Wednesday 23 January 2019
Counter-terrorist Asset Freezing Regime
Under the Terrorist Asset-Freezing etc. Act 2010 (TAFA 2010), the Treasury is required to prepare a quarterly report regarding its exercise of the powers conferred on it by part 1 of TAFA 2010. This written statement satisfies that requirement for the period 1 July to 30 September 2018.
This report also covers the UK’s implementation of the UN’s ISIL (Daesh) and Al-Qaida asset freezing regime (ISIL-AQ), and the operation of the EU’s asset freezing regime under EU regulation (EC) 2580/2001 concerning external terrorist threats to the EU (also referred to as the CP 931 regime).
Under the UN’s ISIL-AQ asset freezing regime, the UN has responsibility for designations and the Treasury, through the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI), has responsibility for licensing and compliance with the regime in the UK under the ISIL (Daesh) and Al-Qaida (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-Qaida and ISIL (Daesh) listings.
The tables available as an online attachment set out the key asset-freezing activity in the UK during the quarter.
The recently passed Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act will help ensure that UK counter-terrorist sanctions powers remain a useful tool for law enforcement and intelligence agencies to consider utilising, while also meeting the UK’s international obligations.
Under the Act, a designation could be made where there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the person or group is or has been involved in a defined terrorist activity and that designation is appropriate. This approach is in line with the UK’s current approach under UN and EU sanctions and would be balanced by procedural protections such as the ability of designated persons to challenge the Government in court.
Attachments can be viewed online at: http://www. parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2019-01-23/HCWS1267/.
Double Taxation Convention (United Kingdom and Israel)
A protocol to the double taxation convention with Israel was signed on 17 January 2019. The text of the protocol is available on HM Revenue and Customs’ pages of the gov.uk website and will be deposited in the Libraries of both Houses. The text will be scheduled to a draft Order in Council and laid before the House of Commons in due course.
RAF Aerobatic Team: North American Tour
On 21 October 2018, the Secretary of State for Defence announced that the Royal Air Force aerobatic team (the Red Arrows) will fly the flag for Britain, both in the skies and on the ground during a tour of North America in summer 2019. This tour will be called Western Hawk 19.
As well as displaying at a range of shows across North America the Red Arrows will also attend engagements promoting the Government’s GREAT campaign, visit local schools, meet with business leaders and showcase the very best of British culture. Western Hawk 19 will showcase our excellence, professionalism and proud heritage in education, engineering and technology to our allies. It will also demonstrate the global reach and capability of the RAF and our continuing support of the United Kingdom’s defence and commerce industries.
The tour of North America will also be an opportunity to celebrate and strengthen our incredible relationship with the US and Canada.
I can now announce the planned tour dates. The Red Arrows will fly at the royal international air tattoo from 19 July to 21 July 2019. After a short period of maintenance and leave for Red Arrows personnel, they will depart the UK at the end of July and will tour North America until after the end of the UK display season. While the Red Arrows will not be displaying in the UK for the latter part of the 2019 UK display season, the RAF’s other display assets including Typhoon, the Battle of Britain memorial flight and the Falcons parachute team will continue to keep the RAF in the public eye during this period. Their air display participation will be carefully prioritised to deliver maximum impact. Local communities will have the opportunity to bid for participation of the Red Arrows in their area in the 2020 display season in the normal manner.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Cyprus: Civil Litigation
I would like to update Parliament on a legal settlement that the UK Government have reached concerning civil law claims arising from the emergency period in Cyprus from 1955-59 (“the emergency”).
During the emergency, Greek Cypriot paramilitaries fought an armed guerrilla campaign to try to bring to an end British rule in Cyprus and establish a union between Cyprus and Greece. As part of the response to this campaign, the Governor of Cyprus instituted emergency measures which included the deployment of UK military and police personnel.
In July 2015, 35 individuals (since reduced to 33) brought claims against the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and the Secretary of State for Defence regarding their treatment in detention during the emergency.
The Government have now reached an agreement with the claimants, in full and final settlement of those claims. The UK Government have agreed to pay a settlement sum of £1,000,000 in damages with an amount in legal costs to be determined by the court in due course. The settlement does not constitute any admission of liability and is not a precedent in respect of any potential future claims against the Government. Indeed, the Government have maintained throughout proceedings that the passage of time means that it is now no longer possible to establish all of the facts with certainty. However, the Government have settled the case in order to draw a line under this litigation and to avoid the further escalation of costs, which would ultimately be borne by the taxpayer.
In reaching this settlement, the UK Government reaffirm their highest respect for the memory and sacrifice of British and Cypriot service personnel and employees of the Crown who gave their lives, who lost family members or loved ones, or whose lives suffered permanent disruption as a result of the emergency.
The UK Government acknowledge the strongly held views of many Cypriots about the emergency. It is a matter of regret for the UK Government that the transition of Cyprus from British administration to independence should have been preceded by five years of violence and loss of life, affecting all residents of the island.
