19 Dec 2013 : Column 121WS

Written Statements

Thursday 19 December 2013

Business, Innovation and Skills

Zero-hours Contracts

The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (Vince Cable): Today I am publishing a Government consultation on zero-hours contracts. The Government are part way through an ambitious programme of employment law reform designed to make the UK labour market flexible and fair. As a part of this work, the Government are seeking views on a range of options for ensuring zero-hours contracts are both flexible and fair.

Zero-hours contracts have a role in a flexible labour market. They can help businesses respond to changes in demand, and support individuals who want the freedom and flexibility to fit their work around their other commitments. They can also offer a pathway to further employment for young people. The Government wish to maximise these opportunities while minimising and preventing any abuse or exploitation of individuals on zero-hours contracts.

This consultation builds upon an information-gathering exercise the Government undertook this summer. This found a number of benefits associated with zero-hours contracts but also identified issues around exclusivity clauses, where individuals on zero-hours contracts are being prevented from working for another employer; a lack of clarity in the information and transparency in contracts provided to individuals; and issues over levels of uncertainty individuals on zero-hours contracts reported they experienced.

The consultation seeks views on a range of options the Government have to address in order to take action. It runs until 13 March 2014.

Copies of the consultation will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Cabinet Office

Public Bodies 2013

The Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General (Mr Francis Maude): The Cabinet Office is today publishing the “Public Bodies 2013” data directory on gov.uk. This provides a single source of top-level data including on all UK Government-sponsored non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs), now published wholly online in an improved data format.

Cross-Government Contract Management

The Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General (Mr Francis Maude): Outside providers deliver high-quality public services every day. Public services are too important to too many people to be allowed to be the monopoly of the public sector. We need a vibrant

19 Dec 2013 : Column 122WS

mix of the very best suppliers—a hybrid economy of diverse partners. But the key to ensuring taxpayer value and high-quality services is in improved supplier management.

On 11 July, the Justice Secretary made a statement to the House about significant anomalies in the billing practices under the Ministry of Justice’s electronic monitoring contracts with Serco and G4S. Since then the Government’s response have been rigorous. The Justice Secretary has led extensive work within the Ministry of Justice. At the same time I initiated a cross-Government review with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Moore Stephens and a highly experienced oversight group. This reviewed 28 of the largest contracts held by Serco and G4S worth £5.9 billion in total.

Today we publish those two reports. They provide clear evidence that contract management in Government requires improvement. There were examples of good practice and skilled work by officials across Whitehall. But in the majority of contracts reviewed across Government there are weaknesses in the way contracts are managed, some of which are significant.

The cross-Government review found no evidence of deliberate acts or omissions by either firm leading to errors or irregularities in the charging and billing arrangements on the 28 contracts investigated.

The review found that there were deficiencies in key controls being applied to the invoice and payment processes and there is therefore a risk that over-charging may have occurred. The review’s assessment of the deficiencies has determined that, in all but three cases, the impact is considered unlikely to be material (where ongoing work will establish with more confidence the significance and impact of the risks identified). Nevertheless, the issues found across Government are sufficiently important that senior management attention is recommended. The failings could, if left unchecked, lead to future erroneous charging for services delivered or opportunities missed to intervene at the right point in order to make necessary corrections.

These weaknesses fall into seven themes and the report makes eight specific recommendations to address them. Work is already under way to address problems with commercial capability and contract management as part of the civil service reform programme. Indeed for the past three years, the Government have been frank about our challenges in these areas.

The new recommendations from this review build on our ongoing work through the efficiency and reform group, including to establish a Crown commercial service and professionalise procurement under the leadership of the newly-created chief procurement officer in the Cabinet Office. The review underscores the urgent need to address these long-standing weaknesses and we will redouble our efforts to do so. I accept the report and its recommendations in full and I have placed a copy of the report in the Library of the House.

Today marks the conclusion of the reviews that the Cabinet Office and the Ministry of Justice have been conducting into Serco contracts. No further evidence of impropriety has been found beyond those on the electronic monitoring and prisoner escorting contracts.

Over the past few months Serco has engaged constructively with Government, setting out a corporate renewal plan that is now well advanced. We expect to

19 Dec 2013 : Column 123WS

provide a final opinion on the adequacy of the plan in January, following advice from the oversight group and independent advisers, who will also continue to monitor implementation. As set out by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Justice, we have agreed a settlement with Serco to recompense the taxpayer £68.5 million excluding VAT for the overcharging found in an audit of Ministry of Justice contracts.

