14 May 2014 : Column 23WS

14 May 2014 : Column 23WS

Written Statements

Wednesday 14 May 2014



The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr George Osborne): A meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council was held in Brussels on 6 May 2014. Ministers discussed the following items:

Current legislative proposals

The presidency provided an update on the ongoing work on financial services.

Parent subsidiary directive

Council discussed a proposal for a directive to amend the parent subsidiary directive. The proposal looks to close a loophole whereby companies operating across Europe could exploit differences between member states in the tax classification of certain financial instruments in order to reduce their overall tax liability. The presidency concluded that further work will need to take place at technical level to clarify the text as necessary and that it will need to return to a future Council, probably in June. The Government support an agreement as soon as possible.

Financial transaction tax

Council held a state of play discussion on the proposal for a Council directive implementing enhanced co-operation in the area of financial transaction tax (FTT). A total of 10 of the member states participating in the enhanced co-operation circulated a statement during the Council expressing their political commitment to a FTT. The main points of note are that the participants wish to implement the tax in stages, with the first stage applying to shares and some derivatives; and that they wish to implement this first stage by 1 January 2016.

At Council, which was in public session—and can be seen here http://video.consilium.europa.eu/webcast.aspx? ticket=775-979-14373—the UK stated concerns about the economic impact of the tax and that the enhanced co-operation procedure has to operate with transparency as article 330 of the treaty on the functioning of the European Union sets out, with all member states participating in the deliberations. The UK was supported on these points by a number of other member states. Additionally, the UK expressed that the Court of Justice of the European Union’s recent ruling allowed for the UK and any member state to challenge an adopted FTT in court if it is harmful to them or the single market.

Macro-economic imbalances procedure: in-depth reviews

Council adopted Council conclusions on the results of the UK and 16 other member states’ macro-economic imbalances procedure: in-depth reviews. The UK does not have an excessive imbalance and does not need to take further action under the macro-economic imbalances procedure.

14 May 2014 : Column 24WS

Follow-up to the meetings of G20 Finance Ministers and governors (10-11 April) and IMF/World Bank (11-13 April) in Washington DC

The presidency and Commission debriefed Ministers on the main outcomes of the G20 Finance Ministers and central bank governors and IMF/World Bank meetings held in Washington DC from 10-13 April. The Government remain supportive of the Australian G20 agenda, particularly on the development of comprehensive growth strategies.


Defence Equipment and Support

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Mr Philip Dunne): On 10 December 2013, Official Report, column 146, the Secretary of State for Defence announced his intention to establish the Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) organisation as a bespoke trading entity, from April this year.

Since that announcement, having agreed the principle that DE&S should be provided with the necessary freedoms to allow it to operate along more commercial lines, within an agreed operating cost budget, we have worked with HM Treasury and the Cabinet Office, to agree the governance and accountability structure within which the new DE&S will operate.

I can confirm that, on 1 April 2014, DE&S was launched in its new form and is now an arm’s length body to the rest of the Ministry of Defence. The DE&S has been provided with the unparalleled freedom to manage its own business, outputs and work force within an operating cost envelope set to drive significant efficiencies.

Ministerial oversight of the new DE&S is being provided through an owner’s council chaired by me. As the first chief executive of the organisation, Bernard Gray, as Chief of Defence Matériel, has become an additional accounting officer, directly responsible to Parliament for the resources and performance of DE&S. The permanent secretary, as principal accounting officer, remains accountable to Parliament for the Department as a whole.

To assist the programme of delivery and transformation, the DE&S will introduce private sector skills through a number of contracts for managed service providers (MSPs). DE&S will remain responsible for its outputs, with the MSPs providing high-quality support and expertise in the key areas of project delivery, human resources and management information, finance and information technology. The contract notice for the first MSP, project delivery, was issued on 14 April and invitations to negotiate were issued to eight companies on 12 May. The contract notice for the second MSP, human resources, was also issued on 12 May. We expect to have the contracts in place later this year.

The launch of the new DE&S provides an unprecedented opportunity to transform the process of defence acquisition and support for our armed forces, while improving value for money. The changes we are introducing will result in a higher performing delivery organisation, which is better able to deliver vital equipment and support to

14 May 2014 : Column 25WS

the front line, on time and at the agreed price. In doing so, we remain consistent with the report on defence acquisition from 2009 and the Levene recommendations from 2011. We are also thinking further ahead, to ensure that by the middle of the next Parliament, DE&S is a genuinely customer-facing, match-fit organisation, providing a robust public sector comparator should a future Government decide to re-examine the potential for a GoCo model. This is the beginning of the transformation process. We are empowering the DE&S to meet head on the challenges of delivering a most complex and demanding portfolio of work to meet its customers’ needs.

Full details of the DE&S governance structure, function, policies, and strategic objectives are contained in a new framework document and corporate plan. I have placed copies of both documents in the Library of the House.

Leader of the House

Legislation (2013-14 Session)

The Leader of the House of Commons (Mr Andrew Lansley): Following the conclusion of business in the House on Wednesday 14 May 2014, I expect Parliament to be prorogued until 4 June, concluding the current 2013-14 parliamentary Session. Subject to proceedings today, 28 Bills will have received Royal Assent in the 2013-14 Session:

Government Bills:

Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing


Children and Families1

Defence Reform


European Union (Approvals)


Financial Services (Banking Reform)1

14 May 2014 : Column 26WS

Gambling (Licensing and Advertising)

High Speed Rail (Preparation)


Intellectual Property

Local Audit and Accountability

Marriage (Same Sex Couples)1


National Insurance Contributions

Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions)

Offender Rehabilitation


Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration

Water Bill

Consolidation and Law Commission Bills:

Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies

Inheritance and Trustees’ Powers

Private Members’ Bills:

Citizenship (Armed Forces)

Deep Sea Mining

House of Lords Reform (No. 2)

International Development (Gender Equality)

Leasehold Reform (Amendment)

The following Government Bills introduced in this Session will carry-over, resuming their passage in the next Session:

Consumer Rights

Criminal Justice and Courts


Finance (No.2)

High Speed Rail (London-West Midlands)2


Further Bills for the next Session of Parliament will be announced on Wednesday 4 June 2014.


1Denotes Bills introduced in the previous Session which were carried-over and completed their passage in this Session.

2Denotes a hybrid Bill.