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Written Statements

Volume 730: debated on Thursday 30 March 2023

Written Statements

Thursday 30 March 2023

Cabinet Office

Correspondence from MPs and Peers: 2022 Data

I am today publishing reports on the performance of Departments and agencies based on substantive replies to correspondence received from Members of Parliament and peers in 2022. While individual Departments and agencies are accountable for their own performance, the Cabinet Office is publishing this data to improve transparency and highlight where the Government have handled correspondence effectively.

The footnotes to the table provide general background information on how the figures have been compiled or how they have been affected by departmental restructuring.

The Government attach great importance to the effective and timely handling of correspondence, and recognise that the right of parliamentarians to take up issues with those in Government underlines our accountability as Ministers.

A copy of these reports will be deposited in the Libraries of both Houses in Parliament.


Use of Non-corporate Communication Channels: Guidance

The Government are today publishing new guidance on the use of non-corporate communication channels for Government business. This supersedes the 2013 guidance to departments on the use of private email.

The new guidance is aimed at ensuring that the Government can use non-corporate communication channels when appropriate while considering the record-keeping, transparency, security and data protection implications. It takes account of the Information Commissioner’s report (“Behind the screens - maintaining government transparency and data security in the age of messaging apps”).

I have requested that a copy of using non-corporate communication channels (e.g. WhatsApp, private email, SMS) for Government business be deposited in the Libraries of the Houses of Parliament. The guidance will be published on


Nuclear Test Medal Eligibility Criteria

Alongside my right hon. Friend the Defence Secretary, I am pleased to provide details on the eligibility criteria for the commemorative Nuclear Test Medal to the House today. This follows the announcement by the Prime Minister on 21 November 2022 regarding the introduction of the medal.

This important step moves us closer to recognising the work of those civilians and veterans who played a critical role in establishing the UK’s nuclear deterrent and contributing to our enduring international security.

The medal will be awarded to eligible UK service and civilian personnel, and individuals from Commonwealth nations, who served at the locations where the UK atmospheric nuclear tests were conducted, including the preparatory and clear-up phases, between 1952 and 1967 inclusive. The qualifying period for the medal is defined as “service of any length”.

The full eligibility criteria will be published today on together with information on how veterans, civilians and their next of kin can apply.

With regard to the design of the medal, the Royal Mint Advisory Committee has commissioned designs and will present its recommendations in April 2023. Following approval of the design by His Majesty The King, we expect the first medals to be available for award by late summer 2023. Priority will be given to those veterans and civilians applying for their own medal.

I have requested that a copy of the eligibility criteria for the medal be deposited in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament.



Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation

My noble friend the Treasury Lords Minister, Baroness Penn, has today made the following written ministerial statement.

In January, Treasury Ministers commissioned an internal review to assess how legal fees licence applications are considered. Following this review, I am updating the House on its findings.

Since the unlawful invasion of Ukraine, we have taken decisive action to sanction Vladimir Putin and those who support his regime. With partners, we have implemented the strongest set of economic sanctions ever imposed on a major economy. We have designated over 1300 individuals and over 140 entities including over 130 oligarchs with global assets worth over £145 billion.

The sanctions regime is governed by the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018 which was considered by Parliament between October 2017 and May 2018. It gained Royal Assent on 23 May 2018. The Act empowers HM Treasury to issue licences which permit activities otherwise prohibited by sanctions, including for payment of legal fees. In the case of legal fees, the law requires that the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation’s decision-making must carefully balance between the right to legal representation—which is a fundamental one—with wider issues, including the aim and purpose of the sanctions. While some legal claims may be unfounded, it is for the courts to decide whether their claims should be permitted to succeed—not the Government. The review confirmed this position.

The Government are clear, however, that our courts and legal system must not be used by those seeking to silence investigations in the public interest. We are committed therefore to bringing forward legislation to tackling strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs). This will include a statutory definition of SLAPPs, an early dismissal process, and costs protection for SLAPPs cases. The Government have committed to primary legislation to make these reforms a reality as soon as parliamentary time allows. These changes will help to uphold our fundamental liberties of free speech and a free press, end the abuse of our courts, and defend those who bravely speak out in the public interest.

As a result of the review the Government are committed to further targeted changes to the process for issuing legal fees licences that safeguard the sanctions regime against the risk of manipulation and ensure that Ministers are accountable for OFSI decision-making.

Our approach to date reflects the fact that the right to legal representation is a fundamental one and it is therefore important that designated persons are still able to access legal representation. However, in this context, it is the Government’s view that in most cases, the use of frozen funds for payment of legal professional fees for defamation cases is not an appropriate use of funds, and in many cases will be against the public interest. While still reviewing each individual application on a case-by-case basis (for both appropriateness and compliance with the right to a fair hearing), OFSI will, in future, take a presumption that legal fees relating to defamation and similar cases will be rejected. The Russian and Belarussian legal services general licence will also be amended so that it no longer authorises legal fees for defamation and similar cases. Any person or entity that acts without a specific licence where the activity is not covered by the general licence, will be in breach of financial sanctions and liable for a monetary penalty or, if egregious enough, criminal prosecution.

