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Written Statements

Tuesday 10 June 2014


Counter-Terrorist Asset Freezing Regime

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Nicky Morgan): My noble Friend the Commercial Secretary to the Treasury, Lord Deighton, has today made the following written ministerial statement:

Under the Terrorist Asset-Freezing etc. Act 2010 (“TAFA 2010”, the Treasury is required to report to Parliament, quarterly, on its operation of the UK’s asset-freezing regime mandated by UN Security Council Resolution 1373.

This is the 13th report under the Act and it covers the period from 1 January 2014 to 31 March 2014. This report also covers the UK implementation of the UN al-Qaeda asset-freezing regime and the operation of the EU asset-freezing regime in the UK under EU regulation (EC) 2580/2001 which implements UNSCR 1373 against external terrorist threats to the EU. Under the UN al-Qaeda asset-freezing regime, the UN has responsibility for designations and the Treasury has responsibility for licensing and compliance with the regime in the UK under the Al-Qaeda (Asset-Freezing) Regulations 2011. Under EU regulation 2580/2001, the EU has responsibility for designations and the Treasury has responsibility for licensing and compliance with the regime in the UK under part 1 of TAFA 2010.

Annexes A and B to this statement provide a breakdown, by name, of all those designated by the UK and the EU in pursuance of UN Security Council Resolution 1373.

The following table sets out the key asset-freezing activity in the UK during the quarter ending 31 March 2014:

 TAFA 2010EU Reg (EC) 2580/2001Al-Qaeda regime UNSCR1989

Assets frozen (as at 31/03/2014)




Number of accounts frozen in UK (at 31/03/14)




New accounts frozen (during Q1 2014)




Accounts unfrozen (during Q1 2014)




Number of designations (at 31/03/14)




(i) New designations (during Q1 2014)




(ii) Delistings (during Q1 2014)




(iii) Individuals in custody in UK (at 31/03/2014)




(iv) Individuals in UK, not in custody (at 31/03/2014)




(v) Individuals overseas (at 31/03/2014)




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(vi) Groups

8 (0 in UK)

26 (1 in UK)


Individuals by nationality

(i) UK Nationals5

(ii) Non UK Nationals





Renewal of designation (during Q1 2014)




General Licences

(i) Issued in Q4

(ii) Amended

(iii) Revoked

(i) 0

(ii) 0

(iii) 0

Specific Licences:


(i) Issued in Q1

(ii) Amended

(iii) Revoked/Expired










1This does not duplicate funds frozen under TAFA. 2This figure reflects the most up-to-date account balances available and includes approximately $64,000 of funds frozen in the UK. This has been converted using exchange rates as of 31/03/2014. 3One unfrozen credit card in credit of £10.65. 4This figure is based on ex-designations where the UK freeze forms the prior competent authority decision for the EU freeze. 5Based on information held by the Treasury, some of these individuals hold dual nationality.

Legal Proceedings

1. An appeal against designations made under the Terrorism (United Nations Measures) Order 2009 and TAFA 2010 was ongoing in the quarter covered by this report, brought by Zana Abdul Rahim.

2. Two civil claims for damages relating to formerly designated persons are ongoing, one brought by Gulam Mastafa against a number of Government Departments including the Treasury, and another brought by an individual, “M”, against the Treasury.

3. In the quarter to 31 March 2014, no criminal proceedings were initiated in respect of breaches of asset-freezes made under TAFA 2010 or under the Al-Qaeda (Asset-Freezing) Regulations 2011, though we have worked closely with the police and CPS on a number of investigations that may result in prosecution.

Annex A—Designated persons under TAFA 2010 by name6


1. Hamed Abdollahi

2. Bilal Talal Abdullah

3. Imad Khalil Al-Alami

4. Abdelkarim Hussein Al-Nasser

5. Ibrahim Salih Al-Yacoub

6. Manssor Arbabsiar

7. Moazzam Begg

8. Usama Hamdan

9. Nabeel Hussain

10. Hasan Izz-al-Din

11. Mohammed Khaled

12. Parviz Khan

13. Musa Abu Marzouk

14. Khalid Mishaal

15. Khalid Shaikh Mohammed

16. Sultan Muhammad

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17. Abdul Reza Shahlai

18. Ali Gholam Shakuri

19. Qasem Soleimani

20. Gerrie Tahari

21. Mouloud Tahari










6For full listing details please refer to: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/current-list-of-designated-persons-terrorism-and-terrorist-financing.

