Thursday 12 February 2015
Business, Innovation and Skills
Regional Growth Fund
We are today announcing that regional growth fund support in England has been expanded by nearly £300 million, bringing the total investment in local jobs and enterprise over the six rounds to £2.85 billion.
The additional support has been awarded to 63 bidders in round 6 of the regional growth fund alongside projects and programmes awarded exceptional regional growth fund support.
A list of the organisations supported in round 6 can be found below.
Total regional growth fund investment is now expected to create or safeguard 580,000 jobs and leverage £16 billion of private sector support across England by the middle of the next decade. Over 100,000 of these jobs have already been created or safeguarded and £3.35 billion of private sector investment leveraged.
The regional growth fund was launched in 2010; it provides grants to projects and programmes with significant potential for economic growth, leveraging private sector investment and creating or safeguarding jobs.
Organisations are invited to bid for support in rounds and this is the sixth such round to date.
Combined with the £7 billion allocated so far to the local enterprise partnerships through growth deals, the regional growth fund is delivering tangible benefits across England.
List of Projects and Programmes
The University of Nottingham
Eicher Motors Ltd
East of England
Hybrid Air Vehicles Ltd
Bosch Lawn and Garden Ltd
Nwes & Archant
CTruk Boats Ltd
FSE Social Impact Accelerator (Programme) Ltd
Sharing in Growth UK Ltd
Economic Solutions Ltd
Siro (UK) Ltd
Bristol Laboratories Ltd
Procter and Gamble Technical Centres Ltd
Company name withheld
St Helens Chamber Ltd
Economic Solutions Ltd
Cumbria Chamber of Commerce
East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce and Industry
M Sport Ltd
HPL Prototypes Ltd
Hanson Springs Ltd
S Cartwright & Sons (Coachbuilders) Ltd
Barnfield Investment Properties Ltd
The University of Manchester
BioCity Nottingham Ltd
Reform Energy plc
Vector Aerospace International Ltd
Aeromet International plc
City College Plymouth
University of the West of England
Plymouth University/SWMAS Ltd
Avanti Communications Group plc
Plessey Semiconductors Ltd
University of Gloucestershire
Ashwoods Automotive Ltd
Anthony Best Dynamics Ltd
Cambridge Silicon Radio Ltd
Corin Ltd South West
Spirent Communications plc
Goonhilly Earth Station Hymec Aerospace (UK) Ltd
NTM GB Ltd
Easat Antennas Ltd
Brose UK Ltd
Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce
The Lighting Industry Association Ltd
Arlington Wheels Ltd
Stobart Biomass Products Ltd
University of Wolverhampton
Jaguar Land Rover Ltd
Company name withheld
Yorkshire and the Humber
Cs Wind UK Ltd
Finance Yorkshire Ltd
Kemira Chemicals UK Ltd
Reformed GCSE and A-level Content
The Government are reforming qualifications to provide students with the knowledge and understanding that will prepare them for employment and further study. The new GCSEs will provide young people with more fulfilling and demanding courses of study, and reformed A-levels will better prepare students for undergraduate study.
The Government have already published subject content for a number of GCSEs and A-levels to be reformed. Content for reformed GCSE subjects can be found online at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/gcse-subject-content and content for A/AS level subjects online at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/gce-as-and-a-level-subject-content
Today, I am publishing revised content for the remaining GCSEs and A-levels that will be taught in schools from September 2016: GCSEs in citizenship studies, drama, food preparation and nutrition, and religious studies; and A-levels in drama and theatre, and religious studies. In common with all reformed GCSEs and A-levels, the qualifications will be academically rigorous to prepare students for life in modern Britain and keep pace with the expectations of universities and employers.
Key changes to the reformed qualifications are highlighted below:
The new citizenship studies GCSE will require students to develop more detailed knowledge of citizenship, including knowledge of democracy and government, the legal system, society and the public finances. While students will be required to undertake at least one in-depth, critical investigation leading to a campaign or other similar activity, Ofqual has decided that assessment of the knowledge and understanding gained through such action will now be by written examination.
The drama GCSE and drama and theatre A-level are more rigorous and offer greater breadth to students. At GCSE, students will study at least one play in depth, including its social, cultural and historical context, and two extracts from a second play. At A-level, students will study at least two plays in depth, three extracts from other plays and two theatre practitioners—individuals or theatre companies. Performance skills have been enhanced for both qualifications: all GCSE students will have the opportunity to participate in two performances and A-level students will use the working methodologies of the practitioners studied in their own work.