To strengthen the decision-making framework for specific licence applications in these and other cases, the Government have further updated the delegation framework under which decisions are taken by OFSI rather than Ministers. This framework will support and reinforce scrutiny of licensing decisions by making clear when it is appropriate for Ministers to take these decisions personally, or where officials can take these decisions. A copy of the updated delegation framework will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

The UK remains committed to stopping Putin’s unlawful invasion of Ukraine. Sanctions have been, and continue to be, a critical tool to holding those who support Putin’s regime to account. We have taken decisive action to freeze the assets on 23 major Russian banks holding over £960 billion, and with partners immobilised over 60% of Russia’s foreign reserves. The changes I have announced today to the decisions the Government take to sanctions and licences, support our efforts to oppose this barbaric war.


Oil and Gas Decommissioning Relief Deeds

The Government’s fiscal approach for oil and gas aims to balance encouraging investment with ensuring a fair return for the nation in exchange for the use of its resources. Following the introduction of the energy (oil and gas) profits levy in May last year, the UK currently has a headline tax rate of 75% on profits from oil and gas production, one of the highest tax rates for oil and gas across comparable countries around the world.

At Budget 2013, the Government announced they would begin signing decommissioning relief deeds. These deeds represented a new contractual approach to provide oil and gas companies with certainty on the level of tax relief they will receive on future decommissioning costs.

Since October 2013, the Government have entered into 105 decommissioning relief deeds. Offshore Energies UK estimates that these deeds have so far unlocked approximately £10 billion of capital, which can now be invested elsewhere.

The Government committed to report to Parliament annually on progress with the decommissioning relief deeds. The report for financial year 2021-22 is provided below.

Number of decommissioning relief agreements entered into: the Government entered into three decommissioning relief agreements in 2021-22.

Total number of decommissioning relief agreements in force at the end of that year: 101 decommissioning relief agreements were in force at the end of the year.

Number of payments made under any decommissioning relief agreements during that year, and the amount of each payment: two payments were made under a decommissioning relief agreement in 2021-22, for £46.6 million in total. These were made in relation to the provision recognised by HM Treasury in 2015, as a result of a company defaulting on its decommissioning obligations.

Total number of payments that have been made under any decommissioning relief agreements as at the end of that year, and the total amount of those payments: 10 payments have been made under any decommissioning relief agreement as at the end of the 2022-22 financial year, totalling £244.3 million.

Estimate of the maximum amount liable to be paid under any decommissioning relief agreements: the Government have not made any changes to the tax regime that would generate a liability to be paid under any decommissioning relief agreements. HM Treasury’s 2022-23 accounts will recognise a provision currently estimated to be £102.1 million in respect of decommissioning expenditure incurred as a result of a company defaulting on their decommissioning obligations1. The majority of this is expected to be realised over the next two years.

1 This figure takes into account payments made subsequent to the financial year covered by this written ministerial statement and may be updated to reflect newer information.


Public Service Pensions: Superannuation Contributions Discount Rate

SCAPE—superannuation contributions adjusted for past experience—is the process for setting employer contribution rates at valuations of unfunded public service pension schemes. As part of the SCAPE process, the SCAPE discount rate is used alongside many other factors such as earnings changes, changes to life expectancy and demographic assumptions to determine the appropriate employer contribution rate. Valuations as at 31 March 2020 are currently under way and will result in new employer contribution rates which will be implemented from April 2024.

The current methodology for setting the discount rate, based on the OBR’s forecast of long-term GDP growth, was adopted in 2011. At the time, the Government expressed an intention to review the discount rate methodology every 10 years. A 2021 consultation met this intention and sought views on the most appropriate methodology for setting the SCAPE discount rate.

The Government have today published their response to the June 2021 consultation on the methodology used to set the SCAPE discount rate and have concluded that the existing methodology best meets the balance of the Government’s objectives for the SCAPE discount rate, and therefore do not intend to modify the methodology.1

The SCAPE discount rate to be used as part of the ongoing 2020 valuations will therefore be based on the expected long-term GDP growth figures, published by the OBR in July 2022. Based on these figures, the new SCAPE discount rate is CPI+1.7% p.a.

The Government are aware that the updated SCAPE discount rate will generally lead to higher employer contribution rates for most unfunded public service pension schemes resulting from the 2020 valuations. In recognition of the cost pressure that an increase to the employer contribution rate would bring to existing departmental budgets, the Government have committed to providing funding for increases in employer contribution rates resulting from the 2020 valuations as a consequence of changes to the SCAPE discount rate; this commitment is for employers whose employment costs are centrally funded through departmental expenditure. These funds will be used to pay for employer contributions and therefore will contribute to meeting the costs of public service pensions provision which means this will be cost neutral for the Exchequer.



