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House of Commons Hansard
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Written Statements
29 November 2017
Volume 632

Written Statements

Wednesday 29 November 2017

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Competitiveness Council: Pre-Council Statement

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The Competitiveness Council will take place on 30 November and 1 December in Brussels.

Day oneInternal Market and Industry

The Council will aim to agree a general approach on the single digital gateway. The objective of the Single Digital Gateway proposal is to remove barriers to the single market created by lack of easy access to high quality information and Government services online.

The Commission will then present a competitiveness check-up including details of the objectives of the EU industrial strategy. This will lead into a discussion on the EU industrial strategy, where the Estonian presidency will present a report. The Council will be invited to adopt conclusions on the Commission’s communication on ‘A Renewed EU Industrial Policy Strategy’.

The Council will then discuss a number of AOB points on geo-blocking, the European defence industrial development programme, the digital single market, the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court, the European SME action programme, the public procurement package and the traceability system of tobacco products. In these AOB points the Council will be given information by the presidency or by a member state delegation.

The day will end with a presentation by the Bulgarian delegation on details of their upcoming presidency.

Day twoSpace and Research

The Council will adopt Council conclusions on the mid-term evaluation of the Copernicus programme. This will be followed by an exchange of views on the way forward for EU space programmes.

The afternoon session will begin with a discussion on Council conclusions “From the Interim Evaluation of Horizon 2020 towards the ninth Framework Programme”. The Council will then debate the mission-orientated approach proposed for the ninth framework programme.

Under AOB, the Commission will provide information on the state of play with open science.

Day two will conclude with information from the Bulgarian delegation on their incoming presidency work programme.

[HCWS284]

Oil and Gas Authority

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The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, my right hon. Friend the Member for Tunbridge Wells (Greg Clark) has today laid before Parliament a direction ensuring that the Oil and Gas Authority consults the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on onshore hydraulic fracturing operations.

Under section 4A of the Petroleum Act 1998 (inserted by section 50 of the Infrastructure Act 2015), operators who wish to conduct associated hydraulic fracturing must apply for a hydraulic fracturing consent from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Hydraulic fracturing consent was introduced in the Infrastructure Act 2015 as an additional step to the existing regulatory and permitting regime. However, it does not apply to wells drilled before the 2015 Act came into force and these are not captured by the requirement to seek a hydraulic fracturing consent.

Today’s direction closes this loophole and ensures that the same approach for consent is taken for all relevant hydraulic fracturing operations, including where the associated well was drilled prior to the 2015 Act coming into force. For these operations, operators will be expected to meet the same set of standards as required to obtain hydraulic fracturing consent, laid out in the Infrastructure Act 2015. The Government have been clear that shale development must be safe and environmentally sound. The UK has a robust regulatory system which provides a comprehensive regime for exploratory activities and this direction will ensure that all relevant hydraulic fracturing operations are subject to this final step of scrutiny.

[HCWS288]

Twenty Third Conference of the Parties

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The annual conference of the parties (COP) to the United Nations framework convention on climate change took place in Bonn, Germany, from 6 to 17 November. I led the United Kingdom delegation, accompanied by the Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for Suffolk Coastal (Dr Coffey). As demonstration of the UK’s action at all levels, the First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for the Environment Roseanna Cunningham also attended.

The UK’s priorities for COP 23 were to maintain the global political momentum to combat climate change and to promote the UK’s global climate leadership. We demonstrated this commitment to combating climate change through a series of high-profile announcements, most prominently the UK-Canada Powering Past Coal Alliance to phase out unabated coal power, joined at COP 23 by 28 countries and states. We announced over £300 million of programmes to support developing countries to tackle climate change. This included £177 million for sustainable infrastructure in Latin America; £40 million for a climate fund with Germany for reducing emissions in developing countries; £27.5 million to help the world’s largest cities tackle climate change; and £62 million towards two initiatives to support Latin America to halt deforestation. We also announced that we will double our funding for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2017 to £230,000—the scientific body whose evidence underpins global climate action.

The context of this COP gave it particular significance, in particular given the recent series of devastating extreme weather events, Fiji as the first small island developing state presidency, and the US’s intention to withdraw from the Paris agreement.

