students starting their courses on or after 1 August 2016 who are eligible for benefits.

Maximum loans for living costs for new full-time students and eligible continuing full-time students starting their courses on or after 1 August 2016, and who are eligible for benefits, will be increased by forecast inflation (2.9%) in 2020/21.

The maximum loan for living costs for 2020/21 will be £10,490 for students who are eligible for benefits who are living away from home and studying outside London. The equivalent loan rate for students who are eligible for benefits who are living away from home and studying in London will be £13,098; for those living in the parental home during their studies, £9,140; and for those studying overseas as part of their UK course, £11,732.

Loans for living costs for new full-time students and continuing full-time students starting their courses on or after 1 August 2016 who are aged 60 or over on the first day of the first academic year of their course.

The maximum loan for living costs in 2020/21 for new full-time students and eligible continuing full-time students starting their courses on or after 1 August 2016 who are aged 60 or over on the first day of the first academic year of their course, will be increased by forecast inflation (2.9%) to £3,893.

Maintenance grants and special support grants for full-time students who started their courses before 1 August 2016.

The maximum maintenance grant and special support grant for eligible full-time students who started their courses on or after 1 September 2012 but before 1 August 2016, will be increased by forecast inflation (2.9%) to £3,801 in 2020/21.

The maximum maintenance grant and special support grant for eligible full-time students who started their courses before 1 September 2012 will be increased by forecast inflation (2.9%) to £3,489 in 2020/21.

Loans for living costs for full-time students who started their courses before 1 August 2016.

Maximum loans for living costs for eligible students who started their courses on or after 1 September 2012 but before 1 August 2016, will be increased by forecast inflation (2.9%) in 2020/21.

The maximum loan for living costs will be £6,597 for students who are living away from home and studying outside London. The equivalent loan rate for students living away from home and studying in London will be £9,205; for those living in the parental home during their studies, £5,247; and for those studying overseas as part of their UK course, £7,837.

Loans for living costs for eligible students who started their courses before 1 September 2012.

Maximum loans for living costs for eligible students who started their courses before 1 September 2012 will be increased by forecast inflation (2.9%) in 2020/21.

The maximum loan for living costs will be £5,938 for students who are living away from home and studying outside London. The equivalent loan rate for students living away from home and studying in London will be £8,309; for those living in the parental home during their studies, £4,604; and for those studying overseas as part of their UK course, £7,068.

Long Courses Loans.

Maximum long courses (living costs) loans for new and continuing students who are attending full-time courses that are longer than 30 weeks and 3 days during the academic year will be increased by forecast inflation (2.9%) in 2020/21.

3) Targeted support for undergraduate students with dependants and undergraduate students with disabilities.

Dependants’ Grants.

Maximum dependants’ grants (adult dependants’ grant, childcare grant and parents’ learning allowance) will be increased by forecast inflation (2.9%) in 2020/21 for all new and continuing full-time undergraduate students.

The maximum adult dependants’ grant will be increased to £3,094 in 2020/21.

The maximum childcare grant payable in 2020/21, which covers 85% of actual childcare costs up to a specified limit, will be increased to £174.22 per week for one child only and £298.69 per week for two or more children.

The maximum parents’ learning allowance payable in 2020/21 will be increased to £1,766.

Disabled Students’ Allowances.

Maximum grants for undergraduate students with disabilities will be increased by forecast inflation (2.9%) in 2020/21.

For a full-time course: to £23,258 for a non-medical personal helper, £5,849 for major items of specialist equipment and £1,954 for other disability related expenditure.

For a part-time course: to £17,443 for a non-medical personal helper, £5,849 for major items of specialist equipment and £1,465 for other disability related expenditure.

4) Support for part-time undergraduate students.

Fee and course grants for students who started part-time courses before 1 September 2012.

Maximum fee and course grants for students who started part-time courses before 1 September 2012 will be increased by forecast inflation (2.9%) in 2020/21. Maximum fee grants will be increased to £959, £1,150 or £1,442, depending on the intensity of study of the course. The maximum course grant will be increased to £314.

Loans for living costs for new part-time students and continuing part-time students starting degree level courses on or after 1 August 2018.

Maximum loans for living costs for new part-time students and continuing part-time students who started degree level courses on or after 1 August 2018 will be increased by forecast inflation (2.9%) in 2020/21.

The maximum loan for living costs for 2020/21 will be £9,203 for students living away from home and studying outside London. The equivalent loan rate for students living away from home and studying in London will be £12,010; for those living in the parental home during their studies, £7,747; and for those studying overseas as part of their UK course, £10,539.

Part-time students qualify for a proportion of the full-time loan for living costs depending on their intensity of study compared with a full-time course.

5) Support for postgraduate students.

Loans for students undertaking postgraduate master’s degree courses.

Maximum loans for new students starting postgraduate master’s degree courses in 2020/21 will be increased by forecast inflation (2.9%) to £11,222.

Loans for students undertaking postgraduate doctoral degree courses.

Maximum loans for new students starting postgraduate doctoral degree courses in 2020/21 will be increased by forecast inflation (2.9%) to £26,445.

Disabled Students’ Allowance.

The maximum grant for postgraduate students with disabilities will be increased by forecast inflation (2.9%) to £20,580 in 2020/21.

More details of Higher Education student finance arrangements for the 2020/21 academic year will be published on Government websites in due course.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1759
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Home Office
Made on: 23 July 2019
Made by: Mr Nick Hurd (The Minister of State for Policing and the Fire Service)
Commons

Consultation on the introduction of statutory guidance to the police for firearms licensing

Today, I am publishing a public consultation on the introduction of statutory guidance to the police on firearms licensing. The proposed guidance aims to ensure that the highest standards of public safety are maintained in the firearms licensing process, improving consistency between police forces and in court when licensing decisions are appealed. It is being introduced following a recommendation made by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services in September 2015, which found that police forces were not always following the Home Office firearms guidance, resulting in inconsistent application of the law.

We have acted on this recommendation and the Policing and Crime Act 2017 made provision for the Home Secretary to issue statutory guidance to the police on their firearms licensing functions. The police will have a duty to have regard to the guidance, which will include existing safeguards relating to firearms ownership, such as police background checks or the criteria around applicants with a history of domestic violence.

The draft guidance in the consultation also contains new proposals on the arrangements for assessing the medical suitability of firearms applicants, following consideration of how the system is currently operating, and concerns raised about the variation in practice across the country. It is important that the arrangements support doctors in providing the necessary medical information to the police who have responsibility for firearms licensing, and that the police are able to require sight of the medical information before they proceed to grant the firearm certificate. I am seeking views on these arrangements from all those with an interest so that we can ensure the system operates as effectively as possible. It is vitally important to ensure that those in possession of firearms are medically fit, to safeguard the public and the firearm certificate holder themselves.

The consultation is seeking views from police forces, firearms owners and other interested parties and the wider public on the contents of the proposed statutory guidance. I am also consulting the National Police Chiefs’ Council and the Chief Constable of Police Scotland, as required by the legislation. I will consider very carefully the views which are put forward during the consultation, which will last for a period of eight weeks, following which the Home Office will publish the new statutory guidance. I am committed to efficient and effective operation of the firearms licensing system, and once the statutory guidance has been in place for a suitable period, I intend to review the operation of the new medical arrangements to ensure they are working effectively.

Copies of the consultation along with the draft guidance and Impact Assessment will be made available on Gov.uk and will be placed in both Libraries of the House.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1757
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Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 23 July 2019
Made by: Chris Skidmore (Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation)
Commons

Government Chemist Review 2018

The twenty-second Annual Review of the Government Chemist has been received. The Review will be placed in the Libraries of the House plus those of the Devolved Administrations in Wales and Northern Ireland. The Review will also be laid before the Scottish Parliament.

The Government Chemist is the Referee Analyst named in Acts of Parliament. The Government Chemist’s team carry out analysis in high-profile or legally disputed cases. A diverse range of referee analysis work was carried out during 2018, which included pioneering work undertaken to detect mycotoxins in sultanas and Brazil nuts; pesticides in animal feed; formaldehyde in food contact materials and molecular biology approaches to support “consumer as analyst” devices for food testing.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1755
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Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 22 July 2019
Made by: James Brokenshire (The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Commons

Local government update

In my written statement of 1 November 2018 (HCWS 1058) to the House, I committed to set out in due course the specific circumstances in which I would be prepared to issue a formal invitation to councils under the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007, to submit proposals for the establishment of new unitary councils.

Today I am confirming the circumstances in which I would be prepared to issue such an invitation; how I intend to assess any unitary proposals councils make in response; and our continued approach to any proposals two or more district councils may make to merge in order to form a new larger district council.

