Thursday 26 June 2014
Business, Innovation and Skills
British Business Bank
I would like to update the House on the British Business Bank.
The British Business Bank is already achieving significant results as over 30,000 businesses are benefiting from its programmes. Last year, £782 million of new lending and investment in UK small firms was generated by business bank programmes—this is double the level of activity generated by Government finance programmes to small business in 2012-13.
The British Business Bank has also played an important role in promoting a wider range of finance options. A total of 61% of its activity is channelled through smaller investors and lenders, with only 39% of support going through the big four banks. Over the coming years, I expect that this bias away from the big banks will continue.
Examples of the innovative investments over the last year include: £7.8 million committed to the Dawn Capital II venture capital fund; £25 million to the Episode 1 venture capital fund; £30 million committed to Praesidian Capital Europe debt fund; £15 million in BMS finance, £40 million invested through Funding Circle and £20 million in the Sussex Place Ventures capital fund. In all this cases, the British Business Bank’s investments of public money have been made alongside private sector investors, so crowding in new finance for small business in the UK.
In addition to this, the British Business Bank also funds the start-up loans programme, which has lent £70 million to new entrepreneurs in the UK. The bank has increased utilisation of the enterprise finance guarantee to £348 million—up by 21% year on year. This programme helps firms with good cash flow but low levels of collateral to obtain bank finance.
Today I am publishing the new strategic plan for the British Business Bank which sets out our ambitious plans for further increasing the impact of the institution. The full board of the British Business Bank is now in place, as are the majority of the staff and senior management team, operating out of the headquarters in Sheffield as well as, temporarily, the BIS office in London. The next stage will be to complete state aid negotiations with the European Commission later this year. At this point, responsibility for the assets and staff currently of the bank will transfer fully to the new corporate structures we have put in place.
I would also like to inform the House of the publication today of a new business finance guide aimed at making smaller businesses aware of the options for finance available across the market produced by the British Business Bank and the ICAEW. It has been produced in association with trade bodies representing all the major sources of funding—as well as the main business representative bodies. I will be launching the guide in Committee Room 10 at 11.00 today as part of a session on access to finance.
I am making copies of the strategic plan and the new business finance guide available in the Vote Office. The strategic plan for the British Business Bank can be found on gov.uk and the British Business Bank website.
The bank levy, a permanent tax on banks’ balance sheet equity and liabilities, was introduced by the Government from 1 January 2011. It remains an essential policy tool, in helping to ensure a fair contribution from the banking sector and provide incentives for banks to move towards more stable funding profiles, increasing their resilience to liquidity shocks.
Despite recent changes to simplify the tax base and better align it with the regulatory regime, a number of concerns have been repeatedly raised by the sector in respect of the levy’s existing design:
banks’ balance sheets, and thus bank levy receipts, remain highly sensitive to economic and regulatory change;
the need for successive changes to the bank levy rate in order to achieve the revenue target has, it is claimed, created some uncertainty and impacted on perceptions of UK competitiveness; and
the marginal cost of the bank levy has, it is claimed, created risks of distortion and unintended impacts on banks’ behaviour.
Accordingly, the Government announced that they were willing to explore (on a non-committal basis) whether a revenue-neutral reform to the bank levy charging mechanism, in which the headline rate would be replaced by a new banding approach for determining a bank’s charge, could help to address these concerns and increase the predictability and sustainability of bank levy receipts.
Feedback from banks, building societies and advisory bodies as part of the consultation process suggests that it would not, irrespective of how it was structured.
Instead, it was considered that a banding approach would create uncertainty over banks’ charges, strengthen the incentives for activities to be relocated overseas and create arbitrary differences between banks’ effective tax rates and the relevance of the levy’s behavioural incentives.
Reflecting on these concerns—which were raised by banks of different domicile, structure and balance sheet size and trajectory—the Government have decided against the introduction of a banding approach for the bank levy at Finance Bill 2014 and have no plans to consider this idea further.
Two wider revenue-neutral proposals were put forward by the sector as part of the consultation, both of which may warrant further evaluation.
First, a technical amendment was proposed to the bank levy legislation, aiming to address certain banks inability to accrue the costs of the bank levy for quarterly reporting purposes, which is seen to create an inaccurate representation of quarterly operating profit, reduce comparability in interim results and necessitate careful market and shareholder explanation.
Secondly, a number of respondents suggested that the levy could be applied to the opening rather than closing balance sheet, in order to provide greater certainty to banks over their in-year charge and allow them to make more informed commercial decisions over short-term investment horizons.
The case for making these changes remains unclear and the Government need to give further consideration as to their merit, legality and legislative deliverability. However, the Government intend to maintain a dialogue with the sector on these points.
Overall, the Government would like to thank those who participated in the consultation process. The views put forward have been, and will continue to be, valuable in informing policy decisions in this area.
Communities and Local Government
Openness of Local Government
Through the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014, the coalition Government are committed to opening up council meetings in England to digital and social media, updating the provisions of Margaret Thatcher’s Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960 to a digital age. This will give the press and public new rights to film, report, record, blog and tweet council meetings, allowing the public to see the good work that councillors do, and increase the understanding of local democracy in action.
