Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.
These initiatives were driven by Lord Steel of Aikwood, and are more likely to reflect personal policy preferences.
MPs who are act as Ministers or Shadow Ministers are generally restricted from performing Commons initiatives other than Urgent Questions.
Lord Steel of Aikwood has not been granted any Urgent Questions
Lord Steel of Aikwood has not been granted any Adjournment Debates
A Bill to make provision for the appointment of a Commission to make recommendations to the Crown for the creation of life peerages; to restrict membership of the House of Lords by virtue of hereditary peerage; to make provision for permanent leave of absence from the House of Lords; to provide for the expulsion of members of the House of Lords in specified circumstances; and for connected purposes.
Lord Steel of Aikwood has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting
Since the House of Lords Reform Act 2014 came into force, 81 members of the House have retired and six have ceased to be a member as a result of non-attendance.
The table below shows the date of the count of the last four Hereditary Peers By-elections for which invoices have been received and the amount paid to Electoral Reform Services in respect of each.
Date of count
Amount paid to Electoral Reform Services
7 July 2015
16 September 2015
20 October 2015
24 November 2015
Amounts are exclusive of VAT. The table does not include a recent by-election in respect of which Electoral Reform Services has provided services but not yet sent an invoice.
In addition to the services they provide in administering and supervising by-elections, engaging Electoral Reform Services provides assurance that by-elections conform to good electoral practice.
The majority of renewable electricity generation is supported by two government schemes; the Renewables Obligation (RO) and (for smaller schemes) the Feed-in-Tariff (FiT).
Based on the number of Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) awarded and the buy-out price for each ROC, the table below shows the amount of support provided by the RO for the years 2013/14 and 2014/15:
Payments made under the Renewables Obligation
Hydro power generators
This information is available from the Ofgem website.
The number of ROCs issued can be found in table 6.3 of the following link (copy attached):
Payments made under the FiT scheme are not available by technology, but the majority of deployment is solar photovoltaic. In 2013/14, the total payments for the scheme were £691 million . This is available from the Feed-in-Tariff annual report:
Annual generation statistics, irrespective of support mechanism are published in The Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKES). The table below summarises the generation figures for wind, hydro, and solar photovoltaic on a calendar year basis:
Hydro power generators
Copies of DUKES are available from the House Libraries.
 The annual report for 2014/15 will be published in December 2015.
Any such amendments to the Letters Patent of new members of the House of Lords would require primary legislation. The Government has been clear that comprehensive reform of this House, which requires legislation, is not a priority for the current Parliament.
The Government expects that the return of powers from the EU will lead to a significant increase in the decision making powers for the devolved administrations, including the Scottish Parliament. It will bring power closer to people than ever before.
The Government is continuing to discuss this with the devolved administrations, working through the relevant areas of EU law to determine where common approaches will and will not be required, and the different forms that common approaches could take. The common framework principles agreed at the Joint Ministerial Committee (European Negotiations) are guiding these discussions.
Leaving the EU with a deal that supports the future of British industry remains the government’s top priority. The Government is determined to ensure that the UK continues to be one of the most competitive locations in the world for automotive and other advanced manufacturing.
With 4,000 staff in their Oxford plant alone, BMW is a hugely important company for the UK. BEIS Ministers and officials regularly meet with the company, to understand and support them in their planning. My rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State and Peter Schwarzenbauer, BMW Board Member with responsibility for the UK spoke on 13 March.
Freshwater fisheries and aquaculture policy is devolved in the UK. In England, Defra has funded numerous projects on factors that could contribute to the decline in stocks of wild salmon and sea trout. These can be found on the Defra research database at http://randd.defra.gov.uk/. We have not commissioned any research on the potential environmental impacts of salmon farming in recent years.
The devolved administrations also have active research programmes on migratory fish and these can be found at:
The Government is working closely with the Devolved Administrations to deliver a future fishing policy that works for the whole of the UK and reflects the different needs and circumstances of fisheries in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England.