Annex B—Persons designated by the EU under Council Regulation (EC)2580/20017


1. Hamed Abdollahi*

2. Abdelkarim Hussein Al-Nasser*

3. Ibrahim Salih Al Yacoub*

4. Manssor Arbabsiar*

5. Mohammed Bouyeri

6. Sofiane Yacine Fahas

7. Hasan Izz-Al-Din*

8. Khalid Shaikh Mohammed*

9. Abdul Reza Shahlai*

10. Ali Gholam Shakuri*

11. Qasem Soleimani*

Groups and Entities

1. Abu Nidal Organisation (ANO)

2. Al-Aqsa e.V.

2. Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade

4. Al-Takfir and Al-Hijra

5. Babbar Khalsa

6. Communist Party of the Philippines, including New People’s Army (NPA), Philippines

7. Devrimci Halk Kurtulu Partisi-Cephesi—DHKP/C (Revolutionary People’s Liberation Army/Front/Party)

8. Ejército de Liberación Nacional (National Liberation Army)*

9. Fuerzas armadas revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC)*

10. Gama’a al-lslamiyya (a.k.a. Al-Gama’a al-lslamiyya) (Islamic Group—IG)

11. Hamas, including Hamas-Izz al-Din al-Qassem

12.Hizballah Military Wing, including external security organisation

13. Hizbul Mujahideen (HM)

14. Hofstadgroep

15. Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development*

16. International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF)

17.Islami Büyük Dogu Akincilar Cephesi (IBDA-C) (Great Islamic Eastern Warriors Front)

18. Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF)

19. Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) (a.k.a. KONGRA-GEL)

20. Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)

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21. Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)

22. Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)—General Command (PFLP-GC)*

23. Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine—(PFLP)*

23. Sendero Luminoso (SL) (Shining Path)*

24. Stichting Al Aqsa

25. Teyrbazen Azadiya Kurdistan (TAK)

7For full listing details please refer to: www.gov.uk.

*EU listing rests on UK designation under TAFA 2010.

Counter-Terrorism Act 2008 (Schedule 7)

The Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Andrea Leadsom): My noble friend the Commercial Secretary to the Treasury, Lord Deighton, has today made the following written ministerial statement.

Paragraph 38 of schedule 7 to the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008 requires the Treasury to report to Parliament after each calendar year in which a direction under the schedule is at any time in force. This report provides details of the Treasury’s exercise of its functions under schedule 7 during the calendar year 2013.

The schedule 7 powers

Schedule 7 provides HM Treasury with powers to implement a graduated range of financial restrictions in response to certain risks to the UK’s national interests. The risks it addresses are those posed by money laundering, terrorist financing and the proliferation of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons.

Direction given under the powers in schedule 7

The Financial Restrictions (Iran) Order 2012 (“the 2012 order”) was made and came into force on 21 November 2012, immediately on expiry of the 2011 order. The 2012 order contained a direction by the Treasury in the same terms as in the 2011 order. The decision to give the direction in the 2012 order, in effect maintaining the restrictions in the 2011 order, was made because of the continued risk to the national interests of the UK caused by the activity of Iranian banks in facilitating the development or production of nuclear weapons. The direction mitigates the risk to the financial sector of being involved in proliferation financing.


Under paragraph 17 of schedule 7, the Treasury can exempt acts specified in a licence from the requirements of a direction requiring the cessation or limiting of transactions or business relationships between UK and Iranian banks.

Six general licences were issued by the Treasury exempting certain activities from the requirements of the 2011 order. All six licences have since been revoked and on 22 December 2012, HM Treasury issued a new General Licence 1 under article 30(2)(c) of Council regulation (EU) No. 257/2012 (“the EU regulation”). This licence permitted actions authorised under the Financial Restrictive Order 2012 to remain valid.

Specific licenses

In January 2013, three specific licences were issued, one specific licence revoked and one specific licence amended.

Two of these newly issued licenses were issued in connection with payments due by an agreement or contract concluded before the prohibitions;

One newly issued licence related to humanitarian action;

One revoked licence concerned the repayment of a loan; and

One amended licence allowed a UK bank to receive funds from a UK designated bank, amended to add the ultimate beneficiary into the licence.

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Business, Innovation and Skills

Government Chemist Review

The Minister for Universities and Science (Mr David Willetts): The 17th annual review of the Government chemist has been received. The review will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses plus those of the devolved Administrations in Wales and Northern Ireland. The review will also be laid before the Scottish Parliament.

Communities and Local Government

Housing and Planning

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Mr Eric Pickles): I would like to update hon. Members on the actions that the coalition Government have put in place on housing and planning, as part of our long-term economic plan. We have implemented a range of measures to get Britain building again, to fix the broken housing market and to help hard-working people get the home they want.

Key achievements

Under the Labour Government, house building fell to its lowest peacetime levels since the 1920s. They pledged an “end to boom and bust”, but presided over a housing crash and a great recession. However, now:

Planning permission was granted for 216,000 new homes in England in 2013-14 (source: DCLG analysis of Glenigan data);

New orders in residential construction have risen to their highest level since 2007 (source: Office for National Statistics);

Housing starts in England are at their highest since 2007 and we have already delivered over 445,000 new homes since April 2010 (source: DCLG);

The number of first-time buyers is at its highest since 2007 (source: Halifax);

Repossessions are at their lowest since 2007 (source: Council for Mortgage Lenders) the number of new mortgage arrears is at the lowest since the Bank of England’s data series began in 2007.

New home registrations rose by 30% in 2013 in England, the highest since 2007; and are up 60% in London, the highest for over two decades ; this is in contrast to Wales which has a Labour Administration, where new home registrations are falling (source: NHBC).

