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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Department for Culture, Media and Sport
Made on: 19 January 2016
Made by: Baroness Neville-Rolfe (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport)
Lords

Report of the Government Expert Working Group on Football Supporter Ownership and Engagement

I am today publishing the final report of the Government Expert Working Group on Football Supporter Ownership and Engagement.

This is a report prepared by football, with the authorities that run the game, working together with supporter organisations that speak on behalf of fans up and down the land, with help from Government. It sets out a number of recommendations for what more can be done to encourage greater engagement between supporters and those that run their club, while also helping to remove barriers to supporter ownership, when such opportunities arise for credible supporters’ trusts to bid to own their club.

In bringing the various football interests together to report on issues creating barriers to supporter ownership and recommended action to overcome these, Government is fulfilling the commitment it made to the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee, following its inquiry into Football Governance in 2011 and follow-up report in 2013.

The report recognises that football clubs play an important role in their local communities, and that supporter ownership is already happening at a number of football clubs, especially in the lower leagues. However, the path to achieving ownership has not been as straightforward as it seems, with supporters often without the necessary finance, expertise and opportunity to bid for their club when it becomes available.

This report sets out proposals to give supporters a fairer, more realistic chance of bidding for ownership should the opportunity arise. For example, Administrators appointed for football club insolvencies will now be obliged to meet with the accredited supporter trust and given the opportunity to bid for ownership. Supporters can also apply to the Premier League and Fans Fund Panel for assistance to help with professional fees to build a credible bid, and a database will be created of suitable professional experts, who are football fans, willing to provide pro-bono advice to supporters’ bids. It goes without saying that supporters should be given an opportunity to bid for their club if it has failed, cannot continue in its current state or if there is consent from an owner looking to sell.

The Premier League has also agreed to provide an extra £1 million in funding (pending the outcome of the Ofcom investigation into how it sells its broadcasting rights) over the next three years via the Fans Fund to recognised football supporter organisations which provide a voice for supporters on ownership issues.

The report also asks Government to review the UK tax system, to see whether it may be able to offer incentives to supporter ownership bids, and community ownership in sport more generally. The Government will consider these proposals.

The report signals a need for there to be stronger dialogue between football club owners and a representative group of supporters on matters of strategic importance to the running of football clubs. This structured dialogue will provide a more inclusive way of ensuring supporters have access to strategic information, can discuss key issues with club owners and directors, and can hold them accountable. This should also foster improved relationships between fans groups and their clubs which may, over time, facilitate new opportunities for fans to invest in their clubs and encourage opportunities for collective share ownership.

Proposals outlined in the report have been approved by the various Boards of the football authorities. The next step is for those Boards to seek approval to these from their members and clubs, and where needed for these changes to be enshrined in their rulebooks. Government will work with them, where possible, to achieve this, and in doing so open up better supporter engagement with those that run their clubs and greater opportunities for supporter ownership.

I welcome this report and thank everyone involved, including the Independent Chair Joanna Manning Cooper, for their hard work in the real progress that has been made. It shows what can be achieved with football and government working together in partnership.

This report does not signal the end of the Government’s interest in supporter ownership and engagement. We will continue to review the situation and take further action if needed.

Government will also continue to challenge the football authorities to improve other areas in the governance and regulation in sport, including greater reform of their decision making bodies, to make these more representative of the game.

The report of the Expert Working Group is being deposited in the House Libraries and is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/government-expert-working-group-on-football-supporter-ownership-and-engagement

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS475
WS
Department for Communities and Local Government
Made on: 19 January 2016
Made by: Brandon Lewis (Minister of State for Housing and Planning)
Commons

Voluntary Right to Buy Pilot

In October 2015, the Government announced the voluntary agreement with housing associations and the National Housing Federation that will extend Right to Buy discounts to 1.3 million more families across the country.

At Autumn Statement 2015, the Chancellor announced that, ahead of full implementation, there would be a pilot with five housing associations, which would inform the design of the main scheme.

The power of the Secretary of State to make payments to housing associations in respect of Right to Buy discounts would be established by Clause 62 of the Housing and Planning Bill 2015.

