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Written Statements

Thursday 5 June 2014



The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): My right Honourable Friend, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (William Hague), has made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

I wish to inform the House that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, together with the Ministry of Defence and the Department for International Development, is today publishing the thirty-seventh progress report on developments in Afghanistan since November 2010.

On 5 April, the Afghan people went to the polls to elect a new President, as well as their Provincial Council representatives. On Election Day, voter turnout was high with preliminary results indicating over 6.6 million validated votes, 36% of whom were women. In what was one of their biggest and most complex security challenges to date, the ANSF successfully secured the Presidential Elections with millions of Afghans able to cast their vote without significant incident or disruption. Crucially, in terms of maintaining voter confidence and preventing insurgency momentum, there were no high profile attacks (HPAs) on 5 April.

On 26 April, five UK service personnel—Captain Thomas Clarke, Flight Lieutenant Rakesh Chauhan, acting Warrant Officer Class 2 Spencer Faulkner, Corporal James Walters, and Lance Corporal Oliver Thomas—were tragically killed in a helicopter crash south of Kandahar. A full investigation is underway into the incident but there is currently no indication of enemy activity being a contributing factor. The crash resulted in the third biggest single loss of UK life in Afghanistan since 2001. These deaths are a timely reminder that our troops continue to risk their lives in Afghanistan. Their legacy is realised in the tens of thousands of Afghan security forces who they have helped mentor and who are now securing the country’s future. They have protected our security at home and abroad by helping the Afghans take control of their own. Their sacrifice will not be forgotten.

I am placing the report in the Library of the House. It will also be published on the gov.uk website (www.gov.uk/government/publications/afghanistan-progress-reports).

Armed Forces: Ofsted Report


The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever) (Con): My hon. Friend the Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans (Anna Soubry) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

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On 27 May, Ofsted published their sixth report on welfare and duty of care in Armed Forces initial training, copies of which have been placed in the Library of the House. Following visits to nine Armed Forces initial training establishments between September 2013 and January 2014, Ofsted report that recruits and trainees feel safe and that their welfare needs are largely being met.

All the locations assessed by Ofsted were judged as ‘good’ or better, and two, in particular, were rated as ‘outstanding’. Importantly, Ofsted records that there has been continued improvement across the services and training establishments since the Adult Learning Inspectorate published its first report in 2005, that ‘the welfare of recruits and trainees is now an intrinsic part of military training’, and ‘the supervision of recruits and trainees is thorough in all establishments, and particularly good care is taken of those under the age of 18’. Ofsted has, nevertheless, made a number of recommendations for improvement in data management, sharing of best practice, site infrastructure and the selection and training of instructors.

The Armed Forces are determined to ensure that the initial training environment is supportive of the needs of those new to the Service and the particular focus of the Ofsted inspection provides additional detail on which to reflect and review the effectiveness of our training regimes.

British Nationals Overseas


The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): My Honourable Friend, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mark Simmonds), has made the following written Ministerial statement:

The Foreign Secretary launched the 2013-16 Consular Strategy in April last year, setting out a series of changes to drive innovation and excellence in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s consular services.

One year on, the FCO has already delivered significant improvements to the services received by our consular customers across the world:

- We have given our front-line consular staff the skills and tools to identify and assist our most vulnerable customers, including new policies for cases involving children and young people, and those who have been affected by mental health problems, rape and sexual abuse, and forced into marriage.- We are using new and strengthened relationships with NGOs, such as mental health charity ‘MIND’, and missing persons charity ‘Missing Abroad’ to provide specialist services in areas we cannot.- We now offer our customers a fast, professional and consistent response to their first-time telephone enquiries through our three global Contact Centres, fielding over 30,000 calls a month from British nationals worldwide. This is enabling our front-line staff to assist those most in need.

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- In March 2014, we completed the full transfer of all responsibility for passport applications, decisions and document issuance to Her Majesty’s Passport Office (HMPO), who now offer a online passport application service to four million British nationals overseas, and have reduced the cost of replacing or renewing passports for British nationals overseas by 35% (from April 2014).- We are making better use of digital channels and technology. The FCO’s new Crisis IT system was successfully deployed in our recent crisis responses, including in Ukraine, South Sudan and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. We have standardised and improved the consular assistance information online at www.gov.uk, and increasingly offer social media channels for responding to travel advice and assistance enquiries. - Alongside all of these changes, we have simplified notarial and documentary services, worked with host Governments to reduce bureaucracy, and stopped providing some services where the private sector offers comparable and trusted alternatives.

Drawing on this, I am pleased to highlight that the FCO has updated our public targets to reflect the improvements made to our consular services, demonstrating our commitment to providing high levels of service to British national overseas. These new targets appear in the updated version of Support for British Nationals Abroad: A Guide, in print and online. We will use these new, ambitious targets to drive and measure the performance of our consular network.

Our efforts do not stop here. In the next year, we will continue to drive forward delivery of the 2013-16 Consular Strategy. We will continue to review and update our policies for providing assistance. We will continue to prepare for and manage crisis situations effectively, carrying out a lessons learned process after each crisis with the aim of continuous improvement of our performance and procedures. We are aiming to deliver more services digitally, including enabling our customers to pay for some services online. We will help British nationals find the information they need to help themselves, and get through to us quickly and easily when they need consular support. And we will complete our preparations for helping British nationals stay safe at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

I am proud of the work being carried out by the FCO staff across the world, often in very challenging circumstances. I can assure you that the FCO remains committed to providing a modern, efficient consular service supporting British nationals overseas.