More council housing was started in London last year than in the 13 years combined of the last Labour Government (source: DCLG); and

The number of empty homes in England have fallen to a 10-year low, and the number of long-term vacant properties has fallen by around a third since 2009 (source: DCLG);

A locally-led planning system

The coalition Government have reformed planning so it can deliver the homes and infrastructure people want and need, by working with, not against, local communities. Our planning reforms and the locally-led planning process are delivering real results and speeding up the system.

We have abolished the Labour Government’s unpopular and ineffective regional strategies. Instead, the duty to co-operate introduced by the Localism Act requires

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local authorities and other public bodies to work together constructively, actively and on an ongoing basis when they are planning for strategic cross-boundary matters in their local plans.

We have safeguarded national green belt protection and other important environmental designations, and given councils new powers to protect assets of community value, prevent unwanted garden grabbing and safeguard valuable green open spaces. The level of green belt development (land changing to residential use in the green belt) is at its lowest rate since modern records began in 1989.

Neighbourhood planning was introduced through the Localism Act, devolving down planning power to local people and helping them play a much stronger role in shaping their areas. Neighbourhood planning is proving very popular and over 1,000 communities have now applied for a neighbourhood area to be designated and 17 neighbourhood plans have passed referendum (with an average turn out of 32%) and an average “yes” vote of 87%). Eleven of these plans are now fully in force, forming part of the statutory local plan, and giving communities real power to shape planning decisions.

The coalition Government introduced the new homes bonus, which rewards housing growth through grants based on the council tax raised from additional homes and long-term empty homes brought into use. To date, over £2.2 billion of new homes bonus has been given to local councils. This has ensured that growing areas have had resources to meet the needs of new and existing communities. Local neighbourhoods with a neighbourhood plan will also benefit directly from the community infrastructure levy.

The local plan making process was overhauled through the Localism Act. These reforms simplified plan-making, giving local authorities more choice in how they developed their local plans, and ensured that plan-making is more transparent. They also made it clear that a planning inspector may only propose modifications to a local plan where requested to do so by the local authority, underscoring this Government’s commitment to localism in practice.

Some 77%) of local planning authorities have now published a draft local plan compared to only 32% of authorities in May 2010.

Streamlining the planning system and removing unnecessary burdens

The national planning policy framework replaced over a thousand pages of national policy to around 50, written simply and clearly. The planning guidance review streamlined planning guidance and reduced it from over 7,000 pages to a simple accessible online guide. This has made the planning system more accessible to local residents, local firms and local councillors, rather than it being the preserve of lawyers, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and town hall officials.

To help deliver the new homes that families want, we have abolished Whitehall minimum density requirements and maximum parking standards, and stopped gardens being classified as brownfield land. This will ensure that the market can build more homes with the gardens and parking spaces that people want to buy.

The Localism Act abolished the Infrastructure Planning Commission and returned decision making for the biggest developments back to accountable Ministers. At the

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same time, we expanded the scope of the nationally significant infrastructure regime to allow the developers of certain business and commercial projects to take advantage of a fixed timetable and obtain many of the necessary non-planning consents at the same time.

We have reduced the number of applications that must be accompanied by a design and access statement and simplified their content. Changes to the civil procedure rules have reduced the time period for submission of judicial review applications against planning decisions to six weeks. A new planning court is speeding up the handling of such cases.

The Growth and Infrastructure Act introduced legislation to designate poor performing local planning authorities. This power has intentionally been rarely used: two councils have now been designated in this way and one application has now been made directly to the planning inspectorate. This has significantly improved performance with latest figures showing that 74% of applications for major development were processed on time.

In this Session of Parliament, we will augment these successful reforms to look at practical ways of removing excessive red tape, while ensuring environmental safeguards and continuing our locally-led approach.

The Infrastructure Bill will speed up the way that planning conditions are handled, so homes granted planning permission can start on site more quickly. We will seek to improve the engagement and performance of statutory consultees; and we will tackle the gold-plating of EU directives.

Building more affordable housing

Over 170,000 affordable homes have been delivered in England since April 2010. Our affordable homes programme will deliver 170,000 homes over the current spending review period (2011-15), levering in £19.5 billion of public and private funding.

We have announced a new “Affordable Rent to Buy” scheme which will deliver affordable homes through a recoverable fund. The new affordable homes programme for the next spending period will lever in up to £23 billion in public and private funding to deliver 165,000 homes from 2015 to 2018. This will be the fastest rate of affordable house building for 20 years.

The affordable housing guarantee scheme is worth up to £3.5 billion (with further lending capacity held in reserve according to demand) and supported by up to £450 million grant funding in England. Up to 30,000 additional affordable homes will be under way by December 2017.

The first eight housing associations to be approved to borrow through the scheme were announced in January 2014, with a further eight announced on 30 May, which together will raise over £630 million of debt to facilitate the delivery of over 5,900 new affordable homes.

