Thursday 16 July 2020
Public Service Pensions Consultation
Today I have laid in Parliament the consultation document “Public service pension schemes: changes to the transitional arrangements to the 2015 schemes” (CP No. 253) detailing proposals regarding public service pensions. In December 2018, the Court of Appeal identified that transitional protection arrangements provided to older judges and firefighters in 2015 gave rise to unlawful discrimination. The consultation sets out options to deliver the Government’s commitments, made in July 2019 (HCWS1725) and March 2020 (HCWS187), to address the discrimination across the public service pension schemes and for all affected members. It also sets out the Government’s intention to move all affected public servants to the 2015 reformed pension schemes from 1 April 2022. The consultation will run from 16 July to 11 October 2020. Furthermore, the Government are today announcing that the pause of the cost control mechanism, which was implemented in 2019 (HCWS1286), will be lifted. The Government will also proceed with the previously announced review by the Government Actuary as to whether the mechanism is working in line with original objectives.
Proposals for addressing discrimination
The consultation published today sets out proposals to address the unlawful discrimination arising from the transitional arrangements introduced when public service schemes were reformed in 2015. There are two possible mechanisms for achieving this: an immediate choice exercise or a deferred choice underpin. Both will enable all affected members, whether they originally received transitional protection or not, to decide whether to take the legacy or reformed scheme benefits for the period 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2022. These options differ in the point at which the member makes the decision: the immediate choice exercise would be held in the years after the point of legal implementation in 2022; whereas under the deferred choice underpin, the decision would be deferred until the point at which a member takes their pension benefits. Until that deferred choice is made, all members would be treated as having been in their legacy scheme between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2022. Where members are already in receipt of their pension, they would get the choice as soon as practicable after the policy is implemented.
These proposals apply to all members who were in a relevant public service pension scheme on or before 31 March 2012 and remained in a relevant pension scheme on or after 1 April 2015.
The public service schemes affected by this announcement are the main public service pension schemes managed by the UK Government, Welsh Government and Scottish Government. Changes to the local government pension scheme in England and Wales, and the equivalent scheme in Scotland, as well as the UK-wide judicial pension scheme and the public service pension schemes in Northern Ireland will be consulted on separately.
Future pension provision
From 1 April 2022, all members who are not already in the reformed schemes and who are still accruing benefits in legacy schemes will be placed into the 2015 reformed pension schemes. The reformed schemes are important in ensuring that the cost of public service pensions is affordable and sustainable, while providing vital public servants with a generous, inflation-protected income in retirement. The reformed schemes are also fairer to those who do not see their earnings increase greatly during their careers such as many lower and middle earners.
Cost control mechanism update
The 2015 reforms also introduced a mechanism to control the cost of public service pensions.
This assesses the value of schemes to members and is designed to ensure members receive fair entitlement while ensuring costs remain sustainable. It has both a ceiling and a floor—when costs increase above the ceiling or fall below the floor, member benefits are adjusted to meet the target cost.
Following the Court of Appeal’s judgment, the Government announced a pause to the “cost control” element of the 2016 scheme valuations, as the judgment led to significant uncertainty about benefit entitlements, meaning that at the time there was not enough certainty to assess the value of benefits to members.
Progress has now been made in the employment tribunals to determine a remedy for claimants, and the Government are now setting out their proposals for consultation. As the uncertainties about the current level of benefits have receded, I can therefore announce that the pause to the cost control mechanism will now be lifted, and the Government have started the process to complete the cost control element of the 2016 valuations.
When the mechanism was established, it was agreed that it would consider “member costs”: i.e. costs that affect the value of schemes to members. As the proposals in the consultation published today will increase the value of schemes to members, this falls into the “member cost” category.
As a “member cost”, this will be considered as part of the completion of the cost control element of the 2016 valuations process. Current employer contribution rates will not be affected. The Government have published an “Update on the cost control element of the 2016 valuations” today, providing additional details.
In September 2018, the Government announced their intention to ask the Government Actuary to review the cost control mechanism to assess whether it is working in line with original objectives. The review has been on hold, but I can today announce that it will proceed and report ahead of the completion of the 2020 valuations.