There has been extensive, positive and productive discussions at Ministerial and official level between Defra and the DAs, including the Scottish Government. The Secretary of State meets regularly with his Ministerial counterparts in the Scottish and Welsh Governments and senior officials from Northern Ireland. Officials have also established joint Defra-DA working groups to strengthen collaborative working and preparedness as we consider the implications of exiting the EU on UK fisheries.
Ministers and Defra officials meet regularly with the Scottish Government, along with their counterparts in Wales and Northern Ireland to discuss a range of issues connected with the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. In connection with this, HM Government is undertaking a wide range of analysis and examining all areas of the UK economy, seeking input from a wide range of stakeholders. The report from Scotland’s Rural College “Assessing the impacts of alternative post-Brexit trade and agricultural support policy scenarios on Scottish farming systems” makes a contribution to that process.
Natural England has set up a regulators’ group involving officials from the Scottish Government, Scottish Natural Heritage, Defra, the Forestry Commission and the Animal and Plant Health Agency. The group has met and discussed the application and will continue to liaise regularly.
Following agreement of the European Council on the EU Budget for 2014 to 2020, the Government decided in 2013 to maintain the historic split of the UK’s CAP direct payments budget between England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. This decision followed consultation with key stakeholders in each part of the UK and each of the devolved administrations.
The decision recognised that not all parts of the UK had yet completed the transition to area based payments, making comparisons difficult. Scotland received less funding per hectare than other parts of the UK because of its mountainous, and therefore less productive, areas. Scotland has, on average, larger farms than the rest of the UK meaning Scottish farmers received higher than average payments.
We welcomed the King's remarks, particularly that Brexit does not mean goodbye, but merely a new start in the close, historic relationship between the UK and the Netherlands. That is a view we share.
Safeguarding citizens’ rights is our first priority for negotiations. The draft Withdrawal Agreement will provide certainty about the rights of UK nationals in the EU and EU citizens in the UK going forward. We are implementing this agreement through the EU Settlement Scheme and are working with Member States, including the Netherlands, to understand how they will do the same.
There has been no change to the rights and status of British citizens in the EU, or EU citizens in the UK, as a result of the referendum.
The Prime Minister has been clear that during negotiations she wants to protect the status of EU nationals already living here, and the only circumstances in which that would not be possible is if British citizens’ rights in European member states were not protected in return.
We remain concerned about the humanitarian situation in Gaza and continue to monitor it closely, including the effect electricity shortages are having on the health sector. The UK will continue to urge all the parties to prioritise progress towards reaching a durable solution for Gaza and to take the necessary practical steps to improve conditions, including restoring the availability of electricity as a matter of urgency. The UK is supporting approximately 1 million Gazans by addressing critical water, sanitation and hygiene needs through the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and is a long-term supporter of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), which provides basic services to 1.3 million people in Gaza, including basic health care.
The Global Mine Action Programme which runs from 2014 to 2017 funds mine action projects in Mozambique, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Further work in Burma, Somalia, South Sudan and Zimbabwe is currently being procured. The countries were selected following an inclusive consultation which took into account factors such as other donor funding and where the impact would be the greatest. In addition, DFID took the decision to shift the UK’s mine action funding to more fragile and conflict affected countries and where DFID could align mine action work with other DFID country programmes to maximise the impact. All funds have already been allocated under this programme therefore there is no scope for Angola to be included. This year DFID will reconsider the list of countries for future mine action programmes.
In 2013, CDC's 1,300 investee companies directly employed over a million people, and created more than 68,000 net new jobs.
Individual investments are fully decided by CDC and the Government has put in place strict rules which require commitments to deliver jobs, economic development and poverty alleviation in developing countries.
Secretary of State Fox and Lord Price have both met with Rob Davies, Minister of Trade and Industry in South Africa, and DIT Ministers are keen to visit South Africa in the near future. We are committed to strengthening ties as the UK prepares to leave the European Union and to work together to identify trade and investment opportunities that will benefit not only the UK and South Africa, but across the wider southern Africa and Africa region.
The UK enjoys a strong trade and investment relationship with Taiwan. Bilateral trade reached £5.8bn in 2014, a rise of more than 50% on the level five years ago.