We also announced a European Investment Bank loan facility worth £500 million. On 30 May 2014, the first bond of the affordable housing guarantees scheme was issued by our delivery partner. Affordable housing finance, backed by a full faith guarantee from DCLG. The bond is worth £208 million and has achieved the lowest priced for debt in the affordable housing sector’s history.

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The right to buy scheme, allowing eligible social tenants to buy their homes at a discount, has achieved almost 27,000 sales since April 2010. Since the discounts were increased in April 2012, right to buy sales have risen from 2,638 in 2011-12 to 11,238 in 2013-14.

The reinvigorated right to buy ensures, for the first time, that the receipts from the additional sales, that is those over what was forecast prior to the change, are reinvested in helping to fund new homes for affordable rent. This has generated £420 million in receipts for new additional housing.

A new generation of council housing

In 2012, the coalition Government reformed the council house finance system, introducing self-financing for those local authorities that still own and manage their own housing. This system of self-financing has given local authorities greater freedoms and flexibilities to manage their housing and many are now starting to use those freedoms to build new council housing.

To further increase the supply of housing locally, we have also made available £300 million of additional housing revenue account borrowing as part of the local growth fund to help those authorities that need additional borrowing and want to deliver new affordable homes quickly. We are looking to local authorities, who need additional borrowing, to bid for that increase by 16 June 2014 and for schemes that would help to deliver 10,000 new affordable homes.

We have also commissioned an independent review to examine the scope for further reforms and changes to help promote local house building.

Supporting home ownership

The Help to Buy programmes have been actively supporting home ownership and new house building across all parts of the country, especially outside London.

Since April 2013, the Help to Buy: equity loan scheme has offered buyers a 20% equity loan that can be used towards the cost of buying a new build home, allowing people to buy with a 5% deposit. There were over 33,000 reservations and 20,548 completed sales across England by the end of April 2014, with funding for up to 74,000 sales by March 2016. To assist hon. Members, I have today published on my Department’s website and placed in the Library a breakdown of Help to Buy: equity loan sales by postcode.

Alongside this, the Help to Buy: NewBuy scheme, launched in March 2012 has also supported a further 5,173 households to purchase new build homes by the end of March 2014. The Help to Buy: equity loan scheme was extended through the 2014 Budget announcement to 2020 to help 120,000 more households purchase a new build home.

The FirstBuy scheme was announced in the Budget 2011 to help support 10,000 first-time buyers on the property ladder. The scheme was replaced in April 2013 with Help to Buy. There were 11,590 FirstBuy sales to the end of March 2014; moving forward, this is now effectively part of Help to Buy.

Since the end of last year, the Help to Buy: mortgage guarantee scheme is providing up to £12 billion of Government guarantees to support people to buy with a 5% deposit. Over 7,300 homes have (by the end of March 2014) been bought through this route. The three Help to Buy schemes complement each other, and their success can be taken together.

To help reduce costs for buying a home, the coalition Government scrapped the Labour Government’s home information packs which duplicated costs and were not trusted by buyers.

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Building more homes to rent

The £1 billion Build to Rent fund provides development phase finance to large-scale private rented sector developments. The fund is supporting new high-quality development purpose built for private rent and is on track to create up to 10,000 new homes.

The fund received £1.4 billion of bids under round 1—this bidding round is currently expected to support up to 15 developments, providing around 2,550 homes across England in locations that include Durham, Liverpool, Manchester and London.

Five projects to the combined value of over £74.5 million are already in contract, delivering over 1,000 new homes for private rent; and construction has already started in Southampton (Centenary Quay) and Manchester (Three Towers). More contracts will follow.

Bidding for round 2 of the Build to Rent fund was significantly oversubscribed receiving 126 bids to the value of around £3 billion. Thirty-five projects on the shortlist from round 2 are now undergoing a competitive due diligence process, with successful bids receiving funding to deliver thousands of new homes. A list of all shortlisted bids has been placed in the Library.

Sixteen projects, with a combined value of circa £625 million, are already in detailed due diligence. Due diligence is a competitive process and the Homes and Communities Agency will continue to negotiate with projects until exchange of contracts in order to ensure value for money for the taxpayers.

In addition to direct funding, the coalition Government’s private rented sector task force is continuing to build the private rented sector as an investment market and has helped to generate aspirations to invest over £10 billion of domestic and foreign investment in the private rented sector.

The private rented sector housing debt guarantee scheme will provide a Government guarantee for up to £3.5 billion debt (plus an additional amount held in reserve) for borrowers investing in new build private rented sector homes across the UK. Specifically, the guarantees use the UK Government’s hard earned fiscal credibility to reduce the cost of borrowing and incentivise investment in the sector. My Department is open for business to issue direct private rented sector housing debt guarantees and continues to progress discussions with a number of borrowers looking to invest in large-scale developments.

Following extensive pre-market engagement, on 18 March 2014 the Department also launched a procurement exercise for a delivery partner for the private rented sector housing debt guarantees scheme, with the aim of increasing access for smaller borrowers and maximising take up of the guarantees. My Department is currently evaluating bids to perform the role and expect the delivery partner to be in place in autumn 2014, approving its first borrowers in early 2015.

