Tuesday 29 June 2021
Health and Social Care
Designated Settings: Indemnity Support (September extension)
Further to my written statement on 25 March 2021, I am tabling this statement for the benefit of hon. and right hon. Members to bring to their attention the undertaking of a contingent liability. This relates to an extension of the designated settings indemnity support (DSIS), which offers targeted and time-limited state-backed indemnity arrangements to care homes registered, or intending to register, as “designated settings”, and which are unable to obtain sufficient insurance cover.
On 18 January 2021, the Minister for Covid Vaccine Deployment announced in a written ministerial statement, and accompanying departmental minute, provision of these temporary indemnity arrangements under the DSIS. The DSIS includes cover for clinical negligence, employer’s and public liability where a care provider seeking to become a designated setting is unable to secure sufficient commercial insurance, or where an existing provider has been operating without sufficient cover. Employer’s and public liability is covered under the new coronavirus temporary indemnity scheme; clinical negligence is covered by the clinical negligence scheme for trusts. The DSIS is supervised by DHSC and administered by NHS Resolution, and, to date, has proved to be an effective package of support to designated settings.
DSIS initially provided cover for designated settings until the end of March 2021 and was subsequently extended for a further three months until the end of June 2021. Following a further review of DSIS, it will now be extended until 30 September 2021, in order to maintain the current level of support for these vital settings. This extension will benefit current DSIS participants, as well as any additional settings who may wish to apply for the support and who meet the criteria for inclusion. We will review the progress of the support ahead of this end-date.
I regret that in this circumstance, due to the need to ensure that there are no gaps in DSIS cover after the current 30 June end-date, the normal 14 sitting days for consideration has not been possible. A departmental minute will be laid in the House of Commons providing more detail on this contingent liability.
European Motor Insurance Directive (Vnuk)
On 21 February 2021, the Government announced they intended to remove the effects of the 2014 European Court of Justice’s ruling in the Vnuk case from GB law. The Government have been clear since the ruling in 2014 that they do not agree with it. The decision directed the unnecessary extension of the provisions requiring motor insurance to private land as well as a greater range of vehicles that potentially includes motorsports, agricultural machinery and light electric vehicles. This has led to excessive liabilities on the insurance industry, and to potential increases in motorists’ insurance premiums. Delivering on this commitment is a priority for the Government and we will continue to explore bringing forward the necessary legislation as soon as parliamentary time allows.
My hon. Friend the Member for Wellingborough (Mr Bone) has introduced a private Member’s Bill, the Motor Vehicles (Compulsory Insurance) Bill, which aims to deliver the necessary legislative change. The Government will follow passage of this Bill with interest.
Vnuk is a 2014 European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling on the case of a Slovenian farmer—Mr Vnuk—who was knocked off his ladder by a reversing tractor trailer on a private farm in 2007.
The ruling directed that the compulsory motor insurance requirement must be extended to include vehicles being used on private land, as well as a greater range of vehicles—potentially including those used in motorsports, agricultural machinery and light electric vehicles (LEV).
This contrasts sharply with the scope of the domestic compulsory insurance requirement (in GB) under the Road Traffic Act 1988 (RTA) which is limited to accidents on roads and other public places and has a narrower definition of “motor vehicle”.
Implementing Vnuk would have been costly, in the region of £2 billion (covering existing motorcars, existing motorcycles, existing business vehicles, motorsports and other business) according to the Government Actuary’s Department (GAD).
Focusing just on existing motorcars, GAD calculate that insurance policyholders could face an estimated additional cost of £1.227 billion if Vnuk was implemented—expressed as a potential increase in individual insurance premiums of c. £50 for 25 million consumers.
In order to remove the impact of the Vnuk decision from GB law, primary legislation is required and a slot to introduce this will be sought at the earliest possible opportunity.
HS2 Phase 2a Local Consultation: Government Response
I am today publishing a Government response report as required under section 60(3) of the High Speed Rail (West Midlands to Crewe) Act 2021. The report sets out the Government response to the issues raised in the HS2 phase 2a local consultation held between 1 February and 26 February 2021 and which were summarised in the consultation report published on 13 May 2021 and prepared by the independent research company, Ipsos MORI.
I am placing copies of the report in the Libraries of both Houses.