Thursday 24 October 2019
European Union (Withdrawal) Act and Common Frameworks Report
I am today laying before Parliament a report, the “European Union (Withdrawal) Act and Common Frameworks - 26 June 2019 to 25 September 2019” as required by paragraph 4 of schedule 3 to the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. The report is available on gov.uk and details the progress made in discussions between the UK Government and devolved Administrations regarding common frameworks in the fifth reporting period covered under the legislation, and sets out that no “freezing” regulations have been brought forward under section 12 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act. A copy of “The European Union (Withdrawal) Act and Common Frameworks - 26 June to 25 September 2019” report has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. The publication of the report reflects the Government’s continued commitment to transparency.
Attachments can be viewed online at
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
I am pleased to announce that today the European Commission has confirmed its original decision in 2014 to grant state aid approval for the capacity market, enabling this vital tool for electricity security of supply to be restored and payments that have been suspended since November 2018 to be made.
The Commission opened an in-depth investigation to gather more information on certain elements of the capacity market after the General Court of the Court of Justice of the European Union annulled the Commission’s earlier state aid approval of the scheme on procedural grounds on 15 November 2018.
The Commission has now satisfactorily concluded its investigation and has concluded that the capacity market as operated since 2014, including during the investigation, complies with state aid rules. Notably, the Commission did not find any evidence that the capacity market puts demand side response or any other capacity providers at a disadvantage with respect to their participation in the scheme.
The Government welcome the Commission’s decision, which enables the capacity market to resume its important work as Great Britain’s principal tool for ensuring electricity security of supply and provides confidence that its design is fit for purpose.
We are awaiting the Commission’s full decision, but expect that its decision means we will be able to:
Restart the mechanism for making payments to capacity providers, including the c.£1 billion of deferred payments that have been suspended because of the standstill period as well as future capacity payments. The vast majority of the back-payments will reach capacity providers in January 2020;
Invoice suppliers for the supplier charge relating to the standstill period which will be used to fund the deferred capacity payments. The Government have been engaging with suppliers during the standstill period to ensure they have been setting aside funding to meet what will be a substantial post-standstill invoice;
Confirm that the conditional capacity agreements awarded in the replacement T-1 auction, held in July 2019, have become full capacity agreements. This will ensure we have in place all the capacity needed to ensure security of supply this winter; and
Confirm the three capacity auctions scheduled for early 2020 will take place. These will secure the majority of our capacity needs out to 2023-24.
The Commission’s decision also notes that the UK has committed to implementing a number of improvements to the capacity market’s design to reflect recent market and regulatory developments, including those identified through our recent five-year review of the effectiveness of the capacity market. These will ensure the continued compatibility of the capacity market with state aid rules in the future and relate to: (i) the lowering of the minimum capacity threshold for participating in the auctions; (ii) the direct participation of foreign capacity; (iii) the participation rules for new types of capacity; (iv) the access to long-term agreements; (v) the volume of capacity to be secured in the year-ahead auction and (vi) compliance with the new electricity regulation.
My Department will shortly consult on arrangements for implementing these commitments.
I will be writing imminently to our delivery partners responsible for delivering the capacity market—the capacity market delivery body (National Grid Electricity System Operator) and the settlement body (Electricity Settlements Company)—to notify them of the Commission’s approval decision and confirm the occurrence of the deferred capacity payment trigger event and T-1 capacity agreement trigger event (the triggers for the resumption of capacity payments). These bodies will subsequently be required to resume making capacity payments, carry out new duties arising from the triggers, and restart any duties that had been suspended during the standstill period. Our delivery partners have worked closely with my Department to ensure that their systems and processes remain fit for purpose; they stand ready to support the restart process immediately.
Insolvency Service Performance Targets 2019-20
I have set performance targets for the Insolvency Service for the financial year 2019-20. The Insolvency Service is the Government agency that provides public services to those affected by financial distress or failure.
The Insolvency Service provides the frameworks that deal with insolvency and the financial misconduct that sometimes accompanies or leads to it. Its aim is to deliver economic confidence through a corporate and personal insolvency regime which is regarded as fair and that gives investors and lenders confidence to take the commercial risks necessary to support economic growth.
In 2019-20, an important priority for the Insolvency Service will be to maintain its current high level of customer service whilst delivering a major change programme. I have set measures and targets at a level which reflect the challenges that the agency continues to face.