Building on the visit to Taiwan in September 2016 by The Rt Hon Greg Hands MP, Minister of State for Trade and Investment, we will continue to work with the Taiwanese authorities to address market access issues and to further increase UK trade with Taiwan as we promote the UK as a place to do business and trade with.
On the 4 March the Government published the consultation paper
“Introducing E10 petrol”. As set out in that consultation we are proposing that, should E10 be mandated as the standard grade of petrol in the UK, we will also introduce legislation that would keep E5 petrol available.
Under the devolved arrangements relating to the railways in Scotland, the Caledonian Sleeper service is solely the responsibility of the Scottish Government and operates under a franchise procured by Scottish Ministers. It has therefore not been the subject of substantive discussions between the Scottish and UK Governments in recent years.
The UK Government is committed to working with the Scottish Government to drive forward the innovative, cross-border Borderlands Deal. We will be working with local partners to agree a deal which will see significant investment to transform the local economies within the Borderlands area.
We can confirm that the Borderlands have sought funding for feasibility work on the extension of the Borders Railway as part of their Borderlands Growth Deal submission to both governments on Friday 28 September.
In Great Britain, for road safety reasons, motorcycles are already included in the vehicle testing regime, despite this not being required by European rules until 2022. EU Directive 2014/45/EU on periodic technical inspections of vehicles makes a number of changes to roadworthiness testing requirements, which must be implemented by 20 May 2018. It updates some of the technical test standards, broadly reflecting developments in vehicle and testing technology and the regulatory environment, such as improved emissions standards. It is important that our roadworthiness testing requirements keep pace with improving vehicle standards.
Alongside the changes required by the Directive by 20 May 2018, the Government has decided to apply the relevant technical changes to motorcycle testing because there are road safety and environmental benefits of doing so. There was a public consultation in 2016 about the changes.
The Government has no plans to provide specific guidance on scrappage of vehicles of historical interest. Legislation will introduce a 40 year rolling exemption from MOT testing for these vehicles, providing they have not been substantially altered.
Officials are working, including with advice from the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs, to finalise draft guidance on how to identify whether a vehicle has been substantially altered and this will be published before the legislation comes into force in May 2018. We have not so far seen significant evidence of scrappage discount schemes encouraging the scrappage of valuable older vehicles.
In line with the Scottish Parliament’s legislative competence, the promotion and construction of railways that start, end and remain in Scotland is a matter for the Scottish Government. We look to the relevant local authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in the Transport for the North partnership, in developing a comprehensive transport strategy for the North of England, to decide whether to engage with the Scottish Government and other stakeholders on the commissioning of such assessments.
A consultation has been completed about exempting more vehicles of historic interest from testing, given an increased flexibility offered by changes in EU-wide standards, to which Sweden is also responding. The UK already exempts pre-1960 vehicles from testing and consideration is being given to changing that threshold, with a lead consultation option of exempting most vehicles more than 40 years old.
The Department for Transport ran a public consultation about possible changes related to the testing of vehicles of historic interest, with a preferred option to move from the current position of an exemption for pre-1960 vehicles to a rolling 40 year exemption for vehicles which have not been substantially modified. There were more than 2,200 responses, including many from users and owners of historic vehicles. These responses are currently being considered and we hope to announce a response to this consultation later this year.
An initial impact assessment was prepared which assessed that there were about 192,000 pre-1960 registered vehicles which are currently exempt from the MOT requirement. The preferred option identified in the consultation exempted an estimated further 278,000 vehicles. A final validated impact assessment will be published along with the consultation response summary.
The Government is not able to get involved in regulating the level of fares set by airlines operating in the UK, or abroad. Since the inception of the Single European Aviation market, any EU airline may establish the fare structure it wishes.
The Government has made no assessment on the impact of the costs of domestic flights, but has focused on ensuring connectivity to the regions.
However, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has started work on unfair contract terms with the airlines, in accordance with the CAA’s Strategic Plan 2016-2021. The work will include a review of the airlines’ terms and conditions with the aim of ensuring the rights and obligations of the consumers and businesses are fair and balanced and consumers are not being penalised by unfair contract terms.
