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Written Statements

Wednesday 21 October 2015

Energy and Climate Change

Energy Investments

The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (Amber Rudd): EDF and its Chinese partner China General Nuclear Corporation (CGN) have committed to Hinkley Point C during this week’s landmark China state visit, confirming that Somerset will have the first new nuclear power station in the UK for a generation.

The companies have signed a strategic investment agreement which marks a critical moment for the site in Somerset. EDF has confirmed it will take a 66.5% stake in Hinkley with CGN taking 33.5%, demonstrating a clear commitment from both parties.

The Government and EDF have finalised the detail of the contract for difference which offers increased price certainty for the electricity produced from Hinkley Point C. The funded decommissioning programme will make sure that the taxpayer does not pick up the cost of decommissioning the plant in the future.

Hinkley Point C will provide low-carbon electricity to 6 million homes, twice as many as the whole of London, for around 60 years—and consumers will not pay a penny until the plant is up and running. It will provide a vital boost for the national and local economy—creating 25,000 jobs, with at least 5,000 people from Somerset expected to work directly on the project, providing a £40 million boost to the local economy every year. The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change will take her final decision on the contract for difference when EDF and GNI have signed the full investment documentation.

A departmental minute will be presented to Parliament today regarding the scale of the financial commitment associated with the CfD and the potential liabilities to arise in relation to those waste transfer contracts (WTC). I judge the likelihood of these potential WTC liabilities arising to be very low.


Home Department

Police Custody: Deaths and Serious Incidents

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mrs Theresa May): I announced on 23 July my intention to commission an independent review of deaths and serious incidents in police custody.

I am pleased to announce to the House that the review will be led by Dame Elish Angiolini DBE QC.

I said that the chairman would be someone with the ability to work closely with victims, families and the police alike, and with a proven track record of being willing to ask difficult questions.

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Dame Elish has all of these qualities. She was installed as Solicitor General for Scotland on 5 December 2001, and Lord Advocate on 12 October 2006. Since September 2012 she has been principal of St Hugh’s College, Oxford. In June 2015, she concluded an independent review for the Metropolitan Police Service into how it and the Crown Prosecution Service investigate and prosecute rape cases. I am grateful to Dame Elish for agreeing to take on this important work.

Police custody is fraught with complex issues. It is the place where dangerous and difficult criminals are rightly detained, where officers and staff regularly face violent, threatening and abusive behaviour, and where the police use some of their most sensitive and coercive powers. But it is also a place where, unfortunately, vulnerable people, including all too often those with mental health problems, are taken because there is no other place to go.

Thankfully, deaths and serious incidents in custody are rare. No one—least of the police—wants such incidents to happen, and I know everyone involved takes steps to avoid them. When such incidents do occur, they are a tragedy that has the potential to undermine the relationship between the public and the police.

As Home Secretary, I have been struck by the pain and suffering of families still looking for answers. That is why I believe we need to do more, and why I announced the establishment of this independent review.

I can also inform the House of the terms of reference of the review. They will be:

To examine the procedures and processes surrounding deaths and serious incidents in police custody, including the lead up to such incidents, the immediate aftermath, through to the conclusion of official investigations. It should consider the extent to which ethnicity is a factor in such incidents. The review should include a particular focus on family involvement and their support experience at all stages.

To examine and identify the reasons and obstacles as to why the current investigation system has fallen short of many families’ needs and expectations, with particular reference to the importance of accountability of those involved and sustained learning following such incidents.

To identify areas for improvement and develop recommendations seeking to ensure appropriate, humane institutional treatment when such incidents, particularly deaths in or following detention in police custody, occur. Recommendations should consider the safety and welfare of all those in the police custody environment, including detainees and police officers and staff. The aim should be to enhance the safety of the police custody setting for all.

Furthermore, I can announce that INQUEST—an organisation that has long campaigned on these issues—has agreed to have a formal role in the review to ensure that the voices of families who have lost loved ones in police custody are heard. Therefore I am also pleased to announce that INQUEST’s director, Deborah Coles, will be a special adviser to the chairman of the review.

In addition, INQUEST shall:

Facilitate family listening days so that the chairman can hear evidence first-hand from those who have lost loved ones in police custody to ensure their views are taken into account.

Play a leading role on an advisory board which will offer expert advice to the chairman during the course of the review.

I wish Dame Elish every success as she delivers this important review.


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