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House of Commons Hansard
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Written Statements
12 March 2015
Volume 594

Written Statements

Thursday 12 March 2015

Business, Innovation and Skills

Land Registry Chief Executive

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I am pleased to announce the appointment of Graham Farrant as the next chief executive of the Land Registry and Chief Land Registrar. He will take on his new role in June. His appointment follows an open competition following the announcement in September that current CEO, Ed Lester, will stand down.

Graham is currently chief executive of Thurrock council and recently took on the same role at Brentwood council as well. In the recent past, he also held the chief executive role on an interim basis at the London borough of Barking and Dagenham. In addition to his time in public service, Graham gained valuable experience of leadership while in the private sector as CEO of first Leisure Connection Ltd and then Pmpgenesis Ltd. With 15 years of experience as a CEO in the public and private sector, Graham has the skills and knowledge to lead and manage the organisation through its transformation into a modern, digital organisation. His time in local government will also be essential as the Land Registry takes responsibility for local land charges.

[HCWS378]

Cabinet Office

Conflict, Stability and Security Fund

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I wish to update the House about our plans for funding conflict prevention, stabilisation, security and peacekeeping activities for the financial year 2015/16. As announced in the spending round 2013, the Government have introduced a new, more strategic approach to work in conflict-affected states where the United Kingdom has key interests, which pools new and existing resources from across Government into a new conflict, stability and security fund (CSSF) under the strategic direction of the National Security Council (NSC). The new approach seeks to streamline Whitehall structures, enable further collaboration and create a closer link between the NSC’s strategic decision-making and action on the ground. It will ensure our work in fragile or conflict-affected states supports the full range of UK objectives, as set out in the national security strategy and underpinned notably by the building stability overseas strategy framework. We will draw on the most effective combination of defence, diplomacy, development assistance, and national security assets at Her Majesty’s Government’s disposal to promote peace and stability and to tackle threats to UK interests arising from instability overseas. This work will be funded from core departmental budgets, supported by the new CSSF worth £1.033 billion.

The NSC has agreed a range of country and regional strategies, along with approaches on peacekeeping and multilateral institutions which together form a strategic framework for NSC departments to prioritise HMG’s effort to tackle instability and insecurity overseas. These strategies are designed to cover the breadth of HMG interests and resources. They set the objectives which will guide our stabilisation and security-related activity, whether funded by the CSSF or from other sources.

Bureaucracy has been reduced, with a streamlined Whitehall structure. Newly created regional boards, will be chaired by FCO senior officials and include senior representation from all NSC departments. The regional boards are responsible for effective implementation of the strategies in their region, including monitoring of all activity funded by the CSSF. The National Security Council (officials) will provide oversight and assurance to support NSC level decision-making.

The CSSF will come into being on 1 April 2015 and replace the conflict pool. The CSSF’s larger scope will include conflict reduction and development assistance as well as tackling threats to UK interests. It will also be used to fund the UK’s contributions to multilateral peacekeeping budgets and related commitments. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office will continue to be responsible for managing and reporting to Parliament on the peacekeeping element of the CSSF, which it manages on behalf of Government.

The NSC has now agreed CSSF allocations for FY15/16. These allocations may change during the course of FY15/16 to reflect changing priorities or to enable the Government to respond more effectively to new cases of conflict and instability.

Conflict Stability and Security Fund resources, FY15/16

CSSF

FY15/16 (millions)

Peacekeeping and Multilateral

462

Regional/Country Strategies

482.8

Security and Defence

75

Delivery Support, including the Stabilisation Unit and National School of Government International

13.2

TOTAL

1033

[HCWS392]

Treasury

Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

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Today I am announcing the Government’s intention for the UK to apply to become a prospective founder member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

The AIIB is being established to address the shortage of infrastructure investment in Asia. The Government believe that the AIIB has the potential to become an important part of the international financial architecture, working with existing multilateral development banks to strengthen growth in the region and benefit all our economies.

The UK will become the first major western country to apply to become a prospective founder member of the AIIB, which has already received significant support in the region. This Government have actively promoted closer political and economic engagement with the Asia-Pacific region and is forging links between the UK and Asian economies. Joining the AIIB at the founding stage will create an unrivalled opportunity for the UK and Asia to invest and grow together.

Subject to agreement by the existing prospective founder members, the UK will become a prospective founder member and participate in negotiations on the bank’s founding principles, with a view to ensuring that the new institution adheres to existing global best practice on governance and safeguards.

The Articles of Agreement establishing the AIIB will be finalised later in the year. At that point, based on the outcome of the multilateral negotiations, the Government will make a final decision on whether to join the AIIB.

[HCWS409]

Terrorism Asset-freezing etc. Act 2010 (Annual Report)

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My noble Friend the Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton) has today made the following written ministerial statement:

Mr David Anderson QC has completed his fourth annual report as independent reviewer of terrorist asset-freezing legislation. The report covers a 12 month period of the operation of the Terrorist Asset-Freezing etc. Act 2010 and will be laid before Parliament today.

The Government are grateful to Mr Anderson for his thorough report and will consider carefully the recommendation he has made. The Government’s response to this report will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses in due course.

[HCWS411]

Culture, Media and Sport

VistBritain and VistEngland (Triennial Review)

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On 22 July 2014, I announced in a written ministerial statement the commencement of the triennial review of VisitBritain (VB) and VisitEngland (VE). I am now pleased to announce the completion of the review and publication of the final report.

The review concluded that VB and VE should continue to deliver the functions set out in the Development of Tourism Act 1969, but that they should be fully separated into two independent executive non-departmental public bodies with some changes to their respective roles and responsibilities. The review considered that this would help to clarify responsibility for delivering the functions and the accountability and governance arrangements.

The review has made a number of recommendations for changes and improvements in the functions, delivery and governance arrangements of VB and VE. In particular, the review recommends that VE should in future focus on supporting the development of high-quality tourism products and offers in England, while VB should be responsible for international marketing of both Britain and England.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport will now discuss with VB and VE how the recommendations can be implemented.

The triennial review has been carried out with the full participation of VB and VE, as well as a range of stakeholders from across Government and the tourism sector. I am grateful to all those who contributed to the review.

The final report of the review is available online at: http://www.parliament.uk/writtenststements and will be deposited in the Libraries of both Houses.

[HCWS382]

Defence

Al-Sweady Inquiry

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I would like to update the House on the implementation of the recommendations made in the report of the Al-Sweady inquiry, chaired by Sir Thayne Forbes, and published on 17 December 2014.

As I explained in my statement to Parliament, Official Report, columns 1407-1421, the Chairman made nine constructive recommendations, all of which I immediately accepted in principle. I said that I would provide more detail about how these recommendations would be implemented once I had had an opportunity to consider them carefully, and in particular to ensure that they would not put at risk the lives of British service personnel by unduly constraining essential tasks. The House will recognise that in developing coherent policy for the handling of captured persons, the Department must be mindful of the different operating environments and operational constraints faced by the different services.

I am pleased to report that the Ministry of Defence has implemented in full four recommendations (recommendations 3, 5, 7, and 9). These call for, respectively, the dating and retention of training material; the introduction of procedures to ensure the adequate recording of the capture of individuals and their physical condition on capture; the introduction of safeguards during the strip-searching of detainees; and provision for the recording of medical decisions on the suitability of detainees for detention and questioning. The Department has partly implemented, or intends to implement, the other five (recommendations 1, 2, 4, 6, and 8).

The third edition of Joint Doctrine Publication 1-10, Captured persons (CPERS) was published on 23 January 2015 and implements changes that anticipated three of these recommendations (recommendations 5, 6, and 7) in whole or in part. An update to this doctrine, which will make further changes in response to the recommendations, will be published within the first half of this year.

I have today placed in the Library of the House a fuller report on the implementation of these recommendations.

[HCWS383]

Armed Forces Pay Review Body

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The 2015 report of the Armed Forces’ Pay Review Body (AFPRB) has now been published. I wish to express my thanks to the Chairman and members of the review body for their report.

In line with the Government’s 2013 Budget statement, which announced an extension of the restraint on public sector pay by limiting increases to an average of up to 1% for a further year, the AFPRB has recommended an increase of 1% to base armed forces salaries for 2015-16. In addition, the AFPRB has recommended a 1% increase to compensatory allowances and recruitment and retention payment categories, except for mountain leaders, and parachute jumping instructors where there is no increase, and aeromedical and escort duty, which is frozen this year prior to being withdrawn on 1 April 2016. The AFPRB has also recommended an increase to food and accommodation charges, together with a number of targeted measures.

The AFPRB’s recommendations are to be accepted in full and will become effective from 1 April 2015, except where the AFPRB report indicates otherwise.

Copies of the AFPRB report are available in the Vote Office.

[HCWS403]

Education

School Teachers Review Body

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The 25th report of the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) is being published today. Its recommendations cover the remit that I issued in September 2014. The report contains recommendations on how to apply the pay award for teachers that is due to be implemented from September 2015. Copies of the STRB’s 25th report are available in the Vote Office, the Printed Paper Office and the Libraries of the House, and online at www.gov.uk.

