Skip to main content

Written Statements

Volume 728: debated on Thursday 23 February 2023

Written Statements

Thursday 23 February 2023

Business and Trade

Trade Measures to support the Ukrainian Economy

In May 2022, the United Kingdom led the world in being the first country to fully liberalise its trade with Ukraine, by removing all remaining tariffs under the UK-Ukraine political, free trade and strategic partnership agreement. This set an ambitious precedent, which I am pleased to say has been followed by similar initiatives from the European Union, Canada and other partners.

Russia’s unprovoked and illegal invasion of Ukraine has impacted Ukraine's ability to export goods and disrupted their usual supply chains and transport routes. This is why it was so important that the UK acted when it did to liberalise remaining tariffs and provide much needed support to Ukrainian businesses. Although overall imports to the UK from Ukraine have decreased (with goods imports down almost 50%, or £410 million, in the 12 months to the end of November 2022, compared with the previous year), imports of barley and poultry have benefited from our liberalisation package and are higher than they would otherwise have been. This demonstrates the benefit of the temporary tariff liberalisation to Ukrainian exporters.

In late 2022, President Zelenskyy requested that the temporary tariff liberalisation be extended. This Government remain as committed as ever to supporting Ukraine in their hour of need, so I can confirm our intention to deliver on this request. My Department will work with His Majesty’s Treasury in due course to lay the necessary statutory instrument to extend the temporary tariff liberalisation to early 2024. The liberalisation of all tariffs for imports from Ukraine will continue to be applied to the whole of the United Kingdom and the Crown dependencies.

As the Prime Minister has made clear, the United Kingdom will continue to do everything in its power to support Ukraine’s fight against Putin’s brutal invasion and ensure its long-term security and prosperity.


Culture, Media and Sport

Football Governance White Paper

I wish to inform the House that the Government have today published their White Paper, “A sustainable future—reforming club football governance”.

Football lies at the heart of our nation and it touches the lives of so many of us across the country. Football brings people together, whether at times of national sporting success, or through football clubs that form a vital part of our lives not just for fans, but for their local communities too. Football fosters a sense of belonging and supports local economies.

Many of our clubs are well run and are exemplars of good practice, prudence, and a willingness to play by the rules. However, for too long, we have seen some of our oldest and most historic clubs put in danger by those who do not see a football club as the community and heritage asset that it is. Too many see a football club as something that can be gambled with for short-term gain, with little thought for the history or future of the club, or for its fans. It is fans who have been there long before any owner, director, manager or player, and who will be there long after they have gone. This has been forgotten all too frequently, and as a result communities have been devastated by the losses of clubs across the country.

This Government want to see a positive future for all our football clubs, and for English football to continue to thrive as the best in the world. That is why we committed in our manifesto to a thorough review of football governance with fans at its very heart. The fan-led review—so ably chaired by my hon. Friend the Member for Chatham and Aylesford (Tracey Crouch)—heard evidence from across football, from fans, and from experts on the problems facing our national game.

The review identified a number of issues that need resolving in football and—alongside my Department’s own conversations with fan groups, clubs, football authorities and football—demonstrated that fundamental reform is needed to protect English football and safeguard its future.

English football is world-leading and that global success needs protecting. Our White Paper sets out how we will deliver reform by taking proportionate action that maintains the Premier League’s position as the strongest league in the world, and safeguard clubs across the entire football pyramid. On a strong, stable foundation of sustainable and resilient clubs, “the beautiful game” in England will continue to thrive for the benefit of its fans at home and abroad.

The White Paper outlines a comprehensive plan to introduce a new independent regulator, backed by legislation, which is free from the vested and conflicting industry interests which have hindered progress in the past. The industry has been given more than ample opportunity to reform itself and has repeatedly failed to do so. Independent regulation for football will make the game more sustainable, and mean fewer fans and communities have their clubs put at risk.