Locally-led changes to the structure of local government, whether in the form of unitarisation or district mergers, can – with local support – be an appropriate means of ensuring more sustainable local government and local service delivery, enhanced local accountability, and empowered local communities. This statement today continues the Government’s commitment to supporting those councils that wish to combine, to serve their communities better and will consider unitarisation and mergers between councils when locally requested.

However, I recognise that unitarisation may not be appropriate everywhere. I also recognise that it is essential that any local government restructuring should be on the basis of locally led proposals and should not involve top-down Whitehall solutions being imposed on areas. The Government does not support top-down unitary restructuring. This has been the Government’s consistent approach since 2010.

Today, I want to provide further clarity for those councils who might consider the possibility of restructuring, by setting out the factors councils should consider and the processes to be followed – including with regard to local support.

For councils wishing to restructure to form unitary local government, the first step of the statutory process as set out under the 2007 Act is for me to issue an invitation to councils to submit proposals. There are two circumstances in which I will consider issuing such an invitation.

The first circumstance is where the following two conditions are met:

  1. There is a local request for an invitation.
  2. That I consider that the request demonstrates local opinion is coalescing around a single option which is reasonably likely to meet the existing publicly announced criteria for unitarisation.

In forming my view I would carefully consider the request, including the groups making and supporting it and their reasons for so doing. Where I issue an invitation, I would do so to all those councils that I consider to have regard to the area concerned, whether or not they were among those who had made the original request.

The second circumstance is where I consider that doing so would be appropriate given the specific circumstances of the area, including in relation to the long-term sustainability of local services. This is the situation in which my predecessor, the Rt Hon Member for Bromsgrove (Sajid Javid), issued an invitation to the councils in Northamptonshire.

Following such an invitation, it would be for the councils concerned to decide whether to develop and submit proposals for unitarisation, either individually or jointly by two or more councils.

I confirm that I will assess any locally-led unitary proposal that I receive against the criteria for unitarisation which we announced to Parliament in 2017 and which I and my predecessor have consistently used since then. These criteria state that subject to Parliamentary approval a proposal can be implemented, with or without modification, if I conclude that across the area as a whole the proposal is likely to:

  • improve the area's local government;
  • command a good deal of local support across the area; and
  • cover an area that provides a credible geography for the proposed new structures, including that any new unitary council’s population would be expected to be in excess of 300,000.

On district council mergers, I confirm that where two or more district councils submit a proposal to merge, I will assess this against the criteria for mergers which we announced to Parliament in November 2017 and which we have used since then. The statutory process for such mergers does not involve my inviting proposals, and I recognise that particularly small district councils may wish to propose merging as a natural next step following a number of years of successful joint working, sharing of services and senior management teams.

The criteria for district council mergers are that, subject to Parliamentary approval, a proposal to merge would be implemented if I had reached a judgement in the round that if so implemented it would be likely to:

  • improve the area’s local government;

  • command local support, in particular that the merger is proposed by all councils which are to be merged and there is evidence of a good deal of local support; and

  • the area is a credible geography, consisting of two or more existing local government areas that are adjacent, and which, if established, would not pose an obstacle to locally-led proposals for authorities to combine to serve their communities better and would facilitate joint working between local authorities.

This statement is intended to provide clarity to councils and communities and help ensure that time and effort are not wasted on pursuing proposals which are unlikely to get the go ahead. It is important that those seeking to pursue locally led proposals are confident that there is a broad basis of common local support for the proposals to avoid unnecessary local conflict and distraction from the delivery of quality public services. The statement underlines the need for any proposals to be innovative, improve services, enhance accountability, have local support and deliver financial sustainability if they are to be taken forward.

Moreover, restructuring is only one of the different ways that councils can move forward. Joint working with other councils and partners could also be an appropriate and sustainable way forward. Such joint working can take a variety of forms ranging from adopting joint plans, setting up joint committees, and sharing back office services, to establishing Combined Authorities, and may extend across county boundaries. Those in an area will know what is best – the very essence of localism to which the Government remains committed.

WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 22 July 2019
Made by: Greg Clark (Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
Commons

Energy Update

On 27 June, the UK became the first major economy in the world to legislate to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

Achieving this target will require significant changes in the way we produce, deliver and use energy. We will need to harness the power of innovation and new technology to ensure the energy system remains flexible and resilient. We will need to provide confidence to businesses across the country to invest in a greener future by maintaining clear and stable policy frameworks. We will also have to ensure that as we move to cut greenhouse gas emissions across the economy, the security of our energy supplies is never in doubt and energy costs are kept low for all households and businesses.

As we set out on the path to reach net zero emissions, the government is today outlining a series of important reforms across the energy system. These include new approaches to how low-carbon infrastructure is financed, potential changes to the retail energy market so it works better for all consumers, a new strategy for tackling fuel poverty and significant changes to the way we set the detailed rules that govern the energy system.

The action we are taking today is only a first step. Continuous action over the next three decades by successive governments will be required if we are to end the UK’s contribution to global warming and inspire the necessary action at a global level.

The government has today published the following public consultations and reviews:

Regulated Asset Base financing model for new nuclear projects

The government committed in January 2019 to publish an assessment of the Regulated Asset Base model as a means of financing new nuclear projects. We are today publishing that assessment as part of a public consultation on the Regulated Asset Base model. The purpose of this consultation is to set out the basis for our assessment and to seek views from a range of interested parties on how it could be implemented within the current energy system in such a way that allows new nuclear to be built at low cost to consumers. The consultation includes a set of core principles that have resulted from our feasibility assessment and considers important issues such as the approach to risk-sharing under such a model. This consultation will be open for responses until 14 October 2019.

Business models for Carbon Capture Usage and Storage (CCUS) projects

As we committed to in the CCUS Action Plan, we are today publishing a consultation on how we can bring CCUS projects to market in the years ahead. This is an important step in order to meet our Action Plan commitment of delivering the UK’s first CCUS project from the mid-2020s. The consultation seeks views on possible CCUS business models for industry, power, and carbon dioxide transport and storage, as well as a framework to support hydrogen production with CCUS. The consultation sets out the risks that are inherent in first of a kind CCUS projects, and the possible delivery and coordination challenges of deploying CCUS at scale. This consultation will be open for responses until 16 September 2019.

The re-use of oil and gas assets for Carbon Capture Usage and Storage (CCUS) projects

This consultation fulfils the government commitment in the CCUS Action Plan to identify existing oil and gas infrastructure that has the potential for re-use and to develop a policy to support the development of CCUS in the UK. It seeks views on whether government should introduce a discretionary power for the Secretary of State to remove the decommissioning liability from previous oil and gas asset owners if assets are transferred to CCUS projects; and on changing guidance from the Oil and Gas Authority and government to encourage owners and operators of oil and gas assets to propose a period of suspension prior to decommissioning in circumstances in which there is a reasonable prospect of the asset being acquired by a CCUS project. This consultation will be open for responses until 16 September 2019.

Flexible and responsive energy retail markets

The consultation is issued in partnership with Ofgem and sets out a vision for the future energy retail market, the key challenges which the government and Ofgem wish to address, and the outcomes the retail energy market needs to deliver for all consumers. This includes how the regulatory framework may need to change to facilitate the introduction of innovative products and services that may face barriers today and could support our transition to a greener future. The consultation assesses the case for making reforms which could remove market distortions so as to improve the functioning of the energy retail market as a dynamic and competitive sector. The consultation also outlines how the energy retail market can benefit all consumers, ensuring they are able to secure a fair deal and receive a good level of customer service. This consultation will be open for responses until 16 September 2019.

Reforming energy industry codes

This consultation seeks to address the fact that the way the detailed rules governing the energy system are managed may be frustrating the shift towards a greener future. The consultation suggests creating a new function to translate the government’s vision for the energy system into a strategic direction for codes, as well as giving code administrators more power to change codes, ensuring that vision can be delivered. We propose creating a new process that allows for greater agility in how codes and code changes are governed. We also set out an approach that will ensure we can deliver rules that are clear, accessible and simpler. This consultation will be open for responses until 16 September 2019.

Fuel Poverty Strategy

We are consulting on proposed reforms to the 2015 Fuel Poverty Strategy to ensure that the actions we are taking to support people out of fuel poverty are as effective as possible. This includes a potential change to the way that fuel poverty is measured to ensure that we are able to include all those living in fuel poverty. We also propose making changes to ensure that those most at risk from living in a cold home get the support they need by aligning our fuel poverty policies with medical evidence. We are also proposing a new principle which would ensure that policies contributing to the fuel poverty target are complementary to other government priorities such as the Clean Growth Strategy. This consultation will be open for responses until 16 September 2019.