Ministerial Target 2018-19 target 2018-19 performance 2019-20 target Delivering economic confidence Per cent of users who are satisfied with the Insolvency Service 85% or greater 84% 85% or greater Supporting those in financial distress Average calendar days taken to action a redundancy claim 14 days or fewer 12.2 days 14 days or fewer Tackling financial wrongdoing Average time taken to obtain a disqualification 21 months or fewer 19.9 months 20 months or fewer Average time taken to obtain a bankruptcy restriction 10 months or fewer 8.6 months 10 months or fewer Average time taken to instigate a criminal prosecution 24 months or fewer 25.9 months 24 months or fewer Maximising returns to creditors Per cent of reports to creditors issued within 15 calendar days of an attended interview  90% or greater 92.6% 91% or greater Total value distributed to creditors  £55m or greater £61.3m £60m or greater Financial management Expenditure to be managed within budget Achieve Achieved Achieve
Delivering economic confidence
Per cent of users who are satisfied with the Insolvency Service
85% or greater
85% or greater
Supporting those in financial distress
Average calendar days taken to action a redundancy claim
14 days or fewer
14 days or fewer
Tackling financial wrongdoing
Average time taken to obtain a disqualification
21 months or fewer
20 months or fewer
Average time taken to obtain a bankruptcy restriction
10 months or fewer
10 months or fewer
Average time taken to instigate a criminal prosecution
24 months or fewer
24 months or fewer
Maximising returns to creditors
Per cent of reports to creditors issued within 15 calendar days of an attended interview 
90% or greater
91% or greater
Total value distributed to creditors 
£55m or greater
£60m or greater
Expenditure to be managed within budget
 a) Debt relief order debtors; b) approved intermediaries; c) bankrupts; d) directors of insolvent companies; e) redundancy payment claimants; f) institutional creditors; g) non-institutional creditors; h) insolvency practitioners.
 Or where a decision is made that no interview is required or the agreed point of non-surrender.
 Excludes distributions relating to Carillion.
Post-October Environment Council
My noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Minister for Climate Change, Lord Duncan of Springbank has today made the following statement:
I attended the EU Environment Council on 4 October in Luxembourg. Roseanna Cunningham, Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, also attended. I wish to update the House on the matters discussed.
UNFCCC COP25 preparations - adoption of conclusions
The presidency invited member states to discuss and adopt conclusions on the 25th session of the conference of the parties (COP25) to the United Nations framework convention on climate change (UNFCCC). The presidency set out four objectives for COP25: (1) complete work on the implementation guidelines of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement on “co-operative approaches”, including the international trade of emissions reductions; (2) complete the second review of the Warsaw international mechanism for loss and damage; (3) complete the review of the Lima work programme on gender; and (4) advance technical work under the enhanced transparency framework.
All member states intervened. A grouping of ambitious member states, including the UK, called for the conclusions to state that the EU will “enhance” its nationally determined contribution (NDC -2030 emissions reduction target under the Paris Agreement), while a grouping of other member states supported softer language that the EU would “communicate” or “update” its NDC.
The UK intervened to support the inclusion of a reference to the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C and ambitious language calling on all parties to the Paris Agreement to enhance their NDCs by February 2020. The UK stressed the importance of the EU committing to reach climate neutrality (net-zero greenhouse gas emissions) by 2050. The UK also supported calls for there to be five-year common time frames for NDCs and for ruling out carry-over of pre-2020 over-achievement of emissions reductions under the Kyoto Protocol. Finally, the UK noted that it will double its international climate finance to £11.6 billion over the next five years and called on all countries to consider similar pledges that they can make.
The presidency circulated a final compromise text of the conclusions which struck a balance between member states, which the Council adopted. The final conclusions highlighted that the EU will “update” its NDC, stressed the need to step up global efforts in light of the latest available science and in particular the IPCC Special Report on 1.5 °C, stressed that the EU is discussing climate neutrality in light of the Commission’s proposal for an EU-wide 2050 net-zero greenhouse gas emissions target, recalled the importance of striving towards common time frames for NDCs, and expressed commitment to setting up a new mechanism under Article 6.4 of the Paris Agreement that can lead to the closure of the Kyoto Protocol mechanisms.
Clean planet for all - EU long-term strategy - policy debate
The presidency invited member states to discuss the Commission’s proposed long-term strategy, “Clean Planet for all: EU’s strategic long-term vision for a climate neutral economy” and the proposal for an EU 2050 target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. The purpose of the debate was to take stock of member state positions and discuss the conditions, incentives, enabling framework, and measures needed for climate neutrality in the EU, ahead of the European leaders reaching a decision at the European Council in December.
