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Written Statements

Tuesday 6 January 2015

Anti-corruption Plan


The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Neville-Rolfe) (Con): My right honourable friend the Minister for Business and Enterprise and Energy (Matthew Hancock) has today made the following Statement.

Today I am making a joint Statement with my honourable friend the Minister for Modern Slavery and Organised Crime (Karen Bradley). Together we wish to inform the house that the Government is publishing the UK’s first cross-government anti-corruption plan.

Corruption harms societies, undermines economic development and threatens democracy.

The UK is recognised as having strong institutions, and has led the way in implementing world-leading legislative standards through the Bribery Act 2010. But we recognise that more can be done to improve our coordination at home and better manage how we deal with bribery and corruption overseas.

As part of our second Open Government Partnership National Action Plan, we committed to bring together all of the UK’s anti-corruption efforts under one cross-government plan. This plan will bring more coordination and coherence to our efforts and ensure that future activity to tackle corruption is joined up and collaborative.

The plan highlights that our priorities are to: build a better picture of how corruption is affecting our society and economy; strengthen our legal and operational tools and activity; enhance our law enforcement response; deny use of our financial system for those who are trying to abuse it; and step up our efforts internationally.

In my role as the Government Anti-Corruption Champion I will jointly chair, with the Minister for Modern Slavery and Organised Crime, an Inter Ministerial Group to oversee delivery of the plan. We will work with colleagues across government and civil society to drive forward work on this agenda.

A copy of the plan will be placed in the House Library. It will also be available on the government website: www.gov.uk.

Bovine TB


The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley) (Con): Today I am updating the House on the measures we have taken to tackle TB in cattle since we published our Strategy in April 2014.

Between 1997 and 2010, TB in cattle increased nine-fold, threatening the future of our beef and dairy industries and our food security. England has the highest incidence of TB in Europe, and that is why we are taking strong action to beat the disease.

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This Government is pursuing a comprehensive Strategy, based on best international practice, supported by leading vets and endorsed by the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser, Defra’s Chief Scientist and the Chief Veterinary Officer. This approach includes cattle movement restrictions, badger vaccination in the edge area (bordering the high risk area) and culling where the disease is rife.

Cattle measures remain at the heart of the Strategy and that is why we have steadily reinforced them over this Parliament. In the coming months we plan to launch a consultation on further cattle measures including statutory post-movement testing for cattle entering the low risk area. This measure will help us remain on course to achieve TB free status for the low risk area of England by 2019.

On 2 September 2014, I announced our Badger Edge Vaccination Scheme which will create a buffer zone to help prevent the spread of TB to new parts of the country. We are working closely with wildlife organisations, vets and farmers to establish large areas within which a high proportion of the badger population will be vaccinated for a minimum of four years.

Badger culls were carried out in the autumn. Culling ended on 20 October 2014 and I am today publishing the report and supporting data of the independently audited results. I have placed the summary report and the Chief Veterinary Officer’s advice in the Library of the House.

In West Somerset, 341 badgers were safely and humanely removed, against a minimum of 316, while in West Gloucestershire, 274 badgers were safely and humanely removed, against a minimum of 615. The results in Somerset show that this approach works. The results in Gloucestershire reflect the challenges of extensive unlawful protest and intimidation.

The Chief Veterinary Officer reviewed the effectiveness and humaneness data and supports the continuation of culling by a combination of cage trapping and controlled shooting as part of our comprehensive strategy. In his view the outcome of this year’s cull in Somerset indicates that industry-led culling can, in the right circumstances, deliver the level of effectiveness required to be confident of achieving disease control benefits.

As part of our focus on practical measures to reduce the risk of disease spread, I am today publishing a Biosecurity Action Plan developed by industry and government. We have recently awarded £50,000 in small grants to livestock markets to support voluntary risk-based trading of cattle and we have been working with the private sector to develop a TB-risk accreditation system for cattle herds. To help all farmers manage the risk of TB we plan in early 2015 to launch a web-based map showing locations of TB breakdowns and to publish TB reports for the edge and low risk areas. We will also be starting a trial of a new service to provide farmers within the two badger cull areas with bespoke advice on how better to protect their farms from TB.

TB can also affect other animals and humans. We have introduced additional TB measures for South American camelids including statutory compensation

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and consolidated existing legislation concerning TB in deer. We are planning a further review of TB controls in non-bovine animals.

We have continued to invest in TB research and I am today publishing a summary of the research that we are funding this year. Over this Parliament, we have invested over £24 million into TB vaccine research. An independent report on the design of field trials of cattle vaccine and a test to detect infected cattle among vaccinated cattle (DIVA) shows that before cattle vaccination field trials can be contemplated, we need to develop a better DIVA test. This research is likely to take a further two years. We are also investing in research on badger diagnostics and improving epidemiological analysis of the disease, while the dairy industry is progressing Defra-funded research potentially to enable farmers to breed cattle with greater genetic resistance to TB.