Scottish Government and Welsh Government Funding

In addition to changes in funding at supplementary estimates 2022-23, and in line with the statement of funding policy, the Welsh Government are switching £65.000 million from resource DEL to capital DEL (general).

The Scottish Government have also been provided with an additional £16.300 million resource DEL in relation to the implementation of international financial reporting standard 16 (IFRS16).

Revised 2022-23 funding is as follows:

£ million

Scottish Government

Welsh Government

Resource DEL excluding depreciation1



Capital DEL (general)



Capital DEL (financial transactions)



Total DEL



1Due to the scale of tax devolution in Scotland, Scottish Government DEL funding is shown excluding tax and welfare block grant adjustments. Welsh Government DEL funding is shown including tax block grant adjustments.



Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education: De-designation as Designated Quality Body

Today, I am announcing the de-designation of the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) as designated quality body (DQB) for higher education in England under the Higher Education and Research Act 2017 (HERA).

Assessing quality and standards is an integral part of considering applications to join the Office for Students (OFS) register, which enables providers to access student finance, sponsor visas for international students, and to become eligible to be granted degree-awarding powers among other benefits.

HERA makes provision for a body to be designated to carry out assessment functions under the Act. The DQB assesses quality and standards in relation to relevant conditions for providers registered or registering with the OFS. It also provides advice to the OFS regarding quality and standards in connection with the grant, variation and revocation of providers’ degree awarding powers.

QAA has been designated since April 2018. On 20 July 2022, QAA announced that it would no longer consent to be the DQB after the current DQB year ends on 31 March 2023. The OFS supports QAA’s request for its designation to be removed given that it has significant concerns about QAA’s performance, which it has set out in its triennial report on the DQB’s performance.

The Secretary of State is required to consult before removing the designation, even where the DQB has asked to be de-designated. Accordingly, my Department consulted from 8 February to 3 March 2023. The Government response to this consultation will be published today. An overall majority of responses—31 of 47—disagreed with de-designation. I have considered these responses carefully and appreciate that a number of higher education providers would prefer QAA to remain as DQB. However, QAA has made it clear that it would no longer be content to be the DQB. I also note that the majority of responses from representative bodies on behalf of their members agreed with de-designation, including Universities UK which represents 140 providers.

Having considered the responses to the consultation, and QAA’s decision to step down from the DQB role, I have concluded that QAA should be de-designated as DQB. I will therefore publish a notice to remove the designation with effect from 1 April 2023.

Where no body is designated to perform the assessment functions, the functions revert to the OFS. The OFS has confirmed that, from 1 April 2023, it will undertake all quality and standards assessment activity on an interim basis pending further consideration of future arrangements. The DFE, OFS and HE stakeholders will work closely to consider options for long-term arrangements for the assessment of quality and standards.

I will deposit a copy of the Government response to this consultation in the Libraries of both Houses.


Energy Security and Net Zero

Powering Up Britain

Cheap, abundant and reliable energy is a foundation stone of a thriving economy. We rely on it to power our homes, our infrastructure, and industry. Affordable and plentiful energy makes businesses more competitive, generating growth, jobs and prosperity. It keeps the cost of living down, and will help bring down inflation.

A global pandemic, Putin’s brutal war in Ukraine, and Britain’s continued reliance on imported oil and gas have pushed up energy prices to unprecedented levels over the past year. The Government have stepped in to pay half of the typical household’s bills over winter and around half of wholesale energy costs for some businesses. This was the right thing to do, but this approach is not sustainable.

The creation of a new Department for Energy Security and Net Zero in February was a clear statement of intent by this Prime Minister and this Government. Energy security and net zero are two sides of the same coin. Cheaper, cleaner, domestic sources of energy can break our link with reliance on imported fossil fuels, meet our long term energy needs, bring our bills down and keep them down.

We are in a strong position to drive the energy transition. We have seen huge investment in our renewables sector since 2010. We currently have the world’s largest operational offshore wind farm project, Hornsea 2, and the second, third and fourth largest operational offshore wind farm projects in the world. We have delivered the second highest amount of recorded low-carbon investment cumulatively across Europe over the last 5 years and estimate that since 2010, the UK has seen £198 billion of investment into low-carbon energy, through a mixture of Government funding, private investment and levies on consumer bills. Now is the time to go further.

“Powering Up Britain” announces the Government plans to diversify, decarbonise and domesticate energy production. The plans launched today will set out a blueprint for the future of energy in this country—boosting the UK’s energy security and energy independence—and help to achieve wholesale UK electricity prices that rank amongst the cheapest in Europe by 2035. It will underpin the UK’s clean energy transition, create new jobs and investment, protect consumers and businesses from volatile international energy markets, and drive us towards net zero by 2050. To meet this ambition, the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero will deliver:

Energy security: setting the UK on a path to greater energy independence.

Consumer security: bringing bills down, and keeping them affordable, and making wholesale electricity prices among the cheapest in Europe.

Climate security: supporting industry to move away from expensive and dirty fossil fuels.