The Commission intervened expressing confidence that the EU would reach agreement on the proposed EU net-zero 2050 target by the end of the year.
The majority of member states intervened and were in broad agreement on the need to ensure a fair and just transition, to mobilise investments from the private sector, and ensuring policy and sectoral coherence in the transition. On the EU achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, member states fell into three categories: ambitious member states who stressed the need for the EU to show leadership and seize the first-mover benefits of the transition to net-zero emissions; supportive but more cautious member states highlighting the economic and geographic challenges and issues concerning carbon leakage; and the three remaining member states, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary, opposed to the EU net-zero target. The latter emphasised the differential impacts and costs of decarbonisation, relative wealth, and emissions reduction potential among member states, and therefore the need for funding and support mechanisms for those member states who would be most affected by the transition to a net-zero EU.
The 8th environmental action programme - adoption of conclusions
The presidency invited member states to adopt Council conclusions on the European Commission’s draft “8th Environmental Action Programme—Turning the Trends Together”.
Seventeen member states intervened, all in support of the programme, with some member states calling for the Commission to come forward with proposals as soon as possible. The UK intervened to note our support for the draft and the high level of ambition outlined in the conclusions. The UK also noted that these were global environmental challenges not restricted to the EU, and the UK looks forward to continuing to work with the EU collectively and member states individually on these challenges.
The presidency closed the discussion and the Council conclusions were adopted.
“More circularity” framework - adoption of conclusions
The presidency invited member states to adopt Council conclusions on the circular economy framework, “More circularity—a transition to a sustainable society”. This was the second debate on the circular economy following on from the previous discussion at the informal meeting of the Environment Council in June in Helsinki.
Some 21 member states intervened, all supportive of the position taken by the Commission, and saw the circular economy as a key part of meeting the 2030 and 2025 environmental targets and the Paris Agreement. Many member states identified the key sectors where action was needed, including textiles, water reuse, and plastics.
The presidency concluded the debates and the Council conclusions were adopted.
The following items were also discussed under Any Other Business.
Communication on protecting and restoring forests—information from the Commission
The Commission presented its communication “Stepping up EU action to protect and restore the world’s forests”, adopted on 23 July 2019, the objective of which is to strengthen international cooperation to protect and improve the health of existing forests and increase forest coverage worldwide.
Nine member states intervened in support of the Communication, welcoming ambitious action from the EU in halting deforestation and forest degradation and highlighting the benefits for biodiversity, absorbing CO2 emissions, and livelihoods.
Transition to a fleet of zero-emission passenger cars, information from the Danish delegation, supported by the Luxembourg delegation
The Danish delegation presented a paper on the transition to a fleet of zero-emission passenger cars for accelerating the decarbonisation of the sector at the same time as preserving its competitiveness.
Eighteen member states intervened. Some member states expressed agreement that further action on zero-emission vehicles is needed to meet the existing targets and contribute to the pathway towards climate neutrality. Other member states highlighted that further action was premature given the recent agreement of CO2 targets for vehicles at the EU level. These member states also highlighted financial, competitive, and infrastructural concerns and the differential purchasing power of consumers among member states, and the increased export of second-hand cars to Central and Eastern Europe.
The Commission welcomed the discussion and stated that the new Commission, as part of the proposed European green deal, will have to consider its existing suite of policies for reducing emissions in the transport sector. The presidency concluded the discussion.
Regulation on type approval of motor vehicles—information from the presidency
The Council noted the information from the presidency on the new legislative proposal amending the regulation on type approval of motor vehicles with respect to emissions from light passenger and commercial vehicles. The legislative proposal follows the judgment of the General Court on 13 December 2018 that the Commission did not have the competence to amend the limits for real driving emission (RDE) tests. Eight member states intervened, all supportive of the swift adoption of the legislation. Interventions were divided between those supporting setting a lower conformity factor for the RDE tests compared with tests under laboratory conditions on the basis of improvements to testing equipment and the need to take action on air quality, and those supporting retention of the already-agreed limits in order to ensure legal certainty for the automotive sector and their investment decisions.
