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Written Statements

Volume 679: debated on Wednesday 2 September 2020

Written Statements

Wednesday 2 September 2020

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Wylfa Newydd Nuclear Power Station Energy Infrastructure Project

This statement concerns an application made by Horizon Nuclear Power Limited under the Planning Act 2008 for development consent for the construction and operation of a new nuclear power station and associated infrastructure at Wylfa Head on the Isle of Anglesey.

Under section 107(1) of the Planning Act 2008, the Secretary of State must make a decision on an application within three months of receipt of the examining authority’s report unless exercising the power under section 107(3) to set a new deadline. Where a new deadline is set, the Secretary of State must make a statement to Parliament to announce it. The deadline for the decision on the proposed Wylfa Newydd (Nuclear Generating Station) Order application was 23 October 2019, but that deadline was reset to 31 March 2020 to allow further information in respect of environmental effects and other outstanding issues to be provided and considered.

Following initial analysis of the further information which has now been provided, the Secretary of State has concluded that an additional period of time is required in order to complete his consideration in respect of environmental effects and other issues which were outstanding following the examination. It is not anticipated that any further information will be required.

The Secretary of State has set a new deadline for deciding the application of 30 September 2020. The decision to set the new deadline for the application is without prejudice to the Secretary of State’s decision on whether to grant or refuse development consent.

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OECD Report of International Regulatory Co-operation in the UK

My right hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Climate Change and Corporate Responsibility) Lord Callanan has today made the following statement:

I am today publishing the Government response to a review by the Organisation of Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) into the UK’s international regulatory co-operation practices. This includes launching a call for evidence targeted at UK regulators, standard bodies and industry groups to understand their priorities for greater regulatory co-operation, and how the Government can help support and leverage their engagement in support of the UK’s wider national interest.

International regulatory co-operation (IRC) is about understanding the implications of regulation beyond national borders. It provides an important opportunity for countries to adapt their regulations to the rapidly evolving needs of a globalised world and to influence the regulation of others. In practical terms, this involves shaping and complying with international agreements, utilising international evidence and collaborating with international partners when designing and enforcing regulations.

For the UK, consideration of IRC is increasingly important given we are at a critical juncture for the country and our regulatory policy. We are seeking to build on our global ambitions now that the UK has left the European Union and is taking back regulatory competencies. In tandem, we are developing our own independent trade policy for the first time in almost fifty years. The emergence of new technologies, which are global in their scale and implications, also means that regulation is more international than ever. Effective regulation in these technologies underpinned by international co-operation enables consistent enforcement across borders and opens up trade opportunities by the reduction in non-tariff barriers.

In light of this, in 2018 the Government invited the OECD—as the leading authority on regulatory policy—to conduct a review into the UK’s IRC practices. The resulting OECD report finds that there is no overarching, cross-Government strategic vision and systematic practices in place in relation to IRC. And while there are some examples of effective regulatory co-operation initiatives being undertaken by our world-renowned regulators, overall, this is sporadic and sector specific.

The report makes 25 recommendations to address this across three broad categories which are: building a holistic IRC vision, a strategy and political leadership for IRC in the UK; embedding IRC more systemically in regulatory management tools; and increasing awareness and understanding about IRC across departments and regulators.

The document I am publishing today “International Regulatory Cooperation for a Global Britain”, sets out our response to these recommendations. It welcomes the OECD’s report and sets out the programme of work my Department will be undertaking to drive a systematic focus on IRC across Government and regulators by:

developing a whole-of-Government international regulatory co-operation strategy, which sets out the policies, tools and respective roles of different departments and regulators in facilitating this;

embedding international regulatory co-operation considerations within the better regulation framework and other government guidance;

developing specific tools and guidance to policy makers and regulators on how to conduct international regulatory co-operation; and

establishing networks to convene international policy professionals from across government and regulators share experience and best practice on international regulatory co-operation.

The call for evidence we are launching as part of this response aims to understand where regulators, standards bodies and industry groups already engaged in IRC, their priorities for where they would like to see greater IRC and how the Government can aid them identify and pursue opportunities.

The UK has a proud tradition of better regulation in ensuring that regulation is proportionate, targeted, transparent, accountable and consistent. Adopting a more international approach continues this by helping to reduce regulatory burdens on our exporting businesses and ensuring more effective regulatory outcomes for society. IRC will play a critical role in delivering on the Government vision of a global Britain that is a responsible international actor playing a constructive role in tackling issues of collective global responsibility, and a champion of free trade that seeks to counter the growing proliferation of non-tariff barriers.

The results of the call for evidence will be used to inform the development of the Government international regulatory co-operation strategy to be published at a future date, on which I will update the House.

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Cabinet Office

List of Ministerial Responsibilities

As part of the Government’s ongoing commitment to transparency and accountability, I am pleased to announce that the Government have published the list of ministerial responsibilities document on gov.uk. I will today be placing copies in the library of both Houses.

The list includes details of ministerial Departments, the Ministers within ministerial Departments, the private offices of all the Ministers and the Executive agencies within each Department.

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Home Department

Biennial Report of the National DNA Database Strategy Board

I am pleased to announce that I am, today, publishing the annual report of the National DNA Database Strategy Board for 2018 to 2020. This report covers the National Fingerprints Database and the National DNA Database (NDNAD).

The strategy board chair, Assistant Chief Constable Ben Snuggs, has presented the annual report of the National DNA Database to the Home Secretary. Publication of the report is a statutory requirement under section 63AB(7) of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 as inserted by section 24 of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012.

