Fourteenth Report Contents

Instruments of interest

Draft Heavy Commercial Vehicles in Kent (No. 1) (Amendment) Order 2021

Heavy Commercial Vehicles in Kent (No. 2) (Amendment) Order 2021 (SI 2021/988)

Heavy Commercial Vehicles in Kent (No. 3) (Amendment) (No. 2) Order 2021 (SI 2021/973)

36.Operation Brock is intended to respond to disruption at the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel. When activated, Operation Brock aims to restrict Heavy Commercial Vehicles (HCVs) on cross-Channel journeys, weighing 7.5 tonnes and over, to designated routes in Kent.

37.These amending Orders will remove requirements specifically designed for the UK’s exit from the EU and other provisions that are not needed beyond 31 October 2021. However, powers conferred on traffic officers to identify and direct cross-Channel HCVs will be retained within the No. 1 Order, as will measures to assist local hauliers in the No. 2 and No. 3 Orders. Some of the roads specified have, however, been changed to reflect that Manston is no longer part of the traffic management plan as the government lease on it has expired.

38.These amending Orders also remove the sunset clauses in the existing legislation, making Operation Brock permanently available as a response to unforeseen disruption (such as bad weather or industrial action).

Child Benefit (General) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021/1039)

Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (England) and Persons subject to Immigration Control (Housing Authority Accommodation and Homelessness) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021/1045)

Allocation of Housing and Homelessness (Eligibility) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2021 (SR (NI) 2021/254)

39.These three instruments ensure that certain people who left Afghanistan following the collapse of the Afghan government on 15 August 2021 are immediately eligible for child benefit and housing support:

Domestic Abuse Support (Local Authority Strategies and Annual Reports) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021/990)

Domestic Abuse Support (Relevant Accommodation and Housing Benefit and Universal Credit Sanctuary Schemes) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021/991)

40.These two sets of Regulations make provision in relation to the Domestic Abuse Act 2021. SI 2021/990 sets out certain requirements for the preparation and publication of strategies and annual reports that local authorities have to prepare in relation to the provision of accommodation-based support for victims of domestic abuse and their children.

41.SI 2021/991 describes the types of safe accommodation within which accommodation-based support can be provided by local authorities. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG, now the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities) says that using secondary legislation will allow it to revise these descriptions when the types of safe accommodation that are being used to house victims of domestic abuse may change over time. The instrument also introduces an exception to the rules on the maximum housing support available to Housing Benefit and Universal Credit claimants in the social rented sector whose home has been adapted with security measures under a sanctuary scheme, so that those who qualify for the exception will not have their housing support reduced if they are under-occupying their home.

42.We asked MHCLG for further information about the different types of safe accommodation and about the written evidence from “a person acting in an official capacity” that claimants need to submit if they wish to be exempt from a deduction to their housing support. We are publishing this information at Appendix 4. MHCLG told us that with regard to self-contained safe accommodation, the statutory guidance which will be published in time for the commencement of the Regulations states that “where two or more units share any part of the accommodation, including shared hallways or access routes, provision should be single gender or single sex”. We note that in situations where transgender issues arise, additional provisions may be needed to protect the dignity of those concerned. We also note that the Regulations include health care professionals in the definition of “a person acting in an official capacity”. It may be helpful to refer in the statutory guidance more specifically to registered health care professionals.

Public Interest Merger Reference (Perpetuus Advanced Materials plc) (Pre-emptive Action) Order 2021 (SI 2021/993)

43.This Order intervenes in the proposed acquisition of Perpetuus Advanced Materials plc (“Perpetuus”), a manufacturer of graphene22 based in Wales, by Dr Zhongfu Zhou23 or Taurus International Ltd (“Taurus”) on the grounds of national security under section 42 of the Enterprise Act 2002. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) says that the Order is made to prevent actions by the parties to the merger that might impede the Secretary of State’s ability to protect national security, such as Perputuus disclosing trade secrets, commercially-sensitive information and intellectual property. Following the intervention, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will now investigate the proposed merger and report to the Secretary of State by 7 February 2022.The Secretary of State is required to publish this report and will then decide whether to clear the merger, including by accepting undertakings from the merger parties that would mitigate any public interest concerns, or refer the merger to a more in-depth review by the CMA. This decision will also be published.

