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Written Statements

Volume 566: debated on Wednesday 10 July 2013

Written Statements

Wednesday 10 July 2013

Business, Innovation and Skills

New Regulation (Sixth Statement)

The Government are today publishing the sixth statement of new regulation. This statement reports on regulations within the scope of the “One-in, Two-out” rule which are expected to come into force between 1 July and 31 December 2013. The statement shows that the sum total of Government deregulation since January 2011 and December 2013 will be to reduce the net annual cost to business by around £931 million.

The statement also reports on the red tape challenge measures expected to come into force and progress on the targets; and EU measures which are implemented by UK regulations.

In parallel, Departments are each publishing a summary of the regulations they intend to introduce.

I am placing a copy of the statement in the Libraries of both Houses.

Cabinet Office

Civil Service Reform

In June 2012 Sir Bob Kerslake and I published the civil service reform plan. Today we are publishing a report on civil service reform one year on.

The plan set out a series of actions which, fully implemented, would deliver a civil service that is smaller, flatter, and faster; more digital, more unified, focused on outcomes not process; more capable, with better performance management; with modern terms and conditions, and more accountable for delivery. Progress in implementing these actions has been mixed.

The civil service today is 15% smaller than in 2010, and productivity is correspondingly higher. Some of the actions in the plan could not have been expected to be complete in 12 months. On others, substantial progress has been achieved. But on too many actions too little of what was set out to be delivered by this point has been fully executed. We are determined that the pace of implementation will now accelerate.

I said in June 2012 that the plan was not the last word in reform. I set out today some further reform actions. We will introduce five-year fixed-term tenure for permanent secretaries. We will enable Ministers in charge of Departments to appoint personally an extended ministerial office (EMO) including career civil servants, civil servants recruited externally on fixed-term appointment (according to Civil Service Commission guidance and subject to the civil service code), and special advisers. IPPR concluded in their report which I published last month that Ministers in Britain received much less direct support than Ministers in countries with systems similar to ours. We will strengthen the corporate leadership of cross-Government functional services, including HR, procurement and commercial, IT and digital, legal and finance. We will make changes to improve further the delivery of major projects.

Fuller details are set out in the “One Year On” report, which I am placing in the Library.

Treasury

Financial Services Authority

The annual report 2012-13 of the Financial Services Authority (FSA) has today been laid before Parliament.

Copies are available in the Vote Office and Printed Paper Office. The report forms a key part of the accountability mechanism for the Financial Services Authority under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA), and assesses the performance of the Financial Services Authority over the past 12 months against its statutory objectives.

Defence

Afghanistan (Roulement)

The next roulement of UK forces in Afghanistan is due to take place in October 2013. Around half of these units will form Taskforce Helmand under the command of 7th Armoured Brigade. The remainder will deploy within Helmand and to other locations in Afghanistan—particularly Kandahar and Kabul—as part of the UK’s overall contribution. The forces deploying include1:

7th Armoured Brigade Headquarters and Signal Squadron (207)

Headquarters 101 Logistics Brigade

857 Naval Air Squadron

3rd Regiment Royal Horse Artillery

The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers and Greys)

9th/12th Royal Lancers (Prince of Wales’s)

Elements of The Queen’s Own Yeomanry

Elements of 5th Regiment Royal Artillery

Elements of 14th Regiment Royal Artillery

Elements of 16th Regiment Royal Artillery

Elements of 32nd Regiment Royal Artillery

Elements of 39th Regiment Royal Artillery

Elements of 47th Regiment Royal Artillery

32 Engineer Regiment

63 Works Group Royal Engineers

Elements of 36 Engineer Regiment (Search)

Elements of 42 Engineer Regiment (Geographical)

Elements of 101 (City of London) Engineer Regiment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal)

Elements of 10th Signal Regiment

Elements of 14th Signal Regiment (Electronic Warfare)

Elements of 15th Signal Regiment (Information Support)

Elements of 21st Signal Regiment (Air Support)

Elements of 30th Signal Regiment

Elements of 39th (Skinners) Signal Regiment

1st Battalion Coldstream Guards

The Highlanders, 4th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland

2nd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment

3rd Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Staffords)