Regulation on sustainable finance taxonomy—information from the German, Luxembourg, and Austrian delegations
The Council noted the information from the German, Luxembourg, and Austrian delegations on the proposal on taxonomy for sustainable finance, who object to the current approach which classifies nuclear energy as sustainable. Fourteen member states intervened; Belgium and Italy were supportive of the effort to declassify nuclear as sustainable, while other member states stressed the importance of maintaining technology neutrality and the role of nuclear in meeting emissions reduction targets.
Report on the 18th meeting of parties to the convention on international trade in endangered species of wild fauna and flora—information from the presidency and Commission
The Council noted the information from the presidency and Commission on the 18th meeting of the conference of the parties (COP18) to the convention on international trade in endangered species of wild fauna and flora (CITES) in Geneva on 17-28 August 2019.
The 7th high-level dialogue conference of the China Europe Water Platform—information from the Portuguese delegation
The Council noted the information from the Portuguese delegation on the upcoming 7th high level dialogue conference of the China Europe Water Platform in Guimaraes on 6-9 November 2019.
Exiting the European Union
General Affairs Council October 2019
I represented the UK at the General Affairs Council (GAC) in Luxembourg on 15 October 2019. A provisional report of the meeting and the conclusions adopted can be found on the Council of the European Union’s website at:
Enlargement and stabilisation and association of Albania and North Macedonia
The Council discussed enlargement and the stabilisation and association process as regards Albania and North Macedonia. The presidency recalled the conclusions of 18 June 2019 Council to revert to the issue no later than October 2019. However, the discussion concluded without resolution due to a lack of unanimity. The presidency issued procedural conclusions stating that the Council would return to the issue after the October European Council.
Preparation of the European Council on 17-18 October 2019: Conclusions and European Council follow-up
Ministers continued preparations for the European Council on 17-18 October. The presidency split the discussion into multiannual financial framework (MFF) and other agenda items. There was a lack of consensus among member states on the MFF proposal presented by the presidency. Leaders discussed EU priorities for the next five years; Turkey; and climate change.
AOB: Transparency seminar
The presidency briefed Ministers on the outcomes of the future of EU transparency seminar it held on 24 September in Helsinki.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Foreign Affairs Council 14 October
The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (HRVP), Federica Mogherini, chaired the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) in Luxembourg on 14 October. My right hon. Friend the Minister for the Middle East and North Africa attended the meeting.
The HRVP and Foreign Ministers had an exchange of views on a number of pressing issues. On Iran, they recalled their commitment to the joint comprehensive plan of action (JCPoA) and highlighted the importance of continuing efforts to de-escalate tensions. The United Kingdom highlighted the importance of the joint comprehensive plan of action, the instrument in support of trade exchanges (INSTEX) and our participation in the international maritime security construct.
On Libya, Ministers expressed their support for the resumption of the UN-led political process. The United Kingdom expressed full support for German efforts to boost regional co-operation, and the importance of strict enforcement of the UN arms embargo.
The HRVP encouraged Ministers to participate in the international solidarity conference on the Venezuelan refugee and migrant crisis on 28-29 October in Brussels.
Ministers discussed the latest developments in Syria. The UN special envoy for Syria, Geir Pedersen, briefed Ministers on the political process and preparations for the Constitutional Committee’s first meeting, due to take place at the end of October. He also expressed his concern over Turkey's military action in north-east Syria and the risks for the political process. Foreign Ministers reiterated their full support for the special envoy.
The Council condemned Turkey’s unilateral military action, noting its impact on regional stability and security and the UN-led peace process, humanitarian assistance, and the global coalition’s progress to defeat Daesh (which remained a threat to European security as well as Turkey’s, regional and international security). The conclusions, while noting that Turkey was a key partner of the European Union and a critically important actor in the Syrian crisis and the region, urged Turkey to cease its unilateral military action in north-east Syria and to withdraw its forces. They also reiterated the EU’s commitment to the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Syrian state, and urged a political and diplomatic resolution to security concerns in north-east Syria.
The conclusions recalled some member states’ decision to immediately halt arms exports licensing to Turkey and called for a ministerial meeting of the international coalition against Daesh to address how to pursue its efforts in this regard.
The conclusions reiterated that the EU would not provide stabilisation or development assistance in areas where the rights of local populations are ignored or violated, and that it remained engaged in addressing the humanitarian and refugee crisis.
Turkey’s drilling activities in the eastern Mediterranean
Ministers discussed Turkey’s drilling in the waters around Cyprus. The United Kingdom stressed that Turkey must respect Cyprus’ sovereignty and supported calls for dialogue.
