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Written Statements

Monday 14 October 2013

Commonwealth Scholarship Commission: Triennial Review


Baroness Northover (LD): My right honourable friend the Minister of State for International Development has made the following statement.

On the 13th November 2012, my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for International Development announced the commencement of the Triennial Review of the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the United Kingdom (CSC). I am pleased to announce completion of the Review.

The CSC is a statutory body which administers the Government’s contribution to the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan.

The Review concluded that the functions performed by the CSC are still required and that it should be retained as an executive Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB). The Review also looked at the governance arrangements for CSC in line with the guidance on good corporate governance set out by the Cabinet Office. The report makes some recommendations in this respect, which will be implemented shortly.

The full report of the review of CSC can be found on the DFID website and copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

EU: Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council


The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud) (Con): My honourable friend the Minister for Employment (Esther McVey MP) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council will be held on 15 October 2013 in Luxembourg. There are no health or consumer affairs issues on the agenda. The United Kingdom will be represented by Jo Swinson, Minister for Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs and Shan Morgan, UK Deputy Permanent Representative to the European Union.

In the first discussion Ministers will be invited to agree a General Approach with regard to the enforcement directive on Posting of Workers. This will be followed by an exchange of views on Youth Employment, with the main focus on the implementation of the related initiatives at both national and EU levels.

Ministers will discuss the Evaluation of the 2013 European Semester in Employment and Social policies and will be asked to endorse the respective contributions from the Employment Committee (EMCO) and Social Protection Committee (SPC) as well as the key conclusions of the SPC report on social policy reforms for growth and cohesion as a contribution to the Annual Growth Survey 2014 policy priorities.

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There will also be a policy debate on the Social Dimension of the European Monetary Union in which the Commission will be invited to present its recent communication “Strengthening the Social Dimension of the Economic and Monetary Union”, followed by a presentation of the respective contributions of the EMCO and SPC.

Ministers will consider Council Conclusions on the European Court of Auditors' Special report on the value of European Globalisation Adjustment Fund.

Under any other business the Presidency will provide updates on legislative issues and will report on preparation for the Tripartite Social Summit meeting.



The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): My right honourable friend the Home Secretary (Theresa May) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

The Informal G6 group of Ministers of the Interior from the six largest European Union countries, including representatives of the United States of America and the European Commission, held its most recent meeting in Rome on 12 and 13 September 2013.

The summit was chaired by the Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano and I represented the United Kingdom. The other participating States were represented by Hans Peter Friedrich (Germany), Manuel Valls (France) and Jorge Fernandez Diaz (Spain). Poland did not participate on this occasion. Eric Holder (the US Attorney General), Rand Beers (Acting US Secretary for Homeland Security), and Stefano Manservisi (DG Home Affairs), representing the European Commission, attended the whole summit.

The first formal session was on counter-terrorism. Ministers discussed the current threat picture and security risks posed by returning foreign fighters. I emphasised the importance of having an intra EU Passenger Name Records (PNR) regime in place in order to enhance our ability to detect terrorists’ journeys within Europe. I also highlighted the need to identify and prevent individuals from travelling to Syria to become involved in the civil war, particularly those at risk of becoming radicalised having gone there for humanitarian reasons. This, among other measures, requires a better communication strategy about efforts the international community is taking to alleviate the suffering of Syrians on the ground.

The second formal session covered migration issues. I acknowledged the problem of illegal immigration faced by southern EU Member States, but I reminded delegates that 70% of asylum applications in 2012 were lodged in only five Member States, one of which was the UK. I said that this underlined the need to have a reasoned and coherent EU response to migratory pressures and improved practical co-operation aimed at building capacity in Member States under particular pressure. I also emphasised that all Member States had a duty to their neighbours to operate effective asylum and migration systems and that principles of the Dublin Regulation must be upheld. I supported

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continued work with third countries and emphasised the importance of including migration issues, including returns, into wider political discussions and agreements with them.

The sessions on organised crime and cybercrime were combined. States briefly discussed prevention mechanisms against criminal penetration into the public sector with close focus on the Italian CAPACI (Creation of Automated Procedures against Criminal Infiltration in Public Contracts). I said that we needed to do more to understand the nature and extent of the threat of corruption in public procurement. I welcomed in principle efforts within the EU to modernise public procurement but I also highlighted concerns over the current draft Directive on confiscation, which as drafted could pose a risk to existing non-conviction-based confiscations.

States also discussed ways of improving international co-operation and sharing best practice in tackling cybercrime. I agreed that there was a need for an effective response to cybercrime with emphasis on practical co-operation rather than new legislation. I informed other delegates that the National Cyber Crime Unit, a new unit within the infant National Crime Agency, would lead the national response to cybercrime and also act as the UK lead on cybercrime internationally.

