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Written Statements

Tuesday 2 July 2013

Business, Innovation and Skills

Industrial Strategy for Construction

The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (Vince Cable): The Government have today published the “Industrial Strategy for Construction”, which has been produced in partnership with stakeholders from across the industry.

Last September I set out the Government’s new industrial strategy. This is a long-term, whole of Government approach that has partnership with industry at its heart. Its purpose is to establish a clear and consistent approach to the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, with a view to stimulating economic growth and creating jobs. Today’s construction strategy is one of 11 focusing on key economic sectors.

Construction accounts for nearly 7% of the UK economy’s gross value added, comprises over 280,000 businesses and provides 3 million jobs, equivalent to about 10% of total UK employment(1). It has been hard hit by the recession, with output in the private housing market having fallen 40% and private commercial building over 30% since 2007(2).

The strategy identifies three strategic priorities for growth over the next decade. First, smart construction and digital design, where construction companies stand poised to secure a significant portion of the projected £200 billion annual global market for integrated city systems in 2030(3). Secondly, low-carbon and sustainable construction, the global industry for which is forecast to grow at an annual rate of 22.8% between now and 2017(4). Thirdly, the significant opportunities to improve UK trade performance and capitalise on forecast growth of over 70% in global construction between now and 2025.

This strategy sets out a vision for UK construction in 2025 and outlines four ambitions that will be jointly delivered by industry and Government:

A 33% reduction in both the initial cost of construction and the whole-life cost of assets

A 50% reduction in the overall time from inception to completion for new build and refurbished assets

A 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the built environment

A 50% reduction in the trade gap between total exports and total imports for construction products and materials

The newly formed Construction Leadership Council will develop an action plan on how to put these ambitions into effect between now and 2025. Activity will focus on delivering the 10 commitments set out in the strategy around supply chains, innovation, skills and image.

We are also publishing two pieces of economic analysis alongside this strategy. These are:

“UK Construction: An economic analysis of the sector”— this BIS analytical paper provides an overview of growth, competitiveness and performance in the UK construction sector, including skills, access to finance, innovation and supply chain developments.

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“Trade credit in the UK construction industry”—a study of the availability of trade credit to UK construction firms and their reliance upon such trade credit to support their operations.

These provide a strong evidence base for the industrial strategy.

Copies of the industrial strategy for construction, and the other documents mentioned above, will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

(1)BIS Analysis of labour force survey micro data, non-seasonally adjusted for wider construction sector.

(2)ONS annual business survey, February 2013 release.

(3)Technology Strategy Board estimate.

(4)IbisWorld report: Top 10 fastest growing industries, April 2012. The global green and sustainable building constructing is estimated to grow from about $103 billion in 2012 to about $288 billion in 2017.

Scotland Analysis Programme

The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (Vince Cable): The Government have today published the fourth paper in the Scotland analysis series to inform the debate on Scotland’s future within the United Kingdom. Copies will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

“Scotland analysis: Business and microeconomic framework” examines how the UK’s business and economic framework supports the large domestic market across all parts of the UK, and the implications of a vote for independence on employers, workers and consumers.

The analysis shows the strong trade links between Scotland and the rest of the UK. In 2011 Scotland sold goods and services to the rest of the UK worth £45.5 billion, double the levels exported to the rest of the world and four times as much as to the rest of the European Union. Sales to the rest of the UK represented 29% of Scottish GDP in 2011; exports to Scotland represented 3.5% of the rest of the UK’s GDP.

The UK has a “true single market”. This is underpinned by one common set of business regulations that serve the entire UK market and which rank well internationally. Access to this market and a highly skilled UK-wide work-force helps Scotland remain an attractive destination for foreign direct investment.

In the event of a vote for independence, introducing an international border of whatever form will create a barrier to the free flow of goods, capital and labour. This will be to the detriment of firms, workers and consumers in both states and risks making it more challenging to attract overseas investors. Creating new rules, regulatory systems and institutions–for example to replace key UK regulatory institutions such as HMRC, Companies House and the Intellectual Property Office, which would operate on behalf of the continuing UK as before–would create uncertainty, additional costs and confusion for businesses and investors operating in Scotland. Small companies with little cross-border experience would be hampered most.

