Monday 24 October 2016
Culture, Media and Sport
Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures
I wish to inform the House that on 24 October 2016, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has published terms of reference and a call for evidence for a review of gaming machines and social responsibility requirements across the gambling industry.
The review will be considering robust evidence on the appropriate maximum stakes and prizes for gaming machines across all premises licensed under the Gambling Act 2005; the number and location of gaming machines across all licensed premises; and social responsibility measures to protect players from gambling-related harm (including whether there is evidence on the impacts of gambling advertising and whether the right rules are in place to protect children and vulnerable people).
The review will include a close look at the issue of B2 gaming machines (more commonly known as Fixed Odds Betting Terminals—FOBTs) and specific concerns about the harm they cause, be that to the player or the communities in which they are located.
In launching this review I want to ensure that legislation strikes the right balance between allowing the industry to grow and contribute to the economy while ensuring consumers and communities are protected, including those who are just about managing.
The call for evidence period will close on 4 December, following which Government will consider proposals based on robust evidence provided to assist in our decisions.
Relevant documents have been published on the website at: http://www.gov.uk and copies will be deposited in the Libraries of both Houses.
Exiting the European Union
General Affairs Council and Foreign Affairs Council (Trade)
I attended the General Affairs Council on 18 October. The meeting was chaired by the Slovak presidency and held in Luxembourg. I also attended the extraordinary Foreign Affairs Council (Trade).
General Affairs Council
The General Affairs Council (GAC) on Tuesday 18 October discussed the preparation of the October European Council; the mid-term review of the multiannual financial framework; and implementation of the inter-institutional agreement on better law-making.
A provisional report of the meeting and the conclusions adopted can be found at: http://www.consilium. europa.eu/en/meetings/gac/2016/10/18/.
I also represented the Government at an extraordinary meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council (Trade) dedicated to the comprehensive economic and trade agreement with Canada (CETA).
Preparation of the October European Council
Discussions focused on the agenda of the October European Council—migration, trade, Russia and other global and economic issues. The UK emphasised again our role as an active and constructive participant in on going EU business, upholding both our rights and obligations until our departure.
On migration, the UK was supportive of the focus on upstream work with countries of origin and transit as part of a comprehensive approach. On trade, the UK reiterated support for an ambitious EU trade agenda, including strong support for CETA and TTIP, as an opportunity to shape the rules of global trade and provide economic benefits to citizens. On Russia, the UK expressed the need to stand firm against Russian attempts to undermine the rules based international order, and I made clear that we should be ready to consider all the tools at our disposal to end the violence in Syria.
Multiannual Financial Framework
Discussion on the MFF focused on the balance between budgetary prudence and the need to address current political challenges. There was agreement on the need to focus the next phase of discussions on how to respond to the priorities of migration, security and jobs and growth within the context of a responsible and disciplined overall approach to the budget which provides value for money.
Inter-Institutional Agreement implementation
Following the adoption of the Commission work programme, the Commission, the European Parliament, and Council will issue a joint declaration setting out the top priorities and objectives for the year ahead. The Slovakian presidency gave a presentation on this process at the GAC.
Foreign Affairs Council (Trade)
Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with Canada (CETA)
The Council discussed ongoing negotiations on the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union and its member states. The UK confirmed its support for the Council decisions on signing, provisional application and conclusion of CETA. Not all other member states were able to lift their reserves. Negotiations continue.
I also wish to inform the House that the Government opted in to the Council decisions on signing, provisional application and conclusion of CETA, insofar as they relate to the temporary presence of natural persons for business, otherwise known as Mode IV. The Government are committed to taking all opt-in decisions on a case-by-case basis, putting the national interest at the heart of the decision-making process.
Accelerated Access Review
This morning Sir Hugh Taylor has published the final report of the accelerated access review (AAR). The AAR was tasked with making recommendations to the Government on reforms to accelerate access for NHS patients to innovative medicines, medical technologies, diagnostics and digital products. The report sets out a framework of recommendations to streamline and accelerate the pathway for new products from development to their use with patients and to enable widespread adoption across the NHS.
The Government welcome Sir Hugh’s final report and are grateful to him, Sir John Bell, the external champions and the external advisory group for their excellent work, which draws upon contributions from many individuals and organisations from patient groups, the NHS, industry, academia and clinicians. We are grateful for the important input that this review has had from NHS England NICE, the MHRA and NHS Improvement.
The report provides us with a strong basis to make the right decisions about how the health system can be adapted to meet the challenges of the future, attract inward investment, grow our thriving life sciences industry and use innovation to improve patient outcomes in the context of the financial pressures on the NHS. It will be important to implement this report in a way that is affordable for the NHS. The Government will now consider the proposals in detail with our partners and will provide a fuller response in due course.
The Government remain strongly committed to the life sciences and to building a long-term partnership with industry. It is determined to help the UK become the best place in the world to produce new drugs and products that can transform the health of patients, where the research, development, regulatory, commercialisation and investment infrastructure enable innovation to flourish and thrive while improving patient’s lives.
AAR Final Report (AAR final.pdf) can be viewed online at: http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/ written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2016-10-24/HCWS209/.