Skip to main content

Written Statements

Volume 505: debated on Wednesday 10 February 2010

Written Ministerial Statements

Wednesday 10 February 2010

Communities and Local Government

Local Government

On 8 December 2009, Official Report, column 14WS, I informed the House that the Boundary Committee had provided the advice requested on certain matters respectively relating to the unitary proposals (the “original proposals”) made by Exeter city council, Ipswich borough council, and Norwich city council. In their advice the Boundary Committee put forward alternative proposals for a single unitary county authority for Devon, Norfolk and Suffolk, and in addition in the case of Suffolk proposed a further alternative of two unitary authorities covering the county area.

Following the end of a period for representations on 19 January 2010 to be made to the Secretary of State about the Boundary Committee’s advice and original proposals, we have now taken our statutory decisions under section 7 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 on the unitary proposals relating to Devon and Norfolk. For the reasons explained below we decided not to take our statutory decisions on the proposals relating to Suffolk, and to invite the councils in Suffolk through a county constitutional convention to work together with their Members of Parliament to reach a consensus on a unitary pattern of local government for that area.

Under section 7 of the 2007 Act we can decide to implement, with or without modification, any of the unitary proposals before us, or to take no action on them. Owing to family connections with the Devon area, to avoid any perception of bias, the Secretary of State remitted decisions on unitary proposals for Devon to me.

We have considered each of the unitary proposals before us, both the alternative proposals made by the Boundary Committee and the original proposals, on its merits. We have sought to balance a number of factors in each case. We have had regard to the Boundary Committee’s advice, all the representations we have received, and all other relevant information.

In the case of each proposal we have reached a judgment on it by reference to the five criteria—affordability, broad cross-section of support, strategic leadership, neighbourhood empowerment, and value for money and equity on services. Our presumption has been that where for an area there is one unitary proposal that meets the criteria, we will implement it, unless there are compelling reasons for the contrary; if there are several such proposals we will implement the one we judge to meet the criteria on leadership, neighbourhood empowerment, and value for money, to the greatest extent. Where we judged that a proposal does not meet all the five criteria, our presumption has been not to implement it unless there are compelling reasons to the contrary.

Our assessment is that, contrary to the Boundary Committee’s views, the alternative proposals for unitary county councils in Devon and Norfolk do not meet all the criteria. Our judgment is that there is not a reasonable likelihood, if these proposals were implemented, of their delivering the outcomes specified by the broad cross-section of support criterion. I also judged that if a unitary council for Devon were implemented there is also not a reasonable likelihood of it delivering the outcomes specified by the neighbourhood engagement criterion. Accordingly, we have decided to take no action on these proposals.

In his statement to the House of 5 December 2007, Official Report, column 66WS, the then Minister for Local Government, my right hon. Friend the Member for Wentworth (John Healey), stated that the Secretary of State judged that the unitary proposals for Exeter and Norwich would, if implemented, not be reasonably likely to deliver the outcomes specified by the affordability criterion, nor in the case of Norwich the outcomes specified by the value for money services criterion. The then Secretary of State also judged that these proposals, if implemented, would be reasonably likely to deliver the outcomes specified by the other criteria.

We have considered these proposals afresh against the criteria and our assessment is the same as my right hon. Friends in December 2007. However, we consider that in both cases there are compelling reasons to depart from the presumption that unitary proposals which do not meet all five criteria are not to be implemented.

In both cases these reasons are twofold.

First, the Government’s priorities today are, above all, for jobs and economic growth. Local government has an essential role to play in delivering these economic priorities, and this role is of a significance that could not be contemplated in 2006 when the criteria were developed. We believe, as has been made clear to us by the representations we have received, that a unitary Exeter and a unitary Norwich would each be a far more potent force for delivering positive economic outcomes both for the city and more widely than the status quo two-tier local government.

Secondly, with today’s approach to developing public service delivery, as envisaged by our Command Paper—“Putting the Frontline First”—announced by my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary to the Treasury on 7 December 2009, Official Report, column 1WS, including the Total Place approach, a unitary Exeter and a unitary Norwich could open the way for improvements to the quality of public services. Through innovative shared services and partnership arrangements the public services for the cities will be able to be tailored to the needs of the urban area while still being able to achieve the economies of scale that are possible under the countywide delivery of such services as adult social care and children’s services.