The Council adopted conclusions reaffirming the EU’s solidarity with Cyprus regarding the respect of its sovereignty, and noted that delimitations of exclusive economic zones should be addressed through dialogue and negotiation in full respect of international law and in accordance with the principle of good neighbourly relations.
The Council agreed to put in place a framework regime of restrictive measures targeting natural and legal persons responsible for or involved in the illegal drilling activity of hydrocarbons in the eastern Mediterranean.
Ministers had a brief exchange of views in preparation for the discussion with the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko over the working lunch.
The discussion was postponed to the Foreign Affairs Council meeting of 11 November 2019 due to time constraints.
Lunch with the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Ukraine Vadym Prystaiko
Over lunch, Foreign Minister Prystaiko briefed on Ukrainian reform plans. The Minister for the Middle East and North Africa underlined the United Kingdom’s commitment to supporting Ukraine on reforms and stressed the need for the EU to remain focused on Russian influence. Ministers reaffirmed the EU’s strong commitment to Ukraine, both to its territorial integrity and security and to its Government's efforts on the reforms process.
The Council agreed a number of further measures:
The Council adopted conclusions on the continued presence of Operation Althea in Bosnia and Herzegovina to support authorities in maintaining a safe and secure environment for its citizens.
The Council adopted conclusions to extend restrictive measures addressing the use and proliferation of chemical weapons until 16 October 2020.
The Council adopted conclusions renewing its commitment to democracy in a changing global context.
The Council adopted conclusions to adopt a framework for targeted restrictive measures in light of the situation in Nicaragua.
The Council adopted conclusions on its engagement with Thailand.
The Council adopted conclusions on human rights, the rule of law and the fundamental freedoms of the citizens of Cameroon.
Health and Social Care
Health and Social Care
The Department’s remit formally expanded from the “Department of Health” to the “Department of Health and Social Care” in January 2018. Our health and social care services continue to meet the challenges of rising demand and ever more complex need. In 2018-19, there were 24.8 million A&E attendances, 4.3 million more than were seen in 2009-10 and 1.7 million more within four hours. 1.8 million requests for adult social care support from 1.3 million new clients were received in 2017-18. This is down to the commitment, compassion and professionalism of the 1.3 million people who work in the NHS and the 1.6 million people working in adult social care services across the country. As at June 2019 there were over 17,300 more doctors and over 8,000 more nurses and health visitors since June 2010, with plans to recruit even more.
Since 2017, the Department has achieved a significant amount—continuing to drive forwards its strategic priorities to help people live more independent, healthier lives for longer. In July 2019, the Department reached an important milestone: the 100th anniversary since the Ministry of Health was established. It has also been working to ensure the health and social care system is as prepared as possible for EU exit.
A stronger NHS, driven forward by the ambitions set out in the NHS long term plan and significant funding commitments that support it. In July 2018 we celebrated the 70th anniversary of the NHS. Accompanying this significant milestone, the Government announced the single biggest cash increase made in the NHS’s history—an extra £33.9 billion a year by 2023-24 (compared with 2018-19). This backs the NHS’s clinically led long term plan (LTP), which sets out a bold and innovative vision, safeguarding our nation’s health for generations to come.
A healthier nation, with prevention at the heart of our strategy to tackle the causes of poor health and ongoing efforts to ensure we play a leading role in confronting global health challenges.
Prevention remains a high priority for the Department. Important progress has been made across a number of areas, including: the tobacco control plan published in 2018; extending the HPV vaccine to boys; a new £6 million scheme to improve outcomes for children with alcohol dependent parents; exceeding the NHS diabetes prevention programme commitment a year early; being one of the first countries in the world to achieve the UN’s “90/90/90” goals on HIV prevention; creating the first Minister for Suicide Prevention alongside the cross-Government suicide prevention workplan; and introducing the soft drinks industry levy in April 2018, which has been hugely successful—the average sugar content of drinks subject to the levy decreased by 28.8% between 2015 and 2018.
The Prevention Green Paper published in July 2019 signalled a new approach for the health and social care system. This included chapter 3 of the childhood obesity strategy and driving forward policies in chapter 2, such as ending the sale of energy drinks to children and exploring what additional opportunities leaving the European Union presents for front of pack food labelling in England.
