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Written Statements

Volume 737: debated on Thursday 14 September 2023

Written Statements

Thursday 14 September 2023

Attorney General

Appointment of Director of Public Prosecutions

I am today announcing the appointment of Stephen Parkinson as the next Director of Public Prosecutions.

Under the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985, it is my duty to appoint a person to be the Director of Public Prosecutions, who shall discharge their functions under my superintendence.

This appointment was conducted in line with civil service guidance and the process was overseen by the First Civil Service Commissioner.



Draft Finance Bill Legislation: Stamp Taxes on Shares

The Government will legislate to ensure that the existing 0% charge, under stamp duty and stamp duty reserve tax, on the issue of UK shares, or other chargeable securities, on to foreign markets and on certain related transfers of shares, will remain in place and be brought permanently into UK law following the changes in the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Act 2023 taking effect.

In line with this commitment, and with the tax policy-making framework, the Government are today publishing draft legislation ahead of its inclusion in an upcoming Finance Bill. While the final contents of the next Finance Bill will be a decision for the Chancellor, the draft legislation is being published to seek stakeholder views at this stage. This allows for technical consultation and provides taxpayers with predictability over this area of tax policy.

This draft legislation is designed to ensure the competitiveness of the UK’s tax code in relation to financial services as the Government take steps to provide additional certainty within the stamp taxes on shares regime.

The draft legislation is accompanied by a tax information and impact note and an explanatory note. All relevant documents can be found at:



Service Complaints Ombudsman Annual Report 2022: Formal Response

I am pleased to place in the Library of the House today the MOD’s formal response to the Service Complaints Ombudsman for the Armed Force’s annual report for 2022 on the fairness, effectiveness and efficiency of the service complaints system.

The ombudsman’s report assessed the service complaints system and the work of her office in 2022. The response sets out the MOD’s comments and approach to each of the ombudsman’s recommendations and includes a summary of our position on recommendations that remain open from previous annual reports.

The MOD values the strong independent oversight that the ombudsman brings to the service complaints system and remains committed to having a system in which our personnel can have confidence.

Attachments can be viewed online at:


Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

Alleged Serious and Significant Offences 2019 to 2022: Diplomatic Immunity

Between 2019 and 2022, 15 serious and significant offences allegedly committed by people entitled to diplomatic or international organisation-related immunity in the United Kingdom were drawn to the attention of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office by parliamentary and diplomatic protection of the Metropolitan Police Service, or other law enforcement agencies. We define serious offences as those which could, in certain circumstances, carry a penalty of 12 months’ imprisonment or more. Also included are driving under the influence and driving without insurance.

Around 25,500 people are entitled to diplomatic or international organisation-related immunity in the UK and the vast majority of diplomats and dependants abide by UK law. The number of alleged serious offences committed by members of the diplomatic community in the UK is proportionately low.

Under the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations 1961 and related legislation, we expect those entitled to immunity to obey the law. The FCDO does not tolerate foreign diplomats or dependants breaking the law.

We take all allegations of illegal activity seriously. When the police or other law enforcement agency bring instances of alleged criminal conduct to our attention, we ask the relevant foreign Government or international organisation to waive immunity where appropriate. For the most serious offences, and when a relevant waiver has not been granted, we request the immediate withdrawal of the diplomat or dependant.

Listed below are alleged serious and significant offences reported to the FCDO by UK law enforcement agencies between 2019 and 2022.


Domestic servitude/modern slaverya

Saudi Arabia 1

Sexual Assault

Iraq 1

Fraud by abuse of position

Commonwealth Secretariat 1

Causing death by careless driving


Driving under the influence of alcohol

Oman 1

Driving under the influence of alcohol

Kyrgyzstan 1

a) Historical allegations


Common assault/cruelty to a child

Nigeria 1

Driving under the influence of alcohol

India 1


Driving under the influence of alcohol

Saudi Arabia 2

Driving under the influence of alcohol

Ethiopia 1


Driving without insurance

Myanmar 1

Common Assault/Threats to kill

Greece 1

Fraud by false representation/perverting the course of justice/money laundering Democratic Republic of the Congo 1