This is a positive step forward for both parties and one that Government welcome.

Alongside the discussions with Serco, we have continued to engage G4S, and anticipate a further update in due course.


Insurance Growth Action Plan

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Sajid Javid): The insurance industry is a vital asset for the UK. It employs over 300,000 people across the country, attracts global capital, serves the needs of consumers, and is a major British exporter. This Government are therefore committed to making the UK one of the most competitive places in the world for insurance.

The Government are today launching a UK insurance growth action plan, which sets out five areas where action will be taken by Government and industry, working with other partners, to strengthen the sector’s contribution to economic growth and work together to enhance the UK’s position as a global leader in a truly global industry.

The UK industry in overseas markets

The Government will develop a co-ordinated, targeted approach to promotional and other activity, focusing on five key markets—Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and Turkey—including establishing a programme of senior Government and private sector visits, as well as prioritising financial services and insurance within upcoming free trade negotiations.

The UK as a location for insurers

The Government will develop a programme to target overseas insurers to move their domicile to the UK, including developing a marketing campaign setting out the business case for locating in the UK, and the regulatory authorities have committed to streamlining authorisations processes for prospective insurance applicants.

Insurers as long-term investors in the UK

Building on the successful outcome the Government negotiated on the solvency II directive, the following insurers—Aviva, Friends Life, Legal and General, Prudential, Scottish Widows, and Standard Life will work alongside partners with the aim of delivering at least £25 billion of investment in UK infrastructure in the next five years.

Serving UK insurance customers

The Government want to see an insurance sector that helps customers manage risk, puts its customers first—by harnessing the power of new technology and creating products that meet their needs—and has their trust and confidence. The Government ask that the industry commits to ensuring consumers are able to access the insurance products they need with information that enables them to make informed choices.

19 Dec 2013 : Column 124WS

Skills and diversity in insurance

The Government’s aim is to see an insurance work force in the UK representative of the customers it serves and well equipped to meet their needs. To this end, the Government welcome industry’s proposals to: establish a gateway project to help people find apprenticeships and graduate training places within insurance; double the number of technical apprentices over the next five years; and strengthen the pipeline of senior female executives in the insurance industry.

Copies of the UK insurance growth action plan will be available on the gov.uk website and have been deposited in the Libraries of both Houses.


Future Reserves 2020

The Secretary of State for Defence (Mr Philip Hammond): I have today placed in the Library of the House a paper setting out the planned growth of the trained strength of the reserve forces, together with the enlistment targets for the next five years that will support that growth.

Energy and Climate Change

Contingencies Fund Advance

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Michael Fallon): The Department of Energy and Climate Change requires a cash advance of £1,500,000 from the Contingencies Fund in 2013-14 to fund the costs of assuming the concessionary fuel allowances of former miners who lost their entitlement as a result of the restructuring of UK Coal in July 2013.

On 15 November, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that the Government would guarantee the concessionary fuel allowance and, where appropriate, the alternative cash in lieu entitlements of the 1,500 former miners who lost their entitlement as a result of the restructuring of UK Coal with all entitlements to be backdated to July 2013 subject to any change in personal circumstances.

The Department intends to rely on the Supply and Appropriation (Anticipation and Adjustments) Act for this spend. The advance is urgent to avoid hardship and potential ill-health effects in the winter months. Accordingly, parliamentary approval for additional resources of £1,500,000 for this new service will be sought in a supplementary estimate for the Department of Energy and Climate Change. Pending that approval, urgent expenditure estimated at £1,500,000 will be met by repayable cash advances from the Contingencies Fund.

Electricity Market Reform

The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (Mr Edward Davey): I wish to inform the House that today the Government are publishing the electricity market reform (EMR) delivery plan. As laid out in my 18 July statement, Official Report, column 112WS, it

19 Dec 2013 : Column 125WS

was our intention to publish the final EMR delivery plan before the end of the year, subject to Royal Assent of the Energy Bill.

EMR is a central component of the Energy Act 2013 which received Royal Assent yesterday, and will address the need to attract unprecedented levels of investment in the UK electricity sector over the coming decades as we replace our ageing energy infrastructure with a diverse mix of low-carbon generation, and meet the expected increases in electricity demand as sectors such as transport and heat are electrified.

Following the consultation on the draft delivery plan for EMR in July 2013, and the Government’s announcement of contract for difference (CfDs) strike prices for renewable technologies on 4 December 2013, the delivery plan sets out further detail on the supporting methodology and analysis which underpin the final CfD strike prices.