The Government remain committed to public service pensions which are fair to public servants and fair to other taxpayers.
Copies of the consultation document (CP No. 253) are available in the Vote Office and Printed Paper Office, and it is published on gov.uk.
Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
Regulating Consumer Smart Product Security: Call for Views
This Government have ambitious plans to ensure the UK’s smart technology, products and services are more secure by having cyber-security designed into them by default.
From January 2017 to February 2018, my Department conducted a review, in collaboration with the National Cyber Security Centre, to identify proposals for improving the cyber-security of consumer smart products and associated services. This led to the creation of our code of practice for consumer internet of things (IoT) security, which was published on 14 October 2018.
The Government initially encouraged industry to adopt the guidelines in the code of practice for consumer IoT security voluntarily. However, in many cases, poor security practices remain commonplace.
In a consultation held in 2019, we found widespread support for the introduction of a mandatory cyber-security baseline for consumer smart products sold in the UK. As part of the Government response to the 2019 consultation, in January 2020 I announced the Government’s intention to implement regulation to ensure that stronger security is built into consumer smart products, aligned with the top three security requirements of the code of practice for consumer IoT security.
Since then, my officials have been working with the National Cyber Security Centre, industry leaders and cyber-security experts to develop world-leading legislation in this space. Today I am pleased to inform members that we are launching a public call for views on the Government’s proposed regulatory approach to consumer smart products on 16 July. This will run until 6 September 2020, and represents an important opportunity for us to test our proposed approach, and for industry to input and build a regulatory framework that is world-leading, promotes innovation, and protects consumers.
Our proposed regulation will set a cyber-security baseline for consumer smart products sold in the UK. The call for views will detail the scope of products the legislation would apply to, security requirements that we are proposing to mandate, obligations on producers and distributors, and a proposed enforcement approach. Following the conclusion of this call for views, we will develop our regulation approach further, before introducing legislation as soon as parliamentary time allows.
As a reserved matter, these proposed amendments will apply across the UK. The safety of consumer smart products is a priority across the whole of the UK, and my officials will continue to work closely with the devolved Administrations on this policy.
Covid-19: Higher Education Restructuring Regime
The establishment of the higher education restructuring regime in response to covid-19 has been announced today.
On 4 May, I put forward a higher education (HE) stabilisation package which reprofiled public funding and introduced measures to stabilise admissions with a view to mitigating the impact of covid-19 on HE providers’ finances. This package, along with the Government-backed business support schemes, provided substantial support to the HE sector. On 27 June, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy announced further support to preserve research capacity and capability in the research stabilisation package.
Many providers may continue to be affected by income losses across teaching, research, commercial and other activities resulting from covid-19. There remains significant uncertainty around the extent of financial challenge providers will face and the full picture of this will not become clear until the autumn term.
I recognised at the time of my announcement in May that there may be a case for Government intervention to support an otherwise sustainable provider’s efforts to restructure its business and overcome ongoing financial threats caused by covid-19.
That is why I am announcing today the establishment of the higher education restructuring regime to support, in the right circumstances, individual HE providers in England at risk of market exit as a result of covid-19 and to intervene where there is a case to do so.
Providers in scope for consideration for support through this regime are those on the Office for Students register in the approved (fee cap) category.
The Government’s intention is not to provide a blanket bail-out to the sector. It is not a guarantee that no organisation will fail. Instead, the Government will consider supporting restructuring of providers as a last resort and provided there is an economic case to do so. Restructuring plans will need to combine financial rigour and business efficiency with a strong focus on emerging from the challenges of covid-19 to deliver higher-quality provision to meet the needs of our economy and society.
The regime will take into account the following overarching policy objectives which will guide my Department’s assessment of cases:
Protecting the welfare of current students.
Preserving the sector’s internationally outstanding science base.
Supporting the role that HE providers play in regional and local economies through the provision of high-quality courses aligned with economic and societal needs.