The Government will provide funding for the Pilot. The five housing associations will be compensated for their administrative costs up to the point of sale, and once the Housing and Planning Bill receives Royal Assent, would be compensated in full for the cost of the discounts.

Expenditure on the implementation of the Pilot, including routine administration, communication, marketing, valuation and legal costs will take place relying on the sole authority of the Supply and Appropriation Act, subject to eligibility and approval. Expenditure will be met from the Department for Communities and Local Government’s existing budget.

The funding of sales and the contractual commitment to sales will be contingent upon the Housing and Planning Bill receiving Royal Assent.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS468
WS
Department for Culture, Media and Sport
Made on: 19 January 2016
Made by: Tracey Crouch (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Sport, Tourism and Heritage)
Commons

Report of the Government Expert Working Group on Football Supporter Ownership and Engagement

I am today publishing the final report of the Government Expert Working Group on Football Supporter Ownership and Engagement.

This is a report prepared by football, with the authorities that run the game, working together with supporter organisations that speak on behalf of fans up and down the land, with help from Government. It sets out a number of recommendations for what more can be done to encourage greater engagement between supporters and those that run their club, while also helping to remove barriers to supporter ownership, when such opportunities arise for credible supporters’ trusts to bid to own their club.

In bringing the various football interests together to report on issues creating barriers to supporter ownership and recommended action to overcome these, Government is fulfilling the commitment it made to the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee, following its inquiry into Football Governance in 2011 and follow-up report in 2013.

The report recognises that football clubs play an important role in their local communities, and that supporter ownership is already happening at a number of football clubs, especially in the lower leagues. However, the path to achieving ownership has not been as straightforward as it seems, with supporters often without the necessary finance, expertise and opportunity to bid for their club when it becomes available.

This report sets out proposals to give supporters a fairer, more realistic chance of bidding for ownership should the opportunity arise. For example, Administrators appointed for football club insolvencies will now be obliged to meet with the accredited supporter trust and given the opportunity to bid for ownership. Supporters can also apply to the Premier League and Fans Fund Panel for assistance to help with professional fees to build a credible bid, and a database will be created of suitable professional experts, who are football fans, willing to provide pro-bono advice to supporters’ bids. It goes without saying that supporters should be given an opportunity to bid for their club if it has failed, cannot continue in its current state or if there is consent from an owner looking to sell.

The Premier League has also agreed to provide an extra £1 million in funding (pending the outcome of the Ofcom investigation into how it sells its broadcasting rights) over the next three years via the Fans Fund to recognised football supporter organisations which provide a voice for supporters on ownership issues.

The report also asks Government to review the UK tax system, to see whether it may be able to offer incentives to supporter ownership bids, and community ownership in sport more generally. The Government will consider these proposals.

The report signals a need for there to be stronger dialogue between football club owners and a representative group of supporters on matters of strategic importance to the running of football clubs. This structured dialogue will provide a more inclusive way of ensuring supporters have access to strategic information, can discuss key issues with club owners and directors, and can hold them accountable. This should also foster improved relationships between fans groups and their clubs which may, over time, facilitate new opportunities for fans to invest in their clubs and encourage opportunities for collective share ownership.

Proposals outlined in the report have been approved by the various Boards of the football authorities. The next step is for those Boards to seek approval to these from their members and clubs, and where needed for these changes to be enshrined in their rulebooks. Government will work with them, where possible, to achieve this, and in doing so open up better supporter engagement with those that run their clubs and greater opportunities for supporter ownership.

I welcome this report and thank everyone involved, including the Independent Chair Joanna Manning Cooper, for their hard work in the real progress that has been made. It shows what can be achieved with football and government working together in partnership.

This report does not signal the end of the Government’s interest in supporter ownership and engagement. We will continue to review the situation and take further action if needed.

Government will also continue to challenge the football authorities to improve other areas in the governance and regulation in sport, including greater reform of their decision making bodies, to make these more representative of the game.


