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Written Statements

Thursday 6 November 2014

Energy: Oil and Gas

Statement

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

In June 2013 I took the opportunity to commission Sir Ian Wood to undertake a comprehensive review of the regulation and stewardship of the UK’s hydrocarbon reserves. The resultant Wood Review made recommendations that will refresh the management of the UK Continental Shelf in a profound way that will benefit both the UK economy as well as the myriad businesses involved in the recovery of oil and gas offshore. Sir Ian’s review estimated an extra 3-4bn barrels of oil equivalent could be recovered that otherwise would not be.

In July of this year I published the Government Response to the Wood Review. The recommendations made by the review were accepted in full and we have been working hard to establish the new Regulator, the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), in time for launch in April 2015. We have brought forward legislation that will set out the principles of Maximising Economic Recovery from the UK territorial sea and the UK Continental Shelf (MER UK) and provide for a levy making power. We are in the process of recruiting high calibre individuals to staff the OGA, from a chief executive and chair of the board to engineers and geologists to provide additional technical skill and expertise to our licensing, exploration and development team.

This Call for Evidence, published today brings a special focus on how we can best implement the recommendations contained in the Review. We are inviting evidence from all stakeholders that will help us create an effective and efficient regulator with no unforeseen consequences.

In particular, we seek evidence on the establishment of the OGA as a Government Company, on the development of the MER UK strategy, on how the new powers of the OGA will be defined and used, on building a robust and proportionate sanctions regime to ensure the success of MER UK and on the new cost recovery regime to fund the OGA.

This exercise will inform our policy development and legislative agenda for the new year and help ensure the OGA will be fully vested to safeguard the economic future of the UK Territorial Sea and Continental Shelf.

Energy: Oil and Gas Authority

Statement

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

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The UK’s oil and gas industry is of national importance: a key contributor to growth, jobs, tax revenue and energy security. The industry supports 450,000 jobs directly or indirectly and paid £4.7 billion in direct taxes in 2012/13.

Around 42 billion barrels of oil and gas have so far been produced from the UKCS, and around 20 billion could still be discovered. Although peak production is now behind us, we must maintain our momentum and make the most of the huge opportunity that the UKCS still represents.

To ensure we maximise the economic recovery of the UK’s oil and gas resources, in 2013, I commissioned Sir Ian Wood to lead a review into the challenges the oil and gas industry is currently facing.

Sir Ian published his final report on 24 February 2014. His key finding was that Government (both HM Treasury and the Regulator) and Industry must adopt a cohesive tripartite approach to develop and commit to a new, shared strategy of Maximising Economic Recovery for the UK (MER UK) to maximise the huge economic and energy security opportunity that lies off UK shores. Sir Ian also recommended that DECC should create a new arm’s length body to undertake the role of economic regulator as we move into the next phase of the UKCS, and that the new regulator should seek a number of commitments from industry in areas such as committing to the MER UK strategy, more efficient sharing of infrastructure and improving collaboration.

Government has accepted Sir Ian’s recommendations in full and we are making good progress in implementing them, including establishing a new arm's length body: the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), which will be headquartered in Aberdeen.

Today, I am delighted to announce the appointment of Andy Samuel as Chief Executive Officer of the OGA. This is a significant milestone in the establishment of the OGA and demonstrates our commitment to the UK’s oil and gas industry and implementing Sir Ian’s recommendations.

Andy is an outstanding candidate and brings a wealth of relevant experience to the role having previously held senior positions within the oil and gas industry, most recently as Managing Director of BG PLC’s Exploration and Production in Europe.

Andy has a strong technical understanding of the oil and gas industry, both nationally and internationally, and also, crucially holds significant credibility within the industry. Andy also has considerable experience with regard to rebuilding and reshaping companies, which will be a vital as he guides the initial stages of the OGA. I am confident that Andy has the right skills, leadership qualities and commercial and fiscal understanding to ensure the success of the OGA.

Andy will begin this role in early January 2015 and will play a pivotal role in shaping and establishing the new body he will lead. The OGA will be formally established as an Executive Agency in April 2015 to ensure we are maximising economic recovery of our oil and gas resources.