I am placing copies of the following documents in the libraries of both Houses:

- Support for British nationals abroad: A guide (updated June 2014)- A full update on changes made under the first year 2013-16 Consular Strategy

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Debt Management Office


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

The United Kingdom Debt Management Office (DMO) has today published its business plan for the year 2014-15. Copies have been deposited in the Libraries of both Houses and are available on the DMO’s website, www.dmo.gov.uk.

Defence: Storage and Distribution Depots


The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever) (Con): My hon Friend the Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology (Mr Philip Dunne) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

As part of the Strategic Defence and Security Review in 2010 we announced that we would withdraw half of the UK Armed Forces currently based in Germany by 2015 and the remainder by 2020.

Consistent with that announcement, we are now in a position to clarify when we will close the Ministry of Defence (MOD) main storage and distribution depot in Dülmen, Germany. The depot will cease non-core activities by October 2015 with a view to closing the site by September 2016 and releasing it to the German Federal authorities.

Regrettably, this will result in redundancies of 242 locally employed civilians, in two tranches in autumn 2015 and 2016. MOD officials will work closely with the German employment agency to support the transition of the employees into new jobs, including paid time off to attend training and resettlement courses. The small number of UK civil servants will be given access to normal departmental procedures to secure alternative employment and the UK military staff will be redeployed to other posts as their roles cease.

Detailed plans for the drawdown from the Wulfen Depot are still to be formulated, and are not specifically linked to the decision regarding Dülmen. I can also assure you that all relevant German authorities will continue to be involved by us as we work to finalise plans for our withdrawal from Germany.

Department for Communities and Local Government: Business during Prorogation


The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Stowell of Beeston) (Con): My right hon Friend the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Eric Pickles) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement

I would like to update hon. Members on the main items of business undertaken by my Department since the House rose for the prorogation of Parliament and since the start of the new session.

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Her Majestys Most Gracious Speech

The Queen’s Speech is a further step in the Coalition Government’s long-term economic plan to secure the recovery for our country. We want a Britain that pays its way in the world, has a stronger, more competitive economy and gives hard-working people peace of mind for the future.

Measures in the Infrastructure Bill related to the work of this Department would:

• Enable surplus and redundant public sector land and property to be sold more quickly by cutting red tape around such sales, increasing the amount of brownfield land available for new homes;• End unreasonable and excessive delays on projects which already have been granted planning permission, by a new ‘deemed discharge’ provision on planning conditions; this will help speed up house building;• Modernise and digitise the Land Registry, improving services and aiming to reduce costs to end users, helping speed up the home buying process;• Create a framework to give house builders cost-effective offsite opportunities to meet the zero carbon homes standard; and• Improve the nationally significant infrastructure regime by making a number of technical administrative improvements to the Planning Act 2008 following a review of how the Act has operated.

In addition, the Deregulation Bill, which has been carried over, will include the following measures that would cut red tape and scale back bureaucratic restrictions; it will:

• Further extend the Right to Buy, by reducing the eligibility period that a social tenant has have to qualify for the Right to Buy and the Right to Acquire from five years to three years, bringing home ownership closer for approximately 275,000 households;• Reform outdated rules from the 1970s preventing London residents from renting their homes on a short-term basis to visitors, assisting the take-up of innovative internet sites such as airbnb and onefinestay.• Scrap the Labour Government’s unfair bin fines, which penalised families for not following complex and arbitrary bin rules; • Remove top-down, prescriptive requirements on local authorities to consult and produce various unnecessary strategies, giving them more freedom from Whitehall micro-management in line with the Coalition Government’s ongoing localism agenda.

In addition a measure in the Consumer Rights Bill will ensure full transparency on letting agents’ fees, closing off the opportunity for a small minority of rogue agents to impose unreasonable, hidden charges. This common sense approach avoids excessive state regulation which would push up rents for tenants.

Getting Britain building

The Queen’s Speech re-affirmed the Coalition Government’s commitment to further increase housing supply and home ownership.

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Housebuilding: On 15 May, my Department published house building figures for the latest quarter showing housing starts are 11% up on the previous quarter and a third higher than the same time last year. House building by councils is now at a 23-year high; more new council housing was built in London last year than in all the 13 years of the last Labour Government combined.

Help to Buy: Help to Buy is opening up home ownership to thousands and supporting the long-term plan to help hardworking people secure a better future for their families. Private house building has increased by 34% since the launch of the Help to Buy scheme in April 2013 and overall, housing starts are now at the highest level since 2007. On 29 May, official figures for the Help to Buy equity loan and mortgage guarantee schemes showed that 27,861 households have been helped by the scheme. It continues to overwhelmingly benefit first-time buyers, with the vast majority of sales outside of London and at prices well below the national average. Help to Buy is directly helping to increase housing supply, with the scheme driving demand and supply of new-build homes. Almost three quarters (74%) of homes bought through both Help to Buy schemes are new-build properties.

Affordable housing: On 30 May, my Department announced that 13 housing associations will receive a share of £208 million in government guaranteed loans to build affordable homes across the country. In total, 26 borrowers have now been approved for loans that will enable 5,900 homes to be built. The agreement forms part of the Affordable Housing Guarantees Scheme, delivered by Affordable Housing Finance, part of The Housing Finance Corporation. Through the scheme, the Government uses its strong economic record from tackling Labour’s deficit to guarantee and unlock up to £3.5 billion of cheaper debt for Affordable Housing Finance, enabling it to lend this on to housing associations to build new homes to rent for hard-working people.

