Skip to main content

Written Statements

Volume 724: debated on Friday 9 December 2022

Written Statements

Friday 9 December 2022

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Government Chemist Review 2021

The 25th annual review of the Government Chemist has been received. The review will be placed in the Libraries of the House plus those of the devolved Administrations in Wales and Northern Ireland. The review will also be laid before the Scottish Parliament.

The Government Chemist is the referee analyst named in Acts of Parliament. The Government Chemist’s team carry out analysis in high-profile or legally disputed cases. A range of referee analysis work was carried out during 2021, which included the evaluation of genetically modified organisms in rice products, pesticide detection in an organic peanut product, aflatoxin in dried figs, and structural data around a liposomal vitamin C product. The Government Chemist continues to work closely with Government Departments, their governance group, devolved Administrations, non-governmental organisations, and industry to identify tools, standards, and guidance to facilitate effective testing for food fraud and to grow knowledge transfer activities.

[HCWS427]

UK Measurement Strategy

A measurement strategy for the national measurement system in being published today. The national measurement system (NMS) is an essential part of the UK’s research and innovation infrastructure that is critical for science, innovation and trade.

This strategy describes how the UK will capitalise on its world-leading national measurement system in the 2020s.

The national measurement system will focus on three challenges where enhanced measurement capability and expertise will support the UK:

The health and wellbeing of a growing population

The national measurement system will support the UK’s position at the forefront of leading-edge healthcare, enabling people to live longer, healthier and safer lives.

Managing and reducing our environmental impact

The national measurement system will provide the critical measurement infrastructure needed to help the UK improve energy efficiency, transition to clean energy sources and mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change.

Increasing prosperity and supporting innovation

The national measurement system will support new and existing innovative businesses, providing access to the measurement capability and expertise needed to translate new ideas into products.

[HCWS426]

Treasury

Financial Services

In the autumn statement, I set out the Government’s strategy for boosting growth by investing in our people, in the infrastructure that connects our country, by creating the right environment for business investment, and by supporting our world-leading financial services companies and innovators. Alongside this, I identified five growth sectors—one being financial services—for which the Government will prioritise the review of retained EU law, to ensure we identify changes that will support these sectors to grow.

I am today setting out a bold collection of reforms taking forward the Government’s vision for an open, sustainable, and technologically advanced financial services sector that is globally competitive and acts in the interests of communities and citizens. These reforms will create jobs, support businesses, and power growth across all four nations of the UK.

The UK is one of the world’s leading financial centres and our financial services sector is one of the engines of the UK’s economy. Financial and related professional services employ over 2.3 million people, two thirds of whom are outside of London, with hubs in Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, and Manchester.1 In 2021, the financial services sector contributed £173.6 billion to the UK economy, 8.3% of total economic output.2

The announcements being made today build on the reform agenda the Government are taking forward through the Financial Services and Markets (FSM) Bill. The Government’s approach recognises and protects the foundations on which the UK’s success as a financial services hub is built: agility, consistently high regulatory standards, and openness. This approach will ensure that the sector benefits from dynamic and proportionate regulation, and that consumers and citizens benefit from high-quality services, appropriate consumer protection, and a sector that embraces the latest technology.

I have set out below details of the measures being taken forward, which I look forward to delivering in close collaboration with our vibrant financial services sector.

A competitive marketplace promoting effective use of capital

Building a smarter regulatory framework for the UK

The Government have today published their policy statement “Building a smarter financial services framework for the UK”. A copy will be deposited in the Library. This is an ambitious plan for repealing retained EU law in financial services and replacing it with a new framework tailored to the UK, embracing the new opportunities presented by our position outside the EU.

Our approach includes:

Publishing draft statutory instruments to demonstrate how the Government can use the powers within the FSM Bill to reform the prospectus and securitisation regimes and to ensure the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has sufficient rulemaking powers to regulate payments services and e-money. Overhauling the prospectus regime will enable the Government to implement recommendations from Lord Hill’s UK listing review, helping to widen participation in the ownership of public companies, simplify the capital raising process for companies on UK markets, and make the UK a more attractive destination for initial public offerings. The Government are also committed to working with the FCA and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) to bring forward relevant reforms identified in HM Treasury’s 2021 review of the securitisation regulation.