We continue to make strong progress implementing all of the Wood Review’s recommendations. We have launched the recruitment of new technical staff to

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expand our existing capability and capacity within the teams in DECC which will move to the OGA. We are also in the process of recruiting a Chair, who will be instrumental during the establishment of the OGA.

We have introduced clauses into the Infrastructure Bill which provide for a levy to fund the new body and which place a duty on the Secretary of State to establish, with the industry, a strategy for delivering MER UK.

In the spirit of the tripartite approach, we have today published the “Wood Review Implementation Call for Evidence” to consult key sector stakeholders on how Sir Ian’s recommendations can be best implemented. The views sought will be essential in helping to inform the policy and legislation required to implement the Wood Review recommendations in an efficient and practical way.

The substantial progress we have made since the final Review was published in February 2014 demonstrates the Government’s commitment to the future of the Oil and Gas industry.

Energy: Oil and Gas Licences

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 (Matthew Hancock MP) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The offshore oil and gas industries currently support the employment of 450,000 people in the UK. They make a vital contribution to the UK economy and to the nation’s energy security with UK oil and gas production still supplying around half of the UK’s primary energy needs.

After thorough consideration of the applications made in the 28th Offshore Oil and Gas Licensing Round, I am pleased to be able to announce an initial tranche of offers of 134 production licences. This demonstrates the continuing attractiveness both of the United Kingdom Continental Shelf as an oil and gas producing province and of our approach to offering a range of licences meeting a diverse range of needs.

As required by the Habitats Directive, my officials have carried out a screening assessment of the Blocks applied for. As a result, licences for 94 of those Blocks, which are close to, or in, certain Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and Special Protection Areas (SPAs), will be subject to environmental assessments before any offer is made. The EU Habitats Directive requires that “appropriate assessments” be conducted where proposed activities are likely to have significant effects on any SACs and SPAs. The assessments will examine the implications for these protected nature conservation areas of awarding oil and gas licences, and will be subject to appropriate consultation, before any decision is made on whether to offer any of these Blocks.

Details of the offers that have been made can be viewed on the DECC Oil and Gas pages at https://www.gov. uk/oil-and-gas-licensing-rounds

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EU: Red Tape

Statement

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Neville-Rolfe) (Con): My Rt hon Friend the Minister of State for Business and Enterprise (Matthew Hancock) has today made the following statement.

The Business Taskforce report—“Cut EU red tape”—published a year ago, set out practical ways to reform EU rules, regulations and practices to make European businesses more competitive.

It put forward thirty recommendations to reform the most burdensome EU rules, and proposed the COMPETE principles to ensure new EU proposals are pro-innovation and pro-growth. The report was welcomed by the Government and is now central to its EU reform agenda.

To mark the first anniversary of the Business Taskforce report, the Government today is publishing a short report—“Cut EU red tape: One year on”—setting out action to date in delivering the Taskforce’s recommendations.

The progress report shows welcome progress, with ten of the thirty recommendations already achieved, and a series of further recommendations where good progress is being made.

The report also illustrates the considerable support shown for the COMPETE principles, including from UK and EU business organisations, the European Parliament, and the Commission’s own Better Regulation Advisory Group (the Stoiber Group).

The Government continues to press the Commission and EU partners to take action on the remaining recommendations, including those that are longer term and where delivery will be slower. The Government also continues to call on the Commission to implement the COMPETE principles in order to boost growth, competitiveness and innovation across Europe.

Copies of the progress report have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

The progress report, and the Taskforce’s October 2013 report, “Cut EU red tape”, are also available online at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cut-eu-red-tape-business-taskforce-report-one-year-on

Ministry of Justice: Contingencies Fund Advance

Statement

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 Ministry of Justice requires an advance of £900,000 from the Contingencies Fund in 2014-15 to meet the requirement for a temporary Exchequer grant in accordance with Article 11 of the Royal Charter on self-regulation of the press.