Capacity Market five-year review and consultation on proposals for Capacity Market emissions limits

We are today publishing a five-year review of the Capacity Market mechanism. This review has found that the scheme is working effectively and performance against the original objectives has been achieved. In considering the future of the scheme, we propose focusing on specific areas of the scheme that will need to change as we maintain security of electricity supply while also moving towards net zero emissions. One of the first steps we propose to take is to implement a restriction on the most polluting types of energy generation, such as coal, within the Capacity Market by introducing new carbon emissions limits. To implement these changes, we are today issuing a public consultation on carbon emission limits within the scheme. This consultation will be open for responses until 2 September 2019.

Facilitating energy efficiency in the electricity system

Increasing our ambition on improving energy efficiency across the UK energy system will be vital if we are to reach net zero emissions. The Electricity Demand Reduction pilot evaluation we are publishing today has concluded that energy efficiency projects are not yet ready to enter the GB Capacity Market. We are therefore publishing a Call for Evidence on market barriers to energy efficiency, and how we can create new markets for energy efficiency and secure its role in the wider energy market. This includes considering how energy efficiency could help reduce the requirement for network reinforcement and help compliment the growth in distributed generation. This Call for Evidence will be open for responses until 25 September 2019.

Funding for advanced nuclear technologies

In addition to the above consultations, we are today announcing that we are developing proposals to invest government money in the creation of innovative small modular reactors (SMRs) which are less expensive to build than traditional nuclear power plants. As stated to this house on 17 January, we have received a proposal from a consortium of businesses, led by Rolls-Royce, who have proposed a significant joint investment of more than £500m focused on designing a first-of-a-kind SMR. The consortium expects to more than match any Government funding both by direct investment and by raising funds from third party organisations that wish to invest.

The government can today confirm that the Consortium’s proposal has been accepted into Wave 3 of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. The Challenge is to design a working model that could be operational by the early 2030s. We are looking to make an initial award of up to £18m to the Rolls-Royce-led consortium in early Autumn 2019. This is subject to final decisions to invest, including business case and other approvals, and this consortium representing the best option for pursuing this technology. The Rolls-Royce led consortium believes this new technology could create 40,000 jobs at its peak and each power station could produce enough clean energy to power 750,000 homes.

This money is alongside up to £45 million to be invested in the second phase of the Advanced Modular Reactor programme, with project bids currently under consideration.

The Office for Nuclear Regulation and the Environment Agency plan shortly to publish their modernised guidance for developers of SMRs on their Generic Design Assessment, the process through which reactor designs are scrutinised by the regulators prior to further necessary regulatory steps, including site specific assessment and issuing of site licence and environmental permits, to enable subsequent deployment.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1752
WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 22 July 2019
Made by: Kelly Tolhurst (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility)
Commons

Business Update

The Good Work Plan sets out the Government’s vision for the future of the UK labour market and how we will implement the Taylor Review recommendations. It forms an integral part of the modern Industrial Strategy and this Government’s long-term plan to boost the productivity and earning power of people throughout the UK and to develop better jobs for all. We are now delivering the next phase of the Good Work Plan.

Flexibility has been a key factor behind the success of our labour market, but we are aware there are a small minority of employers who transfer too much risk to the individual, sometimes to the detriment of their financial security and personal wellbeing. The Taylor Review termed this ‘one-sided flexibility’. The Low Pay Commission found that this was particularly relevant for low paid, vulnerable workers and has made recommendations to Government. We are committed to tackling the problem and on 19 July we launched a consultation with proposals to:

  • provide a right to reasonable notice of working hours – with the aim to give workers more certainty about their shifts and work patterns so they can have more control over their working lives.
  • provide workers with compensation for shifts cancelled without reasonable notice – The Low Pay Commission found that the practice of cancelling shifts at the last minute, sometimes on arrival at work or partway through a shift was not uncommon.

Earlier this year, the Government also consulted on measures to prevent the misuse of confidentiality clauses in cases of sexual harassment or discrimination in the workplace. This followed unacceptable cases of their misuse as evidenced in the media, inquiries by the Women and Equalities Select Committee and individuals’ responses to our consultation. These cases highlighted the seriousness of abuse that has taken place and the impact this has had on the lives of individuals.

We have now published the Government Response and will be legislating on the proposals we consulted on, and in some cases going even further. For example, for the first time, no provision in an employment contract will be able to prevent someone from disclosing information to the police or to regulated health and care and legal professionals. The proposals will increase clarity on the limitations of confidentiality clauses, increase protections for vulnerable individuals and ensure employers use confidentiality clauses appropriately.

The Government also recently consulted on proposals to extend redundancy protections for pregnant women and new mothers returning to work. We have now published the Government Response to this consultation.

Any form of discrimination against pregnant women and new mothers is unacceptable and unlawful. Despite this, evidence from the Women and Equalities Select Committee, amongst others, suggests that new mothers are still being unfairly forced out of work. We are therefore taking action and are committing to extending the redundancy protection period that currently exists for pregnant women for a further six months once a new mother has returned to work. The Government response also looks at how we can increase awareness amongst pregnant women and new mothers of their maternity rights. As part of this the Government will establish a taskforce which will make recommendations on what improvements can be made to the information available to employers and families.

The reforms we have announced are the next important step in delivering on the Good Work Plan, ensuring we have a labour market that is fit for purpose. We recognise that the world of work is changing and are delivering the necessary reforms to ensure the UK labour market can adapt effectively, and support the needs of both workers and employers.

Copies of the referenced consultations and Government responses will be placed in the Libraries of the House and will be available electronically on the GOV.UK website.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1751
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 22 July 2019
Made by: Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Lords

Communities update

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

On Saturday 20th July I published By deeds and their results: How we will strengthen our communities and nation’.

The document sets out the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s vision for stronger communities, explaining why communities matter, what strong communities look like, and what government and partners can do to support their creation.

It also signals the intention that the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government work with other government departments to champion the importance of communities in every aspect of society, and focus its future work on building stronger communities across the country.

When communities are strong, society is strong. Communities can improve health and wellbeing, enable economic prosperity, help improve the local environment, and provide support in times of crisis. But eight years on from the Localism Act – the last piece of legislation focused on supporting communities – the challenges facing communities have evolved, and the time is right to assess and change the way in which government can support communities. This is particularly necessary given the long-term divisions which have been exposed following the vote on the UK’s future membership of the European Union.

‘By deeds and their results’ commits the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government to several actions, including:

  • Holding a national conversation with communities across England about their view of who we are as a nation, their vision for the future of their community and our country, and what local and national government can and should be doing to support their community to thrive. We want government and all public bodies to renew their understanding of their role in building stronger communities – this should be informed by direct conversations with people, in partnership with our existing local democratic institutions. The conversation will commence following the UK’s formal departure from the European Union.
  • Establishing a series of Civic Deal pilots to test how government put into practice the principles in By deeds and their results. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government will work jointly with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on these pilots. We will work with each pilot to consider how government activities can be better aligned and co-ordinated to support communities in identifying and delivering their own priorities.
  • Publishing a Communities White Paper to renew government’s focus on building stronger communities across England. This will consider, for example, how community rights are strengthened, promoted and made easier to take up; how funding for communities can be more simplified, integrated and less risk averse; and how communities can best shape local services and decision-making more broadly. The final scope of the White Paper will be developed in partnership with communities, including through the national conversation and Civic Deal pilots.

By deeds and their results is underpinned by four pillars, that will inform all work to strengthen communities across our department:

  1. Trust, connectedness and local pride;
  2. Active citizenship and local control;
  3. Shared community spaces;
  4. Shared prosperity, with no community left behind.

This publication represents the next step in an ongoing conversation with communities that will shape the department’s future activity. By working in partnership with all stakeholders – including other government departments, councils, businesses, faith groups and civil society organisations – we can create an environment that supports and enables stronger communities to flourish.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1786
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 22 July 2019
Made by: James Brokenshire (Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Commons

Housing update

The housing landscape has fundamentally changed since the introduction of the Housing Act 1988 – an Act that covers both the social and the private rented sector, as well as providing the tenure framework for a number of other landlords. With one in five households now in the private rented sector, with more families with children and older people renting their homes, it is time for a generational change to renting which better meets the needs of this important market.

Yesterday therefore, my Department launched a number of consultations, which will take forward this Government’s commitment to protect tenants, support landlords, drive up standards in the rental sector and make the housing market fairer for everyone.

Cracking down on rogue landlords

The Government is determined that those renting their homes are not forced into inadequate or unsafe housing. The majority of landlords and property agents in the private rented sector provide decent and well-managed accommodation, but there is a small number who knowingly flout their legal obligations and rent out substandard accommodation. These few criminals account for a disproportionate amount of the 25% of private rented homes which are non-decent.