The draft “Openness of Local Government Bodies Regulations 2014”, which have been laid before Parliament, implement these provisions. Without prejudging the consent of Parliament, it is important that local government is in a position to implement promptly these new access rules, including those cases where current Standing Orders might not be unambiguously in line with the new requirements. To facilitate these changes and ensure the smooth introduction of the new rights, the Government are undertaking not to make the statutory instrument (which would come into force on the day after that on which it is made) until at least 28 days after the day on which parliamentary approval for the statutory instrument is given. In taking this approach we have also had regard to the report of the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments on the draft regulations.
We will also shortly be sending to local authorities a draft version of a new plain English guide on openness of council meetings, to explain the new rights and duties the regulations would bring. I will place a copy in the Library of the House in due course. Following any parliamentary approval, we will then publish a final plain English guide for the press and public. In the light of recent reports of journalists and bloggers being obstructed at council meetings of certain local authorities, we will highlight the need for councils to provide reasonable facilities to the free press (including print media, film crews, hyper-local journalists and bloggers) in a way that still allows for the orderly conduct of a meeting. We also wish to make crystal clear that council meetings in England should be conducted in English, and not in a foreign language.
Most town halls in England are already embracing such transparency, and do not need to wait for permission from Whitehall to open their doors to the press and public. However, a small minority are dragging their feet; Ministers want to make it clear that there is absolutely no reason for the public not to be able to exercise their new rights once the secondary legislation has been approved by Parliament and made.
Culture, Media and Sport
Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013
The remaining provisions of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 (the Act) will come into force on 10 December 2014, subject to parliamentary approval. These provisions include section 9 of the Act which provides for the conversion of civil partnership into marriage and schedule 5 of the Act which makes provisions concerning married persons or civil partners who change their legal gender. The Government has also today published:
a consultation on marriage according to the usages of non-religious belief organisations, as required by section 14 of the Act. The consultation is available on the Ministry of Justice website at: https://consult.justice.gov.uk/digital-communications/marriages-by-non-religious-belief-organisations.
the report on the conclusions of the review of civil partnership in England and Wales, as required by section 15 of the Act. The report is available on the Department for Culture, Media and Sport website at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/consultation-on-the-future-of-civil-partnership-in-england-and-wales.
the report on the review of survivor benefits under occupational pension schemes, as required by section 16 of the Act. The report is available on the Department for Work and Pensions website at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/occupational-pension-schemes-review-of-survivor-benefits.
Gifting Package (Republic of Kazakhstan)
I have today laid before Parliament a Ministry of Defence departmental minute describing a gifting package which the UK intends to make to the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Central Asia is a region of growing importance to the UK’s security and prosperity. The UK and the international community must continue to influence and engage with the Republic of Kazakhstan, and the other central Asian republics, on a range of issues, including counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics and border security, if we are effectively to promote wider regional security and stability.
The Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan have played a constructive role supporting ISAF operations in Afghanistan. Kazakhstan will face increased security challenges once ISAF has withdrawn from Afghanistan; the international community has a part to play in preparing its security forces for these challenges. Kazakhstan also aspires to develop and deploy its troops in support of UN peacekeeping tasks. The departmental minute, which I have today laid before Parliament, describes a gifting package to the Republic of Kazakhstan of surplus quad bikes with trailers and handheld night vision equipment that is intended to contribute to this. Both items have been examined and cleared against the consolidated EU and national arms export licensing criteria, which includes an assessment of whether the equipment might be used for human rights violations or internal repression, the risk to UK forces and the risk of diversion to an undesirable end user. Subject to completion of the departmental minute process, delivery is expected to be undertaken during the summer of 2014.
Service Complaints Commissioner's Sixth Annual Report
I am pleased today to publish the MOD’s formal response to the Service Complaints Commissioner’s (SCC) sixth annual report on the fairness, effectiveness and efficiency of the service complaints system. A copy will be placed in the Library of the House.
The response sets out how the MOD proposes to address each of the new recommendations made by the commissioner in her latest report. We are committed to ensuring that our service personnel and their families have a complaints system in which they can have confidence, and one which is simpler and quicker. That is why we introduced the Armed Forces (Service Complaints and Financial Assistance) Bill on 5 June to make improvements to the system and to create the first service complaints ombudsman.
No servicemen or women should lack confidence in seeking redress through the complaints process, and we know that to encourage them to do so we need a system that is fairer, more effective and more efficient than at present. While the Bill is progressing, we will continue to learn from the SCC’s annual reports and implement lessons from the services’ own continuous improvement programmes.
Energy and Climate Change
The Government are today publishing the Government response to the energy savings opportunity scheme (ESOS) consultation and laying draft regulations in Parliament to give effect to the policy.
ESOS will require large enterprises to undertake energy audits to identify opportunities to save money on energy bills through improved energy efficiency. It is estimated that the scheme will deliver £1.6 billion of net benefit to the UK.
The scheme is the Government’s approach to meeting the requirements of article 8(4-6) of the EU energy efficiency directive (2012/27/EU).
In developing this scheme, officials in my Department have worked closely with colleagues across Government and with industry experts. Government consider that ESOS demonstrates a proportionate approach, in line with principles of better regulation—we expect the scheme will yield significant net benefits for the UK as a result of the energy saving achieved.
