Monday 16 October 2017
Communities and Local Government
I am today updating the House on a commitment I made during the passage of the Homelessness Reduction Act—the right hon. Member for Harrow East’s (Bob Blackman) Private Member’s Bill—to fund the additional duties contained within the Act in line with the new burdens doctrine. Following further discussions with local authorities on the new duties, the Government are providing an additional £11.7 million in new burdens funding, taking the total amount of new burdens funding from £61 million to £72.7 million.
The Government will provide £72.7 million to local authorities to meet the new burdens costs associated with the new duties contained within the Act over the course of the spending review. It is anticipated that the additional duties to prevent homelessness will lead to savings for local authorities thereafter.
I am also announcing the local authority allocations of the new burdens funding. The Government have worked with local authorities and the Local Government Association to test the methodology behind the distribution, as well as the core assumptions of the costs of administering the new duties. The distribution reflects the differing need in different authorities. The funding has been allocated according to a formula which reflects where resource pressures are likely to increase as a result of administering the new duties contained in the Act. The details of allocations and new burdens assessment are attached.
Today I am also launching a consultation on the Homelessness Code of Guidance which will support local authorities’ work to prepare for the implementation of the Act. Additionally, Government will be providing local authorities with an equally distributed share of £3 million to support them in upgrading their data systems to monitor the impact of the Homelessness Reduction Act.
The Homelessness Reduction Act will significantly reform England’s homelessness legislation and ensure that more people get the help they need to prevent and relieve homeless. It forms part of the Government’s end-to-end approach to tackling homelessness, helping both those at risk of homelessness and those experiencing a crisis. The new burdens funding for the Act sits alongside other funding for homelessness, including the £315 million homelessness prevention funding, our £50 million homelessness prevention package and the £402 million flexible homelessness support grant.
Attachments can be viewed online at: http://www. parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions- answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2017-10-16/HCWS176.
Exiting the European Union
General Affairs Council: October 2017
My right hon. Friend Baroness Anelay of St Johns DBE, Minister of State for Exiting the European Union, has made the following statement:
I will be attending the General Affairs Council in Luxembourg on 17 October 2017 to represent the UK’s interests. Until we leave the European Union, we remain committed to fulfilling our rights and obligations as a full member.
The provisional agenda includes:
Preparation of the European Council, 19 to 20 October 2017
The Estonian presidency will present its final draft conclusions on the agenda for the October European Council. The agenda includes: migration, digital, defence and external relations.
Rule of law dialogue
An annual rule of law dialogue has formed part of the GAC agenda since 2014. The presidency has invited Ministers to consider ‘Media pluralism and the rule of law in the digital age’ for this year’s dialogue.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (Iran Nuclear Deal)
Her Majesty’s Government have taken note of President Trump’s decision not to recertify the joint comprehensive plan of action to Congress and, along with France, Germany and our other international partners, are concerned by the implications.
Her Majesty’s Government are strongly committed to the Iran nuclear deal, known as the joint comprehensive plan of action or JCPoA. This deal represents the culmination of 13 years of diplomacy and was a major step towards ensuring that Iran’s nuclear programme is only for peaceful purposes. The JCPoA contributes to the United Kingdom’s wider non-proliferation objectives and strengthens the international framework in this regard.
The Government remain of the firm view that the deal is in the security interests of the United Kingdom and the wider region and is, most importantly, working to constrain Iran’s nuclear ambitions. The International Atomic Energy Agency have released eight reports on Iran’s nuclear programme since implementation day of the JCPoA in January 2016. In our role as a member of the Joint Commission, the body set up to implement the deal, consisting of the E3+3 (UK, France, Germany, China, Russia, US) and Iran, and co-ordinated by the European Union, we have held Iran to account and urged continued compliance. Where Iran has previously pushed the boundaries of the deal, it has taken steps to remain in compliance. The most recent report of the International Atomic Energy Agency in August 2017 confirmed that Iran continues to comply with its nuclear related commitments under the JCPoA.
However, the Government share serious concerns about Iran’s ballistic missile programme and its destabilising activity in the region. Addressing these issues is a fundamental part of the Government’s policy towards Iran and we will consider further appropriate measures. The nuclear deal does not prevent us from tackling these issues. On the contrary, removing the most dangerous threat of nuclear weapons allows us to focus our efforts on challenging on the other areas of Iran’s destabilising activity.