Economic security: playing our part in reducing inflation and boosting growth, delivering high skilled jobs for the future.

Our plan contains significant new policy and Government investment across different sectors of the economy, including:

Delivering Great British Nuclear (GBN): We are matching the global competition and scaling-up our nuclear programme by having launched GBN, responsible for driving delivery of new nuclear projects, backed with the funding it needs. The organisation will be initially led by an interim chair and CEO and will be based in or around the Greater Manchester area. This body will support our ambition to ramp up nuclear capacity in the UK to up to 24GW by 2050. The first priority of GBN is to launch a competitive process to select the best small modular reactor technologies. This will commence in April with market engagement as the first phase. The second phase—the down-selection process—will be launched in the summer, with an ambition to assess and decide on the leading technologies by autumn. The Government are committed to a programme of new nuclear projects beyond Sizewell C, giving industry and investors the confidence they need to deliver projects at speed.

Making a world-leading commitment to Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage: We are announcing the eight projects to progress to negotiations to form the first two CCUS clusters, in Wales, the North West and the East Coast of England, and that we will launch a process to enable expansion of those Track-1 clusters later this year. We are also launching the process for confirming the next clusters for deployment in Track-2. Our initial view is that Acorn and Viking are the leading contenders for Track-2 transport and storage systems.

Delivering a Hydrogen economy: Our 2030 hydrogen production ambition could generate enough clean electricity to power all of London for a year. We are announcing a suite of developments that get that ambition under way: confirming the first winning projects from the £240 million net zero hydrogen fund, naming the two CCUS-enabled hydrogen projects moving forward on the Track-1 clusters, publishing a shortlist of 20 projects we intend to enter due diligence with for the first electrolytic hydrogen allocation round (HAR1); and announcing our intention to open two further hydrogen funding rounds in 2023.

Accelerating deployment of renewables: Our goal is to develop up to 50GW of offshore wind by 2030 and to quintuple our solar power by 2035. We are opening the latest allocation round of the UK’s world leading contracts for difference (CfD) scheme to incentivise investment in renewable energy. UK levy funded support for renewable power since 2010 has totalled around £80 billion. The UK is a world leader in offshore wind and floating turbines represent the next frontier. We are launching £160 million of funding for pilots of the floating offshore wind manufacturing investment scheme to build UK port infrastructure to further reduce the cost of offshore wind.

Reducing household bills by increasing energy efficiency: We are confirming plans for our new energy company obligation scheme the Great British insulation scheme, extending help to a wider group of households. This will mean that around 300,000 of the country’s least energy efficient homes could save £300 to £400 each year as part of a £1 billion energy efficiency programme by March 2026. This will form part of our work to meet our 15% demand reduction target by 2030 which will not only help lower bills, but also support our net zero objectives.

Reducing our reliance on fossil fuels to heat our buildings: The Government has an ambition to phase out all new and replacement natural gas boilers by 2035 at the latest. People's homes will increasingly be heated by British electricity, not imported gas. The heat pump investment accelerator will mean heat pumps are manufactured in the UK at a scale never seen before. We want to make it as cheap to buy and run a heat pump as a gas boiler by extending the boiler upgrade scheme by three years.

Decarbonising transport: We are signalling our long-term plans for decarbonising road and air travel, continuing to provide strong market signals and incentives to drive supply chain development. We are publishing a final consultation on the zero emission vehicle mandate: requiring that from 2024 an increasing percentage of manufacturers’ new car and van sales are zero emission. We are announcing more than £350 million investment in electric vehicle charging infrastructure. We are also consulting on a long-term trajectory for sustainable aviation fuel uptake in the UK through a mandate to be introduced from 2025.

Speeding up planning and networks: We will be publishing a revised set of energy national policy statements for consultation, covering overarching energy, renewables, electricity networks, gas generation, and pipelines. On 23 February 2023 the Government published our nationally significant infrastructure project action plan, which sets out how the Government will reform the consenting process to ensure the planning system can deliver for the future, to meet the demands of a greater number and complexity of cases and deliver against Government ambitions. The Electricity Networks Commissioner, Nick Winser, has been tasked to advise Government on what more can be done to accelerate grid delivery, and will present recommendations to Ministers in June. We will respond with an action plan this year.

Mobilising private investment: Our updated 2023 green finance strategy will strengthen the UK’s position at the forefront of the growing global green finance market while supporting the investment needed to meet our targets. This includes maximising the impact of the UK’s public financing institutions, for example through the UK Infrastructure Bank with its £22 billion of financial capital. It also sets out our pathway for the UK to become the world’s first net zero aligned financial centre, equipping the market with the information and tools necessary to meet this goal.

Supporting industry through the transition: The Government are exploring a package of potential carbon leakage measures to mitigate this risk at all stages of the UK’s net zero transition. Doing so will give industry confidence to invest in the UK in the knowledge their decarbonisation efforts will not be undermined. We are also announcing a new phase of the industrial energy transformation fund to support the development and deployment of technologies that enable businesses with high energy use transition.

