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House of Commons Hansard
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Written Statements
18 July 2018
Volume 645

Written Statements

Wednesday 18 July 2018

Cabinet Office

Conflict, Stability and Security Fund

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I wish to update the House on the progress of the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) for the financial year 2017-18, as well as to announce the initial regional and thematic allocations for this financial year 2018-19.

The CSSF is a cross-government fund which uses both official development assistance (ODA) and non-ODA resources to deliver against both national security and UK aid objectives, through security, defence, peacekeeping, peace-building and stability activity.

Following a review of the cross-government funds, undertaken as part of the national security capability review, ministerial oversight of the CSSF and the Prosperity Fund is now the responsibility of a sub-committee of the National Security Council. I chair this sub-committee, which met for the first time on 13 June, and ensures that both funds deliver effectively on national security priorities and UK aid objectives.

Examples of successful programmes and results, as well as ways in which the CSSF has made improvements, are included in the CSSF annual report, published today. A copy of this document will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses and has been published on gov.uk.

In 2017-18, the CSSF spent £1,182 million against a cross-government allocation of £1,188 million (99.5%). A further breakdown of spend against regional and thematic allocation, by department and by discretionary and non-discretionary spend is included in the annual report. The initial allocated budget for the fund is £1,279 million for FY 2018-19.

FY 2018-19 Allocations

Allocation

Non-ODA

ODA

Total

Middle East North Africa

£30.5 million

£177.1 million

£207.6 million

South Asia

£18.5 million

£89.7 million

£108.2 million

Africa (sub Saharan)

£34.0 million

£58.9 million

£92.8 million

Overseas Territories

£44.0 million

£4.5 million

£48.5 million

Eastern Europe, Central Asia

£25.7 million

£16.9 million

£42.5 million

Western Balkans

£5.7 million

£22.4 million

£28.0 million

Americas

£0.3 million

£9.7 million

£10.0 million

Good Governance Fund (Western Balkans and Eastern Europe)

-

£33.0 million

£33.0 million

Asia Pacific

-

£3.0 million

£3.0 million

Regional Total

£158.6 million

£415.0 million

£573.7 million

Migration

£10.0 million

£18.5 million

£28.5 million

Counter-extremism

£13.3 million

£14.2 million

£27.5 million

Multilateral strategy

£3.0 million

£51.5 million

£54.5 million

Thematic total

£26.3 million

£84.2 million

£110.5 million

Peacekeeping

£303.2 million

£82.8 million

£386.0 million

MOD DMAP

£50.0 million

-

£50.0 million

MOD Afghan security

£100.0 million

-

£100.0 million

MOD UNFICYP

£181.1 million

-

£181.1 million

MOD UN Ops Africa

£20.0 million

-

£20.0 million

Non-discretionary Total

£491.3 million

£82.8 million

£574.1 million

Corporate Delivery Support and Other (this includes Stabilisation Unit, Joint Funds Unit and pilot activities)

£5.1 million

£15.2 million

£20.4 million

Total CSSF

£681.4 million

£597.2 million

£1,278.7 million

[HCWS874]

Defence

Military Support to France

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I wish to update the House on the deployment of three CH-47 Chinook heavy lift helicopters to Mali to support French operations in the Sahel region, which I announced in a written ministerial statement on 18 January 2018 [HCWS413]. All aircraft and personnel have now deployed and flying operations will begin shortly. We are committed to supporting our French allies in this armed conflict, combating terrorism and instability, as well as strengthening our military co-operation with one of our closest allies.

[HCWS867]

Education

Schools: Response to a Resolution of the House 25 April 2018

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I would like to respond to the resolution of the House following the Opposition day debate on school funding on 25 April.

School funding is at a record high and schools have benefited from the introduction of the national funding formula, which came into force in April. The new formula is supported by our investment of an additional £1.3 billion in the core schools budget, on top of what was announced at the last spending review.

Core schools funding will rise from almost £41 billion last year, to £42.4 billion this year and £43.5 billion in 2019-20. This means that real terms per pupil funding in 2020 will be more than 50% higher than it was in 2000.

