Tuesday 12 January 2021
Defence Equipment Plan
I wish to inform Parliament that the permanent secretary for the Ministry of Defence has written to the Chair of the Public Accounts Committee with our 2020 update on the affordability of the defence equipment plan, covering the period 2020-21 to 2029-30. His letter and the supplementary tables have been placed in the Library of the House and published online. This more concise update takes the place of the usual equipment plan financial summary report and maintains continuity of financial reporting ahead of implementing the outcomes of the spending review and integrated review. I welcome the continued engagement of the National Audit Office (NAO) who have today published their independent assessment of our plans.
Last month, the Prime Minister announced a once-in-a-generation modernisation of the armed forces including £16.5 billion additional spending on defence over the next four years. I am determined that we seize this opportunity to modernise the armed forces to meet today’s threat while taking hard decisions to put defence on a sustainable footing. To do so will require a transparent approach to taking these decisions, inviting robust scrutiny of our plans and recognising where we could be doing more to deliver better value for our spending.
In this context, today’s update on the affordability of our plans as they were in April 2020, are a reminder of the challenge ahead and the need for decisive action now to ensure that we match our ambition and resources.
Over the year to April 2020, our central estimate of the shortfall in funding for equipment spending increased from £3 billion to £7 billion over 10 years, with potential for this to be greater if risks materialise and we take no action to intervene. This increase was largely the result of three sources of increased costs:
Deferral of spending on some projects to save money in the short-term while allowing decisions about their future to be taken in the context of the integrated review;
There were more limited opportunities to reduce the cost of established projects than in previous years and projects were more confident in delivering milestones and achieving their spending forecasts; and
Risks materialising including less favourable foreign exchange rate forecasts and additional non-discretionary spending in high-priority areas including the nuclear enterprise that we were not able to fully offset through savings.
The settlement we have received in the recent spending review means we are now in a position to tackle the root causes of these issues. We are already using the findings of the NAO’s assessment of the equipment plan alongside our work on these issues to improve our approach to implementing the outcomes of the spending review and ensure that our plans are affordable and deliverable.
I am pleased to see that the NAO has recognised the progress we are making in some areas, including management of efficiencies. Our ambitious transformation programme will build on this progress.
I expect our 2021 edition of the equipment plan financial summary to present the implications of the spending review and integrated review for equipment spending and on progress in improving the management of our plans.
Attachments can be viewed online at: http://www. parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questionsanswers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2021-01-12/HCWS700/.
No-cost Supply to Lebanese Armed Forces
The UK intends to supply a fleet of vehicles at no cost to the Lebanese armed forces (LAF), in recognition of our strong relationship in tackling the shared terrorist threat.
At present the LAF do not have the capability to fully patrol Lebanon’s border with Syria and have requested the UK’s assistance in providing suitable equipment to fulfil this requirement. The UK has agreed to supply 100 surplus army revised weapon mounted installation kit plus (RWMIK+) vehicles in response to a request from the Lebanese commander-in-chief.
The supply of these vehicles will greatly enhance the LAF’s capacity to mount long distance patrols across rugged mountainous terrain and allow their land border regiments (LBRs) to more effectively counter the threat of armed smugglers and extremists trying to enter Lebanon.
The 100 revised weapon mounted installation kit plus (RWMIK+) vehicles, valuing £1,502,000, are surplus to the needs of the British Army. The logistical costs of collating and then transporting the vehicles to Lebanon will be borne by the Conflict Stability and Security Fund, and training in the operation of the vehicles will be borne by the defence acquisition fund (south).
Delivery of the RWMIK+ to Beirut is expected to commence in January 2021.
Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures
Section 19(1) of the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011 (the Act) requires the Secretary of State to report to Parliament as soon as reasonably practicable after the end of every relevant three-month period on the exercise of her TPIM powers under the Act during that period.
The level of information provided will always be subject to slight variations based on operational advice.
TPIM notices in force—as of 30 November 2020 3 Number of new TPIM notices served—during this period 0 TPIM notices in respect of British citizens—as of 30 November 2020 3 TPIM notices extended—during the reporting period 1 TPIM notices revoked—during the reporting period 1 TPIM notices revived—during the reporting period 0 Variations made to measures specified in TPIM notices—during the reporting period 3 Applications made to measures specified in TPIM notices refused—during the reporting period 0 The number of subjects relocated under TPIM legislation—during this the reporting period 3
TPIM notices in force—as of 30 November 2020
Number of new TPIM notices served—during this period
TPIM notices in respect of British citizens—as of 30 November 2020
TPIM notices extended—during the reporting period
TPIM notices revoked—during the reporting period
TPIM notices revived—during the reporting period
Variations made to measures specified in TPIM notices—during the reporting period
Applications made to measures specified in TPIM notices refused—during the reporting period
The number of subjects relocated under TPIM legislation—during this the reporting period
Two individuals have been charged with breaching their TPIM notices in this period.
The TPIM Review Group (TRG) keeps every TPIM notice under regular and formal review. Fourth quarter TRG meetings were held on 14 and 15 December 2020.
Northern Ireland Assembly: Petition of Concern Mechanism
I am today laying before both Houses of Parliament the second report by the UK Government on the use of the Petition of Concern mechanism in the Northern Ireland Assembly.
As part of the New Decade, New Approach deal upon which devolved Government was restored in Northern Ireland on 11 January 2020, the UK Government committed to undertaking such a report every six months.
This report covers the period from 10 July 2020 to 11 January 2021, during which no Petition of Concern has been lodged against any motion in the Assembly.
The next UK Government report on the use of the Petition of Concern will cover the period from 11 January 2021 to 10 July 2021.
The report notes that full implementation of the Petition of Concern reforms in New Decade, New Approach will require Westminster legislation. The Government will bring forward such legislation when parliamentary time allows, after which the Assembly will be able to reflect the detail of the reforms in its standing orders.
M25 Junction 10 Upgrade
I have been asked by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State (Grant Shapps), to make this written ministerial statement. This statement concerns the application made under the Planning Act 2008 for the proposed alteration and upgrading by Highways England of the existing M25 junction 10 roundabout.
Under section 107(1) of the Planning Act 2008, the Secretary of State must make his decision within three months of receipt of the examining authority’s report unless exercising the power under section 107(3) to extend the deadline and make a statement to the Houses of Parliament announcing the new deadline. The Secretary of State received the examining authority’s report on the M25 Junction 10/A3 Wisley interchange development consent order application on 12 October 2020 and the original deadline for a decision was 12 January 2021.
The deadline for the decision is to be extended to 12 May 2021—an extension of four months—to enable the Secretary of State to consult further on the application including on the question of appropriate provision of replacement land to compensate for the proposed special category land to be compulsorily purchased under the development consent order.
The decision to set a new deadline is without prejudice to the decision on whether to grant development consent.
Public Service Pension Scheme Indexation and Revaluation 2021
Public service pensions continue to be among the very best available.
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 12 April 2021 by 0.5%, in line with the annual increase in the consumer prices index up to September 2020, except for those public service pensions which have been in payment for less than a year, which will receive a pro-rata increase. This will ensure that public service pensions take account of increases in the cost of living and their purchasing power is maintained.
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 HMT 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 2020. Public service schemes which rely on a measure of prices, therefore, will use the figure of 0.5% 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 2020. Public service schemes which rely on a measure of earnings, therefore, will use the figure of 2.4% 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 1.75 % 2.4 % 0.5% 2% 2.1% 0.5% 2.4% 0.5%
Revaluation for active member