The STRB has recommended an increase from September 2015 of 1% to the minima of all the pay ranges and allowances in the national pay framework, including the:

Unqualified teachers’ pay range;

Main pay range;

Upper pay range;

Leading practitioner pay range;

Leadership pay range;

Head teacher groups;

Teaching and learning responsibility (TLR) payments;

Special educational needs (SEN) allowances.

It has also recommended an increase of 1% to the maxima of all the pay ranges and allowances, except the main pay range, the leadership pay range and the eight head teacher group pay ranges. It has proposed an uplift of 2% to the maxima of the main pay range and no uplift to the maxima of the leadership pay range or the maxima of the eight head teacher group pay ranges.

My officials will write to all of the statutory consultees of the STRB to invite them to contribute to a consultation on my acceptance of these recommendations. The consultation will last for six weeks.

I am grateful to the STRB for these recommendations and, subject to the views of consultees, I intend to accept all the key recommendations.

My detailed response contains further information on these matters. It is also available online at: http://www.parliament.uk/writtenstatements.

[HCWS399]

Energy and Climate Change

EU Energy Council

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I am writing to report discussions at the Energy Council in Brussels on 5 March at which I represented the UK.

The Council discussed the Commission’s communication on the energy union which had been published on 25 February. The Commission described the key themes underpinning its vision of the energy union: making trust and solidarity between member states operational in policy; regarding the free flow of energy as the “fifth freedom”; considering “energy efficiency first”, as energy source in its own right; and the low-carbon economy, including in the transport sector.

The Commission also set out five priorities for implementing the energy union: making the energy market work; energy efficiency; gas security strategies; driving interconnection; and putting climate protection at the heart. It also noted the importance of a fit for purpose governance framework and outlined plans for an annual “state of the energy union” report.

All but one member state signalled support for the energy union agenda. Some member states, including the UK, noted their support for a technology neutral approach to decarbonisation under the energy union including the use of nuclear power, while others argued against any EU support schemes or tax breaks for mature technologies such as nuclear power.

Other issues raised by member states included the need for careful consideration of proposals for changing rules on intergovernmental agreements and options for collective gas purchasing. There were strong calls to complete the internal energy market including swift action on key infrastructure projects; proposals for regional co-operation were welcomed unanimously. Finally, many member states, including the UK, Germany and others, supported strong action on the climate elements of the proposal and in particular reform of the EU emissions trading system, with a view to optimise outcomes in the climate negotiations in Paris in December.

The Council discussion on energy infrastructure and strategy for meeting the EU’s 10% interconnection target was more subdued. The Council welcomed the signing of the Madrid declaration on 4 March, which gave a political push to interconnection projects between France, Spain and Portugal. The UK supported the drive for interconnection to complete the single energy market and the proposals for the new European fund for strategic investment to facilitate investments in energy infrastructure.

Under “any other business”, the Czech Republic updated the Council on plans for the European Nuclear Energy Forum (ENEF) in Prague, which will cover nuclear safety, nuclear in the energy union and the EU as world industry leaders in nuclear technology.

Finally, the Commission gave an update on the trilateral gas discussions that had taken place earlier in the week between Russia, Ukraine and the Commission. The key success of the talks had been the agreement by both sides that the winter package agreement on gas supplies should be implemented. The complex issue of delivery to rebel areas had also been discussed; the Russians had agreed not to subtract the deliveries to these regions out of the quantities assigned to Naftogaz in Ukraine, but the issue would need to be revisited. The Commission was optimistic that both sides would now continue to work towards a summer package.

[HCWS377]

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Agriculture and Fisheries Council

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The next Agriculture and Fisheries Council will be on 16 March in Brussels. My hon. Friend, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (George Eustice), will represent the UK. Richard Lochhead MSP and Rebecca Evans AM will also attend.

As the provisional agenda stands, the following items will be discussed.

On agriculture, there will be an orientation debate on the proposal for a regulation on organic production and labelling of organic products. This will be followed by a state of play item on the milk sector. The Council will then hold a policy debate on the implementation and simplification of the common agricultural policy. Finally, there will be an update on international agricultural trade issues.

No fisheries items are expected, but this remains to be confirmed at a meeting of Coreper on 11 March.

There is currently one any other business item:

Wool and fur from maltreated rabbits and furred animals.

Spread of Xylella fastidiosa in Southern Italy.

[HCWS380]

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Human Rights and Democracy Report 2014

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I have today laid before Parliament a copy of the 2014 Foreign and Commonwealth Office Report on Human Rights and Democracy (Cm 9027).

The report summarises the global human rights situation in 2014. It provides examples of what the Government are doing to promote human rights and democratic values overseas. It reviews the situation in specific countries and against the thematic priorities around which our work is organised. And it reports on the benefits for UK citizens of all our overseas work on human rights, in terms of prosperity, security, and for British nationals overseas, and the overseas territories.

The full report can be read at www.hrdreport.fco.gov.uk and is also available online at: http://www.parliament.uk/writtenstatements.

[HCWS394]

EU Partnership and Co-operation Agreements (Philippines and Vietnam)

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The Partnership Co-operation Agreements (PCA) concluded between the EU and its member states on the one hand and the Republic of the Philippines and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, on the other, provide a legal framework for further engagement and co-operation between the EU and the Philippines and the EU and Vietnam across a broad range of areas, including political dialogue, trade, energy, transport, investment, human rights, education, science and technology, justice, asylum and migration.

The proposed Council decision on the conclusion of the PCAs was brought forward by the European Commission citing two legal bases on trade and development. This did not reflect the earlier Council decision on signature which included transport, readmission and environment legal bases as well as trade and development. The Government supported the addition of the legal bases and judged that the provisions concerning readmission included Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) obligations, which engaged the UK’s JHA opt-in. The Government decided not to opt in to these provisions.

It is normal practice to issue a written statement to Parliament advising of the Government’s opt-in decision. This did not happen immediately as the Government wanted to consider any impact on its opt-in policy from the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in case C-377/12 (EU/member states PCA with the Philippines). This case focused on whether additional legal bases should be cited for JHA and other content in PCAs.

Following the judgment, the Government accept that the opt-in is not engaged for agreements where the predominant purpose is development co-operation, unless there are relevant provisions that contain obligations so extensive that they constitute objectives distinct from those of development co-operation; or where it is arguable that the relevant provisions do not fall within the ambit of development co-operation for other reasons.

The Government consider that since the predominant purpose of the Philippines and Vietnam agreements are development co-operation, and the agreements do not contain JHA content which is sufficiently distinct from that aim, the UK’s JHA opt-in is not engaged in relation to the Council decision concluding either agreement. However, the UK reserves the right to engage the opt- in where any future agreements, concluded within the context of the Philippines or Vietnam PCAs, contain JHA provisions. Furthermore, in relation to other types of agreements between the EU and third countries which do not have a predominant development co-operation purpose, it remains the UK’s policy to assert that the opt-in applies.

[HCWS395]

Gifting of Equipment to the Lebanese Armed Forces

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I have today laid before the House a departmental minute proposing the gifting of equipment to the 3rd Land Border Regiment of the Lebanese armed forces.

Contagion from the worsening crisis in Syria is having a direct effect on its neighbours, particularly in areas adjacent to Lebanon’s eastern border. The UK remains firmly committed to Lebanon’s stability, and in supporting the Lebanese armed forces (LAF) to minimise contagion from the Syrian conflict, and to combat the spread of ISIL. As part of this commitment, since 2012, the UK has been assisting the LAF, through the rapid land border security assistance project, to establish and mentor the LAF land border regiments (LBRs). The mission of the LBRs is to observe, identify, deter and interdict activities by illegal armed actors in the near border areas, in line with agreed international human rights standards. Between 2012 and 2014 around £20 million of conflict pool funds was allocated to provide observation, protection, mobility and communications equipment to 1 and 2 LBRs, and to establish the lead elements of a 3rd LBR, as well as a programme of training and mentoring.

The command element of 3LBR has been established and equipped, and 3LBR is preparing its deployment plan for a 50 km area of responsibility south of Arsal to Tfail. Recent ISIL actions in the Arsal area, and the threat that ISIL poses to UK interests, make it imperative that the LAF completes the expansion of the LBRs southwards, as part of an overall strategy to bring the entire eastern border with Syria back under the authority of the state.

The departmental minute laid today therefore sets out our intention to gift a package of £3,056,975 of protection, IT and communications equipment to complete the establishment of the 3rd Land Border Regiment of the Lebanese Armed Forces. The proposed gift will be funded by the Government’s conflict, security and stability fund and will consist of the following UK sourced equipment:

Community outreach and LBR operations performance measurement IT hardware and software, with training (£349,997)

Three protected border observation posts and two mobile observation platforms, with observation aids and ballistic protection for fixed 3LBR positions (£1,207,027)

Radio equipment to allow the operational elements of 3LBR to link back to 3LBR HQ (£1,499,951)

Alongside the gift, the UK is continuing its existing package of training and mentoring with additional operational expertise worth £1,932,783. The combined total of £4,989,758 of equipment plus training and mentoring aims to complete, between April 2015 and March 2016, building the capacity of the 3rd Land Border Regiment of the Lebanese armed forces to observe, identify, deter and stop the illegal movement of weapons and personnel across the central sector of the eastern land border with Syria.