Plans to repeal the regulations for the European long-term investment fund (ELTIF), without replacement. This reflects the fact that no ELTIFs have been established in the UK, removing unnecessary retained EU law, and that the newly established long-term asset fund (LTAF) regime provides a fund structure better suited to the needs of the UK market. Firms have already begun to seek FCA authorisation for funds taking advantage of this new structure.

Publishing the short selling regulation review, a call for evidence on the UK’s regime for regulating short selling, with the aim of putting in place a regulatory regime tailored to the UK, which supports market integrity and bolsters the competitiveness of UK financial markets.

Publishing PRHPs and UK retail disclosure, a consultation on a proposed alternative framework for retail disclosure in the UK. Following the repeal of the packaged retail and insurance-based investment products (PRIIPs) regulation, the new framework for retail disclosure in the UK will work more effectively with the UK’s dynamic capital markets and foster more informed retail investor participation.

Publishing the information requirements in the payment account regulations consultation which examines proposals to remove unnecessary customer information requirements related to bank accounts imposed by the EU in the payment accounts regulations. This would reduce unnecessary regulations on banks, freeing them up to better meet the needs of UK customers.

Updating banking regulation and the ringfencing regime

The Government will bring forward secondary legislation in 2023 to improve the functionality of the ringfencing regime. These reforms, in response to the independent review on ringfencing and proprietary trading, will benefit customers, the financial services industry, and the economy, while maintaining appropriate financial stability safeguards. The Government will also issue a public call for evidence in the first quarter of 2023 to review the practicalities of aligning the ringfencing and resolution regimes.

The PRA intends to consult on removing rules for the capital deduction of certain non-performing exposures (NPEs) held by banks. This would allow the PRA to apply a judgment-led approach to address the adequacy of firms’ provisioning for NPEs, help to simplify the UK rulebook and avoid the unnecessary gold plating of prudential standards. Such an approach would be possible only because of our regulatory freedoms outside the EU.

The PRA intends to consult on removing rules for the capital deduction of certain non-performing exposures (NPEs) held by banks. This would allow the PRA to apply a judgement-led approach to address the adequacy of firms’ provisioning for NPEs, help to simplify the UK rulebook, and avoid the unnecessary gold plating of prudential standards. Such an approach would only be possible because of our regulatory freedoms outside the EU. The Government will also legislate, when parliamentary time allows, to amend the Building Societies Act 1986 to give building societies in the UK greater flexibility to raise wholesale funds, enabling them to grow and compete on a more level playing field with retail banks, while retaining their mutual model. As part of this, the Government will also modernise relevant corporate governance requirements in line with the Companies Act 2006.

Ensuring a regulatory focus on growth and competitiveness

The Government are legislating through the FSM Bill to introduce new secondary objectives for the FCA and PRA to provide for a greater focus on growth and international competitiveness while maintaining their existing primary objectives. To further support this aim, I will today lay before Parliament new remit letters for the FCA and the PRA which will set clear, targeted recommendations for how the regulators should have regard to the Government’s economic policy.

Separately, the Government and regulators will separately commence a review of the senior managers and certification regime in Q1 2023. The Government will launch a call for evidence to look at the legislative framework of the regime, and the FCA and PRA will review the regulatory framework. The Government’s call for evidence will be an information gathering exercise to garner views on the regime’s effectiveness, scope and proportionality, and to seek views on potential improvements and reforms.

Wholesale markets reforms

The Government are committed to strengthening the UK’s position as a world-leading wholesale capital markets centre, and is taking forward reforms to the markets in financial instruments directive (MiFID) framework through the wholesale markets review. Measures in the FSM Bill deliver key elements of this. To further support this agenda, the Government:

Will today lay before Parliament the Markets in Financial Instruments (Investor Reporting) (Amendment) Regulations 2022, which will remove burdensome EU requirements related to reporting rules. This also builds on the reforms brought forward through the Markets in Financial Instruments (Capital Markets) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 laid in June 2021.