It also confirms Government policy on the capacity market reliability standard of three hours loss of load expectation (LOLE). Government are introducing a capacity market to drive investment and have today confirmed the level of system security that will be required under mechanism.

The delivery plan also confirms the Government’s intention to introduce competition immediately for more established technologies.

Alongside the final delivery plan, I have published the summary of responses and the Government’s full response to the consultation on the draft delivery plan.

I have also published the latest report from the system operator—National Grid—which lays out the underpinning analysis conducted to support the decisions contained in the delivery plan, and a report on that analysis from the independent panel of technical experts.

Accompanying the delivery plan is a revised draft version of the CfD with improvements made to contract terms since the summer to support developers to bring forward investment at lower costs to consumers. Together with strike prices, this package will make the UK one of the most attractive for clean energy developers.

The Government have today sent out draft investment contracts for consideration to the 16 renewable electricity projects which met the minimum threshold evaluation criteria of the final investment decision (FID) enabling for renewables process.

I will deposit copies of the delivery plan in the Libraries of both Houses, and associated documents are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/electricity -market-reform-delivery-plan.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Common Agricultural Policy in England

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Mr Owen Paterson): Today I am publishing the Government’s response to the recent public consultation on the implementation of the common agricultural policy (CAP) in England. This will determine how we distribute £15 billion of funds over the next CAP period. It will see us investing at least £3.5 billion in rural

19 Dec 2013 : Column 126WS

development schemes, of which over £3 billion will be spent on improving the environment.

The decisions I am announcing are:

12% will be transferred from farmers’ pillar 1 direct payments to pillar 2 rural development. This money will improve the environment, grow the rural economy and create jobs.

A review will be held in 2016 into the demand for agri-environment schemes and the competitiveness of English agriculture. This is with the intention of moving to a 15% transfer rate from pillar 1 direct payments to support the final two years of the pillar 2 rural development programme.

5% of the new rural development programme funding will be allocated to the local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) through the growth programme. In total 13% of rural development funds will be spent on growth-focused schemes, including LEADER and farming competitiveness. I will ensure that there is a meaningful role for LEPs to help deliver growth through all of these elements of the programme.

The new CAP greening requirements will be implemented through the basic measures set out in the EU regulation. We will work with interested groups on how we apply the ecological focus area options to deliver real benefits for pollinators without adding complexity.

We will help upland farmers by equalising the upland and lowland direct payment rates. We will take a decision about the moorland rate in spring 2014. This will allow us to carry out further modelling of the impact on upland farms.

We will keep the implementation of direct payments as simple as possible by applying the minimum reduction on basic payments over €150,000 and keeping rules on the new active farmer test to a minimum.

Having considered carefully the wide range of views expressed through the consultation, I believe that this package delivers better value for taxpayers, is fair to English farmers and supports this Government’s commitment to improve our natural environment. Environmental schemes will get a higher proportion of the rural development budget than now.

In addition to making ecological focus areas deliver benefits for pollinators, my Department will work closely with farming and environmental organisations on how the Campaign for the Farmed Environment will deliver targets at local level for protecting watercourses, providing habitat for farmland birds, wildlife and pollinators. We will review the success of this at the end of 2015.

Rural business schemes have already successfully transformed the prospects of thousands of businesses and farms, created 8,500 rural jobs across the country, safeguarding another 9,700. We want to build on this track record of success.

Within a smaller overall CAP budget these decisions will help to grow the rural economy and improve the environment.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Geneva II Negotiations on Syria (Women's Participation)

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr William Hague): On 11 November I informed the House that the Government were determined to ensure that the Geneva peace talks include a direct role for women’s groups in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions 1325, 2016 and 2122 on women, peace and security. I said we believe it is vital that women participate fully in decisions about the future of Syria, as they have an indispensable role to play in

19 Dec 2013 : Column 127WS

rebuilding and reconciling Syrian society. I announced that we would work with UN/Arab League Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, his team, international non-governmental organisations and other countries to make this a reality. And I said that we would work with the UN and its agencies to ensure that we give the women’s groups the support they need to participate effectively—[

Official Report

, 11 November 2013; Vol. 570, c. 643].

I would like to update the House on the steps we have taken to support this commitment.

I have written to Mr Brahimi who has responsibility for deciding the format of the talks. I have also written to Foreign Ministers of members of the UN Security Council and the core group of the Friends of Syria, to like-minded EU Foreign Ministers and to EU High Representative Cathy Ashton. I have asked them all to work with the United Kingdom in three areas:

First, both sides should be encouraged to appoint women to their delegations. The United Kingdom is focusing its efforts on working with President Al-Jarba and the Syrian National Coalition. We are working with them to ensure strong female representation in the opposition delegation and to develop their capacity on gender issues.

