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Written Statements

Volume 726: debated on Thursday 26 January 2023

Written Statements

Thursday 26 January 2023

Cabinet Office

Conflict, Stability and Security Fund Allocations 2022-23

I wish to update the House on the publication of the annual report of the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) for financial year 2021-22, as well as to announce the initial regional and thematic allocations for this financial year (2022-23).

The CSSF is a cross-Government fund which uses official development assistance (ODA) and non-ODA funding to enable the integrated delivery of National Security Council priorities. In 2021/22, the CSSF spent £858.7 million against a final cross-government allocation of £864.2 million, representing 99.4% spend. A further breakdown of spend against regional and thematic allocation, by Department and by discretionary and non-discretionary spend is included in the FY 2021-22 annual report.

The report outlines how the fund evolved to deliver against the priorities set out in the integrated review of security, defence, development and foreign policy, including through the introduction of two new portfolios: international state threats which aims to improve the UK’s ability to detect and deter hostile state activity, and the gender peace and security portfolio, which seeks to use innovative approaches to addressing gender in post-conflict reconstruction work.

The report further demonstrates how CSSF programmes have delivered against the fund’s core principles, including through further improvements in the monitoring and evaluation of results to ensure value for money and effective delivery.

During this reporting period, the fund continued to adapt to address the ongoing impact of the covid-19 pandemic and played an important role in the UK’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

A copy of this document will be deposited in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament and published on

The CSSF has allocated £889 million to portfolios for financial year 2022-23. This includes some over-allocation, following best practice, to ensure full spend by the end of the financial year.

FY 2020/21 Allocations (millions)





Middle East North Africa




Eastern Europe, Central Asia




Africa (sub-Saharan)




Western Balkans




Overseas Territories




South Asia




Asia Pacific








Regional Total




Counter Extremism




Serious and organised crime








Multilateral Strategy




Gender, peace and security








International state threats




National Security Communications Team




Thematic Total












MOD UN Ops Africa








Non-discretionary TOTAL




Corporate delivery support & other (this includes joint funds unit and pilot activities)




Total CSSF






Charter for Budget Responsibility

Today I have laid before Parliament the Charter for Budget Responsibility. The charter sets out the new fiscal framework announced at autumn statement 2022 and codifies the Government’s commitment to responsible management of the public finances. The fiscal rules ensure that policy keeps the public finances on a sustainable path, requiring that debt falls as a share of the economy over the forecast.

The charter was first published in draft on 17 November 2022. No further changes have been made to the charter since it was published in draft.

A debate and vote in the House of Commons on the updated charter will be scheduled in due course.


Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Agricultural Transition Plan

We are undertaking the most significant reform of agricultural policy and spending in England in decades as we take England out of the EU’s bureaucratic and damaging common agricultural policy. Today I am setting out detailed plans for the nation’s farming sector, supporting farmers to be profitable and resilient as they produce food sustainably while protecting nature and enhancing the environment.

These plans build on the announcements made at the Oxford farming conference earlier this month. They provide clarity and certainty to farmers, allowing them to make business decisions and cover costs as direct payments are phased out while getting involved in environmental land management schemes.

The roll out of the sustainable farming incentive will be accelerated, with six additional standards added this year, meaning farmers can receive payment for actions on hedgerows, grassland, arable and horticultural land, integrated pest management and nutrient management. They build on the three existing standards to improve soil health and moorlands introduced in 2022—which nearly 1,900 farmers already have in agreements.

Farmers will also be paid to deliver more through an enhanced version of the countryside stewardship scheme, which will see around 30 additional actions available to farmers by the end of 2024. The expansion builds on the more than 250 actions farmers can take at present. The scheme has seen a 94% increase in uptake since 2020 and is now part of thousands of farm businesses. The next round of the countryside stewardship higher tier will open in February, with mid-tier following in March.

