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Written Statements

Volume 724: debated on Thursday 15 December 2022

Written Statements

Thursday 15 December 2022

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

"Help to Grow: Digital”: Scheme Closure

This statement concerns the Government’s decision to close the Help to Grow: Digital programme. Help to Grow: Digital will close to new business applications for discounts on 2 February 2023. Discounts issued for eligible software must be redeemed within 30 days from issue date.

The scheme has supported businesses to grow, but with take-up lower than expected, the Government cannot justify the continued cost of the schemes to the taxpayer. The decision has been taken to refocus efforts towards other support mechanisms for small businesses, ensuring businesses get the backing they need in the most efficient and productive way possible. The Help to Grow: Management scheme remains in place.

The Government continue to support small businesses, such as through the Government-backed British Business Bank’s start-up loans, which are available to help aspiring entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. The Government have taken action to protect all eligible UK businesses, including small businesses, from rising energy costs through the energy bill relief scheme.


Cabinet Office

Government Transparency and Accountability

My noble Friend the Minister of State (Baroness Neville-Rolfe) has today made the following written statement:

Since 2010, the Government have been at the forefront of opening up data to allow Parliament, the public and the media to hold public bodies to account. Such online transparency is crucial to delivering value for money, cutting waste and inefficiency, and ensuring every pound of taxpayers’ money is spent in the best possible way.

The Government will continue to look at how the range of information published by the Government can be improved and made as useful as possible to the public, press and Parliament. The following subject areas include documents and information that the Government are due to publish.

Routine transparency data on Ministers, special advisers and senior officials

Departments will today be publishing routine transparency data on Ministers’, special advisers’ and senior officials’ gifts, hospitality, travel and external meetings, for the period of July to September 2022. This data covers the returns for the Prime Minister, Government Chief Whip and Leaders of the House of Commons and the Lords, as well as the Cabinet Office.

Departments will also be publishing the business appointment rules advice summary for the same period.

List of ministerial responsibilities

The Government will today be publishing the list of ministerial responsibilities on Copies will also be deposited in the Libraries of both Houses. The list includes details of ministerial Departments, the Ministers within each Department, their portfolio responsibilities and private offices and the executive agencies within each Department.

Salaries of Members of His Majesty’s Government

The Government will today be updating the salaries of Members of His Majesty’s Government with information for the financial year 2022-2023 on This indicates the salaries to which Ministers are entitled and the actual salaries that they claim, along with supplementary information on ministerial salaries, allowances and payments on leaving office.

Cabinet Office annual report and accounts 2021-22

This annual report and accounts will also be laid before Parliament today. The publication includes the Cabinet Office’s audited financial statements for the year ended 31 March 2022 and a review of performance and governance arrangements. The annual report will be published on

Cabinet Office accounting officer system statement 2022

This publication is a single statement setting out all of the accountability relationships and processes within the Department. This update takes into account change since the previous version was published in 2020.1 have requested that a copy of the accounting officer system statement be deposited in the Libraries of both Houses. The publication will also be published on

Cabinet Office: Spend control data for July to September2022

Along with all Government Departments, in 2010 the Cabinet Office committed to publish quarterly data on its planned spending that has been subject to the Cabinet Office spend controls. The spend controls covered are digital and technology, commercial, property, advertising, marketing and communications, and contingent labour (as for equivalent figures published by other Departments). For the quarter covered, 12 separate items of the Cabinet Office’s own spending (with a total value of £734 million) were approved under the cross-Government Cabinet Office spending control.

Monthly workforce management information (September and October2022)

As standard, the Government are today publishing our monthly breakdown of workforce headcount and pay costs. This is a routine publication and will be published on

Public procurement review service—progress report 2021-22

The Government will today publish their annual progress report, detailing trends in issues raised to the public procurement review service. In this publication, we look to consider such trends and make recommendations on how to improve the service moving forwards. The report will be published, as usual, on



Life Insurance Taxation

The Government are announcing the following measure— of which there are two components—which will take immediate effect from today.

The first part of the measure applies to re-insurers of a specific type of long-term insurance business known as basic life assurance and general annuity business (BLAGAB). It addresses a possible tax mismatch in the life insurance rules where re-insurance precedes a transfer of BLAGAB. In this situation the measure eliminates the possibility of a mismatch by classifying the re-insured business as BLAGAB in the hands of the re-insurer. This will protect Exchequer revenues needed to fund vital public services.

