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Written Statements

Volume 680: debated on Thursday 24 September 2020

Written Statements

Thursday 24 September 2020

Cabinet Office

European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 and Common Frameworks

I am today laying before Parliament a report, “The European Union (Withdrawal) Act and Common Frameworks: 26 March to 25 June 2020”. I am laying this report because it is a legal requirement under the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 for quarterly reports to be made to Parliament on the progress of the work to develop common frameworks. The report is being made available on gov.uk and details the progress made between the UK Government and devolved Administrations regarding the development of common frameworks. This report details progress made during the eighth three-month reporting period, and sets out that no “freezing” regulations have been brought forward under section 12 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act. A copy of the “The European Union (Withdrawal) Act and Common Frameworks: 26 March to 25 June 2020” report has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

I am also laying before Parliament the “Frameworks Analysis 2020”. The analysis is being made available on gov.uk and outlines the expected implementing arrangements for each of the policy areas within the UK common frameworks programme. This analysis highlights the significant changes since April 2019 whilst recognising that future changes are expected throughout the remainder of the programme. A copy of the “Frameworks Analysis 2020” has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

The attachments can be viewed online at: http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2020-09-24/HCWS466/.

[HCWS466]

Treasury

Counter-terrorist Asset Freezing Regime: January-March 2020

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 January 2020 to 31 March 2020.

This report also covers the UK’s implementation of the UN’s ISIL (Daesh) 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 (Daesh) 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 (Daesh) listings.

The attached tables set out the key asset-freezing activity in the UK during the quarter.

The attachment can be viewed online at: http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2020-09-24/HCWS467/.

[HCWS467]

Health and Social Care

Coronavirus Update

As set out by the Prime Minister in Parliament on 22 September, the covid-19 infection rate is rising across the country. It is now vitally important that Government take decisive action to limit any further spread, and reduce the chance of more restrictive measures.

I therefore wish to update you on the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 2) (England) (Amendment) (No. 5) Regulations 2020 (“the No. 2 Amendment Regulations”), and the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings in a Relevant Place and on Public Transport) (England) (Amendment) (No. 3) Regulations 2020 which both came into force on 24 September 2020.

It is now a legal requirement for hospitality venues (including cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants) to close between the hours of 10 pm and 5 am. This rule also applies to social clubs, cinemas, theatres, concert halls, casinos, bowling alleys, amusement arcades (and other indoor leisure centres or facilities), funfairs, theme parks, and adventure parks and activities, and bingo halls. However, cinemas, theatres and concert halls will be able to remain open beyond 10 pm if the performance started before 10 pm. There are certain exemptions to these restrictions, including delivery services, drive-through, and service stations. In addition, a “table service only” policy means that customers must be seated to consume food and drink served on hospitality premises.

If businesses do not adhere to these new requirements, they could face a fine of £1,000 increasing in intervals to £2,000 then £4,000 to a maximum of £10,000 for subsequent offences.

The “rule of six” introduced on 14 September prohibits social gatherings of more than six people in England, apart from specific exemptions. These exemptions have been further limited to reduce the risk of covid-19 transmission. The amendments include: limiting attendance at support groups, weddings and wedding receptions to 15 people and removing the existing exemption for indoor team sports (except for indoor disabled sports and supervised under-18s sports), and significant life events (other than weddings, civil partnerships, and funerals).

Fines for initial breaches of the rule of six gathering limit have been doubled to reflect the severity of non-compliance. This means fines will be doubled from £100 to £200, doubling again upon reoffence.

Amendments to the face covering regulations introduce a requirement for the public to wear a face covering in retail, leisure and hospitality venues including restaurants, public houses and bars, except for when seated to eat or drink. We have also extended the requirement to wear a face covering to staff working in these settings unless they have a reasonable excuse, in areas which are open to the public and where they are likely to come into close contact with members of the public.

The penalty for failing to wear a face covering where one is required or gathering in groups of more than six, will now increase from £100 to £200 on the first offence (reduced to £100 if paid within 14 days), rising to a maximum of £6,400 for repeat offenders with no reduction for early payment from the second fine.

Publicly available Government guidance on gov.uk is being updated to ensure that it is consistent with the new regulations. Sector bodies will also produce updated guidance where relevant.

[HCWS468]