Elements of 3rd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment

Elements of 3rd Battalion The Royal Welsh

Elements of 4 Regiment Army Air Corps

Elements of 9 Regiment Army Air Corps

2 Logistic Support Regiment The Royal Logistic Corps

27 Theatre Logistic Regiment The Royal Logistic Corps

Elements of 7 Theatre Logistic Regiment The Royal Logistic Corps

Elements of 11 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Regiment The Royal Logistic Corps

Elements of 29 Regiment The Royal Logistic Corps

Elements of 151 (London) Transport Regiment The Royal Logistic Corps

Elements of 158 (Royal Anglian) Transport Regiment The Royal Logistic Corps

Elements of 162 Movement Control Regiment The Royal Logistic Corps

Elements of 159 Supply Regiment The Royal Logistic Corps

Elements of 148 (Expeditionary Forces Institute) Squadron The Royal Logistic Corps

2 Medical Regiment

202 (Midlands) Field Hospital

203 (Welsh) Field Hospital

2 Close Support Battalion Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers

Elements of 7 Air Assault Battalion Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers

Elements of 101 Force Support Battalion Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers

Elements of 103 (Hybrid) Battalion Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers

111 Provost Company Royal Military Police

Elements of 114 Provost Company Royal Military Police

Elements of Special Investigation Branch Regiment Royal Military Police

Elements of The Military Provost Staff Corps

Elements of 1st Military Working Dog Regiment

Elements of 1 Military Intelligence Battalion

Elements of 2 Military Intelligence (Exploitation) Battalion

2 (Army Cooperation) Squadron, Royal Air Force

617 Squadron, Royal Air Force

51 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment

58 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment

Number 5 Royal Air Force Force Protection Wing Headquarters

Number 2 Tactical Police Squadron, Royal Air Force

Elements of 24 Squadron, Royal Air Force

Elements of 30 Squadron, Royal Air Force

Elements of 32 (The Royal) Squadron, Royal Air Force

Elements of 216 Squadron, Royal Air Force

Elements of 39 Squadron, Royal Air Force

Elements of 13 Squadron, Royal Air Force

Elements of 27 Squadron, Royal Air Force

Elements of 51 Squadron, Royal Air Force

Elements of 99 Squadron, Royal Air Force

Elements of 33 (Engineering) Squadron, Royal Air Force

Elements of 90 Signals Unit, Royal Air Force

Elements of 1 Air Control Centre, Royal Air Force

Elements of Tactical Supply Wing, Royal Air Force

Elements of 1 Air Mobility Wing, Royal Air Force

Elements of Tactical Medical Wing, Royal Air Force

Elements of Number 1 Royal Air Force Police Wing

Elements of Number 2 Royal Air Force Police Wing

Elements of 2 (Mechanical Transport) Squadron, Royal Air Force

Elements of 93 (Expeditionary Armaments) Squadron, Royal Air Force

Elements of Engineering and Logistics Wing, Royal Air Force Odiham

1Where the contribution is 10 personnel or more.

2In some cases there will be up to three rotations of Royal Navy and Royal Air Force individual augmentees during Herrick 19, due to differing deployment durations often occurring outside the numbered Herrick iterations.

In addition to the list of formed units, individual augmentees from each of the services will continue to deploy as part of this integrated force package. In total we expect around 1,119 individual augmentees to deploy on operations. This will be comprised of 246 Royal Navy personnel, 370 Army personnel and 503 Royal Air Force personnel2. The Royal Air Force currently provides the command element of Headquarters Joint Force Support (Afghanistan), with the wider headquarters manned by individual augmentees from all three services. 101 Logistic Brigade will deploy in November to take on this role.

Volunteer and ex-regular members of the reserve forces will continue to deploy to Afghanistan as part of this integrated force package, and we expect to issue around 400 call-out notices. On completion of their mobilisation procedures, the reservists will undertake a period of training and, where applicable, integration with their respective receiving units. The majority will serve on operations for around six months although a small proportion of any force that is stood down due to force level reductions is likely to be reservist.

