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House of Commons Hansard
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Written Statements
06 December 2018
Volume 650

Written Statements

Thursday 6 December 2018

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Capacity Market

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Following the decision on 15 November 2018 by the European Court to annul the European Commission’s approval for the UK capacity market, the Government are updating the House on the process that will be followed to ensure that the capacity market can be reinstated as speedily as possible.

As National Grid has already confirmed, the court ruling will not impact security of supply this winter. The ruling does not change the UK Government’s view that the capacity market is the right mechanism to deliver secure electricity supplies at least cost.

The Commission has confirmed that it will be conducting an investigation into the original state aid notification for the capacity market. This investigation covers the capacity market agreements already entered into including those for 2018-19 and 2019-20.

A positive final state aid decision would allow payments to be made to those agreement holders that have met their obligations during the standstill period. The Commission expects to make its opening decision on the issues covered in the investigation by early 2019.

To support this, National Grid will continue to operate the capacity market as normal but without payments being made to agreement holders. This will ensure that market participants can operate as normal and will also aid the calculation of future capacity market payments.

The Government have also confirmed an intention to hold a T-1 top-up auction during the summer of 2019, for delivery in 2019-20. Agreements secured through this auction will be conditional on the outcome of the Commission’s formal investigation.

The Government are also considering the viability of the capacity market supplier charge continuing to be collected under the expectation that payments will be passed on to agreement holders at the appropriate time.

A technical statement is being published which provides further detail to market participants on the next steps as agreed with the Commission. This can be found on the BEIS website.

We will continue to update market participants.

[HCWS1154]

General Affairs Council: Cohesion Policy

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My right hon Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for State for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Lord Henley) has made the following written ministerial statement:

I attended the General Affairs Council (Cohesion) on 30 November 2018. The meeting was held in Brussels and chaired by the Austrian presidency.

The meeting was dedicated to deliberations around the legislative package for post-2020 cohesion policy.

A provisional report of the meeting and the conclusions adopted can be found on the Council of the European Union’s website at:

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/meetings/gac/2018/11/30/

The General Affairs Council discussed the future direction of cohesion policy in the next multiannual financial framework. Ministers and their representatives from member states presented their positions on the legislative proposals for post-2020, with a view to influencing the Commission’s proposals and commenting on the views from the Austrian presidency.

Member states particularly focused on efforts for simplification, harmonisation, the strategic framework for future cohesion policy, and intervened on the partnership agreement and mid-term review. I intervened to support a link to the European semester, for further simplification and harmonisation, as well as outlining the UK position on the partnership agreement, the mid-term review and the proposals on European territorial co-operation.

The Austrian presidency provided an update on non-legislative and legislative items.

[HCWS1151]

Industrial Strategy: Aerospace Sector

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As part of the industrial strategy, the Government are committed to making the most of the UK’s strengths, so we can be at the forefront of emerging technologies and industries in the years ahead.

The aerospace sector is a leading industrial sector for the UK with particular strengths in the design, manufacture and support of wings, engine as well as advanced systems such as landing gear and cockpit technologies. These activities are an undoubted strength of our economy; indeed, they are at the heart of the nation’s competitive advantage.

Sector deals are an extension of the Government’s close partnership with sectors such as aerospace and we are building on this through the aerospace growth partnership with this sector deal to ensure the UK maintains its leading position in the global market. This sector deal signals a joint intention to position the UK at the forefront of valuable emerging markets. It will do this by:

boosting innovation through a joint industry and government investment in the future flight challenge, with up to £125 million of funding from the industrial strategy challenge fund, which industry will match. This programme will invest in developing demonstrators of new aircraft (such as drones and other electric aircraft), new models of airspace management, new approaches to ground support infrastructure and new markets for aircraft in local areas.

expanding the successful national aerospace technology exploitation programme with joint funding from government and industry to boost research and development projects led by small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

supporting SMEs in the UK aerospace supply chain to boost their competitiveness through a new productivity improvement programme.

committing the industry to embed a women in aviation and aerospace charter to increase diversity and inclusion in the sector.

enhancing the joint working between the aerospace industry and education providers to ensure a strong future pipeline of talented people are available to ensure the UK aerospace sector remains globally competitive.

The aerospace growth partnership has seen us work with industry to tackle barriers to growth, boost exports, and sustain high value jobs across the breadth of the UK. Together we have taken action to develop and implement initiatives to drive innovation, develop new product and manufacturing technologies, and to increase productivity. The sector deal is a key milestone in this relationship. It will position the industry for the future by developing new capability in exciting developments in air transportation for people and goods through the introduction of more electric and autonomous systems.

