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Written Statements

Volume 710: debated on Monday 7 March 2022

Written Statements

Monday 7 March 2022

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Industrial Development Act 1982: Covid-19

I am tabling this statement for the benefit of hon. Members, to bring to their attention spend under the Industrial Development Act 1982. In addition to the obligation to report on spend under the Industrial Development Act annually, the Coronavirus Act 2020 created a new quarterly reporting requirement for spend that has been designated as coronavirus-related under the Coronavirus Act. This statement fulfils that purpose.

The statement also includes a report of the movement in contingent liability during the quarter. Hon. Members will wish to note that measures such as local authority grants, the coronavirus job retention scheme and self-employed income support scheme, and tax measures such as the suspension of business rates, are not provided under the Industrial Development Act 1982 and hence are not included below.

This report covers the third quarter of 2021, from 1 July to 30 September 2021, in accordance with the Coronavirus Act.

The written ministerial statement covering the second quarter of 2021 was published on 15 November 2021.

Spend under the Coronavirus Act 2020

Under the Coronavirus Act 2020, there is a requirement to lay before Parliament details of the amount of assistance designated as coronavirus-related provided in each relevant quarter. In the period from 1 July to 30 September 2021, the following expenditures were incurred:

Actual expenditure of assistance provided by Her Majesty’s Government from 1 July to 30 September 2021


Actual expenditure of assistance provided by Her Majesty’s Government from 25 March 2020


Expenditure by Department

Actual expenditure of assistance from 1 July to 30 September 2021 provided by:

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy


Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs


Department for Transport


Contingent liability under the Coronavirus Act 2020

Contingent liability of assistance provided by the Secretary of State from 1 July to 30 September 2021


All contingent liability of assistance provided by the Secretary of State from 25 March 2020



Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

Mobile Coverage: 5G Deployment

Now more than ever, reliable digital connectivity is essential for people and businesses. We have committed to extending mobile geographical coverage across the UK. In order to improve coverage in rural parts of the country, the Government have agreed a £1 billion shared rural network deal with the UK’s mobile network operators to extend 4G mobile geographical coverage to 95% of the UK by the end of the programme. We also want to ensure that people and businesses right across the country can realise the full benefits of 5G as soon as possible. Through our £200 million 5G testbeds and trials programme, we are already seeing the benefits 5G can bring to manufacturing, farming, transport networks and healthcare.

In order to realise these ambitions, it is essential that the planning system can effectively support the deployment of new mobile infrastructure, as well as network upgrades. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities—formerly the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government—have been consulting on proposed changes to permitted development rights for electronic communications infrastructure in England. Following an initial consultation in 2019 on the principle of the reforms, we published a technical consultation last year on implementing the proposed changes.

Having reviewed the responses to the consultation, we believe that the proposed changes will have a positive impact on the Government’s ambitions for the deployment of 5G and extending mobile coverage. In considering the reforms, we have sought to ensure that we find the correct balance between facilitating improved connectivity, minimising impact in protected landscapes and ensuring that the appropriate environmental protections are in place.

The Minister for Housing, my right hon. Friend the Member for Pudsey (Stuart Andrew), and I can announce that today the Government have published their response to the consultation, which sets out that we will make the following changes to permitted development rights:

Enable the deployment of small equipment cabinets on article 2(3) land—such as national parks, conservation areas and areas of outstanding natural beauty—and allow greater flexibility for installing equipment cabinets in existing compounds, without requiring prior approval from the planning authority, while retaining prior approval for cabinets over 2.5 cubic metres;

Allow for the strengthening of existing masts by permitting limited increases in the width of existing ground-based masts without the need for prior approval, and greater increases subject to prior approval, on all land. Also allow for limited increases to the height of existing ground-based masts without the need for prior approval outside of article 2(3) land, with greater increases on all land, up to specified limits, subject to prior approval;

Enable the deployment of building-based masts by permitting these in closer proximity to a highway subject to prior approval outside of article 2(3) land. Permit smaller masts to be installed on buildings without the need for prior approval outside of article 2(3) land; and

Enable taller new ground-based masts to be deployed—up to 25 metres on article 2(3) land and 30 metres on unprotected land, subject to approval from the planning authority.

To balance these freedoms, we will introduce new planning conditions that will require operators to minimise the impact of all new development, especially for more sensitive areas, as far as possible. We will also make changes to the procedure for safeguarding aerodromes and defence assets, and technical changes to the definition of small cell systems. Following the consultation, we have decided not to allow any new ground-based masts to be installed without the prior approval of the planning authority.

Improved mobile connectivity, especially 5G, will ultimately bring benefits to all communities and businesses throughout the country in support of our levelling-up agenda. The reforms will provide operators with the flexibility they require to upgrade existing sites in England for 5G delivery, enhance coverage and meet the growing demands for network capacity. They will also reduce the time, cost and uncertainty involved in upgrading mobile network infrastructure as well as encourage the use of existing infrastructure and promote site sharing to reduce the impacts of new deployment.

