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Written Statements

Wednesday 11 June 2014

Big Lottery Fund: Triennial Review


Lord Wallace of Saltaire (LD): My honourable friend the Minister for Civil Society (Nick Hurd MP) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

On 21 November 2013, as Minister with responsibility for Civil Society, I announced in Parliament through a written ministerial statement, Official Report, column 55WS, commencement of the triennial review of the Big Lottery Fund. I am now pleased to announce the completion of the review.

The review concludes that the functions performed by the Big Lottery Fund are still required and that it should be retained as a non-departmental public body (NDPB). The review also looked at the governance arrangements for the Fund in line with guidance on good corporate governance and considered the efficiency and effectiveness of the Fund. The report, which has been examined by a Challenge Group, makes recommendations in this respect.

The full report of the review of the Big Lottery Fund can be found on the gov.uk website and copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Education: National Curriculum


The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash) (Con): My right honourable Friend the Secretary of State for Education (Michael Gove) made the following announcement.

On 11 September 2013, I published the new national curriculum for all subjects except for English, mathematics and science at key stage 4. Following a consultation on draft programmes of study for key stage 4 English and mathematics from 2 December 2013 to 3 February 2014, the Department is consulting, until 13 June, on the draft Order and regulations that will give effect to the new programmes of study. The final programmes of study are planned to be published by the end of the current school year.

Today, I am publishing for consultation the programme of study for science at key stage 4. The consultation will run until 23 July 2014. On 9 April 2014 we published the new GCSE subject content for science. It is important to consider this programme of study alongside the GCSE subject content to ensure that the curriculum and qualifications are fully coherent.

The programme of study in science at key stage 4 is more challenging. It has been drafted by experts to ensure that it sets expectations that match those in the highest performing jurisdictions. The content is closely aligned to GCSE combined science content. It builds upon and deepens understanding of ideas developed in earlier key stages in the subject disciplines of biology,

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chemistry and physics. It focuses on the big ideas in science such as evolution and inheritance, the atomic structure and energy and forces and includes new content on developing areas such as the human genome. The working scientifically section emphasises the importance of practical work including experimental skills, analysis and evaluation of data and the understanding and nature of scientific evidence. It makes clear that working scientifically should be embedded within the subject content across all three science disciplines.

The key stage 4 programme of study for science will be introduced from September 2016, alongside first teaching of the new science GCSEs.

Copies of the consultation on the programme of study for key stage 4 science will be placed in both House libraries.

EU: Agriculture and Fisheries Council


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.

The next Agriculture and Fisheries Council will be on 16 and 17 June in Luxembourg. My honourable friend, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (George Eustice), will represent the UK. Richard Lochhead MSP and Alun Davies AM will also attend.

There are both fisheries and agriculture items on this month’s agenda.

On agriculture the Commission may present its progress reports on proposals for a Regulation combining and reinforcing existing school fruit and milk schemes, and a Regulation fixing certain aids and refunds related to the common organisation of the markets in agricultural products. Draft Council conclusions on the Commission’s reports on the implementation of the provisions concerning producer organisations, operational funds and operational programmes in the fruit and vegetables sector since the 2007 reform and an optional quality term “product of island farming” will be adopted. The Commission will present its report on the development of the market situation in the milk and milk products sector. A Council Decision authorising the opening of negotiations on agreements between the European Union and third countries on trade in organic products may be adopted. There will also be an exchange of views on the implementation of CAP Reform at national level.

The Minister will join informal talks with US Secretary of Agriculture Mr Tom Vilsack during a working lunch hosted by the Presidency and Commission.

On fisheries there will be a state of play item to endorse a draft Omnibus (landing obligation) Regulation. The Presidency is expected to present a state of play paper on the implementation of the Common Fisheries

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Policy Discard Plans in all regions followed by an exchange of views. Denmark has requested a discussion on setting the capelin Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for 2014.

There are currently four Any Other Business items:

• Animal and plant health control package• Plant reproductive material• Country of origin labelling for meat• Conference in Athens “Scientific support to agriculture: Competitiveness, quality and sustainability”

Green Investment Bank


The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie) (Con): My Rt hon Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (Dr Vince Cable) has today made the following statement.

I would like to inform Parliament that I have agreed with my Rt. hon Friends the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the Secretary of State for International Development that the UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) will be working with their Departments to explore the potential for GIB to assist in investment of the UK’s International Climate Fund (ICF).

GIB has been very successful in mobilising private sector investment into the UK’s green infrastructure and economy – since its official launch in Autumn 2012, it has committed £1.3bn to green projects in the UK, and mobilised an additional £3.3bn of private sector funds. The projects supported by GIB will, when complete, save 3.5m tonnes of CO2 per year.

At the same time, the Government has ambitious targets for providing support to projects in developing countries that will mitigate climate change or enable communities to adapt to its effects. We have already allocated £3.87bn to the UK’s ICF to finance such projects. We are keen to explore how the depth of expertise in GIB, and the commercial discipline that it brings to its transactions, can benefit the deployment of climate aid to mitigation projects in developing countries, alongside existing and planned ICF investments including international initiatives such as the Green Climate Fund.