The aerospace sector has a turnover of £34.9 billion, directly employing 120,000 people, with productivity growth rates of 5% year on year. But we are not complacent. This deal will build on our strengths and set the industry on course for future success.

I will be placing a copy of the document in the Libraries of both Houses.

[HCWS1147]

Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Heritage Statement: One Year On

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I am today publishing a “Heritage Statement: One Year On”. This document seeks to provide an update to the heritage statement of December 2017, and also builds on the 2016 Culture White Paper.

The heritage statement was created with the aim of linking the heritage agenda to our wider agendas and strategies for industry, for regeneration and place-making, for skills, for the environment, and for an internationalist, outward-looking Britain. It applies to England only, except where it relates to international issues and UK-wide policies and programmes.

The “One Year On” statement outlines the progress we have made since the heritage statement was published in 2017. In the last year, the heritage sector has gone from strength to strength, and we in Government recognise our shared heritage is the inheritance of all UK subjects.

This update seeks to outline the progress we have made, and areas where we will seek to deliver further change over the months to come.

The “Heritage Statement: One Year On” is available on gov.uk.

[HCWS1158]

Exiting the European Union

Citizens' Rights

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Citizens have always been our priority in the negotiations for our departure from the EU. The withdrawal agreement will provide certainty to around 3 million EU citizens in the UK and almost 1 million UK nationals in the EU, enshrining their rights in international law. The Government are clear that the reciprocal deal with the EU as set out in the withdrawal agreement is the only way to fully protect the rights of both UK nationals in the EU and EU citizens in the UK. The withdrawal agreement gives these citizens certainty that they can go on living their lives broadly as now.

Today, the UK Government are demonstrating their continued commitment to put citizens first. The “Citizens’ Rights—EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the EU” policy paper sets out the details of our offer to EU citizens in the UK in the unlikely event of a no-deal scenario, removing any ambiguity over their future.

Without the withdrawal agreement, the UK Government cannot guarantee the rights of the 1 million UK nationals living in the EU. I am therefore urging the EU and member states to reciprocate this offer and protect the rights of UK nationals resident in the EU in a no-deal scenario. I am pleased that some countries are already taking steps to do so. I have instructed ambassadors and heads of missions to raise this with their host Governments.

In an unlikely no-deal scenario the Government are committing to protect the rights of EU citizens and their family members resident in the UK by 29 March 2019, so that they can continue to work, study and access benefits and services on the same basis as now.

As there would be no agreed implementation period, EU citizens and their family members resident here by 29 March 2019 would have until 31 December 2020 to apply for a status under the EU settlement scheme. The process will be simple and streamlined.

Without the reciprocity provided for by the withdrawal agreement, we have decided in a small number of important areas that it is appropriate that the rights of EU citizens are brought in line with those of UK nationals, to bring fairness back into our immigration system. For example, in respect of rights to family reunification, we plan that EU citizens resident here by exit day would be able to be joined in the UK by their existing close family members, such as a spouse, under existing EU law, until 29 March 2022, after which point the future UK immigration rules would apply to such family reunion.

The Government recognise the uncertainty UK nationals in the EU will face in a no-deal scenario. The UK cannot act unilaterally to protect all of the rights of UK nationals in the EU, which is why we have always prioritised reaching a reciprocal agreement with the EU and why the deal we have negotiated is the best way forward. However, where it is in our control, we will support UK nationals through this unlikely outcome, such as through bilateral arrangements on healthcare, as reflected in the recently introduced Healthcare (International Arrangements) Bill.

If UK nationals in the EU were unable to continue to live their lives in the EU as they do now in a no-deal scenario and returned to the UK to live, there are a number of steps the Government would consider to address concerns that they have raised. This includes access to healthcare, education, benefits, and housing. We recognise that these would be an important part of a transition back to life in the UK.

We will continue to provide updates to UK nationals in the EU on gov.uk and through our network of embassies, consulates and high commissions. The Government will continue to press the EU and member states to reciprocate this offer and secure these rights as soon as possible for all UK nationals in the EU.

Let me reiterate that the withdrawal agreement is in the mutual interest of all our citizens. It is the only way for the Government to guarantee the rights of UK nationals in the EU.

I will be depositing the policy paper “Citizens’ Rights—EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the EU” in the Libraries of both Houses.

[HCWS1152]

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Foreign Affairs Council

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The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for South West Surrey (Mr Hunt), will attend the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) on 10 December. It will be chaired by the High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HRVP), Federica Mogherini, and will take place in Brussels.

