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.

From 17 November 2014, written statements are published below shortly after receipt in Parliament. On the day of publication, Commons statements are also available on the Today's Written Statements page.

Written statements are also reproduced in the next edition of the Daily Report and of Hansard in the relevant House.

Written statements made before 17 November 2014 were published only in Hansard:

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WS
Home Office
Made on: 14 January 2016
Made by: Lord Bates (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office)
Lords

Immigration Detention: Response to Stephen Shaw’s report into the Welfare in Detention of Vulnerable Persons

My rt hon Friend the Minister of State for Immigration (James Brokenshire) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

The Government is committed to an immigration system that works in Britain’s national interest, and commands the confidence of the British people. Coming to the United Kingdom to work, study or visit is a privilege, not an unqualified right. Accordingly, the Government expects anyone who comes to the UK to comply with their visa conditions and, if they do not, to return home voluntarily at the first opportunity.

We have put in place a robust legal framework, which prevents the abuse of appeals procedures and encourages timely and voluntary departures by denying access to services, such as bank accounts, rental property, the labour market and driving licences, to those with no right to be here. Where individuals nonetheless fail to comply with immigration law, and refuse to leave, we will take enforcement action to remove them from the UK. Where it is necessary for the purposes of removal, and taking into account any risk that an individual may abscond, this will involve a period of detention (which of course can be avoided if the individual departs voluntarily). The Government is clear that in these circumstances it is in the public interest to detain and remove such individuals, and the vast majority of those in detention are, accordingly, those who have made their way to the United Kingdom unlawfully or breached their conditions of entry, have failed to make their case for asylum, or are foreign criminals.

It is a long-established principle, however, that where an individual is detained pending removal there must be a realistic prospect of removal within a reasonable time. Depriving someone of their liberty will always be subject to careful consideration and scrutiny, and will take account of individual circumstances. It is vital that the system is not only efficient and effective but also treats those within it with dignity and respect, and takes account of the vulnerability of those detained.

It is against this background that in February last year the Home Secretary asked Stephen Shaw to conduct a review of the welfare of vulnerable individuals in detention. His review is being published today (Cmd 9186). It makes recommendations for operational improvements, for changes to the policy on detaining vulnerable people, and for changes to the provision of healthcare services in detention. Copies have been laid in the House. The Government is grateful to Mr Shaw for his review, welcomes this important contribution to the debate about effective detention, and accepts the broad thrust of his recommendations. Consistent with our policies, we will now take forward three key reforms, working across Government and the National Health Service and with private sector providers.

First, the Government accepts Mr Shaw’s recommendations to adopt a wider definition of those at risk, including victims of sexual violence, individuals with mental health issues, pregnant women, those with learning difficulties, post-traumatic stress disorder and elderly people, and to recognise the dynamic nature of vulnerabilities. It will introduce a new “adult at risk” concept into decision-making on immigration detention with a clear presumption that people who are at risk should not be detained, building on the existing legal framework. This will strengthen the approach to those whose care and support needs make it particularly likely that they would suffer disproportionate detriment from being detained, and will therefore be considered generally unsuitable for immigration detention unless there is compelling evidence that other factors which relate to immigration abuse and the integrity of the immigration system, such as matters of criminality, compliance history and the imminence of removal, are of such significance as to outweigh the vulnerability factors. Each case will be considered on its individual facts, supported by a new vulnerable persons team. We will also strengthen our processes for dealing with those cases of torture, health issues and self-harm threats that are first notified after the point of detention, including bespoke training to GPs on reporting concerns about the welfare of individuals in detention and how to identify potential victims of torture.

Second, building on the transfer of healthcare commissioning in Immigration Removal Centres to the NHS, and taking account of the concerns expressed by Mr Shaw about mental healthcare provision in detention, the Government will carry out a more detailed mental health needs assessment in Immigration Removal Centres, using the expertise of the Centre for Mental Health. This will report in March 2016, and NHS commissioners will use that assessment to consider and revisit current provision. In the light of the review the Government will also publish a joint Department of Health, NHS and Home Office mental health action plan in April 2016.

Third, to maximise the efficiency and effectiveness of the detention estate, and in response to Mr Shaw’s recommendation that the Home Office should examine its processes for carrying out detention reviews, the Government will implement a new approach to the case management of those detained, replacing the existing detention review process with a clear removal plan for all those in detention. A stronger focus on and momentum towards removal, combined with a more rigorous assessment of who enters detention through a new gate-keeping function, will ensure that the minimum possible time is spent in detention before people leave the country without the potential abuse of the system that arbitrary time limits would create.

The Government expects these reforms, and broader changes in legislation, policy and operational approaches, to lead to a reduction in the number of those detained, and the duration of detention before removal, in turn improving the welfare of those detained. Immigration Enforcement’s Business Plan for 2016/17 will say more about the Government’s plans for the future shape and size of the detention estate.

More effective detention, complemented by increased voluntary departures and removing without detention, will safeguard the most vulnerable while helping control immigration abuse and reducing costs.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS470
WS
Department for Education
Made on: 14 January 2016
Made by: Lord Nash (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Schools)
Lords

Children's Social Care Reform

My Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education has made the following statement to the House of Commons:

I am today announcing a series of changes that will radically transform the children’s social care system.