The second part of the measure addresses an industry concern that the current scope of section 92 of the Finance Act 2012 may be unnecessarily wide and is blocking commercial transactions. It amends that section so that it does not apply where substantially all the insurance risks of a book of BLAGAB are assumed by a re-insurer.

The draft legislation will be published today on It will be accompanied by a tax information and impact note and an explanatory note. A copy of the legislation will also be deposited in the Libraries of both Houses.


Public Service Pensions and Judicial Offices Act 2022: Treasury Directions

The Government are committed to public service pensions which are fair to public sector workers. In 2015 (2014 for local government workers in England and Wales), reforms were made to public service pension schemes in England and Wales to provide workers with fairer pensions arrangements and to make the pension schemes more sustainable and affordable for the longer term. These reforms followed the recommendations of the Independent Public Service Pensions Commission. The Government believe the 2015 changes to public service pensions balanced the interests of public service workers, employers and taxpayers fairly.

However, when the reforms were introduced, they provided “transitional protections” which allowed members who were close to retirement to remain in the previous scheme (the legacy scheme). In December 2018, the Court of Appeal found that these transitional protections in the judicial and firefighters’ pension schemes gave rise to unlawful discrimination (the McCloud and Sargeant case).

The Public Service Pensions and Judicial Offices Act 2022 was enacted to remedy the discrimination identified by the courts. The Act provides a retrospective remedy, such that affected members are treated as if they had always been in the legacy scheme for their period of remediable service, as well as providing affected members a choice of which pension benefits they wish to receive for that period when those benefits are put into payment. The detail of the retrospective remedy for affected members will be set out in scheme regulations made under the Act for each affected pension scheme. The retrospective remedy is due to come into force by 1 October 2023.

The Act provides for HM Treasury to make directions to set out how schemes must exercise the powers provided in the Act in making scheme regulations. The Government have made and published Treasury directions today and they are available at

The directions ensure that scheme regulations for the public service schemes can implement a comprehensive remedy for affected members. The directions provide for consistent treatment across the public service pension schemes to enable schemes to return members to the position they would have been in had the discrimination not arisen. The publication of the Treasury directions today enables the responsible authorities—the Secretaries of State with responsibility for the public service schemes and the Welsh and Scottish Ministers for the devolved schemes—to proceed to develop and consult their stakeholders on scheme regulations to deliver the remedy in each of the public service schemes. Following consultation, the Secretaries of State responsible for the pension schemes for the NHS, teachers, local government workers and police in England and Wales, firefighters in England, the UK armed forces and the civil service in Great Britain, will then make and lay secondary legislation in Parliament. Scheme regulations must come into force by 1 October 2023.


Health and Social Care

Ian Paterson: Patient Safety and Government Implementation Plan

On 16 December 2021, the Government published their response to the findings of the inquiry into the issues raised by disgraced surgeon, Ian Paterson. We reiterated the apologies of the Government to the patients affected and those close to them and committed to ensuring we did more to protect patients in the future.

In line with this commitment, the Government accepted the overwhelming majority of the recommendations made by the inquiry and set out an implementation plan of 40 actions to put those recommendations into effect. Finally, we committed to providing a further update on the progress of this implementation plan in 12-months’ time. I am happy to be able to publish this report fulfilling that commitment today.

All the relevant bodies within the health sector have been united in understanding that these changes are essential. We all agree that patients cannot be failed in the same way again. On behalf of the Government, I want to thank every organisation that has engaged in this process for their commitment to making improvements. I would especially like to thank the representatives of patient groups impacted by Ian Paterson, who have campaigned tirelessly to ensure their experiences do not go unheeded. They have continued to be a source of inspiration and expertise throughout the implementation period.

I am pleased to report that good progress has been made across the implementation plan which we set out in December 2021. The report published today provides full details of this progress against the four themes of the Government’s response as laid out in the implementation plan. In this statement, I will highlight some of the most important developments under each of these themes.

Patient-centred information

Patients now have more access to information relevant to their treatment than they did during Ian Paterson’s time practising. This includes access to information about the performance of consultants working for independent sector healthcare providers, and specialties in the NHS. These continue to be added to, so patients will have more, and better, access to independent information before choosing a consultant. NHS England (NHSE) will work with the professions so that meaningful consultant-level information on the numbers and types of procedures performed should be made publicly available. If patients choose to be treated in the independent sector, there is now more information about what to expect, with further information to be made available over the coming year.