Alongside the Government response, we have also published a new code of practice for wireless network development in England. This will provide updated guidance to ensure the impact of new and upgraded mobile infrastructure is minimised and that appropriate engagement takes place with local communities.

In order to make these changes, we will shortly make amendments to part 16 of schedule 2 to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015, as amended, through secondary legislation.

As planning law is a devolved matter, the legislative changes will apply to England only, but we will continue to work closely with the devolved Administrations to ensure that the planning regime continues to support the deployment of mobile infrastructure across the United Kingdom.


Home Department

Police and Crime Commissioner Review: Part 2

Today, I am pleased to set out to the House a package of measures in support of this Government’s manifesto commitment to expand and strengthen the role of our directly elected police and crime commissioners (PCCs), and those mayors with PCC functions, including the findings from the second part of our internal review into the role of PCCs.

Our two-part review will ensure PCCs can focus more sharply on local crime fighting, with stronger accountability to those they serve. As set out in the Government’s beating crime plan, PCCs allow the public’s voice to be heard on local policing and crime matters and hold chief constables to account for delivering what communities need. As such, PCCs continue to play a critical role in reducing crime and reoffending.

Part 1 of the review focused on making it easier for the public to hold their PCC to account for their record on delivering the safer streets that they deserve. In March 2021, I announced a package of reforms that will ultimately help people judge their PCC at the ballot box and we are making good progress in bringing about these important changes.

Today, I want to update the House on two specific measures from part 1, before I turn to our conclusions from part 2.

The first gets to the heart of equipping our PCCs with the right tools and powers to work with their partners to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour. Our targeted consultation last year found broad support for “levelling up” PCCs by providing them with a wider functional power of competence so they have parity with the equivalent powers held by fire and rescue authorities and most mayoral combined authorities. By equipping PCCs with this new power, we will make it easier for them to act creatively to reduce crime and to make better use of police resources.

Secondly, I pledged to consult on changes to the Policing Protocol Order. This is a document that sets out the roles and responsibilities of various people involved in policing, such as PCCs, chief constables and police and crime panels. I am therefore launching a targeted, stakeholder consultation to seek views from our policing partners on how we can refresh this document to provide a “brighter line” on the boundaries of operational independence and to better reflect my role as Home Secretary. If we are going to deliver on our shared mission to cut crime, it is essential that all those involved in policing understand their respective roles.

Having focused in part 1 on strengthening their role, we wanted to use the second part of our review to ensure that PCCs have the information, levers and tools to help cut crime, drugs misuse and anti-social behaviour. After almost a decade since their introduction, it is time to focus on the “and crime” part of the PCC role.

I will now give an overview of our part 2 conclusions. All our recommendations are set out in full as an annex (Annex A) and the attachment can be viewed online at:

To cement PCCs’ role in offender management: PCCs are held locally accountable for reducing crime, but to carry out their duties effectively, we must give them the levers to work across their local criminal justice system. We will create a new statutory duty to lock in collaborative working between PCCs and the Probation Service. This step, in conjunction with the other measures we will bring forward, will help align the work of PCCs and local probation services around their shared goal to break the chain of reoffending.

To improve the way PCCs work in partnership with others to fight crime and support victims: We need to see all public safety partners playing their full part in the fight against crime. It is essential that PCCs can bring local agencies together to tackle the issues that blight their communities—like drugs misuse, anti-social behaviour and neighbourhood crime. We will provide PCCs with the tools to do this by strengthening the guidance that underpins their role in convening partners to fight crime and drugs misuse, in line with Dame Carol Black’s independent review on drugs. We will also give PCCs a central role on local criminal justice boards, support their work on violence reduction units and clarify the local crime prevention landscape through an in-depth review of community safety partnerships in England and Wales. Of course, PCCs continue to play a vital role in supporting victims of crime. The Ministry of Justice Victims’ Bill consultation considered how to expand and strengthen PCCs’ role in relation to oversight of victims’ experiences in the criminal justice system and commissioning support services, and so it was not examined within part 2 of the PCC review, but the work is complementary and aligned. The consultation closed in February, and the Government will introduce the Victims’ Bill as soon as possible.

To improve public confidence in policing: PCCs play an important role as the voice of victims and use their levers to tackle the issues raised by complainants. To do this well, PCCs must visibly hold the police to account on behalf of their whole community and use their role to help uphold police legitimacy. We will support PCCs by clarifying our expectations in this regard and work with the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners and the College of Policing to ensure PCCs have access to the best possible evidence about what helps foster local confidence in policing.

To improve PCC’s access to criminal justice data: Without sharing information on a timely basis, local crime fighting activity cannot be delivered in a joined-up way. Local partners often deal with the same cohorts of offenders, but throughout the review, we heard that sharing data can be difficult and inconsistent. We therefore propose to take steps to support a more data-confident culture by issuing new central guidance, supported by examples of local good practice and bolstering the ability of PCCs to more confidently use this information. These steps will help PCCs to better understand how effectively and efficiently their police force is operating within the wider criminal justice landscape.

