2 Dec 2014 : Column 3WS

2 Dec 2014 : Column 3WS

Written Statements

Tuesday 2 December 2014

Cabinet Office

Cabinet Committees List

The Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General (Mr Francis Maude): Today I am publishing an updated Cabinet Committees list. I have placed a copy of the new list in the Libraries of both Houses.


National Infrastructure Plan

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury (Danny Alexander): The Government’s commitment to infrastructure is a crucial part of our long-term economic plan. High quality infrastructure boosts productivity and competitiveness, and can unlock economic potential across the UK.

The national infrastructure plan 2014 sets out an ambitious infrastructure vision for the next Parliament and beyond, reinforcing the Government’s commitment to investing in infrastructure and improving its quality and performance. It also summarises the substantial progress that has been made during this Parliament, including the completion of over 2500 different infrastructure projects or schemes.

The national infrastructure plan is underpinned by the infrastructure pipeline, which is a forward-looking, bottom-up assessment of planned public and private infrastructure investment in the UK. The refreshed infrastructure pipeline sets out over £460 billion of planned public and private investment to the end of the decade and beyond across the key infrastructure sectors.

The new announcements contained in the national infrastructure plan are as follows:

Flood defences

The Government have published their six-year programme of investment in flood defences, allocating the £2.3 billion capital funding provided at the 2013 spending round.


The Government will ensure that interconnectors can participate in the 2015 capacity auction, estimating the eligible capacity of each interconnector on a case-by-case basis.

Swansea tidal lagoon

The Government will start closer discussions with Tidal Lagoon (Swansea Bay) plc to establish whether a tidal lagoon at Swansea Bay is affordable and value for money for consumers.

UK Guarantee scheme: Moorside

HM Treasury have reached a co-operation agreement with Toshiba, GDF Suez and NuGen with the aim of issuing a statement of intent to provide a guarantee to assist the financing of a new nuclear power plant at Moorside, subject to due diligence and ministerial approval.

2 Dec 2014 : Column 4WS

Broadband connection vouchers

Connection vouchers—the Government will provide up to £40 million to extend the SME connection voucher scheme to March 2016 and to more cities. Vouchers will be available on a first come, first served basis.

700MHz spectrum change of use

Further details of the clearance process for high-value spectrum will be set out in 2015 ahead of a further auction of mobile broadband spectrum, subject to the development of delivery options by DCMS and Ofcom.


The Government will take forward development at Northstowe, to support accelerated delivery of up to 10,000 homes, and evaluate the feasibility and economic impact of using this model at a wider scale to support and accelerate housing supply.

Barking Riverside

The Government will agree a principal heads of terms agreement for a loan of £55 million to support the extension of the Gospel Oak to Barking line to Barking Riverside, to unlock the delivery of up to 11,000 new homes.

Brent Cross

The Government support the London borough of Barnet and GLA plans for the regeneration of Brent Cross which could deliver 7,500 homes, subject to a full business case.


The Government are making the first £100 million available to fund infrastructure and land remediation at Ebbsfleet, taking forward their commitment to build the first new garden city for almost 100 years, which will deliver up to 15,000 new homes. Improvements to the A2 Bean and Ebbsfleet junctions will be delivered as part of the Highways Agency programme. The Government will also undertake a review of transport provision for the Ebbsfleet area, including Crossrail, High Speed 1, Southern and Southeastern rail services.

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park redevelopment (Olympicopolis)

The Government will invest £141 million to support the London legacy development corporation and Mayor of London’s plans to build a new higher education and cultural quarter at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Roads investment strategy

The Government are committing £15 billion between 2015-16 and 2020-21 to continue the transformation of the strategic road network, including major projects for the A303, A1, A47 and A27.

