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House of Commons Hansard
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Written Statements
15 December 2016
Volume 618

Written Statements

Thursday 15 December 2016

Culture, Media and Sport

Royal BBC Charter and Framework Agreement

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On 9 November 2016, my Department submitted a draft version of a royal charter for the continuance of the BBC to Privy Council for consideration.

I am pleased to announce today, that the royal charter for the continuance of the BBC, which was approved by Her Majesty in Council on 16 November 2016, was printed on vellum and sealed on 8 December 2016.

I am laying copies of the royal charter and the associated framework agreement in both Houses today.

[HCWS358]

Defence

Armed Forces Covenant

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I am today laying before both Houses the 2016 armed forces covenant annual report. The covenant is a promise by the nation to ensure that those who serve, or have served, and their families are treated fairly. They protect the nation with honour, courage and commitment, and deserve to be treated with fairness and respect and suffer no disadvantage as a result of that service.

The report sets out what the Government have done to uphold the principles of the covenant. The Armed Forces Act 2011 enshrined the covenant into law, setting out the requirement for the Secretary of State for Defence to report progress annually to Parliament.

Every local authority in mainland Great Britain is continuing to provide a network of support for the armed forces community. Over 1,300 employers have now also signed up.

This year, in response to feedback from our people, particular emphasis has been given to improving access to commercial goods and services; ensuring healthcare, education, and accommodation; and improving communications about the covenant.

A total of 89% of the UK’s motor industry has agreed that service personnel and their families will not face cancellation fees for suspending their cover when posted overseas, and they will be able to preserve their no claims discount for up to three years. NHS England launched a new veterans’ trauma network, aimed at providing a safety net for trauma-recovering veterans and service personnel transitioning back into civilian life. In addition to the service pupil premium, the Ministry of Defence has allocated £6 million of funding from its education support fund to help 471 schools, with over 25,000 children from service families. We continue to help our people to get on and stay on the property ladder, through the forces help to buy scheme, which we have extended to 2018. A total of 11,645 service personnel have had their applications approved. We have also created a cohort of over 150 covenant champions across the armed forces to act as local focal points within their communities.

Last year, we announced the launch of the new £10 million per annum covenant fund. Since then, it has funded nearly 300 large and small projects across the UK totalling nearly £12 million, to provide support to the armed forces community. We have committed £2 million to provide a single point of contact to help veterans towards appropriate support when and where they need it.

The Local Government Association, in partnership with the Forces in Mind Trust completed a review with over 400 representatives of local authorities to create a covenant toolkit. This will help to spread covenant delivery best practice across the United Kingdom.

A new inter-ministerial group for the armed forces covenant will be established in the new year.

The report has been compiled in consultation with other Government Departments, representatives from the devolved Governments in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and the external members of the Covenant Reference Group, which includes the three service families federations, the Confederation of Service Charities, the Royal British Legion, the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association, the War Widows Association and Professor Hew Strachan.

[HCWS366]

Strategic Defence and Security Review: Army

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The Army is refining its force structure to deliver the capabilities set out in the strategic defence and security review (SDSR) 2015 and modernise the Army’s ability to fight at the divisional level. The SDSR 2015 significantly increased the readiness levels required of the Army, underpinned by investment in new capability and a war-fighting division as part of joint force 2025. It introduced the innovative strike brigades, based on the new AJAX vehicle family and the development of specialised infantry battalions, reconfigured to provide an increased contribution to countering terrorism and building stability overseas.

I am today setting out refinements to the Army which will take place during the life of this Parliament. These have been aligned with the “Better Defence Estate” strategy announced in early November. As we previously committed, we will continue to sustain a regular Army of 82,000, a whole force of 112,000 regular and reserve troops and the Army’s footprint in the devolved nations. All existing regimental cap badges will be retained. Large parts of the Army will be unaffected but it will involve some units changing their role, equipment or location.

A modernised division will be centred on the 3rd (UK) Division, organised with four brigades of two armoured infantry and two strike, rather than three armoured infantry as now. A significant uplift in capability, it will hold one of each at high readiness, rather than the current single armoured infantry brigade. From this, in times of crisis, the Army will be able to deploy a credible division of three brigades. To develop and transition to this new posture, in 2017 the Army will launch a strike experimentation group in Warminster. This will ensure that the first new strike brigade will be formed by the end of the decade.