The analysis concludes that Scotland’s integration within the UK’s domestic market brings benefits to all. The size and scale of that market brings opportunities to trade, move jobs, collaborate to develop new and future technologies, travel and communicate with each other efficiently and benefit from economies of scale. In

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the event of a vote for independence, the bodies that support the UK in its present form would continue to undertake their functions on behalf of the reminder of the UK. Experience from Europe shows a single market between two separate states is not the same as a fully integrated domestic market.

The paper published today follows the Government’s paper outlining the financial services and banking implications of independence, published on 27 May. That paper demonstrated that as part of the UK, Scottish firms and individuals benefit from a world-leading financial services sector.

The paper concluded that this position would be put at risk if Scotland were to become independent, fragmenting the market and the bodies that have been put in place to protect customers, creating additional difficulties and costs for households and businesses, as well as for financial services firms themselves.

Future papers from the Scotland analysis programme will be published over the course of 2013 and 2014 to ensure that people in Scotland have access to the facts and information ahead of the referendum.



The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Greg Clark): A meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council was held in Luxembourg on 21 June 2013 and in Brussels on 26 June 2013.

At the meeting on 26 June Ministers discussed the following items:

Contribution to the European Council meeting on 27-28 June 2013European semester 2013

Council approved the fiscal and economic elements of country specific recommendations (CSRs) for 23 member states and also a recommendation on the economic policies for the euro area as a whole. The UK’s CSRs are broadly in line with domestic reform priorities. The Council recommendations are non-binding and there are no sanctions for non-compliance. Additionally, Council approved Council conclusions on Croatia, which joined the EU on 1 July.

Implementation of the stability and growth pact

Council adopted 15 Council decisions and recommendations on the excessive deficit procedure.

Commission/European Investment Bank (EIB) report to the European Council

The Commission/EIB presented their joint report “Increasing lending to the economy: implementing the EIB capital increase and joint Commission-EIB initiatives”. The Commission/EIB then reported to the June European Council on the implementation of the EIB’s capital increase.

Financial assistance to Ireland and Portugal

Council adopted two Council implementing decisions amending previous implementing decisions on granting Union financial assistance to Ireland and Portugal.

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ECB/Commission convergence reports and enlargement of the euro area

Euro area member states adopted a recommendation in favour of a proposal to allow Latvia to join the currency union on 1 January 2014. The UK does not have a vote on the decision by EU member states to adopt the euro. Council also approved the text of a letter for the President of the Council to send to the European Council on the outcome of its discussion.

Development of policy options in the climate/energy field—follow-up to the May European Council

Following May European Council, at the request of Poland, there was a brief exchange of views on an enhanced role for ECOFIN in the debate on climate change and energy policy, as they are integral to growth, competitiveness and public finances. The presidency concluded that it would reflect with the incoming Lithuanian presidency, on the next steps for taking this forward.

ECOFIN report to the European Council on tax issues

ECOFIN endorsed this six-monthly report which ECOFIN forwards on to the European Council, summarising the progress made under each presidency on tax issues.

Report by Finance Ministers on tax issues in the framework of the euro-plus pact

ECOFIN endorsed this six-monthly report which summarises progress made under each presidency on tax issues in relation to framework of the euro-plus pact.

Proposal for a Council directive amending directive 2011/16/EU as regards mandatory automatic exchange of information in the field of taxation

The Commission presented a proposal on amending the existing administrative co-operation directive. The UK could not support any aspects of the proposal that conflict with or undermine the embedding of a new global standard in the automatic exchange of information. The presidency concluded by noting that the working group will start technical work on this in July.

Banking recovery and resolution

Council held an exchange of views, with the aim of enabling the presidency to find an acceptable compromise on the banking resolution and recovery directive. However, the Council agreed to meet again on 26 June 2013 to resume discussion.

AOB: Update on legislative files

The presidency updated Ministers on the state of play of the deposit guarantee schemes directive.

At the meeting on 26 June 2013 Ministers discussed the following item:

Banking recovery and resolution

Council reached a general approach on the banking recovery and resolution directive. The compromise establishes that, through the development of a credible bail-in tool, shareholders and creditors will be first in line to bear losses when a bank fails. Insured depositors will be protected in any bank failure and the UK bank levy can act as theUK’s resolution financing arrangement. Trilogue discussions with the European Parliament and the Commission, yet to be timetabled, will commence under the Lithuanian presidency.