Finally, I am pleased to confirm that the European Commission has informed us that our comprehensive TB eradication programme is approved, securing further financial support from the European Union in 2015.

The Government is determined to continue implementing all elements of our comprehensive Strategy until this terrible disease is eradicated.

This Statement included the following attachments:

Summary of badger control monitoring during 2014 (26. summary-badger-control-monitoring.pdf)

CVO’s advice on outcome of year 2 of badger culls (26. CVO-advice.pdf)

British Council Annual Report


The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): My right honourable friend the Minister of State (Mr Hugo Swire) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Copies of the British Council’s Annual Report and Accounts for the 2013-14 financial year have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. The Report can also be found at the British Council’s website www.britishcouncil.org

During the period the British Council received £162,400,000 Grant-in-Aid from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

This Statement included the following attachment:

British Council Annual Report 2013-14 (British Council Annual Report 2013-14.pdf)

Defence Support Group


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

I am pleased to announce the successful sale of the Defence Support Group (DSG) land business to Babcock for £140 million. As part of the transaction, a 10-year

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contract (with options to extend to 15 years) worth some £900 million has been agreed for the delivery of DSG services and the transformation of the Army’s vehicle maintenance, repair and storage. The contract covers the DSG’s fleet management and engineering support services and will generate savings to the Army of around £500 million over the 10-year period—a saving of over a third. This contract has the potential to grow to around £2 billion as a broader scope of services under the DSG sale contract are optimised, subject to value for money, as part of the planned programme.

Babcock has more than 15 years’ experience of working closely with the Army in vehicle support work, standing it in good stead to partner successfully with the Army and transform the DSG land business. The company will also use its expertise in engineering and fleet management to build on the work that the DSG’s highly skilled workforce currently carry out and progressively to transform the business to provide end-to-end support and equipment availability to the Army.

Babcock has committed to develop the DSG land business, putting it in a strong position for the future. Furthermore, Babcock has already identified commercial work from elsewhere in the Babcock Group that it will bring into the DSG. This will not only grow the DSG land business but will also exploit economies of scale to reduce overheads, thus improving the cost effectiveness of the services provided to the Army.

Ownership by Babcock will therefore put the DSG land business on a sustainable long-term footing and ensure the Army retains access to the DSG’s equipment support services.

All DSG staff in scope of the sale will become Babcock employees on 1 April 2015. They will transfer under Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (TUPE) regulations, which protect their terms and conditions on transfer. The New Fair Deal also ensures continued membership of civil service pension schemes for those eligible. The Ministry of Defence (MOD), with the support of Babcock, will conduct a TUPE consultation with the DSG workforce and the DSG Trade Unions. The first consultation meeting with the national and local DSG Trade Union representatives, Babcock, DSG management and the MOD is taking place tomorrow.

DSG estate will not be sold but will be retained in MOD ownership and leased or licensed to Babcock. Babcock will lead a business improvement programme over several years which is aimed at optimising the output performance of the business. Detailed plans will not be known until Babcock has had a chance to understand the business fully and completed their review. Until then, MOD is providing as much detail as it can as part of the TUPE consultation process. No MOD sites will be closed on sale. We are confident Babcock will provide an open and professional approach to these activities.

As I announced on 19 November, DSG’s air business, the Electronics and Components Business Unit, will be retained in MOD from 1 April 2015 as the Defence Electronics and Components Agency (DECA), a new MOD Trading Agency.

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I will make a separate announcement in due course regarding the competition that the MOD is also running for the transformation of the MOD’s Logistics Commodities and Services organisation, which shares sites with DSG at Ashchurch and Donnington.

Departmental Work (Christmas Recess)


The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon) (Con): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Eric Pickles) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I would like to update honourable Members on the main items of business undertaken by my Department since the House rose for the Christmas Recess.

Troubled Families programme

We published the latest quarterly returns submitted to the Department from local authorities on progress with the Government’s Troubled Families programme.

These new figures show that the programme has now helped turn around the lives of over 85,000 of the hardest to help households.

Councils and social services departments are now actively working with 99 per cent of the families the Prime Minister pledged to support—and councils have had payments-by-results for two thirds of these.

This means that in 85,303 troubled families in England:

• children have been back in school for a year when they were previously truant or excluded;• youth crime and anti-social behaviour has been significantly cut across the whole family; or• an adult in the home has moved off benefits and into work for 3 months or more.