In 2017 the Army will also create the first two new specialised infantry battalions to pioneer this new capability. A new group headquarters for the units will be established, initially based in York alongside the 1st (UK) Division of which the group will be part, before moving to Aldershot by 2020. To reinforce this capability the Army plans to create two further specialised infantry battalions by 2019. They will conduct defence engagement and capacity building, providing training, assistance, advice and mentoring to our partners.

As part of our continued investment in the Army Reserve we will build on the success of the Future Reserves 2020 plan. We will optimise reserve structures, embed the successful pairing of regular and reserve units and increase the number of reserve combat units supporting the division. As a result two new reserve infantry battalions will be created from 2017. A new reserve explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) regiment will also be created.

A summary of the Army units most affected is described below.

Summary of changes proposed under Army 2020 Refine

Strike Brigade

The first strike brigade will operate from Catterick and Salisbury plain and will be composed of the Household Cavalry Regiment, The King’s Royal Hussars, the 1st Battalion Scots Guards and The Highlanders, 4th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland. A number of Royal Logistic Corps (RLC) and Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineer (REME) units will be allocated to provide close support logistic support, beginning with 1 Regiment RLC and 1 Close Support Battalion REME.

Specialised Infantry Battalions

In 2017 the Army will also create the first two new specialised infantry battalions to pioneer this new capability. These units will be The Royal Scots Borderers, 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland and 4th Battalion The Rifles, the former relocating to Aldershot from Belfast by 2019. A new group headquarters for the units will be established, initially based in York alongside the 1st (UK) Division of which the group will be part, before moving to Aldershot by 2020. To reinforce this capability the Army plans to create two further specialised infantry battalions by 2019. These units will be the 2nd Battalion The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment and the 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment both joining the group in Aldershot by 2020.

Renaming of administrative structures

The introduction of the specialised infantry capability will mean some reorganisation of the infantry divisional structure, within which infantry regiments are administered, from seven to six divisions.

The Scottish and The Prince of Wales’s Administrative Divisions of Infantry will merge, incorporating The Royal Regiment of Scotland, The Royal Welsh Regiment and The Royal Irish Regiment. This administrative division will be called The Scottish, Welsh and Irish Division. The Mercian Regiment from the Prince of Wales’s Division will join with the King’s Division. Army administrative divisions of infantry are the groupings within which the Army manages its infantry soldiers and officers to give them the necessary broad spread of relevant career experience from across a number of different units and activities. They have no operational role. There will be no changes to the names or regimental construct of The Royal Regiment of Scotland, The Mercian Regiment, The Royal Welsh Regiment, or The Royal Irish Regiment as a result of these administrative changes.

Support

The changes announced will require adjustments in some supporting and enabling elements of the Army. HQ 102 Logistic Brigade, 32nd Regiment Royal Artillery, 35 Engineer Regiment, Headquarters 64 Works Group Royal Engineers, 2 Medical Regiment, Headquarters 4th Regiment Royal Military Police, 33 Field Hospital and 104,105 and 106 Battalions of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers reserve will be rationalised, with all manpower in those units being redeployed to other areas of the Army in its refined structure.

Army Reserves

As part of our continued investment in the Army Reserve we will build on the success of the Future Reserves 2020 plan. We will optimise reserve structures to better support the modernised division, embed the successful pairing of regular and reserve units and increase the number of reserve combat units supporting the division. As a result, two new reserve infantry battalions will be created from 2017. These are 4th Battalion The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment and 8th Battalion The Rifles. A new reserve explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) regiment will also be created.

[HCWS367]

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

EU Environment Council

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I will attend the EU Environment Council, which will take place on 19 December in Brussels alongside the Minister for Climate Change and Industry, my hon. Friend the Member for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner (Mr Hurd).

Following adoption of the agenda, the list of “A” items will be approved.

Under legislative proposals, the Council will debate a proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending directive 2003/87/EC (the “EU ETS directive”) to enhance cost-effective emission reductions and low-carbon investments.

Under non-legislative proposals, the Council will seek to adopt conclusions on the protection of human health and the environment through the sound management of chemicals.