Social workers change lives. They have the ability not just to improve the circumstances of vulnerable children but to change them, and therefore their futures, entirely. That is why supporting social workers, and giving them the tools they need, is a priority for this Government. We must give every child the best start in life and make sure that every child can fulfil their potential – regardless of the circumstances they were born into. And we must make sure our support for the most vulnerable is at the heart of that commitment.

I am, therefore, announcing that:

  • With the support of my colleague the Secretary of State for Health, it is our intention to establish a new regulatory body for social work to drive up standards with a relentless focus on raising the quality of social work, education, training and practice in both children’s and adult’s social work. It will also set standards for training and oversee the rollout of a new assessment and accreditation system for children and family social workers. Over time, it will become the new regulatory body for social work, in place of the Health and Care Professions Council. It is our intention to bring forward any necessary legislation when parliamentary business allows.
  • We want to raise the quality of social work and overhaul social worker education and practice to improve the recruitment, retention and development of social workers. We are doing this by providing definitive statements on the knowledge and skills that social workers should have and display at three important levels, Approved Child and Family Practitioner; Practice Supervisor and Practice Leader and we are rolling out a national, practice-focused, career pathway through the development of an assessment and accreditation system based on the highest levels of skill and knowledge. Schemes like Teach First have helped transform teaching into one of the most prestigious and high status professions in the country, and we must now do the same for social work. And that is why we will be investing a further £100m into Frontline, and into our specialist course, Step-up.
  • I am also granting three further councils – Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire and Islington – freedoms to innovate, to improve frontline children’s social work and to develop new systems of delivering social care and trialling new ways of working with families. These new councils will join the six areas that are already part of the programme, as announced by the Prime Minister in December last year – North Yorkshire, the Tri-borough authorities (Westminster, Hammersmith & Fulham, and Kensington & Chelsea), Leeds, Durham and Richmond and Kingston.
  • In addition, Government funding of up to £20 million will be made available for a new ‘What Works Centre’, with the aim of making sure social workers and others across the country are able to learn from the very best examples of frontline social work. The new centre will run from later in the year.

Supporting social workers, and giving them the tools they need, is a priority for this Government and a personal priority for me as Secretary of State. These reforms are about getting it right for social workers, so that social workers can get it right for our most vulnerable children and families.

Copies of my speech and the paper Children’s social care reform – A vision for change will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS469
WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 14 January 2016
Made by: Baroness Anelay of St Johns (The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office)
Lords

Foreign Affairs Council and General Affairs Council: 18 January

My Right Honourable Friend, Minister for Europe (David Lidington), has made the following written Ministerial statement:

My Right Honourable Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs will attend the Foreign Affairs Council on 18 January and I will attend the General Affairs Council on 18 January. The Foreign Affairs Council will be chaired by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, and the General Affairs Council will be chaired by the Dutch Presidency. The meetings will be held in Brussels.

Foreign Affairs Council

The expected agenda for the Foreign Affairs Council will include Syria, Iraq and Ukraine. The Jordanian Foreign Minister will attend lunch where discussion will focus on Syria, Iraq, Daesh.

Syria

Ministers will exchange views on the International Syria Support Group meeting in December and the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2254, as well as the prospects for the talks between the Syrian parties in early 2016 and the situation on the ground.

Iraq

Following the FAC conclusions on Iraq agreed at the December FAC, Ministers will have an opportunity for an in depth discussion of the political and security situation in Iraq. This will come at an important time, given the recent capture of the town of Ramadi from Daesh. We expect the discussion to focus on what more the EU and Member States can do to support long term security, stability and prosperity in Iraq. We will also use the opportunity to look forward to the review of the EU ISIL/Syria/Iraq strategy to be completed in March.

Jordan

Ministers will be joined for lunch by the Foreign Minister of Jordan, Mr Nasser Judeh. Jordan is a key ally in the fight against Daesh, and is host to over 630,000 refugees from the Syria crisis. At the upcoming Syria donor conference the UK aims to secure increased international support to Jordan’s long term economic resilience and stability. Ministers will discuss measures that the EU can take and the full range of regional issues.

Ukraine

Ministers are expected to exchange views on Ukraine’s reform programme and agree a set of priorities that will direct the work of the EU’s Support Group to Ukraine. We also expect Ministers to discuss what further support the EU can give Ukraine for the implementation of its reform programme, including on strategic communications.

General Affairs Council

The General Affairs Council (GAC) on 18 January is expected to focus on the Presidency Work Programme and preparation of the European Council on 18 and 19 February 2016.

Presidency Work Programme

The Dutch Presidency commenced on 1 January. The Dutch Foreign Minister, Albert Koenders, will set out the Presidency’s programme and priorities for the current semester. Their programme is based on the Presidency Trio programme, developed jointly with Slovakia and Malta, but will focus on four main themes: jobs and growth; labour mobility; the Eurozone; and a Union of freedom, justice and security.

Preparation of the February European Council

The GAC will prepare the agenda for the 18 and 19 February European Council, which the Prime Minister will attend. The draft February European Council agenda covers: the UK’s EU renegotiation; migration, and economic issues.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS468
WS
Home Office
Made on: 14 January 2016
Made by: James Brokenshire (The Minister of State for Immigration)
Commons

Immigration Detention: Response to Stephen Shaw’s report into the Welfare in Detention of Vulnerable Persons

The Government is committed to an immigration system that works in Britain’s national interest, and commands the confidence of the British people. Coming to the United Kingdom to work, study or visit is a privilege, not an unqualified right. Accordingly, the Government expects anyone who comes to the UK to comply with their visa conditions and, if they do not, to return home voluntarily at the first opportunity.