The regulator’s aim will be to make sure clubs are financially resilient, to help guarantee fans a voice in their own clubs, and ultimately, to protect cherished parts of our footballing and cultural heritage. This is reflected in its primary strategic purpose—to ensure that English football is sustainable and resilient for the benefit of fans and local communities football clubs serve—as well as the three specific duties underpinning this purpose:

Club sustainability—the financial sustainability of individual clubs;

Systemic stability—the overall stability of the football pyramid; and

Cultural heritage—protecting the aspects of clubs that matter most to fans.

The regulator will also have secondary duties to have regard to impacts on competition and investment.

The regulator will operate a licensing system, whereby all clubs in the top five tiers of the English men’s football pyramid will need a licence to operate as professional football clubs. The legislation will establish four threshold conditions of the licence. These will be:

Appropriate resources and governance: improving financial resilience through a requirement for clubs to have appropriate financial resources and to comply with a new proportionate “football club corporate governance code”.

Fit and proper custodians: new tests for prospective owners and directors of clubs: a fitness and propriety test (for owners and directors), enhanced due diligence of source of wealth (owners), and a requirement for robust financial plans (owners). The regulator will take an objective and evidence-based approach, and apply tests so as not to disproportionately deter desirable investors.

Fan interests: implement a minimum standard of fan engagement and protections around club heritage, to make sure fans at any club have their voice heard.

Approved competitions: clubs will only be able to compete in competitions that are approved by the regulator, to prevent “breakaway” competitions that do not meet predetermined criteria.

In addition, the regulator will have a targeted power of last resort to intervene in relation to financial distributions if football fails to come to a solution. The Government’s strong preference is for football to agree on its own resolution to this important issue without regulator intervention, so this power acts purely as a backstop. The process will be designed to empower and encourage football to find a solution first. However, if football fails to deliver a solution, this backstop means the regulator will deliver one.

The regulator is designed to be the specialist in its area, with a tight scope through its licensing system focused on the issues of financial sustainability. The regulator will not intervene in, for example, on-pitch rules or ticket prices.

Equally, it is a regulator that will be proportionate, rather than take a “one size fits all” approach—where clubs are already well run, the regulator will not look to intervene unless necessary. Wherever possible, it will aim to use constructive engagement rather than formal intervention, but it will have the ability and the mandate to intervene swiftly and boldly when necessary.

With this White Paper, the Government are taking the next step on the journey towards reform that started with my hon. Friend the Member for Chatham and Aylesford’s groundbreaking fan-led review. It is a journey that has shone a light on the serious issues threatening the very future of English football as we know it. However, it has also shown the path towards a more enduring future for our national game. The measures set out in this White Paper detail that path, and we are fully committed to working with fans and football to make them a reality.



Defence Space Strategy: One Year On

A year ago the Ministry of Defence (MOD) published the defence space strategy (DSS), which set out a vision for the MOD to be a meaningful actor in the space domain. I now wish to update Parliament on the progress made since its publication.

Since we published this strategy, the war in Ukraine has served to reinforce the space domain’s importance in securing information advantage and enhancing military operations. Access to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) data from space has proved vital in that conflict, both for the conduct of operations and the ability to counter Russian disinformation on the global stage. Satellite communication has also played a critical role and we have observed the importance of positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) solutions for delivering precision effects.

UK Space Command

UK Space Command reached initial operating capability on 1 April 2022. This joint command has the role of generating, integrating and operating space capabilities to protect and defend UK interests in support of global operations. The command is now over 500 strong and will continue to grow its workforce over the coming 12 months.

Following our commitment to invest a further £1.5 billion into UK defence’s space capabilities over the next decade, Space Command is now delivering the defence space portfolio, which combines existing space programmes and exciting new capabilities in support of our mission. Space Command published its capability management plan on 9 November 2022, which set out capability head- marks against seven capability areas: satellite communication, space domain awareness, ISR, command and control (C2), space control, PNT and launch.