In parallel to agreeing the joint comprehensive plan of action in July 2015, Her Majesty’s Government have been rebuilding bilateral relations with Iran in order to address issues of disagreement as well as discuss areas of agreement and co-operation. Both the United Kingdom and Iran reopened Embassies in London and Tehran in August 2015 and we upgraded to ambassadorial relations in September 2016. We remain very concerned about dual British- Iranian nationals who are detained in Iran and on whose cases we continue to press for improvement at the highest levels. Both the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary have raised these cases personally with their Iranian counterparts and will continue to do so.
Her Majesty’s Government continue to make the case for the JCPoA with its partners, including the United States, and are committed to ensuring its success in delivering both our security objectives and delivering sanctions relief for the Iranian people, while we also work to tackle our broader concerns. The Government are encouraging the US Administration and Congress to consider the implications to the security of the US and its allies before taking any further steps that might undermine or weaken the JCPoA.
Foreign Affairs Council: 3 April 2017
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs attended the Foreign Affairs Council on 3 April. The Foreign Affairs Council was chaired by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, (HRVP), Federica Mogherini. The meeting was held in Brussels.
Foreign Affairs Council
Agenda items included Syria, Yemen and Libya. Aboul Gheit, Secretary General of the Arab League, debriefed on the Arab summit in Amman over lunch at the invitation of the HRVP.
The Council discussed the situation in Syria and adopted Council conclusions. The discussion reaffirmed the EU remained committed to a political solution to the crisis. Planning for post-conflict assistance needed to start, but there could be no reconstruction assistance until a credible political transition was firmly underway. The Council agreed to adopt the EU strategy on Syria.
The Council discussed the situation in Yemen and adopted Council conclusions. HRVP Mogherini discussed a potential EU role in Yemen to restart political talks. Foreign Ministers reaffirmed the seriousness of the situation in Yemen and discussed a new framework that had been presented to the warring parties.
Council members discussed the situation in Libya following the first meeting of the Libya Quartet on 18 March 2017. They discussed common ground between the parties and underlined the EU’s commitment to supporting Libyans in finding unity and stability within the framework of the Libyan political agreement.
Ministers agreed a number of measures without discussion:
The Council adopted conclusions on the promotion and protection of the rights of the child.
The Council adopted conclusions on Somalia
The Council adopted a decision supporting the UN programme of actions to prevent, combat and eradicate the illicit trade in small arms and lights weapons (SALW) in all its aspects.
The Council extended its decision 2014/129/CFSP until 2 July 2017 in order to ensure the smooth continuation of the work of the EU non-proliferation consortium of think-tanks, based on the funds still available.
The Council amended the restrictive measures in view of the situation in Yemen to transpose an update by the United Nations related to four persons subject to restrictive measures.
The Council adopted a new EU policy on training for the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP).
The Council approved the exercise specifications for the EU crisis management military exercise in 2017 (MILEX17).
Foreign Affairs Council: 15 May 2017
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs attended the Foreign Affairs Council on 15 May. The Foreign Affairs Council was chaired by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini. The meeting was held in Brussels.
Foreign Affairs Council
Agenda items included security and defence, Horn of Africa, EU-Africa and the Eastern Partnership.
Security and defence
The security and defence discussion centred on HRVP Mogherini and the European Commission updating Foreign Ministers on a variety of dossiers, including the military planning and conduct capability, permanent structured co-operation, the co-ordinated annual review of defence, the forthcoming ATHENA review, CSDP and the European defence fund.
Horn of Africa
There was widespread agreement among Foreign Ministers that the Horn was of strategic importance for Europe. Mogherini and several others warmly thanked the UK for the London conference which offered an opportunity to stabilise Somalia. Other areas highlighted for increased EU action were the border conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea, the Nile basin tensions between Egypt and Ethiopia, and using the EU-strategic partnership with Ethiopia to deliver messages on human rights and political reform.
Mogherini introduced the 4 May EEAS/Commission Joint Communication (JC) on the future direction of the EU-Africa relationship, including deliverables for the November Africa-EU summit. There were two main themes: creating more resilient states and societies, and generating jobs—especially for young people. Member states welcomed the JC and its proposals to increase investment, jobs, and improve education. Foreign Ministers had lunch with African Union Chair Faki.
Foreign Ministers looked forward to the Eastern partnership summit in November and discussed how best to build strong links with partners.
Ministers agreed a number of measures without discussion:
The Council adopted conclusions on Venezuela.
The Council adopted conclusions on indigenous peoples.
The Council approved a concept of operations on regionalisation of CSDP action in the Sahel.
The Council approved the staff rules of the EU Satellite Centre (SATCEN).