Building on our COP26 Presidency: The UK will continue to lead internationally, building on our COP26 presidency. Two of the documents we are publishing today—the 2030 strategic framework for international climate and nature action and the HMG international climate finance strategy—show what this leadership will look like in practice. We are delivering on our commitments—including our £11.6 billion contribution from 2021-22 to 2025-26 to the $100 billion per year global climate finance goal for developing countries. Our international work delivers on the UK’s domestic agenda—improving energy security by accelerating the energy transition, bringing down costs of new technologies for our own net zero plans, and opening up huge economic opportunities for trade and investment.

Detail of these announcements is included across a suite of publications, notably:

Powering Up BritainThe Energy Security Plan: which sets out the steps the Government are taking to achieve our vision to power the UK through affordable, home-grown, clean energy.

Powering Up Britain—The Net Zero Growth Plan: which builds upon the plan laid out in the net zero strategy, strengthening delivery by focusing on the action we can take to ensure the UK remains a leader in the net zero transition, and meets our carbon budgets. We are also responding to the independent review of net zero, led by my right hon. Friend Chris Skidmore, and partly or fully acting on 23 of his 25 recommendations for 2025, demonstrating that the Government are committed to delivering our decarbonisation targets in a pro-growth way.

The importance of this Department is clear. The aims of this Department are clear. We will deliver for amongst the cheapest wholesale electricity prices in Europe, powered primarily by renewables, domestically sourced, ensuring the security of our energy supply. We will maintain our position as a global leader on the net zero transition, ensuring we bring the world with us to meet this global challenge. Making Britain an energy secure, net zero nation, is one of the greatest opportunities of our time. This Department, and the plans we have outlined today, lay the roadmap to get us there.

I will place copies of “Powering Up Britain—The Energy Security Plan”, “Powering Up Britain—the Net Zero Growth Plan”, the 2023 green finance strategy, 2030 strategic framework and international climate finance strategy in the Libraries of both Houses.

I will continue to update Parliament on progress towards these aims.

Full list of publications

Powering Up Britain–The Energy Security Plan.

Powering Up Britain–The Net Zero Growth Plan.

NZGP annex–Technical Annex.

NZGP annex–Carbon Budget Delivery Plan.

NZGP annex–Government response to the CCC Progress Report.

NZGP annex–Government response to Net Zero Review.

2030 Green Finance Strategy.

2030 Strategic Framework for International Climate and Nature Action.

UK International Climate Finance Strategy.

Consultation on addressing carbon leakage risk to support decarbonisation.

Net Zero Research & Innovation Delivery Plan.

National Policy Statement.

Floating Offshore Wind Manufacturing Investment Scheme announcement.

Launch of floating offshore wind manufacturing investment scheme.

Consultation on the Clean Heat Market Mechanism.

Heat Pump Investment Accelerator Competition.

Launch of the draft scheme guidance and expressions of interest in the competition.

Patrick Vallance’s Pro Innovation Regulation of Technologies Review: Green Industries report and HMG response.

Government Response on Secure, Smart Energy Systems.

Strategy and Policy Statement for Energy.

Consultation on the draft SPS.

Power Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS) Government response to consultation on the power BECCS business model Cluster Sequencing Process Phase-2: Track-1 Project Negotiation List.

Cluster sequencing for Carbon Capture Usage and Storage (CCUS): Track-2 guidance.

Notice on announcing the shortlist for the first electrolytic hydrogen allocation round (HAR1).

Notice on announcing the Net Zero Hydrogen Fund (NZHF) strands 1&2 competition winners.

Consultation on Community Benefits for Electricity Transmission Network Infrastructure.


Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

FCDO Programme Allocations

The FCDO annual report and accounts 2021 to 2022 explained that the department’s official development assistance (ODA) spending plans needed to be revisited to ensure all ODA-eligible spending was managed within 0.5% of gross national income (GNI). This was in the context of the significant and unexpected costs incurred to support the people of Ukraine and Afghanistan escape oppression and conflict and find refuge in the UK, and others seeking asylum. The Government provided additional resources of £1 billion in 2022-23 and £1.5 billion in 2023-24 to help meet these unanticipated costs, and we remain committed to returning ODA spending to 0.7% of GNI when the fiscal situation allows, in line with the approach confirmed by MPs in July 2021 which provides a clear measure assessed against independent forecasts.

I would now like to update the House on our spending in 2022-23 and plans for 2023-24 allocations. The tables below set out the top-level allocations for those years. These numbers are indicative and subject to revision. In deciding these allocations, we have applied the principles described in the Foreign Secretary’s 22 November 2022 statement, “Official Development Assistance”. These are: to focus spend on the international development strategy priorities; to meet our financial commitments to multilateral partners; and to empower FCDO officials to decide how to adjust bilateral programmes in line with our approach to prioritisation.