In the negotiations we succeeded in keeping the process on track towards agreeing the rules that will underpin the Paris agreement by the end of 2018, and in creating the conditions for a collective raising of ambition by 2020. Outside negotiations we highlighted our impressive domestic and international action including the recent clean growth strategy, and opportunities for the UK’s low-carbon sector. Since 1990, we have cut emissions by 42% while our economy has grown by two thirds. This means that we have reduced emissions faster than any other G7 nation, while leading the G7 group of countries in growth in national income over this period.

The Green is Great UK pavilion had nearly 50 events showcasing UK low-carbon expertise and opportunities. Highlights included the international launch of the clean growth strategy, the signing of the “Because the Oceans” declaration, and the showcasing of UK business, academic and NGO expertise.

During COP the UK ratified two important climate change agreements: the Doha amendment to the Kyoto protocol (on developed country action before 2020) and the Kigali amendment to the Montreal protocol (on phasing down hydrofluorocarbons), one of the first countries in the world to do so.

The UK, negotiating as part of the EU, secured its main negotiation objectives: progress in the multiple negotiating tracks on the work needed to implement the Paris agreement; and a clear vision for next year’s “Talanoa dialogue”—a collective process which will take stock of current efforts and drive future global ambition.

Other important outcomes from the negotiations included agreement to showcase and accelerate work on pre-2020 action; agreement of a gender action plan and a local communities and indigenous peoples platform to promote greater inclusion in climate action and UN processes; and the launch of an ocean pathway partnership to strengthen the inclusion of oceans in the UN climate process.

Climate change will rightly continue to be at the forefront of international activity over the next year: President Macron will host the One Planet summit in Paris next month; it will feature strongly at the Commonwealth summit in April 2018; it will be prominent in the work of the G7 and G20, hosted by Canada and Argentina respectively; and California will host a major summit for cities and regions in September 2018. Meanwhile the “Talanoa dialogue” process will run through the year culminating in COP 24 in Katowice, Poland and there is further detailed work to be done to conclude the Paris “rulebook” by the end of COP24.

[HCWS289]

Treasury

Counter-Terrorist Asset Freezing Regime: January-March 2017

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Under the Terrorist Asset-Freezing etc. Act 2010 (TAFA 2010), the Treasury is required to report to Parliament, quarterly, on its operation of the UK’s asset-freezing regime mandated by UN Security Council resolutions 1373 and 1452.

This report covers the period from 1 January 2017 to 31 March 2017. This report also covers the UK implementation of the UN’s ISIL (Daesh) and al-Qaeda asset-freezing regime (ISIL-AQ) and the operation of the EU asset-freezing regime in the UK under EU regulation (EC) 2580/2001 which implements UNSCR 1373 against external terrorist threats to the EU.

Under the ISIL-AQ asset-freezing regime, the UN has responsibility for designations and the Treasury, through its Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI), has responsibility for licensing and compliance with the regime in the UK under the ISIL (Daesh) and al-Qaeda (asset-freezing) regulations 2011.

Under EU regulation 2580/2001, the EU has responsibility for designations and OFSI has responsibility for licensing and compliance with the regime in the UK under part 1 of TAFA 2010.

A new EU asset-freezing regime under EU regulation (2016/1686) was implemented on 22 September 2016. This permits the EU to make autonomous al-Qaeda and ISIL (Daesh) listings. Once a designation is made under this regime it will appear in the table available online.

Annexes A and B to this statement provide a breakdown, by name, of all those designated by the UK and the EU in pursuance of UN Security Council resolution 1373.

The table, available as an attachment online, sets out the key asset-freezing activity in the UK during the quarter.

Annex A: Designated persons under TAFA 2010 by name1

Individuals

Hamed ABDOLLAHI*

Imad Khalil AL-ALAMI

Abdelkarim Hussein AL-NASSER*

Ibrahim Salih AL-YACOUB*

Manssor ARBABSIAR*

Usama HAMDAN

Hasan IZZ-AL-DIN*

Mohammed KHALED

Musa Abu MARZOUK

Khalid MISHAAL

Khalid Sheikh MOHAMMED*

Abdul Reza SHAHLAI*

Ali Gholam SHAKURI*

Qasem SOLEIMANI*

Entities

Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA)

Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN)*

Hizballah Military Wing, including external security organisation*

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine—General Command (PFLP-GC)*