The Government response sets out our consideration of the responses to the public consultation held from July to October 2013. The Government response summarises stakeholder responses to each of the consultation questions, and sets out the Government’s policy decisions, with reasoning.
We are also publishing a guide to ESOS for scheme participants, and the ESOS impact assessment. This demonstrates that ESOS has real potential to enhance economic growth and energy security in the UK, and to reduce our carbon emissions through improved energy efficiency—saving 3 TWh per year.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Afghanistan Monthly Progress Report
I wish to inform the House that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, together with the Ministry of Defence and the Department for International Development, is today publishing the 38th progress report on developments in Afghanistan since November 2010.
The Afghan Independent Election Commission confirmed that none of the presidential candidates secured over 50% of votes needed to win the election in the first round. Abdullah Abdullah was in the lead with 45% of the vote, followed by Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai with 31.6%. There were 6.6 million valid votes in the presidential election, 2 million more than the 2009 election, a display of popular support for the democratic process. Approximately 36% of voters were women. The second round was scheduled for 14 June.
The Afghan Parliament passed by majority vote the presidential decree amending article 26 of the criminal procedure code. This amends the controversial wording of the original articles that legally prevented relatives from testifying in cases involving their own family members.
12 May marked the beginning of the fighting season. While there was a spike in violence and ANSF casualties on this date, this was expected and consistent with levels seen in previous fighting seasons. There were also two selection days for the first female blook (platoon) which selected 33 candidates to start in June 14, demonstrating the ANSF’s commitment to increase the role of women in the security sector.
The Helmand redeployment continued with the closure of observation post Sterga 2 on 10 May. Following the closure, conventional UK forces in Helmand are now based only in Camp Bastion.
President Obama announced planned US post-2014 force levels. 9,800 US personnel will remain deployed in a regional model in 2015, reducing to 5,500 in Kabul by the end of 2015. A “normalised” embassy-based mission supported by up to 1,000 troops will be in operation by the end of 2016, providing a bilateral security agreement is concluded satisfactorily.
I am placing the report in the Library of the House. It will also be published on the gov.uk website: www.gov.uk/government/publications/afghanistan-progress-reports
EU-Georgia Association Agreement
I wish to inform the House that the Government have opted in to the following measures:
Council decision on the signing, on behalf of the European Union, and provisional application, of the association agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community and their member states, of the one part, and Georgia, of the other part.
Council decision on the conclusion of the association agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community and their member states, of the one part, and Georgia, of the other part.
The EU-Georgia association agreement constitutes a reform agenda for Georgia, based around a comprehensive programme to more closely align their legislation to EU norms, focusing on support to core reforms including economic recovery and growth, governance and co-operation in a wide range of sectors. This will help to ensure a stable and prosperous region, which is in the UK’s national interest.
The Council decisions approving the EU’s signature and conclusion of the EU-Georgia association agreement give approval to the EU to sign and conclude provisions covered by title V of the TFEU, in particular, in respect of provisions related to the temporary presence of natural persons for business—mode 4—and to the readmission of persons. The UK’s Justice and Home Affairs opt-in has been triggered as a result. The Government have decided that it is in the UK’s best interests to opt in to these Council decisions.
When making this decision, the Government took into consideration that the UK already participates in the existing readmission agreement between the EU and Georgia and as such it is appropriate that we now opt in to the new provisions which require the parties to ensure the full implementation of that agreement.
The mode 4 provisions are in line with the EU’s Doha round offer to the World Trade Organisation and are subject to rigorous safeguards, including minimum skills levels.
EU-Moldova Association Agreement
I wish to inform the House that the Government have opted in to the following measures:
Council decision on the signing, on behalf of the European Union, and provisional application, of the association agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community and their member states, of the one part, and the Republic of Moldova, of the other part.
Council decision on the conclusion of the association agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community and their member states, of the one part, and the Republic of Moldova, of the other part.
The EU-Moldova association agreement constitutes a reform agenda for Moldova, based around a comprehensive programme to more closely align their legislation to EU norms, focusing on support to core reforms including economic recovery and growth, governance and co-operation in a wide range of sectors. This will help to ensure a stable and prosperous region on the edge of the European Union, which is in the UK’s national interest.
The Council decisions approving the EU’s signature and conclusion of the EU-Moldova association agreement give approval to the EU to sign and conclude provisions covered by title V of the TFEU, in particular, in respect of provisions related to the temporary presence of natural persons for business—mode 4—and to the readmission of persons. The UK’s Justice and Home Affairs opt-in has been triggered as a result. The Government have decided that it is in the UK’s best interests to opt in to these Council decisions.
When making this decision, the Government took into consideration that the UK already participates in the existing readmission agreement between the EU and Moldova and as such it is appropriate that we now opt in to the new provisions which require the parties to ensure the full implementation of that agreement.
The mode 4 provisions are in line with the EU’s Doha round offer to the World Trade Organisation and are subject to rigorous safeguards, including minimum skills levels.
EU-Ukraine Association Agreement
I wish to inform the House that the Government have opted in to the following measure:
Council decision on the signing, on behalf of the European Union, and provisional application, of the association agreement between the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community and their member states, of the one part, and Ukraine, of the other part, as regards titles III, IV, V, VI and VII of the agreement as well as the related annexes and protocols.