Decent Homes: On 28 May, my Department announced a deal that could see council tenants in Salford benefit from up to £75 million investment in their homes. We have given the green light to Salford City Council to transfer ownership of its social homes to Salix Homes, a non-profit company, by writing off the council’s £65 million historic housing debt. In exchange, Salix Homes made a commitment to invest £75 million to ensure all 8,500 properties will reach the Government’s Decent Homes standard by 2020.

Self-Build: On 3 May, I attended the Grand Designs Live event for custom build week. Self-build and custom-build offer an important alternative in providing greener, more affordable and more innovatively designed homes. Our £150 million budget boost to self-builders will help turn these visions into bricks and mortar. The Right to Build scheme will provide the solid foundation for more self-build, unlocking council and other land as a right, rather than a request, to help self-builders secure their desired plot. Self-builders are also exempt from the Community Infrastructure Levy, saving them on average £15,000 for a 4 bed property; we intend to follow this through by making similar changes to offer relief on Section 106 tariffs imposed on self-build.

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Promoting Community Rights

On 26 May, my Department paid tribute to the communities that have used their new powers to protect around 1,200 local assets including pubs, parks, libraries, sports grounds and theatres from sell-off across England. The Coalition Government has taken action to give local communities new rights to help shape how local public services are run and planning decisions are made. Local residents can put forward a community asset to their council to have it listed as a protected asset and, if approved, this gives a six-month window for the community to put in a bid to buy it should it be put up for sale.

Boosting local growth and jobs through Enterprise Zones

Enterprise Zones are part of our long term economic plan to secure a better future for people right across the country. Enterprise Zones are a major global investment opportunity. Many of the 24 Zones are already home to world-leading businesses and as their reputation grows they are attracting even more new interest from investors over the world. Since their start three years ago, Enterprise Zones have created over 9,000 jobs, attracted over 300 businesses and secured £1.2 billion of private sector investment.

On 28 May, my Department announced that £23 million of essential infrastructure investment will help bring more jobs to Bristol, Manchester, Great Yarmouth and Leicestershire.

The infrastructure investment will fund:

• Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone – awarded £6 million for commercial development in and around the new city centre;• MIRA Technology Park Enterprise Zone – awarded £7.4 million for the construction of a new spine and distribution roads with a roundabout to increase access to the Hinckley site;• Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft Enterprise Zone – awarded £3 million to deliver 5,700 square metres of speculative office and industrial units, as well as road and utilities for Beacon Park, Great Yarmouth;• Manchester Enterprise Zone – awarded £6 million to open up key sites to attract companies in the healthcare and medical technology sectors.

On 3 June, I met with Chinese business leaders as part of a drive to attract further international investment to the UK’s Enterprise Zones. Chinese businesses have already committed billions to Enterprise Zones in London and Manchester. The conference was a chance to show them the potential of other Enterprise Zones and for business leaders from the UK and Asia to explore trade and investment opportunities. The conference was organised by Advanced Business Park, a major Chinese commercial enterprise, one year after they announced a £1 billion investment to transform the London Royal Albert Dock into a new business district in London.

Supporting Great British high streets

Between 14 and 28 May, over 900 markets across Britain, including 100 youth markets, held thousands of events as part of the third annual Love Your Local

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Market fortnight long celebration of market culture in the UK delivered by the National Association of British Market Authorities and supported by the Coalition Government.

The campaign is proving so successful that it will be now be recreated on the Continent. France, Italy, Spain and Holland have all signed up to the Love Your Local Market brand, and will be followed by the likes of Ireland, Poland, Hungary, Greece, Cyprus, Lebanon, Slovenia and Slovakia next year.

As part of the Coalition Government’s commitment to the high street, the Future High Streets Forum chaired by my Hon. Friend the Member for Great Yarmouth (Brandon Lewis) published a report on 31 May identifying local leadership as the recipe for high street success.

The report Good Leadership: Great High Streets analysed four Portas Pilot towns and found that good local leadership was behind their successful reinvention. It concludes that any town centre, regardless of size, can really benefit from good leadership habits. The Forum recommends that every town centre across the country puts in place a structure, direction and a vision for their work.

Celebrating England’s counties

On 16 May, my Department raised the flag of Middlesex to mark Middlesex Day and on 2 June, my Department also raised the flag of Dorset to celebrate Dorset Day. England’s traditional counties date back over a thousand years of history, but in the past, many of them were sidelined by Whitehall and municipal bureaucrats. By contrast, the Coalition Government is championing local people in flying the flag for such traditional ties and community spirit.

I am placing in the Library copies of the press notices and documents associated with these announcements.

Energy: Renewable Electricity


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 Michael Fallon (MP) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Eight major renewable electricity projects have now signed the first contracts under the Government’s electricity market reforms. These projects will provide up to £12 billion of private sector investment, supporting 8,500 jobs by 2020.

The Government is committed to working actively with project developers to avoid delays to projects whilst enduring Electricity Market Reform (EMR) is being put in place. These contracts, awarded under the Final Investment Decision Enabling for Renewables process, will enable developers of renewable electricity projects to take final or other critical investment decisions, directly impacting on the time to commissioning their project.