Crossrail 2

The Government will provide £2 million between 2014-15 and 2015-16 to support the development of a comprehensive business case produced jointly by the Department for Transport and Transport for London, to complete ahead of the next spending review. This will be combined with a full options appraisal of all potential major transport projects in London, including an extension of the Bakerloo line to improve connectivity in south-east London, and the devolution of South Eastern rail services to London.

2 Dec 2014 : Column 5WS

Ultra-low emission vehicle research and development

The Government are announcing up to £50 million between 2017-18 and 2019- 20, to support innovation in manufacturing of ultra-low emission vehicles in the UK, based on a Government contribution of £25 million for which they will seek match-funding from industry.

Support for ultra-low emission vehicles

The roads investment strategy sets aside £15 million between 2015-16 and 2020-21 for a national network of chargepoints for ultra-low emission vehicles on the strategic road network. The Government are also announcing further detail of three funds totalling £85 million to support ultra-low emission taxis, buses and cities.

The Government will provide an additional £10 million between 2017-18 and 2019-20 to increase ultra-low emission vehicles in London, in support of the ambition to introduce an ultra-low emission zone by 2025.

Local highways maintenance grant

The Government have already announced that local highways maintenance funding will be increased, totalling £5.8 billion over the next six years, and can now announce how the formula grant will be broken down by region.

Clean vehicle technology fund

The Government will provide up to £4 million to extend the clean vehicle technology fund in 2014-15 which funds road vehicle modification by local authorities in order to reduce air pollution.

Chesterton rail station

As announced by the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister the Government will provide £44 million between 2014-15 and 2016-17 to build a new rail station at Chesterton, linked to Cambridge science park.

Cycle city ambition grants

As announced by the Deputy Prime Minister on 27 November, the Government will provide £114 million between 2015-16 and 2017-18 to enable the continuation of the cycle city ambition scheme in the eight cities it already covers. This will provide capital funding for better cycle infrastructure such as segregated lanes and improved junctions.

Access for all

The Government will increase the funding for the access for all scheme by £60 million between 2015-16 and 2018-19, improving platform access at around 20 stations.

Norwich in ninety.

The Government support the key recommendations of the Great Eastern main line taskforce, including upgraded infrastructure and the latest rolling stock. Bidders for the next Anglia franchise, which will start in Oct 2016, will be incentivised to submit plans for achieving these recommendations for services to Norwich in 90 minutes and associated benefits along the Great Eastern main line.

East West Rail

The Government will consider the outputs of the Network Rail study into the East West Rail central section—Bedford to Cambridge—as part of the planning for control period 6 (2019-24).

2 Dec 2014 : Column 6WS

Dawlish rail services

The Government will support Network Rail in its work to improve the resilience of the railway at Dawlish. Additionally, it will ask Network Rail to examine wider issues surrounding connectivity to and within the south-west peninsula. Specifically, Network Rail will consider alternatives to the current mainline route to the south-west via Dawlish, including an alternative route via the north side of Dartmoor through Okehampton. This work will feed into Network Rail’s initial industry plan for control period 6 (2019-24).

Bath city centre congestion relief

The Government welcome the strategy put forward by Bath and North East Somerset council and the West of England LEP to improve transport capacity east of Bath and reduce city centre congestion. The Government will consider a business case, which will be developed by Bath and North East Somerset council that assesses the viability of proposals including a park and ride, as well as a park and rail service, located to the east of Bath.

National transport policy

The Government plan to lay the national networks national policy statement before Parliament this month for consideration and a formal vote


The Government will publish proposals for compulsory purchase reforms for consultation at Budget 2015 to make processes clearer, faster and fairer, with the aim of bringing forward more brownfield land for development.

The Government will take forward measures to ensure that the principle of development need only be established once.

The Government will take steps to speed up section 106 negotiations, to reduce delays to the planning process.

The Government will keep speed of major decisions under review, with minimum performance thresholds increasing to 50% of major decisions made on time as performance improves.

The Government are also announcing today a number of additional housing and planning measures:


The Government will support a new garden town at Bicester to provide up to 13,000 new homes subject to value for money.