We are taking a range of action to tackle the small minority of rogue practices in the private rented sector, while avoiding the disproportionate regulation that would increase rents, reduce choice and supply for tenants, and choke off the increase in institutional investment.

Providing infrastructure and development finance

The £500 million Get Britain Building investment fund is providing finance to unlock smaller stalled sites. So far, it has helped kick-start nearly 12,000 new homes on stalled sites.

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The Growing Places fund is providing £770 million to deliver the infrastructure needed to unlock stalled schemes that will promoted economic growth, create jobs and build homes. The fund has been fully allocated to local enterprise partnerships and the devolved Administrations to fund local projects. Progress updates in June 2013 reported that £652 million of capital funding had been allocated to 305 projects across England. local enterprise partnerships expect these projects to create 4,900 businesses, 94,000 jobs and 27,000 houses. A further update will be published in due course.

The Growth and Infrastructure Act also introduced legislation unblocking stalled sites for development and reconsideration of unrealistic section 106 agreements: such unviable requirements mean no housing, no regeneration and no community benefits.

The £474 million Local Infrastructure fund is helping to unlock large-scale housing developments. To date we have helped find bespoke solutions bringing forward around 80,000 new homes. We are currently working to unlock further stalled schemes capable of delivering up to another 35,000 new homes. In addition to the capital investment, we have made available £13 million of capacity funding to support local authorities in fulfilling their local housing ambitions.

We have also published:

“Builders Finance Fund prospectus”—This £525 million fund will provide development finance for smaller sites to support the construction of up to 15,000 new homes; the prospectus has also recently been published.

“Large sites infrastructure programme prospectus”—This £1 billion fund provides a programme of support over a six-year period designed to address these barriers and help accelerate and unlock housing developments of at least 1,500 housing units that have slowed down or stalled completely.

“Local Growth Fund (Housing Infrastructure) prospectus”—This sets out the detail on how to access the £50 million part of the local growth fund in 2015-16. It is designed to help speed up and restart housing developments between 250 and 1,499 units that have slowed down or stalled.

“Locally-led garden cities prospectus”—This invites local authorities to put forward their ideas for how they wish to develop garden cities, how they wish to make use of the existing central Government funding and support, and what other freedoms, flexibilities and support they need to make ambitious new garden cities a reality.

We are creating an Urban Development Corporation for the Ebbsfleet area to accelerate the construction of a garden-city style development which will unlock up to 15,000 homes—with up to £200 million capital being made available. We have scrapped Labour’s failed, top-down eco-towns programme which built nothing but resentment.

A new estate regeneration fund of £150 million of recoverable investment will help kick-start and accelerate the regeneration of some of our most deprived estates. We are also working with the Greater London authority to support the regeneration of Brent Cross and unlock 11,000 homes at Barking Riverside.

Promoting self-build and custom-build

In contrast to the Labour Government, we are actively supporting the self-build and custom-build sectors, helping people design and build their own home.

We have also exempted self-build from the community infrastructure levy and we have recently consulted on a similar policy change for section 106 tariffs. The £30 million

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investment fund for custom-build homes has so far approved or is currently considering loan funding of £20 million.

At the 2014 Budget, we announced that we will consult on a new “Right to Build” to give self-builders a right to a plot from councils and we will shortly be identifying a small number of councils to act as vanguards to test how the Right to Build model will work in practice. We also announced a new £150 million investment fund to help provide up to 10,000 serviced building plots, and announced will we look to extend help to buy equity loan to self-builders.

Getting empty and redundant land and property back into use

We have introduced a range measures to help get empty and surplus land and property back into productive use. We have abolished the Labour Government’s controversial pathfinder programme which sought to demolish homes and instead we have focused on refurbishment.

We are investing £160 million specifically to bring empty homes back into use. The new homes bonus rewards long-term empty homes being brought back into use and we have given councils the flexibility to remove tax subsidies given to empty homes, and use the money to keep the overall rate of council tax down.

The Public Sector Land programme has identified land with capacity for over 100,000 homes which we aim to release to the private sector by March 2015. At the end of December 2013, we had released land capable of delivering 76,000 homes to be built.

Through the Strategic Land and Property review we have identified scope to generate £5 billion of receipts from Government land and property between 2015 and 2020. This will put land and property into the hands of those who can exploit them for commercial purposes, supporting deficit reduction and creating opportunities for housing and economic growth.

The national planning policy framework makes it clear that planning should encourage the effective use of land by reusing brownfield land provided that it is not of high environmental value, and that local councils can set locally appropriate targets for using brownfield land. We have also amended planning guidance to stress the importance of bringing brownfield land into use.

The new Right to Contest builds on our existing community right to reclaim land, which lets communities ask that underused or unused land owned by public bodies is brought back into beneficial use. This new right applies to sites currently in use, but which are not vital for operations. It gives businesses and members of the public an opportunity to challenge Government on the best use of its estate.