Patients now have the right to access their treatment records and clinicians are aware of the need to write to patients directly following a consultation or treatment, rather than only writing to their GP. This information gives patients a record of their condition, and test results to reflect on, or to seek a second opinion if required. This is reinforced by ensuring patients gets the time they need to consider treatment options and have access to a range of new resources to help them consider their options; options that patients will also be able to discuss with medical professionals who are equipped to handle these conversations.

Making challenge heard

Doctors across more specialties now have independent data on their practice available and will be required to use this as part of their appraisal and revalidation processes. This will help to identify issues and fix them. Staff in the health system also have more opportunities to make their voices heard about a patient’s care, including through clarified guidance and assessment of multidisciplinary team use as a forum.

Care Quality Commission (CQC) updated its guidance on complaints processes in early 2022. It is now easier for patients to raise concerns about treatment they receive and access independent resolution of their complaint if they are unsatisfied with the provider’s handling. As part of the implementation of the NHS patient safety strategy, NHSE has introduced measures to advance safety and the response to harm. The Government have appointed the first ever patient safety commissioner for England, Dr Henrietta Hughes OBE.

Ensuring accountability

CQC published the new single assessment framework in July 2022, which sets out what good care looks like, and National Quality Board published national guidance on system quality groups, setting out the requirements for quality governance in integrated care systems.

Alongside this, we have seen significant culture change in the independent sector, now leaving no doubt that independent providers must take responsibility for maintaining high standards of care in their facilities, irrespective of how the medical professionals involved are engaged by them (through employment or practising privileges). This has been supported by Independent Healthcare Providers Network’s refresh of the medical practitioners assurance framework in September 2022. NHS Resolution launched new exclusion guidance in April 2022.

Putting things right

Patients who are impacted by potential issues with their care will be reviewed through recall processes which are now better informed of how to put patients at the centre of their focus. The new national recall framework was published in June 2022 to facilitate this.

Patients will continue to receive apologies from healthcare professionals and providers for potential issues with their care when appropriate. Enhanced training and resources are now available to clinicians to ensure these apologies are delivered effectively and meaningfully.

The Government are working to ensure that any future changes to indemnity and insurance arrangements will be made using the best evidence base available. This includes a thorough assessment of the impact on patients, healthcare professionals, providers, and the wider market; with the aim of improving the position for patients when receiving treatment from any regulated healthcare professional, regardless of the setting. The Government’s ambition is that when this work concludes, patients have confidence that they can access appropriate compensation if harmed while receiving care, including when harm arises from criminal/intentional acts or omissions. The summary of responses to the consultation on appropriate clinical negligence cover for regulated healthcare professionals will be published alongside this implementation update on 15 December 2022.

The Government will be continuing to ensure this work is built upon, as part of our wider commitment to ensuring patient safety and high standards of care across the health system. We understand that there is no room for complacency when it comes to patient safety and, together with the patient safety commissioner, will make sure this is one building block towards a health system in which patients and those close to them can have the maximum possible confidence.

Copies of the Government’s full implementation update will be available at:



Rape Review Action Plan

The Government are today publishing a progress report 18 months on from the publication of the end-to-end rape review action plan. This is the third six-monthly progress report on implementation of the rape review action plan and demonstrates the Government’s ongoing commitment to be transparent and accountable to the public on our progress in delivering the ambitions of the rape review.

The latest progress report sets out that we are on track to meet our ambitions in the review to more than double the number of adult rape cases reaching court by the end of this Parliament. In Q2 2022, compared with the 2019 quarterly average, adult rape police referrals to the Crown Prosecution Service were up 95%, CPS adult rape charges were up 65% and the number of adult rape cases reaching Crown Court were up 91%.

The Government have also today published an independently authored report on the policing aspects of Operation Soteria, a policing and CPS programme to develop new operating models for the investigation and prosecution of rape in England and Wales by June 2023. The report outlines the key findings from research in five police forces and provides an initial draft of the national operating model for the investigation of rape which will be available to all police forces from June 2023.

The rape review progress report sets out that:

We are also publishing today a series of user-friendly guides on for victims of rape and sexual assault, to enable victims to better understand what they can expect as their case progresses through the criminal justice system.

