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Written Statements

Volume 679: debated on Tuesday 1 September 2020

Written Statements

Tuesday 1 September 2020


School Estate

Today, I am confirming £560 million of capital funding to maintain and improve the condition of the school estate.

On 29 June, the Government announced a transformative, 10-year rebuilding programme for schools, supported by over £1 billion for the first 50 projects. This will replace poor-condition and ageing school buildings, with modern, energy-efficient designs, transforming education for thousands of pupils.

The Government also announced that £560 million of additional condition funding would be made available this year to maintain and improve the condition of the school estate. This is in addition to the £1.45 billion already provided for school maintenance in financial year 2020-21.

Details of how the additional funding has been allocated were published on 5 August 2020. This included:

£182 million to fund a further 580 condition improvement fund projects from the 2020-21 application round, at 548 eligible academies, sixth form colleges and voluntary-aided schools. A further £5 million will support the CIF appeals round and urgent projects later in the year.

A further £373 million allocated through school condition allocations for 2020-21 for local authorities, large multi-academy trusts and academy sponsors, and dioceses, and other large voluntary-aided school groups.

Overall, for the condition improvement fund 2020-21 bidding round we have now awarded a total of £616 million for 2,056 projects, benefiting 1,652 schools and colleges. We have now also allocated £1,176 million in school condition allocations for 2020-21.

Full details have been published on the Department for Education section on the website. Copies will be placed in the Library of the House.



Administrative Law: Independent Review

On 31 July 2020, I announced, via press notice, the creation of an independent review of administrative law. I am today following up this announcement. This review extends from our manifesto commitment; an external advisory panel will provide the Government with expert advice on potential reform of judicial review. As Lord Chancellor, I am committed to defending our world-class and independent courts and judiciary that lie at the heart of British justice and the rule of law.

Specifically, this work aims to examine the effectiveness of judicial review as a mechanism for balancing the rights of the citizen and effective governance, considering the role of the Executive, Parliament and the courts. The review is examining four key areas outlined in detail in the terms of reference which have been placed in the Library of the House. Broadly, the panel will consider the following issues:

i) whether judicial review should be codified;

ii) whether certain Executive decisions should be non-justiciable;

iii) which grounds and remedies should be available in justiciable claims; and

iv) procedural reforms to judicial review (such as timings, appeals and “standing”).

The examination of these issues will consider the balance of the legitimate interest of the citizen being able to challenge the lawfulness of Executive action through the courts with the importance of the Executive being able to govern effectively under the law. Moreover, it will consider data and evidence and relevant caselaw on the development of judicial review and consider whether reform is justified.

It is my intention that the panel shall consider these questions thoroughly. As courts and the way they operate is a key part of our constitution, any options for reform put forward by the panel will be considered by me and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office. The panel will report back later this year and its report will be published, as will the Government’s response.

The following people are members of the panel. Each was selected on the basis that they are senior legal practitioners and eminent academics. The panel members are:

Lord Faulks QC—Panel Chair

Professor Carol Harlow QC

Vikram Sachdeva QC

Professor Alan Page

Celina Colquhoun

Nick McBride



Spaceflight Regulations: Consultation

My noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport, Baroness Vere of Norbiton, made the following ministerial statement on 29 July 2020.

I am today publishing the consultation on draft regulations and guidance made under the 2018 Space Industry Act. This consultation seeks views on the operability and effectiveness of the draft space industry regulations, accident investigation regulations, appeals regulations, and the associated guidance documents and regulator’s licensing rules. As part of this consultation, a consultation stage impact assessment has also been published.

The UK’s space sector is already a unique national asset—which this Government are committed to turbo-charging. The UK’s space sector can strengthen our national capabilities, create high-skilled jobs and level up the UK. To support this, the Queen’s Speech on 19 December set out the Government’s intent to establish a new National Space Council and develop a comprehensive UK space strategy. The launch of this consultation and the introduction of a new regulatory framework form an integral part of the work we are doing to bring commercial spaceflight to the UK and create a supportive regulatory environment which fosters growth in the sector.

Government and industry have set a target to grow the UK’s share of the global market to 10% by 2030. In order to support this, our spaceflight programme aims to establish commercial vertical and horizontal small satellite launch, sub-orbital spaceflight and space tourism from UK spaceports. To help expand the UK’s spaceflight capabilities, the Government are funding a range of industry-led projects. Separately, we are also investing in related facilities and technology. This will provide industry with new commercial market opportunities, grow our export share and help to build new UK supply chains.

As acknowledged in the Government’s research and development road map, regulation that enables the development, demonstration and deployment of new technologies is essential to championing companies on the technological frontier. Our regulatory framework for spaceflight will support safe and sustainable activities that will drive research, innovation and entrepreneurship in this vital sector, exploiting the unique environment of space, and providing a catalyst for growth across the space sector. This will feed into our emerging national space strategy as we develop further priorities for the UK and the sector in the long term and contribute this Government’s agenda to level-up the whole country.

Enabling UK-based space launches

Currently the space activities of UK entities are governed by the Outer Space Act 1986. This requires any UK entities who procure the launch of a satellite and/or operate a satellite in orbit to hold a licence. The UK has a well-established and globally respected licensing regime for these activities. However, UK satellite operators currently have to rely on obtaining slots on launches from other countries to get their satellites in orbit. Our aim now is to license launches from UK spaceports. I expect to see the first UK-based launches during the early 2020s.

While the Space Industry Act 2018 is now law, the draft secondary legislation contained in this consultation is required to create the regulatory framework necessary for commercial launch operations to be licensed in the UK. Once regulations are in force, the Space Industry Act 2018 will work alongside the Outer Space Act 1986 to regulate the spaceflight and associated activities of UK entities.

Together with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the UK Space Agency and Civil Aviation Authority we have legislated to allow for the regulation of a wide range of new commercial spaceflight technologies, including traditional vertically launched vehicles, air-launched vehicles and sub-orbital spaceplanes and balloons. We have endeavoured to produce legislation that is flexible enough to accommodate emerging technological advancements, market opportunities and changes to the international legal landscape, while keeping safety at the forefront.

To ensure that these services are carried out safely and responsibly, we are creating a new regulator for commercial spaceflight and associated activities. It is our intention that the Civil Aviation Authority will undertake all Space Industry Act 2018 regulatory functions in addition to regulating in-orbit activities under the Outer Space Act 1986.

Next steps

The deadline for responses to consultation is 21 October 2020. Following which I will update the House and publish the Government’s response to consultation.