The Government have continued to protect and promote the health of the nation, including through: consulting on proposals to reduce ill-health related to job loss; fully establishing the Northern Ireland abortion scheme in 2019; announcing a new network of eight walk-in FGM clinics; new legislation on organ donation; and leading the healthcare response to emergency incidents, such as the Novichok poisoning in Salisbury.
We continue to play a leading role in global health security, through our work with the G7, G20, World Health Assembly and the UN. The Government have published a 20-year vision and a 5-year national action plan for how the UK will contribute to containing and controlling antimicrobial resistance by 2040.
A transformation in care, to make sure we are supporting the most vulnerable in our community with joined-up, compassionate and modern services.
We have been supporting primary and community services through: investment which will grow faster than the overall NHS budget; a new 5-year contract for GPs; expanding evening and weekend GP appointments; rolling out the NHS comprehensive model of personalised care; improving diagnosis of dementia with record recent monthly figures; a new clinical negligence scheme for general practice; and we now have record numbers of GPs entering training, with 3,415 acceptances in 2018, we expect that trend to continue this year.
The Government and the NHS are continuing to make progress towards parity of esteem for mental health, including: spending on mental health rising to £12.5 billion in 2018-19; NHS LTP committing to spending a further £2.3 billion a year by 2023-24 to transform mental health services, and support 380,000 more adults and 345,000 children and young people (aged 0-25); publishing the 2017 Green Paper on children and young people’s mental health and creating the first wave of schools and college-based mental health support teams; modernising the Mental Health Act 1983; hosting a global ministerial mental health summit to put mental health on an equal footing with physical health; and contributing to the Government’s first strategy to tackle loneliness in England in October 2018. Overall, waiting time standards and the IAPT recovery rate continues to improve and we are consistently exceeding the targets: 52.1% of patients who finished a course of psychological therapy recovered in 2018-19 (up from 50.8% in 2017-18), this is the second reporting year in a row when the recovery rate has surpassed the Government target that 50% of eligible referrals to IAPT services should move to recovery; and 89.4% of people were seen within six weeks for their first course of treatment, against a target of 75% (an increase from 89.1% in 2017-18).
Tackling cancer remains a priority for this Government. In October 2018, the Prime Minister announced measures with the aim of seeing 75% of all cancers detected at an early stage by 2028 to save 55,000 lives a year. Survival rates are at a record high, increasing year-on-year since 2010. One-year survival rate for adults diagnosed in 2016 is over 70%, an increase of around 10 percentage points over the last two decades. A recent international study showed that the five-year net survival rate for breast cancer increased by 7% between 2000-04 and 2010-2014—among the fastest in western Europe. In 2018-19 the NHS carried out almost 23 million diagnostic tests, eight million more than in 2010 (an increase of 53%); 2 million people were seen by a specialist for suspected cancer, over 1 million more than in 2010 (an increase of 124%); and 310,700 patients started treatment for cancer, around 70,900 more than in 2010 (an increase of around 30%).
The Government have given councils access to up to £3.6 billion more dedicated funding for adult social care in 2018-19. In total, the Government have given councils access to around £10 billion more adult social care funding from 2017-18 to 2019-20. In the recent 2019 spending round we announced councils will have access to a further £1.5 billion for social care—£1 billion through a new grant and £500 million through the adult social care precept. This will support councils to meet rising demand and continue to stabilise the social care system. We ran two new national adult social care recruitment campaigns to raise the image and profile of the sector and encourage people with the right values to apply for current vacancies. In June 2018 we published the cross-Government carers action plan 2018-20.
We announced new landmark arrangements for community pharmacy, which came into force from October 2019. In addition, working with the branded pharmaceutical industry, represented by the ABPI, we agreed the 2019 voluntary scheme for branded medicines pricing and access, which began on 1 January 2019 and will run for five years. The NHS is expected to save around £930 million on its medicines bill for 2019 as a result.
In July 2019 the new NHS patient safety strategy set out NHS actions to continue to improve patient safety. We published the Health Service Safety Investigations Bill, which will establish the world’s first independent body to investigate patient safety concerns and share recommendations to prevent incidents.
A workforce fit for the future, created by recruiting, retaining and developing the people we need to deliver and by making the health and care system a rewarding place to work.
The interim NHS people plan, published in June 2019, set out proposals to grow and support the NHS workforce. As part of the 2019 spending round every nurse, midwife and allied health professional will receive a new £1,000 personal development budget over three years.