Public sector land: housing delivery

The Government will set ambitious targets for the release of public sector land between 2015 and 2020. Government are committed to releasing land with capacity for up to 150,000 homes.

Affordable housing

The Government will extend affordable housing capital investment to 2018-19 and 2019-20, to ensure that 275,000 new affordable homes can be delivered over the next Parliament.

Shared ownership

The Government will work with housing associations, lenders and the regulator to identify and lift barriers to extending shared ownership, including a consultation on options for streamlining the process for selling on shared ownership properties.

2 Dec 2014 : Column 7WS

Housing associations

The Government will consult on ways to increase the borrowing capacity of housing associations in relation to the valuation of properties transferred from local authorities.

Estates regeneration

Budget 14 announced a £150 million fund to kick start the regeneration of social housing estates through repayable loans. Following a bidding round, Grahame Park, Blackwall Reach, Aylesbury Estate and New Union Wharf regeneration projects have all now been approved for funding, subject to due diligence and contract negotiations.

Planning: small applications

The Government will publish new data on local authorities’ performance in meeting their statutory duty to process smaller planning applications within eight weeks.

Planning: small sites

The Government will work with industry and local authorities to test whether more can be done to support the approval of small sites in the planning system.

Copies of the national infrastructure plan 2014 will be available on the gov.uk website and have been deposited in the Libraries of both Houses.

Patent Boxes

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr David Gauke): As part of the base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) project that this Government helped to initiate and have championed, the OECD has been considering preferential intellectual property regimes which include the UK’s Patent Box. Work by the OECD has focused on agreeing new rules on the level of substantial activities required for a preferential regime to be considered a tax relief that supports real economic activity and not to be considered “harmful”.

The OECD proposed a number of methods to determine substantial activity. While the UK and three other countries supported the “transfer pricing” method, a significant majority of OECD-G20 members supported the alternative modified nexus method. The UK expressed concerns about the modified nexus approach but in the interests of reaching agreement on this important issue, agreed to work with Germany to try to find a compromise position.

On 11 November 2014, the UK and Germany duly published a joint statement which outlined a compromise proposal to be put to the OECD-G2Q members at the forum on harmful tax practices (FHTP) and to EU member states at the code of conduct group. This compromise proposal adopts the main features of the modified nexus approach, but amends these in order to take account of previously expressed UK concerns.

The compromise proposal was presented to the FHTP at its meeting from 17 to 19 November, and to the code of conduct group on 20 November. The proposal was welcomed and will now form the basis of continuing work by the FHTP to determine how the approach will work in practice. As part of the agreement, countries with existing IP regimes must agree to close these to

2 Dec 2014 : Column 8WS

new entrants by 30 June 2016 and will abolish them by 30 June 2021, after which all countries will be required to operate only nexus-compliant regimes. The legislative process to introduce changes to existing IP regimes so that continuing IP regimes conform to the re-modified nexus approach will also begin in 2015. In line with the normal tax policy-making process, the Government intend to consult on these changes, once the FHTP has completed work on the detail of the new rules.

The changes that the Government have secured to the original approach proposed by the OECD will protect the interests of the UK as an excellent location for technology based businesses by retaining a competitive Patent Box regime, which will now align benefits more closely to research and development activity carried out in the UK. As such, the Government are confident that the new regime will continue to incentivise innovation and its commercialisation in the UK.

Culture, Media and Sport

Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council

The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Mr Edward Vaizey): A meeting of the Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council was held in Brussels on 25 November. I represented the UK for the cultural and audiovisual section of the Council and Shan Morgan, the UK’s deputy permanent representative, represented the UK for the sport section of the Council.

Culture and audiovisual

The Council was invited to adopt Council conclusions relating to European audiovisual policy in the digital era. The UK supported the adoption of these Council conclusions.

