Tuesday 5 July 2022
Finance Bill 2022-23: Draft Legislation
The Government will introduce the Finance Bill following the next Budget.
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 are committed, where possible, to publishing most tax legislation in draft for technical consultation before the legislation is laid before Parliament.
The Government will publish draft clauses for the next Finance Bill, which will largely cover pre-announced policy changes, on 20 July along with accompanying explanatory notes, tax information and impact notes, responses to consultations and other supporting documents. All publications will be available on the gov.uk website.
Continued Support to Ukraine
Today, I am pleased to update the House with further details on the UK-led training programme of Ukrainian armed forces announced by the Prime Minister on his recent visit to Kyiv.
In response to Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, the UK Government are providing £2.3 billion of military aid to Ukraine. Included in this is a commitment to spearhead an innovative programme which aims to train up to 10,000 new Ukrainian recruits in the UK.
The first rotation of Ukrainian soldiers has recently arrived in the UK. Training will take place on military training areas across the north-east, south-west and south-east regions. The training will be conducted by elements from 11 Security Force Assistance Brigade.
These Ukrainian soldiers will undertake courses based on the UK’s basic soldier training. This includes weapons training, battlefield first aid, fieldcraft, patrol tactics and training on the law of armed conflict. Each course will last several weeks. I have informed hon. Members whose constituencies include the bases being used for this training programme about local arrangements.
Our ambition is to increase the scale and frequency of these courses, in line with Ukrainian requirements. We are also discussing with international partners options to broaden involvement in the training programme, working constructively with countries prepared to support either by contributing trainers or providing equipment.
We expect the training package to evolve over time. I will keep Parliament informed of the outcomes of these initial courses and any plans to increase the programme’s scale or scope.
This activity is a priority for the Ministry of Defence as part of the UK’s unwavering efforts to bolster the capability of the Ukrainian armed forces and demonstrates continued UK leadership in responding to Russia’s war of aggression. I can reassure the House that the Ministry of Defence has received strong support from across Government for the non-military provisions required to support such a significant training programme.
While the training activity is being made public, some details will be kept confidential for security purposes.
Today I have laid before the House a departmental minute giving notice of a contingent liability for the issuing of an indemnity in respect to the formation of the curriculum arm’s length body.
The proposed indemnity will be reported as a contingent liability in line with the HM Treasury contingent liability framework and managed in accordance with managing public money (MPM).
The Government have announced that Oak National Academy will be converted into a new arm’s length body to the Department for Education—focused on supporting teachers to plan and deliver an excellent curriculum and building on Oak’s success. Oak National Academy was created in April 2020 as a sector-led, national response to support schools in educating pupils remotely during the pandemic. It is incubated by the Reach Foundation charity and part funded by Government grants.
The proposed indemnity is for £10 million and would cover the Reach Foundation, which is a charitable organisation, against liabilities, claims, costs, and obligations that are made in relation to the transfer for free of assets, licences, and undertakings of Oak National Academy to the curriculum arm’s length body, including the TUPE transfer of staff.
It is usual to allow a period of 14 sitting days prior to accepting a contingent liability, to provide hon. Members an opportunity to raise any objections. I regret that on this occasion pressing requirements to transfer the assets to the ALB before 1 September, together with the dissolution of Parliament, have meant that it has not been possible to provide the full 14 sitting days prior to taking on the contingent liability.
Her Majesty’s Treasury has approved the contingent liability in principle.
A copy of the departmental minute will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
Key Stage 2 Attainment
The key stage 2 (KS2) national statistics released today show that the percentage of pupils meeting the expected standard in all three subjects of reading, writing and maths at age 11 was 59% in 2022. This is lower than it was before the pandemic: 65% of pupils met the standard in all three subjects in 2019. While this is disappointing, it was expected due to the impact of the pandemic. The Government recognise, and value, the work that teachers up and down the country are putting into education recovery, but also understand that there is more work to do.
We welcome the increase in reading attainment from 73% in 2019 to 74% in 2022, despite the disruption of covid, which is a tribute to the hard work and dedication of our teachers, pupils and parents. Indeed, these figures build on the research we commissioned from Renaissance Learning, published in March 2022, that showed faster recovery in English reading than in maths. Reading is, of course, fundamental: we cannot knock down barriers for children if we do not teach them to read well. Attainment in maths and in writing, however, are disappointing, but not unexpected: in 2022 71% of pupils met the expected standard in maths, compared to 79% in 2019, while in writing, 69% of pupils met the expected standard, down from 78% in 2019.
Today’s statistics summarise KS2 attainment at national level and, of course, we want to understand the detail beneath these figures. There will be a further statistical release on 6 September setting out breakdowns of the KS2 results, including by region, local authority area and pupil characteristics such as disadvantage. It is, of course, likely that some pupils, and some areas of the country, will have been impacted more than others due to the pandemic.
It is vital that we have a clear understanding of the impact of the disruption caused by covid-19 on the attainment and progress of all pupils, to support schools in their work on education recovery. That is why we decided to go ahead with primary assessments this year, without adaptations, so that we can have a consistent measure of attainment before and after the pandemic. This will enable us to be open and transparent about the impact of the pandemic on attainment at system level. As we announced in July 2021, we will not be publishing school-level KS2 data this year in performance tables because we did not make adaptations to the tests and assessments or the standards. We will share school-level data in the autumn with schools, academy trusts and local authorities to inform school improvement and support school leaders. We will ensure clear messages are placed alongside any data shared to advise caution in its interpretation.