Will bring forward secondary legislation in Q1 2023 to remove burdens for firms trading commodities derivatives as an ancillary activity, for example, when manufacturers seek to fix the future price of their purchases of specific raw materials.

Are committing, alongside the FCA, to having a regulatory regime in place by 2024 to support a consolidated tape for market data. A consolidated tape will bring together market data from multiple platforms into one continuous feed. This will improve market efficiency, lower costs for firms and investors, and make UK markets more attractive and competitive.

Will launch the investment research review: an independent review of investment research and its contribution to UK capital markets competitiveness. The review is part of the Government’s wider commitment to enhance the UK’s ability to attract companies to list and grow.

Will establish a new industry-led accelerated settlement taskforce to explore the potential of faster settlement of financial trades in the UK. Reducing settlement times from the current industry standard of two days could reduce counterparty risk and increase operational efficiency. The taskforce will bring together industry stakeholders to recommend an approach that works for the UK.

Unlocking investment to drive growth across the whole economy

The UK’s financial services sector is an engine for growth across all four nations of the UK. The Government are therefore bringing forward measures that will unleash the sector to drive investment and growth.

The Government set out their plans to reform Solvency II at autumn statement, unlocking more than £100 billion pounds for UK insurers to invest in long-term productive assets. HM Treasury is working with BEIS to deliver the recommendations made to Government as part of the secondary capital raising review, and more broadly on reforms to corporate governance, to further enhance the attractiveness of UK public markets.

Going further, the Government announce today that they:

Will, in early 2023, consult on new guidance to the local government pension scheme (LGPS) in England and Wales on asset pooling. The Government will also consult on requiring LGPS funds to ensure they are considering investment opportunities in illiquid assets such as venture and growth capital, as part of a diversified investment strategy.

Are committed to accelerating the pace of consolidation so that no pension savers are left in poorly governed and underperforming schemes. In the new year DWP will lead the way by consulting on a new value for money framework, alongside the FCA and the Pensions Regulator, which will set required metrics and standards in key areas such as investment performance, cost and charges and quality of service that all schemes must meet.

Will amend the tax rules for real estate investment trusts (REITs). With effect from April 2023, new rules will remove the requirement for a REIT to own at least three properties, where they hold a single commercial property worth at least £20 million; and amend the rule that applies to properties disposed of within three years of significant development activity, to ensure that this rule operates in line with its original intention.

Have today published a technical consultation, VAT treatment of fund management: consultation, which sets out proposals for legislative reform intended to codify existing policy to give legal clarity and certainty, not to make policy changes. The consultation seeks input on whether the proposed changes achieve this objective.

A world leader in sustainable finance

The Government are ensuring that the financial system plays a major role in the delivery of the UK’s net zero target, and are acting to secure the UK as the best place in the world for responsible and sustainable investment. The UK is the world’s premier financial centre for sustainable finance.

The Government are acting to ensure the UK retains global leadership in this rapidly growing sector. To deliver on their commitment to align the financial services sector with net zero and to support the sector to unlock the necessary private financing, the Government:

Will publish an updated green finance strategy early 2023.

Will consult in Q1 2023 on bringing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) ratings providers into the regulatory perimeter. HM Treasury will also join the industry-led ESG data and ratings code of conduct working group, recently convened by the FCA, as an observer. These services are increasingly a component of investment decisions, and the Government want to ensure improved transparency and good market conduct.

A sector at the forefront of technology and innovation

Our regulatory framework for financial services must support innovation and leadership in emerging areas of finance. To ensure the sector is prepared to embrace and facilitate the adoption of cutting-edge technologies, the Government are:

Setting up a financial market infrastructure sandbox in 2023, and is legislating to implement this in the FSM Bill. This will enable firms to test and adopt new technology and innovations, such as distributed ledger technology, in providing the infrastructure services that underpin markets.

Working with the regulators and market participants to bring forward a new class of wholesale market venue, which would operate on an intermittent trading basis. This highly innovative approach would be a global first and would act as a bridge between public and private markets, boosting the UK as a destination for all companies to get the investment they need to create jobs and grow.

Legislating in the FSM Bill to establish a safe regulatory environment for stablecoins—which may be used for payments—and ensure the Government have the necessary powers to bring a broader range of investment-related cryptoasset activities into UK regulation.