The Prime Minister committed to widen access to information on the database of rogue landlords and property agents to tenants. In its current form, the database is viewable only to local authorities. It is targeted at the most serious and prolific criminals, those who have been convicted of specified banning order offences such as failure to make a property habitable when instructed by the local authority, through to serious crimes such as specified drug and sexual offences.

Our consultation, ‘Rogue Landlord Database Reform: Widening Access and Considering the Scope of the Database of Rogue Landlords and Property Agents’, seeks views on how to open-up the database so tenants can know more about the landlord who they plan to, from or already rent from. We also want to consider the scope of the database, this consultation therefore also seeks views on whether the database should cover a wider range of relevant criminal, civil and housing regulation breaches to help further raise standards across the sector.

Abolishing section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions and supporting landlords to reclaim their property

On 15 April, I announced plans to abolish section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, putting an end to so-called ‘no fault’ evictions and giving tenants the certainty that they will not be asked to leave their home without a valid reason.

The Government wants to deliver a balanced and effective tenancy regime that is fair to both landlords and tenants and yesterday published ‘A New Deal for Renting: resetting the balance of rights and responsibilities between landlords and tenants’. This consultation seeks views on how tenancies should operate in future. It is the first step in a journey that will deliver on our commitment to bring greater fairness and transparency to tenants and ensure they have the security they need to plan for the future.

The consultation also proposes three new grounds and asks for views on the current grounds for eviction and how they can be improved. Landlords should have confidence that they will be able to regain possession of their property if they need to, and the consultation further explores whether the courts could use the accelerated procedure for dealing with possession order applications under some or all of the mandatory grounds in section 8 of the Housing Act 1988.

Taken together, the reforms proposed across these two consultations will build on government action to drive up standards across the sector, deliver the rental sector the country deserves and needs, and create a housing market that works for everyone.

Protecting residents of park homes

Finally, we have also published a consultation seeking views on how the fit and proper person test for park homes sites will work in practice. In the Government response to the review of park homes legislation, we committed to introducing the test subject to a technical consultation to ensure the effective operation of the test. When implemented, the test will strengthen local authorities’ powers to target the worst offenders and remove unscrupulous and criminal site operators from the park homes sector.

I am making a copy of all consultations available in the Library.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1749
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 22 July 2019
Made by: Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Lords

Housing update

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

The housing landscape has fundamentally changed since the introduction of the Housing Act 1988 – an Act that covers both the social and the private rented sector, as well as providing the tenure framework for a number of other landlords. With one in five households now in the private rented sector, with more families with children and older people renting their homes, it is time for a generational change to renting which better meets the needs of this important market.

Yesterday therefore, my Department launched a number of consultations, which will take forward this Government’s commitment to protect tenants, support landlords, drive up standards in the rental sector and make the housing market fairer for everyone.

Cracking down on rogue landlords

The Government is determined that those renting their homes are not forced into inadequate or unsafe housing. The majority of landlords and property agents in the private rented sector provide decent and well-managed accommodation, but there is a small number who knowingly flout their legal obligations and rent out substandard accommodation. These few criminals account for a disproportionate amount of the 25% of private rented homes which are non-decent.

The Prime Minister committed to widen access to information on the database of rogue landlords and property agents to tenants. In its current form, the database is viewable only to local authorities. It is targeted at the most serious and prolific criminals, those who have been convicted of specified banning order offences such as failure to make a property habitable when instructed by the local authority, through to serious crimes such as specified drug and sexual offences.

Our consultation, ‘Rogue Landlord Database Reform: Widening Access and Considering the Scope of the Database of Rogue Landlords and Property Agents’, seeks views on how to open-up the database so tenants can know more about the landlord who they plan to, from or already rent from. We also want to consider the scope of the database, this consultation therefore also seeks views on whether the database should cover a wider range of relevant criminal, civil and housing regulation breaches to help further raise standards across the sector.

Abolishing section 21 ‘no-fault’ evictions and supporting landlords to reclaim their property

On 15 April, I announced plans to abolish section 21 of the Housing Act 1988, putting an end to so-called ‘no fault’ evictions and giving tenants the certainty that they will not be asked to leave their home without a valid reason.

The Government wants to deliver a balanced and effective tenancy regime that is fair to both landlords and tenants and yesterday published ‘A New Deal for Renting: resetting the balance of rights and responsibilities between landlords and tenants’. This consultation seeks views on how tenancies should operate in future. It is the first step in a journey that will deliver on our commitment to bring greater fairness and transparency to tenants and ensure they have the security they need to plan for the future.

The consultation also proposes three new grounds and asks for views on the current grounds for eviction and how they can be improved. Landlords should have confidence that they will be able to regain possession of their property if they need to, and the consultation further explores whether the courts could use the accelerated procedure for dealing with possession order applications under some or all of the mandatory grounds in section 8 of the Housing Act 1988.

Taken together, the reforms proposed across these two consultations will build on government action to drive up standards across the sector, deliver the rental sector the country deserves and needs, and create a housing market that works for everyone.

Protecting residents of park homes

Finally, we have also published a consultation seeking views on how the fit and proper person test for park homes sites will work in practice. In the Government response to the review of park homes legislation, we committed to introducing the test subject to a technical consultation to ensure the effective operation of the test. When implemented, the test will strengthen local authorities’ powers to target the worst offenders and remove unscrupulous and criminal site operators from the park homes sector.

I am making a copy of all consultations available in the Library.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1787
WS
Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
Made on: 22 July 2019
Made by: James Brokenshire (Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government)
Commons

Communities update

On Saturday 20th July I published By deeds and their results: How we will strengthen our communities and nation’.

The document sets out the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s vision for stronger communities, explaining why communities matter, what strong communities look like, and what government and partners can do to support their creation.

It also signals the intention that the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government work with other government departments to champion the importance of communities in every aspect of society, and focus its future work on building stronger communities across the country.

When communities are strong, society is strong. Communities can improve health and wellbeing, enable economic prosperity, help improve the local environment, and provide support in times of crisis. But eight years on from the Localism Act – the last piece of legislation focused on supporting communities – the challenges facing communities have evolved, and the time is right to assess and change the way in which government can support communities. This is particularly necessary given the long-term divisions which have been exposed following the vote on the UK’s future membership of the European Union.

‘By deeds and their results’ commits the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government to several actions, including:

  • Holding a national conversation with communities across England about their view of who we are as a nation, their vision for the future of their community and our country, and what local and national government can and should be doing to support their community to thrive. We want government and all public bodies to renew their understanding of their role in building stronger communities – this should be informed by direct conversations with people, in partnership with our existing local democratic institutions. The conversation will commence following the UK’s formal departure from the European Union.
  • Establishing a series of Civic Deal pilots to test how government put into practice the principles in By deeds and their results. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government will work jointly with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on these pilots. We will work with each pilot to consider how government activities can be better aligned and co-ordinated to support communities in identifying and delivering their own priorities.
  • Publishing a Communities White Paper to renew government’s focus on building stronger communities across England. This will consider, for example, how community rights are strengthened, promoted and made easier to take up; how funding for communities can be more simplified, integrated and less risk averse; and how communities can best shape local services and decision-making more broadly. The final scope of the White Paper will be developed in partnership with communities, including through the national conversation and Civic Deal pilots.

By deeds and their results is underpinned by four pillars, that will inform all work to strengthen communities across our department:

  1. Trust, connectedness and local pride;
  2. Active citizenship and local control;
  3. Shared community spaces;
  4. Shared prosperity, with no community left behind.

This publication represents the next step in an ongoing conversation with communities that will shape the department’s future activity. By working in partnership with all stakeholders – including other government departments, councils, businesses, faith groups and civil society organisations – we can create an environment that supports and enables stronger communities to flourish.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1750
WS
Treasury
Made on: 22 July 2019
Made by: Jesse Norman (The Financial Secretary to the Treasury)
Commons

HMRC Powers and Taxpayer Safeguards

Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) have a vital purpose, to collect the tax revenue that pays for the UK’s public services and benefits system. The Government recognises that public trust is essential to a healthy and effective tax system. UK citizens must know that their tax authority is fair, careful and even-handed and that it adheres to those core values in all its work.

But citizens also need to be reassured that HMRC have the powers they require to ensure that everyone pays their fair share of taxes. In some areas, particularly where HMRC are faced with fraud, evasion and complex avoidance, those powers are necessarily far-reaching. It is therefore of great public importance that they are exercised in a way that maintains public trust, with appropriate oversight and operational checks and balances, and statutory safeguards that enable taxpayers to dispute HMRC’s decisions or complain about their treatment.