Delivering Space-based Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR)

UK Space Command, partnering closely with the Defence Innovation Unit, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) and Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S), has placed on contract the creation of two research and development (R&D) satellites: TITANIA, a space to earth laser communications system, and TYCHE, an electro-optical earth observation system. Both are expected to be launched into low earth orbit (LEO) in early 2024.

UK Space Command has also started the process of placing on contract further R&D projects. The first of these will develop a synthetic aperture radar satellite capability. This UK defence R&D programme will play a role in supporting operational capability investment decisions from 2025 onwards.

Delivering Space Domain Awareness (SDA), Command and Control (C2) and Space Control

Noting the strategy’s commitment to identifying “dual use” opportunities, the MOD has worked closely with the UK Space Agency (UKSA) to agree the first set of cross-government, civil and defence, SDA requirements. We will now assess the available technologies and opportunities with our allies to identify areas for investment. This will likely combine the use of commercial sensor data, allies’ data and sovereign sensors over the coming years.

To improve C2, Space Command and UKSA continue to develop long-term plans for a joint civil-military national space operations centre, which will have improved SDA capabilities at its very heart and draw on new software to improve automation and exploitation.

Space Command continues to develop a range of operational concept demonstrators for space control that will help to sustain advantage and freedom of action in space.

Delivering Satellite Communications (SatCom) and Space-Based Positioning Navigation and Timing (PNT)

UK Strategic Command (UK StratCom) continues to maintain crucial satellite communication services for defence. Since the transfer of ownership of the Skynet Constellation back to the MOD in August 2021, UK Space Command has now taken on responsibility for the protection and defence of our satellites on orbit. Following conclusion of a successful private finance initiative with Airbus Defence and Space, we are planning to announce the winner of the service delivery wrap (SDW) competition in February 2023 to provide satellite, terminal, and network elements of the next generation SKYNET 6 system until 2029. We will work with allies to ensure an enduring capability in an increasingly contested operating environment.

The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) lead for Government on national PNT resilience and a cross-government PNT team was established by BEIS in July last year. MOD is supporting this effort, including through embedded military expertise. This team is taking forward a “concept demonstrator” project to develop a stance on national PNT resilience through a better understanding of national needs, PNT risks, mitigations and opportunities. Its work is due to conclude this spring with options going to Ministers on next steps.

Since the strategy’s publication, UK StratCom has continued to pursue options within defence to enhance resilient and assured positioning, navigation and timing (PNT) capabilities. This includes: the robust global navigation system (RGNS), designed to utilise all unencrypted global navigation satellite system (GNSS) signals being broadcast today to generate a more reliable and available PNT solution; and a programme of activity to develop alternative technologies to GNSS PNT capabilities (AltNav), which is due to complete its research phase this year.

Increasing Space Operations

The illegal invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces has resulted in unprecedented levels of activity for UK Space Command operational units and has accelerated activity with our international partners. The UK Space Operations Centre and RAF Fylingdales have contributed to homeland defence through strategic missile warning while continuing to provide critical theatre missile warning, GPS accuracy predictions and space weather alerts to deployed UK forces overseas. With embedded UK Space Agency analysts providing re-entry and space debris analysis and warnings, the Space Operations Centre continues to track suspicious activity on orbit and is undergoing significant enhancement to meet the additional demand.

Skills and Training

UK Space Command concluded its training needs analysis in March 2022 and this is informing its activity in pursuit of the DSS goal to “upskill” the defence workforce. The command delivered its inaugural executive space operations course in December 2022 and continues to work towards the establishment of a space academy. The MOD is working with DSIT to ensure that a coherent approach is taken to address skills gaps across the UK space sector through partnerships across Government, industry and leading academic centres around the country.