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These projects include offshore windfarms, coal to biomass conversion plants and dedicated biomass plants with combined heat and power, and together represent:

• additional renewables capacity of approximately 4.5 GW;• around 15TWh or 14% of the renewable electricity we expect to come forward by 2020; and• a reduction of about 10MtCO2 from the UK power sector per annum compared to fossil fuel generation.

We have put in place a framework of sustainability criteria and reporting requirements for biomass which covers these projects. These will ensure that we only provide support for biomass plants which meet the appropriate legal requirements for low carbon generation.

These contracts are just one of the Electricity Market Reform (EMR) measures designed to ensure a reliable, diverse and low-carbon power market. DECC has robust plans to deal with security of supply, working jointly with National Grid and the energy regulator Ofgem.

I am grateful to all applicants for their participation in the FID Enabling for Renewables process. The level of interest in the process demonstrates industry support for EMR and the healthiness of the renewables sector in the UK.

The signed contracts were yesterday laid in both Houses.

Energy: Shale Gas and Geothermal Energy


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 Michael Fallon (MP) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The Government published a consultation on proposals to reform the procedure for securing underground access to oil or gas deposits and geothermal energy on 23 May. This consultation will run for 12 weeks and close on 15 August.

This consultation concerns two fledgling industries, shale gas and geothermal energy, which may hold significant potential for adding to the UK’s domestic energy resources. Whilst these industries are both at an early stage, the Government is considering whether the existing legislative framework is fit for purpose to enable them to determine this potential.

The consultation examines the existing procedures by which companies who wish to extract oil, gas or geothermal energy obtain access rights to underground land, and the problems raised by these procedures. We believe that, so far as underground development goes, the existing system does not strike the right balance between the legitimate interests and concerns of landowners, and the benefits to the community and nation at large of permitting development, where that development is otherwise acceptable in planning and environmental terms.

The consultation also sets out the options that have been considered during this process. The preferred solution presented consists of three elements: an underground right of access below 300m (nearly 1,000ft),

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a voluntary payment from industry, and a voluntary public notification for access. The voluntary industry agreement would be supported by a statutory reserve power in the case that industry defaulted on their commitment. Notification would be made in the form of public announcements to the local community. This solution would significantly simplify the existing procedure. The shale and geothermal industries will be able to proceed with developing their potential, and local communities will be appropriately informed and compensated for this right of access.

The solution outlined in the consultation does not change any other aspect of the existing regulatory system, such as procedures for surface access, planning/environmental permits or safety controls. In particular, the proposals do not affect existing requirements for public consultation prior to the grant of planning permission or environmental permits of developments.

The Government is inviting feedback on the solution outlined in this consultation, and would welcome views from anyone with an interest.

The consultation can be viewed at:


Copies of the publication have been placed in the Libraries of the House.

Energy: Zero Carbon Homes


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

The Coalition Government has strengthened the energy requirements for new homes significantly since we came into office, reducing energy bills for home owners and saving carbon as we move towards the zero carbon home standard from 2016. We are now putting in place the final piece of the jigsaw by bringing forward legislation to enable the framework for allowable solutions.

The zero carbon homes standard will be achieved through a combination of high energy efficiency standards, further measures on the dwelling to mitigate carbon, such as solar panels, and allowable solutions. From 2016, we intend to introduce a further strengthening of the energy performance requirements which we anticipate to be set at a level equivalent to level 4 energy standards of the Code for Sustainable Homes.

But making all new homes zero carbon ‘on site’ is not always physically feasible or cost effective for house builders, so the Government will also introduce a system to enable remaining carbon emissions abatement to be met through flexible, cost-effective allowable solutions. Allowable solutions will be ‘off site’ measures to be supported by house builders. These could include creating or expanding connections to sustainable energy

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sources (e.g. district heating schemes) or improving existing homes’ energy efficiency by retro-fitting measures such as solid wall insulation.

A consultation was held last summer on options for allowable solutions—principles, price cap and delivery methods. This proposed a menu of options for house builders, including taking action themselves, contracting with a third party provider to deliver allowable solutions on their behalf, or making a payment to a fund which invests in projects equivalent to their obligations for carbon abatement. The Government will publish its response to the consultation shortly.

We need to have a legislative framework to introduce allowable solutions alongside the well established approach to setting energy performance standards through Part L of the Building Regulations.

Our approach represents a much more flexible and cost effective way forward for house builders. But we recognise that this will represent a bigger challenge for small house builders than for larger house builders. That is why we think an exemption is necessary and we will consult on how an exemption will work, to ensure that it is targeted effectively and is proportionate.

Zero carbon is one of the most ambitious standards for reducing carbon from new homes anywhere in the world. We have taken great strides with the changes to Building Regulations we have made since 2010; legislation for allowable solutions will enable us to complete the picture in time for 2016.

EU: Telecommunications Council


Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Con): My Hon friend, the Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries (Ed Vaizey) has made the following statement:

The Telecommunications Council will take place in Luxembourg on 6 June 2014. I will represent the UK and below are the agenda items and the positions I intend to adopt on each of them. The first item is a progress report from the Presidency on the Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning measures to ensure a high level of network and information security across the Union. (First reading—EM6342/13). Whilst no formal debate is scheduled on the agenda it is expected that some Member States may wish to intervene. In this instance the UK’s intervention will strongly support the Presidency’s progress report and in particular the principles in the report related to information sharing, co-operation and incident reporting which would allow far more flexibility for Member States than the Commission’s original proposal.