The new national funding formula is an historic reform which means that, for the first time, resources are distributed according to a formula based on the individual needs and characteristics of every school in the country.

The formula recognises the challenges of the very lowest funded schools, by introducing a minimum per pupil funding level. Under the national funding formula, in 2019-20 all secondary schools will attract at least £4,800 per pupil, and all primary schools will attract at least £3,500 per pupil.

Moreover, the formula allocates every local authority more money for every pupil in every school in 2018-19 and 2019-20. Final decisions on local distribution will be taken by local authorities, but under the national funding formula every school is attracting at least 0.5% more per pupil in 2018-19, and 1% more in 2019-20, compared to 2017-18.

We recognise that the introduction of the national funding formula represents a significant change to the way schools are funded. To provide stability for authorities and schools through the transition, we have previously confirmed that in 2018-19 and 2019-20 each local authority will continue to set a local formula, in consultation with local schools.

Many local councils feel that the right thing to do is to replicate the national funding formula locally, and we support and encourage this. However, we recognise that some areas will want to use their local flexibility to introduce a more tailored local formula, for instance because of local changes in characteristics, rapid growth in pupil numbers or the need to invest more in pupils with SEN or disabilities.

After too many years in which the funding system has placed our schools on an unfair playing field, we are finally making the historic move towards fair funding. Alongside the increased investment we are making in schools, this will underpin further improvements in standards and help create a world-class education system, and build a system that allows every child to achieve their potential, no matter their background.

[HCWS876]

Health and Social Care

Social Care Funding: Resolution of the House 25 April 2018

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Today I would like to update the House on social care funding following the Opposition day debate of 25 April 2018.

We know that social care services are facing pressures from rising demand for care, and the Government have taken steps to support the sector. That is why we announced an additional £2 billion central Government funding for adult social care in the 2017 spring Budget. In total, Government have given councils access to up to £9.4 billion additional funding for social care from 2017-18 to 2019-20, including the 2018-19 local government finance settlement announcement of a £150 million adult social care support grant.

The action we have taken means that funding available for social care is increasing by 8% in real terms from 2015-16 to 2019-20.

This funding allows councils to support more people and sustain a diverse care market.

It is also helping to ease pressures on the NHS, including by supporting more people to be discharged from hospital and into care as soon as they are ready.

We have already seen a real difference to services across the country: social care related delayed transfers of care had been rising year on year from 2014 up to February 2017, but since taking action last year we have achieved a reduction of 40%. We are taking additional steps to ensure that those areas facing the greatest challenges improve services at the interface between social care and the NHS.

By passing the Care Act 2014, this Government established a national threshold that defines the care needs that local authorities must meet. This eliminates the postcode lottery of eligibility across England, and means that all councils have statutory duties to look after the vulnerable, elderly and disabled people in their area.

Last year local authorities in England advised over 500,000 people on how to access services to meet their care needs. This includes services provided by leisure, housing, transport and care providers as well as voluntary groups.

According to the Care Quality Commission, 81% of adult social care providers are good or outstanding—testament to the many hardworking and committed professionals working in care to whom we owe a huge debt of gratitude.

But still too many people experience care that is not of the quality we would all want for our own loved ones, and there is too much variation in quality and outcomes between different services and different parts of the country.

The Department of Health and Social Care is working with the adult social care sector to implement Quality Matters—a shared commitment to take action to achieve high quality adult social care for service users, families, carers and everyone working in the sector.

An ageing society means that we need to reach a longer-term sustainable settlement for social care. This is why the Government will publish a Green Paper on care and support to set out our proposals for reform.

The health and social care systems are two sides of the same coin, and decisions on future reforms must therefore be aligned. That is why we will now publish the Green Paper in the autumn, around the same time as the NHS plan. Social care funding will be agreed at the forthcoming spending review, alongside the rest of the local government settlement.

