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House of Commons Hansard
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Written Statements
25 February 2020
Volume 672

Written Statements

Tuesday 25 February 2020

Treasury

Finance Bill

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The Finance Bill will be published on 19 March. Explanatory notes on the Bill will be available in the Vote Office and the Printed Paper Office and placed in the Libraries of both House on that day. Copies of the explanatory notes will also be available on www.gov.uk.

As usual, a full copy of the Budget resolutions will be made available after the Chancellor’s Budget statement on 11 March. This includes resolutions made under the Provisional Collection of Taxes Act 1968 for those measures that are expected to come into effect ahead of Finance Bill Royal Assent.

In line with the approach to tax policy making set out in the Government’s documents “Tax Policy Making: a new approach”, published in 2010, and “The new Budget timetable and the tax policy making process”, published in 2017, the Government published draft legislation for Finance Bill 2020 on 11 July 2019, which is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/finance-bill-2019-20.

The Government remain committed to legislating those measures published in July 2019, subject to confirmation at Budget 2020.

[HCWS122]

Public Service Pension Scheme Indexation and Revaluation 2020

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Legislation governing public service pensions requires them to be increased annually by the same percentage as additional pensions (state earnings related pension and state second pension). Public service pensions will therefore be increased from 6 April 2020 by 1.7%, in line with the annual increase in the consumer prices index up to September 2019, except for those public service pensions which have been in payment for less than a year, which will receive a pro-rata increase.

Separately, in the career average public service pension schemes introduced in 2014 and 2015, pensions in accrual are revalued annually in relation to either prices or earnings depending on the terms specified in their scheme regulations. The Public Service Pensions Act 2013 requires HM Treasury to specify a measure of prices and of earnings to be used for revaluation by these schemes.

The prices measure is the consumer prices index up to September 2019. Public service schemes which rely on a measure of prices, therefore, will use the figure of 1.7% for the prices element of revaluation.

The earnings measure is the whole economy year on year change in average weekly earnings (non-seasonally adjusted and including bonuses and arrears) up to September 2019. Public service schemes which rely on a measure of earnings, therefore, will use the figure of 4% for the earnings element of revaluation.

Revaluation is one part of the amount of pension that members earn in a year and needs to be considered in conjunction with the amount of in-year accrual. Typically, schemes with lower revaluation will have faster accrual and therefore members will earn more pension per year.

The following list shows how the main public service schemes will be affected by revaluation:

Scheme

Police

Fire

Civil Service

NHS

Teachers

LGPS

Armed Forces

Judicial

Revaluation for Active Member

2.95%

4%

1.7%

3.2%

3.3%

1.7%

4%

1.7%

[HCWS123]

Defence

Nuclear Deterrent

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In 2007 the Government, endorsed by a parliamentary vote, began a programme to maintain the UK’s nuclear deterrent beyond the early 2030s. The 2015 strategic defence and security review (Cm 9161) confirmed the UK’s commitment to an independent minimum credible deterrent, reaffirmed in 2016 when the House voted overwhelmingly to maintain the continuous at sea deterrence posture. Our independent nuclear deterrent is essential to defend the UK and our NATO allies against the most extreme threats to our national security and way of life. The Government’s 2019 manifesto pledged: “We will maintain our Trident nuclear deterrent, which guarantees our security”. To ensure the Government maintain an effective deterrent throughout the commission of the Dreadnought class ballistic missile submarine we are replacing our existing nuclear warhead to respond to future threats and the security environment.

As set out in our annual updates to Parliament on the future of the UK’s nuclear deterrent the Ministry of Defence’s Defence Nuclear Organisation is working with the Atomic Weapons Establishment: to build the highly skilled teams and put in place the facilities and capabilities needed to deliver the replacement warhead; while also sustaining the current warhead until it is withdrawn from service. We will continue to work closely with the US to ensure our warhead remains compatible with the Trident strategic weapon system.

Delivery of the replacement warhead will be subject to the Government’s major programme approvals and oversight. My Department will continue to provide updates through the annual report to Parliament on the United Kingdom’s future nuclear deterrent.

[HCWS125]

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Alleged Serious and Significant Offences (Diplomatic Immunity) 2018

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In 2018, three serious and significant offences allegedly committed by people entitled to diplomatic or international organisation-related immunity in the United Kingdom were drawn to the attention of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office by Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection of the Metropolitan Police Service, or other law enforcement agencies. All of these were driving-related. We define serious offences as those which could, in certain circumstances, carry a penalty of 12 months’ imprisonment or more. Also included are driving under the influence and driving without insurance.

Around 23,000 people are entitled to diplomatic or international organisation-related immunity in the UK and the majority of diplomats and dependants abide by UK law. The number of alleged serious offences committed by members of the diplomatic community in the UK is proportionately low.