The report of the Expert Working Group is being deposited in the House Libraries and is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/government-expert-working-group-on-football-supporter-ownership-and-engagement

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS467
WS
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Made on: 19 January 2016
Made by: Lord Maude of Horsham (Minister of State for Trade and Investment)
Lords

Trade

The Government aims to increase the number of exporting businesses by 100,000, from 188,000 in 2010 to 288,000 by 2020, and to increase the value of exports significantly. This will require a step-change in UK exports. Some of the factors that affect exports are beyond our control, including for example the strength of the pound vis-à-vis other major currencies, the decline in the growth of global trade and the changing role of emerging markets. There are, however, things that government can and should do to make a difference to exports.

We intend to:

  • drive up the number of exporters through an increasingly digital offer (such as Exporting is GREAT) that will lead businesses to the right advice and support, including a joined-up HMG toolkit;
  • drive up the value of exports, by focusing attention on those markets with the biggest opportunities for sectors in which the UK is or can be a strong competitor and where government can add most value; and,
  • drive up the future pipeline of export opportunities, which includes ensuring that British businesses are poised to seize the opportunities generated through the Prosperity Fund’s activities to promote inclusive growth and sustainable development.

This will require a whole-of-government approach, bringing together resources from across Whitehall. Integrated industry sector teams will report to departmental Ministers with responsibility for wider policies for that sector (e.g. food and drink in DEFRA). This will better leverage our specialist knowledge and existing relationships with business, and enable joined-up policy and operational delivery. This will require significantly improved cross-Whitehall engagement on exports, as well as other major changes to UKTI’s operating model. Under the new model, a streamlined UKTI HQ will lead and convene overall government activity to drive up exports. Business planning will become more rigorous, to give greater clarity and confidence on the resources available to Sector Ministers and overseas Heads of Missions. Importantly, this joined-up approach will help ensure that exports are supported by domestic policies.

UKTI is developing a single digital platform through which businesses can access HMG and private sector support. On its own, however, this is not enough to deliver the step-change needed in exports. UKTI’s current model relies heavily on giving advice to businesses. The new model will over time place much more emphasis on direct support for businesses that are seeking to export, drawing on the experience of what export promotion agencies do elsewhere in the world. We will pilot some of these ideas in a few sectors and/or localities over the coming months. As part of this, UKEF will work alongside the British Business Bank to ensure that government’s financial offering to SMEs is coherent, easy to use, and fills identified market gaps. Importantly, where export services can be provided by the private sector, with little or no value provided by government’s involvement, HMG ultimately intends to exit that market and focus instead on fostering the conditions for an invigorated private sector export support marketplace.

Other work that supports exports will continue. This includes making the UK a more attractive environment for inward investment (which can often be a driver for exports), and working within the European Union to encourage the negotiation and implementation of Free Trade Agreements.

The focus on trade as a Government priority has also been reinforced by the Prime Minister’s decision to appoint a number of new Trade Envoys, taking the total up to 24 covering 50 high growth and emerging markets. The Trade Envoy programme supports HMG’s overall strategy to drive economic growth. Envoys are carefully selected for their experience, skills and knowledge of particular sectors or markets, or their knowledge of business. Their role is to help promote the UK’s excellence globally and champion HMG’s trade and investment priorities. The newly appointed Trade Envoys are:

  • Angola – The Rt. Hon. Baroness Northover
  • Burma, Brunei, Thailand - Mark Garnier MP
  • Canada - Andrew Percy MP
  • DRC, Mozambique - Richard Benyon MP
  • Ethiopia - Jeremy Lefroy MP
  • Ghana - Adam Afriyie MP
  • Iran – The Rt. Hon. Lord Lamont of Lerwick
  • Morocco, Tunisia - Andrew Murrison MP
  • Nigeria - John Howell MP
  • Philippines, Malaysia - Richard Graham MP (extending his existing envoy role in Indonesia, ASEAN Economic Community)
  • Taiwan - Lord Faulkner of Worcester
  • Uganda, Rwanda - Lord Popat

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS474
WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 19 January 2016
Made by: Baroness Anelay of St Johns (The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office)
Lords

Launch of the 2016–17 Magna Carta Fund for Human Rights and Democracy

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

On 18 January, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) launched a bidding round for the 2016–17 Magna Carta Fund for Human Rights and Democracy (MCFHRD), doubling (to £10.6 million) a fund known last year as the Human Rights and Democracy Programme (HRDP).