I am grateful to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee for its report The Powers of HMRC: Treating Taxpayers Fairly and for the opportunity to discuss these matters with them. I have also discussed matters of trust at HMRC in detail with officials and outside stakeholders, and I am today announcing several actions HMRC are taking to maintain and develop public trust in their operations.

Professional Standards Committee

The context in which HMRC operate is changing faster than ever before. New technology presents significant opportunities to make tax administration easier for both HMRC and for taxpayers. But it also presents new challenges, as a small minority of taxpayers who wish to escape paying tax seek new ways to find unfair advantages.

As HMRC adapt to these changes, it is important both that they continue to maintain public trust in their approach to new technologies, and that the powers given by Parliament are implemented carefully and remain subject to appropriate oversight and safeguards.

So HMRC will establish a new Professional Standards Committee to advise the Commissioners of Revenue & Customs. The Committee, which will take advice from a range of independent experts, will consider, amongst other things, issues relating to the implementation of HMRC powers. The Committee will not consider individual cases or Government tax policies. HMRC will publish details of the Committee’s membership and terms of reference in the autumn.

Powers and Safeguards

The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee proposed a review of all powers granted to HMRC since the conclusion of the Powers Review in 2012. I have considered this carefully and concluded that a full review of HMRC powers is not necessary at this time. The powers granted to HMRC since 2012 were properly scrutinised before being granted by Parliament. The Government’s view is that they remain necessary and proportionate. I have, however, asked HMRC to evaluate the implementation of powers introduced since 2012 in relation to the powers and safeguards principles, engaging with stakeholders, including taxpayers and their representatives. This will be published in early 2020.

Adjudicator

The Adjudicator’s independent role in complaints handling is a core component of ensuring public trust in HMRC, and of HMRC’s evolution as a service organisation.

HMRC will undertake a comprehensive review of the findings identified in the 2019 Adjudicator’s report and will publish the results of the review by the end of this year. HMRC are working with the Adjudicator to ensure that they have effective mechanisms in place to learn quickly and appropriately from complaints and, if necessary, to make changes to their operational policy and processes.

To enable better access for taxpayers to the Adjudicator service, HMRC are also developing a secure digital channel for complaints.

Support for Taxpayers

HMRC understand that some taxpayers will always need extra help in their dealings with them and that others may need additional support at a point in time because they are dealing with a difficult life event. Some taxpayers may become anxious or distressed as a result of compliance activities, or when they get into debt. Ensuring that people who need support are treated with empathy and dignity is vital to maintaining wider public trust in HMRC.

HMRC have provided tailored assistance to taxpayers who need extra help and those in vulnerable circumstances since 2014 via their Extra Support service and also work closely with the voluntary and community sector. Working with their new Customer Experience Committee, and drawing on the experience of the Committee’s independent, external advisers, HMRC have recently embarked on a programme to strengthen the support they provide to taxpayers who need extra help. Importantly, this includes extending the Extra Support service to people who may need additional help to deal with HMRC investigations and to help resolve disputes wherever possible without litigation. HMRC will report on the effectiveness of these measures in their next annual report.

HMRC will continue to work closely with external representatives through their forums, such as the Additional Needs Working Group and Individual Stakeholder Forum, to understand taxpayers’ needs better and to improve support for taxpayers.

Transparency

HMRC have undertaken to increase transparency and enhance public trust by publishing more data and information about the exercise of their powers. HMRC will engage with stakeholders, including taxpayers and their representatives, to identify what further data and information HMRC should publish in support of these goals.

This year, as a first step towards that commitment, HMRC will expand the range of performance and management information they publish in their monthly and quarterly performance publications. Previous reporting focussed on specific aspects of their telephony and post processes, for instance, call waiting and post turnaround times, as well as compliance yield figures. From August HMRC will publish further information, including but not limited to, their debt management, registrations and repayment services.

Taxpayer experience

Compliance enquiries are a necessary and important feature of HMRC’s work in collecting the right amount of tax. Maintaining public trust in HMRC requires that these enquiries are carried out, but also that they are done in an appropriate way. Compliance enquiries can be worrying for taxpayers and HMRC are committed to ensuring that their procedures are accessible and impartial and that HMRC officers treat taxpayers with professionalism and respect. This includes taking into account the specific circumstances of taxpayers.

HMRC are reviewing taxpayers’ experiences during compliance enquiries. Drawing on taxpayer feedback, this work will look at how each stage of an enquiry or investigation can affect taxpayers. It will seek to identify improvements in the process and draw out appropriate common standards and expectations. This work includes a review of the content, language and tone of letters, to ensure that they are clear, courteous and tailored appropriately to the needs of the taxpayer, including those who need extra help. In this, HMRC are working closely with a range of stakeholder groups and forums to develop best practice, which should help HMRC to improve the way that they interact with taxpayers.

The Government will provide a further update to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee later this year on all of the areas of work outlined in this statement.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1748
WS
Treasury
Made on: 22 July 2019
Made by: Lord Young of Cookham (Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

HMRC Powers and Taxpayer Safeguards

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

Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) have a vital purpose, to collect the tax revenue that pays for the UK’s public services and benefits system. The Government recognises that public trust is essential to a healthy and effective tax system. UK citizens must know that their tax authority is fair, careful and even-handed and that it adheres to those core values in all its work.

But citizens also need to be reassured that HMRC have the powers they require to ensure that everyone pays their fair share of taxes. In some areas, particularly where HMRC are faced with fraud, evasion and complex avoidance, those powers are necessarily far-reaching. It is therefore of great public importance that they are exercised in a way that maintains public trust, with appropriate oversight and operational checks and balances, and statutory safeguards that enable taxpayers to dispute HMRC’s decisions or complain about their treatment.

I am grateful to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee for its report The Powers of HMRC: Treating Taxpayers Fairly and for the opportunity to discuss these matters with them. I have also discussed matters of trust at HMRC in detail with officials and outside stakeholders, and I am today announcing several actions HMRC are taking to maintain and develop public trust in their operations.

Professional Standards Committee

The context in which HMRC operate is changing faster than ever before. New technology presents significant opportunities to make tax administration easier for both HMRC and for taxpayers. But it also presents new challenges, as a small minority of taxpayers who wish to escape paying tax seek new ways to find unfair advantages.

As HMRC adapt to these changes, it is important both that they continue to maintain public trust in their approach to new technologies, and that the powers given by Parliament are implemented carefully and remain subject to appropriate oversight and safeguards.

So HMRC will establish a new Professional Standards Committee to advise the Commissioners of Revenue & Customs. The Committee, which will take advice from a range of independent experts, will consider, amongst other things, issues relating to the implementation of HMRC powers. The Committee will not consider individual cases or Government tax policies. HMRC will publish details of the Committee’s membership and terms of reference in the autumn.

Powers and Safeguards

The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee proposed a review of all powers granted to HMRC since the conclusion of the Powers Review in 2012. I have considered this carefully and concluded that a full review of HMRC powers is not necessary at this time. The powers granted to HMRC since 2012 were properly scrutinised before being granted by Parliament. The Government’s view is that they remain necessary and proportionate. I have, however, asked HMRC to evaluate the implementation of powers introduced since 2012 in relation to the powers and safeguards principles, engaging with stakeholders, including taxpayers and their representatives. This will be published in early 2020.

Adjudicator

The Adjudicator’s independent role in complaints handling is a core component of ensuring public trust in HMRC, and of HMRC’s evolution as a service organisation.

HMRC will undertake a comprehensive review of the findings identified in the 2019 Adjudicator’s report and will publish the results of the review by the end of this year. HMRC are working with the Adjudicator to ensure that they have effective mechanisms in place to learn quickly and appropriately from complaints and, if necessary, to make changes to their operational policy and processes.

To enable better access for taxpayers to the Adjudicator service, HMRC are also developing a secure digital channel for complaints.

Support for Taxpayers

HMRC understand that some taxpayers will always need extra help in their dealings with them and that others may need additional support at a point in time because they are dealing with a difficult life event. Some taxpayers may become anxious or distressed as a result of compliance activities, or when they get into debt. Ensuring that people who need support are treated with empathy and dignity is vital to maintaining wider public trust in HMRC.

HMRC have provided tailored assistance to taxpayers who need extra help and those in vulnerable circumstances since 2014 via their Extra Support service and also work closely with the voluntary and community sector. Working with their new Customer Experience Committee, and drawing on the experience of the Committee’s independent, external advisers, HMRC have recently embarked on a programme to strengthen the support they provide to taxpayers who need extra help. Importantly, this includes extending the Extra Support service to people who may need additional help to deal with HMRC investigations and to help resolve disputes wherever possible without litigation. HMRC will report on the effectiveness of these measures in their next annual report.