The amount of vehicle excise duty collected varies year on year. A decrease of £300 million in vehicle excise duty income between 2014-15 and 2015-16 was previously forecast by the Office for Budget Responsibility due to expected decreases in the average cost of licences issued as vehicles continue to become more fuel-efficient. The actual reduction for the financial year 2015-16 was £93 million.
The tax disc was abolished in October 2014.
The following table shows the net revenue for each full financial year prior to and after the abolition of tax disc:
Vehicle Excise Duty collected £m
HS2 will serve Edinburgh on completion of the Y network in 2033, with journey times reduced to 3 hours 40 minutes. In line with the joint ministerial statement on 21 March 2016, the Department for Transport, Transport Scotland, Network Rail and HS2 Ltd, are working together to identify any and all options with strong business cases that could further improve journey times, capacity, resilience and reliability, with the ultimate aim of 3 hour journeys between London and Scotland’s central belt.
This government is taking forward a package of investments to improve the A1 between Newcastle and the Scottish border, as announced in the Road Investment Strategy in December 2014. This includes dualling the A1 between Morpeth and Ellingham. Highways England is currently updating the route strategy for the A1, bringing together information from stakeholders, local communities and partners to gain a better understanding of its performance to help prioritise investment beyond 2020. The Scottish Government has been invited to contribute its views on the A1 as part of this process.
The Government is currently finalising the detailed design for trialling new traffic signs, displaying comparative motorway fuel prices, to provide greater transparency on the pricing of fuel at service areas and to encourage competition. The first sign will be installed this Winter, with the remaining three signs by Spring 2016.
There are currently no new drugs under assessment for a marketing authorisation to treat Motor Neurone Disease (MND). The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has approved 16 trials in the last five years in the indication of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Three of these trials remain active, the remainder have completed or ended early.
The Department funds research mainly through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The Medical Research Council (MRC), a research funding body which receives its grant in aid from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, also funds medical research.
The usual practice of the NIHR and of the MRC is not to ring-fence funds for expenditure on particular topics: research proposals in all areas compete for the funding available. The NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including MND. The NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) is currently recruiting patients to 24 trials and studies in MND. The NIHR Clinical Research Network is developing and nurturing relationships with industry, so that the United Kingdom remains attractive as a site for the innovative therapies.
The MRC currently spends approximately £5.3 million per year on research relating to MND. The MRC, as part of the Network of Centres of Excellence in Neurodegeneration, has recently made available up to £1 million to support research in the UK. The current ‘Pathfinder call’ aims to stimulate new and unconventional approaches and creative solutions to the challenges of neurodegeneration research by undertaking high-risk/high-payoff research and is open to researchers who are involved in MND research.
Summary information from the abortion notification forms returned to the Chief Medical Officers of England and Wales shows that 3,451 women from the Republic of Ireland and 833 women from Northern Ireland had a legal abortion in England and Wales in 2015. The Department does not collect data on abortions in Scotland.
The Foreign Secretary’s statement on 11 January noted that the presidential and legislative elections in Taiwan were testament to Taiwan’s vibrant democracy. He congratulated the people of Taiwan on the smooth conduct of those elections and to Dr Tsai Ing-wen and her party on her re-election. The Foreign Secretary expressed his hope that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait would renew dialogue to resolve differences and build constructive relations across the Strait.
We have not yet made an assessment of the impact of the elections in Taiwan on Hong Kong. It is clear, however, that many people in Hong Kong followed the elections with interest.
Following the election that took place in Israel on 9 April, Israeli political parties are now engaged in coalition formation discussions. The UK looks forward to continuing its excellent relationship with the Israeli Government and to working closely together on shared areas of interest.
On 26 March officials from our Embassy in Washington raised our concerns with US counterparts about the US Presidential Proclamation recognising that the Golan Heights are part of the State of Israel. We are clear that the UK views the Golan Heights as territory occupied by Israel. Annexation of territory by force is prohibited under international law, including the UN Charter. The UK did not recognise Israel's annexation in 1981 and we have no plans to change our position. On 26 March we reiterated our firm position on this matter at a meeting of the United Nations Security Council.