Changes to community infrastructure levy rules now provide an increased incentive for brownfield development, through exempting empty buildings being brought back into use. We have also published proposals to lift section 106 burdens on vacant buildings being returned to use.

We have reformed permitted development rights to free up the planning system and encourage the conversion of existing buildings. The changes help support town centres, the rural economy and provide much-needed homes. These include:

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Changing offices to homes to bring underused offices back into effective use and provide new homes;

Change of use from existing agricultural buildings to a range of new business uses giving rural communities more opportunity and incentive to diversify their operations and contribute towards rural prosperity;

Change of use to a state-funded school or registered nursery from a range of premises. A new temporary change of use also allows buildings in any use class to be used as a state-funded school for one academic year to ensure that the opening of new schools is not delayed by the planning system;

Change of use from shops to banks and building societies making best use of existing premises, promoting a diverse and vibrant high street;

Change of use from shops or financial and professional services to homes and limited associated building works to make best use of existing premises, provide new homes and revitalise the high street;

Change of use from agricultural buildings to up to three homes and limited associated building works giving rural communities opportunity to bring forward new homes and make best use of existing buildings;

Larger extensions to homes, offices and shops allowing homeowners and businesses to invest in their homes and premises to adapt to changing circumstances without having to move. These larger home extensions are subject to a light-touch neighbours’ consultation scheme to protect the amenity of neighbours.

To assist extensions and home improvements, we have also exempted them from community infrastructure levy, stopped plans for a so-called “conservatory tax”, stopped any council tax revaluation which would have taxed home improvements, and introduced a new national council tax discount for family annexes.

We will consult in the summer on a package of proposals including:

Change of use from warehouse to residential, from light industrial to residential, and from some sui generis uses to residential;

A wider retail use class—excluding betting shops;

Relaxations for change of use from retail use to restaurant use and assembly and leisure uses, and larger mezzanines in retail premises where it would support the town centre;

Greater flexibilities to erect ancillary structures in car parks and reconfiguration of loading bays within existing car park boundaries, to help local shops; and

Consolidating the general permitted development orders into a single new order.

We will announce further proposals to help regenerate brownfield land shortly.


There is more to do, but I hope this illustrates how this Government’s long-term economic plan is building more houses, giving more power to local communities, helping people move on and up the housing ladder.


School Teachers' Review Body (24th Report)

The Secretary of State for Education (Michael Gove): The 24th report of the School Teachers’ Review Body (STRB) is being published today, responding to the remit I issued in October 2013. The report contains recommendations on how to apply the pay award for teachers that is due to be implemented from September

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2014. Subject to the views of consultees, I intend to accept the STRB’s recommendations in full.

The STRB has recommended a 1% uplift of the national framework for teachers’ pay from September 2014. The uplift will be applied to the minima and maxima of all the pay ranges and allowances in the national pay framework, including the:

unqualified teachers’ pay range;

main pay range;

upper pay range;

leading practitioner pay range;

leadership pay range;

head teacher groups;

teaching and learning responsibility (TLR) allowance pay ranges;

special educational needs (SEN) allowance pay range.

The STRB has also recommended that those teachers and school leaders who currently sit on the maxima of the pay ranges should receive a 1% uplift. For all teachers who are paid other than on the minima and maxima the STRB has recommended that schools should determine locally how to take account of the uplift.

In addition to the uplift, the STRB has made a number of recommendations about advice that my Department should issue, including that the discretionary reference points in departmental advice should be uplifted by 1%. A full list of the recommendations is attached as an annex.

My officials will write to all of the statutory consultees of the STRB to invite them to contribute to a consultation on my acceptance of these recommendations, and on the text of the 2014 school teachers’ pay and conditions document. The consultation will last for six weeks.

I am grateful for the careful consideration which the STRB has given to this important matter. Copies of the STRB’s 24th report are available in the Vote Office, the Printed Paper Office and the Libraries of both Houses, and online at www.gov.uk

Annex to written ministerial statement

School Teachers’ Review Body’s (STRB’s) remit and recommendations

1—In October 2013, I referred to the STRB the following matters for recommendation:

a) What adjustments should be made to the salary and allowance ranges and scales for classroom teachers, unqualified teachers and school leaders to reflect the 1% pay award for public sector workers;

b) What adjustments should be made to salaries and allowances in payment;

c) How to provide a simplified and flexible framework for ensuring school leaders’ pay is appropriate to the challenge of the post and their contribution to their school or schools;

d) How the current detailed provisions for allowances, other pay flexibilities and safeguarding could be reformed to allow a simpler and more flexible STPCD; and

e) How the framework for teachers’ non-pay conditions of service could be reformed to raise the status of the profession and support the recruitment and retention of high-quality teachers, and raise standards of education for all children.

2—In making its recommendations, the STRB was asked to consider:

a) The need to ensure that the proposals reflect the Government’s policy that public sector pay awards average 1% for the two years following the pay freeze;

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b) The affordability of any recommendations within the existing budgets of individual schools;

c) The need to ensure that any proposals are not difficult or onerous for schools to implement;

d) Evidence of the national state of teacher and school leader supply, including rates of recruitment and retention, vacancy rates and the quality of candidates applying for qualified teacher status (QTS);

e) Evidence of the wider state of the labour market in England and Wales;

f) Forecast changes in the pupil population and consequent changes in the level of demand for teachers;

g) The Government’s commitment to increasing autonomy for all head teachers and governing bodies to establish pay arrangements that are suited to the individual circumstances of their schools.

