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Written Statements

Thursday 31 October 2013

Business, Innovation and Skills

Company Beneficial Ownership Information (Central Registry)

The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (Vince Cable): Today we are setting out our intention to create a publicly accessible central registry of information about who ultimately owns and controls UK companies.

A stronger economy depends on investors, employees and the wider public having trust and confidence in companies and those that are running them.

The vast majority of companies and directors in the UK contribute productively to the economy, abide by the rules and make an enormous contribution to society. But an errant few operate in the shadows, creating ownership structures that serve to deceive. We are now shining a light on who really owns and controls companies in the UK and leading the world in this initiative.

We believe a public register, with information on those who really own and control UK companies (i.e. individuals with an interest in more than 25% of a company’s shares or voting rights, or who otherwise control the way it is run) will make the UK a better place to invest and do business. People have a right to know who controls UK companies and greater openness will help tackle tax evasion, money laundering and other crimes.

At the Lough Erne G8 summit in June the Government committed to implement a central registry of company beneficial ownership information, and to consult on whether this information should be publicly accessible.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills published details of its intention to create a registry in the “Transparency and Trust” discussion paper in July and invited responses on whether information in the registry should be publicly accessible. Following this call for evidence, the Government intend to implement an open, public registry.

Limited exemptions from public disclosure will be permitted—for example, in cases where it is necessary to protect individuals whose safety might otherwise be put at risk.

We will set out further detail in terms of what information should be held by the company and Companies House, and how it should be updated, in our formal response to the discussion paper. This will be published in early 2014.

In that response, we will also set out our plans to take forward other proposals in the “Transparency and Trust” discussion paper including:

to abolish bearer shares—for example, shares whose ownership is completely opaque;

to tackle the abuse of corporate directorships—one company as a director of another; and

to address situations where a front director is registered at Companies House but the control lies concealed elsewhere.

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Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

CAP Reform in England

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Mr Owen Paterson): Today, I am publishing the consultation on the implementation of common agriculture policy (CAP) reform in England. I am seeking views on various issues relating to:

direct payments to farmers;

greening of direct payments;

the rate of transfer between the budgets for direct payments (pillar 1) and rural development programme (pillar 2);

the focus of the rural development programme; and

other associated issues.

As part of the consultation, I have also published an impact assessment for the rural development programme, an evidence paper for CAP reform covering direct payments and greening. These are supported by a scoping report on a strategic environmental assessment for rural development in England.

The CAP settlement for the next period will deliver very significant sums of money to English farmers and other CAP recipients. We need to make sure that this money is spent in the most appropriate way. The rural development programme is a major opportunity to invest over seven years in the environment, farming competitiveness and the rural economy and we need to make sure we invest resources wisely and get value for money. The consultation document seeks views on potential options for implementing CAP reform in England. It also outlines the decisions we have already taken.

These documents build on the informal consultation that has taken place over the summer with the farming industry, environmental interest groups and other interested parties. We are seeking as wide a range of views as possible to ensure that we take robust decisions on CAP implementation in England that continue to grow the rural economy and improve the environment.

The consultation runs until 28 November.


Inquests into the Deaths of Service Personnel

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice (Mr Shailesh Vara): The Under-Secretary of State for Defence, with responsibility for defence personnel, welfare and veterans, my hon. Friend the Member for Broxtowe (Anna Soubry), and I wish to make our latest quarterly statement to the House reporting progress with inquests into the deaths of service personnel on active service overseas. We begin by expressing once again our profound thanks and admiration to our service personnel who have served us all in the Iraq and Afghanistan operations. On behalf of the Government and the nation, we wish to pay tribute to those service personnel who have given their lives for our peace and security. Our thoughts are with all their families and loved ones.

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This statement gives information about coroner investigations and inquests conducted by the senior coroner for Oxfordshire, the senior coroner for Wiltshire and Swindon and other coroners in England and Wales. The statement shows the position at 22 October 2013.

To supplement this statement, we have provided additional information about the status of all current cases in tables which we have placed in the Libraries of the Houses. The tables include information about cases where a board of inquiry or a service inquiry has been or is to be held.

As part of his powers and duties which came into force on 25 July 2013, the Chief Coroner for England and Wales has created a specialist group of 11 coroners to conduct coroner investigations and inquests into some service personnel deaths relating to active service, including preparation and training for active service. All the coroners in the group will receive further specialist training, beginning in November. The Chief Coroner and the specialist coroners will continue to work with the Ministry of Defence’s defence inquests unit, which assists coroners to complete service personnel inquests thoroughly and as quickly as possible.

The Chief Coroner has also met the Lord Advocate and they have agreed a protocol for the provisions of section 12 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009. As we have previously reported, this section came into force last year and enables deaths of service personnel killed abroad on active duty to be investigated in Scotland where appropriate.

We offer our thanks and support to the Chief Coroner and to coroners and their staff in this work of such importance to us all. We are also grateful to all the other people who support and inform bereaved families through the inquest process.

Our two Departments have made extra funding available to the coroners in Wiltshire and Swindon and in Oxfordshire since October 2007. Most repatriations of service personnel who have died overseas have been to RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire and, currently, RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire. The additional resources enable those coroners to progress the service personnel inquests while still handling the caseload of the coroner area.

