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Written Statements

Volume 729: debated on Wednesday 8 March 2023

Written Statements

Wednesday 8 March 2023


Future Nuclear Deterrent Annual Update 2022

On 18 May 2011, the then Secretary of State for Defence, the right hon. Member for North Somerset (Dr. Liam Fox) made an oral statement to the House (Official Report column 351) announcing the approval of the Initial Gate investment stage for the procurement of the successor to the Vanguard-class ballistic missile submarines. He also placed in the Library of the House a report “The United Kingdom’s Future Nuclear Deterrent: The Submarine Initial Gate Parliamentary Report”.

As confirmed in the 2021 Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, this Government have committed to publishing an annual report on the programme. I am today publishing the eleventh report, “The United Kingdom’s Future Nuclear Deterrent: 2022 Update to Parliament”.

A copy has been placed in the Library of the House.

Attachments can be viewed online at:



School Sports Access and Funding

The Government have announced additional funding to support schools in providing high quality PE and sport to pupils and action to ensure that girls and boys have equal access to sport in school. Schools are being asked to ensure that girls are offered the same opportunities as boys during PE and extracurricular activities. Where schools are able to evidence and demonstrate their delivery against the Government ambitions of parity between the sexes in school sport, this will be acknowledged through the School Games Mark, an assurance scheme that recognises a school’s commitment to the development of competition across their school and into the community.

The Government are encouraging schools to offer a minimum of two hours’ curriculum PE time so that pupils can experience the benefits of regular exercise—from becoming healthier both mentally and physically to better academic achievement and improved attainment. With the support of the Football Association and other sporting organisations, the Government will identify schools that offer a minimum of two hours PE and equal access for girls to sport during curriculum time and additional extracurricular activities and will share good practice. This will help all schools to improve their provision despite wider pressures.

The Primary PE and Sport Premium will continue for academic years 2023-24 and 2024-25 with a total of over £600 million of funding across the two years, with funding provided by the Department for Education and the Department for Health and Social Care. The Primary PE and Sport Premium is provided to all primary schools in England, with an average of £18,000 per school. Schools must use the funding to make additional and sustainable improvements to the quality of PE and sport they provide, with eligible spending including teacher training, providing a wider range of sports to pupils and top-up swimming lessons. Schools will receive updated guidance this summer setting out how schools should be using the funding to the best advantage of their pupils. A new digital tool will also be introduced for schools to report on spending of their allocation of the PE and Sport Premium.

An additional £11 million per year to fund School Games Organisers is being made available for a further two academic years until 2025, provided by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department of Health and Social Care. This national network of 450 School Games Organisers works directly with their local schools to co-ordinate inclusive sport competitions across 40 different sports and activities.

The Department for Education is funding up to £57 million to deliver phase three of the Opening School Facilities programme which allows schools to open their sport facilities outside of the core school day, at weekends and during holidays. The programme is being delivered by consortium partners Active Partnerships, ukactive, Youth Sport Trust and StreetGames. Up to 1,350 schools across England will be targeted where the funding will have the most positive impact in their communities including for girls, disadvantaged children, those with special educational needs and disabilities and other groups who have lower participation levels in sport.

The Government’s announcement made on 8 March will be followed later in the spring by publication of the Government’s new sport strategy and an update to the School Sport and Activity Action Plan.


Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

International Women and Girls Strategy 2023-2030

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) is today publishing a new international women and girls strategy 2023-2030.

Launching on International Women’s Day, the new strategy aims to tackle increasing threats to gender equality from climate change, humanitarian crises, conflicts such as the war in Ukraine, and recent attempts to roll back women’s rights, including in countries such as Iran and Afghanistan.

The strategy will set out how the UK will work to tackle global gender inequality at every opportunity, including combating attempts to roll back women’s rights, and work with partners around the world to do the same.

The strategy commits the FCDO to involving its entire network of high commissions and embassies around the world to deliver the strategy. This will include UK heads of mission developing plans and commitments specific to their host country and raising the most pressing issues with their host Governments. The UK will also develop an ambitious new research offer to help the UK and its partners make investment decisions.

The FCDO is also increasing support for women’s rights organisations and movements, recognising their critical role in advancing gender equality and protecting rights, and amplifying grassroots women’s and girls’ voices.

In addition, the strategy commits the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office to at least 80% of its bilateral aid programmes having a focus on gender equality by 2030.

The strategy will be guided by five principles:

We will stand up and speak out for women’s and girls’ rights and freedoms on the global stage and in our bilateral relationships.