Publishing their formal response to the consultation on expanding the investment manager exemption to include cryptoassets, which will facilitate their inclusion in the portfolios of overseas funds managed in the UK. The Government intend for this change to be made through HMRC regulations this year

Bringing forward a consultation in the coming weeks to explore the case for a central bank digital currency—a sovereign digital pound—and consult on a potential design. The Bank of England will also release a technology working paper setting out cutting-edge technology considerations informing the potential build of a digital pound.

Delivering for consumers and businesses

The Government are committed to a financial services sector that supports the real economy and will continue to work with the regulators and industry to ensure that the sector is delivering for people and businesses across the UK. The Government:

Have published a consultation, Reforming the Consumer Credit Act 1974. By modernising the regulation of consumer lending, reform will update consumer protections and ensure they work well in a modern and increasingly digital economy. It will also increase accessibility of credit products by allowing firms to better serve consumers through more innovative credit products.

Have consulted on reforms to remove well-designed performance fees from the pensions regulatory charge cap and will lay regulations early in the new year. This will provide clarity for industry and ensure pension savers can benefit from investing in UK innovation.

Are committed to working with the FCA to examine the boundary between regulated financial advice and financial guidance, with the objective of improving access to helpful support, information and advice, while maintaining strong protections for consumers.

I am confident that the measures announced today, in tandem with the work taken forward through the FSM Bill, will deliver for this key growth sector, and the people and businesses that rely upon it.

Documents relating to all announcements can be found on gov.uk www.gov.uk/government/collections/financial-services-the-edinburgh-reforms.

1 TheCityUK calculations based on Nomis, “Business register and employment survey: open access”, (May 2022), available at:

https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/query/construct/components/date.asp?menuopt=13&subcomp=

2 House of Commons Library “Financial services: contribution to the UK economy”: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/sn06193/

[HCWS425]

Defence

Combat Air: Tempest Aircraft

In the summer I updated the House on progress under the UK combat air strategy, setting out the crucial importance of combat air to the nation’s security, sovereign industrial base and to our role in international affairs. I outlined the significant progress being made to develop a next generation combat air system, highlighting the substantial work underway with close and valued partners Japan and Italy.

It is with great pleasure that I now offer a further update on international partnering for our future combat air capability. In a landmark announcement, the Prime Ministers of the UK, Japan and Italy announced that we will work together under a joint programme partnership, the next step in deepening our collaboration. Within the UK, the aircraft under development will be known as Tempest.

Together, our ambition is to develop a next generation capability designed to outmatch adversaries even in the most highly contested environments, by utilising a network of cutting-edge capabilities such as advanced sensors, weapons and data systems. Due to enter service in 2035, it is being developed to keep ahead of the threat for decades to come and undertake a wide variety of missions within our wider military, across all domains.

Tempest will be developed by the newly formed Global Combat Air Programme (GCAP), under a spirit of equal partnership, created by the merging of Japan’s FX programme with the UK and Italy’s Future Combat Air System (FCAS). This new programme will take forward our joint concepting activity and support technological and operational sovereignty across partner nations.

This announcement represents a major opportunity to develop our sovereign defence-industrial capabilities, demonstrating our commitment to the 2018 combat air strategy and the 2021 defence and security industrial strategy. The programme is delivering an uplift in skilled jobs for all three partner nations, providing a launchpad for careers in science and engineering. The enterprise already employs over 2,500 highly skilled personnel in the UK alone, including engineers and programmers, with recruitment expanding rapidly.

This programme will also be important in supporting economic growth across the country, with key combat air hubs in the north-west and south-west of England and in Edinburgh, supported by a supply chain of hundreds of organisations from one end of the UK to the other. It is a key avenue for investment in research and development, both public and private, with MOD and our industry partners having already invested well over £1 billion in developing the skills and technologies needed to deliver at pace.

This capability will be designed by some of the world’s leading defence companies. In the UK, these include BAE Systems, Leonardo UK, MBDA UK and Rolls-Royce, working closely with the Ministry of Defence. The international partnership includes MHI, IHI and MELCO for Japan; and Leonardo SpA., Avio Aero, MBDA IT and Elettronica for Italy.