The Government remain committed to delivering the priorities set out in the international development strategy, and the strategy’s spending targets where funding allows. UK development spending has funded work to build the sustainable foundations for prosperity and security around the world. Achievements include supporting women and girls’ education and rights, as set out in the new international women and girls strategy, supporting jobs and infrastructure through British investment partnerships, and the launch of new just energy transition partnerships. Our development spending has also provided life-saving food, water, healthcare and sanitation around the world, as well as a rapid package of support for both Turkey and Syria in response to the devastating earthquake.

In 2024-25 we plan to spend £1 billion on urgent humanitarian needs and expect to mobilise up to £8 billion of UK-backed financing a year under British investment partnerships by 2025. We remain committed to the cross-Government international climate finance target of spending at least £11.6bn by 2026. We continue to work towards the IDS target on restoring funding for vital work on women and girls, and the new target set out in the international climate finance 2023 to 2030 for at least 80% of the FCDO’s bilateral aid programmes to have a focus on gender equality by 2030.

I want to acknowledge to the House that the revisions to FCDO’s ODA budget in 2022-23 and 2023-24 have necessitated difficult choices as our spending plans have changed. Throughout the revision process we have worked closely with our partners to understand the best way to allocate our revised budgets to deliver the most positive development outcomes possible for those who need our help. I am confident that our allocations will achieve this aim.

The integrated review 2023 reaffirms our commitment to the IDS and sets out our ambition to reinvigorate our global leadership on international development, by stepping up our contribution to the UN sustainable development goals, delivering our patient approach and strengthening how development is delivered across Government. The ODA Board, which I jointly chair with the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, will more effectively scrutinise ODA spending, ensuring it delivers for UK objectives overseas and represents good value for money.

The FCDO annual report and accounts 2022 to 2023, due to be published later this year, will include full breakdowns of the 2023-24 allocations, including by country. The UK’s statistics on international development will be published next week and will give a provisional overview of all UK ODA spend in 2022.

FCDO 22-23 ODA Allocation

Multilateral organisations


Bilateral programmes


FCDO operating costs


Financial transactions


Arm’s length bodies, scholarships and international subscriptions


Research and development




Total FCDO ODA 22-23


Bilateral ODA 22-23 Allocations

DG Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean

Africa (East and Central)


Africa (West and Southern)


Latin America, Caribbean and Small Island Developing States


North Africa


DG Humanitarian and Development

Development and Parliament


Education, Gender and Equality


Global Health and COVID-19


Humanitarian and Migration


International Finance


Office for Conflict Stabilisation and Mediation


DG Economics, Science & Technology

Economic Security


Economics and Evaluation


Research and Evidence


Technology and Analysis


DG Europe

Europe Group


DG Geopolitics & Security

Open Societies and Human Rights


DG Indo-Pacific

British Investment Partnerships


Indian Ocean


Southeast Asia and Pacific


DG Americas, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Middle East & Overseas Territories

Energy, Climate and Environment


Overseas Territories


Afghanistan and Pakistan


Middle East


DG Defence & Intelligence

Eastern Europe and Central Asia


FCDO 23-24 ODA Allocations

Multilateral organisations


Bilateral programmes


FCDO operating costs


Financial transactions


Arm’s length bodies, scholarships and international subscriptions


Research and development


Total FCDO ODA 23-24


Bilateral ODA 23-24 Allocations

DG Africa, Latin America & the Caribbean

Africa (East and Central)


Africa (West and Southern)


Latin America, Caribbean and Small Island Developing States


North Africa


DG Humanitarian and Development

Development & Parliament


Education, Gender and Equality


Global Health and Covid-19


Humanitarian and Migration


International Finance


Office for Conflict Stabilisation and Mediation


DG Economics, Science & Technology

Economic Security


Economics and Evaluation


Research and Evidence


Technology and Analysis


DG Europe

Europe Group


DG Geopolitics and Security

Open Societies and Human Rights


DG Indio-Pacific

British Investment Partnerships


Indian Ocean


Southeast Asia and Pacific


DG Americas, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Middle East & Overseas Territories

Energy, Climate and Environment


Overseas Territories


Afghanistan and Pakistan


Middle East


DG Defence & Intelligence

Eastern Europe and Central Asia



Health and Social Care

NHS England: Revised Financial Directions

My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State, Lord Markham, has made the following written statement:

I am revising the 2022-23 variation to the financial directions to NHS England made on 30 June 2022 and setting the 2023-24 financial directions to NHS England. The amendment to the total revenue resource use limit for 2022-23 has been agreed with NHS England as required under section 223D(4) of the National Health Service Act 2006.

The directions include a number of transfers of funding between NHS England and DHSC that are in addition to the headline spending review/autumn statement settlement for the NHS. For example, funding is being transferred for the voluntary scheme for branded medicines pricing and access (VPAS), the covid-19 vaccination programme, as well as to fulfil manifesto commitments on primary care, car parking and nursing recruitment.