We have launched the 24/7 rape and sexual abuse support line which will provide all victims and survivors access to dedicated support whenever and wherever they need it.

We have also completed the expansion of Operation Soteria to a further 14 police forces and three further CPS areas. The aims of this ambitious joint police and CPS programme of work include:

Improve relationships between police and CPS and prioritise early collaboration so strong cases can be built as early as possible;

Improve victim communication including a pledge for more frequent contact and a clear guide to explain the justice process;

Strengthen the partnership between independent sexual violence advisers, CPS and police to better co-ordinate support for victims.

We successfully rolled out pre-recorded cross-examination for victims of sexual offences, a vital measure now available in all Crown Courts across England and Wales. This will spare survivors and victims the trauma of giving evidence in the glare of a courtroom.

We introduced new powers through the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts (PCSC) Act to stop unnecessary and intrusive requests for victims’ phones and we are continuing to work with police forces to ensure they have the capability to return victims devices within 24 hours.

These actions form part of the Government’s ambition to create meaningful cross-system change, improve the experience of victims and bring more perpetrators to justice.


Work and Pensions

Personal Independence Payment

Today the Department will publish the latest update on progress on making backdated payments to personal independence payment claimants who are affected by the MH and RJ decisions of the Upper Tribunal (UT). The release will be published at:

The MH decision changed how overwhelming psychological distress is considered when assessing someone’s ability to plan and follow a journey. The RJ decision changed how we decide whether someone can carry out an activity safely and if they need supervision.

As at the end of November 2022, we have reviewed around 990,000 cases against the MH decision. This includes cases where claimants have previously been assessed as having “overwhelming psychological distress” or who have a “psychiatric disorder” as one of their health conditions. We have also reviewed around 1,100,000 cases against the RJ decision. This includes cases where claimants have a “neurological disease” as one of their health conditions. All reviews will have been carried out by a case manager within the Department.

Around 8,400 arrears payments, totalling around £44 million, have been made. No one should have seen their PIP reduced because of this exercise.

In addition, we will continue to review any case for any claimant who asks us to.

This has been a complex and substantial exercise, involving over 2,090,000 reviews against two UT decisions. Our approach demonstrates that we have prioritised claimants who are most likely to benefit, to make backdated payments as quickly as possible.

We have set out further background to this release in an updated “Frequently Asked Questions”. I will deposit a copy of this document and the statistical release in the Library of the House.


UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Follow-up Report

Today, I will place in the Library of the House a copy of the UK’s 2022 follow-up report to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, following the 2016 inquiry.

This Government are committed to eliminating barriers faced by disabled people, in order to realise their full participation and inclusion in society. The follow-up report demonstrates how we are implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and showcases positive action taking place across the UK to support disabled people.

The UK Government have implemented numerous policies and programmes to tackle the barriers faced by disabled people relevant to the articles examined by the inquiry, as highlighted in our latest report to the UN Committee for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

We have seen 1.3 million more disabled people in work than in 2017—delivering a Government commitment five years early. We are investing £1.3 billion over three years in employment support for disabled people and people with health conditions.

The Government are providing households with cost of living support totalling over £37 billion this year. This includes a £650 cost of living payment for people on means-tested benefits. In addition to this, six million eligible disabled people have received a one-off, disability cost of living payment of £150 to help with additional costs.

We are reforming social care support to improve disabled people’s access to care services and ensure integrated health and care support. Increased funding for adult social care will also ensure a fairer cost of care for both carers and patients. Improvements in the accessibility of homes and transport are helping disabled people to live independently and have a better standard of living.

We supported the passage of the British Sign Language (BSL) Act (2022) which recognises BSL as a language of England, Wales and Scotland in its own right. A BSL advisory board is being established to guide implementation of the Act from the perspective of people who use BSL.

Recognising the need for wider societal change across all industries, our 19 disability and access ambassadors are using their expertise and influence in business to help drive and support changes in access for disabled consumers and employees.

Alongside this, we recognise the importance of co-ordinated action across Government, reflecting the full range of services and opportunities that deliver full participation. Our ministerial disability champions have been supporting and driving forward work on disability in their respective departments.

We continue to engage with disabled people and stake-holders through disabled people’s organisations, networks and relevant organisations. This is to ensure that lived experience underpins regular and co-ordinated action across Government. We remain committed to improving the lives of disabled people and making our society a more inclusive and accessible place for all disabled people.