If we are to strengthen and expand the role of PCCs in this way, this must be balanced by robust accountability to the public. We are taking further steps to strengthen the checks and balances on PCCs.

To help ensure there is effective local scrutiny: We want to see police and crime panels acting as critical friends, helping the public to understand how their PCC is doing on the issues that matter to them. The review found that independent members on panels were important, bringing relevant skills, expertise and greater diversity; so we will focus on improving their recruitment and retention. We will also look at whether a regional model of panel support could improve the professionalism, quality and consistency of the support provided to panels.

To help ensure the public can complain about their PCC if needed and trust that their complaint will be handled fairly and consistently: Police and Crime Commissioners are elected representatives, held to account to the public via the ballot box. The Home Office will further consider the processes for how complaints of criminal misconduct are handled, and the scope to align a new code of conduct with the regime for mayors and councillors in local government. This will also consider how to address the problems of vexatious and political motivated complaints, especially those which stem from disagreements with the political views of the commissioner, or complaints which are nothing to do with policing.

The public, rightly, expect PCCs to behave appropriately and act with integrity. That is why there is already a high bar in place for PCC conduct. Having explored the options for introducing recall, the review has not recommended doing so, given the stringent disqualification rules in place for PCCs. I will keep this matter under review.

Now that this two-part review has concluded, my Department will work with our partners to deliver the recommendations, including legislating where necessary, and when parliamentary time allows.

I would like to put on the record my thanks to the advisory group which supported this review, comprising senior external stakeholders with expertise in the policing and criminal justice sector.

I am confident that, as a package, our recommendations will better equip PCCs to reduce crime and protect the public, solidify their position within the criminal justice system and make it easier for the public to hold PCCs to account.



New Prisons

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, my noble Friend Lord Wolfson of Tredegar, has made the following written statement:

I am pleased to provide an update today on our progress in delivering the biggest prison building programme in over a century. We are committed to delivering 20,000 new prison places to meet demand, cut crime and keep the public safe. These new prison places will create a more secure and modern estate, providing a productive environment to reform prisoners.

HMP Five Wells

The first prisoners arrived at HMP Five Wells on 4 February and the prison was officially opened by the Deputy Prime Minister, Dominic Raab, yesterday, marking the completion of the first prison in our programme of six new prisons.

HMP Five Wells, in Wellingborough, is a purpose-built category C resettlement men’s prison, designed to house around 1,700 men over seven houseblocks, supported by six ancillary buildings. It is built on the site of the former HMP Wellingborough, a category C prison that was closed 10 years ago.

HMP Five Wells is the first of its design to be built, based on work that brought together the lessons of previous prison builds, practical prison expertise of both staff and prisoners, academia, and international expertise. The new prison’s design has a focus on safety and security and is equipped with security measures that contribute to cutting crime. The prison is designed to facilitate education and skills development, providing an environment to better equip and support prisoners on release and to reduce reoffending.

Naming and operator of the new prison at Glen Parva

I can announce today that, following public consultation and a meeting of local representatives, the new prison at Glen Parva will be named HMP Fosse Way. I am grateful for the submissions received by the public to name the new prison. The name HMP Fosse Way has strong links to Leicestershire and reflects the history of the local area—the Fosse Way is a Roman road that runs through Leicestershire and is reflected in the name of a number of local institutions.

I can also announce today that, following a rigorous evaluation process, Serco has been successful in its bid to provide prison operator services at HMP Fosse Way. This is another important milestone in our ambitious programme of new prisons. HMP Fosse Way will also be a category C resettlement prison holding around 1,700 men.

Glen Parva’s construction continues to boost Leicestershire’s economy and create hundreds of jobs. As of December 2021, 30% of the on-site workforce were from the local area and over £96 million has been spent locally. We have also invested over £400,000 in recruitment and skills training. Our contract with Serco will provide further economic benefit by providing over 600 long-term jobs once the prison is operational. This significant investment in the local community supports the Government’s ambition to level up the UK’s economy.

Four new prisons

Today I am pleased to announce that one of the four additional new prisons will be run by HMPPS. This, added to the expansion of the existing public sector estate, will mean that over half of all the additional capacity planned in the coming years will be run by the public sector. This reaffirms our commitment to a balanced approach to custodial services which includes a mix of public, voluntary and private sector involvement.

The three other new prisons will be operated by the private sector, which we are confident will provide a high-quality and value-for-money service. As with the competitions for HMP Five Wells and the new prison at Glen Parva, bidding operators for the three new prisons will compete for the contract and HMPPS will continue to provide a “public sector benchmark” against which bids will be rigorously assessed. If bids do not meet our expectations in terms of quality and cost, HMPPS will manage the new prisons.

These milestones are a significant step forward in our ambitious programme to deliver a future-proof and fit-for-purpose prison estate, with the capacity needed to meet demand, house prisoners safely and securely, and reduce reoffending.