HMRC will continue to work closely with external representatives through their forums, such as the Additional Needs Working Group and Individual Stakeholder Forum, to understand taxpayers’ needs better and to improve support for taxpayers.

Transparency

HMRC have undertaken to increase transparency and enhance public trust by publishing more data and information about the exercise of their powers. HMRC will engage with stakeholders, including taxpayers and their representatives, to identify what further data and information HMRC should publish in support of these goals.

This year, as a first step towards that commitment, HMRC will expand the range of performance and management information they publish in their monthly and quarterly performance publications. Previous reporting focussed on specific aspects of their telephony and post processes, for instance, call waiting and post turnaround times, as well as compliance yield figures. From August HMRC will publish further information, including but not limited to, their debt management, registrations and repayment services.

Taxpayer experience

Compliance enquiries are a necessary and important feature of HMRC’s work in collecting the right amount of tax. Maintaining public trust in HMRC requires that these enquiries are carried out, but also that they are done in an appropriate way. Compliance enquiries can be worrying for taxpayers and HMRC are committed to ensuring that their procedures are accessible and impartial and that HMRC officers treat taxpayers with professionalism and respect. This includes taking into account the specific circumstances of taxpayers.

HMRC are reviewing taxpayers’ experiences during compliance enquiries. Drawing on taxpayer feedback, this work will look at how each stage of an enquiry or investigation can affect taxpayers. It will seek to identify improvements in the process and draw out appropriate common standards and expectations. This work includes a review of the content, language and tone of letters, to ensure that they are clear, courteous and tailored appropriately to the needs of the taxpayer, including those who need extra help. In this, HMRC are working closely with a range of stakeholder groups and forums to develop best practice, which should help HMRC to improve the way that they interact with taxpayers.

The Government will provide a further update to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee later this year on all of the areas of work outlined in this statement.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1785
WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 22 July 2019
Made by: Earl Howe (Minister of State, Ministry of Defence)
Lords

Support for Armed Forces Personnel and Veterans

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence (The Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Our Armed Forces do an incredible job to protect us and our nation. They endure great hardships and separation from their loved ones, and they place themselves in harm’s way and bear the physical and mental scars of traumatic experiences. They are prepared to risk their lives for us. We owe them a huge debt, and we also owe them justice and fairness.

The Government is clear that the Armed Forces are not above the law. It is right that whenever the Armed Forces embark on operations outside of the UK our people and their chain of command are bound to abide by the criminal law of England and Wales, as well as international humanitarian law as set out in the Geneva Conventions. Our service men and women are required to conform to the highest standards of personal behaviour and conduct. And when they fall short they must be held to account. Justice must be served.

The Government believes that, other than in exceptional circumstances, the conclusion of investigations into allegations made against members of the Armed Forces should draw a line – addressing the uncertainty faced by Armed Forces personnel concerned about the prospect of re-investigation and prosecution many years after the event. But the law as it stands cannot allow that line to be drawn with any confidence. That is why the Government believes change is needed to afford Armed Forces personnel and veterans greater protection from the threat of prosecution for alleged historical offences committed in the course of duty outside the UK. Armed Forces personnel and veterans should not be left with the threat of prosecution hanging over their heads for years to come, in circumstances where their actions have been investigated at the time.

Similar issues arise in relation to civil litigation. Military operations in Iraq resulted in litigation against the Ministry of Defence on an industrial scale: nearly 1,000 claims seeking compensation for personal injury or death (most of which also sought compensation for human rights violations), and approximately 1,400 judicial review claims seeking an European Convention on Human Rights-compliant investigation and compensation. Although the law does provide for a time limit in such cases, the Courts are currently given broad discretion as to whether to enforce that limit. The effect is that claims have routinely been brought late, with huge numbers of compensation claims permitted to proceed long after the relevant time limit.

The later a claim is brought, especially in respect of allegations emanating from a war zone, the harder it is to assess in a fair and proportionate manner. Records may no longer be sufficiently detailed to be able to prove or disprove specific allegations, and the memories of those involved in incidents fade over time. In such circumstances, the Government may have to choose between settling claims – the merits of which have not been established – or putting Armed Forces personnel and veterans through the ordeal of giving evidence on the Ministry of Defence’s behalf. This is unfair to our personnel and to the taxpayer, who must pay the associated legal costs.

All of this goes to the heart of what is known as ‘lawfare’ – the judicialisation of war. And the risks and impacts of lawfare are clear: in terms of the financial costs; the stress and strain placed on veterans; the potential impact on the morale of serving personnel and our ability to recruit future Armed Forces personnel; and the risk that decisions taken on operations may be corrupted in order to avoid the possibility of legal proceedings many years in the future – the “chilling effect” feared by military commanders.

This is why I announced on 21st May (HCWS 1575) my plans to take forward work to address this important and concerning issue. I am pleased to be able to announce today the launch of a public consultation on legal protections measures for the Armed Forces and veterans.

The consultation document contains proposed measures which we believe can be enacted in a manner which is consistent with our obligations under domestic and international law, while providing genuine benefits to our personnel:

- First, a proposal to legislate for a presumption against prosecution of current or former Armed Forces personnel for alleged offences committed in the course of duty outside the UK more than ten years ago. This measure would in effect raise the threshold to be applied by prosecutors when considering whether a prosecution is genuinely in the public interest in such cases. Two different options are set out in the consultation document for how this measure could be enacted.

- And secondly, a proposal to ensure that going forward, the law reflects the unique pressures faced by Armed Forces personnel while deployed on operations outside the UK, through the creation of a new partial defence to murder. This would be available to current and former Armed Forces personnel who caused a death in the course of duty outside the UK through using more force than strictly necessary for the purposes of self-defence, providing that the initial decision to use force was justified. If convicted, the defence would reduce a conviction for murder to manslaughter.

As part of the consultation, we are also seeking views on a proposal to restrict the Court's discretion to extend the normal time limit for bringing civil claims for personal injury and/or death in relation to historical events outside of the UK.

We hope that the proposals set out in the consultation will help ensure that our Armed Forces receive the justice and fairness that they are owed. And, through the consultation, we hope to test and refine what is proposed with the aim of bringing forward legislation as soon as possible.

WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 22 July 2019
Made by: Penny Mordaunt (Secretary of State for Defence)
Commons

Support for Armed Forces Personnel and Veterans

Our Armed Forces do an incredible job to protect us and our nation. They endure great hardships and separation from their loved ones, and they place themselves in harm’s way and bear the physical and mental scars of traumatic experiences. They are prepared to risk their lives for us. We owe them a huge debt, and we also owe them justice and fairness.

The Government is clear that the Armed Forces are not above the law. It is right that whenever the Armed Forces embark on operations outside of the UK our people and their chain of command are bound to abide by the criminal law of England and Wales, as well as international humanitarian law as set out in the Geneva Conventions. Our service men and women are required to conform to the highest standards of personal behaviour and conduct. And when they fall short they must be held to account. Justice must be served.

The Government believes that, other than in exceptional circumstances, the conclusion of investigations into allegations made against members of the Armed Forces should draw a line – addressing the uncertainty faced by Armed Forces personnel concerned about the prospect of re-investigation and prosecution many years after the event. But the law as it stands cannot allow that line to be drawn with any confidence. That is why the Government believes change is needed to afford Armed Forces personnel and veterans greater protection from the threat of prosecution for alleged historical offences committed in the course of duty outside the UK. Armed Forces personnel and veterans should not be left with the threat of prosecution hanging over their heads for years to come, in circumstances where their actions have been investigated at the time.

Similar issues arise in relation to civil litigation. Military operations in Iraq resulted in litigation against the Ministry of Defence on an industrial scale: nearly 1,000 claims seeking compensation for personal injury or death (most of which also sought compensation for human rights violations), and approximately 1,400 judicial review claims seeking an European Convention on Human Rights-compliant investigation and compensation. Although the law does provide for a time limit in such cases, the Courts are currently given broad discretion as to whether to enforce that limit. The effect is that claims have routinely been brought late, with huge numbers of compensation claims permitted to proceed long after the relevant time limit.

The later a claim is brought, especially in respect of allegations emanating from a war zone, the harder it is to assess in a fair and proportionate manner. Records may no longer be sufficiently detailed to be able to prove or disprove specific allegations, and the memories of those involved in incidents fade over time. In such circumstances, the Government may have to choose between settling claims – the merits of which have not been established – or putting Armed Forces personnel and veterans through the ordeal of giving evidence on the Ministry of Defence’s behalf. This is unfair to our personnel and to the taxpayer, who must pay the associated legal costs.