On 17 October 2013, Official Report, column 66WS, I informed the House that we had opted in to a previous version of this Council decision. In November 2013 former President Yanukovych decided not to pursue signature of the association agreement. This decision resulted in unrest in Ukraine, and in February 2014 a new interim President was appointed. The political titles of the agreement were signed at a European Council on 21 March 2014. That part of the agreement did not include provisions covered by title V of the TFEU and therefore did not trigger the UK’s JHA opt-in. Following successful presidential elections in May 2014, President Poroshenko confirmed his intention to sign the association agreement. The above new decision has since been brought forward to enable signature of the remaining titles of the agreement.
The EU-Ukraine association agreement constitutes a reform agenda for Ukraine, based around a comprehensive programme to align their legislation more closely to EU norms, focusing on support to core reforms including economic recovery and growth, governance and co- operation in a wide range of sectors. This will help to ensure a stable and prosperous region on the edge of the European Union, which is in the UK’s national interest.
The Council decisions approving the EU’s signature and conclusion of the EU-Ukraine association agreement give approval to the EU to sign and conclude provisions covered by title V of the TFEU, in particular, in respect of provisions related to the temporary presence of natural persons for business—mode 4—and to the readmission of persons. The UK’s Justice and Home Affairs opt-in has been triggered as a result. The Government have decided that it is in the UK’s best interests to opt in to these Council decisions.
When making this decision, the Government took into consideration that the UK already participates in the existing readmission agreement between the EU and Ukraine and as such it is appropriate that we now opt in to the new provisions which require the parties to ensure the full implementation of that agreement.
The mode 4 provisions are in line with the EU’s Doha round offer to the World Trade Organisation and are subject to rigorous safeguards, including minimum skills levels.
Standardised Tobacco Packaging
The Government have today published the “Consultation on the introduction of regulations for standardised packaging of tobacco products”. This consultation is being conducted on a UK-wide basis.
In November 2013, the Department of Health commissioned Sir Cyril Chantler to undertake an independent review of whether the introduction of standardised packaging of tobacco is likely to have an effect on public health, in particular in relation to children. The report of the Chantler review, which was published in April 2014, concluded that if standardised packaging was introduced, it would have a positive impact on public health.
Before reaching a decision on whether to introduce standardised packaging of tobacco products, we are holding a final, short consultation. This consultation will run for six weeks until 7 August. So that our decision on whether to introduce standardised packaging is properly and fully informed, the consultation includes a set of draft regulations so that it is clear how such a policy would work in practice. The draft regulations set out proposed requirements for the packaging of cigarettes and hand-rolling tobacco, and requirements for the appearance of individual cigarettes, should standardised packaging be introduced.
In the consultation that has been published today, we ask, in particular, for views on anything new since the last full public consultation on standardised packaging that we ran in 2012 that is relevant to the development of this policy, including evidence relating to the wider implications of introducing standardised packaging. In July 2012, we published the “Consultation on standardised packaging of tobacco products”. The report of the 2012 consultation was published in July 2013.
The consultation on the introduction of regulations for standardised packaging of tobacco products has been placed in the Library. Copies are available to hon. Members from the Vote Office and to noble Lords from the Printed Paper Office.
I encourage any person or organisation with an interest in standardised packaging of tobacco products to engage with the consultation.
We have also today published on the web the detailed responses that were received to the 2012 consultation. These can be seen at:
The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council met in Luxembourg on 19 and 20 June 2014. Health issues were discussed on 20 June and the United Kingdom was represented at the meeting by the UK deputy permanent representative to the EU.
The presidency provided a progress report on the medical devices regulations and asked member states for an exchange of views on a compromise text on the designation of notified bodies, post-market surveillance and the tasks allocated to the medical devices co-ordinating group. Member states provided a range of opinions on these questions and the presidency and Commission thanked member states for their views.
The Council adopted Council conclusions on the economic crisis and health care, and on nutrition and physical activity. Italy and Romania tabled a joint declaration, expressing concern with the call upon the Commission to implement nutrient profiles.
Under any other business, France asked member states to work together to respond to the high price of a new hepatitis C medicine. Ireland briefly informed delegations of their plans to introduce standardised packaging of tobacco products, should the Bill successfully pass through their Parliament.
Most member states, including the UK, signed an agreement to be able to jointly procure vaccines in the future, if we choose to exercise this.
Italy presented their broad priorities for their presidency which begins on 1 July 2014. These cover a range of areas including dementia and anti-microbial resistance (AMR).
Liverpool Care Pathway
The Leadership Alliance for the Care of Dying People has today published details of the approach to secure high-quality, personalised care for everyone in the last few days and hours of life in England.
Today’s publication by the alliance of 21 organisations follows the report by the independent review that I commissioned to consider the Liverpool care pathway (LCP). The review panel made 44 recommendations, including that the LCP should be phased out over the succeeding six to 12 months. As I announced on 15 July 2013, the Government accepted that recommendation. I said that the Government would consider fully the recommendations of the review and work with the organisations to which the panel addressed its recommendations, other stakeholders and charities to inform a full system-wide response to the review’s recommendations. That response, which includes details of the new approach, is published today.