The Second item is a progress report on the Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down measures concerning the European single market for electronic communications and to achieve a Connected Continent. (First reading - EM13562/13 and 13555/13 + ADD’s 1-2). Again, no formal debate is scheduled but should there be interventions, I intend to indicate UK’s continued support for a simplified Regulation and in particular an outcome that leads to the cessation of mobile

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roaming charges by 2016, along with increased consumer protection. Finally, we will also reiterate our stance, whereby we do not support the proposals that would give the Commission further competency over spectrum management nor those that would result in the introduction of regulation regarding net neutrality.

These items will be followed by a presentation by the Commission on the latest iteration of the Digital Agenda scoreboard; I do not expect to intervene on this item.

This will be followed by three items under AOB, all updates from the Presidency on: the Proposal for a Regulation from the European Parliament and of the Council on electronic identification and trust services for electronic transactions in the internal market. (First Reading - EM10977/12); a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on measures to reduce the costs of deploying high-speed electronic communication networks. (First Reading – EM7999/13); and a Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the accessibility to public sector bodies' web-sites (First reading - EM16006/11). I do not intend to intervene on any of these items.

Finally, the Italian delegation will inform the Council of their priorities for their forthcoming Presidency before Council adjourns until the next meeting in November 2014.

Government: Legislative Programme


The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Hill of Oareford) (Con): Following yesterday’s State Opening of Parliament, and for the convenience of the House, I am listing below the 11 Bills which were announced:

Armed Forces (Service Complaints and Financial Assistance) BillChildcare Payments BillInfrastructure BillModern Slavery BillNational Insurance Contributions BillPrivate Pensions BillPensions Tax BillRecall of MPs BillSerious Crime BillSmall Business, Enterprise and Employment BillSocial Action, Responsibility and Heroism BillThe following Bills are being carried over into the new session:Consumer Rights BillCriminal Justice and Courts BillDeregulation BillWales Bill

The following Bills will be published in draft:

Protection of Charities Bill

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Riot (Damages) BillNational Park Authorities (Elections) Bill

Detailed information about each of these Bills can be accessed from the No. 10 website at: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/prime-ministers-office-10-downing-street

Government: Legislative Programme for Northern Ireland


The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Wales Office (Baroness Randerson) (LD): My Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Theresa Villiers) has made the following Written Statement:

The Fourth Session UK legislative programme unveiled in the Queen’s Speech on 4 June contains measures of relevance to the people of Northern Ireland.

The following is a summary of the legislation announced in the Queen’s Speech and its proposed application to Northern Ireland. It does not include draft Bills.

The list also identifies the lead Government department.

The following Bills will extend to Northern Ireland, in whole or in part, and deal mainly with excepted/reserved matters. Discussions will continue between the Government and the Northern Ireland Executive to ensure that, where provisions that are specifically for a transferred purpose are included in any of these Bills, the consent of the Northern Ireland Assembly will be sought for them:

Armed Forces (Service Complaints and Financial Assistance) (MOD)National Insurance Contributions (HM Treasury)Childcare Payments (HM Treasury)Pensions Tax (HM Treasury)Recall of MPs (Cabinet Office)

The following Bills may extend to Northern Ireland to varying degrees. They may require the consent of the Northern Ireland Assembly in relation to provisions in the devolved field:

Serious Crime (Home Office)Infrastructure (Department for Transport)Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill (BIS)Private Pensions (DWP)Modern Slavery (Home Office)

Discussions will continue between the Government and the Northern Ireland Executive on those Bills that might include provisions that require the consent of the Northern Ireland Assembly

The following Bills will have limited or no application to Northern Ireland:

Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism (MOJ)Draft Protection of Charities (Cabinet Office)Draft Riot (Damages) (Home Office)Draft National Park Authorities (Elections) (DEFRA)

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Government: Legislative Programme for Scotland


The Advocate-General for Scotland (Lord Wallace of Tankerness) (LD): My Right Honourable Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland (Alistair Carmichael) has made the following Written Statement:

9 of the 11 new Bills mentioned in the Queen’s Speech for this Session of Parliament contain provisions that apply in Scotland, either in full or in part.

In this legislative session we will take measures that will help build a fairer society and a stronger economy across the United Kingdom.

Thousands of working families in Scotland will benefit from help to meet childcare costs. The speech also outlines the reforms to the pensions system, giving savers greater discretion over the use of their retirement funds.

The Government will also help hard pressed small businesses with measures to help them more easily secure the vital finances that they need to grow.

We will maximise North Sea resources, helping to ensure future energy supply by implementing recommendations of the Wood Review. We will also take forward proposals to give communities the right to buy a stake in their local renewable electricity scheme and gain a greater share in the associated financial benefits.

We will also legislate to ensure that Armed Forces charities are able to receive Government payments under the commitments of the Armed Forces Covenant and we will increase the accountability of Members of Parliament by introducing a mechanism for the recall of Members where serious wrong doing has occurred.

Other measures will help tackle serious crime across the UK including in Scotland, for example in clamping down on drug-cutting agents, and we will work with the Scottish Government on various measures including extending the use of serious crime prevention orders to Scotland and bringing forward amendments to the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation (Scotland) Act 2005 to help crack down on that abominable crime.

The speech also reiterated the commitment of the Government of making the case for Scotland staying in the United Kingdom in 2014. The Government will fight for a secure Scotland within a strong and prosperous United Kingdom and will continue to work to help create a stronger economy and a fairer society both in Scotland and the United Kingdom.