3—In its 24th report, the STRB has recommended:

A 1 % uplift to be applied to the minima and maxima of all the pay ranges and allowances in the national pay framework—unqualified teachers’ range, main pay range, upper pay range, leading practitioner pay range and the leadership pay range, including the minima and maxima of the eight head teacher pay bands, the three levels of teaching and learning responsibility (TLR) allowances and the special educational needs (SEN) allowance.

That, for those on individual pay ranges1 schools determine locally how to take account of the uplift to the national framework in making individual pay progression decisions and consider how individual pay ranges should be uplifted.

The pay2 of teachers on the minima and maxima of their range and of head teachers on the minima and maxima of their pay band be uplifted to the new minima and maxima in September 2014.

DfE makes clear that, in revising its pay policies for 2014-15, schools should consider, and set out, how any pay decisions for those on the maxima of pay ranges in September 2015 will take account of performance in applying any uplift to the national framework.

DfE uprates by 1% the reference points in its advice to schools. For the purpose of guiding September 2014 pay decisions.

That schools who have not adopted the reference points set out in DfE advice consider how to apply the 1% uplift to the national framework to their local policy.

That reference points should be removed from DfE advice following the September 2014 pay decisions.

That DfE makes clear that all schools should revise their pay policies for 2014-15, and set locally determined arrangements for performance-related progression as a basis for decisions on pay in September 2015.

That DfE makes clear in advice to schools the scope for the most able teachers to progress rapidly through the main and upper pay ranges, where justified by consistently excellent performance, to the leading practitioner and leadership pay ranges.

1. Leading practitioners and teachers in leadership posts

2. Base pay excluding any allowances. The treatment of allowances is covered by separate recommendations.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Common Agricultural Policy in England

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Mr Owen Paterson): Growing the rural economy and improving the environment remain two of my absolute priorities. On 19 December, Official Report, column 125WS, I announced an initial range of decisions about how we will distribute £15 billion of funds in England over the next CAP period from 2015. Today, I am announcing some further decisions about how we

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will implement two key aspects of last year’s CAP reforms: greening and cross-compliance.

One of the three components of the new greening measure under the CAP requires farmers with more than 15 hectares of arable land to maintain 5% of that arable land as “ecological focus area” (EFA).

The European regulations provide a range of options which member states can choose to offer their farmers for the purpose of meeting the 5% EFA requirement. The more EFA options we offer, the more complex and difficult it will be to deliver and control those options in accordance with the EU rules.

While I would like to give our farmers the widest choice of EFA options, I have assessed that the complexity of introducing all the necessary controls to manage them in accordance with the EU regulations would place a high risk on the Rural Payments Agency to the extent that it would jeopardise our ability to make all CAP basic payments to farmers on time.

I am therefore announcing today that the options that we will make available for farmers to choose from in order to meet their EFA obligations in 2015 will be as follows:

land lying fallow

buffer strips

catch and cover crops

nitrogen fixing crops


I fully acknowledge that some farmers may be disappointed that we are not able to offer a wider list of EFA options. This is not a decision I have taken lightly. The EFA rules are the most complex single aspect of the new CAP given the associated verification, control and mapping requirements.

We must learn from the lessons from the past. We know from previous experience about the difficulties which can arise from introducing new CAP measures and systems, particularly those reliant upon mapping. I do not want to jeopardise the successful delivery of the basic payment scheme for all our farmers.

I am pressing the European Commission hard to clarify what flexibility exists for adding additional EFA options to this list in future years. If the Commission can confirm that such phasing-in is possible, then we will look to add further options to our EFA offer once they have been mapped and digitised on our new system. So I am urging the Commission to look closely at the greening rules to ensure they operate as pragmatically and flexibly as possible in a way that suits our needs in England.

Allowing hedges to count towards the EFA requirement will have implications for those claimants who wish to take up this option. This may include work by people having to map their hedges. Farmers taking this option will be encouraged to submit claims earlier and may expect payments towards the end of the payment window.

I have decided that we will make maximum use of the weightings and coefficients provided for in the EU regulation for the EFA options we are offering in England. This will make it easier for our farmers to comply with the regulatory requirements. I have decided that we will not take up the option within the regulations to make additional designations of environmentally sensitive grasslands in England where a no-plough rule would

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operate. I have also decided that within the nitrogen fixing crops option in EFA we will allow the broadest range of qualifying crops and will not impose any additional restrictions on the cultivation of these crops.

We have been mindful of the assurances given at the start of the CAP reform negotiations that those farmers in existing agri-environment agreements should not be disadvantaged by greening. I can also announce that only a small proportion of ELS agreements—including uplands and organic variants—which started on or after 1 January 2012 will have to have their payments reduced to account for double funding with greening. Affected agreement holders will have the choice to make good the shortfall through an amendment or exit the scheme without penalty.