This is a truly strategic endeavour, demonstrating our commitment to maintaining the capabilities needed to defend the UK, protect and reassure our allies and partners and deter those who would threaten international security. It is a clear sign of a global Britain working with like-minded partners from across the world to deepen our defence capabilities, grow our advanced industrial capacity, and demonstrate our shared commitment to international security.

[HCWS428]

Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

App Security and Privacy Code of Practice: Response to Call for Views

I am pleased to inform the House that the Government have published two documents titled “Code of Practice for App Store Operators and App Developers” and “Call for Views Response on App Security and Privacy Interventions”. This follows on from a call for views held between 4 May and 29 June 2022 where we sought feedback on our proposed interventions to protect users’ security and privacy from malicious and poorly developed apps.

We are publishing a world-first voluntary code of practice that sets minimum security and privacy requirements for app store operators and app developers. Given that people's lives are dependent on apps to use services, such as online banking, health and entertainment services, this code is essential as malicious and poorly designed apps continue to be accessible to users on app stores which can result in the loss of personal data, money and access to devices. This work will help deliver an objective within the national cyber strategy to reduce the cyber risk at source by ensuring that app stores—and app developers—follow better levels of cyber security.

This code will improve the security and privacy practices of both developers and operators and therefore ensure that apps are more suitably built. The code, and the eight principles within it, have been informed by feedback from operators, developers and security experts following the call for views, and received support from a vast majority of respondents. It has been thoroughly tested to ensure it strikes an appropriate balance in protecting users whilst also not overly burdening operators and developers. Furthermore, the code will ensure that more information about an app’s data practices is conveyed to users so they can make informed decisions when deciding whether to download an app.

Given the global nature of cyber security issues and digital markets, we plan to prioritise creating international alignment on the code’s security and privacy requirements. We will do this by engaging with international counterparts to promote the need for the requirements, particularly in the context of future competition regulation, and explore the viability of creating an international standard based on the code.

I will place a copy of both the “Code of Practice for App Store Operators and App Developers” and “Call for Views Response on App Security and Privacy Interventions” in the Libraries of both Houses.

[HCWS429]

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

Human Rights and Democracy Report 2021

I have today laid before Parliament a copy of the 2021 Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) report on human rights and democracy (CP 768).

The report analyses human rights developments overseas in 2021 and illustrates how the Government worked to promote and defend human rights globally, including our work to stop sexual violence against women and girls in conflict around the world and to eradicate modern slavery, to defend those who are abused, targeted or killed for their religion or beliefs, to promote media freedom and to support human rights defenders.

Against a backdrop of violations of human rights and increasing authoritarianism in the world, the UK remains steadfastly dedicated to protecting and promoting human rights.

[HCWS430]

Sanctions Designations

On 9 December, to mark International Anti-Corruption Day and Human Rights Day on 10 December, the UK announced a package of 30 sanctions under our global human rights, global anti-corruption and geographic sanctions regimes. Travel bans and/or asset freezes have been imposed on designated individuals and entities.

Covering targets from 11 countries, the package demonstrates the UK’s continued determination to take action to tackle corruption and to hold to account perpetrators of human rights abuses and violations.

Under the Global Anti-Corruption Regulations 2021, sanctions can be imposed for involvement in serious corruption, which covers bribery and misappropriation of property. The sanctions announced today include designations of individuals and entities involved in serious corruption in the western Balkans and Moldova.

Under the Global Human Rights Regulations 2020, sanctions can be imposed for involvement in serious violations and abuses of certain human rights: the right to life, the right to be free from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and the right to be free from slavery, not to be held in servitude or required to perform forced or compulsory labour. The sanctions announced today include designations addressing serious violations and abuses of human rights in Nicaragua, Pakistan, Russia and Uganda.

The UK’s geographic sanctions regimes are also a powerful tool for targeting perpetrators of, and those involved in, human rights abuses and violations that involve specific countries.