The following items will be discussed under any other business:

a) Current legislative proposals:

i) Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on binding annual greenhouse gas emission reductions by member states from 2021 to 2030 for a resilient energy union and to meet commitments under the Paris agreement and amending regulation No 525/2013 of the European Parliament and the Council on a mechanism for monitoring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions and other information relevant to climate change (the “effort share regulation”).

ii) Proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the inclusion of greenhouse gas emissions and removals from land use, land use change and forestry into the 2030 climate and energy framework and amending regulation No 525/2013 of the European Parliament and the Council on a mechanism for monitoring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions and other information relevant to climate change (the “land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) regulation”).

b) Current legislative proposals:

i) Proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending directives 2000/53/EC on end-of-life vehicles, 2006/66/EC on batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators, and 2012/19/EU on waste electrical and electronic equipment.

ii) Proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Council directive 1999/31/EC on the landfill of waste.

iii) Proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending directive 2008/98/EC on waste.

iv) Proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste.

c) Communication from the Commission on next steps for a sustainable European future: European action for sustainability.

d) Communication from the Commission on clean energy for all Europeans.

e) Fitness check of the EU nature legislation (birds and habitats directives).

f) Reports on recent international meetings:

i) United Nations framework convention on climate change (UNFCCC) (Marrakech, 7 to 18 November 2016).

ii) Convention on biological diversity (CBD) (Cancun, 4 to 17 December 2016).

iii) 66th session of the International Whaling Commission (Portoroz, Slovenia, 20 to 28 October 2016).

iv) Ninth meeting of the conference of the parties (COP 9) to the UNECE convention on transboundary effects of industrial accidents (Ljubljana, 28 to 30 November 2016).

g) REFIT evaluation of the EU ecolabel.

h) European sustainable development week (ESDW) (30 May to 5 June 2017).

i) Odour nuisance.

j) Budapest Water summit 2016 (Budapest, 28 to 30 November 2016).

k) Work programme of the incoming presidency.

On 23 June, the EU referendum took place and the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. Until exit negotiations are concluded, the UK remains a full member of the European Union and all the rights and obligations of EU membership remain in force. During this period the Government will continue to negotiate, implement and apply EU legislation. The outcome of these negotiations will determine what arrangements apply in relation to EU legislation in future once the UK has left the EU.

[HCWS359]

Community Fisheries Control Agency

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The Government acknowledge the efforts of the Commission to address the ongoing migration crisis, but has decided not to opt in to the justice and home affairs content in the proposal for a regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council amending regulation (EC) No 768/2005 establishing a European Fisheries Control Agency.

The proposal—which has now been adopted—forms part of a wider package of measures by the Commission to improve collaboration and co-ordination between the newly named European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA), formerly Community Fisheries Control Agency (CFCA), member states, the proposed European Border and Coast Guard Agency and the existing European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) to support national authorities carrying out their coast guard functions.

The amendment will formally establish co-operation for the prevention, detection and investigation of criminal offences by giving EFCA powers to share information and intelligence, such as the data currently accessible through ship reporting, and to provide services, equipment and training. The ECFA will be able to co-ordinate multi-purpose operations, and facilitate building capacity and asset sharing; it also will increase its control and inspection activities.

Although there is little practical or operational benefit for the UK from this measure, the Government maintain that their effect amounts to an obligation that falls within the scope of the justice and home affairs section of the Treaties and is, therefore, subject to the UK’s JHA opt-in. It is on that basis that the Government have decided not to opt in.

[HCWS357]

Health

Public Health Grants

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Today we are publishing the ring-fenced public health grant allocations to local authorities in England for 2017-18.

We are committed to supporting improvements in public health and are making available £3.3 billion to local authorities for this purpose in 2017-18. Over the five years from 2016-17 to 2020-21 we will be investing over £16 billion to support local authorities’ public health responsibilities, which include sexual health, tackling obesity, supporting physical activity, prevention, treatment from drugs, alcohol misuse, stop smoking services and other interventions. This is in addition to what the NHS spends on preventative interventions such as immunisation and screening.