The summit offered an excellent opportunity to hold separate bilateral meetings with other delegations. I met with French, Spanish and Italian Ministers and I also met with Eric Holder and Rand Beers who represented the USA.

The next G6 summit is expected to take place in Krakow on 11 and 12 December.

Historic Royal Palaces


Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Con): On 19 September 2013, the Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries (Ed Vaizey MP) made the following Statement:

The Departmental minute laid today is in respect of an extension to the period whereby Government act as guarantor on behalf of Historic Royal Palaces (HRP) for a borrowing facility of up to £4 million to meet short-term cash flow requirements.

The renewed guarantee will be available until 30 September 2016 and HRP will only enter into borrowing facilities at such times and within such monetary limits as the Department shall agree.

The guarantee provides a safeguard protecting HRP’s business from a sudden and serious decline in economic conditions affecting HRP’s admissions income until the savings from their planned rationalisation measures could come through, and would only be used in extreme circumstances. The guarantee has been in place since 2002 and it has never yet been called upon.

Historic Royal Palaces is a charity established by Royal Charter. By virtue of a contract entered into on 1 April 1998, it carries out the functions of the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport under Section 21 of the Crown Lands Act 1851 of managing the unoccupied Royal Palaces.

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The document has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Jimmy Savile


The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Health (Jeremy Hunt) has made the following written ministerial statement.

I wish to provide an update on progress with the Jimmy Savile investigations relating to National Health Service institutions.

There are currently three main investigations underway – Broadmoor, Stoke Mandeville and Leeds General Infirmary. Kate Lampard is providing independent scrutiny of the quality and rigour of these three investigations on behalf of the Department of Health. There are also investigations taking place at a further 10 trusts.

The Metropolitan Police Service, working with Kate Lampard, has established there was further relevant information regarding Jimmy Savile. The Department of Health asked the Metropolitan Police Service, through an agreed information sharing process, to review information it held to ascertain if it included material related to health and care settings.

This review is still on-going. We understand the material includes information about hospitals where investigations are already underway, and reference to other hospitals. Once this review is complete, the information will be passed on to the relevant trusts or investigations as quickly as possible. I will then issue another written statement, including the names of any other hospitals involved.

Although all thirteen investigations are currently on track, this additional material means that the timetable will be affected. It is vital that the final NHS investigation reports are thorough and complete, and reflect all the evidence about Jimmy Savile’s pattern of offending. The final reports of all the investigations will now aim to be completed by June 2014, with publication sooner if that is possible.

Police: Direct Entry


The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): My right honourable friend the Minister of State for Policing and Criminal Justice (Damian Green) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

On 30 January 2013 I issued a written statement to the House confirming the commencement of a consultation exercise seeking views on how proposals for direct entry in the police, as set out in the Independent Review of Police Officer and Staff Remuneration and Condition carried out by Tom Winsor, should be implemented. The proposals included a three year fast track to inspector scheme, direct entry at superintendent and direct entry at chief constable for those who have equivalent experience from overseas.

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The consultation exercise closed on 28 March and 929 responses were received. Issues such as equality, opportunities for existing officers, flexibility for annual cohort numbers, and the skills needed for policing were raised. A proportion of respondents were opposed to the direct entry schemes in principle. These respondents valued policing experience as the principal foundation for all police leaders.

The Government has today published its response to the consultation, a copy of which will be placed in the House Library. The response makes clear that the Government remains committed to implementing fast track and direct entry schemes as they offer an opportunity to attract the best talent to the police, bringing in new skills and ideas from other professions. It also sets out the Government’s position whereby:

Cohort sizes should be flexible to reflect the changing needs of forces. We believe there should be in the region of 80 places on each annual cohort for the inspectors’ scheme, in line with recommendations made by Tom Winsor. We believe the superintendents’ scheme should develop so that there are at least 20 places on each annual cohort.

The Government also thinks that external applicants to the inspectors’ scheme should have a degree but this requirement will not be part of the eligibility criteria for existing officers, including those serving in the special constabulary, providing alternative routes onto the scheme.

PCCs should have the ability to choose their chief constable not only from the senior ranks in the United Kingdom, but also from other countries with a similar legal framework and policing model to ours. This will enable PCCs to choose the very best person for the job.

The Government included a provision in the Anti Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill which seeks to enable direct entry at the rank of chief constable for those with equivalent experience from overseas.

I have commissioned the College of Policing to implement the direct entry schemes. The Government’s response to the consultation makes clear that it is right that the College of Policing, rather than those in Whitehall, should lead on the design on the new schemes. The College of Policing has the remit to set standards and support the professional development of police officers and staff and the necessary expertise to implement the schemes.