Sexual Assault


Figures for 2018 are available in the then Secretary for State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs’ written statement to the House on 25 February 2020 (HCWS119) which can be found at: Immunity)2018


British Indian Ocean Territory/Chagos Archipelago

Since the written ministerial statement made on 17 March, Official Report, 55WS, the UK and Mauritius held further constructive negotiations on the exercise of sovereignty over the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT)/the Chagos archipelago on 2 to 3 June 2023 and 31 July to 1 August 2023. The Prime Minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) and Prime Minister Jugnauth met in the margins of the G20 summit on 9 September in New Delhi. The two Prime Ministers assessed the progress made in the negotiations since they spoke in February, and agreed to meet again soon. The next round of negotiations will take place later this month.


Diplomatic Missions and International Organisations: Debts Owed in the United Kingdom 2022

Coronavirus restrictions imposed in March 2020, even though since lifted, have affected the compilation of debt information for national non-domestic rates and parking fine debts by the responsible authorities. As a result this WMS includes details only of congestion charge debt owed by diplomatic missions and international organisations in the UK.

London Congestion Charge: The value of unpaid congestion charge debt incurred by diplomatic missions and international organisations in London since its introduction in February 2003 until 31 December 2022 as advised by Transport for London (TfL) was £145,411,143. TfL publishes details of diplomatic missions and international organisations with outstanding fines at The table below shows those diplomatic missions and international organisations with outstanding fines of £100,000 or more.

We consider that there are no legal grounds to exempt diplomatic missions and international organisations from the London congestion charge, which is comparable to a parking fee or toll charge they are required to pay. Under the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations diplomats have an obligation to respect the laws and regulations of the receiving state. The British Government therefore expect all diplomatic missions to respect UK laws and regulations, which includes payment of the congestion charge.


Total outstanding

Embassy of the United States of America


Embassy of Japan


Office of the High Commissioner for India


High Commission for the Federal Republic of Nigeria


Embassy of the People's Republic of China


Embassy of the Russian Federation


Embassy of the Republic of Poland


Embassy of France


Office of the High Commissioner for Ghana


Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan


Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany


The Embassy of the Republic of the Sudan


High Commission for Kenya


High Commission for the Islamic Republic of Pakistan


Embassy of the Republic of Korea


Embassy of the Republic of Cuba


High Commission for the United Republic of Tanzania


Embassy of Spain


Embassy of Algeria


High Commission for the Republic of South Africa


High Commission for Sierra Leone


Embassy of Romania


Embassy of Ukraine


Embassy of Greece


Embassy of the Republic of Turkey


High Commission for the Republic of Cyprus


Embassy of Hungary


High Commission for the Republic of Zambia


Embassy of the Republic of Yemen


High Commission for Botswana


Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria


High Commission of the Republic of Mozambique


High Commission for the Republic of Malawi


Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia


Uganda High Commission


High Commission for the Republic of Zimbabwe


Embassy of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire


High Commission for the Republic of Cameroon


Embassy of the Republic of Belarus


High Commission for the Republic of Namibia


High Commission for Malta


Embassy of the Slovak Republic


High Commission for Mauritius


Embassy of Belgium


High Commission for the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka


Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco


Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania


Embassy of the Republic of Liberia


Embassy of Austria


Kingdom of Eswatini High Commission


Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan


Embassy of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea


High Commission for the Kingdom of Lesotho


Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam


Embassy of the Republic of Guinea


Embassy of the Czech Republic


Embassy of the Republic of Iraq


High Commission for Jamaica


Embassy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo


Embassy of the Republic of South Sudan


Royal Danish Embassy


Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia


Embassy of the Republic of Latvia


High Commission for Antigua & Barbuda


Embassy of Portugal


Embassy of Luxembourg


Embassy of Tunisia


High Commission for Belize


Embassy of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea


Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt


Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan


Embassy of Estonia


Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia


High Commission of the Republic of Maldives


High Commission for Guyana


Embassy of the State of Eritrea


High Commission of the Republic of Seychelles


Embassy of the Dominican Republic


Embassy of the Republic of the Philippines


Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania


Embassy of El Salvador


High Commission for Saint Lucia


Embassy of the Republic of Albania


Embassy of the Kyrgyz Republic


Embassy of the Republic of Moldova


Figures for previous years are available in the then Secretary for State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs’ written statement to the House on 25 February 2020 (HCWS120) which can be found at:


Health and Social Care

NHS and Social Care System: Preparation for Winter

I am pleased to inform the House today that we are spending an additional £240 million to support health and care services over winter.