44.As the Explanatory Memorandum provides only limited information about the parties to the merger, we asked BEIS for further information, including about the nature of Perpetuus’ business and its economic significance, as well as about Dr Zhou and Taurus as the potential new owners of Perpetuus. We are publishing this information at Appendix 5.

Immigration (Disposal of Property) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021/1007)

45.This instrument extends the range of disposal methods that the Home Office can use to deal with goods seized by Immigration Officers in the course of their duties to add destruction, recycling or charitable donation. Under existing rules any such goods must be stored for 12 months and may then be sold if the owner cannot be identified and the item is not required for an investigation. However, the large number of small boats being seized has been causing Border Force a particular challenge as items in storage need to be held in a secure warehouse and in compliance with fire and health and safety requirements. The Home Office states that the changes proposed will offer a wider range of disposal options which are more cost effective, proportionate and environmentally sound.

Customs (Safety and Security Procedures) Regulations 2021
(SI 2021/1011)

46.This instrument introduces a permanent waiver from the requirement to submit an Entry Summary (ENS) declaration for qualifying Northern Ireland (NI) goods24 that arrive in Great Britain (GB), having passed through the Republic of Ireland (ROI). According to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), these goods retain their status as UK domestic goods, even though they are temporarily outside the UK during their movement between NI and GB. The new permanent waiver replaces a temporary waiver for such goods which will expire on 31 December 2021. Goods which are not qualifying NI goods and which currently also benefit from the temporary waiver for goods arriving in GB from the ROI will not be covered by the new permanent waiver. Asked how HMRC will ensure that only goods from GB or NI will benefit from the new waiver, HMRC told us that qualifying goods can be identified from the information provided in the customs declaration which is required for these goods, and that HMRC has powers to check whether any goods for which an ENS declaration has not been received qualify for the waiver.

47.The instrument also introduces a permanent waiver from the requirement to provide safety and security information, in the form of Exit Summary (EXS) declarations, for goods that are moved from GB to NI through the ROI under the common transit procedure.25 A temporary waiver that is currently in place will expire on 30 September 2021. Asked how HMRC will ensure that only goods from GB benefit from the waiver, HMRC explained that “customs formalities are carried in the country of departure of the goods, in the country of destination for the goods, and in each contracting party to the Convention through whose territory the goods pass in the course of the common transit procedure”. According to HMRC, these formalities are recorded in the electronic transit system which will contain information about the route by which the goods are moved, and which will also record the customs office of destination in the country in which the transit movement will end. This will enable HMRC “to determine at the time that goods leave [GB] whether the customs office of destination for the goods will be in [NI] – and therefore whether the conditions for the pre-departure declaration waiver are satisfied”.

Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (Designated Scottish Sites under Section 129) Order 2021 (SI 2021/1021)

Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (Designated Sites under Section 128) Order 2021 (SI 2021/1022)

48.These instruments extend the security boundary around the Westminster and Scottish Parliaments with effect from 1 October 2021. Under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (Designated Sites under Section 128) Order 2007 anyone crossing the designated boundary without authorisation can be charged with trespass, a criminal offence. SI 2021/1022 extends the boundary line at Westminster to include Richmond House and the Peers’ Car Park. SI 2021/1021 designates the whole Scottish Parliament site. Both instruments include maps of the designated areas.

Social Security (Habitual Residence and Past Presence) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021/1034)

49.The Home Office has announced that those arriving in the UK from Afghanistan under the listed resettlement schemes will be granted Indefinite Leave to Remain. These Regulations disapply the Habitual Residence Test, and where appropriate the Past Presence test, so that those arriving can access Department for Work and Pensions income-related, disability and carer benefits (as appropriate) from day one. The legislation came into immediate effect in view of the need to provide urgent support.

50.The listed schemes are:

21 See paragraph 50 of this report for further information on the three Home Office schemes.

22 Graphene consists of single layer sheets of carbon atoms in a hexagonal arrangement. It has been referred to as a “miracle material” due to its strength, elasticity, thermal and electric conductivity and impermeability.

23 Dr Zhou is currently an Associate of Perpetuus. See Perpetuus Advanced Materials, ‘Our Company’: [accessed 13 October 2021].

24 As defined in the Definition of Qualifying Northern Ireland Goods (EU Exit) Regulations 2020
(SI 2020/1454). See: SLSC, 31st Report, Session 2019-21, HL 53.

25 In accordance with the HM Revenue & Customs, ‘Common Transit Convention’ (12 August 2019): [accessed 12 October 2021].

© Parliamentary copyright 2021