All of this goes to the heart of what is known as ‘lawfare’ – the judicialisation of war. And the risks and impacts of lawfare are clear: in terms of the financial costs; the stress and strain placed on veterans; the potential impact on the morale of serving personnel and our ability to recruit future Armed Forces personnel; and the risk that decisions taken on operations may be corrupted in order to avoid the possibility of legal proceedings many years in the future – the “chilling effect” feared by military commanders.

This is why I announced on 21st May (HCWS 1575) my plans to take forward work to address this important and concerning issue. I am pleased to be able to announce today the launch of a public consultation on legal protections measures for the Armed Forces and veterans.

The consultation document contains proposed measures which we believe can be enacted in a manner which is consistent with our obligations under domestic and international law, while providing genuine benefits to our personnel:

- First, a proposal to legislate for a presumption against prosecution of current or former Armed Forces personnel for alleged offences committed in the course of duty outside the UK more than ten years ago. This measure would in effect raise the threshold to be applied by prosecutors when considering whether a prosecution is genuinely in the public interest in such cases. Two different options are set out in the consultation document for how this measure could be enacted.

- And secondly, a proposal to ensure that going forward, the law reflects the unique pressures faced by Armed Forces personnel while deployed on operations outside the UK, through the creation of a new partial defence to murder. This would be available to current and former Armed Forces personnel who caused a death in the course of duty outside the UK through using more force than strictly necessary for the purposes of self-defence, providing that the initial decision to use force was justified. If convicted, the defence would reduce a conviction for murder to manslaughter.

As part of the consultation, we are also seeking views on a proposal to restrict the Court's discretion to extend the normal time limit for bringing civil claims for personal injury and/or death in relation to historical events outside of the UK.

We hope that the proposals set out in the consultation will help ensure that our Armed Forces receive the justice and fairness that they are owed. And, through the consultation, we hope to test and refine what is proposed with the aim of bringing forward legislation as soon as possible.

WS
Department for Education
Made on: 22 July 2019
Made by: Lord Agnew of Oulton (The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the School System)
Lords

Teachers Update

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

The School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) has recommended a 2.75% uplift to the minima and maxima of all pay ranges and allowances in the national pay framework, which is due to be implemented in Autumn 2019.

Last year, the government announced the largest pay rise in nearly a decade for almost a million public sector workers. Building on this, this year I have decided to accept in full the STRB’s recommendations for a 2.75% uplift to the minima and maxima of all pay ranges and allowances.

The pay award will both raise starting salaries and increase the competitiveness of the pay framework. As a result, minimum starting salaries for classroom teachers will see an increase between £652 (Rest of England) and £816 (Inner London), and classroom teachers at the top of the main pay range could see an increase between £963 and £1,110. For more experienced classroom teachers at the top of the upper pay range, it could mean an increase of between £1,084 and £1,327.

As a result, the pay ranges for all teachers and leaders will see an uplift. Thanks to the flexible performance-based pay system we have, schools can choose to give teachers and leaders a higher pay rise where this is appropriate to their local context and budget

As this award is more than the 2% we assessed was affordable in our evidence to the STRB, I will invest a further £105 million into the existing Teachers’ Pay Grant this financial year. This is on top of the £321 million funding that schools are already receiving through the Teachers’ Pay Grant in 2019-20.

Last year, we specifically targeted early career pay because of the growing retention challenges within the first 5 years of a teacher’s career. The STRB has recognised the improvements we have made to the unqualified and main pay ranges following the 2% uplift to the main pay range in 2017 and 3.5% uplift to both in 2018.

It is now vitally important to increase the competitiveness of the pay framework and help address the teacher supply challenges across the workforce. This year’s pay award will also support the Teacher Recruitment and Retention Strategy, which I published in January this year. The strategy underpins the Early Career Framework, which provides a fully funded 2-year package of support for all early career teachers.

In addition to their pay, teachers continue to benefit from defined benefit pensions, which are amongst the most generous available.

Thanks to the government’s balanced approach to public finances – getting debt to fall as a share of our economy, while investing in our vital services and keeping taxes low – we are able to continue our flexible approach to pay policy, allowing us to attract and retain the best people for our schools.

We consider all pay awards in light of wider pressures on public spending. Public sector pay needs to be fair both for public sector workers and the taxpayer. Around a quarter of all public spending is spent on pay and we need to ensure that our public services remain affordable for the future.

It is also vital that our world class public services continue to modernise to meet rising demand for the incredible services they provide, which improve our lives and keep us safe.

I am grateful for the in-depth considerations the STRB has given in concluding their report and recommendations for the 2019 teachers’ pay award.

I will deposit in the House libraries a full list of the recommendations and my proposed approach for all pay and allowance ranges.

My officials will write to all of the statutory consultees involved in the STRB’s 29th remit and invite them to contribute to a consultation on my response to these recommendations and on a revised School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document and Pay Order. The consultation will last for 8 weeks.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1766
WS
Department for International Trade
Made on: 22 July 2019
Made by: Viscount Younger of Leckie (Government Whip)
Lords

Response to the consultation on UK Export Finance’s Foreign Content policy

My Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade (Dr Liam Fox MP) has today made the following statement.

The Government will today publish the response to the consultation on UK Export Finance’s (UKEF) Foreign Content policy. It sets out the approach UKEF will take to determine the level of non-UK goods, services and intangible assets in transaction supported by UKEF.

The purpose of the new approach is to ensure that UKEF’s support is flexible and meets the needs of UK exporters to help them win business overseas, fulfilling UKEF’s mission to ensure that no viable UK export fails for lack of finance or insurance from the private sector, while operating at no net cost to the taxpayer.

The consultation, published in April 2019, was part of UKEF’s commitment in the Government’s Export Strategy to review its products and policies to ensure they reflect the full breadth of its capability and the needs of business. The consultation received 28 responses, which were largely supportive of the approach proposed by Government in the consultation and reinforced the need for its foreign content policy to adapt to increasingly globalised supply chains.

The new policy ensures that UKEF will implement a principles-based approach to Foreign Content, recognising the full contribution of the UK supply chain. This approach will supplement UKEF’s current UK content requirement, making it easier for UKEF to consider support for scenarios which are outside of a specific export contract, but which nevertheless are conducive to supporting and developing UK exports.

This approach will broaden the availability of UKEF support for all sectors including those to which it has not traditionally provided support. To align with this expectation, UKEF will be updating its definitions to clarify UKEF’s ability to support intangible assets.

A copy of the consultation response will be placed in the libraries of the House.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1761
WS
Ministry of Justice
Made on: 22 July 2019
Made by: Lord Keen of Elie (The Lords Spokesperson)
Lords

Prisons and Probation

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

"Today I would like to update the House on prisons and probation following the Opposition day debate of 14 May 2019.

Our prison and probation systems have faced challenges in recent years, with changes in population, changes in the nature of crimes being committed and wider societal changes impacting the criminal justice sector, such as the use of Spice and other psychoactive substances. We need to ensure that our prisons and probation services provide appropriate punishment, and work with offenders to stop the root causes of criminality, supporting them to re-join their communities.

HMP Birmingham was an exceptional case caused by a number of complex factors and the Government had been working closely with G4S to try and resolve the issues in HMP Birmingham. However, it became increasingly clear that G4S alone were not able to make the improvements that were so badly needed. That is why the Government took decisive action to step in and did so at no additional costs to the taxpayer.

However, the Government is clear that the exceptional experience of HMP Birmingham is no more representative of the wider contribution of the private sector to our justice system than individual failings in the public sector are in the public estate. The Government remains committed to ensuring a mixed market for delivery of services in the justice system. Partnering with the private and voluntary sectors offers the taxpayer greater value for money, greater diversity of provision and greater innovation than we would see from the public sector alone. Our policy remains a commitment to what works; we will continue to resist ideological calls to spend taxpayers money in a particular sector, regardless of value proposition.

Government contracts are never awarded lightly: each is awarded following a robust process. Government has always been compliant with procurement regulations and follows these diligently when assessing supplier’s suitability.

Through the competition processes we undertake a rigorous financial and operational assessment of bids put forward by any existing or potential operator to ensure bids are of sufficient quality, value for money and affordability. The Government also ensures, through the procurement and contract management processes, that we have sufficient measures in place to have confidence in the delivery and maintenance of the contracted services over their lifetime.

The Chief Inspector of Prisons has highlighted many examples of excellent performance by private prisons in his inspection reports and competition for custodial services in England and Wales is well established, and has been in place since the early 1990s. Privately managed prison providers achieve the majority of their targets, and their performance is closely monitored by the robust contract management processes HMPPS has in place.

Privately-managed prisons have also pioneered the use of modern technology to improve the running of establishments and help promote rehabilitation – innovations that in many cases are still not widely found in the public estate. This includes the development of in-cell telephony to help prisoners maintain ties with their families; interactive story-time activities between prisoners and their children; and the introduction of electronic kiosks, which allow prisoners to have greater control of managing their day-to-day lives.