We will embolden and amplify the work and voices of diverse grassroots women’s organisations and movements, championing their role as critical agents for change.

We will target investment towards the key life stages for women and girls to maximise our effectiveness and secure lifelong and intergenerational impact.

We will act for and with women and girls impacted by crises and shocks, including conflict, global health, climate change, violence, food insecurity and malnutrition, and the resulting humanitarian crises.

We will strengthen systems—political, economic and social—that play a critical role in protecting and empowering women and girls, embracing innovative financing models and technology use to secure long-term development.

FCDO will remain focused on the three thematic priorities of educating girls, empowering women and girls, championing their health and rights and ending gender-based violence. These are considered areas where challenges are the most acute, potential gains are greatest and where the UK is best placed to add value and catalyse progress.

The strategy sets out new headline goals on how the FCDO will lead this work, including by:

driving the conversation, through a major UK global campaign;

leading by example, by ensuring women and girls are at the centre of FCDO’s operations and investments;

leading through knowledge, by driving forward new expertise, evidence and research;

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


Sanctions Designations

On the 8 March, to mark International Women’s Day, the UK announced a package of sanctions demonstrating the UK’s resolve to take action against those that seek to supress women or use sexual violence as a weapon of war. These five sanctions over four countries follow previous designations announced on 9 December 2022. Travel bans and/or asset freezes have been imposed on designated individuals and entities.

The package includes further sanctions on the Iranian regime, including two designations relating to the forceful imposition of “morality” rules against women. We will continue to hold this regime to account, ensuring there are no hiding places for those who violate women’s fundamental human rights.

Today’s sanctions include designations that target abhorrent crimes of sexual and gender-based violence using Central African Republic (CAR), Syria, and South Sudan sanctions regimes. This sends a strong signal about respect for human rights, accountability, and the UK’s preparedness to take action.

The specific designations are:


Mahamat Salleh Adoum Kette—Leader of the Front Populaire pour la Renaissance de la Centrafrique (FPRC).

South Sudan

Major General James Nando—Commander of the South Sudan People’s Defence Forces (SSPDF) in Tambura County, Western Equatoria State, South Sudan.


The Headquarters of Enjoining Right and Forbidding Evil—An Iranian Government institution, responsible for determining and enforcing mandatory dress codes for women, including the use of unreasonable force against individuals they deem to be non-compliant.

Seyyed Mohammed Saleh Hashemi Golpayegani—Head of the Headquarters of Enjoining Right and Forbidding Evil.


Amjad Youssef—A member of one of the Syrian regime’s security and intelligence forces known as the “221 Region Branch”.


Levelling Up, Housing and Communities

Supporting Families Annual Report 2023 – Celebrating 10 Years of Delivery

As is required by section 3(6) of the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016, today I have published the 2022-23 annual report of the Supporting Families programme. The report sets out how the programme has been helping our most disadvantaged families who face multiple and complex problems. We are laying the report today and will deposit a copy in the House of Commons Library.

Supporting Families—previously the Troubled Families programme—helps join up local services to help families combat problems such as domestic abuse, unemployment, truancy and poor mental and physical health, with funding allocated based on deprivation and population figures. It has been at the heart of the Government’s work to strengthen families and improve their futures for 10 years. This phase of the programme has seen an increase of £200 million in additional investment to expand the programme. This is around a 40% cash terms uplift in funding by 2024-25, taking total planned investment between 2022-23 and 2024-25 to £695 million.

This is the Supporting Families programme’s 10th anniversary. The programme has directly helped vulnerable families across England. Importantly, the programme has shown what is possible when we step in early to help families and prevent problems from escalating. The programme’s evaluation showed it reduced the proportion of children on the programme going into care by a third, the proportion of adults going to prison by a quarter and juvenile convictions by 15%.

“Ten years of Supporting Families: Supporting Families programme Annual Report 2022-23” is the seventh annual report for the Supporting Families programme. This document provides an update on the programme’s performance figures and policy developments.

Between April 2022 and January 2023, we have achieved positive outcomes with 50,860 families. The programme is making progress on its aim of helping up to 300,000 families between 2022-23 and 2024-25. This year’s outcomes take the total number of families helped since 2015 to almost 535,000. The programme continues to work across a range of outcomes and supports many different priorities across Government. In October 2022, local authorities implemented the updated outcomes framework, which has brought in new outcomes including early years development and secure housing.

As well as setting out the previous number of families that have been supported at both national and local level over the last year, the report sets out how the programme has continued to drive improvement of local services for families. For example, the programme has updated the Early Help System Guide self-assessment tool and continues to identify and disseminate good practice.