The success of the programme means that a second wave of councils are now beginning work with more families ahead of schedule, and up to 40,000 additional families can begin to be helped by dedicated workers in this financial year in the highest-performing areas.

The Troubled Families programme demonstrates exactly what our long-term economic plan means for people—that is, new opportunities for families to turn their lives around and make something of themselves; more economic security for local communities blighted by worklessness, and more economic stability for taxpayers, as we reduce the bills for social failure and get this country living within its means.

Government action on antisemitism

We published a new government report highlighting the significant progress this Government has made in partnership with the community in tackling antisemitism.

The report outlines the actions undertaken across a number of areas: improving the collection of antisemitic hate crime data, fighting cyberhate crime, extending Holocaust education and remembrance and addressing antisemitism internationally.

It also acts as our final report on the original 35 recommendations made by the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism. We consider we have addressed all the recommendations to government.

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This underlines how the Government has done much to establish Britain as a safer place for Jewish people. Levels of antisemitism in the UK are significantly lower than in other Western European countries.

However, this summer’s sharp increase in the number of antisemitic incidents reinforced both the need for increased vigilance and also the need to reassure the public that those who commit hate crimes will be punished with the full force of the law.

This commitment must be replicated wholeheartedly by councils who should use their position of authority to actively reduce tensions, not stir them up.

Councils to help get Britain building

We announced the second round of funding via the housing revenue account borrowing programme. This means that 21 councils will be able to additionally borrow almost £100 million over the next 2 years to deliver more than 1,300 new affordable homes and support local growth.

This comes only a matter of months after 22 councils received approval to borrow £122 million to build more than 1,700 affordable homes in their areas—and takes the total to £222 million government investment to deliver over 3,000 affordable homes.

This is on top of the wider efforts we are making, with housebuilding a central part of the Government’s long-term economic plan: since 2010 over half a million new homes have been delivered, including more than 200,000 affordable homes. Housebuilding levels are now at their highest since 2007 and climbing with council housing starts at a 23-year high.

Planning reforms puts power back in the hands of local residents

We are seeing a genuine neighbourhood planning movement with communities in almost two-thirds of local authorities already using these powers to shape what gets built where in their local area. This means more than 5 million people now live in a neighbourhood planning area and so far there have been some great proposals from renovating disused buildings to creating new community orchards and playing fields. But agreeing an area for a neighbourhood plan to cover takes an average of 19 weeks.

We are bringing in new measures that will cut weeks off this process—giving councils just 13 weeks to consider a community’s application to create a neighbourhood area, or 8 weeks where it follows a parish boundary.

This will encourage even more communities to have a greater say over the future development of their area.

New guide will better connect our new homes to vital services

We have published a new practical guide which will, for the first time, offer a clear code of practice setting out how utility companies and developers should work together when building a new housing development. This is a significant step in speeding up the process of getting new developments connected to gas, water and electricity, as part of push to help hardworking people get into their new homes sooner.

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It will also drive up the performance of utilities companies across the board by providing a clear set of standards and making it crystal clear how developers and companies should be working together to make sure more developments are completed on time and on budget.

New measures to reduce red tape for house builders and reforms to help protect tenants

We have published the Department’s latest half-yearly Statement of New Regulation, which details all regulation, including EU measures, which are expected to come into force between 1 January and 30 June 2015, as well as all regulations to be removed.

The Department has made considerable progress in slashing red tape and saving business money, especially through the Housing Standards Review which is estimated to save business around £100 million per year whilst ensuring that homes are still built to demanding quality, access and sustainability standards.

It is important to recognise the achievements of not only deregulation but better regulation which will provide great benefits to businesses and individual citizens. The Department will reduce the time to qualify for Right to Buy from 5 to 3 years, allowing social housing tenants to become homeowners quicker and enhance the transparency of letting agents’ fees. However, there is still more to be done and in 2015 the Department will continue to deliver further reforms to cut red tape, save business money and promote economic growth

Councils urged to boost access to free-to-use cash machines on high streets

We have issued advice to councils, to ensure they use their local business rate discount powers to ensure better access to cash machines in all areas and on our high streets.

Companies who install and operate cash machines generally pay business rates to the local authority for each machine. Small convenience stores can however struggle with this despite there being help available from government that reduces costs by offering business rates discounts to these firms.

Councils opting to provide a local discount on rates can incentivise shops and cash point providers to install new machines and remove charges on pay-to-use machines—and with over half of all payments in the UK still made with cash, we are clear that people should not have to pay through the nose to access their money.