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)*

Sendero Luminoso (SL)*

Annex B: Persons designated by the EU under Council Regulation (EC) 2580/20012

Persons

Hamed ABDOLLAHI*

Abdelkarim Hussein AL-NASSER*

Ibrahim Salih AL-YACOUB*

Manssor ARBABSIAR*

Mohammed BOUYERI

Hassan Hassan EL HAJJ

Hasan IZZ-AL-DIN*

Farad MELIAD

Khalid Sheikh MOHAMMED*

Dalokay SANLI

Abdul Reza SHAHLAI*

Ali Gholam SHAKURI*

Qasem SOLEIMANI*

Groups and entities

Abu Nidal Organisation (ANO)

Al-Aqsa E.V.

Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade

Babbar Khalsa

Communist Party of the Philippines, including New People’s Army (NPA), Philippines

Devrimci Halk Kurtuluş Partisi-Cephesi—DHKP/C (Revolutionary People’s Liberation Army/Front/Party)

Ejército de Liberación Nacional (National Liberation Army)*

Gama’a al-Islamiyya (a.k.a. Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya) (Islamic Group—IG)

Hamas, including Hamas-Izz al-Din al-Qassem

Hizballah Military Wing, including external security organisation

Hizbul Mujahideen (HM)

Hofstadgroep

Islami Büyük Doğu Akincilar Cephesi (IBDA-C) (Great Islamic Eastern Warriors Front)

Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF)

Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) (a.k.a. Kongra-Gel)

Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)

Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine—General Command (PFLP-GC)*

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)*

Sendero Luminoso (SL) (Shining Path)*

Teyrbazen Azadiya Kurdistan (TAK)

1For full listing details please refer to: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/current-list-of-designated-persons-terrorism-and-terrorist-financing.

2For full listing details please refer to: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/current-list-of-designated-persons-terrorism-and-terrorist-financing.

*EU listing rests on UK designation under TAFA 2010.

Attachments can be viewed online at: http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2017-11-29/HCWS285/.

[HCWS285]

Counter-Terrorist Asset Freezing Regime: April-June 2017

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Under the Terrorist Asset-Freezing etc. Act 2010 (TAFA-2.010), the Treasury is required to report to Parliament, quarterly, on its operation of the UK’s asset-freezing regime mandated by UN Security Council resolutions 1373 and 1452.

This report covers the period from 1 April 2017 to 30 June 2017. This report also covers the UK implementation of the UN’s ISIL (Daesh) and al-Qaeda asset-freezing regime (ISIL-AQ) and the operation of the EU asset-freezing regime in the UK under EU regulation (EC) 2580/2001 which implements UNSCR 1373 against external terrorist threats to the EU.

Under the ISIL-AQ asset-freezing regime, the UN has responsibility for designations and the Treasury, through its Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI), has responsibility for licensing and compliance with the regime in the UK under the ISIL (Daesh) and al-Qaeda (Asset-Freezing) Regulations 2011.

Under EU regulation 2580/2001, the EU has responsibility for designations and OFSI has responsibility for licensing and compliance with the regime in the UK under part 1 of TAFA 2010.

A new EU asset-freezing regime under EU regulation (2016/1686) was implemented on 22 September 2016. This permits the EU to make autonomous al-Qaeda and ISIL (Daesh) listings. Once a designation is made under this regime it will appear in the table available online.

Annexes A and B to this statement provide a breakdown, by name, of all those designated by the UK and the EU in pursuance of UN Security Council resolution 1373.

The table, available as an attachment online, sets out the key asset-freezing activity in the UK during the quarter.

Annex A: Designated persons under TAFA 2010 by name1

Individuals

Hamed ABDOLLAHI*

Imad Khalil AL-ALAMI

Abdelkarim Hussein AL-NASSER*

Ibrahim Salih AL-YACOUB*

Manssor ARBABSIAR*

Usama HAMDAN

Hasan IZZ-AL-DIN*

Mohammed KHALED

Musa Abu MARZOUK

Khalid MISHAAL

Khalid Sheikh MOHAMMED*

Abdul Reza SHAHLAI*

Ali Gholam SHAKURI*

Qasem SOLEIMANI*

Entities

Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA)

Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN)*

Hizballah Military Wing, including external security organisation*

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine—General Command (PFLP-GC)*