We are expecting the 10 local authorities in Manchester to fund their public health activities from April 2017 through retained business rates as part of a wider pilot of business rate retention. Those 10 local authorities will not receive a central Government grant to fund their public health activities.

Full details of the public health grants to local authorities can be found on www.gov.uk. This information will be communicated to local authorities.

Attachments can be viewed online at:

http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2016-12-15/HCWS363/.

[HCWS363]

Home Department

Bribery and Corruption Assessment

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I, along with the Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office, my hon. Friend the Member for Kingswood (Chris Skidmore), am today publishing a bribery and corruption assessment template. We are writing to all central Government Departments encouraging them to use the template to set a high standard within Government of our response to bribery and corruption.

No sector is immune to bribery and corruption. Central Government and those they do business with are vulnerable to this threat due to their unique decision-making roles and access to information. To better protect themselves from bribery and corruption, a comprehensive understanding of the unique set of risks posed is essential in order to effectively manage and mitigate the threat. The template directly supports this ambition.

We have therefore worked closely with experts and stakeholders across Government to develop this template, which is intended to be integrated into existing counter-fraud activity and the work across Government, led by the Cabinet Office, to create standards for counter-fraud work and, from these standards, a Government counter-fraud profession.

Development and publication of the template was a commitment made in the 2014 UK anti-corruption plan. The UK Government are committed to tackling corruption through transparency, open government and accountability, and setting a high standard in Government for counter-corruption work is also aligned to our wider ambitions that will be reflected in our development of an anti-corruption strategy.

A copy of the bribery and corruption assessment template will be placed in the Library of the House and also made available on the Government website: www.gov.uk.

[HCWS361]

EURODAC

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The Government have decided to opt in to the EU proposal for the EURODAC III regulation.

The regulation will govern the operation of the EURODAC fingerprint database, which holds the fingerprints of asylum seekers and certain illegal entrants to the EU, in order to help member states determine who is responsible under the Dublin regulation for dealing with an asylum claim and to tackle illegal migration.

The EURODAC database will be expanded to increase the categories of fingerprints recorded, to record facial images and biographical data, to increase the length of time data can be stored to five years and to provide better data-sharing procedures between member states. These changes will strengthen the UK’s ability to control illegal migration, prevent multiple asylum applications across member states and protect the UK’s security through data sharing with law enforcement agencies.

Until the UK leaves the EU it remains a full member, and the Government will continue to consider the application of the UK’s right to opt in to forthcoming EU legislation in the area of justice and home affairs on a case-by-case basis, with a view to maximising our security, protecting our civil liberties and enhancing our ability to control immigration.

[HCWS364]

Justice and Home Affairs: Post-Council Statement

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The final Justice and Home Affairs Council of the Slovakian presidency took place on 8 and 9 December in Brussels. The Minister for Courts and Justice, my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for North East Hertfordshire (Sir Oliver Heald), and I represented the UK. In due course, the United Kingdom will be leaving the European Union. In the meantime, the UK will remain a member of the EU with all the rights and obligations that membership entails.

Justice day (8 December) began with a discussion on the proposal for a directive on the fight against fraud to the Union’s financial interests by means of criminal law (PIF directive). The UK has not opted in to this measure. The presidency concluded that a qualified majority of member states supported a compromise proposal which included within the scope of the directive VAT fraud with damages of over €10 million, where it related to cross-border supplies between two or more countries. Formal adoption of the measure by the Council and European Parliament is expected in 2017.

This was followed by a debate on the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) dossier. The presidency concluded that the majority of member states supported the latest text as the basis for further progress. However, as unanimity is required for this dossier, and some member states could not agree the current text, the presidency indicated that it would be put to the European Council to seek agreement to move forward under “enhanced co-operation” provisions. The UK will not participate in the EPPO.

There was then a discussion on the proposed directive on consumer contractual rights for the supply of digital content. There was agreement that certain contractual rights should be guaranteed by legislation rather than left to negotiation in individual contracts, but Ministers remained divided on issues relating to the scope of the directive. In view of the different views expressed, the presidency proposed seeking a hybrid solution to the question of which contractual rights should apply to digital content embedded in physical goods. The presidency concluded that further technical work was needed on the question of whether the directive should apply not only to digital content in exchange for money and/or personal data, but in exchange for other data as well.