Secondly, the UN should ensure that gender advisers and expertise are made available to all parties at Geneva, in accordance with UN Security Council resolution 2122. We have also called for the appointment of an empowered, senior-level, full-time gender expert to Mr Brahimi’s team.

Thirdly, we have called upon the UN to facilitate a clear role for women’s groups and civil society in the Geneva II process itself. We have provided Mr Brahimi with a proposed format for a civil society consultative body at Geneva, comprised of women’s groups and civil society organisations and appointed through a mechanism determined by the UN. We would expect women to make up 50% of the membership and leadership. The consultative body would have regular access to the UN mediation team and the official delegations, could take part in specific negotiations if requested, and would support Geneva II by providing advice, position papers and recommendations. Its representatives would speak at the opening ceremony of the talks, along with UN Women. It should be seen as an independent, non-aligned voice, which plays particular attention to the interests and views of women and under-represented groups. Under our proposals, the consultative body would be based in Geneva, operating in the same venue as the official talks, and would be part of the institutional structure for Geneva II.

The UK stands ready to provide technical and financial assistance to support this direct role for women at the Geneva conference and during the transitional process.

International Development

International Development Association of the World Bank

The Secretary of State for International Development (Justine Greening): The UK has secured important reforms to the way the World Bank delivers aid at international negotiations that were completed on Tuesday.

19 Dec 2013 : Column 128WS

The International Development Association (IDA) is the part of the World Bank which delivers development assistance to the world’s poorest countries. The IDA negotiations that took place in Moscow this week reached agreement on the 17th replenishment of IDA that will cover the period July 2014 to June 2017.

Following successful engagement from the UK and others, the IDA has agreed to:

Greater emphasis on improving value for money, including better tracking of cost-effectiveness. IDA will also improve its monitoring of private sector finance it attracts;

Increased focus on fragile states and conflict countries, providing investment linked to programmes’ results and performance;

A stronger focus on improving lives and prospects of girls and women and better tracking of the impact of relevant initiatives; and

New guarantee instruments to enable IDA to raise more finance from the private sector.

These reforms build on good progress made over the past three years. IDA was one of the strongest performers in the Department for International Development’s recent review of all its multilateral funding. The refreshed multilateral aid review, published earlier this month, rated IDA as very good value for money.

IDA17 funding will have a substantial impact on the lives of millions of poor people. Thanks to this investment 200 million children will receive life-saving vaccines, 1 million women will be offered loans to help start businesses and up to 20 million people will get access to electricity for the first time. IDA17 will also provide health services for 65 million people and access to clean water for 32 million people.

This week’s negotiations secured a total of over £34 billion in total resources for IDA17. In light of strong results and the reforms made since the last IDA replenishment as well as a commitment to further reforms, the UK has agreed to contribute an average of £938 million per year for the next three years to this total. Britain will also provide concessional loans, to be paid back to the UK, worth £500 million over the three-year period.


Contracts Update

The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice (Chris Grayling): On 11 July, Official Report, column 573, I made a statement to the House about significant anomalies that my Department had identified in the billing practices under MOJ’s electronic monitoring contracts with G4S and Serco. An initial audit of the contracts had found that the MOJ had been charged by the two companies in ways not justified by the contracts and for people who were not in fact being monitored. Their conduct under these contracts is now subject to a criminal investigation by the Serious Fraud Office.

G4S and Serco withdrew from the ongoing competition for the next generation of electronic monitoring contracts. The new contracts will deliver state-of-the-art GPS tracking technology, better value for money and robust contract management arrangements.

From the outset I made clear that I intended to take robust action to deal with evidence of unacceptable conduct by suppliers under my Department’s contracts, and to recover any monies overpaid as a result of these practices.

19 Dec 2013 : Column 129WS

I requested an audit of every contract my Department holds with G4S and Serco. I also asked for an independent review into the health and robustness of all aspects of contract management across the MOJ. Today marks the conclusion of these reviews. This statement deals with matters relating to my Department’s contracts. The Minister for the Cabinet Office will be making a separate statement on the cross-Government review of contracts held by the two companies and on their progress in achieving corporate renewal.