The proposed gift has been assessed against the consolidated EU and national arms export licensing criteria. The proposed gift has been scrutinised and approved by a senior, cross-Whitehall Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) approval board, which has confirmed that it fits with the Government’s strategic and delivery objectives. Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials also assessed the project for human rights risks, using the overseas security and justice assistance guidelines established by the Foreign Secretary in 2011. They concluded that the risk of human rights violations arising from the project’s delivery could be successfully mitigated.

The Treasury has approved the proposal in principle, and given the need to provide the LAF with suitable equipment at the earliest possible opportunity to allow them to retain the initiative in blocking and containing ISIL, has agreed the proposal to reduce the period for parliamentary scrutiny, pending the Dissolution of Parliament. If, during the period to 26 March 2015, a Member signifies an objection by giving notice of a parliamentary question or a motion relating to the minute, or by otherwise raising the matter in the House, final approval of the gift will be withheld pending an examination of the objection.

[HCWS391]

Ministerial Correction

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I wish to make a correction to the verbal statement I made in response to a point made by the right hon. Member for Wokingham (Mr John Redwood) on 9 March 2015, Official Report, column 98. The correct figures for the European fund for strategic investment are that €16 billion will come from the EU budget, €5 billion from the EIB, giving a total of €21 billion, used to leverage additional sources to reach a total of €315 billion investment.

[HCWS398]

Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict

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I wish to inform the House of progress the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has made on preventing sexual violence in conflict since the June 2014 global summit to end sexual violence in conflict.

The summit resulted in a number of important and ambitious commitments to end sexual violence in conflict. Since the summit we have worked to implement these commitments and to deliver practical and far reaching change in those countries worst affected by conflict-related sexual violence. This has been focused on six priority areas:

implementing the international protocol on the documentation and investigation of sexual violence in conflict launched at the summit;

promoting legislative reform;

providing more support to survivors of sexual violence and the organisations and individuals who work with them;

incorporating sexual violence issues into military training and doctrine;

working with international organisations to encourage their greater work and support on the issue; and

supporting those Governments who announced new plans or strategies at the summit.

We have translated the international protocol into French, Spanish, Arabic, Nepalese and Bosnian. We are developing training materials to support its use, regional training events on its implementation in different local contexts and training courses. This includes developing long-term training and mentoring programmes on documentation and investigation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC); providing financial support to NGOs to implement the protocol in Colombia; a year-long training project for local human rights NGOs and lawyers in Nepal; and launch events in Bosnia to raise the profile of the protocol with the Government, judges and NGOs. This work aims to help these Governments and civil society organisations to prevent and prosecute sexual violence crimes. The results of the training will inform future versions of the protocol to ensure that it meets the needs of those using it on the ground and our ambition that the protocol becomes widely used and recognised as international best practice.

In November, a joint UK/Canada scoping mission to Iraq looked at what support we can provide in response to the crimes being committed by ISIL. Our subsequent work includes strengthening local women’s organisations, including their capacity to investigate sexual violence crimes. This supports the Department for International Development’s wider humanitarian programming in the region. In January, we organised an event with local and international NGOs which brought together women from Syria and Iraq to be trained on the protocol as well as to develop wider ideas on how they can work in the most challenging of circumstances. We are hosting a follow-up meeting at the Commission on the Status of Women to encourage donor support for the work of women’s human rights defenders in Iraq and Syria.

We continue to lobby more countries to accede to the Rome statute of the International Criminal Court and to implement it fully in domestic legislation. We are encouraging recognition and support for the policy paper on sexual and gender-based crimes released by the Office of the ICC Prosecutor, which will help ensure the effective investigation and prosecution of these crimes from preliminary examination through to appeal.

We have supported a number of projects with human rights defenders and NGOs working to end sexual violence in DRC, South Sudan, Somalia, Guatemala, Nigeria, Kosovo, Colombia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Burma. These projects have helped survivors rebuild their lives by accessing justice, legal advice and psychosocial support and challenging the cultural or social stigma associated with being a victim of these crimes. We will support similar projects over the course of 2015-16. We recently co-hosted a meeting of international faith leaders as a follow-up to the summit discussions on their role and responsibility in supporting survivors and their communities and challenging traditional attitudes to gender and sexual violence. The recommendations from this meeting developed by the participants provide an important basis for future action.

We have deployed members of the UK team of PSVI experts to Kosovo, the Syrian borders, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the DRC to provide support to survivors, improve investigations and increase prosecutions of sexual violence in conflict. We have also deployed members of the team to the EU training mission in Mali, training the Malian army on how to protect civilians from human rights violations, including sexual and gender-based violence. Improving military standards to prevent and respond to sexual violence is critical to achieving change. The action plan on sexual violence for the army announced by the DRC Government after the global summit is a welcome example of this commitment. My right hon. and noble Friend, Baroness Anelay of St Johns, Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, discussed its implementation with President Kabila’s personal representative in the fight against sexual violence and child recruitment in the DRC, during her recent visit to London. The UK also has some valuable expertise to share in this area, including the work of the Peace Support Operations Training Centre in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the recent training provided by the British Peace Support Team in eastern Africa to African Union peacekeeping personnel troops. We are using this expertise to inform the forthcoming UN Secretary-General’s peace operations review.

In September 2014, I co-hosted an event at the UN General Assembly with the Under-Secretary-General and special representative of the UN Secretary-General on sexual violence in conflict to encourage implementation by the 155 UN member states who have endorsed the declaration of commitment to end sexual violence in conflict and to reiterate the critical role of the special representative on this issue. Her work has been fundamental to achieving progress over the last year, such as her agreement with the Government of South Sudan in October of a joint communiqué on preventing conflict-related sexual violence and the work of her team to support implementation of the Federal Government of Somalia’s national action plan for addressing sexual violence, presented at the summit.

We have encouraged other multilateral organisations to do more, including at the NATO summit in September and through the work of the European Union. We provided funding to support the deployment of the African Union team of experts to help victims of sexual violence in the Central African Republic that the AU announced at the summit and discussed opportunities for greater future AU leadership on this agenda with the AU special envoy for women, peace and security last month.

In our work since the summit it has become clear that there is a need for a greater academic underpinning on these issues and the most effective ways of tackling them. I am proud of the support that we have given to establishing the UK’s first academic centre for women, peace and security at the London School of Economics. Working with experts in the field and universities around the world, the centre will create a critical mass of expertise and knowledge focused on the empowerment of women and the ending of impunity for sexual violence crimes and play a critical role in future efforts to bring an end to sexual violence in conflict once and for all.

[HCWS396]

Westminster Foundation for Democracy (Triennial Review)

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The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) will today publish the report of the triennial review of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD), which the former Foreign Secretary, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr William Hague), launched in February 2014. The WFD currently receives funding from the FCO and the Department for International Development. The review has recommended that the WFD retain its status as a non-departmental public body at arm’s length from Government. The review also recommends a range of organisational, policy and governance measures to increase the relevance and impact of the WFD’s work, enabling it to become a world-leading organisation in the field of democracy assistance.

The Government consider the WFD an important tool for building open, inclusive and accountable democratic systems overseas, which are strongly in our national interest. We are working with the WFD and its board to ensure implementation of the review recommendations.

The review is available online at: http://www.parliament. uk/writtenstatements

[HCWS412]

Health

Non-Departmental Public Bodies (Triennial Reviews)

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I am today announcing the start of the triennial reviews of the NHS Pay Review Body (NHSPRB) and the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration (DDRB).

All Government Departments are required to review their non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs) at least once every three years. In order to ensure that the Department is an effective system steward and can be assured of all the bodies it is responsible for, the Department has extended the programme of reviews over the next three years to all its arm’s length bodies and Executive agencies.

The reviews of the NHSPRB and DDRB have been selected to commence during the first year of the programme (2014-15). The reviews will consider the two pay review bodies’ functions and corporate form, as well as performance and capability, governance and opportunities for greater efficiencies. The Department will be working with a wide range of stakeholders throughout the reviews.

[HCWS408]

Review Body on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration

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I am responding on behalf of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister to the 43rd report of the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration (“the review body”). The report has been laid before Parliament today (Cm 9028). Copies of the reports are available to hon. Members from the Vote Office and to noble Lords from the Printed Paper Office.

We thank the review body for its 43rd report and note its recommendations and observations. General practitioners and primary care staff more widely are at the centre of the NHS, and have an important role in ensuring the sustainability of the health service for future generations. That is why we have announced additional funding for primary care and why we are working to increase the size of the general practice workforce. It is also why we were pleased to be able to accept the DDRB’s recommendation of a 1% increase to GP pay.