Food preparation and nutrition is a new GCSE that draws and builds on the best of current food-related qualifications. This GCSE will place a greater focus on knowledge, including scientific knowledge of food and nutrition, and will enable students to apply this when preparing and cooking meals.
The new religious studies (RS) qualifications will provide students with a broader and deeper knowledge of religion.
GCSE RS students will spend at least half of their time developing knowledge and understanding of two religions, with the option to spend up to three-quarters of their time studying one of the two. Students will also be able to study texts and learn about critiques of religion and other non- religious beliefs through the study of philosophy and ethics.
A-level RS students will study at least one religion in depth through three of the following areas of study: the systematic study of religion; textual studies; philosophy of religion; and religious ethics. Through these, students will also be expected to engage with the works and arguments of key theologians, scholars, philosophers and/or ethicists.
All of these subjects have been prepared with the close involvement of subject organisations and experts, and I want to thank them for their contribution to the reforms.
Today, my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for Schools and I are announcing £1.6 billion of capital funding to support the creation of the new school places needed by September 2018.
Ensuring that every child is able to attend a good or outstanding school in their local area is at the heart of the Government’s comprehensive programme of reform of the school system. We know that our growing population means that new school places are needed in many parts of the country so the Government are absolutely committed to providing capital investment to ensure every child has a place at school. We have more than doubled funding for new places to £5 billion in this Parliament. By May 2014, this investment had already helped to create an additional 445,000 school places with more still to come.
Today we are announcing £1.3 billion of funding for local authorities in 2017-18. This is in addition to the £5 billion allocated over 2011-15 and the £2.35 billion already announced for 2015-17. In doing so, we recognise that good investment decisions require certainty. Announcing allocations for 2017-18 today means local authorities will be able to plan effectively and make good strategic investment decisions to ensure they deliver school places for every child who needs one in the coming years.
As well as local authority allocations for 2017-18, we are also announcing how we will allocate the £300 million top-slice held back from our 2015-17 allocations. This funding will be targeted at local authorities experiencing significant and unexpected increases in their pupil numbers over the next few years, with payments starting in the coming financial year so that local authorities can benefit from this funding straight away.
In making these allocations this Government are continuing to target funding effectively, based on local needs, using data we have collected from local authorities about the capacity of schools and forecast pupil projections. Later in the spring we will also be publishing updated information on the number of primary places each local authority is creating, as well as their cost and quality.
This will help ensure greater accountability and transparency around the places provided and at what cost.
Details of today’s announcement will be sent to local authorities and be published on the gov.uk website. Copies will be placed in the Library of the House.
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Agriculture and Fisheries Council
I represented the UK at the EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council on 26 January in Brussels. Rebecca Evans AM and Richard Lochhead MSP were also present.
Multiannual plan for fisheries in the Baltic sea
Commissioner Vella presented the proposal for a multiannual plan (MAP) for fisheries in the Baltic sea. I welcomed the proposal as it would be an important tool for achieving the aims of the reformed common fisheries policy but stressed the need for it to reinforce regionalisation. I argued that the inclusion of maximum sustainable yield ranges in the MAP did not infringe on the Council’s competence to set total allowable catches. France, Italy, Belgium and Spain however raised concerns that the proposal would impinge on the Council’s competence. France also raised issues with the current formulation of the proposed delegated acts.
AOB: The “Omnibus Regulation” implementing the landing obligation
The presidency affirmed that they wanted to reach an early deal with the European Parliament (EP) on the “Omnibus Regulation” removing legislative impediments to the implementation of the landing obligation. They asked member states if they could support a deal which prevented any weakening of the regulation, but included, at the request of the EP, a new obligation on member states to submit annual reports on the implementation of the landing obligation. I, along with a number of other member states, supported an early deal, subject to minimising the potential administrative burden of the new proposed reporting obligations. I also stressed, with support from Spain, Belgium, Ireland and Malta, that we did not want to see responsibility for dealing with undersized fish being placed on to the member states as a part of a final deal.
Pig meat trade with Russia
The presidency accepted Poland’s request for a discussion on the recent reports that some member states had been approached by Russia to reopen bilateral trade on pig meat. Poland along with the Baltic member states argued that the Russian ban on EU agriculture products was imposed simultaneously on all member states and therefore should be lifted in the same manner. I supported Poland and the Baltics and stressed that the EU should be united in its approach to Russia. Commissioner Andriukaitis argued that bilateral trade deals with Russia were unacceptable and that the Commission would not tolerate discrimination between member states.