The first cohorts are expected to start in 2014. As part of its evidence based approach to policing, the College will evaluate the implementation of direct entry after five years and submit a report to the Government.

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Regional Growth Fund


The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie) (Con): My right honourable friend the Minister of State for Business and Energy (Michael Fallon) has made the following statement.

On 11 October my right honourable friend the Deputy Prime Minister opened Round 5 of the Regional Growth Fund (RGF).

Under Round 5 up to £300 million will be available to bidders from the private sector seeking support in order to fund high quality projects and programmes. Round 5 will remain open until 9 December 2013.

The objectives of the RGF remain to stimulate private sector investment and to create sustainable private sector employment, particularly in areas dependent on the public sector. The eligibility requirements for Round 5 have been updated to reflect our expectation that Growth Deals and the Local Growth Fund are now the route for Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) to secure funding to pursue their business support priorities. In recognition of this, BIS will be making available an additional £100 million for the Local Growth Fund in the period 2015 - 2017. This will top up the Local Growth Fund, already confirmed at the Spending Round as worth at least £2 billion for the whole of the next Parliament, with additional flexible funding to support the priorities identified by LEPs in their Strategic Economic Plans. The Local Growth Fund underlines the Government’s commitment to the devolution of economic powers from central government to local areas, putting business-led LEPs, working with their local partners, at the heart of promoting growth. Hence Round 5 is designed for bids clearly led by the private sector, although we hope that LEPs will still play a role in endorsing private sector bids from their areas.

Briefing events on RGF Round 5 will be held across the country. The first of these was held in Newcastle on 11 October and more will follow across all the regions before the round closes. The events feature a presentation on how to make a successful bid and offer attendees the opportunity to ask questions. Businesses who wish to bid will also have the chance to discuss their application through an expression of interest meeting with a bid appraisal specialist from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

The dates and venues for the briefing events and expression of interest events are as follows:

RegionDate for eventEvent locationDedicated expression of interest meetingsExpression of interest meeting locations

North East

11 October

Royal Station Hotel, Newcastle.

18 October

Moongate House, Gateshead.

East Midlands

14 October

Loughborough University, Leicestershire.

8 November

Apex Court, Nottingham.

Yorkshire and the Humber

25 October

3M Buckley Innovation Centre, Huddersfield.

31 October

Alexandra House, Leeds.

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South West

5 November

University of Plymouth, Devon.

19 November

2 Rivergate, Bristol.

North West

13 November

Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool.

22 November

Arndale Centre, Manchester.

West Midlands

14 November

Birmingham & Midland Institute, Birmingham.

21 November

Victoria Square House, Birmingham.

Expression of Interest appointments will also be available in London.

More information is available here: www.bis.gov.uk/rgf.

Round 6

I also wish to inform the House that the sixth round of RGF will open during the summer of 2014, giving companies across England a further opportunity to bid. I will announce further details on Round 6 in due course.

Progress in Rounds 1 to 4

Contracting for Rounds 1 and 2 is now complete. These projects and programmes are well into their delivery phase and, as reported in this year’s RGF Annual Monitoring Report, as of March 2013 they had already delivered 20% of their employment targets. Contracting for Round 3 is 98% complete and almost all of these schemes have begun to deliver on their jobs and growth commitments. Round 4 selected beneficiaries have until January 2014 to finalise their awards with BIS.

RGF has supported dozens of programmes throughout England. These programmes provide access to finance for SMEs and are a key way of ensuring firms of all sizes can benefit from the RGF. Since April 1,300 SMEs have successfully received funding from RGF programmes bringing the total number of SMEs supported by the RGF to over 3,000. To ensure that demand from companies of all sizes is met, I have agreed with those national programmes which have received conditional offers in Round 4 to increase the size of the grants they would be able to offer once their final awards are made in January, subject to due diligence. A new threshold for grants from these programmes means that companies can access grants of up to £1 million.

Further information on RGF programmes is available here:


Taxation: Double Taxation


The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton) (Con): My honourable friend the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury (David Gauke) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

An Arrangement comprising of an Exchange of Letters amending the 1955 Arrangement with the Isle of Man was signed on 10 October 2013 to permit automatic exchange of information. At the same time an Agreement was also signed to improve international tax compliance which sets out the precise details of the information which will be automatically exchanged.

The text of the new Arrangement and the Agreement has been deposited in the Libraries of both Houses and will be made available on HM Revenue and Customs’ website. The text of the Arrangement will be scheduled to a draft Order in Council and laid before the House of Commons in due course.