Subject to the views of consultees, therefore, we intend:

in respect of general medical practitioners, to accept the review body’s recommendation for an increase of 1% to general medical practitioners' income. As the review body only made recommendations in respect of general medical practitioners’ income net of expenses, we intend to use the methods employed by the review body in previous years to calculate the overall contract uplift. The staff expenses element of the formula will be the maximum possible under public sector pay policy. The non-pay expenses element will be uplifted in line with the retail price index, excluding mortgage interest payments (RPIX). On this basis, therefore, the uplift equates to 1.16% uplift to the overall value of general medical services contract payments for 2015-16; and

in respect of general dental practitioners , to accept the review body’s recommendation for an increase of 1% to general dental practitioners’ income. As the review body only made recommendations in respect of general dental practitioners’ income net of expenses, we intend to use the methods employed by the review body in previous years to calculate the overall contract uplift. The staff expenses element of the formula will be the maximum possible under public sector pay policy. The non-pay elements will be uplifted in line with either the retail price index (RPI) or the retail price index excluding mortgage interest payments (RPIX). On this basis, therefore, the uplift equates to 1.34% uplift to the overall value of general dental services contract payments for 2015-16.

As stated in our evidence to the review body and recommended in the review body’s report, the minimum and maximum of the salary range for salaried general medical practitioners will be increased by 1% for 2015-16.

[HCWS405]

Home Department

European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL)

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The Government did not opt in to the European Commission’s proposal for a regulation establishing a European Union agency for law enforcement training (CEPOL), repealing and replacing the Council decision 2005/681/JHA.

The Commission’s proposal is intended to improve EU security through the implementation, by CEPOL, of a new training approach for EU law enforcement officers. This approach is set out in the European law enforcement training scheme (LETS), which aims to equip law enforcement officials of all ranks with the knowledge and skills they need to prevent and combat cross-border crime.

The Government value UK membership of CEPOL as currently established. It brings together senior police officers from forces across Europe and encourages cross-border co-operation in the fight against crime by organising training activities and sharing research findings. However, the Government are concerned that the proposed regulation goes beyond the current scope for CEPOL and creates additional obligations for member states.

The proposed measure gives CEPOL the legal mandate to implement the LETS as set out in the Commission communication published in March 2013. The Government are concerned that the LETS limits the flexibility for member states to decide how law enforcement training should be delivered, something that should remain very much their responsibility. The Government consider that the professionalism and training of the police and other law enforcement agencies should be led and developed by those organisations themselves, at a national or local level.

The draft regulation also mandates member states to establish a national unit responsible for carrying out tasks obliging them to contribute to CEPOL’s work programmes and to supply, and respond to, requests for information. The existing Council decision left it to member states to decide whether to set up a national contact point, whose remit is the effective co-operation between CEPOL and the relevant national training institute. This function is currently carried out by the College of Policing and the Government are concerned that any additional obligation would represent increased financial and administrative burdens for the college.

The Government believe that the focus of an EU-wide law enforcement training strategy should be to encourage member states to collaborate on matters that are mutually beneficial but to avoid mandating training requirements. The Government do not want the police and other UK law enforcement agencies to be accountable to an EU agency and we need to be satisfied that our training and other operational priorities are not subject to EU determination.

The option to opt in to this measure post-adoption remains open to the UK and Government will make a decision on that when the final text has been agreed.

[HCWS388]

Immigration and Nationality Fees

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The Immigration and Nationality (Fees) Order was laid on 2 February 2015. The order, which was made under the fees provisions in the Immigration Act 2014, was the first of two statutory instruments setting immigration and nationality fees. It set out the functions that the Home Office may charge for, and maximum amounts that may be charged for different categories of function.

The second statutory instrument, containing the individual fees for immigration and nationality applications, services and other products provided by the Home Office, will be laid shortly.

The Home Office has given careful consideration to individual fee levels to ensure that those who use and benefit directly from the immigration and border system make an appropriate contribution to the costs of managing the system. This is fair and helps to reduce public spending on the system. The requirement that the immigration and border controls are properly and sustainably funded must be balanced against the need to continue to attract and welcome tourists and the “brightest and best” migrants from around the world. That balance has been achieved by:

applying smaller increases to, or freezing, fees for products that support economic growth. For example, the fee for a tourist visa will increase by 2%; fees for many workers and students will increase by 4%; other “growth routes” will be restricted to an increase of 8%; and fees for 10-year visit, shortage occupation work and airside transit visas will remain unchanged.

applying targeted increases where the benefit to the customer is greater, the service is optional, or UK fees are below comparable charges made by other Governments.

ensuring that estimated processing costs are fully recovered where fees are tied to unit costs.

applying a fee increase of up to 12% for other products and services.

Further detail on fees changes will be provided in the explanatory memorandum for these regulations. A copy of the revised fees table will also be published on the Home Office website at www.homeoffice.gov.uk

Full details on how to apply for all of the Home Office’s products and services are provided on the Home Office website.

[HCWS393]

Firearms Licensing Fees

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Firearms licensing is a priority for this Government both in terms of public safety and in ensuring that a fair and effective service is provided.

Today the Government published the response to our consultation on increasing firearms licensing fees administered by the police.

The large majority (73%) of respondents to the consultation supported an increase to the current fees and the Government agree that the fees will change. The new fees will come into effect on 6 April 2015.

The consultation also sought views on future reviews of the fees. Consultation with police and stakeholders was seen as an integral part of future reviews. A working group will be reconvened to oversee the review process to enable an annual change to be agreed if appropriate. We will then consider conducting a more comprehensive review after five years.

The Government will also work with the police to introduce an online licensing system to drive down costs across the system overall. This will be reviewed in 12 months to assess whether costs are being fully recovered with a view to increasing fees further if it is not.

Work continues on improving the efficiency of the process and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary are currently conducting an inspection into how the licensing system works in practice.

The Government’s response to the public consultation will be placed in the Library of the House and published on the gov.uk website:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/a-proposal-to-increase-firearms-licensing-fees-administered-by-the-police

[HCWS404]

National Crime Agency (Inspection)

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The National Crime Agency was established to lead the fight to cut serious and organised crime, and to focus on the relentless disruption of serious and organised criminals. It has the power to task other law enforcement and a capability that reaches from local to international serious and organised crime impacting on the UK.

Last year, HMIC carried out a review into the efficiency and effectiveness of the NCA. This is the first such inspection of the NCA since its creation. I have placed a copy of the report in the Library of the House. I have asked HMIC to publish this report on my behalf and it is available online at: https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk

The inspection took place in summer 2014 and it provides a valuable snapshot of the NCA’s development as an organisation. HMIC finds that the NCA is discharging its statutory functions, and that work is under way to further strengthen its capabilities. HMIC found that the NCA inherited weaknesses in its information technology, analytical capability and relationships with police from its precursor agencies. But HMIC is satisfied that, at the time of the inspection, significant work was already under way to improve this position and that considerable improvement has already been made to key partner relationships including those with police forces. Seen against this background, the report concludes that the NCA has made a strong start since its establishment in 2013 and that its leadership understands the capabilities the NCA needs to develop, has good plans in place to develop them and is on a trajectory to achieve its aims.

HMIC identifies that the successful delivery of Novo—the NCA’s ambitious transformation programme—will be key in ensuring the NCA continues to develop into an agency fit to tackle the evolving and future threat from serious and organised crime. Over the next three years this programme will give the agency the shape, culture, operating model and approach to further improve its ability to tackle serious and organised crime.

The report notes a number of areas for improvement —where the NCA already has action under way to improve its capabilities and effectiveness—and makes five recommendations. It is for the Director General to respond to these recommendations, in line with the requirements of the Crime and Courts Act 2013.

[HCWS390]

Police Federation Reform

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The Police Federation commissioned Sir David Normington to lead an independent review of its own operation and structures, which published its report early in 2014. The report raised significant concerns about the functioning and culture of the Police Federation and made 36 specific recommendations for change.

The Police Federation has committed to implement those recommendations in full and has made steady progress. The Police Federation has adopted a revised core purpose, which reflects the need to act in the public interest, and is now operating under a reformed structure of an interim national board and interim national council, in line with the Normington recommendations. I have continued to take stock of progress in this reform programme in my regular discussions with the Police Federation national leadership.

1 am laying regulations today to implement the further changes I announced at the Police Federation’s annual conference in May last year. These changes will mean that, with effect from 2 April, new officers will need actively to choose to join the Police Federation and choose whether they wish to pay subscription fees. Membership will no longer be automatic and the Police Federation will need to demonstrate its integrity and value in representing its members. Further, the existing rules around transparency and powers to call in the accounts for any money held by the Police Federation will be strengthened, ensuring it is fully accountable for use of its members’ funds.

Following consultation with the Police Federation, additional changes are being made at their request. These changes will allow the Police Federation to pay for the salaries of members elected to the joint central committee from the Police Federation’s funds, rather than police forces continuing to pay for officers who are not available to them. The changes will also mean that the Police Federation branches are required to pay a proportion of their subscription fees directly to the national Police Federation joint fund, and also any excess at the end of each year. This will ensure greater transparency and oversight of their finances.