Market developments, including the effects of the Russian import ban
There was a discussion on the situation in various market sectors. On dairy, Commissioner Hogan announced that private storage aid (PSA) for butter and skimmed milk powder would remain open until September 2015 but rejected calls for PSA for cheese. He agreed to consider the issue of staggered payment of milk super levy at the March Council, when more complete production figures for 2014-15 would be available. He also confirmed that he was considering what EU action could be taken to tackle exploitation in the supply chain. On fruit and vegetables, Commissioner Hogan maintained that the current measures were sufficient. On pig meat, however, he accepted they might have to consider new measures. In response to Italy’s concerns about falling EU sugar prices, Commissioner Hogan argued that the EU had benefited from historically high EU prices and underlined that producers had had many years to prepare for the end of quotas.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
London P5 Conference
I would like to update the House on the outcome of the recent London conference of the five nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) nuclear-weapon states (the “P5”). The conference was held on 4 and 5 February at Lancaster House.
After the UK initiated the P5 process in 2009, each of the P5 has held a conference, and the London conference saw the start of a second cycle. The conferences have offered the nuclear weapon states a chance to engage in a structured dialogue. The London conference was successful in positioning the UK well in the run up to the NPT review conference, taking place 27 April to 22 May. We welcomed France’s offer to host the next P5 conference.
A copy of the joint statement issued by the P5 after the conference can be found as an attachment online at: http://www.parliament.uk/writtenstatements
British Diplomatic Staff in Sana'a
I wish to inform the House that the Foreign Secretary has taken the decision on security grounds to suspend temporarily the services of the British embassy in Sana’a and to withdraw diplomatic staff.
We have maintained an embassy in Sana’a despite the violence to help us communicate with political actors in Yemen and provide insight into the situation on the ground. Throughout this period we have kept the security situation under constant review. Regrettably the security situation in Yemen has continued to deteriorate over recent days and the risk to our embassy staff and premises increased. Therefore we decided to withdraw diplomatic staff and suspend temporarily the operations of the British embassy in Sana’a. Our ambassador and diplomatic staff have now returned to the UK.
We advise British nationals who remain in Yemen, despite our long-standing and consistent message to leave the country, to leave immediately.
We continue to believe that a stable, united, democratic and prosperous Yemen is the best future for the country. We will continue to work with international partners to help Yemen achieve a legitimate, transparent political transition in which all Yemenis are represented.
Trust Special Administrators
I am today publishing revised “Statutory Guidance to Trust Special Administrators appointed to NHS Trusts”, in accordance with section 65N of the National Health Service Act 2006 (the 2006 Act). The document comprises guidance for trust special administrators (TSAs) to which they must have regard in carrying out their duties under chapter 5A of the 2006 Act, referred to by Government as the trust special administrator’s regime. It replaces the version published on 5 July 2012.
The TSA’s regime was introduced by the Health Act 2009 and set out under chapter 5A of the 2006 Act. It offers a time-limited framework to deal with urgent issues affecting the ability of an NHS trust or foundation trust to deliver patient care, whether for clinical or financial reasons, or both. A TSA must make recommendations to the Secretary of State, or in the case of a foundation trust, to Monitor, about actions to secure into the future the delivery of quality, safe and financially sustainable essential services of the trust under administration.
I stress that the regime is a measure of last resort. It is likely to be considered only when all other processes at a local level to deal with the challenges of hospitals have been exhausted. Since 2009, the regime has been used only twice.
Last year, we asked the right hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam (Paul Burstow) to chair a committee of MPs, Peers and others to review the development of updated guidance to TSAs. The committee considered the guidance I am publishing and revised “Statutory Guidance for Trust Special Administrators appointed to NHS Foundation Trusts” to be published by Monitor. Meetings took place between July 2014 and January 2015. I am pleased to have been able to accept the recommendations the committee made to me and believe the guidance I am publishing is significantly improved as a result. I would like to place on record my thanks to the right hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam, the right hon. Member for Rother Valley (Kevin Barron), the hon. Member for Stourbridge (Margot James), Baroness Finlay of Llandaff, Matt Tee and Dr Johnny Marshall from the NHS Confederation and Jeremy Taylor from National Voices, for the dedication and rigour with which they considered the issues before the committee. Letters from the committee and notes of its meetings will be published alongside the committee’s terms of reference which are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/committee-to-consider-statutory-guidance-for-trust-special-administrators
I have consulted the Care Quality Commission (CQC) as I am required to do before publishing my guidance, under section 65N of the 2006 Act. My Department also consulted a range of key stakeholders on the draft guidance.