The Council approved the High Representative report on the operation ALTHEA in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Council adopted a decision mobilising €2.64 million under the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) to provide support to 964 dismissed workers made redundant in four finnish enterprises operating in the manufacture of computer, electronic and optical products sector.
Foreign Affairs Council: 17 July 2017
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs attended the Foreign Affairs Council on 17 July. The Foreign Affairs Council was chaired by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini. The meeting was held in Brussels.
Foreign Affairs Council
The meeting covered discussions on the EU global strategy, democratic people’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Libya and migration.
EU global strategy
The Council had a discussion on the implementation on the EU global strategy; Foreign Ministers provided guidance on the priorities for 2017-2018.
The discussion was shaped by the Council conclusions, agreed in the EU Political and Security Committee earlier in the day. Ministers focused on the threat the DPRK posted to global security and condemned its pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles programme in violation multiple UN Security Council resolutions.
The Council adopted conclusions on Libya. With the EU warmly welcoming the appointment of Ghassan Salame as the new special representative of the UN Secretary General. The Council also agreed to extend the CSDP mission EUBAM Libya until 31 December 2018. The Council underlined the importance of operation Sophia (the EU’s naval operation to disrupt the business model of human smugglers and traffickers in the Southern Central Mediterranean).
Foreign Ministers discussed migration, focusing on the situation in the Central Mediterranean route, together with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, and the Director-General of the International Organisation for Migration William Lacy Swing.
Ministers agreed a number of measures without discussion:
The Council adopted a crisis management concept for a new civilian CSDP mission in Iraq.
On 17 July 2017, the Council added 16 persons to the list of those targeted by EU restrictive measures against the Syrian regime.
The Council adopted conclusions on Pakistan, stating that the EU has a clear interest in a stable, secure, and democratic Pakistan.
The Council adopted conclusions on addressing the risks of famine.
The Council adopted conclusions on the EU priorities at the UN and at the 72nd UN General Assembly.
The Council endorsed the EU-ASEAN plan of action 2018-2022.
Foreign Affairs Council (16 October)
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs will attend the Foreign Affairs Council on 16 October. The Foreign Affairs Council will be chaired by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini. The meeting will be held in Luxembourg.
Foreign Affairs Council
The agenda for the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) is expected to include Iran, Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK), Turkey and human rights. Hungary has indicated that it will raise under Any Other Business its concerns over recent amendments to Ukraine’s education law.
Ministers will discuss the latest developments regarding the joint comprehensive plan of action. The UK fully supports full implementation of the deal by all parties. Preventing a nuclear armed Iran is a UK priority for both our security and that of the region.
Ministers will focus on the threat the DPRK poses to global security and condemn its pursuit of nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes in violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions. We want the discussion to reinforce the importance of a strong and united EU response. The UK has led efforts to agree a new set of EU autonomous measures against the DPRK set to be adopted at the Foreign Affairs Council. We will make clear the importance of the EU and all its members states supporting the full enforcement in third countries of the measures adopted under United Nations Security Council resolutions.
Ministers will informally discuss development over lunch with a focus on the regional situation.
Ministers will discuss the EU’s approach to human rights challenges in bilateral and multilateral fora. We will stress that wider equities in EU and member state relationships with third countries should not preclude holding those countries to account for failure to observe their human rights obligations and make clear that the UK will continue to work closely with the EU on human rights even after we leave. Council conclusions will be adopted.
Informal Meeting of EU Foreign Ministers (Gymnich): 28 April 2017
I attended the bi-annual informal meeting of EU Foreign Ministers (known as the Gymnich) on 28 April in Valletta, Malta. The Gymnich was hosted by Dr George Veila, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malta and was chaired by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini. Discussion centred on Turkey, globalisation, the EU global strategy and the previous day’s violence in the Macedonia Parliament.
Johannes Hahn (EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations) also attended. David McAllister (Chairman of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee) was present for the opening session on Turkey. EU Foreign Ministers met with the Foreign Ministers of the candidate countries in the afternoon.
The format of the Gymnich is designed to allow EU Foreign Ministers to engage in informal discussion on a number of issues. In contrast to the Foreign Affairs Council (the next of which will be held on 19 June), Ministers do not take formal decisions or agree conclusions at the Gymnich.
EU Foreign Ministers discussed Turkey in the opening session, agreeing on the need to maintain a dialogue with this strategic partner. I welcomed this consensus and stressed the importance of the tone of our engagement. In the afternoon, EU Foreign Ministers were joined by their Turkish counterpart (Cavusoglu) who touched on a number of matters of shared interest, including the result of the recent constitutional referendum.