The work that has been done goes beyond responding to each of the recommendations. The leadership alliance has developed five priorities for care of the dying person. These set out, for dying people, their families, health and care staff and others, what should happen when someone is thought to be close to dying.
The priorities for care provide that:
the possibility that a person may die within the next days and hours should be recognised and communicated clearly, decisions about care made in accordance with the person’s needs and wishes, and these decisions reviewed and revised regularly; sensitive communication should take place between staff and the person who is dying and those people who are important to the dying person;
the dying person, and those identified as important to them, should be involved in decisions about treatment and care;
the people important to the dying person should be listened to and their needs respected; and
care should be compassionate and reflect a care plan for the individual dying person.
The response includes further details of the priorities, as well as a statement of the duties and responsibilities of health and care staff to deliver the priorities, and implementation guidance for service providers and commissioners. The 21 organisations have also published a collective statement, as well as individual statements, of the key actions they will take to implement the priorities. These include that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) will be developing new clinical guidelines on the care of the dying adult and end-of-life care for children. These guidelines will inform the development of a quality standard for end-of-life care for children and an update of NICE’S quality standard on end-of-life care for adults. From October 2014, Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspections will incorporate the priorities as part of inspection of end of life care.
Taking account of the fact that one of the panel’s recommendations was in two parts, the organisations have accepted 28 of its recommendations in full and 12 in principle or in part. There are three that have not been accepted at this stage or that are still being considered. Two recommendations have not been accepted. NHS England and Health Education England will not promote the use of prognostic tools in relation to dying. The approach in the priorities for care does not, unlike the LCP, rely on a diagnosis of dying. The priorities apply
“when it is thought that a person may die within the next few days and hours”
and will support good care irrespective of whether someone is actually dying.
Rather than issue guidance to nurses on caring for people at the end of life, the Nursing and Midwifery Council will instead incorporate the principles behind the priorities into the revised NMC code: standards of conduct, performance and ethics, a draft version of which is currently out for consultation. It has also published its standards for competence as a separate stand-alone document.
The review panel found evidence of both good and poor care given to people in the last few days and hours of life. Use of the LCP was not found to be synonymous with poor care. The panel said that whilst in some circumstances, the LCP had supported the delivery of good care, it was not always applied properly. Where it was used as a generic protocol, the LCP ran the risk of becoming process-driven.
As I made clear in my statement of 15 July 2013, everyone who uses health and care services has the right to be treated with respect, dignity and compassion by staff with the skills and time to care for them properly, and any variation in standards of care is not acceptable. The priorities for care make it clear that where someone is thought to be in the last few days and hours of life, there must be sensitive communication, involvement in decision making and consideration of the needs of those who matter most to the dying person.
Key national organisations in the health and care system have committed to a co-ordinated programme of actions to take forward the priorities for care. This includes providing relevant education and training, as well as regulatory and inspection action. There is no excuse for individual organisations and health and care staff to deliver anything less than high-quality care for people in the last few days and hours of life, as set out in the five priorities.
The Government will continue to take a close interest in this area and intend to publish a report, around July 2015, two years on from the review panel’s report, assessing how national organisations have implemented the commitments they have set out today. The independent review panel chaired by Baroness Neuberger will continue to have a role, providing independent advice to Ministers about implementation of the commitments in the system-wide response. Their views will inform the report that the Government intend to publish.
I am grateful to members of the panel for agreeing to continue in this role, as well as for their wider commitment to ensuring high quality, compassionate care for everyone in the last few days and hours of life.
One chance to get it right, which incorporates the system-wide response to the report of the independent panel on the LCP, has been placed in the Library, along with the commitment statements made by national organisations. Copies are available to hon. Members from the Vote Office and to noble Lords from the Printed Paper Office.
We have today laid an order under section 3(6) of the Terrorism Act 2000 which, with effect from tomorrow, will specify “Need4Khilafah”, “the Shariah Project” and “the Islamic Dawah Association” as aliases of the proscribed organisation known as al-Ghurabaa, the Saved Sect, al-Muhajiroun and Islam4UK. This organisation was proscribed in 2006 for glorifying terrorism and we are clear it should not be able to continue these activities by simply operating under alternative names.
The effect of this order is that being a member of or supporting any group operating under these names will be a criminal offence as to do so will amount to being a member of or supporting al-Ghurabaa, contrary to sections 11 and 12 of the Terrorism Act.
Detention of Persons with Statutorily Extended Leave
A removal decision under section 47 of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006 (the 2006 Act) may be made in relation to any person whose leave is statutorily extended leave by virtue of either:
section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971 (the 1971 Act)—where the migrant has made an in-time application and a decision on the application is pending or an appeal against refusal has not yet been exhausted; or
section 3D of the 1971 Act—where leave has been revoked or curtailed with immediate effect and any appeal against that decision has not yet been exhausted.
The previous Government stated that migrants who had received a removal decision under section 47 of the 2006 Act could not be subject to reporting conditions or detention while they had continuing leave pending the outcome of an appeal, 29 March 2006, Official Report, column 908. In fact, schedule 2 of the 1971 Act allows their detention, and in circumstances where leave has been abused this may be appropriate.