[HCWS872]

International Development

Inter-American Investment Corporation

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This statement sets out the particulars of a short-term arrangement arising from the UK’s intention to become a member of the IIC (the private sector arm of the IADB Group) through the transfer of up to US$6.98 million of UK resources already held in the IADB. These resources form part of a US$725 million capital asset transfer from the IADB (of which the UK is a member) to the IIC, and will be temporarily held by the IADB in an escrow account while the UK’s membership goes through the ratification process and the privileges and immunities sections of the treaty are brought into UK and Scottish law.

Joining the IIC through capital asset transfer offers the opportunity, at no extra cost, to be part of an important organisation in the Latin America and Caribbean region, which will support economic growth and leverage further private sector resources for development financing, as part of the UK’s prosperity agenda. The UK’s membership will deepen economic ties with the region and create opportunities for British businesses, by making it easier for UK companies to win contracts through the IIC.

The only alternative would be to transfer the assets back to the UK Treasury over eight years. However, doing so would go against our Global Britain objective of playing an active, outward facing role in the rules-based international system.

In 2015 the UK was part of a unanimous vote of the bank’s shareholders to merge the bank’s private sector operations into a single consolidated entity, the IIC. This took effect in January 2016, formalised by a treaty signed by members who were providing new capital at that time. The UK opted to join at no cost, as part of an agreed capital transfer from the IADB to IIC which starts this year and spans eight years. This will give the UK a 0.22% shareholding in the IIC.

The IADB obtained permission from governors at this year’s annual meeting in March to initiate the eight year US$725 million capital transfer process, including approval for an initial US$50 million transfer of which the UK’s share is US$482,000. The first transfer took place on 30 March 2018. The timing and size of further transfers will be subject to annual agreement by the IADB’s board of governors but will likely follow the indicative schedule below (set out in the implementation package for the second general capital increase of the IIC). The UK’s share of the transfers is a proportion of the capital that we invested plus the pro rata amount of accumulated net income earned with that capital, totalling US$6.98 million over the eight years and breaks down as follows (using the indicative schedule):

Transfer year

IADB capital to be transferred

Number of UK shares to be transferred

UK share of transfer

2018

US$50,000,000

29

US$481,510.09

2019

US$50,000,000

30

US$481,510.09[1]

2020

US$110,000,000

66

US$1,059,322.20

2021

US$150,000,000

89

US$1,444,530.27

2022

US$150,000,000

89

US$1,444,530.27

2023

US$72,000,000

43

US$693,374.53

2024

US$72,000,000

43

US$693,374.53

2025

US$71,000,000

42

US$683,744.33

Total

US$725,000,000

431

US$6,981,896.33

[1]2018 and 2019. Half shares non-transferable, so shares transferred differ, rounded down or up while funds paid in are the same.

The UK needs to become a member of the IIC by ratifying the treaty and bringing the privileges and immunities sections of the treaty into UK and Scottish law. Given the estimated timeframes, neither of these processes was possible before the IADB completed the first capital transfer.

To ensure that, despite this delay, the UK can still become a member and maintain the agreed share at its current value, DFID has negotiated to move the UK’s capital share into a no-cost escrow account. An escrow account is a temporary holding account that the IADB will set up, to keep UK funds separate from both the IADB’s and IIC’s accounts until all parliamentary processes are completed and in place. This is the only means of the UK preserving the full value of our share. DFID has sought and received HMT’s approval of this process.

We will be pursuing parliamentary approval as soon as possible to ensure that the UK’s funds remain inactive for as short a time as possible.

[HCWS870]

International Trade

Free Trade Agreements: Consultation

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Today I am announcing the first public consultations on future free trade agreement negotiations. As I informed the House on Monday 16 July, these consultations will provide one of a number of means by which Parliament, the Devolved Administrations, the public, business, civil society and trade unions can have their say on the Government’s approach to new trade agreements.