Countryside stewardship-plus will reward farmers for taking co-ordinated action, working with neighbouring farms and landowners to support climate and nature aims. The countryside stewardship scheme will also be improved so farmers benefit from greater flexibility over when they can apply and how they manage their agreements, with improved access for tenant farmers and increased access to higher tier options and agreements.

Applications for the second round of the landscape recovery scheme will open in the spring to support ambitious large-scale nature recovery projects, focusing on net zero, protected sites and habitat creation. We will take on up to 25 projects which could include projects creating and enhancing woodlands, peatland, nature reserves and protected sites such as ancient woodlands, wetlands and salt marshes.

Taken together, the environmental land management schemes will offer something for every type of farmer. This includes tenant farmers, with a range of actions relevant to their holding, especially through the sustainable farming incentive which has been designed with them in mind. The schemes will make food production more resilient and efficient over the longer term while contributing towards the UK’s environmental goals on climate adaptation, biodiversity, water quality and net zero. Together this will safeguard the long-term prosperity of the farming industry and protect the environment for future generations.


Home Department

Proceeds of Crime Act 2002: Appointed Person Report 2021-2022

I am today laying before Parliament the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) appointed person report covering England and Wales for the period 2021-22. The appointed person is independent of Government and scrutinises the circumstances and manner in which search and seizure powers conferred by the Act are exercised under particular circumstances.

I am pleased that we are now able to publish the appointed person’s latest report. Having considered the circumstances in which the relevant powers were used, the appointed person is satisfied that the criteria required for justifying the searches without prior judicial approval were met and that the powers of search were exercised appropriately.

In 2021-22, there has been a decrease in the number of cases where search and seizure powers are used without prior approval, although we are seeing a number of new agencies report across the country that have not submitted reports previously. Notably, three separate cases related to the seizure of cryptoassets. Seizing cryptoassets without judicial approval is largely due to agencies having to move quickly before the assets are accessed from another device and moved elsewhere. Proposed reforms in the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill are designed to enable the seizure of cryptoassets in more circumstances than at present.

The appointed person has also recognised our progress against previous recommendations and has made no new recommendations for the period. This suggests that the powers are being used in accordance with the Act. These powers are important for agencies to act quickly in live operation to search and seize potential criminal assets, so we are pleased to see that they are being used appropriately. We will continue to monitor the way that the powers have been used closely.

Copies of the report will be available in the Vote Office.


Windrush: Lessons Learned Review Recommendations

Today I am updating Parliament on Home Office delivery of the recommendations set out in the Windrush lessons learned review, published in March 2020.

Since my appointment as Home Secretary, I have made a commitment to resolving the outstanding issues related to Windrush and have met members of the Windrush Working Group both to hear their feedback and more formally at the most recent cross-government Windrush Working Group which I was honoured to co-chair with Bishop Derek Webley.

Since the injustices of Windrush came to light, there has been a concerted effort across the Home Office to right the wrongs suffered by those affected. This work continues and we are making sustained progress delivering on the recommendations and the commitments made in our comprehensive improvement plan.

In her report last year, Wendy Williams concluded that 21 out of 30 of her recommendations had been met or partially met. She acknowledged that the scale of the challenge she set the Department was significant and that change on this scale takes time.

Since then, we have made further progress in delivering against Wendy Williams’ recommendations. For example, in June 2022, the “Serving Diverse Communities—Acting on Our Values” learning package was launched across the Home Office, starting with recommendations 24 (learning for senior civil servants) and 29 (diversity and inclusion). The learning package for recommendation 6—the history of the UK and its relationship with the rest of the world, will be launched in the coming weeks.

The Department continues to make progress on compensating those unfairly impacted. As of December 2022, the Windrush compensation scheme paid out or offered £64.08 million in compensation to Windrush victims across 1,417 claims. £53.98 million of this has been paid and over 59% of claims—3,025—have received a final decision.