This is one of a range of measures the Government has taken to support local businesses and help rejuvenate high streets and town centres. Others include:

• a 50% business rates discount for 18 months for new businesses setting up in stores vacant for a more than a year; and a• cut in business rates for small shops, a new £1,500 retail discount and doubling small business rate relief - which is helping an estimated half a million small firms

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Councils and media invited to bring statutory notices into 21st century

Statutory notices are an important way of ensuring local residents are informed of decisions that affect their property and lives—but public bodies must do more than just provide an obscure notice in the depths of a council’s website.

That is why we have invited councils, local newspapers and others to take part in piloting ways of improving the provision of essential information to the public, using new technology and innovation to bring municipal statutory notices into the 21st century.

A plain English guide to planning

Since 2010 this Government has introduced wide ranging reforms of the planning system, which include:

the National Planning Policy Framework (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-planning-policy-framework--2), which replaced over 1,000 pages of disparate policy with one 50-page, clearly-written document;safeguarding the green belt, giving councils new powers to protect assets of community value, preventing garden grabbing and protecting valuable open green spaces;the introduction of Neighbourhood Plans (https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/giving-communities-more-power-in-planning-local-development/supporting-pages/neighbourhood-planning), devolving planning power to local people; andan overhaul of the Local Plan (https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/giving-communities-more-power-in-planning-local-development/supporting-pages/local-plans) making process, giving local planning authorities more choice in how they are developed, and ensuring the process is more transparent.

Yesterday we published a new Plain English Guide so anyone looking to have a say over the future development of their local area will have all the information they need at their fingertips.

The guide makes clear how England’s planning system works, and highlights the opportunities for people to get involved in the debate over what gets built in their neighbourhood.

A separate guide also published yesterday explains how the planning system works for anyone looking to set up a free school.

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

EU: Balance of Competences Review


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.

I wish to update the House on the progress of the Balance of Competences Review that my right honourable friend the former Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr William Hague) launched

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on behalf of the Government in July 2012. I am pleased to inform the House that the fourth and final set of reports has been published today on the gov.uk website at https://www.gov.uk/review-of-the-balance-of-competences. As per the Written Ministerial Statement of 23 October 2012, the reports were written by lead departments for each policy area. This set of reports covers Economic and Monetary Policy; Education, Vocational Training and Youth; Enlargement; Information Rights; Police and Criminal Justice; Subsidiarity and Proportionality; and Voting, Consular and Statistics.

With publication of this final set of reports, all 32 reports in the Balance of Competences Review are now complete. The Review provides the most extensive analysis of EU membership ever undertaken by any Member State and draws upon nearly 2300 pieces of evidence to consider the impact that EU action has on the UK national interest and future challenges that may arise. In doing so, it provides an important contribution to the ongoing debate on EU reform and will be a valuable aid for future policy-makers, as well as a resource to enable people to judge for themselves how current arrangements are working.

Calls for evidence for fourth semester reports were published in March 2014. We saw a high level of interest and received nearly 350 pieces of written evidence. The Review attracted input from a broad spectrum of experts and interested parties including parliamentary committees, Members of the European Parliament, the Devolved Administrations and Crown Dependencies, business groups, think-tanks, academics, civil society groups and professional membership associations based both in the UK and beyond. The evidence we received in the fourth semester was again of high quality and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who contributed.

As with previous semesters, the reports have undergone rigorous internal challenge to ensure they are balanced, robust and evidence-based. Evidence submitted (subject to the provisions of the Data Protection Act) will be published alongside the reports on the gov.uk website to ensure transparency.

The fourth semester reports, along with reports from all previous semesters, are available at: https://www.gov.uk/review-of-the-balance-of-competences. Copies of the reports will be deposited in the Libraries of both Houses and hard copies will be made available in the Vote and Printed Papers Offices.

This Statement included the following attachments:

BOC Review: Subsidiarity and Proportionality (BOC Review - Subsidiarity and Proportionality.pdf)

BOC Review: Police and Criminal Justice (BOC Review - Police and Criminal Justice.pdf)

BOC Review: EU Enlargement (BOC Review - EU Enlargement.pdf)

BOC Review: Economic and Monetary Policy (BOC Review - Economic and Monetary Policy.pdf)

BOC Review: Information Rights (BOC Review - Information Rights.pdf)

BOC Review: Education, Training and Youth (BOC Review - Education, Vocational Training and Youth.pdf)

BOC Review: Voting, Consular and Statistics (BOC Review - Voting, Consular and Statistics.pdf)

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European Explanatory Memoranda


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

The Cabinet Office is responsible for the Government’s participation in European negotiations on EU procurement matters. It is with regret that Explanatory Memoranda on 3 EU proposals submitted for scrutiny by Parliament which were the responsibility of my Department were submitted late, with the result that decisions were taken on the proposals in the Council of Ministers before the UK’s Parliamentary scrutiny process could be completed. The proposals were:

EU Council document 12859/14; COM(2014)539: Proposal for a Council Decision establishing the position to be taken by the European Union within the Committee on Government Procurement on the withdrawal of the Union objections to the delisting of three entities from Japan’s Annex 3 to Appendix I to the Agreement on Government Procurement. The proposal was adopted in the Council of Ministers on 29 October 2014.EU Council document 13257/14; COM(2014)573: Proposal for a Council Decision establishing the position to be taken on behalf of the European Union within the Committee on Government Procurement on the accession of Montenegro to the Agreement on Government Procurement. The proposal was adopted by the Council of Ministers on 13 October.EU Council document 13281/14; COM(2014)574: Proposal for a Council Decision establishing the position to be taken on behalf of the European Union within the Committee on Government Procurement on the accession of New Zealand to the Agreement on Government Procurement. The proposal was adopted by the Council of Ministers on 13 October.

The Government was supportive of all three proposals through negotiations in Brussels.

The Cabinet Office has addressed the internal procedural failings which led to these overrides to ensure that similar failures do not happen again. These include giving an official in the Cabinet Office Ministerial team responsibility for managing EU scrutiny business on which the Cabinet Office leads. A training workshop will also be held to ensure the scrutiny process is properly understood across all Cabinet Office policy units that deal with EU business and that the expectations of Cabinet Office Ministers is also reinforced.

Former Members of the Armed Forces and the Criminal Justice System


The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Faulks) (Con): My right honourable friend the Minister of State for Policing, Criminal Justice and Victims (Mike Penning) made the following Written Ministerial Statement on 5 January 2015.

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I am pleased to inform you that we have published a report conducted on the Ministry’s behalf, “Former Members of the Armed Forces and the Criminal Justice System”, on Sunday the 21 of December 2014, alongside the government’s response and two supporting analytical reports. Copies of each of these reports are attached.

This review was announced in Parliament in January 2014. The aim of the review was to identify properly the reasons for ex-service personnel ending up in the justice system, to look at the support provided to them and how that support could be improved.

I strongly agree with the report’s findings that we have an obligation to ensure those who serve in the armed forces are not disadvantaged because of their service. While I am reassured by the findings of this report that most ex-service personnel have successful civilian lives and do not enter the criminal justice system, my government’s response demonstrates that we will consider any recommendation that will improve the lives of the small minority of ex-armed forces that commit offences.

While we are still continuing to explore what more can be done to deliver the recommendations, I am pleased to note there are a number of positive responses, particularly in the areas of identification and tracking of ex-armed forces offenders, data gathering and sharing. We were also able to highlight the benefits for ex-armed forces offenders of government programmes, such as Transforming Rehabilitation and Liaison and Diversion.

As part of the response my Ministry has committed to publish an update next year of progress against the recommendations.

I am grateful to Stephen Phillips MP QC and his team for conducting this review. I would also like to give my thanks to Rory Stewart MP for the work he did establishing the review before handing over to Stephen.

Copies of each of these reports will be available in the House libraries.

This Statement included the following attachments:

Former Members of the Armed Forces and the CJS (Former Members of the Armed Forces and the CJS - A Review on Behalf of the SoS.pdf)

Cross Government Response to the Review (Publication of the Review of Ex-armed Forces in the CJS - Cross Government Response.pdf)

Rapid Evidence Assessment (The needs of ex-service personnel in the CJS - a rapid evidence assessment.pdf)

Analytical Summary (The needs of ex-service personnel in the CJS - analytical summary.pdf)

Future Reserves 2020 (External Scrutiny Team Report)


The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever) (Con): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Defence (Mr Michael Fallon) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I have today placed in the Library of the House a copy of a letter that I have sent to Lt Gen (Retd) Brims, the Chair of the Future Reserves 2020 External

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Scrutiny Team, to update him on the programme and particularly on the recommendations that his team’s report made. I am grateful for the work of that team.

The House will recall that the Defence Reform Act 2014 includes a statutory obligation to commission an independent report into the state of the Volunteer Reserve force. The first review under the statutory arrangements is under way and will report next year.

Haulage: Road Tank Vehicle Compliance


The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Claire Perry) has made the following Ministerial Statement.

Further to the Written Ministerial Statement given by my honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Robert Goodwill) on 24th October 2013, the Department for Transport has continued to work with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and industry to resolve an issue around the incorrect certification of fuel tankers manufactured in South Africa and certified as meeting international standards by Bureau Veritas. Following a detailed investigation these tankers were found not to be in full compliance with internationally agreed regulations (the European Agreement Concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road—“ADR”).