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)*

Sendero Luminoso (SL)*

Annex B: Persons designated by the EU under Council Regulation (EC) 2580/20012

Persons

Hamed ABDOLLAHI*

Abdelkarim Hussein AL-NASSER*

Ibrahim Salih AL-YACOUB*

Manssor ARBABSIAR*

Mohammed BOUYERI

Hassan Hassan EL HAJJ

Hasan IZZ-AL-DIN*

Farad MELIAD

Khalid Sheikh MOHAMMED*

Dalokay SANLI

Abdul Reza SHAHLAI*

Ali Gholam SHAKURI*

Qasem SOLEIMANI*

Groups and entities

Abu Nidal Organisation (ANO)

Al-Aqsa E.V.

Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade

Babbar Khalsa

Communist Party of the Philippines, including New People’s Army (NPA), Philippines

Devrimci Halk Kurtuluş Partisi-Cephesi—DHKP/C (Revolutionary People’s Liberation Army/Front/Party)

Ejército de Liberación Nacional (National Liberation Army)*

Gama’a al-Islamiyya (a.k.a. Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya) (Islamic Group—IG)

Hamas, including Hamas-Izz al-Din al-Qassem

Hizballah Military Wing, including external security organisation

Hizbul Mujahideen (HM)

Hofstadgroep

Islami Büyük Doğu Akincilar Cephesi (IBDA-C) (Great Islamic Eastern Warriors Front)

Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF)

Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) (a.k.a. Kongra-Gel)

Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)

Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine—General Command (PFLP-GC)*

Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)*

Sendero Luminoso (SL) (Shining Path)*

Teyrbazen Azadiya Kurdistan (TAK)

1For full listing details please refer to: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/current-list-of-designated-persons-terrorism-and-terrorist-financing.

2For full listing details please refer to: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/current-list-of-designated-persons-terrorism-and-terrorist-financing.

*EU listing rests on UK designation under TAFA 2010.

Attachments can be viewed online at: http://www. parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2017-11-29/HCWS286/.

[HCWS286]

Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Cyber Security and Data Protection: Update

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Uber has today estimated that the data breach which occurred in October 2016 has affected approximately 2.7 million user accounts in the UK that were using its service or working for the company in the UK at that time.

Uber have stated that this information included names, email addresses and mobile phone numbers related to accounts globally. Uber have stated they have not seen any indication that trip location history, credit card numbers, bank account numbers or dates of birth were downloaded. Based on current information, Uber have stated that they have not seen evidence that financial details have been compromised.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) have directed Uber to provide them with technical reports that should help UK authorities, in particular the ICO and National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), to verify these figures and whether any additional types of personal data have been compromised. The Government expect Uber to co-operate fully and promptly with the ICO and the NCSC.

The ICO and NCSC will continue to work tirelessly with Uber to ensure this information is correct. The Government expect Uber to respond fully to the incident with the urgency it demands and to provide the appropriate support to its customers and drivers in the UK. Uber users should continue to be vigilant and follow the advice from the NCSC, which can be found on their website.

The Government take both the protection of personal data and the right to privacy extremely seriously. It is always the company’s responsibility to identify when UK citizens have been affected as part of a data breach and to take steps to reduce any harm to consumers, and it is welcome Uber has done this.

The Government are strengthening the UK’s data protection regime through a new Data Protection Bill, which will give more powers to the ICO to defend consumer interests and issue higher fines of up to £18 million or 4% of global turnover, in cases of the most serious data breaches.

The ICO, NCSC and other relevant authorities in the UK and overseas will continue to work together to ensure the data protection interests of UK citizens are upheld.

[HCWS287]

Health

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008: Remedial Order

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We are today laying a non-urgent remedial order to allow a single person to apply for a parental order, which transfers legal parenthood after a surrogacy arrangement.

Surrogacy has an important role to play in our society, helping to create much-wanted families where that might not otherwise be possible. It enables relatives and friends to provide an altruistic gift to people who are not able to have a child themselves, and can help people to have their own genetically-related children. The UK Government recognise the value of this in the 21st century where family structures, attitudes and life styles are much more diverse.

Provisions in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 allowed, where a child was born under a surrogacy arrangement, for the transfer of legal parenthood from the birth mother to the intended parents by means of a parental order.