Venezuela

Ministers will discuss the European External Action Service (EEAS) proposal for an international contact group (ICG) on Venezuela. The ICG would aim to act as a catalyst for an international process towards a solution to the ongoing Venezuelan crisis. The Council will also seek to agree a joint EU response to President Maduro’s re-inauguration on 10 January; the EU strongly criticised the conduct of the presidential elections that were held in May 2018.

Western Balkans

Ministers will discuss the political situation in the western Balkans, focusing on progress towards implementation of the Prespa agreement on Macedonia’s name deal, the EU-facilitated dialogue on Serbia-Kosovo and post-election Government formation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

EU-African Union co-operation

Ministers will discuss EU-African Union co-operation ahead of an EU-AU ministerial meeting that will take place in January; the recently announced EU-Africa alliance will be the main focus of this meeting. The alliance has ambitious goals, including on investment and job creation. The UK will support the EU’s ambition to develop the partnership with Africa as this is in line with UK’s strategic approach to the continent.

Ukraine

The Ukrainian Foreign Minister will join EU Ministers to discuss the recent Russian aggression in the Black sea and the support he might expect from the EU. The UK will reiterate the need for collective messaging to Russia and for the urgent release of the detained crew and vessels. Russian action is a further example of its ongoing violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The UK will reaffirm its support to Ukraine, for the right of free passage in the Kerch strait, and will welcome assurances from President Poroshenko that the martial law imposed across 10 regions will not be used to restrict individual rights.

Iran

We are expecting a wide-ranging, strategic discussion, covering the joint comprehensive plan of action (JCPoA), regional issues, ballistic missiles, and hostile Iranian activity in Europe. We will continue to emphasise that we remain committed to the JCPoA, including continued sanctions relief through the special purpose vehicle, for as long as Iran remains in compliance with its nuclear commitments under the deal. We will also underline that this commitment will not prevent us from taking action on other areas of concern such as Iran’s destabilising regional and ballistic missile activity. The discussion may also focus on the need to tackle the shared challenge of recent threats to European security.

Council conclusions

The Council is expected to adopt conclusions on the EU strategy on India, Burma, women peace and security and Libya.

[HCWS1153]

Health and Social Care

Clinical Negligence Indemnity Cover

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Today, the Department of Health and Social Care is launching a consultation seeking the public’s views on the regulation of clinical negligence indemnity cover. All regulated healthcare professionals are required to hold appropriate clinical negligence cover for the risks of their practice, covering the costs of defending clinical negligence claims and damages awarded to patients. This is a condition of registration in the UK for all regulated healthcare professionals, and in the case of medical practitioners, a condition of licence under s.44C of the Medical Act 1983.

The current state-backed clinical negligence scheme for trusts provides cover for professionals working in NHS trusts, and it is anticipated that a future state-backed scheme will provide clinical negligence indemnity cover for NHS general practice in England. The Secretary of State announced his intention to develop the scheme in a written ministerial statement on 12 October 2017, Official Report, column 27WS. The Welsh Government are also planning to introduce a state-backed scheme for general practice indemnity.

Regulated healthcare professionals who are not covered by state-backed indemnity schemes are indemnified either through membership of a discretionary indemnity provider, such as a medical defence organisation, or by holding contracts of insurance with commercial insurers. Discretionary indemnity providers are not subject to financial conduct or prudential regulation.

The consultation will consider whether regulated healthcare professionals who will not be covered by any state-backed scheme should continue to be permitted to hold unregulated discretionary indemnity cover.

The Government’s objectives are to ensure patients’ access to appropriate compensation in the unfortunate event of them suffering physical injury as a result of clinical negligence, and that healthcare professionals hold stable and sufficient cover enabling the costs of legitimate claims to be met. This will provide regulated healthcare professionals with greater clarity and confidence about the security and terms of their cover.

The consultation will be open for 12 weeks. Following consideration of responses to this consultation, if the Government are minded to introduce regulation, the Department will consult on the options for such regulation. I will inform the House of the Government’s response to the consultation when it is completed.

[HCWS1150]

Mental Health Act: Independent Review (Final Report)

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“Modernising the Mental Health Act: Increasing choice, reducing compulsion”, the final report of the independent review of the Mental Health Act, has been published today.