Since the previous Statement, about 100 new replacement tankers have been entering into service, reducing the number that are not in full compliance to around 130 tankers. During this time the Department for Transport commissioned a £1.5 million research programme to inform decisions about the future use of these vehicles. Based on the outcome of the research published today on the Department’s website www.gov. uk/dft, the date by which those tankers built after the middle of 2010 are to be withdrawn (about 70 tankers) will be extended subject to the outcome of further work to establish acceptance criteria that may allow an individual tanker to continue in use for up to 12 years after entering into service. Those tankers still in service that were built before the middle of 2010 are to be withdrawn as originally planned a year ago.

Over the same period new tankers from the manufacturer have been certified as ADR compliant by a different tank inspection body for supply to the UK, starting in the next few months. In the meantime, the Department has an ongoing dialogue with industry over plans to resolve this issue using a process that maintains fuel supplies while upholding safety.

Independent Library Report


Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Con): My honourable friend the Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy (Ed Vaizey) made the following Statement on 18 December.

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Today I am publishing the Independent Library Report and depositing a copy in the House Library. This has been undertaken by William Sieghart and I would like to state on record my particular thanks to him and his expert panel for their endeavour and ambition to create a positive action plan for libraries. I am also very grateful to everyone who has contributed to this important work.

We welcome the panel’s recommendations, which are being considered in detail. I am taking the immediate first step in partnership with local government to set up the joint taskforce to advise on implementation of the recommendations which will be chaired by Dr Paul Blantern, Chief Executive of Northamptonshire County Council. He will be supported by a range of experts with an interest in libraries. This taskforce will report both to Ministers and the Local Government Association and the first meeting is due to take place in spring 2015.

I whole-heartedly support the public library service which has been making a vital contribution to the knowledge, delight and quality of life of communities in every part of England for more than 150 years. They are a cherished part of our cultural heritage, and a key player in our future.

This Statement included the following attachment

Independent Library Report (Independent Library Report deposit - 18 December1.pdf)

Marriages: Non-religious Belief Organisations


The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Faulks) (Con): My right honourable friend the Minister of State for Justice and Civil Liberties (Simon Hughes) made the following Written Ministerial Statement on 18 December 2014.

I am today publishing the Government’s response to the consultation on “Marriages by non-religious belief organisations” launched on 26 June 2014 and concluded on 18 September. Copies will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

The consultation sought views on whether the law should be changed to permit non-religious belief organisations to solemnise marriages in England and Wales. I am grateful to all who responded to the consultation.

The government has considered the full range of responses and the range of issues associated with any options for change and which have implications for marriage solemnisation more broadly. It is the Government’s view that the legal and technical requirements of marriage ceremonies and registration in England and Wales need to be reviewed and potentially reformed before or at the same time as making a decision on whether to take forward the specific proposal to permit legally valid marriage ceremonies for those with non-religious beliefs.

It is important that we resolve these issues in as timely a manner as possible. The Government will ask the Law Commission if it will undertake a broader independent review of the law concerning marriage

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ceremonies, requesting that the Commission begins work as soon as possible. The Government will start to work with the Commission in January to consider the scope of such a review.

This Statement included the following attachment:

Marriages by non-religious belief organisations (Marriages by non-religious belief organisations (web).pdf)

Mental Health and Policing


The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): My right honourable friend the Minister of State, Department of Health (Norman Lamb) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

On 18 December 2014 the Government published the report of the Government’s review of the operation of sections 135 and 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983. This has been an important piece of work, conducted jointly by the Home Office and the Department of Health.

It is our overarching objective for all public services to respond at the right time to the needs of people experiencing mental health crises. We also need to improve the outcomes for people experiencing mental health crises when they come in to contact with the police. This review showed that there are areas where this is working well and areas where there is still room for improvement.

We have been fortunate that this review took place alongside both the Home Affairs Select Committee’s inquiry into Policing and Mental Health and the Health Select Committee’s report into child and adolescent mental health services. This work rightly highlighted the unacceptable state of affairs when a vulnerable child can be held in a police cell at the point of mental health crisis. Police stations must only be used in genuinely exceptional circumstances and never for a child or young person aged under 18. We therefore propose amending legislation to this effect subject to the next Parliament.

The review makes a number of other recommendations. It points out that making better use of alternative places of safety would be advantageous as we recognise that there is not one solution which is appropriate for all people at all times. There was a clear consensus that a maximum period of detention under these sections is too long at 72 hours, and the review therefore proposes reducing this to 24 hours, while still emphasising the need to complete assessments as soon as possible.

Although there is no space remaining in this Parliament to make these changes, I believe there is a general consensus that these issues must be addressed. Therefore I hope that in the next Parliament the momentum that has been generated will be maintained.