Private probation providers have drawn on prior experience delivering employability services to improve the sourcing of Unpaid Work placements for offenders on community sentences, with nine out of 13 Community Rehabilitation Companies rated ‘Good’ for the delivery of Unpaid Work by HM Inspectorate of Probation. CRCs have also demonstrated their potential to drive innovation in rehabilitation programmes, with London CRC helping pioneer the Safer Streets Partnership to tackle gangs and knife crime and Kent, Surrey and Sussex CRC developing the first behavioural intervention targeted at stalking offences.

The government therefore rejects the call to end plans to run competitions for new private prisons. We are also committed to ensuring a mixed market for service delivery in the probation system, with offender management delivered by the National Probation Service, but up to £280m allocated for contracting of unpaid work and rehabilitative services from the private and voluntary sector. In addition, we plan to ringfence an initial £20 million per year for a Regional Outcome and Innovation Fund to be spent on innovative, cross-cutting approaches. There will inevitably in any large organisation be occasional instances where service delivery is not as expected, regardless of whether the public or private sectors are responsible. In these instances, we ensure prompt action is taken to rectify any identified issues, and to learn lessons. This Government will not shy away from learning lessons where they are required – and will not seek to denigrate the dedicated work of large numbers of those who deliver our public services simply because of who their employer is.

Instead, this government is committed to ensuring that all our prisons, public or private, are places of safety and reform, and that our probation services maximise their performance in keeping the public safe by helping offenders on community orders or leaving prison to turn their lives around in the community."

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS1783
WS
Ministry of Justice
Made on: 22 July 2019
Made by: Mr David Gauke (The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice)
Commons

Prisons and Probation

Today I would like to update the House on prisons and probation following the Opposition day debate of 14 May 2019.

Our prison and probation systems have faced challenges in recent years, with changes in population, changes in the nature of crimes being committed and wider societal changes impacting the criminal justice sector, such as the use of Spice and other psychoactive substances. We need to ensure that our prisons and probation services provide appropriate punishment, and work with offenders to stop the root causes of criminality, supporting them to re-join their communities.

HMP Birmingham was an exceptional case caused by a number of complex factors and the Government had been working closely with G4S to try and resolve the issues in HMP Birmingham. However, it became increasingly clear that G4S alone were not able to make the improvements that were so badly needed. That is why the Government took decisive action to step in and did so at no additional costs to the taxpayer.

However, the Government is clear that the exceptional experience of HMP Birmingham is no more representative of the wider contribution of the private sector to our justice system than individual failings in the public sector are in the public estate. The Government remains committed to ensuring a mixed market for delivery of services in the justice system. Partnering with the private and voluntary sectors offers the taxpayer greater value for money, greater diversity of provision and greater innovation than we would see from the public sector alone. Our policy remains a commitment to what works; we will continue to resist ideological calls to spend taxpayers money in a particular sector, regardless of value proposition.

Government contracts are never awarded lightly: each is awarded following a robust process. Government has always been compliant with procurement regulations and follows these diligently when assessing supplier’s suitability.

Through the competition processes we undertake a rigorous financial and operational assessment of bids put forward by any existing or potential operator to ensure bids are of sufficient quality, value for money and affordability. The Government also ensures, through the procurement and contract management processes, that we have sufficient measures in place to have confidence in the delivery and maintenance of the contracted services over their lifetime.

The Chief Inspector of Prisons has highlighted many examples of excellent performance by private prisons in his inspection reports and competition for custodial services in England and Wales is well established, and has been in place since the early 1990s. Privately managed prison providers achieve the majority of their targets, and their performance is closely monitored by the robust contract management processes HMPPS has in place.

Privately-managed prisons have also pioneered the use of modern technology to improve the running of establishments and help promote rehabilitation – innovations that in many cases are still not widely found in the public estate. This includes the development of in-cell telephony to help prisoners maintain ties with their families; interactive story-time activities between prisoners and their children; and the introduction of electronic kiosks, which allow prisoners to have greater control of managing their day-to-day lives.

Private probation providers have drawn on prior experience delivering employability services to improve the sourcing of Unpaid Work placements for offenders on community sentences, with nine out of 13 Community Rehabilitation Companies rated ‘Good’ for the delivery of Unpaid Work by HM Inspectorate of Probation. CRCs have also demonstrated their potential to drive innovation in rehabilitation programmes, with London CRC helping pioneer the Safer Streets Partnership to tackle gangs and knife crime and Kent, Surrey and Sussex CRC developing the first behavioural intervention targeted at stalking offences.

The government therefore rejects the call to end plans to run competitions for new private prisons. We are also committed to ensuring a mixed market for service delivery in the probation system, with offender management delivered by the National Probation Service, but up to £280m allocated for contracting of unpaid work and rehabilitative services from the private and voluntary sector. In addition, we plan to ringfence an initial £20 million per year for a Regional Outcome and Innovation Fund to be spent on innovative, cross-cutting approaches. There will inevitably in any large organisation be occasional instances where service delivery is not as expected, regardless of whether the public or private sectors are responsible. In these instances, we ensure prompt action is taken to rectify any identified issues, and to learn lessons. This Government will not shy away from learning lessons where they are required – and will not seek to denigrate the dedicated work of large numbers of those who deliver our public services simply because of who their employer is.

Instead, this government is committed to ensuring that all our prisons, public or private, are places of safety and reform, and that our probation services maximise their performance in keeping the public safe by helping offenders on community orders or leaving prison to turn their lives around in the community.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS1744
WS
Women and Equalities
Made on: 22 July 2019
Made by: Penny Mordaunt (Secretary of State for Women and Equalities)
Commons

Proposals to Support Families

In the Good Work Plan, the Government announced the largest upgrade to workers’ rights in a generation and set out a series of ambitious reforms to ensure the UK leads the world in meeting the challenges of the changing world of work. Building on these reforms, today the Government has launched a consultation on measures to support parents to enter, remain in and return to the workforce. Employees who feel that they are more in control of the balance between home and work commitments are more likely to be engaged at work. Their employers will benefit from greater employee loyalty, commitment and motivation and are likely to be able to draw on a wider pool of talent when recruiting.

The consultation seeks views on:

  • high-level options for reforming parental leave and pay, and the costs, benefits and trade-offs of potential reforms;

  • a proposal for a new entitlement to Neonatal Leave and Pay for parents of babies who require neonatal care following birth;

  • whether employers should have a duty to consider whether a job can be done flexibly and make that clear when advertising a role;

  • options for requiring large employers (those with 250 or more employees) to publish their family related leave and pay policies.

The Government’s modern Industrial Strategy is creating a fairer and more equal workplace, to boost productivity and earning power for all. The consultation supports this by helping people manage their wider commitments in life benefiting both families and employers.

The consultation on parental leave and pay will run for 16 weeks and will end on 8 November. The remaining consultations will run for 12 weeks until 11 October 2019. The consultation can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/good-work-plan-proposals-to-support-families.

I am placing a copy of the consultation in the Library of the House.

WS
Women and Equalities
Made on: 22 July 2019
Made by: Baroness Williams of Trafford (The Minister for Equalities)
Lords

Proposals to Support Families

My Rt Hon. Friend the Minister for Women and Equalities (The Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt MP) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

In the Good Work Plan, the Government announced the largest upgrade to workers’ rights in a generation and set out a series of ambitious reforms to ensure the UK leads the world in meeting the challenges of the changing world of work. Building on these reforms, today the Government has launched a consultation on measures to support parents to enter, remain in and return to the workforce. Employees who feel that they are more in control of the balance between home and work commitments are more likely to be engaged at work. Their employers will benefit from greater employee loyalty, commitment and motivation and are likely to be able to draw on a wider pool of talent when recruiting.

The consultation seeks views on:

  • high-level options for reforming parental leave and pay, and the costs, benefits and trade-offs of potential reforms;

  • a proposal for a new entitlement to Neonatal Leave and Pay for parents of babies who require neonatal care following birth;

  • whether employers should have a duty to consider whether a job can be done flexibly and make that clear when advertising a role;

  • options for requiring large employers (those with 250 or more employees) to publish their family related leave and pay policies.

The Government’s modern Industrial Strategy is creating a fairer and more equal workplace, to boost productivity and earning power for all. The consultation supports this by helping people manage their wider commitments in life benefiting both families and employers.

The consultation on parental leave and pay will run for 16 weeks and will end on 8 November. The remaining consultations will run for 12 weeks until 11 October 2019. The consultation can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/good-work-plan-proposals-to-support-families.

I am placing a copy of the consultation in the Library of the House.

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