The Government committed in their manifesto to reform mental health legislation. As a first step towards this, the Prime Minister asked Professor Sir Simon Wessely to chair a full and independent review of the Mental Health Act 1983. We welcome this report, and would like to thank Sir Simon and his vice chairs for their achievement in setting out a set of recommendations that have the overall purpose of increasing patient rights and improving the way the Act works for people.

I can confirm that the Government will consider the report and its recommendations in detail, and will respond in due course. Our intention remains to reform mental health law and so the Government will develop and bring forward legislation when parliamentary time allows.

I can today accept two of the report’s recommendations, which both highlight the review’s focus on increasing the rights and autonomy of patients:

the establishment of new statutory advance choice documents (ACDs), so that people’s wishes and preferences can carry far more legal weight. These would enable people to express preferences on their care and treatment, to help ensure that these preferences are considered by clinicians, even when the person may be too ill to express themselves.

ensuring that people have a say in which relative has power to act for them, through the creation of a new role of nominated person, to be chosen by the patient, rather than allocated to them from a list of relatives. This person would have enhanced powers in their role; both to be informed about the person’s detention in hospital and to be involved in decisions made about their care.

The report is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/independent-review-of-the-mental-health-act.

I have deposited a copy of the report in the Libraries of both Houses.

[HCWS1149]

Home Department

Immigration Rule Changes

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The Secretary of State for the Home Department, my right hon. Friend the Member for Bromsgrove (Sajid Javid), will shortly be laying before the House a statement of changes in immigration rules.

The Government are clear that entrepreneurs play a key role in creating jobs and driving economic growth, which is vital to the prosperity of the UK. In June of this year, we announced a new start-up visa route. This will build upon the successes of the current tier 1 (graduate entrepreneur) route, expanding it to ensure that the UK can benefit from a wider pool of overseas talent looking to establish new businesses in the UK. Applicants will be endorsed by either a business or higher education institution sponsor.

We are announcing that we will build on this offer further by introducing a new innovator route, for more experienced business people. This will replace the current tier 1 (entrepreneur) route and have a similar emphasis on endorsement by a business sponsor, who will assess applicants’ business ideas for their innovation, viability and scalability.

Alongside this, we will reform our tier 1 (investor) route.

These reforms will be introduced in the spring and will ensure the UK remains a world-leading destination for investment and innovation. We will shortly be publishing a statement of intent setting out the details of how the reformed routes will work and I will place a copy in the Library of the House.

We are also introducing wider changes through these immigration rules which demonstrate our commitment to supporting talented leaders in their fields, and promising future leaders, coming to the UK under the tier 1 (exceptional talent) route. The changes will expand this route to provide for a route of entry for leading architects endorsed by the Royal Institute of British Architects, under the remit of Arts Council England (ACE). This change builds upon other reforms to the route earlier this year, including doubling the number of places available, providing for faster settlement to existing leaders in their fields endorsed under this route, and expanding the route to leading fashion designers, also endorsed under the remit of ACE. We will continue to work closely with our partners in this route to attract more leading international talent to the UK.

More broadly, the changes also include a number of minor, more technical changes to our tier 1 and tier 2 routes for highly skilled workers. These changes will be made to ensure the immigration rules remain up-to-date and for consistency purposes.

The Government greatly value the roles played by our charities and religious institutions and those who wish to come to the UK to contribute to these organisations are extremely welcome. However, there are some issues with the routes as they currently operate.

Our immigration system makes specific provision for both ministers of religion and those coming as religious workers. This distinction between the two roles reflects the importance we place on our faith leaders speaking English to a high standard, while at the same time still permitting other members of religious communities to contribute to the UK in non-pastoral roles.

While it is not the intention of the tier 5 religious workers route, our current rules could permit religious workers to perform roles, that include preaching and leading a congregation, without first being required to demonstrate that they speak English to an acceptable standard. To address this, we are prohibiting tier 5 religious workers filling roles as ministers of religion and direct them instead to do so through the correct tier 2 minister of religion sub-category. This will require ministers of religion to demonstrate a strong command of English and ensure they can interact with the community around them.

The tier 5 arrangements for religious workers and charity workers have always been intended to provide for only limited periods of residence in the UK of up to two years. We have however seen instances of migrants in these categories repeatedly applying for consecutive periods of leave, in effect achieving ongoing residency in the UK. We will therefore introduce a “cooling off period”, preventing tier 5 religious worker and tier 5 charity worker visa holders from returning to the UK, via these immigration routes for 12 months after their visa expires. This change ensures that we will continue to welcome those coming to make a contribution to our religious and charity organisations, while at the same time underpinning the Government’s intention that these are temporary routes.