The guidance incorporates the new powers and requirements in the Care Act 2014 to strengthen the TSA’s regime. These include:
enabling a TSA to take a view of the local health economy and, where it is necessary for and consequential upon action recommended at the trust in administration, permitting the TSA to make recommendations which may affect services at other trusts;
matching the TSA’s widened legal remit with a requirement to consult those other trusts, their staff and their commissioners who would be affected by the recommendations;
strengthening the representation of patients and local populations through a requirement on the TSA to consult local authorities and local healthwatch organisations during the statutory public consultation on the recommendations, in all the areas whose services would be affected by them;
requiring the TSA to consult the CQC; and,
giving the TSA more time to develop recommendations and consult on them.
In accordance with my duty under section 65N of the 2006 Act, the guidance addresses matters required by that section, such as the persons to be consulted and factors to be taken into account in the preparation of the TSA’s draft report, the publication of notices and statements, and the arrangements for a TSA at an NHS trust to seek support from commissioners for his or her recommendations and on involving NHS England. The latter replicates the substance of the statutory provisions in the regime for foundation trusts. A TSA at an NHS trust should therefore ensure the involvement of local commissioners of all affected trusts, and take fully into account the need to protect essential NHS services of the NHS trust under administration and of any other potentially affected trust.
The guidance is clear that the TSA should engage with the public, patients, NHS staff and other relevant stakeholders in a meaningful way from the earliest possible point. It covers other areas including the independent nature of the TSA’s role and his or her relationship with national bodies, clinical engagement, engaging other providers, the role of the CQC, taking into account marginalised or hard-to-reach groups, cross-border patients and equality legislation. We have endeavoured to ensure consistency as between this guidance and Monitor’s revised “Statutory Guidance for Trust Special Administrators appointed to NHS Foundation Trusts”. This latter is expected to be published by Monitor shortly.
NHS England, Monitor and the NHS Trust Development Authority are developing a “success regime” intended to help create the conditions for success in the most challenged health economies1.. The guidance I am publishing today also gives examples of measures to tackle failings in NHS trusts before use of the TSA’s regime would be expected to be considered. However, it remains that the TSA’s regime is available to address those rare but very significant failures in the health service in a swift and effective way, ultimately, for the protection of NHS patients and the public, and NHS staff who would otherwise suffer.
A copy of the revised “Statutory Guidance to Trust Special Administrators appointed to NHS Trusts” has been placed in the Library. It can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/statutory-guidance-for-trust-special-administrators-appointed-to-nhs-trusts
1. Referred to in the NHS planning guidance for 2015-16 (The Forward View into action: planning for 2015-16)
Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures
Clause 17 of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill requires the Secretary of State to publish factors that she considers are appropriate to take into account when deciding whether to impose restrictions under paragraph 2 of schedule 1 of the TPIM Act (travel restrictions).
The following factors are appropriate to take into account when deciding whether to impose restrictions under paragraph 2 of schedule 1 of the TPIM Act (travel restrictions):
the need to prevent or restrict a TPIM subject’s involvement in terrorism-related activity;
the personal circumstances of the individual;
proximity to travel links including public transport, airports, ports and international rail terminals;
the availability of services and amenities, including access to employment, education, places of worship and medical facilities;
proximity to prohibited associates;
proximity to positive personal influences;
location of UK resident family members;
Decisions about whether to impose travel restrictions on a TPIM subject will be taken on a case-by-case basis and will reflect the need to minimise the risk that the individual poses to the public while taking into account the personal circumstances of the individual in question.
Leader of the House
House of Commons Commission Bill: “Keeling” Schedule
The House of Commons Commission Bill was introduced on 4 February 2015. The Bill makes the legislative changes required to implement the recommendations of the House of Commons Governance Committee in its report, “House of Commons Governance”, published on 16 December 2014. The Bill makes these changes by amending sections of the House of Commons (Administration) Act 1978 that relate to the composition and functions of the House of Commons Commission. In order to inform the debate on the Bill, the Government are publishing today a “Keeling” schedule of the House of Commons (Administration) Act 1978, showing the text of that Act with the inclusion of the amendments made by the House of Commons Commission Bill. The “Keeling” schedule is available in the Vote Office and can be accessed online at the Bills before Parliament pages on: www.parliament.uk