We have put in place a robust legal framework, which prevents the abuse of appeals procedures and encourages timely and voluntary departures by denying access to services, such as bank accounts, rental property, the labour market and driving licences, to those with no right to be here. Where individuals nonetheless fail to comply with immigration law, and refuse to leave, we will take enforcement action to remove them from the UK. Where it is necessary for the purposes of removal, and taking into account any risk that an individual may abscond, this will involve a period of detention (which of course can be avoided if the individual departs voluntarily). The Government is clear that in these circumstances it is in the public interest to detain and remove such individuals, and the vast majority of those in detention are, accordingly, those who have made their way to the United Kingdom unlawfully or breached their conditions of entry, have failed to make their case for asylum, or are foreign criminals.

It is a long-established principle, however, that where an individual is detained pending removal there must be a realistic prospect of removal within a reasonable time. Depriving someone of their liberty will always be subject to careful consideration and scrutiny, and will take account of individual circumstances. It is vital that the system is not only efficient and effective but also treats those within it with dignity and respect, and takes account of the vulnerability of those detained.

It is against this background that in February last year the Home Secretary asked Stephen Shaw to conduct a review of the welfare of vulnerable individuals in detention. His review is being published today (Cmd 9186). It makes recommendations for operational improvements, for changes to the policy on detaining vulnerable people, and for changes to the provision of healthcare services in detention. Copies have been laid in the House. The Government is grateful to Mr Shaw for his review, welcomes this important contribution to the debate about effective detention, and accepts the broad thrust of his recommendations. Consistent with our policies, we will now take forward three key reforms, working across Government and the National Health Service and with private sector providers.

First, the Government accepts Mr Shaw’s recommendations to adopt a wider definition of those at risk, including victims of sexual violence, individuals with mental health issues, pregnant women, those with learning difficulties, post-traumatic stress disorder and elderly people, and to recognise the dynamic nature of vulnerabilities. It will introduce a new “adult at risk” concept into decision-making on immigration detention with a clear presumption that people who are at risk should not be detained, building on the existing legal framework. This will strengthen the approach to those whose care and support needs make it particularly likely that they would suffer disproportionate detriment from being detained, and will therefore be considered generally unsuitable for immigration detention unless there is compelling evidence that other factors which relate to immigration abuse and the integrity of the immigration system, such as matters of criminality, compliance history and the imminence of removal, are of such significance as to outweigh the vulnerability factors. Each case will be considered on its individual facts, supported by a new vulnerable persons team. We will also strengthen our processes for dealing with those cases of torture, health issues and self-harm threats that are first notified after the point of detention, including bespoke training to GPs on reporting concerns about the welfare of individuals in detention and how to identify potential victims of torture.

Second, building on the transfer of healthcare commissioning in Immigration Removal Centres to the NHS, and taking account of the concerns expressed by Mr Shaw about mental healthcare provision in detention, the Government will carry out a more detailed mental health needs assessment in Immigration Removal Centres, using the expertise of the Centre for Mental Health. This will report in March 2016, and NHS commissioners will use that assessment to consider and revisit current provision. In the light of the review the Government will also publish a joint Department of Health, NHS and Home Office mental health action plan in April 2016.

Third, to maximise the efficiency and effectiveness of the detention estate, and in response to Mr Shaw’s recommendation that the Home Office should examine its processes for carrying out detention reviews, the Government will implement a new approach to the case management of those detained, replacing the existing detention review process with a clear removal plan for all those in detention. A stronger focus on and momentum towards removal, combined with a more rigorous assessment of who enters detention through a new gate-keeping function, will ensure that the minimum possible time is spent in detention before people leave the country without the potential abuse of the system that arbitrary time limits would create.

The Government expects these reforms, and broader changes in legislation, policy and operational approaches, to lead to a reduction in the number of those detained, and the duration of detention before removal, in turn improving the welfare of those detained. Immigration Enforcement’s Business Plan for 2016/17 will say more about the Government’s plans for the future shape and size of the detention estate.

More effective detention, complemented by increased voluntary departures and removing without detention, will safeguard the most vulnerable while helping control immigration abuse and reducing costs.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS462
WS
Department for Education
Made on: 14 January 2016
Made by: Nicky Morgan (Secretary of State for Education)
Commons

Children's Social Care Reform

I am today announcing a series of changes that will radically transform the children’s social care system.

Social workers change lives. They have the ability not just to improve the circumstances of vulnerable children but to change them, and therefore their futures, entirely. That is why supporting social workers, and giving them the tools they need, is a priority for this Government. We must give every child the best start in life and make sure that every child can fulfil their potential – regardless of the circumstances they were born into. And we must make sure our support for the most vulnerable is at the heart of that commitment.