These provisions were updated by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008, which introduced new provisions to extend eligibility to same-sex civil partners and all couples in long-term relationships, where the relevant criteria were satisfied. This was further amended in 2013 and 2014 to include same-sex married couples.

The Government will now introduce legislation to reflect an equal approach for a single person and couples in obtaining legal parenthood after a surrogacy arrangement. Following a legal challenge to the 2008 Act in 2016, the family court made a declaration that the provision in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 which enables couples, but not a single person, to obtain a parental order following surrogacy is incompatible with article 14 of the European convention on human rights. Article 14 prohibits discrimination in the enjoyment of convention rights on the grounds of a person’s status, and it was accepted that this could include a single person in this context.

Following consideration of possible legislative options, the Government consider that there are compelling reasons to amend the 2008 Act by order made under the power in section 10 of the Human Rights Act 1998 to take remedial action where there is an incompatibility with the Human Rights Act 1998. The Government also propose to remake the parental order regulations in 2018 to reflect all technical amendments to secondary legislation arising from the remedial order.

The Government welcome the opportunity to lay this remedial order to allow a single person the same rights to gain legal parenthood as couples. The order will allow a six-month period where an existing single parent through surrogacy can retrospectively apply for a parental order.

It will be for the Joint Committee on Human Rights to scrutinise the order, take views from parliamentarians and stakeholders and advise the Government and Parliament on the appropriateness of the order. The Committee will have 60 sitting days to undertake these considerations before the Government must review and respond. The Committee will then have a further 60 sitting days to consider and make recommendations to Parliament, before debates in both Houses.

[HCWS282]

International Development

International Financial Institution: Contingent Liability

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In 2015, the UK agreed to be a founder contributor of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). The AIIB will support economic growth in Asia and drive up living standards. The UK’s membership will deepen economic ties with Asia and create opportunities for British businesses.

As set out in the summer Budget 2015, HM Treasury made an initial capital instalment of US$122,180,000 and committed to subsequent payments of the same amount by the UK Government over the four years from 2017 to 2020. The UK’s overall capital contribution will total US$3,054,500,000 of which these five payments together will make up 20% of “paid-in” capital contribution requiring a cash transfer. The other 80%, $2,443,600,000, is “callable capital” —the AIIB has the right to call for payment for these shares if there is a crisis affecting the bank’s assets or loans. As the paid-in capital is an investment, in return for which we get an asset of a share of the bank, the Office for Budget Responsibility has forecast this payment as a financial transaction. Financial transactions do not add to public sector net borrowing.

Payment of the third annual contribution of $122,180,000 is in line with the authority provided by this House under the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (Initial Capital Contribution) Order 2015. Parliamentary approval for this will be sought in a supplementary estimate for the Department for International Development.

Furthermore, the payment of the third instalment of the capital contribution incurs with it a contingent liability. In line with the AIIB articles of agreement, the contingent liability rises in line with the amount of callable capital paid. As such, the UK will increase its current contingent liability of $977,440,000 incurred following the previous two capital contributions, by a further $488,720,000 to a cumulative total contingent liability of US$1,466,160,000. A departmental minute to this effect was laid before Parliament on 29 November 2017 to give at least 14 sitting days’ notice of the intent to incur a contingent liability. The notice period will be completed on 20 December 2017.

Although the AIIB has the right to call for payment of this callable capital incurred when the initial capital instalment was paid, no such instance has occurred in any multilateral development bank in the past. If the liability were to be called, provision for any payment would be sought through the normal Supply procedure.

[HCWS283]

Transport

Rail Update

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I am today publishing “Connecting people: a strategic vision for rail”, which describes our vision for the railways, and the actions we are taking to make it a reality. We are bringing the organisations that run the tracks and trains closer together to deliver better services for passengers. We are pressing ahead with Network Rail devolution to a series of route based business. We are investing in upgrades to the network to deliver faster journey times, more capacity and unlock growth. We are also improving the customer experience, including smart ticketing.

I am making copies of the strategic vision available in the Libraries of both Houses.

I am also today announcing a consultation on the future of the Great Western franchise, and issuing the invitation to tender for the next South Eastern franchise.

These documents are now available on the website of the Department for Transport.

Attachments can be viewed online at: http://www. parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2017-11-29/HCWS281/ .

[HCWS281]