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House of Commons Hansard
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Written Statements
02 February 2018
Volume 635

Written Statements

Friday 2 February 2018

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Energy Policy

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I hereby give notice of the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s intention to seek an advance from the Contingencies Fund in the amount of £2,275,000 for FY 2017-18 to provide financial cover to the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR).

This cash advance from the Contingencies Fund is required in order to enable ONR to establish a new domestic civil nuclear safeguards regime ahead of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union and Euratom on 29 March 2019. This is in line with the written ministerial statements made by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on 14 September 2017 and 11 January 2018. The work necessary includes recruitment and training of additional safeguards officers and installation of a new safeguards IT system.

ONR has already begun some preparatory work to deliver the regime but requires this cash advance to move to its next phase of project implementation which includes financial commitments towards recruitment and asset purchases, to be able to deliver the regime ahead of day one of exit.

Parliamentary approval for additional resources of £2,275,000 for this new service will be sought in an estimate for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Pending that approval, urgent expenditure estimated at £2,275,000 will be met via repayable cash advances from the Contingencies Fund.

The cash advance will be repaid upon receiving Royal Assent for the Nuclear Safeguards Bill and the Supply and Appropriation Bill.

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International Development

Global Education

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Developing countries have made huge strides in expanding schooling in recent decades, so that most children are now able to access primary education. The UK has contributed to this impressive achievement: between 2015 and 2017, we supported over 7 million children, including in some of the toughest places in the world.

However, the world is still facing a learning crisis—half of the world’s children are expected to finish primary school without learning basic numeracy and literacy. This amounts to around 387 million children who will not be able to fulfil their potential.

We have a moral obligation to help every child get a decent education—but it is also firmly in the UK’s national interest. Educated populations are an essential element of prosperous and stable countries which will be the UK’s future trading partners.

The UK is a world leader in support for education in developing countries and, together with France, we have designated 2018 as the global year of learning.

DFID’s new education policy, which I am launching today, sets out my three priorities for action to ensure more children are learning the basics:

We will support efforts to drive up the quality of teaching in developing countries. Skilled, reliable teachers need to be the norm everywhere.

We will support education systems to stand on their own two feet, using resources effectively to ensure children learn.

We will prioritise children with disabilities, children affected by crises and hard-to-reach girls. During this global year of learning, I will also be drawing attention to other aspects of the learning crisis. At the disability summit in July I will highlight the plight of children with disabilities; at UNGA in September, I will call on Governments to stamp out violence against children in school; and at the World Bank annual meetings in October, I will focus on the role that education plays in driving human capital and prosperity.

Today I can confirm that the UK will boost its contribution to £75 million per year for each of the next three years to the Global Partnership for Education (GPE). This will be an almost 50% increase in our annual contribution to the GPE and demonstrates our determination to show leadership internationally to get children learning. This funding will provide quality education to 880,000 children each year. Our investment will be used to drive improved performance and efficiency and we have capped our investment at 15% of the overall GPE budget. This new commitment comes in addition to the vital work of DFID directly through its sizeable bilateral programmes on education.

I am proud too of the role the UK is playing globally and proud to lead a Department which is dedicated to making a difference in children’s lives.

A copy of the policy document will be placed in the Library of the House for the availability of Members.

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Transport

Maritime Training

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I am proud that the United Kingdom has one of the most vibrant and competitive maritime sectors in the world. We are an outward-looking, global trading maritime nation proud of our maritime history but forward looking and ambitious for our future.

Our success though, relies above all else on our workforce. The United Kingdom is recognised all over the world for its leading maritime education and training and for the very best seafarers that are produced. Our well-trained and skilled cadets are responsible for many of our vital needs bringing them efficiently and safely to our shores.

I am therefore pleased to announce that we will be doubling the Government’s financial support for maritime training, the so-called SMarT fund, from £15 million to £30 million to introduce a new SMarT Plus option. I am committed to continue building capacity and diversity within our maritime workforce so it can capitalise on every opportunity the market provides. I recognise the importance of transferable skills and the essential role seafarers play in supporting the wider maritime sector when they return from sea to shore-based careers. Increasing our support for maritime training is essential in order for our great maritime nation to maintain its global position as a market leader. This is never more important than it is today as we prepare to leave the EU and take an even more global outlook.

Seafarers are highly skilled professionals entering STEM related careers. smart plus funding will be available from April 2018 and will also support the year of engineering though stimulating the availability of training opportunities for deck, engine and electro-technical cadets. The 2018-19 cohort of SMarT Plus cadets will begin their on-ship training in the months before we leave the EU.

A key strength of the UK’s maritime sector is our strong relationship with industry. I value the work of the UK Chamber of Shipping, Nautilus International and the Merchant Navy Training Board in developing and refining the SMarT Plus proposal in conjunction with my Department’s officials. An opportunity was clearly identified to create a resurgence in maritime training and increase the competitiveness of SMarT. There is no shortage of people applying for cadetships and it is only right that we capitalise on this momentum and create the conditions for more UK training and employment opportunities within the maritime sector. I am delighted to be working with the maritime industry and trade unions and together we will build a stronger UK maritime workforce.

Notes:

SMarT Plus is a package that will see SMarT funding doubled, over a 7 year period, from £15 million to £30 million per year.

This will enable the cadet intake to increase from 750 to 1,200 each year.

In return, shipping companies will create additional UK training positions and commit to employ newly qualified SMarT Plus officers.

This will enable SMarT Plus officers to gain the 12 months sea time experience that is required to enable them to progress to their 2nd Certificate of Competency.

UK officers holding a 2nd Certificate of Competency are particularly valued throughout industry. Their quality, leadership and training makes them highly employable.

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