Accordingly, the Secretary of State in the case of Norwich, and I in the case of Exeter, have decided, subject to Parliamentary approval, to implement a unitary council for each of these cities from 1 April 2011. In accordance with the 2007 Act we are thus laying before Parliament today drafts of orders, which if approved by Parliament, we will make to give effect to our decisions to create a unitary Exeter and a unitary Norwich.

The draft orders make provision not only for the creation of the new unitary councils, but also for appropriate transitional arrangements. These arrangements reflect both the experience we have gained from implementing the nine new unitary councils on 1 April 2009, and also the discussions we have offered this year to all councils potentially affected by any of the unitary proposals before us. In particular the draft orders are providing for the 2010 elections to Exeter and Norwich city councils to be cancelled and for subsequent whole council elections to the new unitary councils to take place in 2011.

Preparations for the new unitaries will be the responsibility of an implementation executive made up of existing councillors from both the city and county councils. We are committed to applying the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE) which will ensure that employees who transfer to the new unitary councils will do so with their terms and conditions protected on transfer. We expect the affected councils to have early discussions with the trade unions on staffing issues arising from restructuring.

Recognising the importance and scope for innovative service delivery we will be inviting all existing councils in Devon and Norfolk to work together and with Government to develop the new service delivery models which, with the advent of unitary councils for the cities, will enable the best quality and most efficient public services to be provided both to the cities and the wider county areas. In developing these models we will be looking to maximise the new freedoms and flexibilities on offer in our Command Paper.

We share the Boundary Committee’s assessment that the alternative proposals they have put forward for Suffolk meet the criteria, the proposal for a single unitary county, to the greater extent. We have also assessed afresh the unitary proposal made by Ipswich borough council and have concluded that we share the view the Secretary of State reached in December 2007 that this proposal, if it were implemented, would not be reasonably likely to deliver the outcomes specified by the affordability criterion.

From the representations we have received it is clear that there is wide agreement across the county that there should be a unitary solution in some form. However, it is equally clear that neither of the unitary proposals which we consider meet the criteria is supported by all the principal councils in the county. Accordingly, we have concluded not now to take a statutory decision on the Suffolk proposals before us, and to invite all the Suffolk councils, with their Members of Parliament, consulting other stakeholders and through a county constitutional convention, to reach a consensus on a unitary solution for that area.

We are clear that the decisions that we have taken are in the best interests of the people for the areas concerned. They recognise the genuine local appetite for unitary Government in the cities of Exeter and Norwich. They provide a robust framework for the future prosperity of those cities and surrounding county areas. They open the way to better and more efficient public services. This potential will be delivered through the commitment and collaboration of all councils involved—this is what local people will rightly expect.

Defence

Defence Medical Rehabilitation (Ward Beds)

The Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre, Headley Court, provides first-class rehabilitation treatment for service personnel, most notably for operational casualties at the present time, but also for a range of other patients. Many of its patients, particularly those who have suffered severe injuries, need to return to the unit for further treatment at intervals, often over a period of years.

We keep the number of beds required under regular review. The unit’s facilities currently include 66 ward beds and 120 other beds for patients. As prudent contingency planning, we propose to increase the number of ward beds available in the near to medium-term. We are therefore now working on plans to provide up to 30 extra ward beds later this year, as well as updating and expanding our existing clinical facilities at Headley Court in the longer-term. Planning permission for new buildings will be sought in the normal way.

We are determined to ensure that the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre continues to provide the excellent service that our armed forces deserve. I shall inform the House when final decisions on our requirements for additional ward beds have been made.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

I wish to update the House on recent developments related to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

I announced the start of a review of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew on 16 July 2009, Official Report, column 55WS. Today I am publishing the report of this review.

The review was part of a Government recommendation that public bodies are subjected to periodic study to ensure that they are still delivering high quality services and are adequately resourced. The review was carried out by independent consultants led by Sir Neil Chalmers, Warden of Wadham College Oxford, on behalf of DEFRA, who gathered evidence from individuals and organisations with an interest in the work of the RBG, Kew.