The Magna Carta Fund is the FCO’s strategic programme dedicated to human rights and democracy work. It aims to further British interests overseas by supporting high-impact projects which promote institution-building, and target systemic issues and the underlying causes of human rights problems. The increased size of the fund reflects the Government’s strong commitment to human rights and focus on strategic interventions which prevent their violation. It will play an important role in helping to meet objectives set out in the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review, to prevent conflict, strengthen the rule-based international system and promote human rights, good governance and the rule of law.

The programme has been reconfigured around manifesto commitments and three broad themes, which exploit the mutually reinforcing nature of human rights and effective institutions. The new strategy (published in full at https://www.gov.uk/human-rights-and-democracy-programme) invites proposals that support:

  • democratic values and the rule of law;
  • the rules-based international order; and
  • human rights for a stable world.

This approach encompasses our previous eight thematic priorities, but allows British Embassies, High Commissions and implementers around the world the flexibility to address the issues that matter most in the local context and to respond to developments. Over the course of this Parliament the programme aims to amass evidence that human rights provide practical solutions to a wide variety of real-world problems, and are integral to the security and prosperity of all.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS473
WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 19 January 2016
Made by: Baroness Anelay of St Johns (The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office)
Lords

Iran: Implementation Day

On 15 July 2015, I made a statement to this House on the outcome of the nuclear negotiations with Iran (Official Report, column 895-896). Almost exactly six months later, I would like to take this opportunity to update the House about reaching Implementation Day of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPoA.

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

On 16 January the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verified that Iran has completed all of the steps required of it under Annex V of the JCPoA in order to trigger phased sanctions relief. To reach this point Iran has: shipped out over 12 tonnes of enriched uranium to Russia, thus significantly reducing its stockpile to below 300kg; removed over 13,000 centrifuges and associated infrastructure; and removed and made inoperable the core of the Arak plutonium reactor among other actions, a detailed list of which is included within the IAEA’s report. Implementation gives the IAEA unprecedented access to sites in Iran, so that Iran’s civil nuclear programme will operate transparently.

In return, these measures have triggered the first phase of significant UN, EU and US sanctions relief. This will begin to improve many of Iran’s commercial relations, enabling it to trade with the world and benefit economically. There will be significant opportunities for British businesses and the Government is assisting them in identifying how to benefit from these. Restrictions remain in place to prevent proliferation, and Iran’s ballistic missile programme and arms sales also continue to be sanctioned.

Under the JCPoA, Iran is required to take further steps in order to trigger additional sanctions relief. Only after a further 8 years, or when the IAEA reaches its Broader Conclusion about Iran's nuclear programme, will the remaining sanctions on Iran be lifted. We will continue to work, with our partners in the Joint Commission, to ensure that any concerns about the implementation of the deal are appropriately addressed.

Reaching this point is an important step in improving global security. I told the House in July that the threat of an Iranian bomb was removed. Implementation of the JCPoA cements this achievement. I shall continue to inform the House of significant developments on the JCPoA throughout this Parliament.

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons: HCWS472
WS
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
Made on: 19 January 2016
Made by: Anna Soubry (Minister of State for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise)
Commons

Trade

My noble Friend the Minister of State for Trade and Investment (Lord Maude of Horsham) has today made the following statement.

The Government aims to increase the number of exporting businesses by 100,000, from 188,000 in 2010 to 288,000 by 2020, and to increase the value of exports significantly. This will require a step-change in UK exports. Some of the factors that affect exports are beyond our control, including for example the strength of the pound vis-à-vis other major currencies, the decline in the growth of global trade and the changing role of emerging markets. There are, however, things that government can and should do to make a difference to exports.

We intend to:

  • drive up the number of exporters through an increasingly digital offer (such as Exporting is GREAT) that will lead businesses to the right advice and support, including a joined-up HMG toolkit;
  • drive up the value of exports, by focusing attention on those markets with the biggest opportunities for sectors in which the UK is or can be a strong competitor and where government can add most value; and,
  • drive up the future pipeline of export opportunities, which includes ensuring that British businesses are poised to seize the opportunities generated through the Prosperity Fund’s activities to promote inclusive growth and sustainable development.