Over lunch, Ministers heard from the Commission about the progress of work to agree non-binding standards with internet groups in the management of hate speech complaints. The Minister for Courts and Justice reiterated the UK’s commitment to protect citizens from online hate crime while protecting the right to free speech. Malta, who will hold the presidency from January 2017, informed Ministers that it proposed to hold a seminar on hate speech and the internet in March.

The final substantive item on the Justice day focused on criminal justice in cyberspace. The Commission provided a progress report on the implementation of the June Council conclusions on improving criminal justice in cyberspace, noting that it was looking at establishing a secure electronic platform for the transmission of e-evidence. It was noted that the current patchwork of national solutions to securing e-evidence posed risks to member states’ ability to carry out effective criminal investigations in cross-border cases.

I stressed the need to address online crime and the importance of collaborating with service providers and other member states. I offered to share UK knowledge and expertise on co-operating directly with service providers, noting recent UK legislation (the Investigatory Powers Act) in this area, while arguing that a common EU approach to jurisdiction should reflect the ongoing work in the Council of Europe on the Budapest convention on cybercrime.

Under any other business, Malta presented its priorities for its forthcoming presidency, including taking forward existing legislation and starting negotiations on the package of measures aimed at tackling terrorist financing, which are to be published by the Commission in December. Malta would also continue the work on e-evidence and the EPPO, with a discussion at the Informal JHA Council in January.

The presidency provided an update on current legislative proposals, noting that political agreement had been achieved on the counter-terrorism directive. The presidency also provided updates on the recent EU-US JHA meeting, and the forthcoming EU-western Balkans ministerial conference. The President of Eurojust presented Eurojust’s fourth report on foreign terrorist fighters.

Interior day (9 December) started with an update from the presidency on negotiations on the proposals for an entry/exit system to improve the security of the external Schengen border. The UK will not participate in this measure but supports its aim of securing the EU’s external border.

This was followed by a substantial discussion on migration. Discussion focused on calls for more support to the EU migration agencies and front-line member states, as well as for more work to be done upstream with countries of origin and transit.

I announced that the UK would deploy up to an additional 40 staff to the Greek islands, in addition to the 75 staff already committed, to support the Greek authorities with asylum processing and the admissibility process. This action demonstrates the UK’s continuing commitment to implementing the EU-Turkey agreement and supporting our European partners.

Under the fight against terrorism item the Council discussed action that was necessary to tackle the threat from foreign terrorist fighters, informed by a report provided by the counter-terrorism co-ordinator. Discussion focused on the need for better information sharing, improved engagement with countries in the middle east and north Africa, and women and children. The counter-terrorism co-ordinator said that he would continue to work on these three strands with the group of most affected member states, which includes the UK.

The Council also discussed issues arising from encryption of communications, focused on the need to ensure that law enforcement bodies are able to access information for law enforcement purposes. I noted that while the UK understands that encryption is important to doing business online, we agree that we must ensure that our law enforcement and security and intelligence agencies are able to access the content of communications in limited circumstances and subject to robust safeguards.

The presidency presented a paper on the management of terrorist attacks, which aimed to start discussions among member states on increased co-operation in this area. The presidency called for more EU funding and stated that a meeting with the heads of rescue services would take place in 2017. The Commission noted that action was needed on sharing best practice, enhancing technology and providing victims with specific support.

Over lunch, Ministers discussed principles of responsibility and solidarity in the context of the EU’s migration and asylum policy. Member states’ positions remained polarised and discussions would continue under the Maltese presidency.

The presidency adopted a partial general approach on the proposal to amend EURODAC (the database of asylum claimants’ details, including fingerprints) on the understanding it would need further amendments to reflect the outcome of negotiations on the Dublin IV and EU asylum agency proposals. The mandate would also be updated in the light of the discussions on the issue of interoperability of information systems. The UK has opted in to the EURODAC proposal and it remains under UK parliamentary scrutiny. I also intervened with other member states to object to the current text on law enforcement access and said that the UK would support further amendments to the text to make it easier to check EURODAC for law enforcement purposes.