The UK is committed to deepening our bilateral relationship with Angola. Decisions on Commonwealth membership are made by consensus by all Commonwealth member states. The UK is supportive of Angola's aspiration to join the Commonwealth, provided it meets the criteria for membership. The Permanent Under Secretary of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office discussed this matter with the Angolan Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs during his visit to Luanda in August 2018. There are no immediate plans for the President of Angola to visit the UK, but he would be very welcome to visit.
The British Government believes that the people of Taiwan have a valuable contribution to make towards global issues such as organised crime. Their involvement would, in our view, improve co-operation on issues that pose a risk to the international community, including the United Kingdom and our own people. Although the UK has not made any representations to secure Taiwan’s observer status at INTERPOL this year, we are discussing this issue with international partners, including those countries on the INTERPOL Executive Committee.
The Foreign Secretary met Zimbabwean Foreign Minister Sibusiso Moyo on 20 April and our Ambassador met President Mnangagwa on 5 May to discuss Zimbabwe’s upcoming elections. At these meetings, we were clear that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) must be neutral and enjoy the confidence of all parties contesting the elections. While we welcome the appointment of a new ZEC Chair, the organisation must be scrupulously impartial and ensure it deals with all stakeholders equally.
My colleague, the Minister for the Middle East and North Africa, has met the UN Secretary-General's Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, former German President Horst Koehler, twice in the last two months and our Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, Jonathan Allen, has met the new Head of MINURSO, Colin Stewart. They have underlined the UK's firm support for the UN-led efforts to find a solution to the Western Sahara issue. We note the ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Union on the EU-Morocco Fisheries Partnership Agreement. This ruling now passes to the High Court of England and Wales, so it would be inappropriate for me to comment further at this stage.
We understand that the opening of the four new air routes in the Taiwan Strait on 4 January is a cause of concern for the authorities in Taiwan.
Her Majesty's Government is assessing whether the introduction of these new northbound flights in the Straits will have any impact on aviation safety in the region.
In line with our longstanding position, we encourage China and Taiwan to engage in dialogue to resolve this issue.
The United Kingdom believes that Taiwan has a valuable contribution to make on global issues such as the Sustainable Development Goals
The UK's longstanding policy on Taiwan remains the same. The UK supports Taiwanese membership of international organisations where statehood is not a pre-requisite for membership. In situations where Taiwanese membership of international organisations is not possible, we welcome pragmatic solutions that allow Taiwan to contribute to the global good, such as Taiwan's voluntary efforts to support the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The British Government was disappointed that Taiwan was not permitted to observe the World Health Assembly this year. We will continue to make the UK position clear ie, that we support Taiwanese participation in international organisations where there is precedent for involvement, where Taiwan can contribute to the global good, and where there is no pre-requisite of nationhood for participation. Given the global reach and often rapid spread of global health emergencies it is of particular importance that all relevant administrations be invited to engage in the World Health Assembly to ensure that discussions on Global Health Security can benefit from their experience and expertise.
The RRS James Cook is part of the Government funded national sustained observational programme called RAPID. This long-term programme’s aim is to monitor the meridional overturning circulation (MOC) in the North Atlantic at the latitude of 26 degrees north. The MOC determines the Atlantic ocean’s transport of heat, freshwater, carbon, and other environmental properties. It is central to understanding the role of the thermohaline circulation in global climate change. The RRS James Cook recovered and redeployed a number of oceanographic moorings fitted with conductivity and temperature sensors, which were distributed at a range of depths on moorings.
Sahrawi representatives contacted the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) on 3 March 2017 about the work of RRS James Cook in the eastern Atlantic. The UK regards the status of Western Sahara as undetermined and supports UN-led efforts to find a mutually acceptable solution to all parties, which provides self-determination for the Sahrawi people. As a non-self governing territory under Article 73 of the UN Charter, rights under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea should be provided by the administering power and for the benefit of the people of the territory with a view to promoting their well being and development. The NOC will share information with Morocco, who are the de facto administering power.