I am, therefore, announcing that:

  • With the support of my colleague the Secretary of State for Health, it is our intention to establish a new regulatory body for social work to drive up standards with a relentless focus on raising the quality of social work, education, training and practice in both children’s and adult’s social work. It will also set standards for training and oversee the rollout of a new assessment and accreditation system for children and family social workers. Over time, it will become the new regulatory body for social work, in place of the Health and Care Professions Council. It is our intention to bring forward any necessary legislation when parliamentary business allows.
  • We want to raise the quality of social work and overhaul social worker education and practice to improve the recruitment, retention and development of social workers. We are doing this by providing definitive statements on the knowledge and skills that social workers should have and display at three important levels, Approved Child and Family Practitioner; Practice Supervisor and Practice Leader and we are rolling out a national, practice-focused, career pathway through the development of an assessment and accreditation system based on the highest levels of skill and knowledge. Schemes like Teach First have helped transform teaching into one of the most prestigious and high status professions in the country, and we must now do the same for social work. And that is why we will be investing a further £100m into Frontline, and into our specialist course, Step-up.
  • I am also granting three further councils – Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire and Islington – freedoms to innovate, to improve frontline children’s social work and to develop new systems of delivering social care and trialling new ways of working with families. These new councils will join the six areas that are already part of the programme, as announced by the Prime Minister in December last year – North Yorkshire, the Tri-borough authorities (Westminster, Hammersmith & Fulham, and Kensington & Chelsea), Leeds, Durham and Richmond and Kingston.
  • In addition, Government funding of up to £20 million will be made available for a new ‘What Works Centre’, with the aim of making sure social workers and others across the country are able to learn from the very best examples of frontline social work. The new centre will run from later in the year.

Supporting social workers, and giving them the tools they need, is a priority for this Government and a personal priority for me as Secretary of State. These reforms are about getting it right for social workers, so that social workers can get it right for our most vulnerable children and families.

Copies of my speech and the paper Children’s social care reform – A vision for change will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS461
WS
Leader of the House of Lords
Made on: 14 January 2016
Made by: Baroness Stowell of Beeston (The Lord Privy Seal)
Lords

Leader’s Group on Governance

On 23 March I set up a Leader's Group chaired by Baroness Shephard of Northwold to consider governance arrangements in the House of Lords. I have today published their report, ​a copy of which is attached. ​Hard copies of ​the report​ are available from the Printed Paper Office as HL Paper 81.


I am grateful to the members of the group for their work on this important subject. I will reflect carefully on the the report’s conclusions and lead discussions on the way forward in response.

WS
Cabinet Office
Made on: 14 January 2016
Made by: Lord Bridges of Headley (Parliamentary Secretary)
Lords

Government Consultation Principles

My Right Honourable friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Oliver Letwin) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

Today, I am publishing a revised set of government Consultation Principles. These Principles are intended to produce clear guidance to government departments on the conduct of consultations. They have been amended in the light of comments from the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee, and demonstrate the Government's desire to engage more effectively with the public.

We will use more digital methods to involve a wider group of consultees at an earlier stage in the policy forming process. We will make it easier for the public to contribute and feed in their views, and we will try harder to use clear language and plain English in consultation documents.

We will also reduce the risk of 'consultation fatigue' by making sure that we consult only on issues that are genuinely undecided.

A copy has been placed in the Library, and can be found online at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/consultation-principles-guidance

Government Consultation Principles (Word Document, 17.16 KB)
This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS467
WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 14 January 2016
Made by: Mr David Lidington (The Minister for Europe)
Commons

Foreign Affairs Council and General Affairs Council: 18 January

My Right Honourable Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs will attend the Foreign Affairs Council on 18 January and I will attend the General Affairs Council on 18 January. The Foreign Affairs Council will be chaired by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, and the General Affairs Council will be chaired by the Dutch Presidency. The meetings will be held in Brussels.

Foreign Affairs Council

The expected agenda for the Foreign Affairs Council will include Syria, Iraq and Ukraine. The Jordanian Foreign Minister will attend lunch where discussion will focus on Syria, Iraq, Daesh.

Syria

Ministers will exchange views on the International Syria Support Group meeting in December and the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 2254, as well as the prospects for the talks between the Syrian parties in early 2016 and the situation on the ground.

Iraq

Following the FAC conclusions on Iraq agreed at the December FAC, Ministers will have an opportunity for an in depth discussion of the political and security situation in Iraq. This will come at an important time, given the recent capture of the town of Ramadi from Daesh. We expect the discussion to focus on what more the EU and Member States can do to support long term security, stability and prosperity in Iraq. We will also use the opportunity to look forward to the review of the EU ISIL/Syria/Iraq strategy to be completed in March.

Jordan

Ministers will be joined for lunch by the Foreign Minister of Jordan, Mr Nasser Judeh. Jordan is a key ally in the fight against Daesh, and is host to over 630,000 refugees from the Syria crisis. At the upcoming Syria donor conference the UK aims to secure increased international support to Jordan’s long term economic resilience and stability. Ministers will discuss measures that the EU can take and the full range of regional issues.

Ukraine

Ministers are expected to exchange views on Ukraine’s reform programme and agree a set of priorities that will direct the work of the EU’s Support Group to Ukraine. We also expect Ministers to discuss what further support the EU can give Ukraine for the implementation of its reform programme, including on strategic communications.

General Affairs Council

The General Affairs Council (GAC) on 18 January is expected to focus on the Presidency Work Programme and preparation of the European Council on 18 and 19 February 2016.

Presidency Work Programme

The Dutch Presidency commenced on 1 January. The Dutch Foreign Minister, Albert Koenders, will set out the Presidency’s programme and priorities for the current semester. Their programme is based on the Presidency Trio programme, developed jointly with Slovakia and Malta, but will focus on four main themes: jobs and growth; labour mobility; the Eurozone; and a Union of freedom, justice and security.