Serco agreed to a forensic audit of the electronic monitoring contract, conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers, including examination of email traffic relating to the contract. On the basis of this analysis Serco has now agreed to repay £68.5 million excluding VAT. This figure reimburses the Government for money owed on the electronic monitoring contract and for other costs incurred, including the cost of investigating these matters. It also includes £4.2 million which will be set against future costs incurred as we transition to new electronic monitoring arrangements. I am satisfied on the basis of PricewaterhouseCoopers’s forensic audit, and having taken appropriate advice, that this represents a good deal for the taxpayer. As with all full and final settlements, in the event of criminality being established with material impact, we would look again at our contractual position.

On 28 August I announced that Serco’s contract for escorting prisoners to courts (the PECS contract) had been referred to the City of London police. This followed the discovery that members of Serco staff had been recording prisoners as having been delivered ready for court when in fact they were not. Serco agreed at that point to repay past profits and forgo future profits earned on the PECS contract, and the company has now confirmed that it will repay past profits amounting to £2 million excluding VAT. The contract remains subject to MOJ supervision and is being robustly managed.

The PricewaterhouseCoopers audit did not find any further evidence of material issues on Serco contracts beyond electronic monitoring and PECS.


MOJ’s audit of G4S contracts has uncovered problems with two further contracts held by G4S for facilities management in the courts. Specifically, the audit revealed serious issues relating to invoicing, delivery and performance reporting against both contracts. While at this stage my Department does not have evidence to confirm that dishonesty has taken place, we have today, following legal advice, referred both matters to the Serious Fraud Office in order to establish whether this is the case.

The PricewaterhouseCoopers audit did not find any further evidence of material issues on any other MOJ contracts held by G4S.

Unlike Serco, G4S has not yet agreed a position on repayment. However, discussions are ongoing and I remain determined to pursue all legal options to recover the taxpayers’ money.

Rehabilitation Reforms

In the light of these developments, both G4S and Serco have decided to withdraw from the MOJ competition for rehabilitation services. This means that neither company will play a role as a lead provider of probation services in England and Wales in this competition.

19 Dec 2013 : Column 130WS

However, the Government have left open the possibility of either supplier, as part of their corporate renewal, playing a supporting role, working with smaller businesses or voluntary sector providers in order to support our objective of achieving a diverse market. Any proposals will be considered as part of a rigorous evaluation process, and will take account of the Government’s wider assessment of the companies’ progress in achieving corporate renewal.

MOJ contract management review

While it is evident that both suppliers’ conduct under these contracts has been wholly unacceptable, I made clear in my statement in July that my Department had been found wanting in its management of the electronic monitoring contracts. Officials took immediate steps to address the emerging issues. A new contract management team was put in place to manage the electronic monitoring contracts and members of MOJ staff were placed permanently at each contractor’s site to monitor performance on the ground. The PECS contract was immediately placed under close supervision.

I also asked Tim Breedon, the MOJ’s lead non-executive director, to conduct an independent review of all aspects of contract management across the Department. This review was informed by a detailed assessment by PricewaterhouseCoopers of the 15 largest and highest risk contracts from across the MOJ. Each was assessed against the NAO framework of best practice in contract management.

The review found evidence of good practice but also significant and long-standing weaknesses in the MOJ’s management of contracts. The report makes proposals for action to achieve best practice across seven distinct areas. These proposals are consistent with those emerging from the cross-Government review. I am very grateful to Tim Breedon for overseeing this comprehensive review. I have commissioned a programme to implement the report’s findings in full across the MOJ and will have processes in place to do this by the end of March 2014. A copy of the report is being placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Prime Minister

National Security Strategy/Strategic Defence and Security Review

The Prime Minister (Mr David Cameron): On behalf of the Deputy Prime Minister and other members of the National Security Council (NSC), I am pleased to present the third annual report of progress in implementing the 2010 National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review. Copies are today being placed in the Library of the House.

Over the last year the Government have continued to focus their efforts to build the United Kingdom’s prosperity, extend our influence in the world and further strengthen our security as set out in 2010. It remains clear that our national security depends on our economic security and vice versa. In creating the National Security Council, the Government have established an effective way to ensure prompt, coherent, co-ordinated and well-informed decision-making on defence and security in the round, directing the Government’s long-term strategy and responding to the issues of the day.

