Tuesday 27 April 2021
GOV.UK Verify: Digital Identity Assurance
I would like to update the House on the GOV.UK Verify programme and the development of a new cross-Government single sign-on and digital identity assurance pilot. This update follows the written statement in April 2020 made by my colleague the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, my right hon. Friend the Member for Surrey Heath (Michael Gove).
Building on our experiences of Verify, and as we announced in last year’s spending review, the Government Digital Service is collaborating with other Departments to develop the first phase of a new system that will make it easier for people to access Government services online. This will enable people to find and access Government services more quickly, allow citizens to prove their identity only once—without needing to re-enter information multiple times—and protect people’s privacy throughout.
People rightly expect from the Government a personalised, seamless and intuitive online service of the kind they get from their favourite online retailers. This pilot is an important step in that direction. Work is well underway and we have started the co-design with services and Departments across Government.
While this new system is being developed, many users and connected Government services continue to rely on GOV.UK Verify, as has been the case during the pandemic. The Government have therefore decided to extend the current Verify service, enabling new users to sign up until April 2022 and existing users to sign in until April 2023. During this time the Government will continue to update the House on the progress of our pilot.
Schools Condition Funding
Today, I am confirming £1.8 billion of capital funding allocations for financial year 2021-22 to maintain and improve the condition of the school estate in England, as announced at the spending review.
This funding is provided to ensure schools have well maintained facilities to provide students with safe environments that support high-quality education. This funding represents an increase of over 20% on last year’s annual allocations and supports the Government’s priority of ensuring that every child has the opportunity of a place at a good school, whatever their background.
For the financial year 2021-22, this funding includes:
£1.1 billion in school condition allocations for local authorities, large multi-academy trusts, academy sponsors, and dioceses, and other large voluntary aided school groups, to invest in maintaining and improving the condition of their schools.
£0.5 billion available through the condition improvement fund programme for essential maintenance projects at small and stand-alone academy trusts, voluntary aided schools and sixth-form colleges.
£0.2 billion of devolved formula capital allocated directly for schools to spend on capital projects to meet their own priorities.
Figures have been rounded to one decimal place. Full details of the allocations including the funding methodology for financial year 2021-22 have been published on the Department for Education section on the gov.uk website.
Whiplash Reform Programme
On 26 April 2021, my noble friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice (Lord Wolfson of Tredegar, QC) made the following written statement.
The Government remain firmly committed to the implementation on 31 May 2021 of the necessary and proportionate measures to control the number and cost of claims for whiplash, as set out in part 1 of the Civil Liability Act 2018. It also intends to implement on 31 May the associated increase, from £1,000 to £5,000 to the small claims track limit for road traffic accident (RTA) related personal injury claims.
The Government had previously considered an increase, from £1,000 to £2,000, to the small claims track limit for all other types of personal injury claims, including employers and public liability claims. However, having considered the views of a number of stakeholders, including from a wide range of representatives from across the insurance industry and the personal injury and trade union sectors, the Government have decided to both limit the proposed increase in the small claims limit for all other personal injury claims to £1,500 instead of £2,000 and to defer the implementation of this measure until April 2022.
Delivering this reform remains a key Government priority but we believe that a more modest increase in the small claims track limit for non-RTA related claims is justified. Pausing its implementation for 12 months will enable greater focus to be placed on the commencement of the whiplash reforms and the launch of the new official injury claim service for claimants on 31 May 2021. This decision will also provide affected stakeholders additional time to prepare for the increase in April next year.
General Aviation in the UK
General Aviation (GA) is often referred to as the “grassroots" of aviation and is the bedrock to our successful and world-leading aviation sector.
It is worth nearly £4 billion to the UK economy, supporting nearly 40,000 jobs. The hundreds of aerodromes up and down the country form an important part of the nation’s transport infrastructure.
General aviation provides the entry point for careers in aviation and is fundamental to inspiring the next generation of aviation professionals. It supports vital services from law enforcement to life-saving airborne medical and search and rescue teams, and provides future pilots, engineers and other highly skilled professionals a first glimpse of a potential career in aviation.
Therefore, it is only right that the Government’s vision is for the UK to be the best place in the world for general aviation as a flourishing, wealth generating and job-producing sector of the economy. Our ambitions remain high and we have set out our priorities and how we can achieve these in the Government’s GA roadmap which I am pleased to announce. The roadmap sets out our vision and strategic priorities for the sector, alongside our ambitious programme of work that will help us to deliver this. We will work alongside the CAA and our GA stakeholders to achieve these ambitions.
The GA roadmap is available online at:
I also wish to set out the Government’s view that it is clear from the success of our aviation sector that there is a national need to protect and enhance our strategic network of GA airfields—to ensure they continue to prosper and drive the economic growth this country needs and to support levelling up right across the country.
Airfields offer potential for highly skilled, dynamic and innovative businesses to grow and flourish—for manufacturing and maintenance of aircraft, aviation services, and for research and innovation.
At the heart of these efforts, we will work with airfields to strengthen their economic and strategic value both locally, regionally and nationally by supporting their development, and promoting mixed-use where there are benefits from offering their unique infrastructure to the wider community including for business, education, cultural and recreational activities. There are already several airfields within the UK which share their infrastructure with a wide range of industries, as well as providing vital services to other Government services. These airfields and many more are not just important to their local economies, but also critical to the success of the aviation sector.
General aviation will also play a crucial part in our Government’s focus on innovation and decarbonisation. Trialling, testing and rolling out the next generation of zero emission technologies within general aviation will support their development and pave the way for their wider adoption in larger commercial-scale operations—supporting decarbonisation of the wider sector and economy. This will help us reach our net zero target by 2050.
More widely, many aerodromes have been affiliated with operations during world wars one and two and have since hosted heritage assets through the form of museums or have become designated historical sites. It is important these sites, which are so important to our heritage, are able to thrive and grow to be enjoyed and appreciated by generations to come.
Our aviation heritage is rich, deep and rightly a source of great national pride. Looking forward, the Government’s vision is for the UK to be the best place in the world for general aviation as a flourishing, wealth generating and job-producing sector of the economy.