Our first consultations will seek views on free trade agreements with some of our closest strategic allies, with whom we have no existing trade agreements—the United States, Australia and New Zealand. I am also opening a consultation on potentially seeking accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Our trade and investment working group discussions with Australia, New Zealand and the United States have been constructive and the Governments of each have expressed a desire to enter negotiations with the UK. These consultations will inform our overall approach to our future trade relationship with these countries.

The US is the UK’s single largest trading partner and foreign investor, accounting for £100 billion of UK annual exports. UK exports to Australia and New Zealand meanwhile are growing at 14.8% and 16.8% respectively, a faster pace than our global average. These relationships are mutually beneficial—in total, the UK imported £75.4 billion worth of goods and services from these three markets.

While there are other markets the UK will look to for new agreements in the future, our shared values and strength of trade with the US, Australia and New Zealand make them the right places to focus our initial attention.

The Government are also engaging with members* of the CPTPP about the possibility of the UK joining the agreement in future.

CPTPP is a signed, but not yet in force, plurilateral trade agreement including some of the world’s fastest growing economies that together represent 13-14% of global GDP, and a total population of around 500 million people. If the UK were to join, it would be the second largest economy in the group, and CPTPP’s coverage of global GDP would increase to around 17%.

Alongside these online consultations, which will shortly be available on: www.gov.uk, I will be publishing information packs that set out the characteristics of free trade agreements and the nature of the current trade and investment ties with the countries in question.

The consultations will be open for 14 weeks.

* Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

[HCWS873]

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland: Appointments

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The ongoing absence of a Northern Ireland Executive has meant that a number of key public appointments cannot be made both in Northern Ireland and to some posts appointed by UK Ministers. As I told the House on 20 June, Official Report, column 309, this is an issue that I have been considering carefully.

While my overriding priority remains reaching agreement on restoring an inclusive power-sharing Executive, it is clear that there are current and developing issues in relation to certain public appointments in Northern Ireland that need to be addressed urgently. If an Executive is not in place soon, I intend to take measures to ensure good governance and the continued functioning of vital public bodies. This is consistent with my wider political strategy which aims to ensure we take the necessary action in the absence of Northern Ireland Ministers while we also continue to remove the obstacles to the restoration of a fully functioning Executive and Assembly.

Existing legislation confers responsibility for the most significant public appointments in Northern Ireland on Northern Ireland Ministers. Therefore, in the absence of Northern Ireland Ministers, new legislation is needed in the autumn to enable certain key Northern Ireland and UK appointments to be made.

This legislation would allow for certain specified appointments normally made by Northern Ireland Ministers to be made by the relevant UK Minister, either the Secretary of State or the Lord Chancellor as appropriate to the appointment being made. I have considered whether each appointment is essential for good governance and public confidence in Northern Ireland and my officials have engaged with the main political parties in Northern Ireland.

Currently, I am of the view that the appointments specified in the legislation would address the most pressing appointments held up by the lack of Northern Ireland Ministers, including the Northern Ireland Policing Board, the Northern Ireland Judicial Appointments Commission and the Probation Board for Northern Ireland. Further consideration is being given to the ongoing ability of Northern Ireland departments to make appointments already conferred on them in legislation. The legislation would also need to address those appointments to key UK Government-sponsored bodies that cannot be made as they require consultation with Northern Ireland Ministers, such as the chair of the Disclosure and Barring Service. Detailed policy work will continue over the summer on how to achieve this, should legislation be necessary.

Any such legislation would, of course, apply only while there are no Northern Ireland Ministers in place. Once a new Northern Ireland Executive is formed, the responsibility for appointments in Northern Ireland would return to Ministers in that Executive, and UK Ministers would again be required to consult Northern Ireland Ministers prior to making certain UK-wide appointments.

We are continuing to engage closely with the political parties, and the Irish Government as appropriate, to encourage and support work towards an accommodation to restore the Executive. This legislation would contribute towards ensuring good governance in Northern Ireland while the Government redouble those efforts to restore a locally elected, democratically accountable devolved Government.

