Monday 20 October 2014
Guidance Guarantee Implementation
Today the Government are pleased to announce that they are making excellent progress in implementing the guidance guarantee, and are on track to get the guidance service up and running in good time for April 2015. The Government have therefore:
Announced that online guidance will be available on https://www.gov.uk; face-to-face guidance will be provided by Citizens Advice, Citizens Advice Scotland and Citizens Advice Northern Ireland; and telephone guidance by The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS); and
Confirmed that they will bring forward legislation to underpin implementation of the guidance guarantee, including the legislative framework for the Financial Conduct Authority’s standards regime for the guidance service.
The Government have been clear that in order to deliver the guidance they must build on trusted, independent consumer advice services. That is why the Government are pleased to announce that TPAS and Citizens Advice (England and Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland) will be delivery partners in the guidance service.
This week the Government will bring forward amendments to the Pensions Schemes Bill that will underpin the implementation of the pensions guidance guarantee as announced at Budget 2014.
Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission Annual Report
I wish to inform the House, in collaboration with the Deputy Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, of the publication of the annual report by the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission state of the Nation 2014: social mobility and child poverty in Great Britain
The report sets out the views of the Commission on the progress made over the last year toward the goals of improving social mobility and reducing child poverty in the United Kingdom. It also includes a description of the progress made by the devolved Administrations in Scotland and Wales.
The Government acknowledge the contribution of the Commission and welcome the Commission’s recognition of what has been accomplished in many areas. We will consider the recommendations made in the report and will provide a response to the Commission in due course.
The report will be laid in Parliament and published later today. The report will be available at: https://www.gov. uk/government/organisations/social-mobility-and-child-poverty-commission.
Child Sexual Abuse
The Global Alliance consists of 54 countries around the world who have committed themselves to:
enhance efforts to identify victims and ensuring that they receive the necessary assistance, support and protection;
enhance efforts to investigate cases of child sexual abuse online and to identify and prosecute offenders;
increase children’s awareness of online risks;
reduce the availability of child sexual abuse images online and the re-victimisation of children.
At a recent Global Alliance meeting in Washington, it was agreed to continue progress by:
Enabling law enforcement among Global Alliance countries to gain timely access to electronic information and evidence held by internet service providers and other repositories of electronic information that is material to the investigation and prosecution of child sexual abuse offences through central authorities and other legally authorised channels, so that no nation becomes a safe haven for such information.
Facilitating prompt and comprehensive exchange among law enforcement of information and evidence pertinent to child sexual abuse offences featuring trans-border offence conduct, victims, co-conspirators, or evidence repositories.
Enabling internet service providers and other repositories of electronic information to provide information pertinent to the identification, apprehension, and ultimate prosecution of online child sexual abuse offenders to law enforcement pursuant to legal process in a manner and time frame consistent with reasonable investigative and prosecutorial demands.
Augmenting existing, collaborative and trans-border efforts to identify and rescue victims of online child sexual abuse.
It was important to update and assure the House that the Government are committed to addressing the trans-border obstacles to identify and rescue victims of exploitation, and to identify and prosecute offenders. To facilitate continued progress, continued international co-operation is key to delivering real results. In December, the Prime Minister will hold an international summit in London to drive further progress in tackling these horrific crimes.
The fight to eradicate the online exploitation of children is far from complete but the Government will continue working closely with others around the world to maintain momentum.
Modern slavery is a brutal crime which knows no boundaries and does not discriminate on gender, age, creed, culture or race. Traffickers and slave masters exploit whatever means they have at their disposal to coerce, deceive and force individuals into a life of abuse, servitude and inhumane treatment. This is simply unacceptable in modern society. We will not, and cannot let this continue.
Anti-slavery Day is on 18 October and to mark this important date the inter- departmental ministerial group on modern slavery has today published a statement on UK activity.
The statement highlights the UK’s ongoing commitment, across all administrations, to tackling this horrendous crime. It sets out legislative and non-legislative activity underway to reduce the threat posed by slave drivers and traffickers, and to improve the identification and protection of victims. A copy of the statement will be placed in the Library of the House.