The report focused on whether Kew has been effectively fulfilling its statutory obligations under the National Heritage Act 1983 since 2001 (the date of the last review) considered sustainable funding options in the present economic climate, examined the effectiveness of the delivery of Kew’s science programme, issues of maintaining the heritage buildings, improving the visitor experience and aspects of governance and sponsorship by the Government. It concluded that Kew has been fulfilling its statutory functions since 2001 and that DEFRA should remain lead sponsor for Kew but put forward a number of recommendations for financial and organisational remedies to sustain Kew as a centre of world-class science and as a major, iconic visitor attraction and a world heritage site.

The report does not constitute DEFRA policy. DEFRA officials will now examine the recommendations proposed in the report in more detail and will explore their financial and organisational implications, including consultation with other Government Departments. I intend to publish a Government response later in the year.

Copies of the full report will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses and an electronic copy can be downloaded from the DEFRA website at:

www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/about/partners/kew/index.htm

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Foreign and Commonwealth Office Finances

The House has recently expressed interest in the financing of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The FCO is working to manage the impact on the purchasing power of its budget next year caused by changes in the value of sterling. That impact is over £100 million in the current financial year and an estimated £110 million in the year ahead.

The FCO has now agreed with Her Majesty’s Treasury a range of measures to help manage these pressures in the next financial year:

an additional £25 million from asset sales will be recycled into the FCO’s budget;

a further £35 million to the FCO will be made available from the reserve, of which £20 million would form a foreign exchange adjustment account to manage the impact of currency movement to be drawn on in agreement with Her Majesty’s Treasury;

a further £15 million in end year flexibility will be made available, focused on restructuring and modernisation costs subject to a business case being made.

In addition, I have agreed with other parts of the FCO family, including the British Council, BBC World Service and FCO Services Trading Fund, that they will make a contribution to help manage these pressures. A broad programme of streamlining and cost-savings will also be implemented within the FCO’s own operating spending to reduce further back-office costs, implement more innovative working practices, and review staff allowances. This package of measures will substantially offset the foreign exchange pressures on the FCO budget.

In common with other Government Departments, the FCO is committed to delivering increased efficiency which will require further cost reductions and rigorous prioritisation, including in areas of programme spending. Good progress is being made. On this basis, I am confident that the FCO will continue to deliver a world-class and comprehensive diplomatic service for the UK, and that the Government’s highest foreign policy priorities, including our counter-terrorism programme, will continue to be funded effectively.

Home Department

Immigration and Nationality Services

On 20 January 2010 I laid the regulations that set fees for immigration and nationality services that are above the normal administrative cost of providing the service. I am today laying regulations for fees that are set at or below the cost of processing. The Government review the fees on a regular basis and make appropriate changes as necessary.

These fees are set out in regulations and are subject to the negative procedure. The fees contained in these regulations are set at, or below the administrative cost of an application or process, in line with the Government’s charging model. By charging below the administrative cost of delivery on the application types referred to in this instrument, the UK Border Agency is able to support wider Government objectives, particularly where it is believed that a cost recovery fee would be so high as to damage international competitiveness in this area, (e.g. for short term visit visa applications, tier 5 temporary work applications). To help enable this, the UK Border Agency sets fees for other application types above the cost of delivery. For transparency, I have included the estimated unit cost for each route, so that it is clear the degree to which certain routes are set at or below cost.

We have succeeded in limiting the extent of our general increases by taking a more targeted approach to fees adjustment which is consistent with both the UK Border Agency’s strategic charging principles, and also with broader Government objectives. We have made amendments to the tier 4 (student) visa fee, introduced a fee for sponsor action plans and we have proposed a nominal 10 per cent. fee for all applications for UK-based dependants to reflect the fact that each individual brings a processing cost to us. Finally, we will continue to generate revenue to fund the transitional impacts of migration. The migration impacts fund has played a vital role in helping ease the pressures on certain communities. Full details of all fees changes are outlined in the explanatory memorandum accompanying these regulations.

I believe our proposals continue to strike the right balance between maintaining secure and effective border controls and ensuring that our fees structure does not inhibit the UK’s ability to attract those migrants and visitors who make a valued contribution. It is right that those who benefit directly from the immigration system should pay to meet the costs of securing the UK’s borders. This will help to support the immigration system, maintain public confidence, and ensure that migration is managed for the benefit of the UK.

