Thursday 10 December 2020
European Union (Withdrawal) Act and Common Frameworks Report
I am today laying before Parliament a report, The European Union (Withdrawal) Act and Common Frameworks: 26 June 2020 to 25 September 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 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 ninth 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 European Union (Withdrawal) Act and Common Frameworks: 26 June 2020 to 25 September 2020 report has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. The publication of the report reflects the Government continued commitment to transparency.
Attachments can be viewed online at
College of Policing Annual Report and Accounts 2019–20
I am today publishing the 2019-20 annual report and accounts for the College of Policing limited [HC 987]. This will be laid before the House and published on www.gov.uk. The report will also be available in the Vote Office.
Offensive Weapons Act 2019 Surrender and Compensation Scheme
The Offensive Weapon Act 2019 surrender and compensation scheme commences today. This is an important part of the Government response to tackling serious violence and keeping dangerous weapons off our streets.
The scheme is being run in advance of the Government commencing the prohibitions relating to rapid firing rifles and certain knives and other offensive weapons provided for by the Offensive Weapons Act 2019.
The scheme allows for the surrender to the police of certain knives such as zombie knives and cyclone knives, other offensive weapons, rapid firing rifles and their ancillary equipment and bump stocks. The arrangements apply in England and Wales and extend to Scotland and Northern Ireland with respect to firearms and ancillary equipment only. The lawful owners of these items will be able to claim financial compensation in most cases.
The scheme will run for three months between 10 December 2020 and 9 March 2021 inclusive.
I will place in the Libraries of both Houses a copy of the guidance to the public on the scheme, the claims form, a standard values list of compensation that will be paid for surrendered weapons and a list of designated police stations in every force where weapons can be surrendered. These documents are being made available to the public on gov.uk.
Prison Service Pay Review Body Recommendations 2020-21.
I am today making a further and final announcement on the Government’s response to this year’s recommendations from the Prison Service Pay Review Body.
The Prison Service Pay Review Body (PSPRB) reported to Government with its 2020-21 pay award recommendations earlier this summer, and on 21 July, the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice was pleased to announce the Government’s acceptance of six out of the seven recommendations. This has already delivered an above inflation pay rise of at least 2.5% for all prison staff, with cumulative awards of up to 7.5% where progression pay is taken into account.
The PSPRB report also included a recommendation (“recommendation 3”) to make a further overall increase of £3,000 for “Band 3” prison staff on modernised terms and conditions, intended to have effect from September 2020. For staff at this grade, this would represent a rise of between 14% and 21%. This group represents around one third of the prison service workforce. This recommendation presents clear affordability challenges due to its exceptional cost and is also out of step with other public sector workforces. The Government therefore committed to considering the recommendation in more detail.
Since the initial announcement, the Ministry of Justice, together with HM Treasury, has considered further the exceptional costs associated with implementing this recommendation, the impact on the overall pay structure, and the changing labour market conditions due to the exceptional economic impacts of the covid-19 pandemic.
Changes in the labour market as a result of the covid-19 pandemic, and the unpredictable changing state of the economy means that the assumptions made by the PSPRB upon which it based its recommendations have now changed.
The Department has also considered if any associated workforce reforms could be delivered alongside the recommendation which would create efficiencies and savings, and therefore deliver value for money by offsetting some of the cost of the recommendation. This was undertaken with a view to possible discussions with recognised trade unions, should an option for affordable delivery of the recommendation, which could offer value for money for taxpayers, be identified. The conclusion is that sufficient savings required to offer value for money could not be achieved, meaning the recommendation remains unaffordable.
It has therefore been decided not to accept “recommendation 3”. Nonetheless, this is the third year in a row that prison staff have benefited from an award of at least 2%—which delivers an above inflation increase.
I would like to reiterate my thanks to the PSPRB for its independent expertise, insight and rigour through which it has developed this year’s report. While the Government have not accepted the entirety of the PSPRB recommendations for 20-21, the Department remains committed to working with the review body and we will also continue to work closely with recognised trade unions.
The Chancellor has outlined that in the interest of fairness, pay rises in the public sector will be restrained and targeted for the coming year (2021-22), while also ensuring an uplift for lower earning staff who need it most. I will be shortly writing to the chair of the PSPRB to seek its independent advice on prison pay for 2021-22, in line with the Chancellor’s statement.
I am also, above all, immensely grateful for the hardworking public servants who are critical to the delivery of safe and secure running of our prisons. While the wider circumstances are unpredictable, I remain committed to supporting staff in our prison service, who work hard to help those who are the most vulnerable in our society while keeping the public safe.