Last year I also set out my intention to bring forward proposals to extend the Freedom of Information Act to cover the Police Federation. This would require a change in primary legislation. In the absence of a suitable opportunity in this Parliament, I am today publishing a draft clause that demonstrates how that change could be made in legislation, with the intention this would be fulfilled in the next Parliament. I will place a copy of the draft in the Library of the House.

[HCWS387]

Police Integrity

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On 22 July, Official Report, column 1265, I gave a statement to the House on this Government’s ongoing work to ensure the highest standards of integrity in the police.

This Government have carried out a radical programme of police reform. We have given the police greater operational independence, by scrapping national targets, while at the same time strengthening local accountability to the public through the creation of directly elected police and crime commissioners. We have reformed police pay and conditions, established the College of Policing to improve police standards and beefed up the Independent Police Complaints Commission to take on all serious and sensitive cases. Crime has fallen by more than a fifth under this Government, according to the independent crime survey for England and Wales. The reforms I am announcing today build on this programme of work.

I have always been clear that I believe the vast majority of police officers in this country do their job honestly and with integrity. They put themselves in harm’s way to protect the public. They have cut crime by a fifth even as spending has fallen. And the vast majority of officers do their work with a strong sense of fairness and duty. But as I have said before, the good work of the majority threatens to be damaged by a continuing series of events and revelations relating to police conduct.

That is why today, following the responses to the consultation “Improving Police Integrity”, regulations have been laid in the House to make a series of changes to the police disciplinary system.

Police disciplinary hearings will be held in public to ensure that the robust response the police take to misconduct is visible and open. Hearings will be led by legally qualified chairs.

The legislation will create a new power for police disciplinary hearing panels to remove or adjust the compensation payments due to chief officers on termination of their appointment where a disciplinary finding is made against them. Also, police whistleblowers will have protection from disciplinary action for taking the necessary steps to report a concern.

In addition to these regulatory changes, I am today publishing the Government responses to two further public consultations, following the end-to-end review of the police complaints system and independent review of the police disciplinary system, led by Major General (Retd) Chip Chapman, that I announced in the House in July.

Following the conclusions of those reviews, I launched two public consultations on reforms to improve the police complaints and disciplinary systems, proposals to strengthen protections for police whistleblowers, an extension to the remit of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, and changes to the role, powers and governance of the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

The reforms the Government set out will, once set out in legislation, substantially improve the handling of police complaints and police disciplinary systems in England and Wales. They will enable Police and Crime Commissioners to take on a greater role in the police complaints system, allowing them to decide how complaints should be handled in a way that makes sense for their local electorates. The changes will give Police and Crime Commissioners the power to take on responsibility for how complaints appropriate for local resolution are dealt with, as well as requiring them to take on responsibility for appeals against the outcome of complaints—appeals that are currently considered by chief constables. Alongside these changes, I will also expand the remit of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary to enable it to continue to inspect the efficiency and effectiveness of the way police complaints are dealt with regardless of who carries out that work.

Alongside these structural changes, I propose a system of super-complaints for policing to allow bodies outside the police, such as charities and advocacy organisations, to raise complaints on behalf of members of the public who may otherwise be reluctant to come forward, as well as to raises issues and patterns of aspects of policing that may be harming the interests of the public.

The proposals include radical reform of the police disciplinary system, following the recommendations made by Major General (Retd) Chip Chapman in his review of the police disciplinary system.

New protections for police whistleblowers will be introduced, including strengthening the independent routes for whistleblowers to raise their concerns to the Independent Police Complaints Commission and allowing it to conduct investigations in a way that protects the identity of a whistleblower.

The reforms also introduce new powers for the Independent Police Complaints Commission, strengthening its role as an independent oversight body and building on the Government’s commitment to transfer resources to enable the Independent Police Complaints Commission to investigate all serious and sensitive cases.

Alongside the responses to the consultations, I am also publishing the outcomes of the triennial review of the Independent Police Complaints Commission. The review makes a series of recommendations about improving the governance, efficiency and performance of the Independent Police Complaints Commission. I have asked the Independent Police Complaints Commission to present further proposals regarding structural reform by the end of June.

Many of the changes the Government intend to make will require primary legislation, which the Government will introduce at the earliest available opportunity.

I am grateful to all those who responded to both consultations. Copies of the Government’s response to the consultation “Changes to the Police Disciplinary System” and the triennial review of the Independent Police Complaints Commission will be placed in the Library of the House. A copy of the Government’s response to the consultation “Improving Police Integrity (Cm 9031)” will be placed in the Vote Office.

[HCWS406]

Police Reform

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When I became Home Secretary in 2010 I initiated a programme of radical police reform to improve accountability, increase efficiency and continue to cut crime.

We have given chief constables greater independence from Whitehall by scrapping national targets, while at the same time making the police more accountable to the communities they serve through directly elected police and crime commissioners.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary has been made independent of the Government and of the police so it can act directly in the public interest. The Independent Police Complaints Commission is now strengthened to take on all serious and sensitive cases.

We have reformed pay and conditions, opened up the senior ranks of the police through direct entry and established the College of Policing to improve standards and professionalism. The National Crime Agency is operating with the powers and mandate it needs to tackle serious and organised crime.

The further reforms I am announcing today build on this programme of work.

I have brought forward changes to improve the transparency and accountability of the Police Federation, as I set out to the Police Federation conference last year, and published a draft clause to make it subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

I have launched a statutory inquiry into undercover policing to get to the bottom of past injustice and ensure we learn the lessons for the future.

Lastly, the Government have today published their response to two integrity consultations, setting out a package of measures to overhaul the police complaints and disciplinary systems to increase public confidence in their ability to hold the police to account and promote the highest standards of integrity among police officers.

These reforms have been made during a time in which crime is down by more than a fifth according to the independent crime survey for England and Wales. I commend the reforms under this Government to the House.

[HCWS410]

Report by Independent Reviewer of Terrorism

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In accordance with section 36(5) of the Terrorism Act 2006, David Anderson QC, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, prepared a report on the operation of the Terrorism Act 2000 and Part 1 of the Terrorism Act 2006, which I laid before the House on 22 July 2014.

I am grateful to David Anderson for his considered report and have carefully considered the detailed observations and the recommendations made. I am today laying before the House the Government’s response to his report. I wanted to wait for the provisions in the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 to receive Royal Assent before responding formally, given that the Act gives effect to a number of David Anderson’s recommendations.

Copies of the Government response (Cm 9032) will be available in the Vote Office and it will also be published online at: https://www.gov.uk

[HCWS407]

Riot Damages Compensation

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Following last summer’s public consultation on reform of the Riot (Damages) Act 1886, I am today publishing the Home Office response to that consultation, together with draft legislation that shows how we intend to implement our final proposals. These proposals are intended to replace the outdated provisions of the Riot (Damages) Act and provide a robust and sustainable framework for compensation arrangements in the future.

Copies of the consultation response, draft Riot Compensation Bill and economic impact assessment will be placed in the House Library. They will also be available on the Home Office website at: https://www.gov.uk

[HCWS389]

Child Sexual Abuse (Statutory Inquiry)

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On 4 February 2015 I made a statement to the House announcing my intention to appoint Justice Lowell Goddard to head the independent child sexual abuse inquiry, and that I would be disbanding the former inquiry and would be setting up a new statutory inquiry under the 2005 Inquiries Act. I am pleased to be able to confirm today the setting up of the statutory independent inquiry into child sexual abuse, Justice Goddard’s appointment as chairman and the appointment of the panel to the inquiry.

Justice Goddard appeared before the Home Affairs Select Committee in a pre-appointment hearing on 11 February. The committee subsequently published a report unanimously endorsing her appointment and making a number of recommendations. I will be writing to the committee today with the Government response to that report.

From today, the inquiry will be set up with statutory powers to compel witnesses to determine whether state and non-state institutions have taken seriously their duty of care to protect children from sexual abuse within England and Wales.

Having heard the concerns of survivors that the appointment of the former panel was not transparent, we published the criteria for appointing the panel online. This can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/independent-inquiry-into-child-sexual-abuse-criteria-for-panel. A copy was also placed in the Library of the House. The criteria were based on skills, expertise and due diligence and included the need for objectivity and professionalism. We were also explicit that panel members should have no direct links to key institutions or individuals reasonably likely to be covered by the inquiry.

We considered all nominations for membership of the panel, those who expressed interest in being on the panel and those who were nominated as part of the process to appoint a chairman. In consultation with Justice Goddard, I have decided to appoint four panel members, who have the range of skills and expertise required to take forward and lead the important work of the panel in supporting the chairman. The panel members chosen are those who were assessed as most strongly matching these criteria. A statement of assessment against the criteria for each panel member will be published, along with their conflict of interest declaration, on the inquiry website in due course.

