13.These draft Regulations, laid by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), propose to extend the Warm Home Discount (WHD) scheme for three years until 2020–21. WHD was first launched in 2011 and, according to BEIS, currently provides help with energy costs to more than 2.2 million households in Great Britain, including 1.3 million lower income pensioners and 900,000 other low income and vulnerable households. Under the WHD scheme, those who qualify for support receive a discount of £140 off their electricity bill. The scheme is funded through the bills of customers of energy suppliers that participate in WHD. In addition to extending the WHD, the draft Regulations propose a number of modifications, including a gradual reduction in the size of the customer threshold above which participation in WHS is compulsory for electricity suppliers. BEIS says that it will introduce further legislation in due course to make more significant changes to the WHD scheme for the payment years 2019–20 and 2020–21. This is to include changes to the eligibility criteria, with the aim of improving the targeting of support through WHD.
14.In this instrument the Home Office has, among other things, made a number of changes that relate to high profile media stories. In particular they clarify the Windrush policy in distinguishing those who have been absent from the UK for less than two years and so retain their indefinite leave status, from those whose indefinite leave has lapsed due to an absence of more than two years. The changes also take doctors and nurses out of the annual limit on skilled workers under Tier 2 General in order to address shortages in the NHS. The changes create a new form of leave for unaccompanied children relocated under the Immigration Act 2016 (“the Dubs amendment”) who do not qualify for leave as refugees. They will have the right to study, work, access public funds and healthcare, and apply for indefinite leave to remain without paying a fee after five years. The Statement of Changes also extends by six years the ex gratia redundancy scheme for Afghan locally-engaged staff who have served at least a year with the UK forces and have been made redundant by the UK military drawdown. It also extends the scheme for those former Afghan staff who have been granted temporary leave to remain in the UK under the Intimidation Scheme and creates a route for them to apply for permanent settlement in the UK.
15.These Regulations, laid by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), consolidate and update the legislative framework for tackling the illegal trade in wildlife. According to Defra, the aim is to make the law clearer and easier to use and facilitate effective enforcement, for example, by providing police and wildlife inspectors with powers of entry and allowing enforcement bodies to make test purchases of specimens where such purchases would normally be illegal. The Regulations will also introduce new civil sanctions as required under EU and international law, including in relation to advertising specimens for sale. Defra says that the Regulations are needed to maintain the effectiveness of the UK’s regime for the Control of Trade in Endangered Species (COTES) which is central to the Government’s commitment to tackling illegal wildlife trade, protecting endangered species and protecting the welfare of traded animals.