Furthermore, the directions also reflect the organisational changes which have occurred over the last year. The 2022-23 revised directions have now incorporated NHS Digital’s revenue and capital budgets into NHS England’s budget. Moreover, the 2023-24 opening directions will incorporate the full-year budgets of NHS Improvement, NHS Digital and Health Education England’s budgets. This is because those organisations have been (or in the case of Health Education England, will be from 1 April) formally brought together with NHS England into a single legal organisation.

They will be published on The existing NHS mandate remains unchanged by these publications.


Approach to Managing Covid-19

On 21 February 2022, the Government published, “Covid-19 Response: Living with Covid-19” which set out the plan for living with covid-19. This response has enabled the country to manage covid-19 like other respiratory illnesses, largely due to the continued effectiveness of vaccines and improved treatments. Our approach to managing covid-19 from April 2023 continues this important work.

The overwhelming majority of people in the UK now have some protection against covid-19 through vaccination and/or previous infection, but the virus will continue to evolve and variants which are immune-evading may still occur. The Government will therefore maintain a range of capabilities to protect those at higher risk of severe illness. It will also retain proportionate situational awareness through surveillance, and maintain proportionate critical resilience for the future, for example a holding of lateral flow tests, should a dangerous new wave or variant emerge.

Proportionate scale back of testing

Appropriate levels of testing will remain to support diagnosis for clinical care and treatment and to protect very high-risk individuals and settings. Lateral flow device (LFD) testing continues to be effective in detecting positive results, including of new variants, providing better value for money than polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing at this stage of the pandemic as well as rapid results. LFDs will be used except where there is a specific clinical or epidemiological need to use a PCR test.

From April 2023 the Government will continue to fund and provide diagnostic PCR testing as part of the standard clinical management of individuals requiring covid-19 treatment (similar to other respiratory viruses) and LFD testing in the following situations:

Adult social care settings and hospices: symptomatic testing of care home residents to support access to therapeutics and for specific clinical need, symptomatic testing for staff working in hospices (which care for individuals unlikely to respond to vaccination), and outbreak testing for care homes and similar settings.

NHS settings: symptomatic testing for staff on wards caring for patients at the highest risk from covid-19 (who are least likely to mount an immune response to vaccination due to their current condition or treatment), symptomatic testing of some patients in hospital where needed to inform decisions such as ward transfers, outbreak testing and testing of all patients on discharge not care settings as appropriate.

People who are eligible for covid-19 treatments in the community: to enable access to antiviral treatments.

Individuals who live in high-risk closed settings: highly targeted outbreak testing and testing to support clinical care in settings such as prisons (and other places of detention), and homelessness, domestic abuse refuge and asylum seeker accommodation.

In line with this stage of the pandemic, routine asymptomatic and symptomatic staff testing in all settings will end. Individuals will follow the standard guidance for the population based on illness severity and symptoms. The guidance is available here:


The Government will maintain essential covid-19 surveillance activities in the community, primary and secondary care, and in high-risk settings, which will enable the evaluation of the effectiveness of vaccination against a range of clinical outcomes, to inform vaccine deployment, and appropriate disease management. This will be underpinned by the continuation of genomic sequencing to detect and assess severity and vaccine effectiveness against new variants in surveillance studies and where PCR testing has been performed in secondary care on a proportionate basis.


The Government will retain proportionate capability for testing use in the event of a covid-19 wave or variant that results in a significant increase in pressure on the NHS. Laboratory infrastructure and a stock of LFDs will be maintained to provide resilience to respond, allowing for a period of additional testing for individuals at higher risk of severe respiratory illness across the NHS and the care sector. A more comprehensive response can be scaled up, should this be needed.


Guidance published on 1 April 2022 for individuals in the community with symptoms of covid-19 or respiratory illness continues to set out the actions we can all take to help reduce the risk of catching covid-19 and passing it on to others.

Guidance on covid-19 specific testing regimes for the NHS, adult social care and other high-risk settings will be updated to reflect the latest advice from public health experts. This guidance will be published for settings to implement from 1 April 2023.


The covid-19 vaccination programme continues to reduce severe disease across the population, while helping to protect the NHS. Covid-19 vaccines remain available to eligible groups, and the Government will continue to consider the advice of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on future vaccine selection and booster programmes for those at greatest risk.

Devolved Governments

UKHSA is committed to work with devolved Governments to take forward the testing programme in each nation from April 2023. While UKHSA will procure and distribute tests on behalf of devolved Governments, it will continue to be up to each nation to decide their own testing policy.


The Government will continue to work together with our partners to keep all these measures under review.


Maternity Investigation: Programme Transition

This statement updates Members on the transition of the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch’s (HSIB’s) maternity investigation programmes.

On 26 January 2022, Official Report, 25WS, by way of a written ministerial statement, the Department of Health and Social Care announced that a separate Special Health Authority would be established to continue the independent maternity investigation programme, which is currently overseen by the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch.