As the Prime Minister announced in December 2012, the UK’s conventional force levels in Afghanistan will draw down to around 5,200 by the end of 2013, from the current level of around 7,900. As part of this draw down, there will be around 6,000 personnel in Afghanistan from autumn 2013. However, this figure may fluctuate and occasionally exceed this total due to relief in place and additional surges into theatre.

As announced by the Defence Secretary on 14 May 2013, some elements of 7th Armoured Brigade will deploy on Op Herrick 19 for up to eight months. This will remove the requirement to train and deploy an extra brigade, at greatly reduced scale, to cover the final months of 2014. It will also align tours to key milestones in the transition process, such as the Afghan presidential elections in spring 2014. A small number of reservists may voluntarily serve eight months.

I shall make a further statement on 7th Armoured Brigade’s planned replacement formation, 20th Armoured Brigade, nearer the time of their deployment.

Energy and Climate Change

UK Coal Operations Ltd

I want to update the House following UK Coal Operations Ltd’s (UKCOL) announcement on Tuesday 9 July 2013 , that it had secured court approval to place the company into administration, with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) appointed as administrators, with a view to saving as many of its mining operations as possible, including its two remaining deep mines at Kellingley and Thoresby and six surface mining operations, and securing jobs for around 2,000 employees.

I understand that the company’s directors concluded that it was impossible for UKCOL to continue trading in its current form following the impact on its finances after the serious fire which broke out on 22 February 2013 and the subsequent decision to close Daw Mill colliery in Warwickshire on 7 March 2013.

The process of entering administration is continuing and we should await the outcome. I understand that PwC have already communicated with the workforce, their union representatives and the company’s creditors to explain the implications for them.

Given the closure of Daw Mill, it will not form part of the new company. Our priority now is to support the mine’s former employees through the redundancy payments service. The Government will of course meet the full statutory costs of any redundancies.

PwC are arranging a series of support sessions next week to help redundant employees to complete the necessary documentation for statutory redundancy payments and any other benefits as quickly as possible. PwC have set up a website which will provide individuals with up to date information.

In addition, the Jobcentre Plus rapid response service will be deployed to help mitigate the immediate impact of job losses, and where appropriate skills are no longer in demand arrange retraining. This builds on the work which has already been undertaken by Jobcentre Plus and other partners since the Daw Mill fire in February.

The cross-Government response, co-ordinated by my officials, will continue during the administration process to ensure everything possible is done to support the workforce and the local communities.

Work and Pensions

Universal Credit

Today we set out the next stage of the roll-out for universal credit following the successful launch of the pathfinder in Greater Manchester, on time earlier this year.

Starting from October, the national roll-out will be comprised of three strands.

First, across all jobcentres we will roll out components to drive the cultural shift under universal credit. Notably 20,000 Jobcentre Plus advisers will be retrained to deliver the claimant commitment and enhanced job search support nationally. Ten in-work conditionality pilots will test how best to encourage claimants to progress in work.

Secondly, we will roll out improved access to digital services across Jobcentre Plus. A total of 6,000 new computers will be installed across the country, embedding digital technology and ensuring that jobseekers become used to online transactions.

Thirdly, expanding on our early approach, universal credit will roll out to the regions, with six hub jobcentres—Hammersmith, Rugby, Inverness, Harrogate, Bath, Shotton—taking new claims to the benefit. This plan continues the safe approach to delivering this extensive reform, meaning universal credit will be rolling out in areas of England, Wales and Scotland.

The pathfinder exercise has shown that the IT system works. In parallel, the DWP is working with the new Government Digital Service to explore the possibility of enhancing the IT, using recent advances in technology to ensure the system is as secure, flexible and responsive as possible. This approach builds on the rapid development and roll-out of services such as GOV.UK and universal jobmatch, which was developed in one year and since launching in December 2012 is now achieving over 5 million average daily job searches.

The Government have made clear that the priority is to deliver universal credit safely and securely over a four-year period to 2017. We remain committed to that objective, to these time scales, and to the budget agreed for delivering this important reform.

The Government will set out more details of their development plan in the autumn.