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Written Statements

Wednesday 7 January 2015

Forced Labour Convention


The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bates) (Con): My hon Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Karen Bradley) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

The Forced Labour Convention (the Convention) is one of eight fundamental conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). In June the ILO agreed a Protocol and set of Recommendations to supplement the Convention, with support from the UK Government.

On 12 September, the European Commission proposed that Council Decisions should be adopted to authorise Member States to ratify the ILO Protocol, in the interest of the European Union, with regard to matters related to judicial cooperation in criminal matters and with regard to matters related to social policy.

The Government does not agree that the EU has any exclusive competence in the area covered by the Protocol. The Government has therefore decided not to opt in to the Council Decision covering matters related to judicial co-operation.

The UK is determined to tackle the horrific crime of modern slavery, and intends to ratify the Protocol to the Forced Labour Convention.

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Hatfield Colliery Partnership Limited


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, Enterprise and Energy (Matthew Hancock) has today made the following statement.

I want to update the House on matters concerning Hatfield Colliery Partnership Ltd.

The directors of Hatfield Colliery Partnership Ltd (HCPL) approached the Government in November 2014 to report that, due to a combination of unfavourable coal prices, exchange rates and production issues, the viability of the business was in doubt. Having exhausted all other options for securing investment, HCPL requested financial support from Government.

The taxpayer would face significant costs and liabilities in the event of an immediate insolvency of HCPL, principally relating to safe closure costs for the mine, redundancy and unpaid tax liabilities. Considering this, the taxpayer is better served by supporting a managed closure of the mine.

I can therefore announce that the Government has agreed to provide a short-term commercial loan of £8m, available for drawing down in tranches subject to performance, to support the company's managed closure plan. The first tranche (in the sum of £2 million) of this loan was remitted to HCPL on 31 December 2014. This short-term loan will provide time for further consideration of the case for a longer term loan to allow HCPL to continue operating until 2016. We expect the loan to be paid back in full.