Curtailment with immediate effect is used where the migrant has failed to comply with the conditions of their leave, or their character, conduct or associations make it undesirable to allow them to remain in the UK—for example, there is reliable evidence that they have facilitated or entered into a sham marriage or civil partnership to gain an immigration advantage. Sham marriage is known to be a significant and increasing threat to UK immigration control.
To allow robust and proportionate enforcement action against individuals who abuse the immigration system, we are changing policy in regard of persons who have statutorily extended leave under section 3D of the 1971 Act. Migrants whose leave has been revoked or curtailed with immediate effect will be liable to be detained or to report to the Home Office (depending on the individual circumstances of the case) pending their removal from the UK.
The Home Office will continue not to detain persons whose leave is extended by virtue of section 3C of the 1971 Act. In these cases, migrants have sought to regularise their stay before their leave expired and should not be subject to enforcement action before their application is finally determined. Similarly, a person whose leave is curtailed for reasons outside their control (for example, the college at which they were studying has closed down) would normally be left with some leave remaining, in order to let them find alternative provision. A removal decision would not be made with the curtailment decision and they would be unaffected by this policy change.
National Fraud Authority
The National Fraud Authority annual report and accounts 2013-14 has been laid before the House today and published. Copies will be available from the Vote Office.
Immigration Removals (New Restraint System)
I am today announcing that I have formally approved a new restraint system for safely managing people being escorted during immigration removals.
This fulfils a commitment by this Government to provide training for escort staff that reflects the environment they work in, both in-country and overseas. The bespoke training is tailored to the experience and behaviour of detainees and staff in immigration removals and provides practical tools to de-escalate situations and minimise the use of restraint.
The new system has been assessed by the independent advisory panel for non-compliance management, chaired by Stephen Shaw. The panel was established to provide support to the National Offender Management Service in the design of the new training package to provide independent advice on the quality and safety of the new package, in particular on the use of restraint techniques.
The report by the independent advisory panel for non-compliance management is welcomed by the Government. The report recognises the balance to be struck between treating detainees with respect and minimising the need for restraint, with our responsibility to enforce immigration law, which sometimes requires the use of physical intervention.
After careful consideration of the panel’s comprehensive assessment of the quality and safety of the new system, the Government have accepted all of its recommendations.
The new training for overseas and in-country escort staff will begin implementation on 28 July 2014.
I am placing a copy of the full report of the independent advisory panel for non-compliance management and the Government’s response to the report in the Library of the House. A redacted version of the manual for escorting safely and supporting guidance will be published in due course.
Potential Miscarriages of Justice
When I made my statement to the House on 6 March 2014, announcing the findings of the Stephen Lawrence independent review by Mark Ellison QC, I said that:
“In identifying the possibility that SDS secrecy may have caused miscarriages of justice, Mark Ellison recommends a further review to identify the specific cases affected. I have accepted that recommendation and Mark Ellison will lead the work, working with the CPS and reporting to the Attorney-General. That will mean that proper consideration can be given to those cases and to any implications that may arise. In doing that work, Mark Ellison and the CPS will be provided with whatever access they judge necessary to relevant documentary evidence”—[Official Report, 6 March 2014; Vol. 576, c. 1063.]
Mr Ellison, the Attorney-General and I have now agreed his terms of reference. Mr Ellison will continue to be supported by Alison Morgan, who was Mr Ellison’s junior counsel during the Stephen Lawrence independent review. The terms of reference are:
“Mark Ellison QC will co-ordinate a multi-agency review, reporting to the Attorney-General, to assess the possible impact upon the safety of convictions in England and Wales where relevant undercover police activity was not properly revealed to the prosecutor and considered at the time of trial. Nothing in these terms of reference affects the statutory responsibilities of the various agencies and office-holders working with the review.
The review will initially focus on the undercover police activity of the MPS’s Special Demonstration Squad and the National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU) which, while not an MPS resource, worked to similar objectives. The review will then assess whether its scope may need to be broadened to cover other undercover police activity.
The review will seek to ensure, by working co-operatively with the Home Office, Operation Herne (on behalf of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)), other police forces, CPS, Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) and any other relevant agencies, that the following tasks are carried out:
1. Establish the relevant document retention and destruction policies adopted within the relevant organisations;
2. Identify the extent of surviving police, prosecution and court case files;
3. Establish the nature of undercover policing undertaken and the potential for undercover police activity to have been relevant to a prosecution but unrevealed to the appropriate authority;
4. Identify, using both available records and other reasonable means, any convictions where it appears there was relevant undisclosed and unrevealed undercover police activity capable of impacting adversely on the safety of the conviction;
5. Ensure that any cases falling in 4 above, where it appears the safety of a conviction may have been adversely affected, are referred to the appropriate authority for evaluation and appropriate action;
6. Ensure that any cases falling in 4 above are reviewed to establish the rationale for non-revelation and to establish the extent to which the MPS and the Home Office were aware and identify the action taken as a result; and
7. Agree a protocol with the MPS (and all other police forces subsequently identified), the CPS, the CCRC and any other relevant agencies regarding the tasks that each will undertake; the availability and handling of material; and other issues as necessary.
Mark Ellison QC will aim to report the review’s findings in writing on the above to the Attorney-General by 31 March 2015”.