Preparation of the February European Council

The GAC will prepare the agenda for the 18 and 19 February European Council, which the Prime Minister will attend. The draft February European Council agenda covers: the UK’s EU renegotiation; migration, and economic issues.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS460
WS
Cabinet Office
Made on: 14 January 2016
Made by: Mr Oliver Letwin (Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster)
Commons

Government Consultation Principles

Today, I am publishing a revised set of government Consultation Principles. These Principles are intended to produce clear guidance to government departments on the conduct of consultations. They have been amended in the light of comments from the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee, and demonstrate the Government's desire to engage more effectively with the public.

We will use more digital methods to involve a wider group of consultees at an earlier stage in the policy forming process. We will make it easier for the public to contribute and feed in their views, and we will try harder to use clear language and plain English in consultation documents.

We will also reduce the risk of 'consultation fatigue' by making sure that we consult only on issues that are genuinely undecided.

A copy has been placed in the Library, and can be found online at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/consultation-principles-guidance

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS458
WS
Cabinet Office
Made on: 13 January 2016
Made by: Baroness Stowell of Beeston (The Lord Privy Seal)
Lords

Appointment to the UK Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

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

This written ministerial statement confirms that Lord Wright of Richmond has been appointed as a substitute member of the United Kingdom Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in place of Baroness O’Loan.

WS
Prime Minister
Made on: 13 January 2016
Made by: Mr David Cameron (Prime Minister)
Commons

Appointment to the UK Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

This written ministerial statement confirms that Lord Wright of Richmond has been appointed as a substitute member of the United Kingdom Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in place of Baroness O’Loan.

WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 13 January 2016
Made by: Earl Howe (Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
Lords

Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) Trading Fund Review

My hon Friend the Minister of State for Defence Procurement (Mr Philip Dunne) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I am announcing today that following a review of its status, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) will continue to remain an Executive Agency of the Ministry of Defence (MOD), but its Trading Fund status will be revoked from April 2017.

Since its creation in 2001, Dstl has been at the forefront of National Security, working with international partners and industry to deliver a range of high-impact science and technology solutions, such as developing life-saving armour and deploying scientists to contain the Ebola outbreak. I am pleased to report that the review has strongly reaffirmed the ongoing need for Dstl’s services for both Defence and wider National Security.

In order for Dstl to continue to fulfil this role, the Review has recommended that Dstl continues as an Executive Agency of the MOD. This will be the most effective and efficient option for the future of Dstl because it preserves the flexibility and agility Dstl has to work across the MOD, wider Government and internationally, but will also promote greater efficiency in the delivery of Science and Technology, and bring about a renewed focus on strategic partnerships with our allies, other laboratories, academia and industry. However, because Dstl’s income comes largely from customers within Government, it has been agreed that Dstl can no longer remain a Trading Fund and will come within the ambit of the Defence vote from 1 April 2017.

Dstl has a bright future within MOD, and will continue to play a key part in delivering the MOD’s Science and Technology Strategy as well as supporting the rest of Government on vital national security tasks and our international partners. The Strategic Defence and Security Review has re-iterated the importance of science, technology and innovation in meeting our national security needs into the future and the retention of Dstl as an MOD Agency fully supports the delivery of that strategy.

There is now more work to do in order to transition Dstl’s organisational status and I look forward to seeing the changes recommended by the Review becoming operational by April 2017.

WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 13 January 2016
Made by: Baroness Anelay of St Johns (The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office)
Lords

North Korean Nuclear Test

My right Honourable Friend, the Secretary for State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Philip Hammond), has made the following written Ministerial statement:

At 0400 GMT on 6 January North Korean state media claimed that it had successfully conducted its first hydrogen bomb test at 0130 GMT. The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation reported seismic signatures with a magnitude of 4.85, consistent with previous North Korean nuclear tests. We assess that the size of the seismic event caused by the nuclear test, while indicative of a nuclear explosion, is not indicative of the successful test of a thermonuclear weapon (also known as a hydrogen bomb); however this nuclear test is a serious violation of UN Security Council resolutions 1718, 1874, 2087 and 2094. North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programme poses a significant threat to international security and regional stability. North Korea’s repeated provocations hinder the prospects for lasting peace on the Korean peninsula.

On 6 January I issued a statement strongly condemning the nuclear test as a grave breach of UN Security Council resolutions. While travelling in the region last week I spoke to my South Korean, Japanese and Chinese counterparts about the international response. I have also spoken to the US Secretary of State. The Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for East Devon (Mr Swire), summoned the North Korean Ambassador to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 7 January in order to underline, in the strongest terms, the UK’s firm condemnation of this nuclear test and to make clear to North Korea that it can either engage constructively with the international community, or face increasing isolation and further action by the international community.

We worked to secure, and strongly support, the UN Security Council’s swift condemnation of this nuclear test in its statement following its emergency meeting on 6 January. The Security Council agreed that this North Korean nuclear test was a clear violation of existing Security Council resolutions; and that there should be a robust response including immediate work on further significant measures in a new Security Council resolution.

The UK remains deeply concerned by North Korea’s continued development of its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes. We continue to urge North Korea to return to credible and authentic multilateral talks on its nuclear programme, to abide by its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and to permit full access by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS464
WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 13 January 2016
Made by: Mr Philip Dunne (Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) )
Commons

Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) Trading Fund Review

I am announcing today that following a review of its status, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) will continue to remain an Executive Agency of the Ministry of Defence (MOD), but its Trading Fund status will be revoked from April 2017.