This includes:

£200 million in new and additional funding for the NHS to ensure patients continue to get the care they need through its busiest period, and

£40 million funding to improve social care provision, £30 million of which forms part of the £600 million social care workforce package previously announced in July and a further £10 million identified from existing departmental budgets.

We know that winter is the most challenging time for the NHS and our preparations began very early. In January we published the urgent and emergency care recovery plan, which aims to deliver one of the fastest and longest sustained improvements in waiting times in the NHS’s history. This includes delivering an additional 5,000 permanent staffed hospital beds this winter, backed by £1 billion of dedicated capacity funding. We have seen progress, including a marked improvement in ambulance response times compared to last year. Innovations such as virtual wards have been put in place towards a target of 10,000 before winter, and money allocated to successful capital schemes build on the progress made in implementing ambulance hubs and discharge facilities.

More widely, we have already made available up to £14.1 billion for health and social care over this year and next, including £7.5 billion to support adult social care and discharge—the biggest funding increase in history—and £3.3 billion in each of 2023-24 and 2024-25 to support the NHS in England, and enable rapid action to improve urgent and emergency, elective, and primary care performance to pre-pandemic levels.

This follows the £38.9 billion cash increase by 2024-25 (as compared to 2019-20) confirmed at spending review 2021, to help place the NHS in England on a sustainable footing and tackle the elective backlog.

The pandemic has put enormous pressures on the NHS with elective waiting lists growing, but we remain committed to ensuring people get the right care at the right time. That is why we are delivering record staffing numbers, and putting in record levels of funding, to help the NHS recover and transform services.

In February 2022, NHS England published its delivery plan for tackling the covid-19 backlog of elective care. This set out a clear vision for how the NHS will recover and expand elective care and cancer services in the next three years.

There is a new covid 19 variant—BA.2.86. While we do not yet know if it will be a variant of concern, as a precautionary measure we have brought forward the autumn vaccine programme for covid and flu, which will deliver greater protection, supporting those at greatest risk of severe illness and reducing the potential impact on the NHS.

As we move toward the winter period I am pleased to be able to report that there are record numbers of staff working across NHS trusts and integrated care boards, over 63,000 compared to more than a year ago, including over 6,000 more doctors. We are currently on track to meet the 50,000 nurses manifesto commitment, with nursing numbers over 45,000 higher in June than they were in September 2019.

Thanks to the hard work of all those NHS staff, we met our target to eliminate long waits of two years or more for elective procedures in July 2022 and virtually eliminated 18-month waits in June 2023. The new investment of £200 million will help ensure NHS trusts can keep up this vital work over winter as we look to mitigate the impact of ongoing industrial action.

I would also like to provide a further update on the allocation of an additional £40 million to improve social care provision, £30 million of which forms part of the social care workforce package of £600 million over two years announced on 28 July. This will allow local authorities to strengthen admissions avoidance services and boost discharge rates this winter. The funding is being targeted at areas facing the greatest urgent and emergency care challenges.

The funding announced today will be vital for the NHS, and wider health and care sector, through its most demanding period and will help the health service drive forward our plans to cut waiting lists and deliver for patients.


Levelling Up, Housing and Communities

Slough Borough Council

Today I am updating the House on the intervention at Slough Borough Council. I was extremely concerned by the content of the commissioners’ second report, which was submitted on 22 December 2022, and made it clear that many in leadership roles in the council were not fully committed to the improvement journey and that a fundamental shift in behaviours was needed. I high- lighted these concerns in my statement to the House on 16 March 2023, in which I made it clear that things had to change.

On 13 July 2023, I received a copy of the commissioners’ third report on the progress of the intervention, which I am publishing today on and also placing a copy in the Libraries of both Houses. This report was submitted after a period of change for the council. Following the resignations of Max Caller CBE, the lead commissioner, on 1 March, and Margaret Lee, the finance commissioner, on 12 March, two new commissioners, Denise Murray and Ged Curran, were appointed on 22 May, and the existing commissioner Gavin Jones was made lead commissioner. In addition, May’s elections brought new political leadership and, over recent months, the corporate leadership of the council has also gone through significant change.