Providers facing financial difficulties should continue to engage with the Office for Students as the regulator for HE in England. They may choose to approach the new DFE restructuring unit to begin discussion about potentially becoming engaged in the HE restructuring regime.
I will receive advice to support my decision on whether the Government should intervene in the case of an individual provider and the nature of the intervention from an independent restructuring regime board. This board will include experts on restructuring and the HE sector. Any financial support will be in the form of a repayable loan with clear conditions that support Government objectives. An assessment of the individual provider’s business model and restructuring plan will determine the precise terms and conditions to be attached to any public funding.
I have deposited a copy of the announcement document in the Libraries of both Houses.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Human Rights and Democracy Annual Report 2019
I have today laid before Parliament a copy of the 2019 Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) report on human rights and democracy (CP number 273).
The report analyses human rights developments overseas in 2019 and illustrates how the Government work to promote and defend human rights globally.
The report assesses the situation in 30 countries, which the FCO has designated as its human rights priority countries. These are Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Burma, Burundi, Central African Republic, China, Colombia, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Libya, Maldives, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Yemen, and Zimbabwe.
Almost 75 years ago, the UN charter established the three pillars of the UN’s work: maintaining international peace and security; promoting and protecting human rights; and fostering development. As we mark the UN’s 75th anniversary, the UK’s commitment to these three pillars remains steadfast. This report details the UK’s partnerships with human rights defenders, our leadership on promoting media freedom and gender equality, our work to eradicate modern slavery, and our commitment to deliver change for those who are abused, targeted, or killed for their religion or beliefs.
Cyber-security: Foreign Interference
I am today updating Parliament on the ongoing investigations into the leak of the UK-US free trade agreement documents ahead of the general election in 2019. The chair of the Intelligence and Security Committee has been briefed on the details of this incident.
The Government have robust systems in place to protect the UK against foreign malign influence. These bring together Government, civil society and private sector organisations to monitor and respond to interference, to ensure our democracy stays open, transparent and resilient. During the 2019 general election a cross-government election security cell was stood up to co-ordinate responses to threats and hazards relating to the election.
On the basis of extensive analysis, the Government have concluded that it is almost certain that Russian actors sought to interfere in the 2019 general election through the online amplification of illicitly acquired and leaked Government documents.
Sensitive Government documents relating to the UK-US free trade agreement were illicitly acquired before the 2019 general election and disseminated online via the social media platform Reddit. When these gained no traction, further attempts were made to promote the illicitly acquired material online in the run-up to the general election.
Whilst there is no evidence of a broad spectrum Russian campaign against the general election, any attempt to interfere in our democratic processes is completely unacceptable. It is, and will always be, an absolute priority to protect our democracy and elections.
There is an ongoing criminal investigation and it would be inappropriate for us to say anything further at this point.
The Government reserve the right to respond with appropriate measures in the future.
The UK will continue to call out and respond to malign activity, including any attempts to interfere in our democratic processes, alongside our international partners. We fully support the recent action taken by our German partners who exposed Russian responsibility for the hack of their Parliament in 2015, as well as their intention to act against those responsible under the cyber sanctions regime. The UK Government laid the statutory instrument for our own cyber sanctions regime on 17 June.
Health and Social Care
Liberty Protection Safeguards
This statement provides an update on the implementation of liberty protection safeguards (LPS). The Mental Capacity (Amendment) Act 2019, which received Royal Assent in May 2019, introduced LPS to replace deprivation of liberty safeguards (DoLS).
LPS will authorise deprivation of liberty in order to provide care or treatment to an individual who lacks capacity to consent to their arrangements, in England and Wales. It will replace a system that many agree is overly bureaucratic and complicated.
It is paramount that implementation of LPS is successful so that the new system provides the safeguards needed. The intention to date, subject to the Department for Health and Social Care’s work with stakeholders and delivery partners, was for LPS to come into force on 1 October 2020.
It is now clear that successful implementation is not possible by this October. We now aim for full implementation of LPS by April 2022. Some provisions, covering new roles and training, will come into force ahead of that date. I will continue to update the sector and stakeholders on timings.