The review has already begun its preliminary work. Where the review identifies a potential miscarriage of justice, the case will be referred to the Criminal Cases Review Commission for its consideration of whether the case should be referred to the appellate courts. At the conclusion of the process, the review will produce a report to the Attorney-General, which he will publish. That report will not include the details of the individuals whose cases have been examined, as to do so could prejudice any subsequent appeal proceedings or retrials.
I am grateful to the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner and to Chief Constable Creedon for the support they have offered to the review. I know that the Metropolitan Police Service will co-operate fully with the review team.
Parliamentary Oral Question (Correction)
I am taking this opportunity to provide a corrected answer to a question asked by the hon. Member for Stroud (Neil Carmichael) on 5 March 2014, Official Report, column 877. The hon. Member asked:
What assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the UK’s programme of support for Syrian refugees. 
On the basis of the World Food Programme’s final figures for 2013, the answer to this question is:
The UK has allocated £265 million to support refugees in countries neighbouring Syria, providing approximately 1.3 million monthly food packages last year, 71,000 medical consultations, and an improved water supply for more than 40,000people. We are working closely with Governments, the UN and others to ensure that the overall international response builds resilience and is implemented effectively.
I would like to announce that the report of the Hallett inquiry will be published on 17 July. On that day, I will make a further statement to this House and lay the report in both Houses.
As the person responsible for publication of the Hallett report once it is delivered to me, I have a duty to act in a way that is compatible with the European convention on human rights. To fulfil this duty, I need to take steps to satisfy myself that publication of the report will not breach article 2 of the convention by putting the lives or safety of individuals at risk. These obligations were outlined in detail in the written statement I made on 31 October 2012, Official Report, column 18WS, regarding the release of the de Silva review. The same duties apply to me in relation to the Hallett report.
In order to comply with these duties, prior to publication the report has to be checked by a team of legal advisers and officials in relation to human rights and national security matters. This is in line with the approach used for the Bloody Sunday, Billy Wright and Rosemary Nelson inquiries, and the de Silva review.
The report is being prepared for publication by Lady Justice Hallett’s team. I will see the final report for the first time on 16 July, 24 hours before publication. As with the publication of previous reports, I intend to grant advance sight to those who Lady Justice Hallett has recommended as being interested parties.
Intelligence Services Commissioner (Annual Report)
I have today laid before both Houses a copy of the latest annual report from the Intelligence Services Commissioner. The right hon. Sir Mark Waller was appointed by me to keep under review the exercise by the Secretaries of State of their powers to issue warrants and authorisations to enable the security and intelligence agencies to carry out their vital functions. The commissioner also uses his position to check the lawful use of the powers and duties imposed on the intelligence services and the Ministry of Defence by the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 and the Intelligence Services Act 1994.
The commissioner’s report provides a complete summary of the inspection regime that he has undertaken. It shows that the agencies, Ministry of Defence personnel, civil servants and Secretaries of State understand their responsibilities and comply with the law. Through his inspection process and as a result of self-reporting by the relevant agencies, Sir Mark’s report sets out a number of instances in which human error has resulted in regrettable administrative errors. In these instances the commissioner has satisfied himself that these errors were not deliberate and has suggested changes to ensure that they are not repeated.
The commissioner has also made available to me a confidential annex to his main report, which as per section 60(5) of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000; Sir Mark and I have agreed it would not be in the public interest to publish. However, as the commissioner makes clear, the findings in the confidential annex do not detract or change the conclusions that he reaches in his main report.
The intelligence agencies’ work is vital to protect the UK’s national security. We have a robust legislative framework and strong system of oversight to ensure that the agencies operate within the law and that their actions are in accordance with our legal obligations. Sir Mark’s role, as set out in his annual report, is an important part of that system of oversight. I am pleased that this annual report provides more detail than ever before of how his oversight operates. It provides an independent and informed account of the agencies’ compliance with the law and the high ethical standards their staff follow. I am grateful to Sir Mark for his scrutiny and oversight and welcome his conclusion that the public should have confidence that the agencies act within the law.
House of Lords (Appointments)
The House of Lords Appointments Commission is responsible for recommending non-party political appointments to the House of Lords. In line with the practice of the previous Administration, I continue to nominate direct to Her Majesty the Queen a limited number of candidates for crossbench peerages, based on their public service. I am extending the criteria for these recommendations to ensure they can properly encompass a range of individuals with a proven track record of public service, not solely public servants on retirement. The nominations will continue to be vetted by the House of Lords Appointments Commission. The number of appointments covered under this arrangement will remain unchanged at a maximum often in any one Parliament.
HS2 Safeguarding Directions
I can today inform the House that under the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2010, I have issued updated and revised safeguarding directions to local planning authorities along the London to west midlands HS2 route. These adjust the previous directions issued in October 2013 to more closely match the description of the scheme set out in the HS2 hybrid Bill and accompanying environmental statement currently before the House.
Safeguarding directions aim to ensure that land which has been earmarked for major infrastructure projects is protected from conflicting developments before construction starts. They also enable many of those who own property in the safeguarded area to serve a blight notice and request that the Government purchase their property under the terms of the compensation code.