Full details on how to apply for all of these services will be provided on our website: www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk.

The table below details fees for 2010-11 for immigration and nationality services that are set at or below the normal administrative costs of the service.

Visa Fees

Products

2009-10 Fees (£)

Estimated Unit Cost for 2010-11

Proposed Fee for 2010-11

Non PBS Visas

Short term visitor visa

67

140

68

Transit Visa

46

94

47

Certificate of Entitlement

215

244

220

Vignette Transfer Fee

75

93

75

Call out/out of hours fee

£128 per hour up to a max of £922 a day

134/hr

130/hour up to a max of £939 a day

PBS Visas

T1 (Post Study) *

265

344

315

T1 (Transition)

250

332

256

T1 (Transition) CESC

230

332

235

T4 **

145

242

199

T5

125

173

128

T5 (CESC)

110

173

112

* The fees for these applications include a contribution of £50 per person to the migration impacts fund.

** The fees for T4 applications include a contribution of £20 per person to the migration impacts fund.

In UK - Leave To Remain And Nationality Fees

Products

2009-10 Fees (£)

Estimated Unit Cost for 2010-11

Proposed Fee for 2010-11

Dependents Fee

Non PBS Routes - Migrants Inside UK

Certificate of Approval (Fee not charged)

295

318

0

0

Transfer of Conditions Postal

165

381

169

16

Travel Documents Adult (CoT)

215

246

220

N/A

Travel Documents Adult CTD

72

246

77.5

N/A

Travel Documents Child (CoT)

135

231

138

N/A

Travel Documents Child CTD

46

255

49

N/A

Replacement BID

30

35

30

N/A

Call out/out of hours fee

£128/hour up to a max of £922/day

134/hr

130/hour up to a max of £939/day

N/A

Work Permit Technical Changes

20

116

20

N/A

Nationality applications- Migrants Inside UK

Renunciation of Nationality

395

208

208

N/A

Nationality Right of Abode

140

149

143

N/A

Re-issued Certificates of Nationality

75

178

76

N/A

Nationality Reconsideration Fee

0

100

100

N/A

Status Letter (Nationality)

75

107

76

N/A

Non Acquisition Letter (Nationality)

75

107

76

N/A

Status Letter (Immigration)

75

107

76

N/A

In-UK PBS Fees

Products

2009-10 Fees(£)

EstimatedUnit Cost for 2010-11

Proposed Fee for 2010-11

Dependents Fee

PBS – Migrants Inside UK

T4 - Postal *

357

357

357

80

T5 – Postal

125

359

128

12

T5 CESC Postal

110

380

112

11

* The fees for these applications include a contribution of £50 per person to the migration impacts fund.

PBS Sponsorship Fees

Products

2009-10 Fees (£)

Estimated Unit Cost for 2010-11

Proposed Fee for 2010-11

PBS Sponsorship Fees

T2 Sponsor licence - small business

300

880

300

T4 Sponsor licence

400

950

400

T5 Sponsor licence

400

880

400

T2 & 4 Sponsor licence - small business

400

950

400

T2 & 5 Sponsor licence - small business

400

880

400

T4 & 5 Sponsor licence

400

950

400

T2, 4 & 5 Sponsor licence - small business

400

950

400

T2 & T4, T5 Licence - Medium/Large Sponsor, where they currently hold T4 &/or T5 Licence

600

950

600

T4 &/or T5 Licence - Small Sponsor, where they currently hold T2 Licence

100

950

100

T4 Certificate of Acceptance of Studies

10

25

10

T5 Certificate of Sponsorship

10

25

10

Sponsorship Action Plans

0

600

600

Tier 4: Student Visas

Following the Prime Minster’s announcement of a review of tier 4 (the student route under our points-based system for controlling migration) on 12 November 2009, I am today announcing a balanced and targeted package of measures to tackle the abuse of tier 4 by economic migrants while at the same time continuing to safeguard the ability of genuine international students to come to the UK to benefit from our world class education system and bring benefit to our economy.