The Government will undertake a public consultation on the draft regulations and code of practice for LPS. That will run for 12 weeks, allowing sufficient time for those that are affected, including those with learning disabilities, to engage properly.
The sector will need time following the publication of the final code to prepare for implementation. We will give the sector sufficient time to prepare for the new system to ensure successful implementation. I am considering a period of approximately six months for this.
After we have considered responses to the consultation, the updated code and regulations will need to be laid in Parliament to allow for proper scrutiny. This needs to happen well in advance of the target implementation date, first to allow for that scrutiny and second because some of the regulations need to come into force earlier.
Health and social care has been at the frontline of the nation’s response to covid-19, with social care providers looking after many of the most vulnerable in society. We have received representations from public and private bodies from across the sector over the last few months, outlining the pressures they face if they were to implement by October 2020.
My overall objective remains to ensure implementation of an effective system in particular for those whose lives will be most affected by this legislation.
The forthcoming draft code of practice and regulations will also offer more detailed information about how LPS will operate in practice. I will provide a further update on the progress of implementation in due course. I hope that the additional time announced today provides reassurance to the sector.
Patient Safety Incidents and Deaths: Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust
Following questions raised about the management of the Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust an independent review chaired by Dr Bill Kirkup CBE was established. The review report, published on 8 February 2018, found that there were significant failings in the trust from November 2010 to December 2014.
It is important that these failings are investigated, and lessons learnt to improve services. In response to these serious patient safety incidents described in the report the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care commissioned Dr Bill Kirkup to conduct an independent investigation into patient safety incidents at the trust.
These terms of reference cover patient safety incidents that occurred in the same period as the initial independent review addressed, namely November 2010 to December 2014.
This independent investigation is being conducted over three stages. Stage 1, which identified individual serious patient safety incidents that had not been reported or adequately investigated by the trust, and stage 2, an examination of a series of historic mortality reviews.
We are now entering stage 3, which will fully investigate those individual serious patient safety incidents identified from the previous stages to determine the scale of deaths and patient harm and identify local and national learning.
The work of the independent investigation panel is expected to complete by the end of 2021 and arrangements will be made for publication of its report to Parliament.
A copy of the terms of reference will be deposited in the Libraries of both Houses.
Learning Disabilities Mortality Review: Fourth Annual Report
I am announcing today the publication of the fourth annual report of the learning disabilities mortality review programme (LeDeR). A copy will be deposited in the Libraries of both Houses.
Addressing the persistent health inequalities faced by people with learning disabilities is a priority for this Government and this report is an important contribution towards that.
The LeDeR programme was established in June 2015 to help reduce early deaths and health inequalities for people with a learning disability by supporting local areas in England to review the deaths of people with a learning disability and to ensure that the learning from these reviews lead to improved health and care services. The programme is led by the University of Bristol and commissioned by NHS England and NHS Improvement.
As in previous years, the report makes a number of recommendations for Government and its system partners to improve the care of people with a learning disability which does not always meet the high standard we would expect for each and every individual. We must carefully consider these recommendations to better support those who need care and take the right action as soon as possible.
Earlier this year, we provided an update on action being taken in response to the third LeDeR report and any ongoing actions highlighted in previous years’ reports. This week, NHS England has also published its “Action from Learning Report” alongside the fourth LeDeR report, which sets out a range of work taking place to improve the safety and quality of care to reduce early deaths and health inequalities.
The fourth annual LeDeR report covers the period 1 July 2016 up to 31 December 2019, with a particular focus on deaths in 2019. This means the report will not include reference to deaths from covid-19, as the reviews it includes, and the analysis of them, were completed before the pandemic. From 1 July 2016 to 31 December 2019, 7,145 deaths were notified to the LeDeR programme. Some 3,450 of these were notified in 2019. In 122 of the cases reviewed, people received care that fell so far short of expected good practice that it significantly impacted on their well-being or directly contributed to their cause of death.
Based on the evidence from completed LeDeR reviews, the report makes 10 recommendations for the health and care system, as follows:
A continued focus on the deaths of adults and children from BAME groups is required.