Ms. Mogherini introduced a discussion on how to ensure the global trade agenda delivers demonstrable benefits for all EU citizens.
EU global strategy (EUGS)
Ms. Mogherini gave the assembled EU Foreign Ministers an account of the EU’s activity in the foreign and security policy sphere since the publication of the global strategy (EUGS) last June.
Violence in the FYROM Parliament
Several member states condemned the violence in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Parliament on 27 April. The FYROM Foreign Minister (Poposki) said there could be no justification for the violence and that those responsible would be brought to justice.
Informal Meeting of EU Foreign Ministers (Gymnich): 7-8 September 2017
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs attended the bi-annual informal meeting of EU Foreign Ministers (known as the Gymnich) on 7-8 September in Tallinn, Estonia. The Gymnich was hosted by Sven Mikser, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia, and was chaired by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini. Discussion centred on Democratic People Republic of Korea (DPRK), Middle East Peace Policy (MEPP) and working methods.
Johannes Hahn (EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations) also attended. David McAllister (Chairman of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee) was present for the working dinner and session on the second day. EU Foreign Ministers met Foreign Ministers of the candidate countries on the morning of 8 September.
The format of the Gymnich is designed to allow EU Foreign Ministers to engage in informal discussion on a number of issues. In contrast to the Foreign Affairs Council (the next of which will be held on 16 October), Ministers do not take formal decisions or agree conclusions at the Gymnich.
Ministers agreed that a two-state solution was the only way forward but the humanitarian situation was severe. Ms. Mogherini explained that the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the EU Commission were reviewing EU financial assistance to look at what would be most effective in advancing the two state solution.
Ms.Mogherini proposed three strands of EU action. First, economic pressure. The EU should support a new UNSCR and adopt new EU sanctions, including looking at EU investment and targeted measures. Second, diplomatic action and insistence on peaceful denuclearisation. Third, protecting the global non-proliferation regime. The EU should lobby countries that weren't fully implementing existing UN sanctions on DPRK and protect the JCPOA.
Countering violent extremism
Ministers welcomed the existing security and counter-terrorism co-operation between the European Union and the EU candidate countries and agreed that it should be further developed and intensified.
Annual Report of the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner
I am pleased to announce that I am today laying before the House the 2017 annual report of the Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner. Copies of the report are available in the Vote Office.
UK Annual Report on Modern Slavery 2017
Today, I am publishing the 2017 UK Annual Report on Modern Slavery. The report covers the whole of the UK and has been drafted in collaboration with the Northern Ireland Executive, the Scottish Government and the Welsh Government. This report sets out an assessment of the scale of modern slavery in the UK, and outlines the actions that have taken to combat it over the last year.
A copy of the report will be placed in the House Library.
Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures
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 31 August 2017) 6 TPIM notices in respect of British citizens (as of 31 August 2017) 5 TPIM notices extended (during the reporting period) 4 TPIM notices revoked (during the reporting period) 1 TPIM notices revived (during the reporting period) 1 Variations made to measures specified in TPIM notices (during the reporting period) 26 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 31 August 2017) 6
TPIM notices in force (as of 31 August 2017)
TPIM notices in respect of British citizens (as of 31 August 2017)
TPIM notices extended (during the reporting period)
TPIM notices revoked (during the reporting period)
TPIM notices revived (during the reporting period)
Variations made to measures specified in TPIM notices (during the reporting period)
Applications to vary measures specified in TPIM notices refused (during the reporting period)
The number of current subjects relocated under TPIM legislation (as of 31 August 2017)
The TPIM review group (TRG) keeps every TPIM notice under regular and formal review. The most recent TRG meetings took place on 26 and 30 June, and 3, 4 and 5 July. The next round of TRGs will take place during September 2017.
One TPIM subject has been charged with breach of his TPIM measures the trial is pending.
The case of Secretary of State for the Home Department v IM, JM and LG  EWHC 1529 (Admin) was heard at the High Court between 20 March and 7 April 2017. In a judgment handed down on 30 June 2017 Mr Justice Nicol upheld the Secretary of State’s decision to impose a TPIM notice on IM, JM and LG. In the same judgment Mr Justice Nicol ordered minor variations to IM, JM and LG’s police reporting requirements and a variation to the wording of the association measure.
This judgment can be found at: www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2017/1529.html
Economic Development in Africa and South Asia
Over the next decade, a billion more young people will enter the job market, mainly in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. There is a chronic need for jobs and better opportunities in these countries to prevent the next generation falling further into poverty, potentially fuelling global instability and insecurity.
