Tuesday 4 February 2020
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay
The Government are committed to supporting working families to balance work with their caring responsibilities. We have laid regulations in Parliament which, subject to parliamentary approval, will implement our commitment to give employed parents a statutory minimum right to time off work in the devastating circumstances where their child dies or they suffer a stillbirth.
Parental bereavement leave and pay are the first of a raft of new employment reforms which will make the UK the best place in the world to work and to start and grow a business. As announced in the Queen’s Speech, the Employment Bill will introduce further measures to benefit employees and their employers, including carer’s leave and neonatal leave and pay.
The Parental Bereavement Leave Regulations 2020; the Statutory Parental Bereavement Pay (General) Regulations 2020; and the Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018 (Commencement) Regulations 2020 (collectively referred to as “the Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay Regulations”) were laid in Parliament on 23 January 2020. Taken together, they implement a statutory right to a minimum of two weeks’ leave for all employed parents whose child under the age of 18 dies or who suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy.
Employment law is a devolved matter in the case of Northern Ireland so the new entitlement to parental bereavement leave and pay will only apply to parents in Great Britain (GB). There are around 7,500 child deaths a year in GB, including around 3,000 stillbirths. The Government estimate that this new entitlement will help to support over 10,000 GB parents a year.
The entitlement to parental bereavement leave will be a “day one” right which means that employed parents will be entitled to time off work to grieve irrespective of how long they have worked for their employer. Parents who have worked for their employer for six months or more at the time of their child’s death will also be able to claim statutory parental bereavement pay.
Employed parents will be able to take their leave and pay as either a single block of two weeks, or as two separate blocks of one week each.
The right to parental bereavement leave and pay makes GB one of a very small number of countries worldwide to recognise the impact that the death of a child has on parents and to offer such support to parents. We are the first to offer a full two weeks of leave and pay and this is the most generous offer on parental bereavement leave and pay in the world.
Both the leave and pay can be taken at any time in the first 56 weeks after the child’s death. The ability to take time off work over a long period recognises that grief is a very personal matter—whilst some parents may want to take time off work immediately, others may prefer to take time off work on the first anniversary of their child’s death or to enable them to attend the funeral or inquest.
The new entitlement will be known as Jack’s law in memory of Jack Herd whose mother Lucy has campaigned tirelessly on this important issue.
Subject to parliamentary approval, the new entitlement will apply to parents who lose a child on or after 6 April 2020.
State of the Estate: 2018-19
I have today laid before Parliament, pursuant to section 86 of the Climate Change Act 2008, the “State of the Estate in 2018-19”. This report describes the efficiency and sustainability of the Government’s civil estate and records the progress that the Government have made since the previous year. The report is published on an annual basis.
Bilateral Loan to Ireland
I would like to update Parliament on the loan to Ireland.
In December 2010, the UK agreed to provide a bilateral loan of £3.2 billion as part of a €67.5 billion international assistance package for Ireland. The loan was disbursed in eight tranches, and the final tranche was drawn down on 26 September 2013. Ireland has made interest payments on the loan every six months since the first disbursement.
On 3 February, in line with the agreed repayment schedule, HM Treasury received a total payment of £404,714,183.56 from Ireland. This comprises the repayment of £403,370,000 in principal and £1,344,183.56 in accrued interest.
As required under the Loans to Ireland Act 2010, HM Treasury laid a statutory report to Parliament on 3 October 2019 covering the period from 1 April to 30 September 2019. The report set out details of future payments up to the final repayment on 26 March 2021. The Government continue to expect the loan to be repaid in full and on time.
The next statutory report will cover the period from 1 October 2019 to 31 March 2020. HM Treasury will report fully on all repayments received during this period in the report.
Counter-Terrorism Asset Freezing Regime
Under the Terrorist Asset-Freezing etc. Act 2010 (TAFA 2010), the Treasury is required to prepare a quarterly report regarding its exercise of the powers conferred on it by Part 1 of TAFA 2010. This written statement satisfies that requirement for the period 1 July 2019 to 30 September 2019.
This report also covers the UK’s implementation of the UN’s ISIL (Da’esh) and al-Qaida asset freezing regime (ISIL-AQ), and the operation of the EU’s asset freezing regime under EU Regulation (EC) 2580/2001 concerning external terrorist threats to the EU (also referred to as the CP 931 regime).
Under the ISIL-AQ asset freezing regime, the UN has responsibility for designations and the Treasury, through the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI), has responsibility for licensing and compliance with the regime in the UK under the ISIL (Da’esh) and al-Qaida (Asset- Freezing) Regulations 2011.
Under EU Regulation 2580/2001, the EU has responsibility for designations and OFSI has responsibility for licensing and compliance with the regime in the UK under Part 1 of TAFA 2010.
EU Regulation (2016/1686) was implemented on 22 September 2016. This permits the EU to make autonomous al-Qaida and ISIL (Da’esh) listings.
It can also be viewed online at: http://www.parliament. uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2020-02-04/HCWS88/.
Tables set out the key asset-freezing activity in the UK during the quarter.
Counter-terrorist asset freezing regime Q3 2019 (TAFA Q3 2019 Table.pdf).
Health and Social Care
Today the report of the independent inquiry into the issues raised by the former breast surgeon Ian Paterson has been published.
This report follows two years of work by the inquiry, led by Bishop Graham James. The Bishop has adopted a strong commitment to a “patients and families first” approach to public disclosure, which means that the process of public disclosure began earlier this morning with the patients and families themselves.
The report contains an analysis of the circumstances surrounding Ian Paterson’s malpractice that has affected so many patients and considers other past and current practices. It also tells the stories of patients who came forward to provide evidence to the inquiry, which bears testament to their courage. As such it makes for difficult reading and it is with deep regret that we have to acknowledge the failure of the NHS and the independent sector to protect patients from Paterson’s malpractice.
The public should be able to trust that a health professional will never again be allowed to place personal gain or advancement over the best interests of his or her patients whether care is funded by the NHS or privately. It is therefore essential that the whole of the health sector responds quickly and effectively to the lessons of this inquiry. The Government will give a thorough and detailed consideration of their findings over the coming weeks.
We expect now for all the relevant agencies and organisations both nationally and locally, and across the whole healthcare sector to give this report urgent and thorough attention.
Once that work is done, the relevant agencies will decide what steps to take next.
Copies of the report will be laid before the House and will be available from the Vote Office and at: https://www.gov.uk.
An oral statement will be delivered to the House today.
Contingencies Fund Advance
I hereby give notice of the Scotland Office and Office of the Advocate General’s intention to seek a repayable cash advance from the Contingencies Fund of £1,900,000. The Department requires an advance to meet its cash requirements pending parliamentary approval of the supplementary estimate 2019-20.
The Department is operating within the budget agreed in the main estimate. However, it will be seeking an increase in net cash requirement in the supplementary estimate. Accessing the Contingencies Fund will allow the Department to cover existing expenditure consistent with existing parliamentary estimates and does not represent additional spending.
The advance will be repaid immediately following approval of the supplementary estimate.
Parliamentary approval for additional cash of £1,900,000 will be sought in a supplementary estimate for the Scotland Office and Office of the Advocate General. Pending that approval, urgent expenditure estimated at £1,900,000 will be met by repayable cash advances from the Contingencies Fund.