19 Dec 2013 : Column 131WS

The global economic slowdown and the parlous state of Government finances in 2010 had a serious economic impact. Over the last 12 months, the Government have continued to focus effort overseas to increase exports and encourage inward investment in the UK, helping UK business to ensure success in the global race for economic success. To support the UK in this race we are deploying more diplomats to the fastest growing parts of the world, upgrading existing posts and opening new ones. We are also striking new relationships beyond our traditional alliances—Britain’s influence in the world is expanding, not shrinking. The UK’s economy is growing, new jobs are being created and we continue to cut the deficit. We used our 2013 G8 presidency to make commitments to boost jobs and growth by: advancing trade; ensuring everyone pays their fair share of taxes; and promoting greater transparency. For the first time, G8 leaders agreed unequivocally to reject ransom payments to terrorists. A statement on the outcomes of the 2013 G8 presidency is being laid before Parliament today.

In defence, a balanced budget means that MOD can now afford its future equipment programme, investing in the critical capabilities we need for today and in the future, including in areas such as cyber. Tough negotiations with industry led to a renegotiation of the last Government’s flawed contract for the aircraft carriers, agreeing a cost of £6.2 billion and moving to a model which properly incentivises industry efficiency. We expect to launch HMS Queen Elizabeth in 2014, with flying trials from the carrier beginning in 2018. We will also be ordering three new offshore patrol vessels for the Royal Navy. In July, the Government published an unclassified version of the Trident alternatives review, a Cabinet Office-led study into alternative deterrent systems and postures. The review demonstrated that no alternative system is as capable, or as cost-effective, as a Trident-based deterrent. Government policy remain to maintain a continuous at sea deterrent and proceed with the programme to build a new fleet of ballistic missile submarines.

On the armed forces covenant, the whole of Government are working to ensure that no serving or former armed forces personnel, or their families, are disadvantaged for the enormous sacrifices they make for their country. This ensures that they are recognised as valuable members of society, and are able to go from strength to strength in the vital and often dangerous role they undertake on behalf of the country. We should be proud that 397 local authorities (98% of those in Great Britain) have signed the community covenant and are working to bring service and local communities closer together. Funding for the covenant will endure, with a further £10 million per year to be made available from 2015-16. In addition, £100 million of LIBOR fines is being used to support a range of good causes, including further funding for the armed forces community and service charities; and we have made around £200 million available to help members of the armed forces get on the property ladder.

The UK will host the 2014 NATO summit in Wales on 4 and 5 September. The summit will be an historic opportunity to look to the future—to ensure that the Alliance, which is the bedrock of our defence, is well equipped for future challenges and reinforces our critical transatlantic security relationships. It will also mark transition of our effort in Afghanistan. By hosting the summit, we will underline both our own and our allies’ shared-commitment to our collective security.

19 Dec 2013 : Column 132WS

The National Security Council has set a clear strategic direction on Afghanistan. Although challenges remain, the Afghan National Security Forces continue to grow in capability, confidence, and capacity; and we will continue to support them. UK forces will cease combat operations, and security transition remains on track to be achieved, by the end of 2014. We continue to work closely with the Governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and other international partners, in an effort to help find a long-term political settlement to the conflict. The UK will maintain current development assistance of £178 million per annum until 2017 to help Afghans tackle extreme poverty, create jobs and achieve sustainable economic growth.

In the middle east and Africa, we have played a leading role in the efforts to seek a negotiated settlement over Iran’s nuclear programme; to end the conflict in Syria; to restore order in Mali and to support Libya’s democratic transition. In Syria, the UK has been at the forefront of alleviating the crisis, committing £500 million in aid. In May 2013, the second London Somalia conference galvanised international support behind the Somali Government’s plans for security, political process, public financial management and justice.

Instability and conflict continue to threaten our national security. This year we improved our cross-Government early warning capabilities, and last year introduced the £20 million early action facility (EAF) within the conflict pool to allow us rapidly to respond to early warnings and opportunities to prevent conflict. The EAF has this year committed £12 million to support Government policy in Syria and neighbouring countries on top of existing multi-year conflict pool funding and humanitarian assistance. The UK’s response to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines has clearly demonstrated the difference that humanitarian aid and support from the armed forces can make in disaster situations.

In the spending review, we announced that in April 2015 a new £1 billion conflict, stability and security fund will be introduced bringing together defence, diplomatic, development, security and intelligence capabilities, replacing the conflict pool. The strategy for this fund will be set by the NSC taking a long-term view of British interests.

The autumn statement confirmed that the Government will meet their commitment to spend 0.7% of the UK’s gross national income (GNI) on official development assistance (ODA) for the first time in 2013, and meet our promise to the world’s poorest. We will be the first G8 country to reach the 0.7% target.