The Home Office regularly reviews the best way to deliver against the intent of Wendy Williams’ Windrush lessons learned review. As such, after considering officials advice, I have decided not to proceed with recommendations 3 (run reconciliation events), 9 (introduce a migrants commissioner) and 10 (review the remit and role of the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration) in their original format. Extensive consideration has been given to how to deliver these recommendations in appropriate and meaningful ways: ensuring that individuals have opportunities to tell their stories; amplifying the voices of individuals engaging with the immigration system; and driving scrutiny of the Department.

On reconciliation events specifically, on the balance of expert advice received on how to approach this incredibly sensitive subject, I am persuaded that there are more effective ways of engaging with those impacted.

The Department has undertaken a significant programme of face-to-face engagement with the communities impacted by the Windrush scandal since 2018. Surgeries were held in community halls and places such as churches, mosques and care homes, as and where the need was identified. The engagement events were held in most major cities across the UK and including regions such as the west midlands, London and south-west. The events were hosted by senior members of the Windrush programme and provided individuals with the opportunity to speak to them about the impact the scandal had had on their and their family’s lives. Over 3,000 people were reached through these events.

This engagement with communities is further supported by the £500,000 Windrush community fund which was launched in 2020 and provided funding to grassroots organisations and charities with grants of up to £25,000 each to promote the Windrush schemes in innovative ways. Regular dialogue hosted by senior officials are held in forums with external stakeholders from Windrush communities who provide feedback and scrutiny of our engagement and communication efforts. This type of engagement will remain an important part of our work. Further, I look forward to celebrating the contribution that the Windrush community has made to our country in the upcoming 75th anniversary celebrations.

Recommendations 9 and 10 relate to the establishment of a migrants commissioner and a review of the role of the ICIBI. As Home Secretary I remain committed to the importance of scrutiny, both internal and external. There are a number of ways in which we are inviting this challenge and scrutiny in a more efficient way. In October 2022, the Department established the Independent Examiner for Complaints. This office will ensure that customers who are not satisfied with the final response to their complaints have an opportunity to have their case reviewed independently by the IEC, helping the Home Office to identify learning and wider lessons from complaints to improve its service.

The IEC provides scrutiny of the Department’s complaints procedure. Beyond this, I remain committed to the importance of scrutiny. I welcome the insight and challenge that I and the wider Department have received from our colleagues in the Windrush Working Group. Professor Martin Levermore, in his role as independent advisor, has been constructively challenging and very supportive in the development of the Windrush compensation scheme. This has included proactively providing suggestions on improvements to the scheme, such as enhancing linkages between the compensation scheme and the Windrush status scheme, which the Department is now actively working on delivering.

External bodies are not the only source of scrutiny. As Wendy Williams identified, the very culture of the Department needed a fundamental shift, bringing policy development and service delivery into contact with those who are impacted by it, including those who might not agree with it. This is how we shift culture and subject ourselves to scrutiny and this is how we are changing.

I am proud of the efforts made by teams across the Home Office, but we know there is more to do. Many people suffered terrible injustices and the Department will continue working hard to deliver a Home Office worthy of every community served. Wendy Williams acknowledged that our ambition to achieve genuine cultural change requires ongoing reflection and a commitment to constant improvement. She acknowledged that the scale of the challenge she set the Department was significant and that change on this scale takes time. The Home Office keeps the Home Affairs Select Committee updated on progress against the recommendations and will continue to do so.

An update on each of the recommendations is provided in the table available as an online attachment.

Attachments can be viewed online at:


International Trade

Food and Drink Export Council

Today I am providing an update on the establishment of the Food and Drink Export Council (FDEC).

I am pleased to announce that the inaugural meeting of the FDEC took place on Wednesday 25 January 2023.

The UK Government previously announced their intention to establish the new FDEC in response to recommendation 13 of the Trade and Agriculture Commission. The Department for International Trade (DIT) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) have worked in partnership with the devolved Administrations and industry to develop the remit and membership of the FDEC.

The FDEC is a collaborative expert committee which I co-chair alongside Ian Wright CBE, a leading figure in the industry.