Since its creation in 2001, Dstl has been at the forefront of National Security, working with international partners and industry to deliver a range of high-impact science and technology solutions, such as developing life-saving armour and deploying scientists to contain the Ebola outbreak. I am pleased to report that the review has strongly reaffirmed the ongoing need for Dstl’s services for both Defence and wider National Security.

In order for Dstl to continue to fulfil this role, the Review has recommended that Dstl continues as an Executive Agency of the MOD. This will be the most effective and efficient option for the future of Dstl because it preserves the flexibility and agility Dstl has to work across the MOD, wider Government and internationally, but will also promote greater efficiency in the delivery of Science and Technology, and bring about a renewed focus on strategic partnerships with our allies, other laboratories, academia and industry. However, because Dstl’s income comes largely from customers within Government, it has been agreed that Dstl can no longer remain a Trading Fund and will come within the ambit of the Defence vote from 1 April 2017.

Dstl has a bright future within MOD, and will continue to play a key part in delivering the MOD’s Science and Technology Strategy as well as supporting the rest of Government on vital national security tasks and our international partners. The Strategic Defence and Security Review has re-iterated the importance of science, technology and innovation in meeting our national security needs into the future and the retention of Dstl as an MOD Agency fully supports the delivery of that strategy.

There is now more work to do in order to transition Dstl’s organisational status and I look forward to seeing the changes recommended by the Review becoming operational by April 2017.

WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 13 January 2016
Made by: Mr Philip Hammond (The Secretary for State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Commons

North Korean Nuclear Test

At 0400 GMT on 6 January North Korean state media claimed that it had successfully conducted its first hydrogen bomb test at 0130 GMT. The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation reported seismic signatures with a magnitude of 4.85, consistent with previous North Korean nuclear tests. We assess that the size of the seismic event caused by the nuclear test, while indicative of a nuclear explosion, is not indicative of the successful test of a thermonuclear weapon (also known as a hydrogen bomb); however this nuclear test is a serious violation of UN Security Council resolutions 1718, 1874, 2087 and 2094. North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programme poses a significant threat to international security and regional stability. North Korea’s repeated provocations hinder the prospects for lasting peace on the Korean peninsula.

On 6 January I issued a statement strongly condemning the nuclear test as a grave breach of UN Security Council resolutions. While travelling in the region last week I spoke to my South Korean, Japanese and Chinese counterparts about the international response. I have also spoken to the US Secretary of State. The Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for East Devon (Mr Swire), summoned the North Korean Ambassador to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 7 January in order to underline, in the strongest terms, the UK’s firm condemnation of this nuclear test and to make clear to North Korea that it can either engage constructively with the international community, or face increasing isolation and further action by the international community.

We worked to secure, and strongly support, the UN Security Council’s swift condemnation of this nuclear test in its statement following its emergency meeting on 6 January. The Security Council agreed that this North Korean nuclear test was a clear violation of existing Security Council resolutions; and that there should be a robust response including immediate work on further significant measures in a new Security Council resolution.

The UK remains deeply concerned by North Korea’s continued development of its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes. We continue to urge North Korea to return to credible and authentic multilateral talks on its nuclear programme, to abide by its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and to permit full access by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS455
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Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 12 January 2016
Made by: Mr Philip Hammond (The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Commons

Gifting of equipment to the 4th Land Border Regiment of the Lebanese Armed Forces

It is the normal practice when a government department proposes to make a gift of a value exceeding £300,000 for the department concerned to present to the House of Commons a minute giving particulars of the gift and explaining the circumstances; and to refrain from making the gift until fourteen parliamentary sitting days after the issue of the minute, except in cases of special urgency.

The crisis in Syria is having a direct effect on its neighbours, particularly in areas adjacent to Lebanon’s eastern border. The UK remains firmly committed to Lebanon’s stability, and in supporting the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) to minimise contagion from the Syrian conflict, and to combat the spread of Daesh. As part of this commitment, since 2012, the UK has been assisting the LAF, through the Rapid Land Border Security Assistance Project, to establish and mentor the LAF Land Border Regiments (LBRs). The mission of the LBRs is to observe, identify, deter and deny activities by illegal armed actors in the near border areas, in line with agreed international human rights standards. Between 2012 and 2015 around £26m of Conflict Pool and Conflict Security Stability funds were allocated to provide observation, protection, mobility and communications equipment to 1, 2, and 3LBRs, and to establish the lead elements of a 4th LBR, as well as a programme of training and mentoring.

The command element of 4LBR has been established, and 4LBR is preparing its deployment plan to cover the remaining 25% of the borders with Syria from Arsal to Masnaa. Recent actions in the Arsal area, and the threat that Daesh poses to UK interests, make it imperative that the LAF completes the expansion of the LBRs southwards, as part of an overall strategy to bring the entire eastern border with Syria back under the authority of the State.

Subject to assessment under the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, we intend to gift a package of £967,450.00 of Personal protection equipment to start the establishment of the 4th Land Border Regiment of the Lebanese Armed Forces. The proposed gift will be funded by the Government’s Conflict, Security and Stability Fund and will consist of the following UK sourced equipment:

  • Personal Protective Equipment. £967,450.00

The proposed gift is being scrutinised to ensure that it is consistent with export controls and complies with our international obligations. The proposed gift has been scrutinised and approved by a senior, cross-Whitehall Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) Approval Board, which has confirmed that it fits with the Government’s strategic and delivery objectives. Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials also assessed the project for human rights risks, using the Overseas Security and Justice Assistance guidelines established by the Foreign Secretary in 2011.