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The department intends to rely on the Supply and Appropriation (Anticipation and Adjustments) Act. Accordingly, additional resources of £900,000 will be sought in a Supplementary Estimate for the Ministry of Justice. In the meantime, the temporary Exchequer grant will be met by repayable advances from the Contingencies Fund.”

NHS: Jimmy Savile

Statement

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

Further to my oral statement on 26 June 2014, Official Report, cols 482 -498,I wish to update the House about the investigations into Jimmy Savile and the NHS.

28 investigation reports into the activities of Jimmy Savile on NHS premises were published on 26 June 2014. We expected the remaining NHS investigation reports, including that relating to Stoke Mandeville, would be published later in the year.

At the request of the Crown Prosecution Service, the publication of the NHS investigations into Jimmy Savile is being delayed until the conclusion of ongoing legal proceedings. Therefore, I wish to advise the House that there will be a delay in the publication of the outstanding NHS investigation reports. We now hope trusts will publish their reports in January 2015, alongside Kate Lampard’s lessons learnt report.

The remaining investigations reports that were not completed in June and are still to be published are:

HospitalRelevant Trust

1.

Stoke Mandeville Hospital

Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust

2.

Rampton Hospital

Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust

3.

Springfield Hospital

South West London & St Georges Mental Health NHS Trust

4.

Crawley Hospital

Sussex Community Trust

Alongside these reports further reports will be produced by new NHS investigations that have come to light since June 2014. The NHS Savile Legacy Unit, chaired by Sue Proctor, is providing independent oversight and assurance of these new NHS investigations. Information provided to the NHS Savile Legacy Unit by victims, and from the Metropolitan Police Service, has been passed on to the following 12 trusts that have responsibility for the relevant hospitals as set out in the table below:

HospitalRelevant Trust

1.

Leeds General Infirmary

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

2.

Stoke Mandeville Hospital

Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust

3.

Birch Hill Hospital Rochdale

Pennine Acute NHS Trust

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4.

Scott House Hospital Rochdale

Calderstones NHS Foundation Trust

5.

Bethlem Royal Hospital

South London and the Maudsley NHS Trust

6.

Shenley Hospital

Central and North West London NHS Trust

7.

West Yorkshire Ambulance Service

Yorkshire Ambulance Service

8.

St Martins Hospital Canterbury

Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust

9.

Queen Elizabeth Hospital Gateshead

Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust

10.

Royal Victoria Infirmary

Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust

11.

Meanwood Park Hospital

Leeds and York Partnerships Foundation Trust

12.

Calderdale Royal Hospital

Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust

Names of the hospitals are taken from the information received. These include hospitals that may have closed in which case the information has been passed on to the legacy organisation. Members interested in particular investigations should contact the relevant Trust.

As a consequence of the CPS request there will also be a corresponding delay to the investigations into Savile in children’s homes and schools, which are overseen by the Department for Education, and to the lessons learnt report by Lucy Scott-Moncrieff.

I will update the House once the legal proceedings conclude.

Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe

Statement

The Lord Privy Seal (Baroness Stowell of Beeston) (Con): My Rt Hon. Friend the Prime Minister has made the following statement to the House of Commons:

The hon. Member for Barrow and Furness (John Woodcock) has been appointed as a Full Representative of the United Kingdom Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

Statement

The Lord Privy Seal (Baroness Stowell of Beeston) (Con): My Rt Hon. Friend the Prime Minister has made the following statement to the House of Commons:

The hon. Member for West Bromwich East (Tom Watson) has been appointed as a full member of the United Kingdom Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

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Public Records: Review

Statement

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): My Right Honourable Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr Philip Hammond) has made the following written Ministerial statement:

As part of the Government’s response to the inadvertent release of sensitive records relating to the UK’s involvement in events in Amritsar in the summer of 1984, my predecessor, the Rt Hon Member

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for Richmond (Yorks), announced that Sir Alex Allan would complete a review of the position across government on the annual release of papers to The National Archives and the ability and readiness of departments to meet the requirements of moving from a 30 to 20 year rule, including the processes for withholding information.

I have today placed a copy of Sir Alex’s report in the Library of the House. The report contains a number of recommendations relating to how government should manage its records. We have accepted these recommendations in full.