Under any other business, the presidency updated on the EU-US JHA ministerial meeting on 4 and 5 December, and looked forward to the EU-western Balkans ministerial conference on 15 and 16 December. The Commission noted that the EU internet forum on 8 December had announced a new tool to automatically remove online terrorist material, and launched the civil society empowerment programme to raise awareness and train civil society on how to produce effective counter-narratives online. The incoming presidency outlined its priorities, including: work on the current legislative measures; new proposals on the second generation Schengen information system, due out in December; continued work to support the implementation of the EU-Turkey agreement; internal security and counter-terrorism; and interoperability and information exchange.

[HCWS365]

Police Grant Report (England and Wales)

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I have today placed in the Library my proposals for the aggregate amount of grant to local policing bodies in England and Wales for 2017-18, for the approval of the House. Copies are also available in the Vote Office.

The Government are committed to protecting the public. The Government will provide the resources necessary for the police to do their critical work, and prioritise finishing the job of police reform by enabling the police to transform so they can tackle changing crime, deal with previously hidden crimes and protect the vulnerable.

Since 2010 we have seen some of the biggest changes to policing in a generation. Crime is down by over a quarter according to the independent crime survey for England and Wales. There is significantly greater local accountability and transparency and police leaders have taken the opportunity to radically reform the way they deliver services to the public. Police officers have been taken out of back-office roles and resources focused on front-line delivery. Police forces are working more closely than ever before to reduce costs and duplication, and have started to work more closely with other emergency services through co-location and collaboration in areas such as fire and mental health.

As Her Majesty’s inspectorate of constabulary (HMIC) has set out, there is still considerable scope for forces to continue to improve the efficiency of their organisations and transform the way in which they operate, and it is vital that the pace and urgency of change continues if we are to have a police force fit to meet the challenges of the 21st century. HMIC noted:

“we found evidence to suggest that some forces have reduced the pace and ambition of their plans since last year.”

The Government expect police and crime commissioners (PCCs) and chief constables to do everything in their power to drive efficiencies at pace, and this settlement provides the opportunity to improve the quality of policing and continue to reduce crime.

The Welsh Government are also setting out today their proposals for the allocation of funding in 2017-18 for local policing bodies in Wales.

Following the principles set out on 4 February 2016 when publishing the final police funding settlement for 2016-17 [HCWS510], direct resource funding for each PCC, including precept, will be protected at flat cash levels compared to 2015-16, assuming that precept income is increased to the maximum amount available in both 2016-17 and 2017-18. No PCC who chooses to maximise precept in both years will face a reduction in cash funding next year compared to 2015-16. We have updated our precept forecasts for 2017-18 since February to reflect actual tax base increases in 2016-17.

More is still required to transform policing to meet policing’s own vision for 2025. I am therefore announcing an increase in the level of reallocations essential to drive police reform. As planned at the time of the spending review, we will be investing additional funding in police technology. Precept income has increased faster than expected, which means we can meet our planning assumption on direct resource funding for PCCs and also substantially increase the size of the police transformation fund to £175 million in 2017-18. This will allow the policing sector to invest additional funding in the projects that will improve efficiency, protect vulnerable victims of crime, further improve the leadership and culture of policing and tackle new types of crime such as cybercrime.

The 2017-18 settlement continues the current methodology of applying uniform percentage changes to core grant funding for each PCC.

The tables illustrating how we propose to allocate the police funding settlement between the different funding streams and between local policing bodies for 2017-18 are available online at: http://www.parliament.uk/ business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2016-12-15/HCWS360/.

These documents are intended to be read together.

Table 1 sets out the overall revenue police funding settlement for 2017-18, and table 2 sets out the overall capital settlement (both excluding counter-terrorism police grant). Provisional force-level allocations of revenue grants (excluding counter-terrorism police grant) for local policing bodies in England and Wales for 2017-18 are set out in table 3, and table 4 sets out the capital allocations for local policing bodies. Table 5 demonstrates how the Government expect that all PCCs can maintain flat cash budgets compared to 2015-16 if they maximise precept; the exception is where they have materially reduced their precept level in 2016-17.

Counter-terrorism police funding

I will continue to allocate specific funding for counter-terrorism policing over the course of the spending review period to ensure that the police have the capabilities to deal with the terrorist threats that we face, in addition to the funding set out in this settlement. Funding for counter-terrorism policing is protected. The indicative spending review profile for counter-terrorism police funding in 2017-18 is £670 million; this figure will be confirmed separately. In addition a further £32 million will be provided for armed policing from the police transformation fund in 2017-18.