The Treasury has approved the proposal in principle. If, during the period of 14 parliamentary sitting days beginning on the date on which this minute was laid before the House of Commons, a Member signifies an objection by giving notice of a Parliamentary Question or a Motion relating to the minute, or by otherwise raising the matter in the House, final approval of the gift will be withheld pending an examination of the objection.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS454
WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 12 January 2016
Made by: Baroness Anelay of St Johns (The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office)
Lords

Gifting of equipment to the 4th Land Border Regiment of the Lebanese Armed Forces

My right Honourable Friend, the Secretary for State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Philip Hammond), has made the following written Ministerial statement:

It is the normal practice when a government department proposes to make a gift of a value exceeding £300,000 for the department concerned to present to the House of Commons a minute giving particulars of the gift and explaining the circumstances; and to refrain from making the gift until fourteen parliamentary sitting days after the issue of the minute, except in cases of special urgency.

The crisis in Syria is having a direct effect on its neighbours, particularly in areas adjacent to Lebanon’s eastern border. The UK remains firmly committed to Lebanon’s stability, and in supporting the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) to minimise contagion from the Syrian conflict, and to combat the spread of Daesh. As part of this commitment, since 2012, the UK has been assisting the LAF, through the Rapid Land Border Security Assistance Project, to establish and mentor the LAF Land Border Regiments (LBRs). The mission of the LBRs is to observe, identify, deter and deny activities by illegal armed actors in the near border areas, in line with agreed international human rights standards. Between 2012 and 2015 around £26m of Conflict Pool and Conflict Security Stability funds were allocated to provide observation, protection, mobility and communications equipment to 1, 2, and 3LBRs, and to establish the lead elements of a 4th LBR, as well as a programme of training and mentoring.

The command element of 4LBR has been established, and 4LBR is preparing its deployment plan to cover the remaining 25% of the borders with Syria from Arsal to Masnaa. Recent actions in the Arsal area, and the threat that Daesh poses to UK interests, make it imperative that the LAF completes the expansion of the LBRs southwards, as part of an overall strategy to bring the entire eastern border with Syria back under the authority of the State.

Subject to assessment under the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, we intend to gift a package of £967,450.00 of Personal protection equipment to start the establishment of the 4th Land Border Regiment of the Lebanese Armed Forces. The proposed gift will be funded by the Government’s Conflict, Security and Stability Fund and will consist of the following UK sourced equipment:

  • Personal Protective Equipment. £967,450.00

The proposed gift is being scrutinised to ensure that it is consistent with export controls and complies with our international obligations. The proposed gift has been scrutinised and approved by a senior, cross-Whitehall Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) Approval Board, which has confirmed that it fits with the Government’s strategic and delivery objectives. Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials also assessed the project for human rights risks, using the Overseas Security and Justice Assistance guidelines established by the Foreign Secretary in 2011.

The Treasury has approved the proposal in principle. If, during the period of 14 parliamentary sitting days beginning on the date on which this minute was laid before the House of Commons, a Member signifies an objection by giving notice of a Parliamentary Question or a Motion relating to the minute, or by otherwise raising the matter in the House, final approval of the gift will be withheld pending an examination of the objection.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS463
WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 12 January 2016
Made by: Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Lords Spokesman, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
Lords

December Environment Council

My Hon Friend the Parliamentary under Secretary of State (Rory Stewart) has today made the following statement.

I attended the EU Environment Council in Brussels on 16 December. I would like to update the House on the matters discussed.

Draft Council Conclusions on the Mid-Term Review of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020

The Conclusions were adopted, and were welcomed by Ministers and the Commission who also underlined that further work was still needed to meet the Strategy’s objectives by 2020. Member States also noted the importance of the EU Nature Directives and the need to retain them in their current form to provide certainty and avoid any diminishing of standards. The UK raised concerns over the implementation of the Nature Directives. It concluded that the best way to address these would not be through reopening the Directives themselves, but instead through looking at much better approaches to implementation.

National Emission Ceilings Directive

The Council adopted a general approach on the National Emission Ceilings Directive. Following negotiations in the Council, the Presidency secured a comfortable qualified majority for its compromise text. Denmark, Poland, and Austria voted against and Germany abstained. Although the Commission emphasised that it would prefer a higher level of ambition, it supported the Presidency’s push to move to the next stage of negotiations. Notwithstanding their national position, the Netherlands reassured Member States that, as Presidency, they would defend the position reached by the Council in forthcoming negotiations with the European Parliament. The UK welcomed the agreement whilst indicating the very limited room for manoeuvre during the future negotiations with the European Parliament.

Any Other Business: Circular Economy

Under any other business, the Council took note of information provided by the Commission on the recently published Circular Economy package. Member States welcomed the package, although a number of concerns were raised. The UK regretted that insufficient attention was shown to potential benefits the circular economy could bring on jobs and growth, and raised concerns about the target-based approach. Negotiations will begin in earnest in January 2016.

Any Other Business: Paris Climate Change Summit

All Ministers signed a congratulatory letter to the French Presidency of the Paris Summit, and Ministers were thanked for their support and unity during the negotiations. The Commission described the outcome as a triumph for EU cooperation and for multilateralism more generally, while noting the EU’s role in building the influential High Ambition Coalition. The Commission set out its next steps: to draft a Council Decision for signing of the Paris agreement; progress the negotiations of revision of the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS); produce legislative proposals for ‘effort sharing’ of reductions outside the EU ETS including land use considerations; and make proposals on the decarbonisation of transport.