The statistics published today underline the importance of our focus on recovery. Recovery funding is already making a difference, but we recognise that there is more still to do.
That is why we have committed nearly £5 billion to fund a comprehensive recovery package. By May 2022, 1.5 million courses had been started by children across England through the national tutoring programme; and £950 million of direct funding, through the catch-up and recovery premia, was helping schools to deliver evidence-based interventions based on pupil needs. In light of the success of this year’s school-led tutoring route through the national tutoring programme, next year we will allocate all tutoring funding directly to schools, simplifying the system and giving schools the freedom to decide how best to provide tutoring for their pupils.
As well as specific recovery investments, The schools White Paper, “Opportunity for all: strong schools with great teachers for your child”, published on 28 March sets out how our education system will deliver recovery through a wider programme of ambitious reforms that truly level up outcomes and ensure we build back better from the pandemic.
On maths in particular, we continue to support and enhance the teaching of maths through our network of 40 school-led maths hubs, which are helping local schools improve the quality of their mathematics teaching based on best practice. We have also established the £100 million Teaching for Mastery programme, which is bringing mastery teaching to 11,000 schools across England by 2023. This teaching style focuses on depth of understanding and is based on best practice from East Asian jurisdictions that perform highly in international mathematics tests. Drawing on this approach, we have also published non-statutory guidance to support teachers to prioritise and sequence the maths curriculum in a way that aims to help pupils understand and progress in mathematics.
On English, we continue to support the teaching of early reading through our network of 34 English hubs, established in 2018. The English hubs programme is dedicated to improving the teaching of early reading, with a focus on supporting children making the slowest progress. In July 2021 we also published “The reading framework: teaching the foundations of literacy”, non-statutory guidance for teachers and school leaders, aimed at improving the teaching of the foundations of reading in primary schools by defining best practice. We will build on this by publishing part 2 of the reading framework next year, to provide evidence-based non-statutory guidance on teaching reading for years 2 to 9.
The ability to read fluently is also important when developing pupils’ writing skills. We are heartened that the data released today has shown an increase in reading attainment despite the disruption of covid, but we know there is more to do to ensure this translates into an improvement in writing attainment. In September 2022, we will launch the NPQ in leading literacy, which will support school literacy leaders to have a secure understanding of the importance of literacy and recognise the influence it has on pupils’ future academic achievement, wellbeing and success in life. It will support leaders to develop expertise in the teaching of reading and writing and enable them to share their expertise effectively to improve literacy outcomes for every child.
We have also invested £10 million in core skills in English and maths for the 2021-22 academic year, as part of the accelerator fund, which included funding for the English and maths hubs programmes to help pupils secure the key knowledge and understanding they need to progress—and which may have been missed due to covid-19 disruption.
The parent pledge in the schools White Paper will also make the Government’s vision clear that any child who falls behind in English or maths will receive the right evidence-based targeted support to get them back on track.
Underpinning all of these initiatives is the need to help children and young people recover from the impact of the pandemic and to achieve their full potential. The Government remain fully committed to achieving this aim.
Jermaine Baker Inquiry
On 12 February 2020, I announced the establishment of an independent inquiry, under the Inquiries Act 2005, to investigate the circumstances involved in the death of Jermaine Baker during a Metropolitan Police Service operation on 11 December 2015.
Today, the chair of the inquiry, His Honour Clement Goldstone QC, published the inquiry’s final report. As set out in the Inquiries Act 2005, the report has also been laid before Parliament.
My Department will consider any findings and any recommendations in due course. I hope this report will provide answers and closure for the Baker family.
Great British Railways: Headquarters
Today, 5 July 2022,1 am announcing the shortlist of the most suitable potential locations for the national headquarters of Great British Railways (GBR), which will go forward to a consultative public vote to be held online and by post.
The confirmed list of shortlisted towns and cities is:
Newcastle upon Tyne
I announced on 4 October 2021 that a competition would be run to identify the headquarters for GBR, to be located outside of London. This was launched on 5 February 2022 and was overseen by the GBR Transition Team (GBRTT). Prospective local authorities were asked to submit a short Expression of Interest to GBRTT by Wednesday 16 March.
GBRTT received 42 applications and has analysed their suitability against the published set of criteria for the national headquarters. The selection criteria are:
Alignment to Levelling Up principles
Connected and easy to get to
Opportunities for GBR
Value for money
Railway heritage and links to the network
GBRTT will launch a public vote today that will give the public the opportunity to express their views. The vote is consultative and will be used to test public support for each shortlisted location, allowing the people that the railway serves the chance to have their say.
Ministers will then make a final decision on the headquarters’ location based on all information gathered and against the above criteria, with a final decision expected later in the year.
The new national GBR headquarters will be supported by a number of new regional headquarters across the country, putting decision-making and investment at the heart of communities that use those railways day to day.
The Government are committed to levelling up, delivering jobs and investment beyond the capital. The national headquarters will be at the heart of the rail network and provide strategic direction for the running of GBR. Based outside London, it will bring a number of high-skilled jobs to the winning location.