Police and crime commissioners will receive full counter-terrorism funding allocations in the new year. For security reasons these allocations will not be available in the public domain.

Legacy council tax grants

In 2017-18 we will provide council tax freeze grants to PCCs in England relating to the 2011-12, 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 council tax freeze schemes. We will also provide local council tax support grant funding to PCCs in England. These will total £507 million in 2017-18.

The Common Council of the City of London (on behalf of the City of London Police) and the Greater London Authority (on behalf of the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime) will also receive council tax freeze grants relating to the 2011-12 freeze grant scheme. The Greater London Authority will also receive an amount for the 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 schemes. These sums will continue to be paid by DCLG. There will be no new freeze grant schemes in 2017-18.

Baseline adjustments and reallocations

The Government have reallocated funding to support critical national priorities for policing.

National and international capital city grants

The Metropolitan Police Service, through the Greater London Authority, will continue to receive national and international capital city (NICC) grant funding worth £173.6 million, and the City of London Police will also continue to receive NICC funding worth £4.5 million. This is in recognition of the unique and additional demands of policing the capital city, and also ensures that total direct resource funding to both forces is similarly protected.

Police transformation fund

Total funding for transformation will increase in size to £175 million, an increase of over £40 million. The Government will be working with the Police Reform and Transformation Board to ensure a sector led approach to use this increase in funding in order to incentivise and facilitate transformation in policing. This will improve the leadership and culture of policing, the diversity of its workforce, protection of vulnerable people, cross-force specialist capabilities, exploitation of new technology and how we respond to changing threats.

We will continue to fund a national uplift in armed policing capability and capacity to respond more quickly and effectively to a firearms attack with £32 million of specific funding. We will also continue to fund current police innovation fund projects.

Police technology programmes

Funding will continue to be reallocated for the new emergency services network (ESN), the existing Airwave system, Home Office biometrics and the national law enforcement police database. As planned at the time of the spending review, there will be an approximately £100 million increase in funding for ESN. This is critical to give all officers priority access to 4G mobile broadband data on a single network, including in some areas where it is currently not available at all, allowing them to get even more benefits from mobile working than many forces are already achieving. This investment will bring productivity and operational benefits as well as substantial savings to the taxpayer. Funding for major technology programmes will be managed flexibly between projects, to ensure reallocated funding is used as efficiently as possible. Around £1 million will be spent maintaining the forensic archive, which maintains forensic exhibits relating to criminal investigations on behalf of the police.

Arm’s length bodies

The police settlement will continue to fund national policing bodies to deliver services and governance which are essential to the efficient and successful functioning of the police service. We will continue to fund HMIC’s PEEL inspection programme, and the College of Policing direct entry schemes. There will be increased funding to support the Independent Police Complaints Commission as it becomes the Independent Office for Police Conduct with an expanded role in investigating serious and sensitive allegations involving the police, enabling it to implement the legislative reforms in the Policing and Crime Bill and enhancing its capability to handle complex major investigations.

A new reallocation of around £2 million will support the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) to use new police-style enforcement powers set out in the Immigration Act 2016 to tackle labour exploitation including modern slavery across the economy. Through greater resources to use these new powers, the GLAA will be able to undertake more investigations into modern slavery offences that might otherwise fall to the police, saving police time and improving the law enforcement response to exploitation of the most vulnerable workers.

Pre-charge bail

The Government plan to implement significant reforms to pre-charge bail including time limits set out in the Policing and Crime Bill. We will end the situation where some people can spend months or even years on pre-charge bail with few or no safeguards by introducing: a presumption that suspects will be released without bail, regular reviews by the courts and formal guidance governing the imposition of conditions. This change in police practice may involve increased costs for the magistrates’ courts and in legal aid, which a new reallocation of up to £15 million for 2017-18 will meet.

Strengthening the response to organised crime

The National Crime Agency (NCA) and regional organised crime units will receive flat cash resource grants from the Home Office compared to 2015-16, in line with the approach taken to funding PCCs. This involves an adjustment to the police funding settlement to top up these grants, continuing the approach taken to NCA in 2016-17.