We must not forget the past—and indeed we must learn from it. But it is most important to look to the future. Today, the bilateral relationship that the UK shares with Cyprus is one of friendship and close partnership; spanning a broad network of security, personal, business, administrative, cultural and educational ties. The Government reaffirm their commitment to building a modern, forward-looking relationship between the UK and Cyprus, built on shared values of mutual respect and full equality.
Health and Social Care
Today I would like to update the House on social care funding following the Opposition day debate of 17 October 2018.
Modern society is in the fortunate position where people are living longer and life expectancy for those living with complex health conditions, including disabilities, has dramatically increased. However, with 1.5 million more people aged over 75 expected in the next 10 years, we recognise the pressures this places on the health and social care system and the Government are taking steps to support the sector in responding to these challenges.
In the short term, the Government have given Councils access to up to £3.6 billion more dedicated funding for adult social care in 2018-19 and up to £3.9 billion for 2019-20. This injection of funding is the biggest that councils have ever received and is helping the NHS and social care to support people to live for longer and more independently.
Despite the fact that the NHS is busier than ever before, the majority of patients are discharged quickly. We know that adult social care capacity can become increasingly pressured over the winter months and this can have a knock-on effect on NHS hospitals. This funding is helping to reduce delays, get patients home quicker and free up hospital beds across England for more urgent and acute cases. This is having a tangible effect with delayed transfers of care accounted for 4,580 occupied beds per day in November 2018—a decrease of 2,081 per day against the February 2017 baseline.
The autumn Budget also announced an additional £650 million of new money for social care in 2019-20. This includes another £240 million for adult social care to alleviate winter pressures on the NHS next year and a further £410 million to improve social care for older people, people with disabilities and children. Councils will also benefit from an additional £55 million increase in the disabled facilities grant in 2018-19. This additional capital funding will provide home aids and adaptations for disabled children and adults on low incomes to help them continue to live independent lives in their own homes.
References to £1.3 billion of cuts are entirely misleading as the figure refers only to the revenue support grant which should not be considered in isolation when councils have access to council tax, business rates and other local income to deliver their local services. In fact, funding for local government will increase in real terms in 2019-20. This means more money for councils to deliver for their local communities.
This Government’s actions mean that funding available for adult social care is set to increase by 9% in real terms from 2015-16 to 2019-20 and the additional funding is allowing councils to support more people and sustain a diverse care market.
All councils have statutory duties to look after the vulnerable, elderly and disabled people in their area. The Care Act established a national threshold that defines the care needs that local authorities must meet which eliminates the postcode lottery of eligibility across England. In addition to providing social care services, last year local authorities in England advised over 500,000 people on how to access other services to meet their care needs. This includes services provided by leisure, housing, transport and care providers as well as voluntary groups.
In the longer term, the NHS’s Long-Term Plan is committed to supporting people to age well. As part of this the Government will increase investment in primary medical and community health services by at least £4.5 billion by 2023-24. This will support people to get joined-up, integrated care closer to home and will increase the capacity and responsiveness of community and intermediate care services to those who will benefit the most. Furthermore, the plan recognises the importance of integration between health and social care and commits to upgrading NHS support to all care home residents who would benefit by 2023-24 through the enhanced health in care homes programme, which embeds healthcare professionals into care homes.
The Government have committed to publishing the Green Paper at the earliest opportunity which will consider the fundamental issues facing the adult social care system and present proposals for reform while the social care funding for future years will be settled in the spending review where the overall approach to funding local government will also be considered.
Housing, Communities and Local Government
Tenant Fees Bill
Today I have placed in the Library of the House the Department’s analysis on the application of Standing Order 83O in respect of any motion relating to a Lords amendment, for Commons consideration of Lords amendments stage for the Tenant Fees Bill.
Work and Pensions
Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme Levy
The Diffuse Mesothelioma Payment Scheme (Levy) Regulations 2014 require active employers’ liability insurers to pay an annual levy, based on their relative market share, for the purpose of meeting the costs of the diffuse mesothelioma payment scheme (DMPS). This is in line with the insurance industry’s commitment to fund a scheme of last resort for sufferers of diffuse mesothelioma who have been unable to trace their employer or their employer’s insurer.
Today I can announce that the total amount of the levy to be charged for 2018-19, the fifth year of the DMPS, is £39.8 million. The amount will be payable by active insurers by the end of March 2019.
Individual active insurers will be notified in writing of their share of the levy, together with how the amount was calculated and the payment arrangements. Insurers should be aware that it is a legal requirement to pay the levy within the set timescales.
I am pleased that the DMPS has seen four successful years of operation, assisting many hundreds of sufferers of diffuse mesothelioma. The fourth annual report for the scheme was published on 29 November 2018 and is available on the gov.uk website. I hope that members of both Houses will welcome this announcement and give the DMPS their continued support.