This will require a whole-of-government approach, bringing together resources from across Whitehall. Integrated industry sector teams will report to departmental Ministers with responsibility for wider policies for that sector (e.g. food and drink in DEFRA). This will better leverage our specialist knowledge and existing relationships with business, and enable joined-up policy and operational delivery. This will require significantly improved cross-Whitehall engagement on exports, as well as other major changes to UKTI’s operating model. Under the new model, a streamlined UKTI HQ will lead and convene overall government activity to drive up exports. Business planning will become more rigorous, to give greater clarity and confidence on the resources available to Sector Ministers and overseas Heads of Missions. Importantly, this joined-up approach will help ensure that exports are supported by domestic policies.

UKTI is developing a single digital platform through which businesses can access HMG and private sector support. On its own, however, this is not enough to deliver the step-change needed in exports. UKTI’s current model relies heavily on giving advice to businesses. The new model will over time place much more emphasis on direct support for businesses that are seeking to export, drawing on the experience of what export promotion agencies do elsewhere in the world. We will pilot some of these ideas in a few sectors and/or localities over the coming months. As part of this, UKEF will work alongside the British Business Bank to ensure that government’s financial offering to SMEs is coherent, easy to use, and fills identified market gaps. Importantly, where export services can be provided by the private sector, with little or no value provided by government’s involvement, HMG ultimately intends to exit that market and focus instead on fostering the conditions for an invigorated private sector export support marketplace.

Other work that supports exports will continue. This includes making the UK a more attractive environment for inward investment (which can often be a driver for exports), and working within the European Union to encourage the negotiation and implementation of Free Trade Agreements.

The focus on trade as a Government priority has also been reinforced by the Prime Minister’s decision to appoint a number of new Trade Envoys, taking the total up to 24 covering 50 high growth and emerging markets. The Trade Envoy programme supports HMG’s overall strategy to drive economic growth. Envoys are carefully selected for their experience, skills and knowledge of particular sectors or markets, or their knowledge of business. Their role is to help promote the UK’s excellence globally and champion HMG’s trade and investment priorities. The newly appointed Trade Envoys are:

  • Angola – The Rt. Hon. Baroness Northover
  • Burma, Brunei, Thailand - Mark Garnier MP
  • Canada - Andrew Percy MP
  • DRC, Mozambique - Richard Benyon MP
  • Ethiopia - Jeremy Lefroy MP
  • Ghana - Adam Afriyie MP
  • Iran – The Rt. Hon. Lord Lamont of Lerwick
  • Morocco, Tunisia - Andrew Murrison MP
  • Nigeria - John Howell MP
  • Philippines, Malaysia - Richard Graham MP (extending his existing envoy role in Indonesia, ASEAN Economic Community)
  • Taiwan - Lord Faulkner of Worcester
  • Uganda, Rwanda - Lord Popat

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS466
WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 19 January 2016
Made by: Mr Philip Hammond (The Secretary for State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Commons

Launch of the 2016–17 Magna Carta Fund for Human Rights and Democracy

On 18 January, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) launched a bidding round for the 2016–17 Magna Carta Fund for Human Rights and Democracy (MCFHRD), doubling (to £10.6 million) a fund known last year as the Human Rights and Democracy Programme (HRDP).

The Magna Carta Fund is the FCO’s strategic programme dedicated to human rights and democracy work. It aims to further British interests overseas by supporting high-impact projects which promote institution-building, and target systemic issues and the underlying causes of human rights problems. The increased size of the fund reflects the Government’s strong commitment to human rights and focus on strategic interventions which prevent their violation. It will play an important role in helping to meet objectives set out in the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review, to prevent conflict, strengthen the rule-based international system and promote human rights, good governance and the rule of law.

The programme has been reconfigured around manifesto commitments and three broad themes, which exploit the mutually reinforcing nature of human rights and effective institutions. The new strategy (published in full at https://www.gov.uk/human-rights-and-democracy-programme) invites proposals that support:

  • democratic values and the rule of law;
  • the rules-based international order; and
  • human rights for a stable world.