British food and drink are among the best in the world and renowned for their quality and provenance. Exporting supports higher pay and more productive jobs. We are helping our farmers and food producers to seize the opportunity of the enormous global demand for British food and drink. The council has an 18-month term with a focus on harnessing the expertise and resource from Government and industry across the UK in a collective endeavour to increase agriculture, food, and drink exports. It brings together dynamic agriculture, food, and drink sector experts from across the UK with an onus on sharing knowledge, raising ambition, building capability, and effective collaboration. The full membership is listed below:

1. Ian Wright CBE (co-chair)

2. Andy Richardson, Volac

3. Anthony Mulley, Quorn

4. Dominic Goudie, Food and Drink Federation

5. Donna Fordyce, Seafood Scotland

6. Ewen Cameron, Scottish Development International

7. Grainne Moody, Invest NI

8. Helen Dallimore, Coombe Castle

9. lain Baxter, Scotland Food and Drink

10. Keith Smyton, Welsh Government

11. Lee Hemmings, Belvoir Farm

12. Margaret Boanas, International Meat Trade Association

13. Michael Bell OBE, Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association

14. Nick von Westenholz, National Farmers Union

15. Patricia Dillon, Speyside Distillers

16. Phil Hadley, Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board

17. Rachel Gwyon, DIT

18. Sandra Sullivan MBE, Food and Drink Exporters Association

19. Tee Sandhu, SamosaCo

20. Tim Brooks, DEFRA

The launch of the FDEC reflects the UK Government’s strategy to promote exports from all parts of the UK and level up the country. It is a genuine partnership which recognises and respects the unique and different approaches to supporting exports that have evolved across the whole of the UK. The FDEC has no remit to discuss strategic trade policy, negotiations of free trade agreements, or areas of devolved or reserved competence.

You can find out more about the FDEC here:


Prime Minister

Union and Devolution Policy

It was announced on 11 October 2022 that responsibility for Union and devolution policy would move from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to the Cabinet Office under the then Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

On 25 October, I appointed the Secretary of State for Levelling Up as Minister for intergovernmental relations. This means that day-to-day responsibility for the Union and devolution policy will remain in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. The Union and constitution group will also have a presence in the Cabinet Office to support me in my role as Minister for the Union.

Strengthening the Union and delivering for all people and communities across the UK is a priority for all of UK Government. This change will allow the Levelling Up Secretary to lead the Government’s day-to-day engagement with the devolved Administrations and drive forward cross-Government efforts towards delivering tangible improvements for people across the UK, including through levelling up.


Work and Pensions

Automatic Enrolment Earnings Trigger and Qualifying Earnings Band Review 2023-24

Automatic enrolment into workplace pensions (AE) has been a great success to date, with over 10.8 million people having been automatically enrolled and more than 2.1 million employers meeting their duties. Since the introduction of AE in 2012, total annual pension saving by eligible employees has increased by £33 billion in real terms. The Government remain committed to building on this achievement and to transforming the retirement prospects for millions of workers.

The main focus of this year’s annual review of the AE earnings trigger and lower and upper earnings limits of the qualifying earnings band (the AE thresholds) has been to ensure the continued stability of the policy in the light of the impact of covid-19 and prevailing economic factors. We want to ensure that our approach continues to enable individuals, for whom it makes economic sense, to save towards their pensions while also ensuring affordability for employers and taxpayers. The review has concluded that all AE thresholds for 2023-24 will be maintained at their 2022-23 levels. This is consistent with our ambitions to build a stronger, more inclusive savings culture. The Government are considering what more can be done to enable people to have greater financial security in retirement.

The 2023-24 Annual Thresholds

The automatic enrolment earnings trigger will remain at £10,000.

The lower earnings limit of the qualifying earnings band will remain at £6,240.

The upper earnings limit of the qualifying earnings band will remain at £50,270.

The analysis supporting the review will be published and a copy placed in the Library of the House. It will be available on the website, following publication.