The following documents are attached, and copies have been placed in the Library:

Review of the Operation of Sections 135 and 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983: Review Report and Recommendations;

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Review of the Operation of Sections 135 and 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983: A Summary of the Evidence;

Review of the Operation of Sections 135 and 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983: A Literature Review;

the Centre for Mental Health’s report, Review of Sections 135 & 136 of the Mental Health Act: The views of professionals, service users and carers on the codes of practice and legislation.

Nuclear Deterrent Update


The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever) (Con): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Defence (Mr Michael Fallon) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

On 18 May 2011, the then Secretary of State for Defence, the right honourable Member for North Somerset (Dr Liam Fox) made an oral Statement to the House (Official Report, col. 351) announcing the approval of the Initial Gate investment stage for the procurement of the successor submarines to the VANGUARD class SSBNs. He also placed in the Library of the House a report, “The United Kingdom’s Future Nuclear Deterrent: The Submarine Initial Gate Parliamentary Report”.

This Government committed to publishing an annual report on the programme and I am today publishing the third report, “The United Kingdom’s Future Nuclear Deterrent: 2014 Update to Parliament”. A copy has been placed in the Library of the House.

Office of the Public Guardian: Review of Supervision


The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Faulks) (Con): My right honourable friend the Minister of State for Justice and Civil Liberties (Simon Hughes) made the following Written Ministerial Statement on 18 December 2014.

My honourable friend and former Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice (Helen Grant) announced in a debate on 30 October 2012 (Official Report, col. 53WH) a fundamental review by the Public Guardian of how the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) supports him in the supervision of deputies appointed by the Court of Protection. Deputies are appointed where a person lacks the mental capacity to manage their own affairs and has not previously nominated anyone to have lasting power of attorney. Concerns had been raised by members about the charges that professional deputies were making, and this element was incorporated into the fundamental review.

The review aimed to make sure that there is a responsive, robust and case-sensitive approach to the supervision of deputies. The objective is that there should be effective and proportionate oversight and swift investigation of allegations of wrongdoing, to make sure that people who lack mental capacity are properly protected and their needs are met.

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The review has now concluded and has identified ways in which the OPG can improve the protection it affords those lacking capacity, and the service it provides to those it is supporting and supervising. This includes a move to supervising according to deputy type. This will enable staff to specialise in one of the deputy types (lay, professional or local authority) and become more familiar with the challenges faced by a particular vulnerable group.

Concerns about the charges levied by professional deputies are also being addressed as a result of the fundamental review. New measures which have been agreed with stakeholder groups include targeted assurance visits to professional deputies and their clients carried out by a specialist OPG team and a requirement for deputies to submit annual plans and asset inventories, with work and cost estimates. Standards for professional deputies are also being developed.

A key element in the new framework will be the use of digital channels, which will allow more sophisticated monitoring and make services easier to use for deputies. This will dovetail with the culture change at the OPG, which will put the people it serves at the heart of all it does.

The proposed changes were included in a public consultation, to which the government responded on 21 August 2014, and in engagements with stakeholder groups which continue.

I will place a copy of the review in the Libraries of both Houses.

This Statement included the following attachment:

OPG Fundamental Review (OPG Fundamental Review of Supervision - Report to Parliament FINAL.pdf)

Reformed AS and A-Level Content


The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash) (Con): My honourable friend the Minister of State for School Reform (Nick Gibb MP) made the following announcement today.

The Government is reforming AS and A level qualifications to ensure they are academically rigorous and provide students with the knowledge and understanding to prepare them for higher education, and employment.

The Government has already published subject content for the first group of A levels to be reformed. Today I am publishing revised content for A levels in Ancient Languages, Modern Foreign Languages, Geography, Mathematics, and Further Mathematics. The content for these A levels was recommended by the A level content advisory board (ALCAB), drawing on advice from subject experts, universities and subject associations.

By giving university academics a leading role, we are making sure that these qualifications will provide students with the skills and knowledge needed for progression to undergraduate study. I am grateful to ALCAB for their expert advice, and I am accepting their recommendations.

In ancient languages there is a clearer requirement to study literary texts in the original language.

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In modern foreign languages the content has been strengthened, with new requirements for students to translate unseen material both into and out of the target language at both AS and A level.In geography, content has been updated to reflect the approaches to geography taken by universities and geographical organisations, with a better balance between physical and human geography.In mathematics, all the content is now prescribed in detail. Students will be required to study both mechanics and statistics. There is an increased emphasis on mathematical problem solving to ensure students understand the underlying mathematical concepts.In further mathematics, the A level builds on the mathematics content with 50% of content prescribed. AS level includes new minimum requirements for matrices and complex numbers, with 30% of content prescribed.