For the Department of Health and Social Care to work with the chief coroner to identify the proportion of deaths of people with learning disabilities referred to a coroner in England and Wales.
The standards against which the Care Quality Commission inspects should explicitly incorporate compliance with the Mental Capacity Act as a core requirement.
Establish and agree a programme of work to implement the from the “Best practice in care co-ordination for people with a learning disability and long term conditions” (March 2019) report and liaise with the National Institute for Health Research regarding the importance of commissioning a programme of work that develops, pilots and evaluates different models of care co-ordination for adults and children with learning disabilities.
Adapt (and then adopt) the national early warning score 2 regionally to ensure it captures baseline and soft signs of acute deterioration in physical health for people with learning disabilities.
Consider developing, piloting and introducing: Specialist physicians for people with learning disabilities who would work within the specialist multi-disciplinary teams; a diploma in learning disabilities medicine; and making “learning disabilities” a physician speciality of the Royal College of Physicians.
Consider the need for timely, NICE evidence-based guidance that is inclusive of prevention, diagnosis and management of aspiration pneumonia.
Right Care to provide a toolkit to support systems to improve outcomes for adults and children at risk of aspiration pneumonia.
Safety of people with epilepsy to be prioritised. The forthcoming revision of the NICE guideline “Epilepsies in children, young people and adults” to include guidance on the safety of people with epilepsy, and safety measures to be verified in Care Quality Commission inspections.
For a national clinical audit of adults and children admitted to hospital for a condition related to chronic constipation.
The inappropriate use of do not attempt cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (DNACPR) decisions is highlighted in this fourth report, as it has been previously. DNACPRs should never be used in a blanket way and this has been reiterated during the covid-19 crisis through letters from the NHSE, including the NHSE medical director on 7 April 2020, and by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on 15 April 2020.
I am clear that we must tackle the issues raised in the LeDeR report to ensure the care that each individual deserves is provided. We will consider the report and its recommendations in more detail in the coming weeks, in order to determine the action that must be taken.
Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures: 1 March to 31 May 2020
Section 19(1) of the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011 (the Act) requires the Secretary of State to report to Parliament as soon as reasonably practicable after the end of every relevant three-month period on the exercise of her TPIM powers under the Act during that period.
The level of information provided will always be subject to slight variations based on operational advice.
TPIM notices in force (as of 31 May 2020) 6 Number of new TPIM notices served (during this period) 0 TPIM notices in respect of British citizens (as of 31 May 2020) 6 TPIM notices extended (during the reporting period) 1 TPIM notices revoked (during the reporting period) 0 TPIM notices revived (during the reporting period) 1 Variations made to measures specified in TPIM notices (during the reporting period) 0 Applications to vary measures specified in TPIM notices refused (during the reporting period) 2 The number of subjects relocated under TPIM legislation (during this the reporting period) 3
TPIM notices in force (as of 31 May 2020)
Number of new TPIM notices served (during this period)
TPIM notices in respect of British citizens (as of 31 May 2020)
TPIM notices extended (during the reporting period)
TPIM notices revoked (during the reporting period)
TPIM notices revived (during the reporting period)
Variations made to measures specified in TPIM notices (during the reporting period)
Applications to vary measures specified in TPIM notices refused (during the reporting period)
The number of subjects relocated under TPIM legislation (during this the reporting period)
The TPIM Review Group (TRG) keeps every TPIM notice under regular and formal review. Second quarter TRG meetings took place on 31 May 2020.
One individual has been charged with two counts of breaching their TPIM notice. The criminal trial has been listed to be heard in January 2021.
Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme Review
Today I have laid before Parliament a public consultation on proposals following a review of the statutory criminal injuries compensation scheme (the scheme).
No amount of compensation can ever make up for the harm and suffering caused to victims and families by violent crime. However, compensation, alongside victims’ services and other practical and emotional support, can help victims of violent crime to start to rebuild their lives.
