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Written Statements

Tuesday 14 January 2014

Climate Change: Triennial Review

Statement

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma) (Con): My right honourable friend the Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change (Gregory Barker MP) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

On 4 February 2013 as Minister for Energy and Climate Change I announced in Parliament through a Written Ministerial Statement commencement of the Triennial Review of the Committee on Climate Change and its Adaptation Sub-Committee (the Committee). I am now pleased to announce the completion of the Review.

The Committee was established under the 2008 Climate Change Act (32(1)) and is responsible for providing the Government with:

• Advice on the level of the 2050 target (Section 33);• Advice in connection with carbon budgets (Section 34);• Advice on emissions from international aviation and shipping (Section 35); and• Reports on progress (i.e. UK progress towards meeting its climate change targets) (Section 36).

The Review concludes that the functions performed by the Committee are still required and that it should be retained as an NDPB. The Review also looked at the governance arrangements for the Committee in line with guidance on good corporate governance set out by the Cabinet Office. The report makes a number of recommendations in this respect which we expect will be implemented shortly.

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

Flooding and Severe Weather

Statement

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Stowell of Beeston) (Con): My Honourable Friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Brandon Lewis) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I would like to update the House on the latest position regarding the severe weather that has affected parts of the country from early December to date.

Since the East Coast tidal surge on 5 December 2013, there has been further significant severe weather and flooding throughout Christmas and the New Year, including in some areas that had already been affected by the events in December. In light of these more recent events, we have expanded the remit of the flood recovery group to include all the severe weather events throughout December and January.

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At the local level, local authorities and multi-agency partners have been meeting to oversee the recovery effort in their areas, and my Department has convened a number of recovery coordinating groups at a national level to engage with local authorities on their issues. Ministers and officials from across Whitehall will be meeting again this week to explore the options available for additional support to local areas. I have already activated a Bellwin Scheme for local authorities in England to assist with costs incurred in responding to these events. As of 14 January 2014, my Department has received 27 notifications from local authorities that they intend to make a claim under Bellwin for the recent severe weather events in due course. No council has actually made a formal claim as such. The Bellwin scheme compensates councils retrospectively for exceptional expenditure which is incurred. Equivalent funding for Welsh and Scottish local authorities is a matter for the devolved administrations.

Of course, with events such as these there are always lessons to be learned. The Government will review its response to severe weather, including flooding, to identify what more we can do to mitigate and respond to such events in the future.

I would like to thank all of those emergency responders, local authorities and charitable organisations who have worked to protect and support flood-affected communities throughout this time. I will continue to update the House on recovery progress.

Investment Bank Special Administration Regulations 2011

Statement

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton) (Con): My honourable friend the Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Sajid Javid) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Today, HM Treasury is laying before Parliament the final part of Mr Peter Bloxham’s independent review of the Investment Bank Special Administration Regulations 2011. This report follows on from the Interim Report laid before Parliament on 23 April 2013.

The Special Administration Regime came into effect in February 2011, following provisions made under the Banking Act 2009 to offer a modified insolvency procedure to investment firms. In accordance with section 236 of the Act, the Treasury were required to review the effect of the regulations within two years of the date that these powers came into force. Mr Peter Bloxham was appointed on 28 November 2012, and reported to the Treasury on 7 February to begin the review.

The Act required a review of the Investment Bank Special Administration regulations to consider if the regulations are achieving their specified objectives. These specified objectives are:

identifying, protecting, and facilitating the return of client assets;protecting creditors’ rights;

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ensuring certainty for investment banks, creditors, clients, liquidators and administrators;minimising the disruption of business and markets; andmaximising the efficiency and effectiveness of the financial services industry in the United Kingdom.

Mr Bloxham’s terms of reference set out a two-stage process. The first stage, denoted by his Interim Report, asked him to address each of the objectives above in turn to determine whether they had been achieved. The second stage asked Peter Bloxham to consider further possible changes to the Special Administration Regime that may improve the operation of the regime, and consider wider changes that may make the regime more robust. The final report being laid before Parliament today represents the completion of the second stage.

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After completion of both stages of the terms of reference, Mr Bloxham concludes that the Special Administration Regime stands as a useful provision under the Act and should therefore be kept, subject to change. Mr Bloxham makes extensive and considered recommendations for possible improvements to the regime, which are summarised within the final report.

I am personally very grateful to Mr Bloxham for all his work on this review over the last year, and to those who consulted with him.

The Treasury agrees with Mr Bloxham’s recommendation to retain the Investment Firm Special Administration Regime. The Treasury also recognises that amendments can be made to the regime to allow it better to fulfil its specific objectives. The Treasury will now consider the rest of Mr Bloxham’s recommendations in full and take suitable steps to enhance the regime in due course.