Copies of the content for reformed A levels are available.

Alongside these announcements, Ofqual is today confirming its decisions on how these subjects should be assessed, including the proportion of non-examination assessment and the assessment objectives for each subject.

These reformed A levels will be ready for first teaching in September 2016, apart from mathematics and further mathematics for which first teaching is deferred until September 2017. This will give mathematics students the best opportunity to benefit from the new qualifications at GCSE and A level. The decision is informed by advice from ALCAB and Ofqual’s Chief Regulator.

The Department has also consulted upon the content for GCSEs in art and design, dance, music, computer science, physical education (PE), citizenship, cooking and nutrition, design and technology, and drama, and A levels in dance, music and physical education and drama and theatre, and is currently consulting on proposed content for GCSE and A level religious studies. For all these subjects we will publish content early next year.

This Statement included the following attachment attachments:

Subject content—ancient languages (GCE AS and A level subject content for ancient languages.docx)

Subject content—modern foreign languages (GCE AS and A level subject content for modern foreign languages.docx)

Subject content—further mathematics (GCE AS and A level subject content for further mathematics.docx)

Subject content—mathematics (GCE AS and A level subject content for mathematics.docx)

Subject content—geography (GCE AS and A level subject content for geography.docx)

School Breakfast Clubs (European Aid)


The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash) (Con): My right honourable friend the Minister of State for Schools (David Laws MP) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

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The Government plans to use the UK share of the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived to provide additional support for school breakfast clubs in England. Under the plans, which will be led by the Department for Education, this money would be allocated to schools with particularly high rates of disadvantage, as measured by free-school meal eligibility.

We believe that breakfast clubs effectively target help to many of the most deprived children—providing nutritious meals in some of the poorest areas, supporting academic attainment, promoting healthy eating habits at a young age and saving families money. This funding would be in addition to existing support provided by the government—we have already committed just over £1 million over two years to support an expansion of breakfast clubs in poor areas.

The UK’s allocation is worth €3.94 million (or £3.1m) over seven years from 2014 to 2020, and can be used to deliver one or more of the following: food aid for the most deprived people; consumer goods for homeless people; consumer goods for children; and non-labour market social inclusion activities for the most deprived. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland decided not to participate, due to the small sums involved and the administrative effort required. The allocation has been deducted from the UK’s structural fund allocation (European Social Fund and European Regional Development Fund).

This use of the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived is subject to final agreement with the European Commission, and will be managed in accordance with the fund’s stringent eligibility, accounting and evidence requirements.

A copy of the draft operational programme is attached to this Statement.

Draft Operational Programme (Draft Programme_ 2014UK05FMOP001_1_1_final.pdf)

Transforming Rehabilitation


The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Faulks) (Con): My right honourable friend the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice (Chris Grayling) made the following Written Ministerial Statement on 18 December 2014.

I am today signing contracts with the new owners of the 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs). This is another major step towards implementing the government’s probation reforms.

Despite almost £3 billion a year investment in prisons and just under £1 billion in delivering sentences in the community, overall reoffending rates have barely changed over the last decade.

The very highest reoffending rates are among prisoners sentenced to custodial sentences of under 12 months. The current system is simply not addressing this problem —many of these prolific offenders, with a host of complex problems, are released on to the streets with little or no support.

For the first time in recent history, these reforms will mean that virtually every offender released from custody will receive statutory supervision and rehabilitation in the community. The Offender Rehabilitation Act

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2014 will extend this statutory supervision and rehabilitation to all 45,000 of the most prolific group of offenders sentenced to less than 12 months in custody.

We are also putting in place an unprecedented nationwide “through the prison gate” resettlement service to support offenders from custody into the community.

This is the most diverse market we have ever had for any competition in the Ministry of Justice. The contracts that I will be signing today demonstrate how we are bringing together the best of the public, voluntary and private sectors with a wide range of skills and experience to improve rehabilitation provision.

In nearly all of the 21 areas, a mutual or voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisation is involved at Tier 1 or as a strategic partner, and 6 of

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the CRCs will be run with the involvement of a probation staff mutual. All new owners have included VCSE organisations in their proposed supply chains and 75% of the 300 subcontractors named are VCSE or mutual organisations.

Our Transforming Rehabilitation reforms are part of a programme across the whole justice system, making it ready to meet the challenges of the future. We are creating a justice system that produces more effective and more efficient services for all – reforming offenders, delivering value for the taxpayer and protecting victims and communities.

I have placed a copy of the final list of new owners in the House Library.

This Statement included the following attachment:

New owners of Community Rehabilitation Companies (Table of New Owners of CRCs FINAL.pdf)