Current status of inquests

Since our last statement a further 20 inquests have been concluded into the deaths of service personnel on operations in Iraq or Afghanistan. In total, there have been 593 inquests into the deaths of service personnel who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan or have sadly died after returning to the UK of injuries sustained on active service. Three deaths have led to no formal inquest. Two of these deaths were taken into consideration at inquests into the deaths of other service personnel who died in the respective incidents. The third case is of a serviceman who died from his injuries in Scotland, where it was decided not to hold a fatal accident inquiry.

Open inquests

Deaths in Afghanistan

As at 22 October 2013, 25 coroner investigations are open into the deaths of service personnel in Afghanistan, and one further coroner investigation into the recent death of Lance Corporal James Brynin is due to be opened.

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The senior coroner for Wiltshire and Swindon has retained nine of the open coroner investigations, while the senior coroner for Oxfordshire has retained seven. Senior coroners nearer to the next of kin have accepted jurisdiction in the remaining nine coroner investigations. Two hearing dates have been set.

Deaths of service personnel who returned home injured

There are three open coroner investigations into deaths of service personnel who returned home injured but have sadly died of their injuries. One hearing date has been set. The other two cases will be listed for inquest hearing when investigations into the deaths have been completed.

We will continue to inform the House of progress.

Home Department

Immigration Enforcement

The Minister for Immigration (Mr Mark Harper): The Home Office’s immigration enforcement command ensures that the immigration rules are complied with and that those with no right to be in the UK are removed. It is better for both the UK taxpayer and offenders themselves if offenders leave the country voluntarily rather than in an enforced manner. Immigration compliance and enforcement teams are therefore working to identify how they can promote the visibility of enforcement operations to drive compliance and encourage more immigration offenders to leave the UK voluntarily.

A pilot operation, Operation Vaken, took place between 22 July and 22 August 2013 in six London boroughs to test whether different communications could encourage any increases in voluntary departures. It included a number of communications techniques, such as mobile billboards highlighting the risk of arrest, postcards in shop windows, adverts in newspapers and magazines, leaflets and posters advertising immigration surgeries in faith/charity group buildings.

The pilot period ceased on 22 October 2013 and a full evaluation report has now been produced, a copy of which will be placed in the Library of the House. As of 22 October, there have been 60 voluntary departures which can be directly attributed to this pilot. The report also identifies a further 65 cases that are currently being progressed towards departure.

The total cost of the pilot was £9,740. Data held by the Home Office indicate that the average cost of a voluntary removal is £1,000, and the average cost of an enforced removal is up to £15,000. The 60 voluntary removals connected to this pilot therefore represent a notional saving of approximately £830,000 compared to the costs of enforcing those removals.

The most cost-effective communications were the adverts, leaflets and posters that advertised immigration surgeries in faith and charity groups, rather than the advertising vans or other forms of advertising used in the operation. In addition, as my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary told the House of Commons on 22 October, the advertising vans in particular were too much of a blunt instrument and will not be used again.

During this period, a separate pilot was conducted in two immigration reporting centres, in Hounslow and Glasgow. These centres are principally used to ensure that those suspected of immigration offences are kept in

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regular contact while their case is progressed to removal. This pilot used a variety of communication materials to encourage those reporting to inquire about leaving the UK voluntarily and ceased on 4 October. The activity is being evaluated separately but there are no plans to repeat it.

The Government will continue to enforce the immigration rules and promote voluntary departure schemes to those who have no right to be in the UK—backed up with arrest, detention and enforced removal where individuals refuse to comply with the immigration rules or present a danger to the UK public.

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Work and Pensions


The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Esther McVey): The Remploy 2013 annual report and accounts will be published later today. I will place a copy of the Remploy 2013 annual report and accounts in the Libraries of both Houses, and electronic copies will be available on the Remploy website.

Remploy’s achievement against targets set by Government for 2012-13
Target DescriptionTargetAchievement

To live within the company’s financial means in the 2012-13 financial year and achieve:

operational funding result of

£97.9 million

£97.9 million

Factory businesses to achieve:

an operating result (loss) of

£40.2 million

£32.7 million

Employment service business to achieve:

an operating result of

total disabled job outcomes

i. of which Work Choice job outcomes

ii. of which other disabled job outcomes

£28.2 million




£28.1 million




Remploy’s achievement against targets set by Government for 2011-12
Target DescriptionTargetAchievement

To live within the company’s financial means in the 2011-12 financial year and achieve:

overall operational funding of

modernisation of the business within a cost of

£97.7 million

£5.4 million

£97.7 million

£5.3 million

Enterprise businesses to achieve:

an operating result (loss) of

cost per disabled employee of

£52.5 million


£49.2 million


Employment service business to achieve:

an operating result of

total disabled job outcomes of

i. of which other Work Choice job outcomes

£28.2 million



£28.1 million



I have written to the chairman of Remploy formally approving the agreed 2013-14 performance and resources agreement between the Department and the company, as follows:

Target DescriptionTarget

To live within the company’s financial means in the 2012-13 financial year and achieve:

operational funding result of

£67.3 million

Factory businesses to achieve:

an operating result (loss) of

£10.5 million

Employment service business to achieve:

an operating result of

total disabled job outcomes

i) of which Work Choice job outcomes

ii) of which other disabled job outcomes

£30.3 million