As set out in DFID’s Economic Development Strategy, the UK Government want to support developing countries to transition into vibrant economies and become stronger trading partners. No country can defeat poverty and leave aid dependency behind without sustainable economic growth, jobs, trade and investment.
CDC is central to the UK’s approach to promoting inclusive growth and economic development in Africa and south Asia. As the UK’s development finance institution, wholly owned by the UK Government, it is a world leader in its field. It provides much-needed capital, expertise and support to businesses in the poorest and most fragile countries, helping them to grow markets and create jobs which change the lives of individuals, families and whole communities.
CDC invests for development impact, introducing much-needed capital, expertise and support to thousands of businesses, creating millions of jobs, generating essential taxes, and strengthening transformational sectors such as infrastructure, manufacturing and agriculture. Over the last 3 years—from 2014 through to 2016—companies backed by CDC in Africa and south Asia have created over 3 million new direct and indirect jobs, and paid taxes to national governments worth over $9 billion.
In agreement with my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Elizabeth Truss MP, I am pleased to set out the next step in the UK’s commitment to the growth of CDC, through a gradual capital increase over the next five years. This follows the passing of the CDC Act earlier this year which increased the limit of capital which the UK could invest in CDC.
New capital will enable CDC to build on these excellent development results to make hundreds more investments, create millions of new jobs, and make a lasting difference to the lives of people in the world’s poorest and most fragile countries, by helping individuals to find work, earn money, feed their families and send their children to school.
The decision to invest new capital in CDC comes at a critical time. There is a huge shortfall in the investment needed to meet the ambitions of the global goals agreed by the UN in 2015. The UK is rising to this challenge by using Government-funded capital in innovative ways. By investing patiently, CDC demonstrates to private investors the opportunities that exist, even in the most difficult places. This leads the way for other investors to follow, mobilising capital from a much larger pool of private investors.
Over the last 5 years, since 2012, DFID have been working together with CDC in a thoughtful and phased way to grow CDC’s capabilities, better measure its impact and identify the need for the long-term, patient capital that CDC can invest to transform the economies of developing countries.
In February Parliament passed the CDC Act, which benefitted from constructive inputs and debate from MPs and Peers from across both Houses.
In July, CDC published its new five year strategy. This strategy maintains CDC’s focus on investing in the poorest and most fragile countries in Africa and south Asia and sets out innovative approaches to maximise the transformational impact of CDC’s investments, while committing CDC to increased levels of transparency and reporting.
DFID will invest an average of up to £703 million per year over the next five years, to support CDC’s new strategy and scale up its job-creating investment activities. These funds will be drawn down as needed by CDC in response to market demand. The new capital will support investments in Africa and south Asia in priority sectors—those creating the most jobs in the hardest to reach. Capital invested in CDC is invested and reinvested time and again, to ensure that every penny of taxpayers’ money is having maximum development impact. At the same time, CDC is leading the way globally with its code of responsible investing, raising the social, environmental and governance standards of investment in the world’s poorest countries.
This investment is the outcome of extensive analysis and a detailed business case—a copy of which is available at:
I am proud to set out this support today, which will have huge development impact for decades to come. CDC’s investments lay the foundations for sustainable and responsible businesses which create jobs, provide vital services, strengthen economies and ultimately transform the world's poorest nations, and in doing so, build global security and prosperity that benefits us all.
Work and Pensions
Disabled People’s Employment Corporation (GB) Ltd
The Disabled People’s Employment Corporation (GB) Ltd, one of DWP’s arm’s-length bodies, has entered solvent members’ voluntary liquidation. Pricewaterhouse Coopers LLP are the liquidators and any residual asset value will be returned to the Department. The company was previously Remploy Ltd and has been managing legacy issues following the exit of remploy employment services from Government control in April 2015 as a partly employee-owned company.
Since 2015, the board has been working towards a well-ordered closure, dealing with legacy assets and liabilities. The last premises were sold in September 2017, and the company’s members agreed to put the company into liquidation on 7 October 2017.
I plan to deposit the company’s accounts for the period up to liquidation in the Library of the House in due course. But I can reassure the House that the directors believe the company has sufficient assets to settle its creditors in full, and there will be no redundancies as the company has had no employees since 2015. The pensions of those who worked for the company are secure: the Remploy Ltd Pension and Assurance Scheme has been sponsored directly by my Department since 1 April 2016.
The liquidators are now responsible for the company, and the Department will manage the contract with the liquidator, who will refer any significant decisions regarding the on-going management of the Department’s investment in the company to the principal accounting officer if necessary. Responsibilities during this liquidation period are explained in the framework document which will be deposited in the Library of the House today.