To this end, GIB will be working with the Government over the coming months to assess the feasibility of the GIB developing and managing some ICF projects. This will have no impact on the resources or £3.8bn of funding which we have allocated to GIB for investment in the UK. GIB remains fully committed to helping the UK meet its domestic climate change goals. Indeed, this additional activity should benefit GIB’s core UK operations as GIB further builds its global reputation both as an expert in project finance for green projects and as a potential manager of other people’s funds.

Should the Government decide to move beyond, to the pilot, we will make a further Ministerial Statement to Parliament.

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever) (Con): My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence (Mr Philip Hammond) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

On 9 July last year, my Right Honourable friend, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs informed the House that the UK had offered to train up to 2,000 Libyan Armed Forces personnel in basic infantry skills as part of an international commitment with other G8 nations to train a General Purpose Force to help the Libyan Government disarm and integrate militias and improve the security and stability of the country.

I am pleased to inform the House that today we are starting training for the first tranche (around 325) of Libyan recruits at Bassingbourn Camp. The training, in basic infantry and junior command skills, will be carried out by troops from 3 Scots and will last for 24 weeks.

These recruits have been carefully vetted by the Libyan Government and Home Office officials to ensure that security and immigration controls are maintained and that those selected are representative of all of Libya. We have also started to work with the Libyan Government and international partners on plans for reintegration of trainees after their return to Libya.

In the year since the Prime Minister announced the UK’s commitment to the General Purpose Force initiative, the unstable political and security situation in Libya has underlined the complex challenges and the need for the international community to support the transition to a stable, open and democratic Libya.

Libya faces many challenges as a result of over four decades of misrule. It will take time for state institutions to become effective and for Libyans to agree on the path of their own democratic transition. The UK, along with our international partners, remains committed to support Libya. The start of the training of the General Purpose Force is a further testament to this commitment.

South Sudan


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:

I wish to update the House on the situation in South Sudan and UK efforts to help resolve the conflict.

We remain deeply concerned about the security situation and growing humanitarian crisis in South Sudan. The agreement reached by the parties on 9 May seeks to end months of fighting, in which atrocities

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have been committed by both sides. Although the fighting on the ground has diminished, the ceasefire remains fragile. Regional leaders, led by Prime Minister Hailemariam of Ethiopia, have made clear that they will not stand by while South Sudan descends further into conflict. We continue fully to support regional efforts to broker inclusive and substantive peace talks leading towards a lasting political settlement.

The already-fragile humanitarian situation in South Sudan has become desperate. Since the conflict started, thousands of innocent civilians have died and 1.3 million have fled their homes, of whom 80,000 have sought shelter in UN bases and 300,000 have sought refuge in neighbouring countries. Millions more face the serious threat of famine. Humanitarian access continues to be restricted by both sides. Enabling humanitarian access and assistance is an immediate priority for the UK. When I visited South Sudan in April and met the South Sudanese Vice President, I made clear that South Sudan was on the brink of disaster.

This Government is also concerned about reports of serious human rights violations and abuses in South Sudan. On 8 May, the UN Mission in South Sudan issued a human rights report that makes clear the scale of human rights atrocities committed since the conflict began. It concludes that civilians were directly targeted by forces on both sides, often along ethnic lines. South Sudan’s own National Human Rights Commission has come to broadly similar judgements. Justice is essential for sustainable peace and national reconciliation in South Sudan. It is therefore vital that all allegations are subjected to thorough, impartial investigation and that perpetrators are brought to justice. The UK looks forward to the outcome of investigations of the African Union’s Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan.

The Foreign Secretary and I, working with our international counterparts since the conflict started, have urged President Kiir and former Vice President Machar to show leadership by ending the fighting and committing to an inclusive political process. We have increased our diplomatic and political engagement with regional leaders to encourage international unanimity and pressure on both sides to resolve the crisis through dialogue. UK officials work closely with regional mediators and others to maintain pressure on the parties and

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ensure that the international community speaks with one voice. We are considering all levers at our disposal, including the possibility of targeted sanctions, which we are currently discussing with EU partners.

In addition to diplomatic and political support, the UK continues to provide financial assistance and expertise to the regional mediation efforts led by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). UK expertise supports both the political process and arrangements for monitoring and verifying ceasefire violations. The swift deployment of the protection force for the IGAD Monitoring and Verification Mechanism as part of the UN Mission in South Sudan will help build confidence and ensure that the fragile ceasefire holds.

In the UN Security Council, the UK worked to achieve a more focused mandate for the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), adopted on 27 May 2014 as UN Security Council Resolution 2155 (2014). The new mandate will allow UNMISS to respond more effectively to the current situation in South Sudan, focusing on better protection of civilians, enabling the provision of humanitarian assistance, monitoring the human rights situation and crucially providing protection and other support to regional efforts to maintain a ceasefire.

At the UN Human Rights Council this month we are aiming, with African support, for a strong resolution that properly reflects the seriousness of recent events in South Sudan. The gravity of the situation in South Sudan will also be highlighted at this week’s Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict that the Foreign Secretary is co-hosting with Angelina Jolie, Special Envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

The UK is one of the leading donors to the humanitarian effort in South Sudan, contributing around £93.5 million since the conflict started, including £13m for regional support to refugees. UK humanitarian assistance helps support food security and provides an emergency lifeline of tents, healthcare and other vital supplies to millions. At the Oslo Humanitarian Pledging Conference on 20 May, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development, Lynne Featherstone, announced new UK funding of £60million for the humanitarian effort in South Sudan.