During this Session we will also reaffirm our commitment to strengthening devolution by commencing vital provisions of the Scotland Act 2012. From April 2015, UK Stamp Duty Land Tax and Landfill tax will be switched off in Scotland and the Scottish Parliament will introduce new Scottish taxes to replace them. Scottish Ministers will also have enhanced borrowing powers and access to a cash reserve to manage revenues from the two taxes. This will increase the accountability

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of the Scottish Government and Parliament for raising funds as well as taking decisions about how it spends them.

From April 2016, a Scottish rate of Income Tax will also be introduced, giving the Scottish Parliament additional flexibility in how it raises funds for devolved spending.

This statement provides a summary of the legislation announced in the Queen’s Speech and its application to Scotland. It does not include draft Bills.

The Government is committed to the principles of the Sewel Convention, and we will continue to work constructively with the Scottish Government to secure consent for Bills that contain provisions requiring the consent of the Scottish Parliament.

The Bills listed in section 1 will apply to Scotland, either in full or in part, on introduction. Section 2 details Bills that will not apply in Scotland at introduction.

Section 1: Legislation applying to the United Kingdom, including Scotland (either in full or in part):

Armed Forces (Service Complaints and Financial Assistance)Childcare PaymentsInfrastructureNational Insurance ContributionsPensions TaxPrivate PensionsRecall of Members of ParliamentSerious CrimeSmall Business, Enterprise and Employment

Section 2: Legislation that will not apply in Scotland:

Social Action, Responsibility and HeroismModern Slavery.

Government: Legislative Programme for Wales


The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Wales Office (Baroness Randerson) (LD): My Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State for Wales (David Jones) has made the following Ministerial statement.

The Government’s Fourth Session legislative programme announced in the Queen’s Speech on 4 June contains a wide range of measures that will apply to Wales, either in full or in part.

The following Bills and draft Bills will extend to Wales:

Armed Forces (Service Complaints and Financial Assistance) Bill (Ministry of Defence)Childcare Payments Bill (HM Revenue and Customs and HM Treasury)Modern Slavery Bill (Home Office)National Insurance Contributions Bill (HM Revenue and Customs)Pensions Tax Bill (HM Treasury)Private Pensions Bill (Department for Work and Pensions)

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Draft Protection of Charities Bill (Cabinet Office)Recall of MPs Bill (Cabinet Office)Draft Riot (Damages) Bill (Home Office)Social Action, Responsibility and Heroism Bill (Ministry of Justice)Serious Crime Bill (Home Office)

The following Bills may extend to Wales in varying degrees:

Infrastructure Bill (Department for Transport)Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills)

The following draft Bill will not extend to Wales:

Draft National Park Authorities (Elections) Bill (Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

Discussions will continue with the Welsh Government on Bills that might include provisions that require the consent of the National Assembly for Wales or Welsh Ministers.

Government: State of the Estate


Lord Wallace of Saltaire (LD): My right honourable friend the Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General (Francis Maude) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I have today laid before Parliament, pursuant to Section 86 of the Climate Change Act 2008, “State of the Estate in 2013”. This report provides an assessment of the efficiency and sustainability of the Government's Civil Estate and records the progress that Government is making. The report is published on an annual basis.

Hague Convention: Choice of Court Agreements


The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Faulks) (Con): My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, Minister for the Courts and Legal Aid (Shailesh Vara) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

“The Government has decided that the United Kingdom should opt in to the proposed Council Decision on the approval, on behalf of the European Union, of the Hague Convention of 30 June 2005 on choice of court agreements. The President of the Council was notified on 30 April.

The Hague Convention on Choice of Law agreements was agreed in 2005. It will give greater legal force to choice of court agreements – that is to say, agreements made by the parties to a civil or commercial contract about their preferred dispute resolution forum in the event of a dispute.

The effect of the Convention will be that courts will, in principle, have to give effect to such agreements. Similar rules are already provided in the recast Brussels I Regulation (1215/2012) for intra-EU cases. The Convention will, however, mean that courts in the EU

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will, in principle, be required to decline jurisdiction in favour of a court in a non-EU country that has been chosen by the parties. In the absence of ratification of the Convention, courts in the EU would have no such obligation. If those courts accepted jurisdiction it could work against legal certainty and, in certain cases, lead to the proceedings being substantially slowed.

The Convention has so far been ratified by Mexico and signed by the United States and the European Union. It is expected that more states will ratify soon.

The operation of the principle of exclusive EU external competence is such that, because of the existence of internal EU rules on jurisdiction, the EU must act collectively to give effect to this Convention and a Council decision is required. Once approved, the effect of the Decision will be that the Convention has effect throughout the EU (with the exception of Denmark) as a matter of EU law.

The Convention is likely to be of particular benefit to UK stakeholders, including those in the City of London. As a major centre for commercial business, the UK will benefit from enhanced legal certainty in relation to choice of court agreements. Commercial contracts worldwide specify with impressive frequency English common law as the applicable law, with courts in the UK chosen as the fora for resolution of any disputes. Given the benefits likely to accrue to UK interests from the Convention the Government has decided to opt in.”