This year, I co-chaired the high-level panel on what should replace the millennium development goals when they expire in 2015. The panel’s report was published in May 2013, recommending goals for ending extreme poverty by 2030 and putting in place institutions like the rule of law and good governance, which are key to tackling conflict. The report also highlighted the importance of peace and security for development. The Government will now work intensely to ensure that the UN negotiations on the final set of post-2015 goals end up with inspiring and crunchy goals which take forward this vision.

The threat of weapons proliferation and arms control remains serious. This is why we worked hard, alongside civil society and like-minded partners, to secure the UN General Assembly’s adoption of a strong arms trade treaty in April 2013. As part of our G8 presidency, the

19 Dec 2013 : Column 133WS

UK has also been chairing the global partnership against the spread of weapons and materials of mass destruction, which has 27 members and co-ordinates international funding of around $2 billion a year towards counter-proliferation programmes.

The events in Woolwich, and the attack against the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, are a reminder that the threat that the UK faces remains both serious and sustained and that the nature of the threat is evolving and diversifying. In response to Woolwich, the extremism taskforce was established to agree practical steps to fight against all forms of extremism. The police and security services have continued to contain the threat from Northern Ireland related terrorism. Against this backdrop, the Government continue to ring-fence funding (£563 million for 2013-14) for counter-terrorism policing capabilities.

In October 2013, we launched the new National Crime Agency (NCA) to better identify, disrupt and cut serious and organised crime. Within the NCA, the new national cyber-crime unit has the specialist capabilities and necessary skills to identify, mitigate and tackle online crimes and criminals’ use of new technologies.

The Government have also reformed border roles and responsibilities, meeting targets for seizures of some of the most harmful materials which criminals try to import; making high-quality decisions about who comes to the UK; and enabling better co-ordination of intelligence and operational activity at borders.

We are also investing in the future. The transformative national cyber-security programme (NCSP), supported by £860 million of investment through to 2016, is now delivering real change in UK cyber-security capabilities including through partnership with industry to improve businesses’ security. We will continue to develop this collaborative approach to boost UK cyber-security, and a report on progress and forward plans for the NCSP was laid before Parliament on 12 December with an announcement of a number of new initiatives and the focus for future efforts to make the UK one of the safest places to do business in cyberspace.

G8 (UK 2013 Presidency)

The Prime Minister (Mr David Cameron): I would like to update Parliament on the outcomes of the UK presidency of the G8 and the costs of the 2013 G8 summit in Lough Erne.


Since the G8 summit on 17 and 18 June, we have made very good progress on trade, tax and transparency, benefiting countries across the world including the poorest nations. The UK has today published an end-of-year G8 2013 UK presidency report that summarises commitments made at Lough Erne, progress made since June, and next steps. Copies of the report have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.


The EU and Canada reached agreement on key elements of a comprehensive free trade deal in October, while progress continues on the EU-US and EU-Japan trade deals. The World Trade Organisation (WTO) struck a landmark deal at Bali earlier this month, including measures to cut border bureaucracy. This deal will boost the global economy by £70 billion per year.

19 Dec 2013 : Column 134WS


The OECD plans to present a single standard on automatic tax information exchange by February 2014. The OECD is also implementing an action plan to address tax-avoidance and to ensure multinationals report what tax they pay where.


G8 countries have published national action plans setting out how they will ensure companies know who owns and controls them. I announced on 31 October that the UK will make its central registry of beneficial ownership publicly accessible. In the extractives sector, US and EU law will require companies to report their payments to all Governments. The US, UK and France, Germany and Italy have announced that they will sign up to the extractive industry transparency initiative. Finally, on open data, G8 members have produced or are preparing open data action plans setting out how Government data will be “open by default” where possible.

On kidnap for ransom, the G8 unequivocally rejected the payment of ransoms to terrorists and called on others to follow this lead. The G8 undertook to work together to prevent kidnaps and to help resolve hostage incidents by sharing best practice and expertise. Since Lough Erne, G8 members have focused on improving co-ordination in travel advice to high-risk areas, strengthening collaboration on kidnap response, and building an international consensus.

The G8 also agreed to continue support for Libya’s democratic transition, and in the margins of the Lough Erne summit there was agreement to train up to 7,000 Libyan troops. On 16 December, the United Nations Security Council issued a presidential statement reaffirming support for Libya’s ongoing democratic transition.

The UK looks forward to maintaining momentum on these issues during 2014, working with the Russian G8 presidency, Australian G20 presidency and other partners.