On 6 September the Home Secretary issued a written ministerial statement (HCWS940), Official Report, column 15WS, announcing the introduction of a new pilot scheme for 2019, enabling non-EEA migrant workers to come to the UK to undertake seasonal employment in the horticultural sector. These amendments will set out the legislative framework for introducing this pilot.

This small-scale pilot will test the effectiveness of our immigration system at alleviating seasonal labour shortages during peak production periods, while maintaining robust immigration control and ensuring there are minimal impacts on local communities and public services.

The organisations chosen to fill the role of scheme operators for this pilot have been selected following a fair and open selection process, undertaken by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The formal date of implementation for this pilot will be announced in due course.

[HCWS1159]

Justice

Judicial Conduct Investigations Office

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With the concurrence of the Lord Chief Justice, I will today publish the 12th annual report of the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO), formerly known as the Office for Judicial Complaints.

The JCIO supports the Lord Chief Justice and the Lord Chancellor in our joint statutory responsibility for judicial discipline.

The judiciary comprises approximately 23,000 individuals serving across a range of jurisdictions. Over the past year, the JCIO received 2,147 complaints against judicial office holders. A total of 39 investigations resulted in disciplinary action. The JCIO did not meet two of its three key performance indicators, which was attributable to the challenges faced by a high turnover of staff.

I have placed copies of the report into the Libraries of both Houses, the Vote Office and the Printed Paper Office. Copies are also available online at:

https://judicialconduct.judiciary.gov.uk/reports-publications/.

[HCWS1156]

Personal Injury Discount Rate

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The Ministry of Justice is today publishing “Setting the Personal Injury Discount Rate: A Call for Evidence”. This call for evidence is intended to obtain evidence to inform the first review of the personal injury discount rate under the Civil Liability Bill. The call will remain open for eight weeks.

I have placed a copy of the call for evidence in the Libraries of both Houses.

[HCWS1155]

Transport

Sector Deal

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As part of the industrial strategy, the Government committed to making the most of the UK’s strengths and to develop the infrastructure necessary to support this. The UK’s rail network supports people getting to work and training opportunities every day, enables businesses to access the talent they need to grow, and moves goods across the country and to our ports and airports.

The aim of this sector deal is to develop new, digital capabilities to support the railway in becoming an even stronger driver of economic growth and opportunity.

Sector deals bring the industry and the Government together in partnership to boost the productivity and earning power of specific sectors. The rail sector deal struck today follows ambitious sector deals with the life sciences, automotive, construction and artificial intelligence sectors.

The Government and rail industry have come together to agree a plan to increase efficiency, improve journeys and increase the sector’s capability to trade internationally. The deal was developed through close engagement with the UK’s world-class consulting engineering sector and wider rail supply chain, and with backing from the major train manufacturers in the UK. This engagement from the industry has been led by the rail supply and delivery groups, both of whom will be fundamental to delivering these ambitions.

The deal contains mutual commitments that will encourage innovation to improve passenger experience, provide the confidence necessary for investment in capital and skills, while reducing the cost to the taxpayer of state-of-the art digital rail control systems. Furthermore, the deal, through collaboration between train manufacturers and those providing services and running the network, will provide a common data platform. This will enable businesses to access highly useful data held within the industry in order to develop services and products to meet passengers’ needs. This deal also includes a pilot programme in the midlands to attract further diversity and skills into our growing railway, supported by the midlands engine, LEPs and other regional partners.

This deal will support the rail industry into the next phase of its development as a world-leading industry. I will place a copy of the document in the Libraries of both Houses.

[HCWS1148]

Wales

Welsh Regional Government

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On March 2017, the Government reached agreement with the Welsh Government and the four local authorities on a heads of terms city deal for the Swansea Bay city region to bring almost £1.3 billion of investment to the region, which is expected to create in excess of 9,000 jobs.

Since this time good progress has been made on developing a number of the projects within the overall deal programme. However, with no individual business cases yet approved I have today commissioned a joint independent review with the Welsh Government which will underpin the next phase of delivery.

This review will be independently led and will report to both the UK and Welsh Governments. It will consider a range of factors to provide a stocktake on progress to date as well as assurance that all elements of the deal are on track to deliver the full economic benefits of this ambitious programme. It will also consider matters of due diligence and governance, to ensure that oversight and compliance are robust. Its recommendations will inform future decisions on the release of Government funding as well as providing potential private investors with additional confidence across the deal as a whole.

Work on further developing individual projects will continue in parallel with the review.

[HCWS1157]