Legislation: Explanatory Notes


The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Hill of Oareford) (Con): Today the Government have introduced the Armed Forces (Service Complaints and Financial Assistance) Bill in this House. The explanatory notes to this Bill pilot a new format which should be easier to follow and work better with online content. The notes include the following:

· A table of contents for the notes· A grid showing the application of each part of the Bill to each part of the United Kingdom· A note to the explanation of each clause and Schedule showing the application of the provision to each part of the United Kingdom· An explanation of both the policy and legal backgrounds, along with a summary of the existing law· An explanation of the financial implications of the Bill· Links to relevant policy documents· An explanation of how the measures in the Bill will be commenced

The new format follows a review of explanatory notes which was conducted by the Cabinet Office and the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel as part of the Good Law project. In support of this work officials met a range of interested parties and carried out an online survey which obtained views from within and beyond Parliament. The results of this survey have been placed in the Library of the House.

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A full evaluation of this pilot will be conducted following its completion and I would encourage any feedback to be provided to my office.

Open Government Partnership Annual Summit


Lord Wallace of Saltaire (LD): My right honourable friend the Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General (Francis Maude) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The UK Government hosted the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Annual Summit on 31 October– 1 November 2013. The summit marked the end of the UK’s chairmanship of the OGP and brought over 1,500 people together to: learn from each other; reflect on the OGP’s achievements to date; set ambitious new commitments for greater openness and demonstrate that open government tangibly improves the lives of citizens. The ambition was to bring together as many government and civil society reformers as possible from across the OGP network, as well as business leaders, journalists and bloggers and representatives from international organizations – in the end we welcomed over 1,500 participants from 83 governments and civil society organisations around the world. The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre in Westminster was hired as sufficiently large enough to accommodate a varied and innovative agenda and it offered the flexibility to operate different kinds of sessions simultaneously. The venue was well equipped for our security needs, as Heads of Government were invited from a number of countries. It also provided the facilities needed for translation services.

The Summit was coordinated by the Cabinet Office with involvement from the Foreign Office, the Department for International Development, the OGP Support Unit and other interested civil society representatives. The event production company WRG was hired to run the event logistics, which included managing the venue and onsite media operation, producing delegate materials and liaising with speakers. Foreign Office embassies were involved in engaging the participation of 82 overseas governments in the event, and their lobbying efforts helped to secure the announcement of new commitments on openness from 37 governments at the Summit.

Due to a number of high-profile ministers in attendance, the Metropolitan Police provided security and special protection for VIPs. Further questions about the Police operation should be directed to the Metropolitan Police. A Pre-Summit reception and dinner was held for 300 guests in Lancaster House on 30 October, and a reception sponsored by the World Bank was held for all delegates in the Summit venue on 31 October.

It was important for the event to engage the widest possible audience. It was live streamed online and video content from each session was subsequently uploaded to the OGP website and YouTube channel. Live streaming enabled individuals around the world to participate remotely, including the US Secretary of State John Kerry who took part in one of the plenary

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sessions via video link. The venue housed a media centre for press conferences and to enable key participants to be interviewed. Interpreters provided simultaneous translation of the main plenary session in addition to some breakout sessions in French, Spanish, Russian and Arabic. Broadcast, print, online and social media meant we were able to reach millions of people around the world, who did not attend the summit. This considerable external interest in the Summit was evidenced by the fact that it was placed second on the BBC news website and that #OGP13 was trending on Twitter in the UK.

The emphasis on peer learning in the OGP led to the development of an exhibition of 60 innovative projects from across the globe that had either developed to facilitate or had developed as a consequence of open government initiatives. The aim of the festival was to provide participants with the opportunity to learn how to make progress on open government, explore the work of others, create new ideas, solutions or services and encourage networking.

The central funding for the event came from the Cabinet Office, supported by funding for the pre-Summit Reception from the Foreign Office. We agreed a budget of £1.6 million for the summit but every effort was made to balance the need to deliver a powerful event engaging the widest possible audience with the need to reduce costs. As a result the actual amount spent was significantly less, at under £1.3 million. In-house resources were used as much as possible and delegates were required to cover their own costs to attend. The Cabinet Office did not provide any travel support to delegates, and instead a travel support fund was coordinated by the OGP Support Unit. The Cabinet Office furthermore secured sponsorship from Omidyar Network for live streaming costs and the World Bank for the Main Reception on 31 October.

Below is a breakdown of the summit costs:








Venue hire




Protocol and associated costs


Staff costs (non-salary)


Welcome Reception and Dinner


Police costs






Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre: Performance Targets


The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Stowell of Beeston) (Con): I am today announcing Key Performance Targets have been agreed for the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre for the period 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2015.

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The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre is an Executive Agency of the Department with trading fund status. It has proved to be a highly effective trading fund over many years, and has met its key financial target and returned a significant dividend to HM Treasury in every year but one since it was established as a trading fund in 1997. All of its costs are paid for by revenue from room bookings, catering and other income. It does not receive any financial support from the Department. As such, it represents excellent value for the taxpayer.

The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre is also part of the Government’s national emergency contingency planning.

The Centre’s principal financial target for 2014-15 is to achieve a minimum dividend payment to the Department for Communities and Local Government of £1.5 million as proposed in the Centre’s business plan for the year.

The centre also has the following targets to achieve:

• Room Hire – To achieve a Capacity Utilisation ratio of 49%.• To generate secondary revenue from Audio Visual & IT services and catering royalty which in total equates to a ratio of 90% of room hire revenue.• To achieve an overall score for client satisfaction of at least 90%.• To receive less than 2 complaints per 100 events held.

Riot (Damages) Act 1886


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

Today I have launched a consultation on reforms to the Riot (Damages) Act 1886.