The Council then invited Culture Ministers to state their positions on the contested wording in the draft conclusions on the EU work plan for culture (2015-18), which related to equal VAT treatment of e-books and physical books.

I noted that tax issues were the sole responsibility of ECOFIN, and successfully pushed back against the contested wording. The final text represented a good outcome for the UK, and was met with broad agreement by all delegations. The presidency also reached an agreement on actions for culture in the EU’s external relations.

Having concluded the work plan, the presidency invited Culture Ministers to discuss the contribution of the cultural and creative sectors to the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy. While the majority supported culture being included in the Europe 2020 strategy, many delegations also warned that by doing so culture would be reduced to no more than a statistic.

The UK agreed that while culture did have a contribution to make to the goals of the strategy, it was not substantial enough to merit its inclusion in the strategy itself, which should remain focused on key contributors to jobs and economic growth. Others argued that by incorporating culture into the strategy, the EU would be able to ensure that culture was mainstreamed throughout all policy areas. Some delegations highlighted that by including

2 Dec 2014 : Column 9WS

culture in the Europe 2020 strategy, European funding that culture was not currently eligible for would become available.


The Council was invited to adopt Council conclusions relating to sport as a driver for innovation and growth. The UK supported the adoption of these Council conclusions.

Delegates were invited to discuss sport and physical activity at school age. Although some member states had experienced a decline in sport participation and others an increase, there was general agreement among all delegations that participation in sport offered many benefits and skills to young people, and that people that had participated in sport at a young age achieved better academic results and were more employable than young people who had not.

One of the key challenges identified during the discussion was how to motivate young people to opt for sport rather than computer games or other sedentary activities in their free time. The UK stated that major sporting events help to motivate young people to get involved in sport, as witnessed in the UK after London hosted the Olympic games in 2012. All member states stressed that another main challenge Governments faced was ensuring that sport on offer was inclusive. Several delegations cited data that showed girls were most likely to drop out of sports clubs early on or not participate in sport at all.

Other business

The Commission provided a brief update on the state of play of the transatlantic trade and investment partnership negotiations.

The incoming Latvian presidency gave a summary on its priorities, which would include cultural heritage, innovative architecture and the results of the mid-term review of the Europe 2020 strategy.

There was a report from the latest meeting of the World Anti-Doping Agency and a presentation on the Council of Europe’s convention against the manipulation of sports competitions.

Finally, the incoming Latvian presidency set out its priorities in the field of sport, which would primarily focus on the role of sport in fostering skills and competences.


Qualifications and Curriculum Reform

The Secretary of State for Education (Nicky Morgan): On 30 September 2014, I launched a statutory one-month consultation seeking representations on the draft legislative order—the Education (National Curriculum) (Attainment Targets and Programmes of Study) (England) (No. 3) Order 2014 and associated regulations—required to bring the new national curriculum programme of study for science at key stage 4 into effect.

I am today publishing the final programme of study which is set out in the revised national curriculum framework document. The new programme of study will be taught in schools alongside the new science GCSEs from September 2016. It is important to consider

2 Dec 2014 : Column 10WS

the new programme of study in tandem with the GCSE subject content, published in April 2014, and to ensure that the curriculum and qualifications are fully coherent.

The programme of study in science at key stage 4 sets expectations that match those in the highest performing jurisdictions, and the content is closely aligned to GCSE combined science content. It focuses on the big ideas in science such as evolution and inheritance, the atomic structure and energy and forces and includes new content on developing areas such as the human genome. The working scientifically section emphasises the importance of practical work including experimental skills, analysis and evaluation of data and the understanding and nature of scientific evidence. It makes clear that working scientifically should be embedded within the subject content across all three science disciplines.