We have continually sought the views of the Mauritian Government in regards to the Chagossian resettlement review. The British High Commissioner to Mauritius met representatives of the Mauritian Government on 16 November to explain our decision against resettlement and the support package of approximately £40 million for Chagossians, including those living in Mauritius. The Government will continue to make efforts to work closely with Mauritius to develop cost-effective programmes which will make the biggest improvement in the life chances of those Chagossians who need it most.
We have consulted a range of stakeholders as we work towards a decision on the question of resettlement of the British Indian Ocean Territory. The Government is still considering its policy in this area and will announce developments to Parliament and the public by the end of the year.
In the last Parliament, the Cabinet asked for further detailed work to understand the uncertainties around cost and demand for resettlement of the British Indian Ocean Territory. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for International Development and the Ministry of Defence, have refined uncertainties around costs, and a 12 week public consultation was carried out to clarify demand. The results of the consultation were published in January 2016. Officials are now carrying out remaining work on the options available before the Prime Minister, my Rt Hon. Friend the Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May), takes a final decision on the policy. There is no date yet when an announcement on possible resettlement will be made. Developments will be announced to Parliament and the public in due course.
The British Government has not made any assessment of the steps taken by the Government of Germany in respect of this matter. The issue of compensation is a bilateral matter between the governments of Germany and Namibia.
Despite some problems, the national elections in Tanzania were peaceful and generally well organised. We have extended our congratulations to President Magufuli on his victory. We are however deeply concerned at the decision to nullify the elections for the Zanzibar Presidency and Parliament. We have conveyed our concerns to the Government of Tanzania on a number of occasions including at senior levels, most recently during a meeting last week between the Tanzanian High Commissioner to London and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for Rochford and Southend East (James Duddridge).
The British Government has not held discussions with the German Government on this matter.
The British Government has not made representations to the Government of Germany on this matter.
The British Government did not evacuate British nationals from Mombasa in May and there was no cost to public funds.
We keep our travel advice under constant review. As of 12 June, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advised against all but essential travel to:
- areas within 60km of the Kenya-Somali border
- Kiwayu and coastal areas north of Pate Island
- Garissa District
- the Eastleigh area of Nairobi
- low income areas of Nairobi, including all township or slum areas
- Mombasa island and within 5km of the coast from Mtwapa creek in the north down to and including Tiwi in the south (this area does not include Diani or Moi international airport).
The UK (through the Department for International Development) joined an international effort to provide funding to the census in 2014 because it will be a critical step in the country's development process, underpinning better planning and delivery of vital services and infrastructure, such as schools, roads and hospitals.
The UK, UN and other international donors argued strongly for the right of all people to be enumerated fairly and to be able, where necessary, to self-identify their ethnicity in the census. In most areas where the census was conducted, self-identification was permitted. We were deeply disappointed that, in the case of the Rohingya, the Burmese government contravened its long-standing assurance that all individuals would have the right to self-identify their ethnic origin. We have been clear that this decision is contrary to international norms and standards on census conduct. The Minister of State, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Member for East Devon (Mr Swire), summoned the Burmese Ambassador on 7 April to make these concerns clear.
Reports from independent international observers of the census suggest that, with the exception of Rakhine and parts of Kachin state, the enumeration process appears to have been largely carried out effectively. We continue to closely monitor the process.
The Treasury allocated £100m to Cabinet Office to deliver the No-Deal Brexit Public Information Campaign in August 2019. The costs of the campaign will be published monthly on gov.uk, as part of routine government transparency. This will be broken down by supplier. The Treasury does not hold a detailed breakdown of how departments have allocated funding for no-deal preparations, therefore it is difficult to determine the exact amount spent on any other advertising delivered by individual departments.
Treasury ministers and officials have meetings with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery. This includes regular meetings with consumer organisations to discuss relevant regulatory issues, including consumer protection on payment instruments.
Government takes all fraud extremely seriously. In February 2016 the government set up the Joint Fraud Taskforce, which aims to use the collective powers, systems and resources of banks, payment providers, police, wider law enforcement and regulators to tackle fraud, and raise awareness of the risk of fraud among consumers.