The Riot (Damages) Act seeks to protect vulnerable communities from the financial impact of serious disorder both on individuals and businesses. However, following the widespread disorder in the summer of 2011, it became clear that the legislation governing riot compensation was outdated and of limited benefit to victims and to those handling claims. The Government commissioned an Independent Review of the act in 2013 which reported in November. The Government believes that protection should continue to be provided to individuals and businesses affected by riots. Having considered the recommendations of the Independent Review, the Government will now consult on options to reform and modernise the law and practice. The results of this consultation will help to inform the draft bill we intend to present to this House later in the Parliamentary Session.

A copy of this consultation will be placed in the House Library. It will also be available on the Home Office website: www.gov.uk.

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Thames Tideway Tunnel


The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley) (Con): My Right Hon Friend the Secretary of State (Owen Paterson) has today made the following statement.

I wish to update the house on progress on the Thames Tideway Tunnel since the Written Ministerial Statement made on 3 November 2011 by my hon. Friend the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Richard Benyon).

In that statement the Government reaffirmed its support for Thames Water’s plans to build a tunnel to reduce the amount of untreated waste water being discharged into the River Thames. We also stated that while the private sector could and should deliver the project, the Government was willing in principle to provide contingent financial support for exceptional project risks where this offered best value for money for customers and taxpayers.

Following due consideration the Secretary of State has determined to exercise his power today to issue a Thames Tideway Tunnel Project Specification Notice and a Thames Tideway Tunnel Project Preparatory Work Notice made under the Water Industry (Specified Infrastructure Projects) (English Undertakers) Regulations 2013 (“SIP Regulations” ). These notices will be available on the GovUK website shortly.

This action follows the consultation undertaken from 4 December 2013 to 6 January 2014 on the draft reasons for specifying the project under the SIP Regulations as a specified infrastructure project and the draft reasons for issuing a Preparatory Work Notice for Thames Water. On 23 April 2014 we published a summary of responses to these two consultations.

The Specification Notice prevents Thames Water from undertaking the Thames Tideway Tunnel and requires it to put the project out to tender by running a competitive procurement for an Infrastructure Provider (“IP”) that is separate from Thames Water. The Specification Notice contains the activities that the IP has to undertake and includes the project’s financing, design, construction, operation and ownership. The Preparatory Work Notice permits or requires Thames Water to undertake certain activities of a preparatory nature in connection with the specified infrastructure project.

In addition to these notices, we have also published an additional two notices: a notice setting out the Secretary of State’s reasons for specifying the project and a notice setting out his reasons for issuing the Preparatory Work Notice.

In summary, the competitive procurement of a separate IP will help ensure value for money by providing an objective means of testing whether the financing costs of the project are appropriate and reasonable. If the project were to be delivered solely by Thames Water then this competitive element for determining and helping drive down the financing costs of the project would be absent. A separate entity that undertakes the project will also isolate the project risks within that

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entity. That will both reduce the risk that the costs of delivering Thames Water’s other services to customers will increase due to the risk profile of the project, and ensure that any Government financial support is focussed on the project.

Thames Water is permitted or required to undertake certain preparatory work in relation to the specified project where this makes sense for the project timetable or to reduce interface risks. This preparatory work has a similar risk profile to Thames Water’s existing business.

Following the procurement process, the economic regulator Ofwat will consider designating and licensing the successful bidder as the project’s IP. This is likely to be in mid-2015. Assuming the IP is licensed, it will then become subject to a modified regulatory regime which is broadly similar to the regime which applies to water and sewerage companies.

Following further careful consideration, we have also confirmed that a support package from the Government is necessary to enable the project to attract private sector finance at a cost that is reasonable for customers. In structuring this support package we have been mindful of the need to keep the burden on the taxpayer to the absolute minimum required for the project to be viable.

Through the Government support package, the Government will take on some of the low probability but high impact risks the project faces during the construction phase. If these risks do not materialise, there will be no exposure for the taxpayer. The package provides support in the following five scenarios:

• where an event during construction leads to an insurance claim that exceeds the limits of the IPs’ insurance cover, the Government would meet the liability above that limit. In addition, if certain insurance cover becomes unavailable in the market and is essential for the project to continue, Government will consider providing that cover;• should the IP be unable to access debt capital markets as a result of national or international economic or political events, the Government would be prepared to provide a short term loan on commercial terms. This would help the project to continue during any period of disruption in the financial markets, for example like those experienced in 2008;• where exceptionally large cost overruns occur the Government would be prepared to invest equity in the project to enable it to continue to completion where this remains viable. The IP would be incentivised to manage costs and so avoid this situation occurring and to seek further private equity before calling on the Government. However if the Government was required to invest, appropriate measures would be put in place to ensure taxpayers received value for money;• the Government support package also makes provision for the Government to discontinue the project and pay compensation to debt and equity investors in certain circumstances. For example, where the IP requests an investment of Government

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equity due to exceptional cost overruns, the Government would have the option of discontinuing and paying compensation rather than providing equity; and • The final element of the Government support package is a commitment from the Government that should the IP go into special administration and remain there beyond 18 months, the Government will either make an offer to purchase the IP or discontinue the project.

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The Government support package is subject to state aid approval from the EU Commission.

Following the Government’s decision to specify the project, we expect Thames Water to initiate the procurement process for the IP by publishing a contract notice in the Official Journal of the European Union. Competitions for the three main construction contracts for the project are already underway.