Tuesday 5 September 2017
The Finance Bill will be published on 8 September.
Explanatory notes on the Bill will be available in the Vote Office and the Printed Paper Office and placed in the Libraries of both Houses on 12 September.
Copies of the explanatory notes will also be available on gov.uk.
The Governor of the Bank of England requested on 3 August 2017 to raise the limit on purchases that may be undertaken by the asset purchase facility (APF). This will ensure that the term funding scheme (TFS) can continue to lend central bank reserves to banks and building societies during a defined drawdown window at rates close to Bank rate, to ensure that the very low level of Bank rate is passed through to households and businesses.
When the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) first introduced the scheme in August 2016, I agreed with the Governor of the Bank of England that total TFS drawings would be determined by usage of the scheme. I have therefore authorised an increase in the total size of the APF used to finance the TFS from £100 billion to £115 billion, in line with the current profile of TFS drawings and based on a drawdown window that will close at the end of February 2018. This will bring the maximum size of the APF to £560 billion.
In line with the requirements in the MPC remit, the amendments to the APF that could affect the allocation of credit and pose risks to the Exchequer have been discussed with Treasury officials. The risk control framework previously agreed with the Treasury will remain in place.
The Government will continue to indemnify the Bank and the APF from any losses arising out of, or in connection with, the facility. If the liability is called, provision for any payment will be sought through the normal Supply procedure.
On 3 August 2017, I wrote to the Chairs of the Public Accounts Committee and Treasury Committee and invited them to raise any objections to my decision. A full departmental minute is laid in the House of Commons providing more detail on this contingent liability.
Since my quarterly counter-Daesh statement on 13 July, Official Report, column 445, after a period of reset and recovery, the Iraqi security forces have delivered a swift victory over Daesh in Tal Afar. On 20 August, with coalition support, they began the operation to retake the town. On 31 August, Prime Minister Abadi announced the liberation of Tal Afar and all of Ninewah province. I congratulate Prime Minister Abadi, and all of the Iraqi security forces for their success. There is, however, still more work to be done and the UK will continue to support the ISF in their efforts to finally clear Daesh from Iraq.
As part of the next phase of the coalition plan to defeat Daesh, the coalition asked the UK to provide additional support in constructing supplementary accommodation and office space at Al Asad air base in Iraq to enable operations in the Euphrates river valley. A team of Royal Engineers infrastructure specialists has therefore deployed for a period of around five months, to undertake this vital work. The soldiers had been held at readiness in the UK for such a task. These troops will remain inside the secure air base. This deployment will temporarily raise the number of UK troops based in Iraq as part of Operation Shader to just over 600.