This approach encompasses our previous eight thematic priorities, but allows British Embassies, High Commissions and implementers around the world the flexibility to address the issues that matter most in the local context and to respond to developments. Over the course of this Parliament the programme aims to amass evidence that human rights provide practical solutions to a wide variety of real-world problems, and are integral to the security and prosperity of all.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS465
WS
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Made on: 19 January 2016
Made by: Mr Philip Hammond (The Secretary for State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Commons

Iran: Implementation Day

On 15 July 2015, I made a statement to this House on the outcome of the nuclear negotiations with Iran (Official Report, column 895-896). Almost exactly six months later, I would like to take this opportunity to update the House about reaching Implementation Day of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPoA.

On 16 January the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verified that Iran has completed all of the steps required of it under Annex V of the JCPoA in order to trigger phased sanctions relief. To reach this point Iran has: shipped out over 12 tonnes of enriched uranium to Russia, thus significantly reducing its stockpile to below 300kg; removed over 13,000 centrifuges and associated infrastructure; and removed and made inoperable the core of the Arak plutonium reactor among other actions, a detailed list of which is included within the IAEA’s report. Implementation gives the IAEA unprecedented access to sites in Iran, so that Iran’s civil nuclear programme will operate transparently.

In return, these measures have triggered the first phase of significant UN, EU and US sanctions relief. This will begin to improve many of Iran’s commercial relations, enabling it to trade with the world and benefit economically. There will be significant opportunities for British businesses and the Government is assisting them in identifying how to benefit from these. Restrictions remain in place to prevent proliferation, and Iran’s ballistic missile programme and arms sales also continue to be sanctioned.

Under the JCPoA, Iran is required to take further steps in order to trigger additional sanctions relief. Only after a further 8 years, or when the IAEA reaches its Broader Conclusion about Iran's nuclear programme, will the remaining sanctions on Iran be lifted. We will continue to work, with our partners in the Joint Commission, to ensure that any concerns about the implementation of the deal are appropriately addressed.

Reaching this point is an important step in improving global security. I told the House in July that the threat of an Iranian bomb was removed. Implementation of the JCPoA cements this achievement. I shall continue to inform the House of significant developments on the JCPoA throughout this Parliament.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS464
WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 18 January 2016
Made by: Earl Howe (Minister of State (Ministry of Defence))
Lords

Ukraine: Update

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence (Mr Michael Fallon) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I have today laid before Parliament a Ministry of Defence Departmental Minute describing a further gifting package which the UK intends to make to the Government of Ukraine.

As I stated in my Written Ministerial Statement of 19 November (Official Report: column 21WS), the Ukraine Armed Forces (UAF) face a chronic shortage of basic equipment.

This gift meets a specific Ukrainian request for assistance in alleviating medical casualties, often severely wounded. The UAF urgently need individual first aid kits and have continued to request them from allies. We have previously gifted first aid kits on several occasions in 2015.

The Departmental Minute describes a gifting package to the Ukrainian Armed Forces which is vitally needed and which will provide immediate benefit. The gift comprises 3,500 individual first aid kits (IFAKs). The total value of the gift is £478,800. Transport will be by military aircraft transfer, costing some £35,000.

Subject to completion of the Departmental Minute process, delivery is expected to be undertaken in April in sufficient time for the UK’s training courses for 2016-17.

WS
Ministry of Defence
Made on: 18 January 2016
Made by: Michael Fallon (Secretary of State for Defence)
Commons

Ukraine: Update

I have today laid before Parliament a Ministry of Defence Departmental Minute describing a further gifting package which the UK intends to make to the Government of Ukraine.

As I stated in my Written Ministerial Statement of 19 November 2015 (Official Report: column 21WS), the Ukraine Armed Forces (UAF) face a chronic shortage of basic equipment.

This gift meets a specific Ukrainian request for assistance in alleviating medical casualties, often severely wounded. The UAF urgently need individual first aid kits and have continued to request them from allies. We have previously gifted first aid kits on several occasions in 2015.

The Departmental Minute describes a gifting package to the Ukrainian Armed Forces which is vitally needed and which will provide immediate benefit. The gift comprises 3,500 individual first aid kits (IFAKs). The total value of the gift is £478,800. Transport will be by military aircraft transfer, costing some £35,000.

Subject to completion of the Departmental Minute process, delivery is expected to be undertaken in April in sufficient time for the UK’s training courses for 2016-17.

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
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