The measures outlined below target abuse seen among adult students coming here to study below degree level in the further education and English language sectors. There are no changes for students who come here to study a foundation degree, courses at degree level or above or for those coming here as child students at our independent schools (except for a reduction in the number of hours a child student aged 16 or 17 may work to 10 hours per week) and the changes set out do not apply to these groups.

The review highlighted concerns about the numbers of individuals who were not serious about studying in the UK but who were primarily using tier 4 as a route to work. There were also concerns about dependants who have also historically enjoyed the right to work in the UK. While it is right that students should be able to undertake some work while in the UK to support themselves during their course, we need to ensure that the route is not abused by those whose primary intention is to enter the UK labour market. I am therefore today laying changes to the immigration rules which will:

halve the amount of time students can work during term time from 20 to 10 hours a week;

ban students who are studying on courses of six months or less from bringing their dependants with them to the UK; and

ban students’ dependants from working unless they qualify in their own right under tier 1 (General) as a highly skilled migrant or as a skilled worker under tier 2 (General), sportsperson or minister of religion.

All of these changes will come into force on 3 March 2010 and all tier 4 applications submitted on or after this date will be subject to the new restrictions.

In respect of English language courses, I am also announcing today that, from 3 March, we will change tier 4 Guidance to raise the minimum level of English language course which can be studied under tier 4 from A2 on the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) to B2—this is roughly the equivalent of GCSE standard. This is to ensure that tier 4 is less open to abuse from economic migrants seeking to exploit English language courses which have low entry requirements. There will, however, be exemptions from this for students sponsored by overseas Governments and for students on pre-sessional English language courses which prepare them for full degree courses, as these students are lower risk.

For the future, we also want to improve the security of the tests by which English language students are asked to demonstrate proficiency in English language. We are currently reviewing the criteria that approved providers will be required to meet, and will be introducing new arrangements for formal English language testing for tier 4 by early summer.

The review also looked fundamentally at the levels and types of courses which foreign students should be able to come to the UK to undertake through tier 4 of the points-based system. It concluded that changes needed to be made in a number of areas.

First, the review highlighted concerns that students were coming to study below degree level with a very low level of proficiency in the English language. This cannot be right. In addition, therefore, such students, in addition to those coming for English language courses, will be required to undertake a test with one of our approved test providers to demonstrate English language proficiency to at least level Bl on the CEFR when we introduce this in the summer.

Secondly, in respect of lower level and work placement courses, the Government have previously set out their intention to introduce a new category of “Highly Trusted Sponsor” under the points-based system sponsorship arrangements. This new category of sponsor will be implemented on 6 April following a period of consultation with the education sector on the criteria against which sponsors wishing to be rated as “highly trusted” will be judged. In the first instance, publicly funded institutions will be treated as “highly trusted” but removed from this category should the UK Border Agency judge that they do not meet the criteria set; privately funded institutions will need to apply to the UK Border Agency to become highly trusted sponsors.

Following our review of tier 4, I can also announce that, from 6 April, only those with highly trusted status will be able to offer courses at National Qualifications Framework Level 3 (and its equivalents) and courses with work placements below degree level. Such courses are attractive to economic migrants and as such we believe they should only be offered by sponsors with a strong record of student compliance.

These measures will improve our control of tier 4 but should do little to deter genuine students whose main focus is study.

UK Border Agency (Tuberculosis)

I would like to take this opportunity to update the House on the progress of the UK Border Agency pilot to pre-screen entry clearance applicants for active cases of tuberculosis to address the problem of imported infection. The pilot was initiated in late 2005 and has been testing pre-entry screening as a possible alternative, or supplement, to the long-established practice of X-ray screening passengers arriving at UK ports from high-risk countries. The pilot has been managed with the Department of Health and Health Protection Agency and requires those wishing to come to the United Kingdom for more than six months, from specified countries where there is a high incidence of TB, to undertake screening prior to applying for a visa overseas. The countries concerned are: Bangladesh, Ghana (which also takes applications from Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Togo and Niger), Kenya (which also take applications from residents of Eritrea and Somalia), Pakistan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Thailand (which also takes applications from Cambodia and Laos). The International Organization for Migration, who run similar projects for other countries around the world, were contracted to provide the screening facilities.