I look forward to working alongside local authorities, their partners and other stakeholders as the programme continues to build on the success of the previous 10 years and to seeing at first hand the continued impact it has on the lives of our most vulnerable families.


Science, Innovation and Technology

Data Protection and Digital Information (No. 2) Bill

Today, the Government are introducing the Data Protection and Digital Information (No. 2) Bill in the House of Commons. This Bill supercedes the original Data Protection and Digital Information Bill that was introduced in July 2022. This new Bill is being introduced following a detailed codesign process with industry, business, privacy and consumer groups to determine how we could improve the Bill further.

The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology has a clear mission—to ensure we are the most innovative economy in the world and that we cement ourselves as a science and technology superpower.

Better data access and use is at the heart of our mission to grow the economy, to improve the lives of everyone in the UK, and to achieve the Prime Minister’s five key priorities. Data is fundamental to economic growth, scientific research, innovation, and increasing productivity.

The Data Protection and Digital Information (No. 2) Bill seizes our post-Brexit opportunity to create a new UK data rights regime tailor-made for our needs. The Bill reduces burdens on businesses—especially SMEs—and researchers, and crucially, boosts the economy by a staggering £4.7 billion over the next decade.

Businesses have told us how important the responsible use of data is for their growth. They will have the opportunity to protect personal data in the most proportionate and appropriate way, making them more efficient; and organisations will be freed from unnecessary paperwork. No longer will British businesses be held back by a one-size-fits-all approach to data. For example, our work to amend record-keeping requirements will provide greater clarity for businesses and community groups.

We have also been repeatedly told that uncertainty within the current data protection framework is also limiting the work of scientific researchers as they are unclear on the rules around processing personal data. By providing clarity, we will continue to foster the UK’s reputation as the most attractive home for world-class research and development. We are also encouraging more research activity in the UK by incorporating research in a commercial setting into the definition of scientific research.

This Bill takes tangible steps to harness the benefits of secure data use for everyone through innovation and technology. Trusted and secure digital verification services will enable smoother and cheaper transactions. “Smart data” schemes across the economy will ensure everyone benefits from lower prices and trusted, innovative services such as open banking. Better use of personal data in delivery of health and adult social care, security, and other government services will increase efficiency and service quality.

This Bill will also improve trust and confidence in the use of personal data in the public interest. It improves the efficiency of data protection for law enforcement and national security partners encouraging better use of personal data where appropriate to help protect the public. It provides agencies with clarity on their obligations, boosting the confidence of the public on how their data is being used.

It builds on the high standards we already have for personal data use, strengthening and modernising the regulator—the Information Commissioner’s Office—by making sure it has the capabilities and powers to tackle organisations that breach data rules, giving it the freedom to better allocate its resources.

It also maintains our internationally recognised data protection principles so that businesses can trade freely with global partners—some 81% of services trade is enabled by data sharing between the UK and other countries. We will strike new agreements that allow for the free and safe exchange of data across borders and continue to engage with the EU and its institutions, with a view to ensuring our existing data adequacy decisions remain in place. The UK is firmly committed to maintaining high data protection standards—now and in the future. Protecting the privacy of individuals will continue to be a national priority.

It is only right that we ensure the Bill works for as many people and businesses as possible.

That is why the original Bill was paused in September 2022, so Ministers could further consider the legislation and undergo an intensive co-design process with business leaders and industry experts. As part of this process, we met with a wide range of stakeholders to hear their views on the Bill and incorporate new and innovative ideas into its provisions. We have made several changes through this engagement, which will:

reduce compliance costs in the sector and reduce the amount of paperwork that organisations need to complete to demonstrate compliance;

reduce burdens by enabling businesses to continue to use their existing cross-border transfer mechanisms if they are already compliant;

give organisations greater confidence about the circumstances in which they can progress personal data without consent;

increase public and business confidence in AI technologies.

Our new UK data rights regime will drive innovation, growth and productivity. It will maintain the high data protection standards our citizens expect while ensuring our businesses, researchers and public services are not held back by disproportionate burdens. It will be more agile and able to respond to the rapidly transforming digital landscape. It will transform the ICO to ensure it is ready to tackle new challenges and protect citizens from the most serious harms, while supporting innovative use of data. It will allow the UK to strike new data bridges with like-minded countries across the world.

And we will be in an even stronger position to do this, having brought these crucial and connected responsibilities together in one Department, with one, expert voice. We will continue to lead the debate globally and maximise the UK’s position as a global powerhouse of science and technology.