I am also announcing my intentions for how we will implement the cross-compliance requirements of the new CAP from 2015. Last year’s reform package resulted in limited changes to existing EU regulation on cross-compliance, so our flexibility to move from our current approach is constrained. However, I am determined to ease the burden of regulation on farm business while maintaining environmental protection and we will be streamlining the implementation of cross-compliance.

Overall, the number of requirements placed on farmers to keep their land in good agricultural and environmental condition (GAECs) will reduce by a third from 17 to 11. I am also ensuring that our new rules reflect existing legal requirements so that we avoid adding complexity for farmers by implementing new or alternative rules. The deletion of some statutory management requirement rules will lead to a reduction in burden on farmers compared to the current situation.

I am removing the requirement for farmers to keep a soil protection review and to focus inspections on outcomes rather than paperwork. This is a key ask of farming organisations and was a recommendation in the MacDonald farming regulation task force.

I am retaining and rationalising existing GAECs on water, boundaries, public rights of way, trees, sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs) and scheduled monuments.

I am extending the hedge trimming ban by one month—to end August—in order to provide protection throughout the bird breeding and rearing season as required by the EU legislation. There will also be extra protection for earth and stone banks.

I have also asked my officials to review the implementation of the penalty system for cross-compliance with a view to making it more proportionate.

Today, I can also announce that we will now be submitting our draft new rural development programme to the European Commission for approval. Under our plans, we will be investing at least £3.5 billion in rural development schemes from 2014 to 2020. This money will improve the environment, grow the rural economy and create jobs.

Throughout the EU negotiations on CAP reform, the UK has argued for simplicity and flexibility. It is clear that some aspects of CAP implementation will be difficult and complex to deliver. The announcements I am making today build upon those already made and will deliver better value for taxpayers, fairness to English farmers, and support the Government’s continued commitment to improving our natural environment.

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Mental Capacity Act 2005

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Simon Hughes): Following the Committee’s enquiry into the Mental Capacity Act, the House of Lords Select Committee published its report on 13 March 2014. We welcome the report, which contains 39 recommendations.

The Mental Capacity Act is an important piece of legislation, but we recognise more needs to be done to raise awareness and make sure it is more widely understood. I am pleased to announce that the joint response of the Ministry of Justice and the Department of Health will be published today.

The response contains our plans to realise the full potential of the Act. We want to make sure that we achieve our ambition of valuing every voice and respecting every right when caring for and supporting individuals who may lack capacity either now or at any time in the future.

Work and Pensions

Access to Work

The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Mike Penning): Access to Work helps over 30,000 disabled people to take up and remain in employment each year, providing support such as specialist aids and equipment, travel to work and support workers.

This Government have expanded and strengthened this important programme by increasing the budget and implementing a wide range of improvements. As a result, volumes and expenditure on Access to Work have increased over recent years, meaning more disabled people are now being supported to fulfil their potential in the workplace. This progress has been shaped by important reviews undertaken by Liz Sayce and an expert panel chaired by Mike Adams.

I want to continue to build on this success so that Access to Work can support more claimants per year. That is why I have asked that over a three-month period, we now look into Access to Work, focusing on how we can support more disabled people and further improve customer service. I will set out further details on next steps shortly.

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While we undertake this work I am also suspending Access to Work’s 30-hour guidance for new claimants. This operational guidance stated that if a support worker is required full time, for example 30 hours or more a week, Access to Work will normally provide funding on the basis of an annual salary rather than a freelance rate. Having listened to concerns about its practical effect, notably on the ability of some deaf customers to source appropriate British sign language support, this guidance will not be applied to new cases pending the completion of this work.

Work Capability Assessment

The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Mike Penning): Today the Government will publish a call for evidence as part of the fifth independent review of the work capability assessment (WCA), carried out by Dr Paul Litchfield.

The first three independent reviews were carried out by Professor Malcolm Harrington, and published in November 2010, November 2011 and November 2012. The fourth independent review was published in December 2013. This was the first independent review of the WCA carried out by Dr Litchfield. In the fourth review Dr Litchfield confirmed that the Government had made good progress in implementing Professor Harrington’s recommendations, and also made a number of recommendations of his own. The Department has accepted, or accepted with caveats, all but one of the recommendations, demonstrating our commitment to improve the WCA even further.

This call for evidence will be one of several methods used to gather information during the review. Evidence submitted will be used to inform Dr Litchfield’s report to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, which will be laid before Parliament before the end of 2014.

This is the fifth and final statutory independent review. This year’s call for evidence focuses on the impact of previous reviews, seeks new evidence about the employment and support allowance work-related activity group and support group, and individuals’ experience of the WCA process. There is also a focus on people who have mental health conditions or learning difficulties.

The call for evidence runs until 15 August 2014.

I will place a copy of the call for evidence in the Libraries of both Houses. It will also be available on the Government’s website: www.gov.uk/DWP later today.