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Academies and Local Government Pension Scheme

The Secretary of State for Education (Michael Gove): Too many academies are paying significantly higher local government pension scheme (LGPS) employer contributions than they did as local authority-maintained schools. This is having a detrimental impact on academy budgets; reducing the level of funding available for school improvement and in some cases preventing schools from converting to academies.

LGPS administering authorities have told us that they view academies as higher risk as they no longer have the financial backing of the local authority. They have asked that we provide a guarantee that the Department will meet any pension liabilities should an academy close. I can inform the House today that we will provide such a guarantee and a parliamentary minute, which sets out the detail of the guarantee, has been laid in both Houses.

We now expect all administering authorities to review academy risk assessments and to treat academies equitably when setting employer contribution rates.

In addition, DCLG will be launching a consultation on proposals to amend local government pension scheme regulations requiring administering authorities to pool academies should they wish to do so. I would encourage both academies and administering authorities to take part in this exercise.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Executive Agencies

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Mr Owen Paterson): The business plans for the following agencies and their key performance measures have been published today. Business plans are available online at the agencies’ websites.

Animal Health Veterinary Laboratory Agency, http://www.defra. gov.uk/ahvla/

Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, http://cefas.defra.gov.uk/

Food and Environment Research Agency, http://fera.defra. gov.uk/

Rural Payments Agency, http://rpa.defra.gov.uk/rpa/index. nsf/home

Veterinary Medicines Directorate, http://www.vmd.defra.gov.uk/

I have placed copies of the key performance measures in the Libraries of both Houses.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

International Justice (UK Support and Funding)

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr William Hague): I am pleased to provide Parliament with an account of Her Majesty’s Government’s support for the principles and institutions of international justice in 2012-13, and our plans for funding them in the year ahead.

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International justice is central to foreign policy. It is essential for securing the rights of individuals and states, and for securing peace and reconciliation. Through the International Criminal Court (ICC), and the other international courts and tribunals, we are working to make it clear that those responsible for the worst crimes will be held to account and that perpetrators, including political leaders, will not enjoy impunity, and providing a fair hearing for both victims and accused. Our support to these institutions is an important element in our strategy to reduce conflict, promote stability and strengthen the rules-based international system.

For calendar year 2012 we provided assessed contributions of £9.2 million to the International Criminal Court, £5.9 million to the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia, £3.8 million to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and £1.1 million to the Residual Mechanism which will take on the essential functions of the tribunals when they close. In addition, for the financial year 2012-13 we made voluntary contributions of £2 million to the international component of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, £1 million to the Special Court for Sierra Leone, £2 million to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, and £1 million in total to the International Criminal Court Trust Fund for Victims, with £500,000 of this earmarked for work on sexual violence and made as part of the preventing sexual violence initiative. Our contributions helped these institutions to deliver justice for victims of some of the worst atrocities of the last century and send the message that there will be no impunity for the most serious international crimes.

As a state party to the ICC, a member of the United Nations Security Council which oversees the Rwanda and Yugoslavia Tribunals, and a member of the management bodies for the Sierra Leone and Cambodia Courts and the Lebanon Tribunal we engaged actively throughout the year to ensure these institutions were run effectively and efficiently.

The coming year will be important for international justice. At the ICC the case against Laurent Gbagbo the former President of Côte d’Ivoire is proceeding and the Court is now dealing with the case against Bosco Ntaganda a former militia group commander in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The investigations into the situation in Mali are under way. The trials of three Kenyan nationals are due to begin this year. The International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and Yugoslavia will both close with their remaining functions transferring to the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals. The Special Court for Sierra Leone is scheduled to complete its work with a verdict in the appeal of Charles Taylor due in September, after which its remaining essential functions will be taken up by the Residual Court. And the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia will finish hearing evidence in the trial of the most senior responsible and surviving members of the Khmer Rouge.