Benefits for the UK

The successful 2013 G8 summit in Northern Ireland demonstrated to the global community that it is a first-class destination for business and tourism. It showcased this part of the UK by maximising the opportunities for inward investment and highlighting internationally what Northern Ireland, its people and businesses have to offer. The summit prompted a subsequent international investment conference in Belfast on 10 and 11 October which brought together 150 potential and existing inward investors.

Summit costs

The total estimated cost of putting on a safe and secure G8 summit was £82 million, split between the costs of the event itself (accommodation, food, logistics) and the costs of policing and security in Northern Ireland. This cost less in real terms than when the UK hosted the G8 summit at Gleneagles in 2005. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office managed the logistical arrangements for summit in Enniskillen, the most westerly town in the United Kingdom, at a net cost of just over £10 million. Twelve Government Departments will contribute towards these costs, consistent with the funding of similar cross-Whitehall events such as the Papal visit in 2010.

The Lough Erne summit was also the safest G8 summit in memory, with only two arrests and a broad range of peaceful protests and campaigns in Belfast and Enniskillen. The Northern Ireland Office co-ordinated

19 Dec 2013 : Column 135WS

policing and security for the G8 with the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), other security partners and across Whitehall. The total costs of the police and security operation were approximately £72 million.

The PSNI was responsible for the operational delivery of a secure summit, involving almost 5,000 PSNI officers supplemented by 3,600 mutual aid police officers from police forces in England and Wales, and Scotland. This was the first time that police officers from Great Britain had been deployed to Northern Ireland for public order duties under “mutual aid”.

The PSNI operation cost approximately £40 million, of which £26 million was funded by HM Treasury from the reserve and the rest met by the Northern Ireland Executive. The deployment of 3,600 mutual aid police officers cost just under £29 million; central Government Departments are meeting these costs. Additional national security measures and specialist military support cost approximately £3 million; these costs will be met by the Northern Ireland Office and MOD. HM Treasury has supported the process of apportioning G8 policing costs throughout.

The estimated costs of the summit are set out in tables 1 and 2 below.

Table 1: Estimated Summit Event Costs

Venue Hire


Security (internal)




Production and Media


Other Summit Costs






Note: figures have been rounded, and are net of income received for Production and Media (£230,000) and Accommodation (£145,000).

Table 2: Estimated Police and Security Costs

PSNI Direct Costs


Mutual Aid


Specialist Military Support


National Security




Note: figures have been rounded.


Drug Driving

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Mr Robert Goodwill): In May 2012 the Government introduced primary legislation to Parliament that would

19 Dec 2013 : Column 136WS

create a new offence of driving with a specified controlled drug in the body above the specified limit for that drug. The Crime and Courts Act 2013 sets out the framework for the new offence.

Regulations now need to be made to specify the drugs to be included in the legislation and the limits to be specified. I have today published a consultation seeking views on the Government’s proposed limit for amphetamine to be included in these regulations. The proposals follow an earlier consultation conducted over the summer on the proposed 17 drugs and limits for 16 of them. We did not propose a limit for amphetamine as we sought views in that consultation on what a suitable limit might be. We have analysed the responses and concluded that the limit should be 50 microgrammes/L.

In the earlier consultation we proposed a zero-tolerance approach to deal with those who drive under the influence of illegal drugs as this sends the strongest possible message that you cannot take drugs and drive.

We also put forward our approach for dealing with drivers who use drugs which have recognised and widespread medical uses but which can also affect a patient’s ability to drive and are sometimes misused. We know that the vast majority of people who use these drugs are doing so responsibly and safely and that is why our approach does not unduly penalise drivers who have taken properly prescribed medicines. The limits we proposed follow the recommendations of the expert panel, which in the vast majority of cases, will avoid the new offence catching out drivers who have taken properly prescribed or supplied drugs in accordance with the directions of a health care professional or the drug manufacturer. This will avoid inconveniencing the public and taking up police time.

We considered that amphetamine needed to be treated differently because it had significant medical use but was also commonly used illicitly. The full explanation of the analysis for the rationale and consideration of the responses for the proposed amphetamine limit is set out in the consultation document.

We believe the proposed limit of 50 Migrogrammes/L is above the therapeutic range for most who are taking amphetamine legitimately but would also be effective in catching those who are abusing amphetamine.

The consultation starts today and closes on 30 January 2014 and copies will be laid in the Libraries of both Houses.

We will then publish our consideration of both consultations in 2014 soon after the close of this consultation and finalise the regulations in readiness for Parliament who will need to approve them before they become law.