We are currently carrying out a final evaluation of the pilot and expect to reach decisions about the future of pre-entry screening in the near future. Screening was implemented in pilot countries on a phased basis, and the screening methodology was strengthened during the pilot as a more reliable sputum culture process for detecting active tuberculosis became available. I want to share with the House the principal statistical information produced by the pilot, to inform subsequent thinking and discussion about the screening arrangements. The following table provides the total number of positive TB cases identified through the pre-entry screening programme, since inception in 2005, against the total number of individuals screened.

Pre-entry TB screening (October 2005 - September 2009)

Total Screened

Total Positive

Pre-entry TB screening Oct 2005 - September 2009

325,507

191

To place these figures in context, there were a total 8,655 cases of active tuberculosis cases in the UK in 2008. The evidence suggests that in the majority of these cases the infection originated overseas, but the available data do not show whether the carriers were returning UK residents who had visited countries with a high prevalence of TB, EEA nationals or persons subject to immigration control. Data are not currently collected centrally on the number of active TB cases detected among arriving passengers as a consequence of community health referrals made by port medical inspection teams. The advice from the Health Protection Agency is that many of those who develop actively infectious TB, do so more than two years after their last entry to the United Kingdom. There is no scientifically recognised screening method for predicting whether individuals will go on to develop active TB during their lifetime. We intend to take stock of the available evidence, together with comparative data from other countries which screen for TB as part of their immigration control arrangements, later this year. The Department of Health has in place a comprehensive action plan to detect and combat TB in the community.

Work and Pensions

Employers' Liability Insurance Bureau

I am publishing today a consultation document on proposals to improve the tracing of employers’ liability insurance policies, and establish a fund of last resort to make payments in cases where employers are insolvent and insurers cannot be traced.

Today, Britain is rightly recognised as having one of the best health and safety records in the world. This was not always the case though and good health and safety has not always been a priority for business. A key step for employees was therefore the introduction of the Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969. This landmark legislation has helped to ensure that the vast majority of those who are injured or made ill as a result of employment, are able to receive appropriate compensation.

We know, however, that in some cases—particularly cases where a disease develops many years after exposure—it can be very difficult to identify the relevant insurer. This includes some of the most serious industrial diseases, such as pneumoconiosis, caused by exposure to coal dust, and asbestos-related cancers.

In 1999 we launched, in conjunction with the insurance industry, a voluntary code of practice to help trace these policies where other routes had failed. The code has led to some improvements but too many people still are not able to secure the compensation they deserve. This is not acceptable and we believe that more must be done. The consultation document sets out two further measures to improve this situation.

We believe that an essential first step is the creation of an employers’ liability tracing office, to manage an electronic database of EL policies and to operate the tracing service. We will be seeking to work with the Association of British Insurers and others to drive this forward, informed by the outcome of the consultation. We envisage that the database, initially, will be voluntary, but become mandatory in time, to ensure that all insurers publish the relevant policy details. We expect the Financial Services Authority to consult shortly on ways to make the provision of policy information mandatory.

A tracing office will have to be populated initially with existing trace data, but new and renewed policies will be included shortly afterwards. One of the issues explored in the consultation is the extent to which historic insurance records can be added to the database.

While a tracing office will ensure that, in future, more people can obtain civil damages for industrial disease, we also know from experience that it still may be very difficult to trace historic policies, especially for those individuals suffering from long-tail diseases such as mesothelioma. Therefore, we propose also to establish an employers’ liability insurance bureau, which will provide a fund of last resort in cases where all other efforts to trace an employer or insurer have failed. This will, for example, give peace of mind to many workers who know that they were exposed to asbestos but who do not now have symptoms. They will have confidence, that if they later develop an asbestos-related disease, they will be able to claim the civil compensation to which they are entitled.

The consultation launched today will examine what the bureau should cover; the impact on insurers and employers; how much should be paid by way of compensation; and limitations on claiming from the bureau. The Government will consider fully the responses to the consultation before determining next steps towards the bureau’s introduction.

We believe that the changes we are proposing will make a real difference to the lives of people who suffer from these terrible work-related diseases, and to their families.

The consultation will run from 12 weeks from today, in line with the Government code of practice on consultation.

The consultation document is available on DWP’s website at:

www.dwp.gov.uk/consultations.

Copies will be placed in the Vote Office and deposited in the House Library.