[HCWS868]

Prime Minister

Child Death Review Policy

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This written statement confirms that child death review policy will transfer from the Department for Education to the Department for Health and Social Care. More than 80% of child deaths have medical or public health causes. The Department of Health and Social Care, its arm’s length bodies and the wider NHS have a responsibility to support understanding of children’s deaths and translating learning into actions to reduce preventable deaths.

The transfer was recommended by the Wood review of the role and functions of local safeguarding children boards, published in March 2016. It includes responsibility for issuing statutory guidance relating to child death reviews, supporting child death review partners with the implementation of this guidance alongside NHS England, and putting in place transitional arrangements involving NHS Digital for the collection of local safeguarding children boards child death review data, and then, once operational, by the national child mortality database.

Related areas that remain the responsibility of the Department for Education include children’s social care, including safeguarding children and child protection.

These changes will be effective from today, 18 July 2018.

[HCWS869]

Intelligence and Security Committee: Diversity and Inclusion Report

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The Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament (ISC) has undertaken a review of diversity and inclusion in the UK intelligence and security community focusing on four key protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010: gender, race, sexuality and disability. The Committee has now completed its inquiry and its report has today been laid in Parliament.

The Government welcome the publication of the ISC’s report. The report recognises that the intelligence and security community needs to attract and draw upon the skills, talent and experience of all sectors of our society in order to continue its vital work effectively, and to reflect the diverse population it protects. The report acknowledges the significant progress that has taken place in recent years, highlighting the work of staff networks, innovative and inclusive recruitment campaigns and the facilitation of more flexible working patterns and styles. There is clearly room for improvement and senior leaders remain committed to ensuring the intelligence and security community is as inclusive as possible.

The Government thank the ISC for its work. We will give full consideration to the conclusions and recommendations contained in the report and will respond formally in due course.

[HCWS871]

Work and Pensions

Contingency Fund Advance

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The Department for Work and Pensions has identified the need for minor revisions to two statutory instruments. These relate to the award of some premiums to people entitled to income-based jobseeker’s allowance, and to the application of the shared accommodation rate for foster carers in universal credit. Both drafting points date back to April 2013.

No customers have been adversely affected in either circumstance and payments of benefit have been—and continue to be—made fully in accordance with the policy intent.

The Department will amend the relevant legislation as soon as practically possible to ensure that these payments are included on the statutory framework.

Parliamentary approval for resources of £21,400,000 for this new service has been sought in the main estimate for the Department for Work and Pensions. Pending that approval, urgent expenditure estimated at £21,400,000 will be met by repayable cash advances from the Contingencies Fund.

Once the Supply and Appropriation (Main Estimates) (No.2) Bill achieves Royal Assent, the advance will be repaid in full and ongoing expenditure will legitimately rest on the sole authority of the Supply and Appropriation Act, until the amending legislation is in place.

[HCWS875]

Employment and Support Allowance

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On 15 March I provided the House with a statement setting out how the work my Department was undertaking to correct underpayments that occurred when converting Incapacity Benefit claims to Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) between 2011 and 2014 was progressing. I wanted to take this opportunity to provide the House with a further update.

In March I explained that my Department would resource this exercise with 400 staff to make sure we could review cases at pace. This work is now under way with staff reviewing cases, contacting claimants and correcting claims; so far we have paid out over £40 million in arrears.

The Department has analysed the relationship between “official error” and section 27 of the Social Security Act 1998 in regulating how and to what extent arrears can be paid. As a result of the conclusions of this analysis, we will now be paying arrears to those affected back to their date of conversion to ESA.

My Department will be contacting all those identified as potentially affected as planned. Once an individual is contacted, and the relevant information gathered, they can expect to receive appropriate payment within 12 weeks. I can also confirm that once contacted, individuals will be provided with a dedicated free phone number on which they can make contact with the Department.

Where we have already corrected cases and paid arrears from 21 October 2014 we will review the case again and pay any additional arrears that are due prior to that date.

I hope this will help Members to provide reassurance, to their constituents who think they may have been affected, that they will receive all the money they are entitled to.

[HCWS877]