The Department is committed to ensuring the continuation of independent, standardised maternity investigations that provide learning to the system and contribute to the Government’s ambition to halve the 2010 rates of stillbirths, neonatal and maternal deaths and brain injuries in babies occurring during or soon after birth by 2025.

Following careful consideration, the Department has determined that the most appropriate and streamlined mechanism for delivering the valued and independent maternity investigations is for the function to be hosted within the Care Quality Commission. The purposes of the maternity investigation programme remain as set out last January: to provide independent, standardised and family-focused investigations of maternity cases for families: to provide learning to the health system via reports at local, regional and national level; analyse data to identify key trends and provide system wide learning; be a system expert in standards for maternity investigations; and collaborate with system partners to escalate safety concerns.

We will now work with the CQC and the HSIB to complete the transition of the maternity investigation programme to the CQC by October 2023.

As announced in the written ministerial statement of 9 February 2023, Official Report, 40WS, the establishment of the new HSSIB will take place in October 2023, to enable all the necessary work to be completed to ensure a smooth transition of these investigation programmes.


Levelling Up, Housing and Communities

East Midlands Freeport

Today I have the pleasure of announcing that east midlands freeport has received final Government approval, in a huge boost for the midlands. This is another significant milestone for the freeports programme and demonstrates the speed in which these areas, and the programme, are moving to deliver the freeport benefits. This gives a clear signal: the Government are backing these areas to grow and thrive.

Freeports play a major role in this Government’s economic strategy by mobilising investment through a combination of tax reliefs on new economic activity, a special streamlined customs procedure, an ambitious programme of public investment, and wide-ranging support from the UK Government to help businesses trade. These measures will drive growth, create jobs and, in turn, bring opportunities and prosperity to the communities that surround them: a real example of levelling up in action.

East midlands freeport will now receive up to £25 million in seed funding, and potentially hundreds of millions in locally retained business rates to upgrade local infrastructure and stimulate regeneration. This is alongside generous tax reliefs and a simplified customs procedure, all backed by a package of trade and innovation support for businesses located there.

Armed with these tools, east midlands freeport will drive investments in and around the East Midlands airport and Gateway industrial cluster in north-west Leicestershire, the Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station site in Rushcliffe, Nottinghamshire and the East Midlands Intermodal Park in south Derbyshire. This will bring jobs, in sectors such as advanced manufacturing, automotive and space, to local communities.

And this is only the beginning. Across Government, we are working closely with the English freeports to support them to achieve their objectives and deliver transformational benefits for their local areas.

We also recently announced two new freeports in Wales as well as two green freeports in Scotland. Discussions continue with our stakeholders in Northern Ireland about how we can extend the benefits associated with the freeport programme there.

This is an incredibly exciting time for UK freeports and the wider levelling up agenda as we start to see local areas bring their plans to life with big private investments, upgrades to local infrastructure, and bold regeneration initiatives in those areas that need a boost, creating real impacts for local people.


Intergovernmental Relations Annual Transparency Report 2022

Today, the UK Government published the second annual report of our engagement with the devolved Administrations on This report has been laid as a Command Paper in both Houses.

The annual report follows on from each of the quarterly reports published on throughout 2022. The report shows that the UK Government and the devolved Administrations share the same challenges and are working towards the same goals for the future. It gives an insight into the extensive engagement between the UK Government, Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive between 1 January to 31 December 2022. During this reporting period the Administrations worked together on a number of areas, not least in organising the commemoration of the sad passing of Her Majesty the Queen, the domestic response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including the Homes for Ukraine resettlement scheme, and the work to tackle the impacts of the global inflation crisis. The report demonstrates how our collective strength enables us to face and tackle big changes and challenges.

The report is part of the Government’s ongoing commitment to transparency of intergovernmental relations to Parliament and the public. The Government will continue with publications to demonstrate transparency in intergovernmental relations.


Prime Minister

Machinery of Government

I am making this statement to bring to the House’s attention the following machinery of government changes.

The Government Debt Management Function will move from the Cabinet Office to HM Treasury, to sit alongside the centre for the Government Finance Function. This will improve the management of debt owed to the Government and provide strong expertise and leadership for the public servants in its profession.

Ministerial responsibility for the Fraud Act 2006 will move from the Ministry of Justice to the Home Office. This will enable a single Department to hold responsibility for policy and legislation relating to fraud against individuals and businesses, enabling the Home Office to best tackle fraud and reduce inefficiencies. The Home Office will continue to liaise with the Public Sector Fraud Authority, which sits across the Cabinet Office and HM Treasury, in relation to tackling public sector fraud.

Both machinery of government changes will take effect immediately.


Extreme Right-Wing Terrorism: Intelligence and Security Committee Response

On 13 July 2022, the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament published their report entitled “Extreme Right-Wing Terrorism” (ERWT).

The threat from ERWT is an important issue for the Government and we are grateful to the Committee for devoting time and attention to this subject. Today, the Government are publishing their response to the report.

Copies of the Government response have been laid before both Houses.