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Written Statements

Monday 1 December 2014

Business, Innovation and Skills

EU Competititveness Council

The Minister for Business and Enterprise (Matthew Hancock): My noble Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and Minister for Intellectual Property (Baroness Neville-Rolfe) has today made the following statement:

The European Competitiveness Council will take place on Thursday 4 December and Friday 5 December. Baroness Neville-Rolfe will represent the UK on day one (industry and internal market). UK representation for the second day of the Council is to be confirmed.

The internal market and industry substantive agenda items are: proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on package travel and assisted travel arrangements, proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on cableway installations and proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on personal protective equipment.

The objective of the travel package proposal is to update consumer protection legislation as it applies to holiday arrangements. This is to reflect the impact of technological developments facilitated by the internet, and the emergence of low cost airlines, since 1990.

The cableway proposal seeks to address some of the difficulties that have been experienced by some member states in implementing the existing Cableways Directive. It provides clarification on the scope of the cableway installations designed for transport and leisure purposes.

The personal protective proposal is to replace the existing Personal Protective Equipment Directive, which regulates the placing of personal protective equipment (PPE) on the EU market, by laying down the health and safety requirements to which it must conform.

There will be five non-legislative agenda items discussed at the Council: a presentation on industrial competitiveness - an agenda for jobs and growth, a policy debate on enhancing the single

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market in all its dimensions, draft council conclusions on smart regulation, draft council conclusions on strengthening tourism by leveraging Europe’s cultural, natural and maritime heritage and draft council conclusions on customs risk management.

There will be a number of non-legislative agenda items discussed on the second day of the council: a policy debate on science with and for society draft council conclusions on Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA), a European Research Area (ERA) Progress Report 2014; and Research and Innovation as sources of renewed growth.

In addition, on the space element of the Council there will be an exchange of views on the competitiveness of the European space sector as a key driver for the European economy. We will take this opportunity to set out UK views and council conclusions on underpinning the European space renaissance: orientations and future challenges.


Transport Infrastructure

The Secretary of State for Transport (Mr Patrick McLoughlin): I am pleased to announce to the House the details of the first road investment strategy, an ambitious £15 billion plan to increase the capacity and condition of roads for motorists across England.

The Government are investing in over 100 new road schemes over this Parliament and next, 84 of which are brand new today.

This major reform will add over 1,300 extra lane miles on motorways and trunk roads and fix some of the most notorious and longstanding problem areas on the strategic road network. These plans are published today in the first ever road investment strategy, which has been developed to keep the population connected and the economy growing.

Copies of the road investment strategy documents have been made available in the Libraries of both Houses and can be found on the Department’s website at: www.gov.uk/dft