Under the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations 1961, we expect those entitled to immunity to obey the law. The FCO does not tolerate foreign diplomats or dependants breaking the law.

We take all allegations of illegal activity seriously. When the police or other law enforcement agency bring instances of alleged criminal conduct to our attention, we ask the relevant foreign Government or international organisation to waive immunity where appropriate. For the most serious offences, and when a relevant waiver has not been granted, we request the immediate withdrawal of the diplomat or dependant.

Listed below are alleged serious and significant offences reported to the FCO by UK law enforcement agencies in 2018.

Driving under the influence of alcohol (a) (b)

Saudi Arabia 2

Driving under the influence of alcohol and dangerous driving (b)

Saudi Arabia 1

(a) One person was responsible for the two allegations of driving under the influence of alcohol.

(b) Owing to the serious nature of the alleged offences, both individuals were expelled from the diplomatic mission.

Figures for the previous year are available in the written statement to the House by the Secretary for State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs’ on 18 December 2018 (HCWS1197) which can be found at: https://www. parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2018-12-18/HCWS1197/.

[HCWS119]

Diplomatic Missions and International Organisations: Debts Owed in the UK 2018

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Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials have held meetings with a number of diplomatic missions and international organisations about outstanding parking fine debt, outstanding national non-domestic rates payments and unpaid congestion charge debt, to press for payment of outstanding fines and debts. In 2019 protocol directorate wrote to diplomatic missions and international organisations with debts giving them the opportunity to either pay outstanding debts, or appeal against specific fines if they considered that they had been recorded incorrectly.

Parking fines: Parking fines incurred by diplomatic missions and international organisations in London are brought to our attention by local councils, Transport for London and the City of London.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has held meetings with missions which have substantial outstanding parking fine debts. In addition, in May 2019 we wrote to the debtors concerned giving them the opportunity either to pay their outstanding fines or appeal against them if they considered that the fines had been recorded incorrectly.

The table below details those diplomatic missions and international organisations which have outstanding fines from 2018 totalling £1,000 or more, as of 2 September 2019.

Diplomatic Mission/International Organisation 2018

Amount of Outstanding Fines (excluding London Congestion Charge)

High Commission for the Federal Republic of Nigeria

£47,165

Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

£19,765

High Commission for the Republic of Zambia

£17,000

Embassy of the United Arab Emirates

£11,565

Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia

£9,785

Embassy of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire

£6,405

Embassy of the Sultanate of Oman

£6,115

Embassy of Libya

£5,715

Malaysian High Commission

£4,900

Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

£4,050

High Commission for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

£4,000

Office of the High Commissioner for Ghana

£3,770

Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania

£3,731

Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan

£3,215

Embassy of the Republic of Iraq

£3,110

High Commission for Sierra Leone

£3,080

Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

£2,750

Embassy of the People’s Republic of China

£2,655

Embassy of the State of Kuwait

£2,600

People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria

£2,420

Embassy of the State of Qatar

£2,280

Embassy of the Republic of Angola

£2,210

Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan

£2,150

Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany

£2,005

Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt

£1,890

High Commission for the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

£1,885

High Commission for the Republic of Cameroon

£1,780

Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia

£1,630

Embassy of the Republic of Liberia

£1,445

Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan

£1,430

Office of the High Commissioner for India

£1,365

Uzbekistan

£1,315

High Commission of Canada

£1,260

Embassy of the Russian Federation

£1,235

Embassy of France

£1,200

Embassy of the Republic of Poland

£1,190

Embassy of the Republic of South Sudan

£1,145

Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran

£1,105

Embassy of the Kingdom of Bahrain

£1,085

High Commission for the Republic of South Africa

£1,085

Embassy of the Republic of Yemen

£1,080

Embassy of Brazil

£1,040

Royal Thai Embassy

£1,040

High Commission for Kenya

£1,020

Embassy of the United States of America

£1,015

High Commission of the United Republic of Tanzania

£1,005

National non-domestic rates: The majority of diplomatic missions in the United Kingdom pay the national non-domestic rates due from them. Diplomatic missions and international organisations are obliged to pay only 6% of the total NNDR value of their offices. This represents payment for specific services received such as street cleaning and street lighting.

Representations by protocol directorate of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to missions in 2018 led to the settlement of outstanding debts by a number of missions. £73,589 of the outstanding debt is owed by the embassy of the Syrian Arab Republic, which is not currently represented in the UK and we have therefore been unable to pursue this debt. We continue to urge all those with NNDR debt to pay their dues.