I have consulted Justice Goddard and I am pleased to be able to confirm today, that the panel will consist of Drusilla Sharpling, Professor Alexis Jay, Ivor Frank and Malcolm Evans. Together, these individuals will represent a wide range of experience and expertise. Drusilla Sharpling is a qualified barrister with expertise in both policing and the Crown Prosecution Service; Professor Alexis Jay has expertise in social work and led the important work on the independent inquiry into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham; Ivor Frank has extensive experience in family and human rights law, and expertise in child protection matters; Malcolm Evans is Chairman of the United Nations Subcommittee for the Prevention of Torture and professor of public international law at the University of Bristol. Malcolm also brings with him a Welsh perspective, which survivors have called for. In addition, the panel will be informed by a number of expert advisers in the fields of health, education, and a psychologist with expertise in this sensitive area. All panel members will be formally appointed subject to their conflict of interest declarations and the appropriate security checks.

I also said I would review the terms of reference for the inquiry in light of feedback from survivors. I have consulted with Justice Goddard and have agreed with her the final terms of reference which will also be placed in the House Library today and published on the inquiry website. The two most important changes are the removal of any cut-off date for the work of the inquiry and, reflecting the importance of survivors to the inquiry, the explicit statement that survivors will be able to bear witness to the inquiry and that support will be made available.

Survivors have been instrumental in the setting up of this statutory inquiry. Both Justice Goddard and I are clear that they must also have a strong voice in the work of the inquiry as it now moves forward. Justice Goddard will be writing to survivors and their representatives shortly to set out her intention to create a survivors and victims’ consultative panel and to seek their views on how this will work and who should be on it. This panel will have a specific role and function within the inquiry.

I know that survivors were also keen that the inquiry extended beyond England and Wales. However, as child protection is a devolved matter, it is right that other jurisdictions in the United Kingdom look at the issues within their own geographical remit so that they can take the action which is right to address the specific issues uncovered. I have said before, I am clear that no institution or individual should be able to fall through the gaps because of geographical boundaries.

The terms of reference make clear that the inquiry will liaise with its counterparts elsewhere in the United Kingdom. To that end my officials have had initial discussions with the Scottish Government, who are in the process of setting up their own inquiry, the Hart inquiry in Northern Ireland and the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry and have agreed with them and with the child sexual abuse inquiry that joint protocols will be set up with each inquiry to ensure that information can be shared and lines of investigation can be followed across geographical boundaries.

The protocols will be published by the child sexual abuse inquiry in due course. Additionally, as I made clear when I addressed the House on the 4 February, the inquiry will have the full co-operation of Government and access to all relevant information.

I am confident that the new statutory inquiry, under the chairmanship of Justice Goddard, will challenge individuals and institutions without fear or favour and get to the truth. This will not be an easy task but I believe the inquiry now has the right leadership, individuals and powers to make this happen.

I wish Justice Goddard and the panel every success as they now move forward with this important work.

The inquiry’s website can be found at: https:// childsexualabuseinquiry.independent.gov.uk

[HCWS371]

Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures

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Section 19(1) of the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011 (the Act) requires the Secretary of State to report to Parliament as soon as reasonably practicable after the end of every relevant three-month period on the exercise of her TPIM powers under the Act during that period.

The level of information provided will always be subject to slight variations based on operational advice.

TPIM notices in force (as of 28 February 2015)

1

TPMI notices in respect of British citizens (as of 28 February 2015)

0

TPMI notices extended (during the reporting period)

0

TPMI notices revoked (during the reporting period)

0

TPMI notices revived (during the reporting period)

0

Variations made to measures specified in TPMI notices (during the reporting period)

0

Applications to vary measures specified in TPMI notices refused (during the reporting period)

0

The TPIM Review Group (TRG) keeps every TPIM notice under regular and formal review. A TRG was held on 12 December 2014. The next TRG will take place in March.

The Court of Appeal has granted permission for an appeal brought by DD in the case of DD versus Secretary of State for the Home Department [2014] EWHC 3820 (Admin), a judgement in which the High Court dismissed a preliminary issue in DD’s appeal against the revival of his TPIM notice. This preliminary issue related to DD’s submission that the revival of the TPIM notice breached Article 3 ECHR. This judgment is available at: http://www.bailii.org. Both this appeal and the remainder of the original appeal will be heard in April 2015.

[HCWS384]

Testing Household Products on Animals

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On 18 July 2011, Official Report, column 84WS, I announced plans to implement the Government’s commitment to end the testing of household products in animals using licensing powers provided by the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. Since that time, the Government have consulted on the impact of such a ban and we have undertaken to give consideration to the inclusion of ingredients of household products.

I can today announce the Government’s intention to ban the testing of household products in animals with a qualified ban on the testing of ingredients which are primarily intended for use in household products. Where testing of ingredients is required for regulatory purposes, we will permit this but require retrospective notification. Where such testing is not required for regulatory purposes, we will require a prospective authorisation, specific to the particular proposal. We will apply a robust harm-benefit analysis to any such applications which we expect to be few.

In order to minimise the regulatory burden of this policy on businesses, I intend to implement this ban through amending conditions on existing project licences. For the avoidance of any doubt, I intend to adopt the following definition for licensing purposes:

“Household products are those bought by the general public for use in the domestic home and garden. They include, but are not limited to, detergents, polishes and cleaning products, laundry products, household cleaners, air fresheners, toilet cleaners, descalants, deodorisers, adhesives, paints and varnishes, sealants, caulks and other decorating materials.

This definition does not apply to:

Biocides, pesticides and plant protection products;

Food contact materials, food and feeding stuffs, medical products and medical devices;

Cosmetics (as they are subject to other restrictions on the use of animal testing);

Products intended to be used in an industrial or institutional setting or by professionals; and

ackaging or delivery systems e.g. pump sprays etc., unless these are inherent parts of the household product.”

I also intend to adopt the definition of an “ingredient” in accordance with article 3 of Regulation (EC 1907/2006) on registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals (REACH) as amended and article 2 of European Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures (CLP).

The policy will apply to any ingredient for which, at the time that testing in animals is carried out, more than 50% is intended or expected by the entity commissioning the testing to be used in a household product.

I intend to fully implement this ban from 1 October 2015. This will give those most affected time to adjust to the new notification system and authorisation process.

[HCWS385]

Undercover Policing

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When I made my statement to the House on 6 March 2014, Official Report, column 1061, announcing the findings of the Stephen Lawrence independent review by Mark Ellison QC, I announced that there would be a judge-led statutory inquiry into undercover policing and the operation of the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS). I said that before an inquiry could be set up, it would need to wait for the conclusion of any criminal investigations into SDS officers and the conclusion of Mark Ellison’s further review into potential miscarriages of justice involving undercover police officers.

It has become apparent during the course of both the criminal investigations and Mr Ellison’s review that these are significantly larger pieces of work than were envisaged previously. Therefore, in light of the public interest in having a statutory inquiry start as soon as possible, I have decided to establish the inquiry while ensuring that the progress of existing work is not affected. The inquiry will be chaired by Lord Justice Pitchford, a highly experienced criminal judge of the Court of Appeal, and will be established under the Inquiries Act 2005.

My officials will consult Lord Justice Pitchford and interested parties to the inquiry over the coming months on setting the terms of reference, with a view to a further statement as soon as possible after Parliament resumes. The role of the inquiry will be to consider the deployment of police officers as covert human intelligence sources by the SDS, the National Public Order Intelligence Unit and by other police forces in England and Wales. The inquiry will review practices in the use of undercover policing, establishing justice for the families and victims and making recommendations for future operations and police practice.

Mr Ellison will be providing his report to my right hon. friend the Attorney-General at the end of March and will be published as soon as possible thereafter. The criminal investigations into SDS officers are ongoing. In addition, Stephen Taylor has submitted his review into the Home Office’s knowledge of the SDS to the Home Office permanent secretary and a copy has been made available today on gov.uk and placed in the Library of the House.

[HCWS381]

Justice

Prison Service Pay Review Body (Annual Report)

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The fourteenth report of the Prison Service Pay Review Body (PSPRB) (Cm 9022) has been laid before Parliament today. The report makes recommendations on the pay for governing governors and other operational managers, prison officers and related support grades in England and Wales in 2015-16. Copies are available in the Vote Office and the Printed Paper Office.

I am grateful to the chair and members of the PSPRB for their hard work in producing these recommendations.

The recommendations for 2015-16 will be implemented in full. The cost of the award will be met from within the delegated budget allocation for the National Offender Management Service and we will continue to progress important pay reforms previously endorsed by HM Treasury and the PSPRB.

[HCWS400]

Prime Minister

Off-street Parking (Machinery of Government Change)

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This written statement confirms that responsibility for off-street parking will transfer from the Department for Transport to the Department for Communities and Local Government. This includes schedule 4 of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 in respect of the recovery of unpaid parking charges. Responsibility for those aspects of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 and the Traffic Management Act 2004 which relate to off-street parking will also move to the Department for Communities and Local Government. This change is effective immediately.

[HCWS402]

Police and Crime Commissioner Elections (Machinery of Government Change)

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This written statement confirms that policy responsibility for the conduct of elections in relation to Police and Crime Commissioners will transfer from the Home Office to the Cabinet Office. This change will be effective from 1 April 2015, though the Home Office will retain responsibility for the conduct of any Police and Crime Commissioner elections held before May 2016. The Home Office will retain all other responsibilities in relation to Police and Crime Commissioners.