The publication of the key stage 4 science programme of study completes the review of the national curriculum. We have achieved our aim of ensuring that the new national curriculum provides a rigorous basis for teaching, and a benchmark for all schools to improve their performance. It represents a clear step forward for schools, ensuring that all children have the opportunity to acquire a core of essential knowledge in key subjects. The majority of the new national curriculum came into force from September 2014. The new national curriculum for English, mathematics and science for years 2 and 6 will come into force from September 2015; the new curriculum for English and mathematics for key stage 4 will be phased in from September 2015 and that for key stage 4 science from September 2016, alongside first teaching of the new GCSEs for these subjects.

A copy of the revised national curriculum framework document has been placed in the Library of the House.


EU Transport Council

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Mr Robert Goodwill): I will attend the last Transport Council under the Italian presidency (the presidency) taking place in Brussels on Wednesday 3 December.

The first item on the agenda will be a public debate on the draft Council conclusions on transport infrastructure and the Trans European Network. The UK has worked constructively with like-minded member states to help the Italian presidency develop these conclusions which seek to align transport with the EU 2020 strategy by recognising the value that investment in building and operating transport infrastructure and creating efficient networks can bring to growth and jobs. The UK will support the adoption of the conclusions as drafted.

Secondly, the Council will be asked to agree in principle a proposed Council decision authorising member states to sign the international convention on standards of training, certification and watch-keeping for fishing vessel personnel, of the International Maritime Organisation. This is a procedural decision giving member states permission to accede to the convention. It is necessary due to union competence over the mutual recognition of the qualifications of fishing vessel personnel by virtue of directive 2005/36/EC (which provides for

2 Dec 2014 : Column 11WS

mutual recognition across a range of professions). Some aspects of the decision as originally proposed were unacceptable to the UK, for example the use of inappropriate legal bases and a general lack of clarity over the scope of relevant competence. Through negotiation the UK has secured significant improvements to the decision and the UK is now content with the text to be agreed at Transport Council.

The presidency will aim for a general approach on the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the implementation of the Single European Sky. The UK has been working hard with the Italian presidency and other member states to secure our objectives on this regulation. As a result I am pleased to say that we secured redrafting which has resolved the vast majority of concerns we had on this proposal. In terms of Gibraltar, our firm position is that it is part of the EU and must remain in the scope of EU aviation legislation such as SES. I expect further discussions to take place on this issue during the Council meeting.

Next on the agenda is a proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Regulation (EC) 216/2008 in the field of aerodromes, air traffic management and air navigation facilities. This proposal is part of a package with the Single European Sky (SES II+) regulation and transfers some SES provisions into the European Aviation Safety Authority system in order to simplify and clarify the regulation framework for the safety of air traffic management. As such we were very supportive and had just a few concerns which we have been able to resolve. We are therefore ready to support this proposal.

2 Dec 2014 : Column 12WS

After this will be a progress report on the proposal to amend directive 2012/34 establishing a single European railway area, as regards the opening of the market for domestic passenger transport services by rail and the governance of the railway infrastructure, and the related proposal to amend Regulation (EC) No 1370/2007 concerning the opening of the market for domestic passenger transport services by rail. The Government support the presidency on their progress report, which is a very thorough summary of discussions to date. The suggestions for future options form an excellent foundation and mean that an agreement on the market pillar is now within reach of future presidencies. It is important that the remaining barriers to the single market in rail services are addressed.

There will then be a general approach on the proposal to repeal Regulation 1192/69 on common rules for the normalisation of the accounts of railway undertakings. The UK supports the repeal of this regulation which has become outdated and inconsistent with more recent EU railway legislation. It is a welcome example of legislative simplification and deregulation.

Under any other business, the Commission will provide information on EU satellite navigation programmes. The presidency will provide information on the recent European Aviation Safety Authority event on remotely piloted aircraft systems. The Lithuanian delegation will provide information on the road transport situation in the context of detailed inspections of Lithuanian vehicles recently introduced by Russian authorities. Also, the Latvian delegation will provide information on the work programme of their forthcoming presidency of the Council of the European Union.