The missions listed below owed over £10,000 in respect of NNDR:

Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan

£164,178

Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran

£143,217

Embassy of the Republic of Zimbabwe

£124,175

Embassy of Libya

£94,519

Embassy of the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria

£92,830

Embassy of the Republic of Iraq

£88,568

High Commission for the Republic of Zambia

£74,794

High Commission for Sierra Leone

£70,088

High Commission for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

£64,492

Malaysian High Commission

£59,578

Uganda High Commission

£52,254

Embassy of the Russian Federation

£47,642

Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

£41,658

High Commission for the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

£37,001

High Commission for the Federal Republic of Nigeria

£36,975

Embassy of the Republic of Liberia

£36,149

Embassy of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire

£32,525

Kingdom of Eswatini High Commission

£29,860

Embassy of the Republic of Korea

£26,896

Embassy of the State of Qatar

£25,028

Embassy of the United States of America

£23,694

Embassy of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar

£18,808

Embassy of Tunisia

£15,791

Embassy of Romania

£13,891

Embassy of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea

£13,300

Embassy of the Republic of Angola

£12,293

Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania

£12,143

Embassy of the Republic of Yemen

£11,964

The Gambia High Commission

£11,716

Embassy of the Republic of Haiti

£10,413

London congestion charge: The value of unpaid congestion charge debt incurred by diplomatic missions and international organisations in London since its introduction in February 2003 until 31 December 2018 as advised by Transport for London was £116,868,825. The table below shows those diplomatic missions and international organisations with outstanding fines of £100,000 or more. FCO officials write to diplomatic missions and international organisations with large congestion charge debts annually, to encourage payment.