International Partnerships

The DSS committed us to broadening and deepening multinational co-operation and we have made good progress on this, with UK Space Command signing agreements with several new international partners to formalise collaboration on issues such as organisational structures, training of personnel and acquiring of new capability. Terms of reference with the Republic of Korea Air Force and Australian Defence Space Command have been signed (in July 2022 and December 2022 respectively), outlining future co-operation in areas such as information sharing, collaborative training, and personnel exchanges. UK Space Command also signed the enhanced space co-operation MOU with US Space Command in April 2022. This is the most comprehensive defence space arrangement signed yet between the UK and the US, and the basis for a number of new and developing areas of co-operation.

We have also played a leading role in the combined space operations (CSpO) initiative—comprising Australia, Canada, Germany, France, New Zealand, UK and US —which seeks to align activity relating to operations, capability and policy. Throughout 2022 the UK chaired the CSpO’s Policy and Legal Working Group that has been instrumental in shaping the debate in the UN on responsible space behaviours. Linked to this, MOD supported the Government announcement on 3 October 2022 of a UK commitment not to destructively test direct ascent antisatellite (DA-ASAT) missiles.


Significant progress has been made since the publication of the DSS. We have the right structures and governance in place and we have established many key relationships at home and abroad. We continue to work at pace to deliver the strategy’s ambition and to integrate space into our business-as-usual activity across defence—from operational planning to doctrine, capability development, training and education.


Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

UK Women, Peace and Security National Action Plan 2023-2027

Today marks the publication of the UK’s fifth national action plan on women, peace and security (2023-2027) jointly owned by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and the Ministry of Defence.

The national action plan is the UK Government’s five-year strategy that sets out how we will meet our women, peace and security (WPS) commitments under UN Security Council Resolution 1325. It demonstrates how we will ensure better protection and empowerment of women in conflict situations overseas through our diplomatic, development and defence engagements alongside our bilateral and multilateral partners.

The UK is a global leader on this agenda, including at the UN Security Council. We continue to promote women’s full, equal and meaningful participation in conflict prevention through to resolution in some of the most fragile countries in the world. The UK continues to tackle gender-based violence, particularly violence against women and girls as the most prevalent form of gender-based violence. We also continue to champion the preventing sexual violence in conflict initiative (PSVI), working closely with our international partners. The plan will align with the FCDO’s recently launched PSVI strategy that sets out how HMG will work to put an end to the scourge of sexual violence in conflict. It will also support the Ministry of Defence’s joint service publication 985 on human security in defence. The Plan will support the operationalisation of the upcoming FCDO women and girls strategy.

This Plan has been developed based on lessons learned from the previous four UK national action plans, extensive consultation with civil society and new research and evidence on WPS. It responds to the new global context, reflecting on Ukraine and Afghanistan, transnational threats such as climate and cyber, and ensures the UK maintains its reputation as a global leader on WPS. Key changes are:

The Plan includes a broader approach to transnational threats beyond preventing and countering violent extremism, to include new technologies and use of digital spaces by belligerent actors, proliferation of weapons and climate insecurity.

The inclusion of a UK domestic policy approach to the WPS agenda, with inputs from Home Office, Ministry of Justice and Northern Ireland Office.

An improved framework for monitoring and evaluation throughout the duration of the plan including more specific indicators.

Proposals to strengthen the capabilities of UK Government officials to support and build an international network of expertise.

Greater senior accountability for the plan through better governance structures and external transparency mechanisms.

Clearer expectations and support for focus countries and a more flexible approach, recognising the dynamic nature of peace and security, especially in fragile and conflict affected countries.

Both the FCDO and Ministry of Defence are grateful to the all-party parliamentary group on women, peace and security for their active engagement on this important issue and would like to thank, in particular, Baroness Hodgson for her dedicated work in this area. I would also like to thank the civil society network, Gender Action for Peace and Security, and the London School of Economics and Political Science Centre for Women, Peace and Security for the contribution they have made to the process of revising the Plan.