This latest report provides a more positive update and evidence for cautious optimism that things are beginning to move in the right direction. I am pleased to see that the council has made progress in some areas, including improvement in report quality and financial oversight, improved scrutiny arrangements and a successful move to all-out elections.

At the same time, and while acknowledging those improvements, the scale of the challenges facing Slough remains significant. I have today written to commissioners to set out that it will be vital for the council to demonstrate a commitment to accelerating the pace of improvement, to provide evidence of further implementation, to show a clear change being embedded over the coming months and to demonstrate greater grip on the financial position. I have acknowledged that the new leadership of the council is keen to resolve the challenges facing Slough. I know that they will be keen, as I am, to see that a resolution moves forwards as quickly as possible.

Given the changes at Slough in recent months, this is an excellent opportunity for the council to make substantial progress towards resolving their best value failure. I know that they will be keen to take it.


Prime Minister

Intelligence and Security Committee China Report: Response

On 13 July 2023, the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament published its report on China. We are grateful to the Committee for devoting time and attention to the subject.

Today, the Government are publishing their response to this report. This response sets out the Government’s overall approach to China, which is closely aligned with our allies, and provides significant detail on the measures and legislation we have put in place to support it. The Government have already taken actions that are in line with many of the Committee’s recommendations and will consider further action where necessary.

The Government published the integrated review of security, defence, development and foreign policy in 2021, and their subsequent IR refresh in 2023. Recognising the epoch-defining and systemic challenge that China represents, these reviews considerably strengthened the United Kingdom’s position on China, set out as a comprehensive approach comprising three integrated themes to protect, align and engage. The IR refresh recognised China’s size and significance on almost every global issue and, in close alignment with all G7 partners, outlined the UK’s preference for a relationship in which there was room for co-operation, understanding, predictability and stability. Equally, it was clear on the need to increase our protections and do more in concert with close partners to ensure that our vital interests and values are protected.

I am particularly conscious that many of the issues detailed in the Committee’s report, and wider concerns about foreign interference, highlight the necessity for a robust approach to any and all state threat activity. It remains an absolute priority for the Government to take all necessary steps to protect the United Kingdom from any foreign state activity which seeks to undermine our national security, prosperity and democratic values. I am clear-eyed about that challenge and will call out unacceptable behaviour directly just as I did last weekend with Premier Li at the G20 summit in New Delhi.

We recognise that the report identifies areas where we can do better and welcome these insights and recommendations as we further develop our approach. Earlier this year, the Government passed the National Security Act which overhauled legislation applicable to espionage, sabotage and any persons acting on behalf of foreign powers against the safety and interest of the United Kingdom. We also passed the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Act to further protect our campuses from threats to lawful freedom of speech, whether those relate to China or any other source. Measures in these Acts will enable our law enforcement and intelligence agencies to deter, detect and disrupt the full range of modern-day threats, including from China.

I am acutely aware of the particular threat to our open and democratic way of life. In 2022, the Government established the defending democracy taskforce. Chaired by the Security Minister, the taskforce co-ordinates cross-Government activity to protect the integrity of our democracy from the threats of foreign interference. It works with Government, Parliament, the UK’s intelligence community and the devolved Governments on a range of threats including to electoral security. The taskforce established a new joint election security and preparedness (JESP) unit to lead on work to ensure the security of the next election and beyond. The taskforce is also undertaking a review to understand how diaspora communities in the United Kingdom are threatened by foreign states and make recommendations to address this harm to our society and communities. The taskforce is working with Parliament and the National Cyber Security Centre to develop an enhanced cyber-security offer for elected officials, including MPs, and their teams to help better protect them from the cyber-attacks that threaten them personally and our national security. Finally, the taskforce is working with the Government’s partners to better understand and mitigate the threats of AI and is developing new means for tackling mis- and disinformation during elections, both of which have the potential to harm our democracy and the people of the United Kingdom.

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