The report shows the important contribution that the NDNAD and the National Fingerprint Databases (policing collections) make to supporting policing and solving crimes. I am grateful to the strategy board for their commitment to fulfilling their statutory functions.

The report is today being laid before the House and copies will be available from the Vote Office.

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House of Commons Commission

Contingencies Fund Advance: the Parliamentary Works Sponsor Body

In April 2020, the Commissions of both Houses agreed funding for the restoration and renewal programme for April to June 2020 of £27,500,000 which was laid before the House of Commons on 4 May as the initial Main Estimate for 2020-21. In June, the Commissions of both Houses agreed funding for the programme for July 2020 to March 2021 of £98,700,000 which will be laid before the House of Commons as a Supplementary Estimate for 2020-21 during the current financial year. Ahead of the Supplementary Estimates being voted on towards the end of the 2020-21 financial year, a cash advance has been sought from HM Treasury in order to enable the continued operation of the programme.

Parliamentary approval for additional resources of £96,230,000 and capital of £2,470,000 will be sought in a Supplementary Estimate for the Parliamentary Works Sponsor Body. Pending that approval, urgent expenditure estimated at £98,700,000 will be met by repayable cash advances from the contingencies fund.

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Justice

Independent Review of Supervision of Terrorism and Terrorism-risk Offenders

Last November Usman Khan brutally murdered Saskia Jones and Jack Merritt before being shot dead by police on London Bridge. Khan was being supervised by the National Probation Service (NPS) on a post-release licence following a number of years in prison for terrorist offences. He was subject to Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA), where the NPS, prisons and police work together with other agencies, including, when it comes to terrorist offenders, the security services to assess and manage the risk presented by known dangerous offenders.

Protecting the public from harm is the first duty of any government, and police, prison, probation and intelligence officers work tirelessly to keep our country safe. However, they can only manage and reduce the risk posed by dangerous individuals, it can never be eliminated entirely. Some offenders will always be determined to sow terror, despite all the efforts made to divert them from extremism.

It is, therefore, imperative that we seize every opportunity to improve our counter-terrorism efforts. That is why, as part of our response to the London Bridge attack, the government asked Jonathan Hall QC, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, to review the effectiveness of MAPPA when it comes to managing terrorist offenders and other offenders who may pose a terror risk. The terms of reference were published in January:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/multi-agency-public-protection-arrangements-review/terms-of-reference-independent-review-of-the-statutory-multi-agency-public-protection-arrangements

The review includes an annex assessing the tools available to manage radicalised offenders with serious mental health needs.

The importance of this review was further highlighted by the horrific attack in Streatham in February in which two people were stabbed. Thankfully, their lives were saved by the rapid work of the emergency services, and the attacker, Sudesh Amman, was shot dead before he could inflict more harm. He, too, was a convicted terrorist subject to MAPPA management and had recently left prison.

Jonathan Hall’s review did not consider the circumstances that led up to these attacks - separate reviews are still under way.

Jonathan Hall found that MAPPA is a well-established process and did not conclude that wholesale change is necessary. He has made a number of recommendations on how the management of terrorists can be improved and the government, police and prison and probation service have been working on changes in line with many of them. For example, we are already legislating to require terrorist offenders to undergo polygraph testing; in addition, we are also legislating so that other offenders can have their crimes identified as terror-related, even if not terror offences as set out in law.

We are also establishing a division of specialist staff in the NPS to manage terrorist risk offenders, bringing together counter-terrorism expertise in one place and strengthening its work with the police and security services.

This is on top of our wider efforts to tackle terrorism:

Increasing funding for Counter-Terrorism Police by 10% this year to over £900 million.

Doubling the number of probation staff who supervise terrorist offenders.

Strengthening the tools used to monitor and manage extremist individuals, including Terrorist Prevention and Investigation Measures and Serious Crime Prevention Orders.

Ensuring terrorists spend longer in prison, including by creating a minimum 14-year jail term for those convicted of serious terror offences.

We are considering the remainder of Jonathan Hall’s recommendations and hope to set out our response shortly. The full report has been published here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/multi-agency-public-protection-arrangements-review

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Work and Pensions

Kickstart Scheme

Today we are launching the kick-start scheme, which was announced by the Chancellor as part of our plan for jobs in his statement on 8 July. This £2 billion programme will fund the direct creation of additional jobs focused on young people at risk of long-term unemployment to improve their chances of progressing to find long-term, sustainable work.

As we build back our economy and return to work we know that for many young people a lack of work experience can be a barrier to taking that first step on the jobs’ ladder. That is why we are taking steps to help young people gain experience through the kick-start scheme and a foothold in the world of work.

The scheme is open to employers from across the private, public and voluntary sectors. Through the scheme, employers will be able to access a large pool of young people with lots to offer, ready for an opportunity. Organisations of all sizes are encouraged to participate. Organisations with a small number of placements will be expected to bid through intermediaries or umbrella organisations like local enterprise partnerships, business trade associations or local Government, ensuring the necessary support is in place to enable them to deliver placements effectively.

Employers will need to show that these are additional jobs and that the kick-start role will provide the experience and support a young person needs to improve their chances of permanent employment. People will be referred through the Jobcentre Plus network. Employers will be able to interview candidates for the roles they offer.

Funding available for each job will cover the relevant national minimum wage (NMW) rate for 25 hours a week, plus the associated employer National Insurance contributions, and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions. It will also include £1,500 for start-up and wraparound support for people of a kick-start placement.

Today we are calling for employers to bid to be involved in the scheme, with the first job placements expected to begin in November. The bid application and information to support employers will be available online through www.gov.uk/kickstart.

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