The UK Government will continue to consult with Parliament and civil society on the implementation of the Plan to ensure it delivers for women and girls on the ground, including reporting regularly to parliament.

A copy of the Plan has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses and is available on


Home Department

Body Report 2022: Government Response

I am today announcing the Government decision on pay for the National Crime Agency (NCA) for 2022-23, supporting the Government manifesto commitment to strengthen the NCA.

The NCA Remuneration Review Body (NCARRB) report on pay for NCA officers at grades lower than deputy director for the NCA will be laid before Parliament today and published on

I would like to thank the Chair and members of the review body for their work on this year’s pay round, resulting in a thorough report. NCA officers continue to do so much impressive work to thwart the criminals that inflict such pain on communities and the review body’s considered review of their pay is integral to those efforts.

This Government are committed to supporting the work of the NCA across the UK and around the world, in its fight against serious and organised crime (SOC). A strengthened NCA needs to be able to set clear strategic and operational direction and develop shared capabilities to drive efficiencies. This Government have consistently invested in the agency, increasing its budget every year since 2019-20, including an increase of 14% (£100 million) in the last financial year. A strong pay framework is vital to the NCA being able to deliver this role and maintain its operational performance.

SOC is evolving rapidly in both volume and complexity, and I have been clear that the NCA needs to transform to meet new and evolving threats, and to tackle the highest harm offenders, head on. Part of this transformation includes being able to attract, recruit and retain the right people, particularly those with technological skills.

I have accepted the review body’s recommendations in full. The award for 2022-23 is as follows:

A £1,900 basic pay uplift for all officers grade 1-6

An increase to the equivalent to 5% IRC.

This award is targeted to better support the lowest paid officers within the agency. Building upon the NCA’s overall pay strategy, this award represents the highest settlement the agency has received in its history.

In reaching this decision, I have given due consideration to a number of factors including, the value NCA officers add to the public by protecting them against the threat of serious and organised crime and delivering value for the taxpaying public. The award will be fully funded within the NCA’s existing budget. I am positive that the award for NCA officers will support the agency in its efforts to tackle the threat posed by the most serious of criminals.


Levelling Up, Housing and Communities

Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects: Action Plan

Nationally significant infrastructure projects (NSIPs) spur growth, investment and regeneration throughout the country and are vital to achieving our levelling up ambitions. That is why I am pleased to publish a cross-Government action plan setting out reforms to the nationally significant infrastructure projects regime that will seek to streamline and speed up the consenting process.

The nationally significant infrastructure projects process, which operates predominantly in England and Wales, has served the UK well for more than a decade. However, the demands on the system are changing, and its speed has slowed. Government set out their ambition in the national infrastructure strategy in 2020 to make the infrastructure consenting process better, faster and greener and these ambitions were reinforced in the British energy security strategy. Our action plan is informed by extensive engagement with the sector which included a call for evidence on the operational review of the system that sought feedback from a wide range of stakeholders.

This action plan sets out the reforms that we will implement over the coming months to ensure the system can support our future infrastructure needs by;

Setting a clear strategic direction through national policy statements that are reviewed more regularly.

Bringing forward operational reforms that support a more streamlined consenting process and piloting a new fast track consenting opportunity.

Ensuring the system is better placed to meet our strategic environmental goals and actively address the environmental impacts of development.

Recognising the important role local authorities play in hosting and delivering new infrastructure as well strengthening community engagement in the process.

Improving system wide capacity and capability by moving to full cost recovery for key statutory consultees and the Planning Inspectorate.

I want to see real benefits to the consenting process being delivered as quickly as possible. Many of the measures set out in the action plan are already under way, and I want to see the benefit of the wider package of reforms come into effect as soon as possible. Following the publication of this action plan, the Department will consult on some the key aspects of our reforms in the spring and bring forward the key regulatory and guidance changes needed to deliver the reforms soon after.

A copy of the nationally significant infrastructure projects action plan will be deposited in the Library of both Houses.