Police special grant including Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting policing

This is the third year we have decided to provide funding from the police settlement for the discretionary police special grant contingency fund, which supports police force areas facing significant and exceptional events which might otherwise place them at significant financial risk. In 2017-18 I am providing £50 million from the police settlement for police special grant. This is an increase which reflects both an assessment of potential need across police forces, and the specific costs likely to be incurred preparing for the policing operation at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in 2018.

Council tax referendum principles

As in 2016-17, additional flexibility will be given to the 10 PCCs in England with the lowest precept bills (the lower quartile). The PCCs with the 10 lowest bills will be able to raise their precept by £5 per band D household. Other PCCs in England will receive a 2% referendum threshold.

The PCCs to receive the £5 flexibility in 2017-18 are Essex, Greater Manchester, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Northumbria, South Yorkshire, Sussex, West Midlands and West Yorkshire.

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government is announcing today the council tax referendum principles for local authorities in England in 2017-18. After considering any representations, he will set out the final principles in a report to the House and seek approval for these in parallel with the final local Government finance report. Council tax in Wales is the responsibility of Welsh Ministers.

Police capital

I still intend to allocate the majority of capital funding directly to local policing bodies. Like last year all local policing bodies will receive the same percentage change in capital grant. I will continue to maintain a capital contingency. An increased investment in police technology reflects a programme of work to replace end-of-life hardware, increase capacity, and enhance functionality including significant investment to replace of end-of-life hardware required for the police national computer.

Attachments can be viewed online at:

http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2016-12-15/HCWS360/

[HCWS360]

Terrorism Prevention and Investigation

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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 30 November 2016)

7

TPIM notices in respect of British citizens (as of 30 November 2016)

6

TPIM notices extended (during the reporting period)

0

TPIM notices revoked (during the reporting period)

0

TPIM notices revived (during the reporting period)

0

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

4

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

1

The number of current subjects relocated under TPIM legislation (as of 30 November 2016)

7

The TPIM review group (TRG) keeps every TPIM notice under regular and formal review. The TRG met on 20, 27 and 28 September 2016. The next TRG meetings will take place on 12, 13, 15 and 16 December 2016.

During the reporting period one individual was prosecuted in relation to offences under section 23 of the Act (contravening a measure specified in a TPIM notice without reasonable excuse) and sentenced to 20 months’ imprisonment. This individual is not currently subject to a TPIM notice, the notice having been previously revoked.

[HCWS362]

Work and Pensions

Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council

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The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council met on 8 December 2016 in Brussels. The Minister for Employment, my hon. Friend the Member for East Hampshire (Damian Hinds), represented the UK.

The Council reached a general approach on the revision of the governing regulations of the Eurofound, EU-OSHA and CEDEFOP agencies. The UK, along with all member states and the Commission, supported the proposal.

The presidency provided a progress report on the revision of the posting of workers directive. There were interventions from 22 member states. The UK intervention stressed the importance of legal clarity so that workers understood their rights and businesses understood the rules. The presidency also provided progress reports on the European Accessibility Act and the equal treatment directive.

There was a policy debate on the European pillar of social rights. The UK intervention stressed the need to respect subsidiarity and member states’ own labour market approaches. The UK welcomed the Commission’s communication that the social pillar should include flexibility about participation for non-eurozone countries. This was followed by a lunch time discussion on social innovation where the UK outlined its experience with social investment.

The Commission presented analysis from the European Semester which was followed by an exchange of views on the European Semester. Ministers also considered the draft recommendations for the eurozone countries. The UK welcomed the Commission’s findings and the priorities identified for the year ahead.

The Council adopted draft Council conclusions on accelerating the process of Roma integration, women and poverty, and the youth guarantee and youth employment initiative. The Commission also introduced the European solidarity corps, launched earlier that week.

Under any other business, the Swedish and German delegations called on the Commission to upgrade the status of its gender equality strategy, the presidency provided an update on omnibus regulations and the new skills agenda for Europe, and the Austrian delegation provided an update on the Special Olympics world winter games. The presidency presented the outcome of conferences organised during their presidency and the Maltese delegation presented their work programme for their presidency.

[HCWS356]