Any Other Business: Further Points

Council noted information provided by the Presidency, supported by seven Member States, on the challenges and options for improving implementation of legislation on chemical products in scope of Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) legislation.

Council also noted information provided by Sweden on sustainable methods of producing and consuming medicines and managing the resulting waste. The Commission was about to launch a study on the environmental impacts of such substances.

Council further noted information provided by Greece on the forthcoming meeting of the Contracting Parties (COP10) to the Barcelona Convention.

Council noted information provided by Belgium on reducing pollution caused by consumption on the move, a so-called European deposit scheme. The Commission did not intend to introduce such a scheme, after a feasibility study had suggested there would be disproportionate costs, but noted that Member States were free to set up their own schemes.

The Commission briefly presented the State of the Energy Union report, as had been done in other Council formations. Four political messages were emphasised: firstly, that energy union was closely aligned with the UN climate process, and that the EU must remain a global leader on implementing low carbon transition; secondly that energy union was something the Commission needed to lead, but that this needed action and engagement from all Member States; thirdly, that the geopolitical challenges on this issue are unlikely to reduce; and finally, that governance was a key issue.

The Netherlands presented information on the work programme for their Presidency.

Lunchtime Discussion

Over lunch, Ministers exchanged views on the latest developments concerning the automobile sector and emissions testing.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS462
WS
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Made on: 12 January 2016
Made by: Baroness Neville-Rolfe (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills)
Lords

Labour Market Enforcement

My Rt hon Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (Sajid Javid) has today made the following statement.

My Rt hon Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department (Theresa May) and I will today publish the Government’s response to the consultation “Tackling Exploitation in the Labour Market”. The consultation paper was published on 13 October 2015 and the consultation closed on 7 December 2015.

The consultation sought views on four proposals:

  • Creating the role of Director of Labour Market Enforcement to set the strategic priorities for labour market enforcement bodies (the Employment Agencies Standard Inspectorate, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs’ National Minimum Wage team and the Gangmasters Licensing Authority) in an annual labour market enforcement strategy;
  • Allowing data sharing between the Director, the Intelligence Hub, labour market enforcement bodies and other bodies with intelligence that inform the preparation of the labour market enforcement strategy;
  • Creating a new labour market undertaking and enforcement order regime, backed up by a criminal offence and custodial sentence – to allow us to tackle repeat labour market offenders and rogue businesses; and
  • Reforming the Gangmasters Licensing Authority to become the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority with stronger powers to tackle labour exploitation across the economy.

The consultation responses gave broad support for the Government’s proposals. Therefore we will introduce these measures to tackle labour market exploitation, secure decent, lawful working conditions and make sure that people receive the rights and wages to which they are entitled. My hon Friend the Home Office Lords Minister will today table amendments to the Immigration Bill to bring these measures in to law.

The Government response document, which sets out further detail, can be found on the GOV.UK website.


This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS459
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HM Treasury
Made on: 12 January 2016
Made by: Lord O'Neill of Gatley (The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury)
Lords

Capital payment to International Financial Institution - Contingencies Fund and Contingent Liability

My right honourable friend the Chief Secretary to the Treasury (Greg Hands) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The Treasury has agreed to be a founder contributor of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). As set out in the Summer Budget 2015, HM Treasury will soon be making the initial instalment of US$122,180,000 (approximately £80 million). Subsequent payments of the same amount will be made over the next four years. The UK’s overall capital contribution will total approximately £2 billion (US$3,054,700,000), with these five payments together making the 20% “paid-in” capital contribution requiring a cash transfer. The other 80% is “callable capital” – the AIIB can call on it if needed. As the paid-in capital is an investment, in return for which we get an asset of a new Bank, the Office for Budget Responsibility has forecast this payment as a financial transaction. Financial transactions do not add to Public Sector Net Borrowing.

As the cash for this payment will form part of HM Treasury’s Supplementary Estimate 2015-16, which is expected to achieve Royal Assent in the associated Supply and Appropriation Bill in mid- to late March, HM Treasury will use the Contingencies Fund to make the payment.

This payment is in line with the authority provided by this House under the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (Initial Capital Contribution) Order 2015. Parliamentary approval for additional capital of £83 million for this new expenditure will be sought in a Supplementary Estimate for HM Treasury. Pending that approval, urgent expenditure of £83 million (to allow for exchange rate movements) will be met by repayable cash advances from the Contingencies Fund.

Further, the payment of the first instalment of the capital contribution incurs with it a contingent liability. In line with the Articles of Agreement, the contingent liability rises in line with the amount of callable capital paid. As such, the UK will incur a proportionate contingent liability of US$488,752,000. A Departmental Minute to this effect was laid before Parliament on 30 November 2015 to give at least 14 sitting days’ notice of the intent to incur a contingent liability. The notice period was completed on 5 January 2016.

Although the AIIB has the right to call for payment of this callable capital if there is a crisis affecting the bank’s assets or loans, no such instance has occurred in any major multilateral development bank (MDB) in the past. If the liability were to be called, provision for any payment would be sought through the normal Supply procedure.

In joining the AIIB the UK is demonstrating its support for China’s initiative to establish the AIIB to address the historic shortage of infrastructure investment in Asia. The AIIB will support economic growth in the region and drive up living standards. The UK’s membership will deepen economic ties with Asia and create opportunities for British businesses.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS461
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