As the Government are no longer planning on building a link between HS1 and HS2 at the London end of the railway, the relevant land has also been removed from safeguarding.
HS2 Ltd is writing to all known property and landowners within the relevant areas to notify them of the revised directions, and their effect.
Safeguarding directions also trigger statutory blight procedures under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. Owner-occupiers of properties within the safeguarded area who wish to move may apply to sell their property to the Government by serving a blight notice. If they meet the relevant criteria they can expect to receive the “un-blighted” open market value of their home, a home loss payment of 10% of the value of their home—up to £47,000—and reasonable moving costs such as legal fees, and stamp duty on a replacement property.
As I announced on 9 April, Official Report, column 19WS, the HS2 express purchase scheme now applies in the surface safeguarded area. The scheme provides eligible property owners with the same compensation entitlement, whether or not their property is required for the scheme. Where an area of land has been removed from the safeguarded area by these new safeguarding directions, the express purchase scheme will remain available to owners of properties in that area—the extended home owner protection zone—for five years. This does not apply to properties along the formerly proposed link between HS1 and HS2, which will no longer be close to the high-speed railway. Full information and maps describing the new directions, as well as guidance and application forms for express purchase and other property compensation schemes, are available at, www.hs2.org.uk or by phoning the HS2 Ltd public enquiries line on 020 7944 4908.
Work and Pensions
Child Poverty Strategy 2014-17
Today, jointly with my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for Schools, I will publish the Government’s child poverty strategy 2014-17. At the end of this Parliament, as at the start, the coalition Government are committed to ending child poverty by 2020, transforming the lives of the most vulnerable in our society.
Despite the tough economic climate, we are making progress. With employment at a record high, up by nearly 1.7 million since 2010, there are now 290,000 fewer children in workless households. Poor children are doing better than ever at school, with the proportion of children on free school meals getting good GCSEs, including English and maths, having increased from 31% in 2010 to 38% in 2013. This is the kind of lasting life change that makes a real difference to children’s outcomes.
Based on an in-depth evidence review, today’s strategy sets out the actions we will take to build on this momentum, restating our commitment to tackle poverty at its source.
We will help families into work and to increase their earnings; support living standards through decreasing costs for low-income families; and prevent poor children becoming poor adults through raising their educational attainment. In doing so, we can break the cycle of disadvantage, offering families security and stability for the future.
To achieve this end, our strategy calls for action from employers, the devolved Administrations, local areas and the voluntary and community sector. All must play their part, for we know that central Government action alone cannot end child poverty.
Alongside the strategy, it is our firm belief that we need a revised set of child poverty measures which underline our commitment to ending child poverty, but better reflect the evidence about its underlying causes and where we need to target action most.
We are not yet in a position to put these forward. In the meantime, the Child Poverty Act 2010 requires us to set a persistent child poverty target through affirmative regulations by December 2014. As we will not have put forward new measures by then, the Government remain committed to meeting their existing obligations under the Act. We are therefore consulting on a persistent child poverty target based on the definition set out in the Act and at a level of less than 7% by 2020, which is consistent with existing statutory child poverty targets.
Defined Ambition Pensions
I am pleased to confirm that the Government have published their response to the consultation “Reshaping workplace pensions for future generations”. Later today, we shall publish independent research on defined ambition—or shared risk—pensions, commissioned by DWP, and we intend to introduce the Pension Schemes Bill 2014.
The Bill provides for a new legislative framework for defined ambition pensions that enable employers and their workers to share risks, providing more certainty for savers and controlling costs for employers.
The Bill will also encourage “collective schemes”, which are popular in many countries around the world as the pooled risks can make pension outcomes more stable.
The time is right for a new regulatory framework for future private pension provision; we know that consumers value greater certainty in pensions and over a quarter of employers are interested in offering a pension involving risk sharing.
I shall place a copy of the delegated powers memorandum and impact assessment in the Libraries of both Houses along with a list of the relevant older papers.
Copies of the impact assessment and the delegated powers memorandum will be available in the Vote Office and Printed Paper Office and on the gov.uk website later today.
Health and Safety Executive (Triennial Review)
On 9 January 2014, I made a written statement to Parliament—Official Report, column 19WS—announcing the publication of the independent report of Martin Temple on the triennial review of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). I am pleased to announce that later today the Government response to the triennial review of HSE will be published.
HSE is an Executive non-departmental public body (NDPB). It is the national, independent regulator for work-related safety and health. Its mission is the prevention of death, injury and ill-health to those at work and those affected by work activities.
I am very grateful to Mr Temple for producing such a thorough independent report, which has been widely welcomed. I support the majority of his recommendations. Today’s Government response explains the actions we will take on all the recommendations and updates on progress made so far in implementing them, where appropriate.
In some areas, as set out in the Government response, I want to go further to reform HSE to ensure that it delivers value for money to the taxpayer, while ensuring safety for the nation. Good health and safety is vital to good business in a growing UK economy. There is international interest in learning from and adopting Britain’s health and safety regulatory system. Realising HSE’s potential as a world leader in providing health and safety advice will create a new income stream for Government as well as benefiting UK businesses who already work within this regulatory framework.
I will place a copy of the Government response to the triennial review of HSE in the House Library later today.