Designations announced today under our Mali, Myanmar, South Sudan and Iran regimes aim to send a strong signal about respect for human rights and the UK’s preparedness to take action. Designations under our Russia sanctions regime target those who have destabilised or threatened the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

The UK is also using all the levers at our disposal to prevent conflict-related sexual violence and to ensure that perpetrators are held to account. This is why today some of these designations specifically address the abhorrent crimes of sexual violence.

The full list of designations is as follows:

Western Balkans

Slobodan Tesic: Serbia/Bosnia, dealer of arms and munitions in the Balkans

Milan Radojcic: Kosovo, Vice President of Serb List (SL)

Zvonko Veselinovic: Kosovo, businessman and leader of an organised crime group

Moldova

Vladimir Plahotniuc: businessman and former chairman of the Democratic Party of Moldova (PDM)

Han Shor: businessman and Member of Parliament and chairman of the Sor Party Nicaragua

Yohaira Hernandez Chirino: Deputy Mayor of Matagalpa

Sadrach Zelodon Rocha: Mayor of Matagalpa Pakistan

Mian Abdul Haq: cleric of Barchundi Sharif shrine

Russia

Colonel Ramil Rakhmatulovic Ibatullin: Commander of the 90th Guards Tank Division

Valentin Aleksandrovich Oparin: Major of Justice and an investigator of the 534 Military Investigation Department of the Armed Forces of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation

Artur Rinatovich Shambazov: former senior detective in the main department for the protection of national statehood of the Ukrainian security service (SBU) in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea

Andrey Vyacheslavovich Tishenin: former senior detective in Ukrainian security service and former officer in Russian federal security service in Crimea

Oleg Vladmirovich Tkachenko: former head of the Department for Public Prosecutors for the Rostov region

Uganda

Kale Kayihura: former Inspector General of the Ugandan Police Force

Mali

Katiba Macina: jihadist armed group in Mali led by Amadou Kouffa and founding member of the AQ-aligned JNIM terror group

Myanmar

33rd Light Infantry Division of Myanmar Army: part of the Myanmar armed forces under the command of Brigadier-General Aung Aung

99 Light Infantry of Myanmar Army: part of the Myanmar armed forces under the leadership of Brigadier-General Than Oo

Office of the Chief of Military and Security Affairs (OCMSA)

South Sudan

Gordon Koang Biel: County Commissioner for Koch, Unity State

Gatluak Nyang Hoth: County Commissioner for Mayendit, Unity State

Iran

Iman Afshari: Presiding Judge of Branch 26 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court

Ali Alghasimehr: Public Prosecutor of the Revolutionary Court of Shiraz and Chief Justice of Fars province

Mohamed-Reza Amouzad: Presiding Judge of Branch 28 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court

Allah Karam Azizi: Head of Rajaei Shahr prison

Hassan Babaei: member of the Iranian Judiciary in Tehran province

Ali Cheharmahali: former Director of Greater Tehran Penitentiary and former Director of Evin prison

Mousa Gazanfarabad: former Head of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran

Seyed Ali Mazloum: Presiding Judge of Branch 29 of the Tehran Revolutionary Court

Mustafa Mohebi: former Director of the Prisons Organisation in Tehran

Gholamreza Ziyayi: former Director of Evin prison and Director of Raja’i Shahr prison

[HCWS432]

Health and Social Care

Advertising Restrictions on Less Healthy Food: Delay in Implementation

The Government are delaying the implementation of the introduction of further advertising restrictions on TV and online for less healthy food and drink products until 1 October 2025.

Due to a delay to Royal Assent of the Health and Care Act 2022, and recognition that industry needs more time to prepare for the restrictions, in May 2022, Government announced a year delay to the implementation of these restrictions to 1 January 2024.

However feedback from industry and the regulators is now clear that there is insufficient time to prepare for implementation on the previously announced date of 1 January 2024.

This is because ahead of implementation there are a number of steps that need to be taken including: a Government consultation on draft regulations that are required to set out the details of the advertising restrictions, such as the definition of product categories in scope of the advertising restrictions and the definition of the exemptions for small and medium enterprises, audio only content and services connected to regulated radio; the subsequent making of such regulations; a consultation from the statutory regulator (Ofcom) on the designation of a frontline regulator; the possible designation of a frontline regulator by Ofcom; and publication of guidance to support business compliance with advertising restrictions, following consultation on such guidance from the frontline regulator.