[HCWS401]

Security, Intelligence and Law Enforcement Agencies and Intelligence Services Commissioner (Reports)

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Today, I am pleased to draw the attention of both Houses to the publication of two reports relating to intelligence matters and the use of intrusive powers in the UK. While each report has a different origin and focus, they both support this Government’s commitment to deliver greater transparency and stronger oversight of the work of the UK security and intelligence agencies, the police and other public bodies that use intrusive powers. Both reports make a significant contribution to the public and parliamentary debate on these issues, which will continue into the next Parliament.

First, I would like to address the report of the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament (the ISC) on its privacy and security inquiry, published today. The Government and the agencies co-operated fully with the ISC during this inquiry and gave it full access to material of the highest classification. Our commitment to transparency is reflected in the text of the report, which has only been redacted where absolutely necessary to protect our national security. The result is a substantive report that provides a comprehensive account of all the intrusive activities of the agencies and the relevant safeguards and oversight. The Government are grateful to the ISC for the thoroughness with which it conducted this important inquiry.

We will consider the ISC’s findings and recommendations carefully. As a number of these are currently the subject of related reviews, including by the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, the Government’s intention is to review all the recommendations and suggestions in a full and considered manner before making a substantive response. There is, however, one particular recommendation in the ISC’s report that I wish to address now. The Intelligence Services Commissioner, the right hon. Sir Mark Waller, currently provides non-statutory oversight of the security and intelligence agencies’ use of bulk personal datasets. Sir Mark has previously recommended that this be put on a statutory footing. The ISC also recommends this in its report. I can therefore announce today that I am issuing a direction to Sir Mark under section 59A of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) to put this into effect. I have deposited a copy of this direction in the Libraries of both Houses.

This is the last report that the ISC will publish before the election and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Committee members for their dedication in carrying out their oversight duties during the last five years. The benefits of increasing the Committee’s powers under the Justice and Security Act 2013 have been clearly reflected in the depth and rigour of its inquiries.

I have also laid before both Houses copies of the 2014 “Report of the Interception of Communications Commissioner”, the right hon. Sir Anthony May, who is appointed by me to keep under review the compliance by public authorities with part 1 of RIPA.

Sir Anthony’s report provides new detail on RIPA warrantry, including the total number of warrants in place under section 8(4) of RIPA at the end of the reporting period, and a breakdown of the statutory purpose for which all interception warrants were issued. These newly available figures demonstrate the Government’s commitment to provide more information about the work of the security and intelligence agencies, and other public authorities that carry out interception.

I thank Sir Anthony for his continued rigorous, thorough and independent oversight, and for the contributions he and his office have made to the public debate surrounding the use of intrusive powers.

Attachments can be viewed online at: http://www. parliament.uk/writtenstatements and the “Report of the Interception of Communications Commissioner” is available online at:

http://www.iocco-uk.info/docs/IOCCO%20Report%20March%202015%20(Web).pdf

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Senior Salaries Review Body

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The 37th report of the Senior Salaries Review Body (SSRB) is being published today. This makes recommendations about the pay of the senior civil service (SCS), senior military officers, the judiciary, and police and crime commissioners. The SSRB has not made any recommendations on the pay of very senior managers in the NHS. Copies have been laid in the Vote Office, the Printed Paper Office and the Libraries of both Houses. I am grateful to the chairman and members of the review body for their work on this year’s report.

While we are mindful of the need to ensure that we are able to recruit, retain and motivate staff with the right skills and experience, it is important that senior public servants continue to show leadership in the exercise of pay restraint.

Senior military officers

The Government have accepted the recommendation of a 1% increase to base military salaries for all 2 star officers and above with effect from 1 April 2015.

The Government have accepted the recommendation that there is no change to current pay arrangements for medical and dental officers.

Judiciary

The Government have accepted the review body’s recommendation of a 1% increase to the salaries of the judiciary.

Police and crime commissioners

The Government have accepted the recommendation that the current rates of pay for police and crime commissioners (PCCs) should remain unchanged for 2015-16.

I am also grateful to the SSRB for their observations on PCC expenses and we will continue to work with the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners to ensure PCC expense arrangements are clear.

Senior civil service

The Government have accepted in full the pay review body’s recommendation on a flexible framework for base pay awards that will enable Departments to target the resources available to meet their own business needs. The Government have also accepted the recommendation to continue to mandate a more structured approach to exit questionnaires so Departments are able to effectively capture reasons for leaving.

The Government have accepted in part the recommendation on raising minimum salaries. The Government accept the increase in minima for pay bands 2 and 3. They do not, however, accept the proposal to prescribe a £2,000 increase in the minimum salary for pay band 1 because it does not give Departments the flexibility they have asked for to enable them to target the resources available. Nevertheless, Departments will be encouraged to continue raising the pay band 1 minimum as much as possible so the award is targeted at those lowest in the range and to address overlaps with delegated grades.

The Government have also accepted in part the recommendation on the use of non-consolidated performance-related pay. The Government have accepted the recommendation that gives Departments some additional flexibility to convert up to 0.5% of the non-consolidated performance pay pot for targeted salary re-positioning. They do not however support the recommendation that would require Departments to spend all of their non-consolidated performance-related pay pot. Again this does not provide the flexibility that Departments have requested to meet their own business needs.

This package of proposals for 2015-16 strikes the right balance between necessary pay restraint and the need to recruit and retain people of the right calibre. It gives Departments flexibility to target pay increases within the 1% average award, enables them to reward outstanding performance and will help them to recruit and retain people in business critical roles.

Ministers will consider the pay review body’s recommendations for raising the minima of the permanent secretary pay tiers taking account of the views of the Permanent Secretary Remuneration Committee as part of its consideration of the 2015-16 pay award for permanent secretaries.

Very senior NHS managers

The SSRB was not asked to make any recommendations on the pay of very senior managers in the NHS and they have not done so. I am grateful to them for their involvement in the pay of this important group of staff and for the helpful general comments they have made.

Other review body reports

Separate statements from the Secretaries of State for Justice, Health and Defence will also be laid today on the reports of the Prison Service Pay Review Body, the Doctors’ and Dentists’ Review Body and the Armed Forces’ Pay Review Body in respect of pay for the relevant work forces for 2015-16. The Government’s response to those reports is consistent with the need for senior public servants to show leadership in the exercise of pay restraint.

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Transport

Big Bike Revival

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I am today announcing funding of £1 million to support the development of the Big Bike Revival—a programme of activities on the ground, designed to unlock cycling potential by encouraging people who do not currently cycle but would actively consider it, to start or return to cycling. The programme will be delivered by CTC: the national cycling charity.

In 2013, 42% of adults in Britain had access to a bicycle, yet 63% said they had not ridden a bicycle in the past year. Despite this, 37% of adults in Britain agree that many of the short journey—less than two miles—that they currently make by car could just as easily be made by cycling. The Big Bike Revival will aim to convert the high level of cycle ownership into increased cycle usage and replace short trips by car with trips by bike.

The programme comprises a nationwide programme of events in towns and cities, delivered in conjunction with bike recycle centres to present members of the public with an opportunity to:

Fix a cycle so it can start to be used and learn how to maintain it

Trade a cycle for one better suited to individual needs and donate surplus cycles

Learn where best to cycle in their local area and discover local cycling activity

Receive cycle training to increase confidence in cycling on the road

A pilot programme was held during half-term week in October 2014. This demonstrated significant health and economic benefits, with many of those attending the events committing to cycle more frequently and a number of respondents making a change to start commuting to work by bike.

CTC’s delivery of the Big Bike Revival is scheduled to commence during mid May, with many of the events being held during the school half-term week.

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EU Transport Council

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I will attend the first Transport Council under the Latvian presidency taking place in Brussels on Friday 13 March.

There are only two main agenda items for discussion. The first item on the agenda will be a policy debate on the market pillar of the fourth railway package. This will cover the proposal to amend directive 2012/34/EU establishing a single European railway area, as regards the opening of the market for domestic passenger transport services by rail and the governance of the railway infrastructure. It will also cover the proposal to amend regulation (EC) No 1370/2007 concerning the opening of the market for domestic passenger transport services by rail. I welcome this opportunity to press for further liberalisation of the EU single market for rail through the market pillar of the fourth railway package.

The second item on the agenda will be a policy debate on the contribution to EU competitiveness, growth and jobs through transport policy developments, the challenges of attracting private investors to transport projects and the global competitiveness challenges that the EU transport sector is facing. I welcome the focus in the Commission President’s investment plan on reforms to raise growth prospects across Europe and the emphasis on increasing private sector investment. Structural reforms to complete the single market and to improve the incentives for investment are essential for Europe’s competitiveness and prosperity, and are a long-standing priority for Britain.