In 2018, in the first-ever cross-government victims strategy, we made two commitments: to abolish the pre-1979 “same roof rule”, which denied compensation for some victims who lived with their attacker prior to 1979, and to undertake a comprehensive review of the scheme, the last having been undertaken in 2012.
We met the first commitment in June 2019 when an amended 2012 scheme came into force. Victims who have never applied for compensation, perhaps because of the existence of the rule, can now do so. And we have also made provision for victims whose applications had previously been refused under this rule to reapply. I am pleased to announce today that over £10 million has been made available to hundreds of victims who applied under the amended scheme in the period to 5 April 2020. Under the amended scheme, victims can continue to apply up to 13 June 2021.
The review of the scheme has been thorough. We have looked at how the scheme takes account of trends in violent crime and attitudes within society, and we have examined the impact of the scheme’s rules on particular victim groups who might apply for compensation. We have considered carefully the scope of the scheme, eligibility rules, requirements in relation to decision-making, the value and composition of awards, and the affordability and financial sustainability of the scheme.
The review has taken into account recommendations from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, and the Victims’ Commissioner for England and Wales, and examined topical issues. We have listened to concerns and feedback, and tested criticisms and perceptions. Analysis of a three-year period of caseload data has given us a detailed picture of the operation of the scheme and the impacts of different rules on victims. We have found that for the vast majority of applicants the scheme is working well and as intended, but we recognise there are areas where it may not be serving victims as effectively as it might.
Underlying the proposals in this consultation are key principles that have been woven into the fabric of the scheme and which I believe must be retained: that it is a universal scheme that exists to support all eligible victims of violent crime who have suffered the most serious injuries, and that compensation is an important and public recognition of their suffering.
I want to make it easier for victims to understand and engage with the scheme. We have identified changes that I believe will improve the experience of victims applying to the scheme, by making it simpler and easier to navigate, and more transparent. We are asking for views on proposals including on:
Ways to simplify the tariff of injuries and to update provisions for disabling mental injury;
Reducing burdens in cases where a loved one is lost, by moving to a single bereavement payment for all qualifying relatives and to a flat rate funeral payment;
And removing the remaining “same roof rule” that has applied since 1979.
We are also consulting on the merits of a separate scheme for victims of terrorism, both domestic and international, and for views on legislating to make provision for families bereaved by homicide that occurs outside Great Britain.
The consultation is available in full at: https://consult. justice.gov.uk/digital-communications/criminal-injuries-compensation-scheme-review-2020/.
Judicial Pensions and Mandatory Retirement Age
I am today launching three Government consultations on proposals for judicial pensions and the judicial mandatory retirement age.
The independent judiciary is a pillar of our democracy and plays a unique role in ensuring our freedoms and prosperity. Every day, judges take decisions on critically important issues that directly impact on people’s lives.
The importance and influence of our judiciary also reaches beyond our shores. Its reputation for integrity and impartiality helps attract international business to the UK, contributing to a legal services industry worth around £25 billion a year to our economy.
As Lord Chancellor, I have a duty to ensure that we have enough judges and that we continue to attract the very best legal practitioners to the bench. In its major review of the judicial salary structure, presented to this House on 26 October 2018, the Senior Salaries Review Body identified clear evidence of growing recruitment and retention issues at all tiers of the judiciary and pointed to pension-related changes as the main cause. The Government response to the major review, published on 5 June 2019, included a commitment to provide a long-term solution to these problems by making changes to judicial pensions.
Proposals for reforming the judicial pension scheme
The first consultation being published today sets out our proposals for reforming the judicial pension scheme to address the significant problems of recruitment and retention that we continue to experience. If we fail to tackle this issue, we put at risk the effective functioning of our justice system and its reputation. Without enough judges, cases will take longer, seriously affecting all jurisdictions. It will also undermine our ability to compete internationally for legal services, which are of such importance to the UK economy.
The proposed approach to pension reform offers a remuneration package which is both fair to the taxpayer and attractive to potential candidates for judicial office. I am confident that it will enable us to attract and retain high-calibre judges, ensuring the proper functioning of our justice system and supporting the UK’s wider prosperity. The aim is that the reformed scheme will come into operation from April 2022.