We will continue to support these institutions through our assessed and voluntary contributions made through the new international justice fund. We will encourage other states to support the voluntary-funded courts and tribunals and the International Criminal Court Trust Fund for Victims to help ensure their financial security.

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And we will work to ensure these institutions achieve value for money by actively scrutinising budget proposals and pressing for efficiency.

I will provide an update on our progress this time next year and from this point forward I will make one annual statement detailing our financial support to international justice.


Parliamentary Questions (Employment)

The Secretary of State for Scotland (Michael Moore): Further to the written answers given to the Member for Glasgow East on 24 June 2013, Official Report, columns 12-13W, I would like to provide further information in response to each of these questions:

Margaret Curran: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, how many people in Scotland have been unemployed for two years or more in each month since May 2010. [161099]

Michael Moore: The number of people aged 16 to 64 claiming jobseeker allowance for more than 24 months in Scotland is outlined in the following table:

DateClaiming Over Two Years (Number)

May 2010


June 2010


July 2010


August 2010


September 2010


October 2010


November 2010


December 2010


January 2011


February 2011


March 2011


April 2011


May 2011


June 2011


July 2011


August 2011


September 2011


October 2011


November 2011


December 2011


January 2012


February 2012


March 2012


April 2012


May 2012


June 2012


July 2012


August 2012


September 2012


October 2012


November 2012


December 2012


January 2013


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February 2013


March 2013


April 2013


May 2013


Source: ONS Crown Copyright Reserved [from Nomis].

Margaret Curran: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, pursuant to his answer of 17 June 2013, Official Report, column 469W, on unemployment, what the geographical location of the increase in employment from February to April 2013 is; and what proportion of such jobs are (a) full-time and (b) part-time. [161152]

Michael Moore: The latest available ONS employment data, at a sub-Scotland level, covers the period between January 2012 and December 2012. Data on full and part-time work are only available at Scotland-level for the same period. Information for the period that includes February to April 2013 is expected to become available in October 2013.

Margaret Curran: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, pursuant to his answer of 17 June 2013, Official Report, column 469W, on unemployment, what assessment he has made of the total loss to the Scottish economy as a result of under-employment. [161153]

Michael Moore: An ONS report of November found that between 2005 and 2008, the average under-employment rate for Scotland was 7.2% (UK average rate over same period was 6.7%). For the period 2009 to 2012, the average under-employment rate for Scotland was 9.9% (UK average rate over same period was 9.9%). In line with other economic indicators, this increase reflects the effects of the global recession.

However, recent assessments of the economy in Scotland over the last year show that: there are 43,000 more people in employment; unemployment has decreased by 25,000 and 6,800 fewer people are claiming benefit. In addition, since the coalition came into power, over 145,000 more private sector jobs have been created in Scotland. This is welcome news and the Scotland Office will continue to work with partners in Scotland to improve all areas of the labour market.

Work and Pensions

Fulfilling Potential

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Esther McVey): Further to the publication of “Fulfilling Potential—Next Steps” on 17 September 2012, I am delighted to announce that later today I will publish “Fulfilling Potential—Making it Happen” which sets out the Government’s plans for delivering on our ambition, that disabled people should be enabled to achieve their aspirations and play a full role in society. It also shows how disabled people are seeing improvements in many key outcomes and reduced inequalities with non-disabled people.

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“Fulfilling Potential—Making it Happen” emphasises the need for innovative cross-sector partnerships with disabled people and their organisations and promotes new ways of working to deliver improved outcomes. It underscores the Government’s commitment to the UN convention on the rights of disabled people to bring about the changes needed in communities that have a real and lasting effect on the day-to-day lives of disabled people.

It harnesses the inspirational power of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games—aiming to deliver further lasting change to attitudes and aspirations.

Our action plan captures activity and plans across the whole of Government and beyond. It sets out clearly in one place where progress has been made and

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also where we are encouraging and supporting the innovative work of the disability action alliance, and disabled people’s user-led organisations.

Delivery on the Government commitments in the action plan will be driven by the fulfilling potential strategy group of senior officials and overseen and reviewed by the Social Justice Cabinet Committee. We will also develop new arrangements for engaging disabled people and disability organisations in this process, and will publish an annual report on the outcomes and indicators set out in the document.

I will place a copy of the document in the Library.