Under Any Other Business, the presidency will provide information on the forthcoming third ASEM Transport Ministers’ meeting in Latvia and the outcome of the conference on remotely piloted aircraft systems in Riga on 5 and 6 March. The Commission will provide information on civil aviation flights over conflict zones, where the UK supports measures to ensure wider understanding of the risks of operating over and into certain areas. The Commission will also deliver a presentation on the energy union. Lastly, the French and German delegations will present views on the ongoing EU-Gulf Co-operation Council aviation dialogue and associated strategies on safeguards for fair competition. By facilitating business-to-business and people-to-people links, international air transport benefits our wider economy and we seek, therefore, to minimise barriers to market access such as unfair competition. With this in mind, the Government are always keen to engage with our international partners on strategies for addressing such matters.

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Strategic Highways Company

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I announce to the House that under powers in section 1 of the Infrastructure Act 2015 I have formally appointed—through appointment order SI 2015/376—Highways England to be the strategic highways company with effect from 1 April 2015. This marks a significant forward step in how the English strategic road network is constructed and managed, with committed funding, clear lines of accountability, and transparency in how road infrastructure is delivered.

We have created a separate Government arms-length body, accountable for what it does within a governance framework which makes clear what is expected from it. Government remain responsible for strategic roads and Ministers will continue to be accountable for ensuring that the network is managed responsibly, safeguarding value for public investment and meets the needs of road users and wider society, both today and for the future. We have put in place a robust system of governance that ensures we can effectively oversee management and delivery, and intervene to prevent or tackle any issues.

The licence under which Highways England will operate sets out the Secretary of State’s statutory directions and guidance to Highways England. It makes clear, to both Highways England and the wider community of road users and stakeholders, what we expect Highways England to achieve and how it must behave in discharging its duties and in delivering our vision and plans for the network, set out in the road investment strategy.

We expect the company to engage with road users and collaborate with other organisations to develop shared solutions. It must take a lead in promoting and improving the role and performance of roads in respect of broader communal responsibilities, such as safety, the aesthetics of design and the environment, as well as driving forward progress on technology and innovation.

As part of implementing the provisions under part 1 of the Infrastructure Act 2015 I have also:

Laid the road investment strategy (RIS) comprising three parts: strategic vision, investment plan and performance specification, published in December 2014 as an Act Paper.

Published the licence which sets out statutory directions and guidance, to be formally issued to Highways England on its appointment, along with the framework document to be published shortly.

Published statutory guidance to the Highways monitor—part of which is jointly issued with HM Treasury—and published the memorandum of understanding between the Secretary of State and the Highways monitor in support of the guidance. Both will be issued to the monitor in line with Highways England’s appointment.

Published the memorandum of understanding between the Secretary of State, Highways England and the watchdog, Transport Focus.

Copies of these documents have been made available in the Libraries of both Houses. Attachments can be viewed online at: http://www.parliament.uk/ writtenstatements

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Work and Pensions

Access to Work

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Access to Work plays a key part in building a disability confident Britain. In 2013-14 Access to Work spent £108 million to help 35,540 disabled people enter or remain in work, over 4,000 more than in 2012-13. I want to build on this by continuing to improve customer service, increase the numbers of disabled people helped, improve choice and control and reach out to under-represented groups such as those with hidden impairments including mental health conditions, learning disabilities and autism.

In December 2014, I announced operational improvements to the Access to Work scheme. The transformation of Access to Work operations is starting to bear fruit and I am pleased to announce that we are now meeting service standards.

This gives a platform for further reform. In 2015-16 we will start a process of offering personal budgets for those with ongoing awards for travel or support. This will give users more freedom over how they use their awards.

We also aim over time to transform the way disabled people interact with the service. A new project is underway to re-engineer Access to Work as a digital service, building on the email channels opened up before Christmas. We also intend to offer a video relay service option for BSL users later in 2015-16.

In 2013-14 the average Access to Work award was around £3,000, and half of users have awards below £1,000. However, 1% of users with awards over £35,000 per annum account for 15% of the budget. I want to ensure that Access to Work can help the most people it can in future. So as of October 2015, Access to Work will provide awards up to a limit set at one and half times average salary—a limit of £40,800 per person per year at October 2015. This will be uprated annually in line with the level of average salaries. I believe it is right that there is this explicit link to the labour market.

Anybody with an award higher than this level as of October 2015 will not be subject to that limit until April 2018. This is to help them and employers adjust to their new level of support. Specialist teams will work in partnership with these individuals and employers, for example advising on reasonable adjustments and greater use of technology. These individuals would also be invited to take advantage of a personal budget to help them manage their support in more tailored and efficient ways to meet their needs.

DWP have also been working closely with deaf Access to Work users and the Crown Commercial Service to develop a framework for translation services including British Sign Language. This will guarantee quality standards and set transparent rates from summer 2015. We will build on this by working with deaf people and stakeholder groups to undertake a market review of BSL interpretation provision to explore long term improvements in the market.

In this context, I can announce the removal of the currently suspended “30 hour guidance” from April 2015 which these wider reforms will render unnecessary.

Over 30% of Access to Work spending is on taxis for customers with mobility problems. This is a transformative service for customers and I want to ensure that improvements to customer service, reliability, value for money and accessibility standards for wider society can be driven by Government using their buying power to drive quality and performance. Starting early in 2015-16, we will look to pilot contracted services for customers across our largest towns and cities.

Self-employment is a flexible option for many disabled people. I am now able to announce that I have recently established a further specialist team to provide expert advice and support to disabled people who want to run their own successful businesses. Furthermore, to ensure disabled people have a clear understanding of how they can be supported to maintain their business and continue in self employment, from October 2015 eligibility will be based around the universal credit rules. These balance allowing a reasonable period for businesses to establish themselves, with ensuring that taxpayers money goes to support legitimate and viable businesses, offering Access to Work a more consistent and objective basis for awards.

I want Access to Work to continue to help more people with mental health conditions. The disability confident campaign is raising the profile of Access to Work’s mental health support service and DWP is exploring how referrals to the mental health support service could be more straightforward. We have also highlighted the mental health support provided by Access to Work by changing the pre-employment eligibility letter to reassure employers of the help available. This help includes not just the mental health support service but mainstream Access to Work support such as communication support at interviews, help with travel and awareness training for colleagues to combat stigma.

Finally, as part of my commitment to improve transparency, to complement the detailed scheme guidance published following my last statement in December 2014, we will publish summaries of the guidance for customers, including in easy read and BSL formats, and also illustrate good practice to employers with case studies to help them in becoming more disability confident in supporting disabled employees early in 2015-16.

We have invested an extra £15 million in Access to Work since 2012. User numbers are rising steadily. I hope that these changes to Access to Work will help many more to join them in staying in and getting into work with help from the programme in future.

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Remploy Employment Services

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The commercial process for the exit of Remploy employment services as announced to the both Houses in July 2014 is now complete.

The Remploy board and DWP have agreed that Remploy employment services will be established as a new company, free from Government control in partnership with Remploy’s employees and Maximus.

The exit has been led and shaped by Remploy and has the full support of Remploy’s trade unions and their key stakeholders. Over the last few years Remploy employment services has gone from strength to strength in the support it provides to disabled people to find and remain in work. It is one of DWP’s key providers of specialist support for disabled people. Since 2010, Remploy employment services has supported over 100,000 disabled and disadvantaged people into work. This opportunity, based on a strong partnership, provides the freedom and flexibility the business needs to continue to grow and increase the support it already provides disabled people to find and remain in work.

Remploy’s employees will be a fundamental part of this new partnership with 30% of shares held in an employee benefit trust. Employees will positively influence the operation of the company through the board and through an employee council. This will enable employees to have more direct control and influence on the operation of the company, and for the first time give employees a significant ownership stake in the business which will help to increase the quality of the services and protect and expand the delivery of Remploy’s social mission.

Remploy’s national delivery of Work Choice and other departmental contracts and agreements will transfer into the new company as a part of this process.

Remploy, Maximus and the Department will now work together to establish the new company, which we expect to be fully operational during April. The priority will be to transition the service smoothly and to deliver the best service possible for customers in partnership with Remploy. Current Remploy employment services employees and contracts will transfer to the new company.

The Department will also work with the current Remploy board to manage the remaining activities of Remploy Ltd as a non-trading company.

The Department will ensure that the Remploy pension scheme continues to be funded and that the accrued benefits of members are protected.

This is an historic moment that Remploy has been working towards with its staff and stakeholders and which we are pleased we have been able to deliver by working with them, which will enable the company to continue to help disabled people to find and stay in work for many years to come.

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Industrial Injuries Advisory Council

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I am pleased to inform the House that the triennial review of the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council (IIAC) as a non-departmental public body and a Scientific Advisory Committee has now been completed and its findings will be published later today. The reviewers recommended that IIAC remain, as an arm’s length body sponsored by the Department for Work and Pensions. They concluded that it continues to meet the recognised principles of good corporate governance and of providing scientific advice to Government about the occupational nature of diseases in the context of the industrial injuries scheme. I will place a copy in the Library of the House and it is also available online at: http://www.parliament. uk/writtenstatements

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