This consultation document is available online at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/consultation-on-a-reformed-judicial-pension-scheme.
Proposals for responding to the McCloud litigation
Alongside the consultation on future reform of the judicial pension scheme, we are consulting on proposals for addressing the unlawful age discrimination identified in the case of McCloud in respect of the 2015 reforms of the judicial pension scheme.
The consultation proposes that the Ministry of Justice will run a single options exercise, which will give judges in scope of the McCloud judgment the choice of whether to have retrospectively accrued benefits in the 2015 pension scheme or the legacy scheme from 1 April 2015. Membership of the chosen scheme would continue until 31 March 2022, following which the reformed pension scheme is scheduled to come into operation.
Owing to the unique characteristics of the judicial pension schemes, the Ministry of Justice proposals are distinct from the approach being taken to most other public service pension schemes, as set out in HM Treasury’s McCloud consultation, which was also published today.
The consultation document relating to the judicial scheme is available online at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/consultation-on-the-proposed-response-to-mccloud.
Proposals for increasing the judicial mandatory retirement age
Finally, we are also publishing a consultation on proposals for changing the mandatory retirement age for judges. The make-up of our judiciary has changed significantly in recent years and so have the resourcing needs of our courts and tribunals. We have responded to this change by increasing our recruitment programmes, but challenges remain. At the same time, life expectancy has increased. We are therefore consulting on whether to raise the mandatory retirement age for judicial office holders.
The proposals in this consultation would allow judges, coroners and magistrates to sit for longer and continue to contribute to the justice system. These proposals only relate to those judicial offices for which the UK Parliament has sole competence to legislate. The Ministry of Justice will continue to engage the devolved Administrations of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales on approaches to the mandatory retirement age for judicial office holders across the UK.
This consultation document is available online at: https://consult.justice.gov.uk/digital-communications/judicial-mandatory-retirement-age/.
The consultations close on 16 October 2020 and the Government will publish their response to each in early 2021.
The three consultation documents have been placed in the Library of the House.
Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities
Today I am establishing an independent commission on race and ethnic disparities. This cross-government commission will review inequality in the UK, across the whole population.
The commission’s work will touch upon many areas of public policy. It will make recommendations for action across government, public bodies and the private sector, and will inform a national conversation about race, led by the evidence.
I have assembled a group of 10 talented and ethnically diverse commissioners. They bring a wealth of experience from across a range of important sectors. In order to understand why disparities exist, what works and what does not, they will consider detailed quantitative data and qualitative evidence. They will also commission new research and invite submissions where necessary.
The commission will set out a new, positive agenda for change—balancing the needs of individuals, communities and society, maximising opportunities and ensuring fairness for all.
I have placed the list of commissioners and the commission’s ambitious terms of reference, in the Libraries of both Houses. Commissioners will be supported by a secretariat in the Cabinet Office race disparities unit and will submit their report by the end of the year.
“A303 Stonehenge” Application: Update
I have been asked by my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State, to make this written ministerial statement. This statement concerns the application made under the Planning Act 2008 for the proposed construction by Highways England of a new two-lane dual carriageway for the A303 between Amesbury and Berwick Down in Wiltshire (also known as the “A303 Stonehenge” application).
Under sub-section 107(1) of the Planning Act 2008, the Secretary of State must make his decision within three months of receipt of the examining authority’s report unless exercising the power under sub-section 107(3) to extend the deadline and make a statement to the Houses of Parliament announcing the new deadline. The Secretary of State received the examining authority’s report on the A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down development consent order application on 2 January 2020 and the deadline for a decision was previously extended from 2 April 2020 to 17 July 2020 to allow for further work to be carried out.
Following notification of a recent archaeological find within the world heritage site, the deadline for the decision is to be further extended to 13 November 2020 (an extension of four months) to enable further consultation on and consideration of this matter before determination of the application by the Secretary of State.
The decision to set a new deadline is without prejudice to the decision on whether to give development consent.