In September 2019, we agreed a new contract deal for junior doctors in England, successfully bringing an end to the junior doctors dispute, following a review of the 2016 contract.
In June 2018, we agreed a new multi-year pay and contract reform deal for agenda for change staff which benefits nearly 1 million NHS workers over three years.
Better technology and data, which will harness the full potential of technology to modernise and improve the way we deliver healthcare for the 21st century.
In October 2018, we published the Secretary of State’s technology vision “The future of healthcare: our vision for digital, data and technology in health and care”. In July 2019 NHSX became operational to drive transformation and lead policy, implementation and change—leading the largest digital health and social care transformation programme in the world; and in August 2019 we announced a new artificial intelligence lab, to help solve some of healthcare’s toughest challenges. In total, over £250 million will have been invested nationally to improve the cyber security of the health and social care system between 2016 and 2021.
We have supported and funded the ambitious and world-leading 100,000 genome project, reaching the goal to sequence 100,000 whole genomes in December 2018. We established the genomic medicine service in the NHS—the first of its kind in the world to integrate whole genome sequencing into the healthcare system.
The Department has maintained its focus on investing in infrastructure and research, through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). In 2018-19 there have been over 1 million participants in NIHR-supported health and social care research studies. We have maintained spending on dementia research and are on track to meet our commitment of £60 million spent annually to March 2020.
In December 2018, the Government, in collaboration with industry, launched the second life sciences sector deal, backed by a range of organisations from across the sector and £1.2 billion of new investment from industry.
No-deal Brexit: Immigration
The Government priority remains to leave the European Union on the basis of the draft withdrawal agreement reached on 17 October 2019. However, it is appropriate that we also continue to make the preparations necessary in the event that we leave without a deal.
To that end, the Government are laying before Parliament today the Immigration (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019. Further to the written ministerial statement made by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary on 4 September 2019 (HCWS1817), this will deliver changes in immigration arrangements for EU citizens which reflect the fact that, in a no deal scenario, free movement as it currently stands will end when we leave the European Union.
In particular, to increase security and better protect the public, the measure, and associated changes in the immigration rules contained in the “Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules” (HC 170) which the Home Secretary is laying before Parliament today, will mean that a UK conduct and criminality threshold rather than an EU threshold will be applied for EU citizens and their family members moving to the UK after a no deal Brexit. The measures will also apply those thresholds to the post-exit conduct of EU citizens and their family members living here before a no deal Brexit, or who have EU settlement scheme status, and to their pre-exit conduct where their post-exit conduct results in a sentence of imprisonment. This will bring the approach to EU citizens more into line with how we treat non-EU nationals and make our system simpler and fairer.
In addition, the Immigration (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 make changes to the documentary evidence which may be relied upon by EU citizens and their family members for admission to the UK. They also remove the scope for EU citizens and their family members moving to the UK after a no deal Brexit to acquire permanent residence under EU law and the scope for UK nationals and their family members moving to the EU after a no deal Brexit to return here under current EU law-based arrangements.
The “Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules” (HC 170) establishes the European temporary leave to remain scheme, for European economic area (EEA) and Swiss citizens moving to the UK after a no deal Brexit and before the start of the new points-based immigration system from January 2021, and for their close family members, to enable them to obtain a UK immigration status so that they can continue living and working here for a temporary period after 2020. In line with previous policy announcements, it also provides access to the EU settlement scheme—under which EEA and Swiss citizens resident here before Brexit can obtain UK immigration status—for relevant family members joining them here after a no deal Brexit, by 29 March 2022 in the case of existing close family members and by 31 December 2020 for other relevant family members.
Taken together, these changes will begin the process of taking back control of our borders and preparing the way for a new, fairer immigration system which operates in the national interest.
Copies of the statement of changes in immigration rules will be available in the Vote Office and online at gov.uk.
Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse: Ealing Abbey and St Benedict’s School
Today the independent inquiry into child sexual abuse has published its latest case study report, which can be found at www.iicsa.org.uk.
This report relates to Ealing Abbey and St Benedict’s School in the inquiry’s Roman Catholic Church investigation. I pay tribute to the strength and courage of the victims and survivors who have shared their experiences to ensure the inquiry can deliver its vital work.
Government will review this report and consider how to respond to its content in due course.
I would like to thank Professor Jay and her panel for their continued work to uncover the truth, expose what went wrong in the past and to learn the lessons for the future.