The Taskforce is currently focused on: developing a national fraud prevention campaign to provide targeted advice to the public; improving the police response to fraud at national, regional and local level; exploring ways in which more victims of fraud can have their losses repaid; removing vulnerabilities fraudsters exploit to commit certain types of fraud; and, improving support for victims of fraud which will ensure a consistent response including for those who may be more vulnerable or susceptible to fraud.
Industry statistics received from Financial Fraud Action UK indicate that in the first half of 2016 there were £2.9 million losses attributed to fraud on contactless cards compared to a spend of £9.27 billion. This is just 0.031% of spending on contactless technology. According to the industry, fraud on contactless cards accounts for less than 1% of card fraud losses.
HMRC must notify its decision on an application under section 1044 Corporation Tax Act 2010 within 30 days of its receipt.
During the six months from October 2015 to March 2016, HMRC received 1105 clearance applications under section 1044. The average time taken to reply to these applications was 15 days. Decisions on over 95% of the applications were notified within the statutory time limit.
HMRC monitors the number of clearance applications it receives in this area and the time taken to reply to them to ensure a consistent service.
The Government has no current plans to alter fuel duty to change the relative price difference paid by customers for petrol and diesel.
The Government believes it is important for local voluntary associations, clubs and societies to be able to access account facilities, and it will continue to monitor the situation.
The forthcoming Immigration Bill will lay the foundation for a new immigration system which welcomes the people the country needs.
The Government is considering the design of the future immigration system and will outline plans shortly.
Officials will review the findings of the report and the Immigration Minister will respond on it in due course.
Information on total entry clearance visas (the majority of which are visitor visas) broken down by nationality and outcome (grants, refusals, withdrawals, lapsed) is published in the quarterly Immigration Statistics Visas volume 1 table vi_02_q at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-year-ending-march-2019-data-tables
Emergency service drivers are empowered to use certain road traffic exemption in the course of their duties. Decisions on when to exercise these exemptions is an operational matter.
In the Government’s response to “The Law Guidance and Training Governing Police Pursuits” consultation we committed to undertaking a review of existing emergency service exemptions to traffic law to ensure that they are appropriate. Part of the review will consider how emergency services use exemptions safely.
The Home Office collects quarterly fraud data, including banking and credit card industry fraud data, from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB).
These data are published by the ONS on a quarterly basis. The latest data are for year to June 2017 and are available in Table A5 at the link below: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/datasets/crimeinenglandandwalesappendixtables
Published tables for earlier quarters are also available at the above link.
Border Force has carried out a significant transformation programme at Port of Tyne to improve border security and customer service. Joint investment with the port operator in new infrastructure has significantly reduced passenger processing times and the port operator has confirmed a noticeable improvement compared to previous years.
The Department is co-ordinating with the devolved administrations following the Grenfell Tower fire. After the Department wrote to local authorities and Housing Associations on the 22 June to outline the steps to ensure the safety of residential buildings, the Department then shared this letter with the devolved administrations, alongside all letters the Department has sent to local authorities and housing associations regarding the safety of residential tower blocks.
The Department wrote to devolved administrations on the 28 June to outline the steps to ensure the safety of public buildings, schools and hospitals. Devolved administrations are following the same process as local authorities and housing associations, including the Building Research Establishment screening and testing process, and are also receiving the same support from the fire and rescue services.
All prisoners are eligible to make phone calls to approved numbers for both social and legal purposes and are subject to security and monitoring arrangements. Legally privileged calls remain unmonitored in line with policy requirements
Negotiations between the UK and Taiwan Authorities on an arrangement to facilitate the transfer of prisoners between the respective jurisdictions are moving forward. Plans will be made for signature once the text has been agreed.
The Government recognises the sensitivities of this issue and the strongly held views on all sides of the debate in Northern Ireland and across the rest of the UK.
As abortion is devolved, the best way forward is for locally accountable politicians in Northern Ireland to make decisions. We want to see devolved government restored at the earliest opportunity through the current political talks process.