Country

Number of Fines

Total Outstanding

Embassy of the United States of America

102,255

£12,446,845

Embassy of Japan

69,690

£8,510,650

High Commission for the Federal Republic of Nigeria

58,102

£7,063,965

Office of the High Commissioner for India

47,654

£6,009,905

Embassy of the Russian Federation

48,535

£5,721,865

Embassy of the People's Republic of China

38,528

£5,051,880

Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany

37,275

£4,373,170

Embassy of the Republic of Poland

35,020

£4,345,760

Office of the High Commissioner for Ghana

31,895

£3,959,775

Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan

26,717

£3,358,585

The Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan

28,155

£3,353,420

High Commission for Kenya

22,813

£2,750,760

High Commission for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

18,197

£2,305,230

Embassy of France

18,783

£2,273,440

High Commission for the United Republic of Tanzania

17,038

£2,025,070

Embassy of the Republic of Korea

16,194

£2,020,120

Embassy of Spain

16,425

£1,979,560

Embassy of the Republic of Cuba

14,385

£1,806,960

Embassy of Algeria

14,206

£1,727,030

High Commission for the Republic of South Africa

13,931

£1,651,440

Embassy of Romania

13,579

£1,627,200

High Commission for Sierra Leone

13,148

£1,575,455

Embassy of Ukraine

12,310

£1,464,070

Embassy of Greece

12,261

£1,456,930

High Commission for the Republic of Cyprus

9,396

£1,152,870

Embassy of Hungary

9,508

£1,150,360

High Commission for the Republic of Zambia

8,333

£1,011,010

Embassy of the Republic of Yemen

7,879

£949,660

Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria

7,139

£840,390

High Commission for Botswana

6,186

£768,040

Embassy of the Republic of Turkey

5,797

£768,040

High Commission for the Republic of Malawi

5,958

£722,145

High Commission for the Republic of Cameroon

6,117

£721,420

High Commission of the Republic of Mozambique

5,812

£706,960

Embassy of the Republic of Belarus

5,931

£700,965

Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

5,631

£668,150

Embassy of the Slovak Republic

5,566

£653,980

High Commission for the Republic of Namibia

5,472

£646,070

High Commission for the Republic of Zimbabwe

5,561

£643,945

Kingdom of Eswatini High Commission

5,377

£636,350

Embassy of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire

5,219

£635,660

High Commission for Malta

4,857

£596,975

Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania

4,694

£590,985

High Commission for Mauritius

4,655

£559,575

Embassy of Austria

4,584

£556,740

Embassy of the Republic of Liberia

4,332

£542,030

Embassy of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea

4,550

£537,690

Uganda High Commission

4,243

£519,580

High Commission for the Kingdom of Lesotho

4,157

£491,960

Embassy of Belgium

3,812

£463,220

Embassy of the Islamic State of Afghanistan

3,512

£427,840

Embassy of the Czech Republic

3,648

£426,270

Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam

3,556

£425,800

Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco

3,228

£423,790

High Commission for the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

3,043

£397,480

High Commission for Jamaica

3,173

£385,020

Royal Danish Embassy

3,076

£370,555

Embassy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

2,932

£369,440

Embassy of the Republic of South Sudan

2,759

£357,990

Embassy of Tunisia

2,798

£357,840

Embassy of the Republic of Iraq

2,467

£323,920

Embassy of Portugal

2,357

£292,280

Embassy of the Republic of Latvia

2,332

£285,870

High Commission for Antigua & Barbuda

2,277

£281,795

Embassy of Finland

2,273

£278,010

Embassy of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea

2,297

£267,640

Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia

2,072

£260,930

Embassy of Luxembourg

2,031

£245,155

Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt

2,299

£243,220

High Commission for Belize

1,906

£243,090

Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia

1,845

£204,980

Embassy of the Republic of Guinea

1,731

£192,030

Embassy of Estonia

1,461

£181,140

Embassy of the State of Eritrea

315

£158,950

High Commission for Guyana

1,262

£154,010

Embassy of the Dominican Republic

1,245

£150,090

High Commission of the Republic of Seychelles

1,127

£145,455

Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

1,052

£139,750

High Commission of the Republic of Maldives

1,086

£136,130

Embassy of El Salvador

996

£126,445

Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania

1,060

£115,170

Embassy of the Republic of Albania

839

£108,800

Embassy of the Republic of Moldova

876

£106,630

Figures for previous years are available in the Secretary for State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs’ written statement to the House on 18 December 2018 (HCWS1204) which can be found at: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2018-12-18/HCWS1204/

[HCWS120]

Health and Social Care

Draft Human Tissue (Permitted Material: Exceptions) (England) Regulations: Government Response

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The Organ Donation (Deemed Consent) Act 2019 heralds a new system of consent for organ and tissue donation in England. Subject to Parliament’s approval of the secondary legislation and code of practice for healthcare professionals, the new system is intended to start in England from 20 May 2020.

Under the new system, known as “opt out” or “deemed consent”, people over 18 in England will be considered to have agreed to donate their organs and tissue after death, except where:

they made a decision to not donate their organs and or tissue, i.e. they have opted out;

they have nominated a representative to make a decision on their behalf after death about whether to donate; or

they are in one of the excluded groups: under the age of 18; ordinarily resident in England for less than 12 months before their death; lacked mental capacity to understand the new system for a significant period before their death.

The Government held a 12-week public consultation from 29 April to 22 July 2019 to seek views on a proposed list of organs, tissues and cells to exclude from deemed consent and which should therefore continue to require express consent before they can be removed, stored or used for transplantation. The list of organs, tissues and cells to exclude from deemed consent was set out in the draft Human Tissue (Permitted Material): Exceptions (England) Regulations. The Government received over 3,200 responses across different demographics which provided rich data on the questions asked.

The Government response to the consultation on the regulations has been laid before Parliament today (CP 224), alongside the revised draft Human Tissue (Permitted Material): Exceptions (England) Regulations 2020 and the Human Tissue Authority’s codes of practice for healthcare professionals setting out practical guidance about deemed consent. Copies of the Government response, the regulations and the codes of practice are available to hon. Members from the Vote Office and to noble Lords from the Printed Paper Office, along with the Government response being published on gov.uk at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/opt-out-organ-donation-organs-and-tissues-excluded-from-the-new-system.

To address the issues raised in the consultation, the Government have:

updated the list of what is excluded from deemed consent to clarify further that tissue from sexual and reproductive organs (including skin) will not be transplanted without express consent;

expanded the list featuring the parts of the male and the female reproductive system;

reviewed the list to clarify further that specific tissues (for example bone, skin and muscle) will be transplanted under deemed consent if the tissue is to be used for a routine transplant. As now, if the tissue is needed for a rare transplant this will require express consent; and

expanded the list of proposed advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs) to exclude from deemed consent. Although the Government recognise the benefits of ATMPs, use of ATMPs from deceased donors is novel and it is appropriate that express consent is in place when cells are donated.

To make the public aware of the new system of consent, NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) launched a communication campaign on behalf of the Government in April 2019. A number of platforms have been used since then to raise public awareness of the new system, more recently through TV and radio adverts, along with public advertising with specific targeting of people with different backgrounds, faith and beliefs. NHSBT will continue their awareness campaign, also working with GP practices, schools and BAME communities to address barriers to organ donation.

[HCWS121]

Home Department

Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse Report on Westminster

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Today the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse has published its latest report, which can be found at www.iicsa.org.uk.

This report relates to its investigation into Westminster. I pay tribute to the strength and courage of the victims and survivors who have shared their experiences to ensure the inquiry can deliver its vital work.

The Government will review this report and consider how to respond to its content in due course.

I would like to thank Professor Jay and her panel for their continued work to uncover the truth, expose what went wrong in the past and to learn the lessons for the future.

[HCWS124]