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Written Statements

Thursday 29 October 2015

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

CBRN Security Assistance Programmes

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr Tobias Ellwood): The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Ministry of Defence and Department of Energy and Climate Change are today publishing a report on the Government’s international chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) security assistance programmes. The report summarises work and achievements under these programmes in the 2013-14 and 2014-15 financial years.

The Government are committed to improving the security of CBRN materials and expertise around the world. The programmes form the UK’s contribution to the global partnership against the spread of weapons and materials of mass destruction, which co-ordinates international efforts to improve CBRN security. Over the past two years, these programmes have delivered important improvements in line with the objectives of the global partnership and the national counter-proliferation strategy 2012-15.

Since the period covered by the report, UK-funded CBRN security programmes have continued to deliver results, including the two examples below, which demonstrate the value of the UK’s programmes:

On 24 September 2015, Uzbekistan became a country free of high enriched uranium (HEU) after liquid HEU fuel was removed from a research reactor at the radiation and technological complex in Tashkent. The fuel has been flown to Russia for secure disposition. Funding and expert advice to decommission the research reactor, which was a prerequisite for the removal of the HEU, was provided by the global threat reduction programme.

On 22 September 2015, Russia announced that the chemical weapons destruction facility at Shchuch’ye had completed operations, which resulted in the destruction of 5,500 tonnes of highly toxic nerve agent contained in more than 1.9 million artillery munitions. During 2002 to 2010, the UK implemented procurement and infrastructure projects worth over £90 million at the facility: these have made a major contribution to the destruction operations there.

Funding for these projects was provided by the UK, Canada, the EU, France and other donors.

The report will be published on the gov.uk website: www.gov.uk/government/publications/report-on-uk-international-chemical-biological-radiological-and-nuclear-cbrn-security-assistance-programmes



NHS England: Mandate

The Secretary of State for Health (Mr Jeremy Hunt): Today I am launching a consultation on the mandate to NHS England to 2020. The consultation will close on Monday 23 November, in preparation for the publication of a new mandate to NHS England following the Government’s spending review, to take effect from April 2016.

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The mandate to NHS England sets the Government’s objectives for NHS England, as well as its budget. In doing so, the mandate sets direction for the NHS, and helps ensure the NHS is accountable to Parliament and the public. In accordance with the Health and Social Care Act 2012, the Secretary of State must publish a mandate each year, to ensure that NHS England’s objectives remain up to date.

This consultation document sets out, at a high level, how the Government propose to set the mandate to NHS England for the course of this Parliament. The mandate will be finalised in light of consultation responses and subject to the outcome of the Government’s spending review.

The new mandate will be based on the priorities this Government believe are central to delivering the changes needed to ensure that free healthcare is always there whenever people need it most. Our priorities for the health and care system as a whole are:

creating the safest, high quality health and care service in the world by securing high quality health and care services and seven day care to improve clinical outcomes;

maintaining and improving performance against core standards of access while achieving financial balance;

transforming out-of-hospital care to ensure services outside hospital settings are more integrated and accessible, and that every patient has routine access to a GP in the evenings and at weekends, as well as effective 24/7 access to urgent care. We will also strive to reduce the health gap between people with mental health problems and the population as a whole;

driving improvements in efficiency and productivity by reducing waste and inefficiency to ensure every penny delivers the maximum possible benefit to patient care;

improving and reducing variation in outcomes and quality of care at a national and local level;

preventing ill health and supporting people to live healthier lives by tackling obesity and improving quality of life for people with long term conditions such as diabetes and those with dementia; and

supporting research, innovation and growth, and influencing global health priorities.

The Government welcome views on the proposals and invite comments through the consultation process. The consultation document can be accessed online at:



Home Department

Modern Slavery: Transparency in Supply Chains

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mrs Theresa May): Today, the transparency in supply chains statutory guidance is being published in line with section 54(9) of the Modern Slavery Act 2015. The guidance has been developed in consultation with a range of business representative groups, trade bodies and non-governmental organisations. The guidance is available on the gov.uk website.

Copies of the statutory guidance will be made available in the Library of the House.


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Immigration Rules

The Minister for Immigration (James Brokenshire): My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary is today laying before the House a statement of changes in immigration rules.

The rules are being changed to make clear the circumstances in which we can withdraw refugee status and leave. The changes clarify terminology and make clear that refugee status can be withdrawn where evidence emerges that such status was obtained by deception or where it is clear that protection is no longer needed. It can also be withdrawn where someone commits a serious crime or is a considered a danger to our national security such that they do not deserve our protection and all the benefits that come with that status.

Existing provisions on the revocation of refugee status are also being extended to include those who instigate or otherwise participate in acts covered by article 1F of the refugee convention, including those who engage in extremist activities that represent a threat to our national security.

New rules are being introduced to make asylum claims from EU nationals inadmissible unless exceptional circumstances apply. Such claims are currently processed through the asylum system, which includes an interview and detailed written decision. This goes beyond our international obligations and there is provision under EU law to treat claims from EU nationals as inadmissible on the basis that member states are deemed to be safe countries. We need to do all we can to dissuade abusive claims and considering claims from EU nationals uses resources that I believe are better focused on those who genuinely need protection.

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There is no right of appeal against a decision to treat a claim from an EU national as inadmissible. Claims that meet the exceptional circumstances criteria will still be considered but the onus will be on the individual to set out the reasons why their case is exceptional. Human rights issues raised through the appropriate application process will still be considered in accordance with our obligations under the Human Rights Act.

I am also implementing the changes to the English language requirements for settlement and citizenship announced in March. These changes will ensure that the same security assurances apply to English language qualifications whenever they are used in the immigration and citizenship system.

The statement also makes changes to the immigration rules on skilled work routes, administrative review and on family and private life.


Prime Minister

Digital Inclusion Policy

The Prime Minister (Mr David Cameron): This written ministerial statement confirms that policy responsibility for digital inclusion will transfer from the Cabinet Office to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. This change is effective from 1 November.