Through discussions with key stakeholders it is clear that this process cannot be delivered by January 2024.

We have listened carefully to the concerns raised by advertisers, broadcasters and regulators about the importance of having sufficient time with these documents to fully prepare and restructure their advertising. We also recognise that businesses need time to reformulate their products. This is why we have decided to delay implementation of this policy until 1 October 2025.

Parliament included a power in the Health and Care Act to delay implementation of the advertising restrictions if necessary. We will be utilising this power to amend the date of implementation for the advertising restrictions by secondary legislation, which we are laying today.

To illustrate our commitment to this policy, we are also launching a consultation on the definitions included in secondary legislation, to provide detail to that included in the Health and Care Act. This consultation will run for 16 weeks, until 31 March 2023.

This consultation will not be inviting opinions on the policy or looking to deviate from anything announced in the consultation response in June 2021—it will be to confirm the clarity of the definitions used and that the text in the secondary legislation is fit for purpose.

Addressing obesity remains a priority for the Government. Having a fit and healthy population is essential for a thriving economy and we remain committed to helping people live healthier lives.

New regulations on out of home calorie labelling for food sold in large businesses including restaurants, cafes and takeaways came into force in April 2022 and restrictions on the promotion by location of products high in fat, salt or sugar came into force in October 2022.

[HCW433]

International Trade

UK-South Korea Trade Agreement: Update

Today the Department for International Trade has launched a public call for input on a future free trade agreement between the United Kingdom and South Korea. The call for input can be accessed via the following link— https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/trade-with-south-korea-call-for-input.

The UK is committed to building on our strong, existing trade and investment relationship with South Korea. South Korea is our 20th largest trade partner with bilateral trade worth £14.3 billion in 2021.

The UK’s current trade relationship with South Korea is based on the EU-South Korea trade agreement, which was negotiated by the European Commission in 2011 and, after a further negotiation, formed the basis of the UK-Korea trade agreement on 1 January 2021. We now have the opportunity to update the agreement, ensuring it is a modern and fit-for-purpose arrangement that meets the specific needs of the UK. This will include important areas such as digital trade, enhanced climate provisions and further support for small and medium-sized businesses.

South Korea was the world’s 10th largest economy in terms of GDP in 2021, with a population of almost 52 million people. An updated agreement could provide the UK with the opportunity to increase the value of UK exports to South Korea, which were worth £8.1 billion in 2021. With updated modern provisions the UK can seek to expand our key exports in digital, business and financial services, contributing to domestic growth at a time of global economic hardship.

Opening discussions towards a modern deal will assist both nations to take an ambitious, progressive, and sustainable step towards shared growth and job creation. As two countries with a strong record of co-operation, resting on shared democratic values, a bespoke trade agreement will provide a foundation for further growth in our trading relationship.

The Government have been clear that when we are negotiating trade deals, the NHS will not be on the table. The price the NHS pays for drugs will not be on the table. The services the NHS provides will not be on the table. We will not agree measures which undermine the Government’s ability to deliver on our manifesto commitments to the NHS.

As we committed to in our manifesto, in all of our trade negotiations, we will not compromise on our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food standards.

The call for input will run for eight weeks and invite businesses, public sector bodies, individuals, and other interested stakeholders to set out their priorities for a closer trading relationship with South Korea.

The information that the Government receive through this exercise will be crucial in shaping our approach to negotiations and our priorities and objectives, ensuring that our final approach is informed by stakeholder needs and the demands of the British economy.

Next steps

The UK and South Korean Governments share a desire to develop closer ties and we have jointly agreed to aim to launch negotiations as soon as possible next year, after we have fully reflected on the results of the call for input and developed a negotiating mandate. Prior to launching negotiations, the UK Government will publish their approach to negotiations. This will include a response to the call for input and our strategic objectives, as well as an economic scoping assessment. We will continue to keep Parliament, the devolved Administrations, UK citizens and businesses updated, as we make progress towards seizing the opportunities presented by a new, modern trade agreement with South Korea.

[HCWS431]