EXITING THE EUROPEAN UNION TWO: MORE QUESTIONS FOR MINISTERS FROM HELEN HAYES

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans his Department has to ensure that new immigration rules for EU nationals do not limit the recruitment of care workers.

 Caroline Nokes The Minister for Immigration

In December 2018, the Government set out its proposals in “the UK’s future Skills-based Immigration System” White PaperThe White Paper proposals include a new route for skilled workers which will be open to anyone at RQFlevel 3 and above, irrespective of where they are applying from. This route will not be capped allowing all of those who meet our requirements to come to the UK.

The White Paper also includes a transitional route for temporary workers which will be open to anyone from qualifying countries, wishing to fill positions at any skill level, for up to 12 months. We do not intend to impose a cap on the number of people wishing to use the route.

The White Paper is the start of a new conversation and we have launched a year-long engagement programme to take the views of a range of stake-holders across the UK, including the health and social care sector.

We are determined to ensure that the future immigration system is efficient and able to respond to users’ needs. Hansard source(Citation: HC Deb, 15 April 2019, cW)

 Helen Hayes Labour, Dulwich and West Norwood

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans his Department has to ensure the continuation of (a) aviation and (b) ferry travel to the EU in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

 Chris Grayling The Secretary of State for Transport

The EU has agreed a Regulation which would allow for the continuation of flights between the UK and the EU for a period of 12 months if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. The Government has set out how it will reciprocate and allow flights by EU carriers between the EU and the UK to continue. The maritime sector is generally liberalised and neither the UK nor the EU expects there to be any issues with ferry services continuing to operate. Hansard source(Citation: HC Deb, 11 April 2019, cW)

Helen Hayes Labour, Dulwich and West Norwood

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the effect on food supplies of the UK leaving the EU without a deal; and what plans his Department has to (a) maintain food supply and (b) protect against increases in food prices.

David Rutley Assistant Whip (HM Treasury), Government Whip

The UK has a high degree of food security, built on access to a range of sources including strong domestic production and imports from other countries. We have a highly resilient food supply chain and consumers in the UK have access to a range of sources of food. This will continue to be the case when we leave the EU, with or without a deal.

The food industry is experienced in dealing with scenarios that can affect food supply, from adverse weather damaging crops in other countries to transport issues abroad. We are meeting weekly with industry and retailers to make sure we are prepared for all scenarios as we leave the EU.

On food prices, we have observed that the most important drivers of change in the cost of food are global food commodity prices, exchange rates and oil prices. This will continue to be the case once the UK has left the EU; the UK Government has no direct control of these factors. The UK Government does not have any role in setting food prices nor does it comment on the pricing policies of the food industry. We are working closely with industry to promote transparency for consumers and internationally to promote open global markets. Hansard source(Citation: HC Deb, 11 April 2019, cW)

Helen HayesLabour, Dulwich and West Norwood

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment his Department has made of the preparedness of police services for civil disorder in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Nick HurdThe Minister of State, Home Department

The police have well established mobilisation plans for public disorder. Both the police and Home Office keep the risk of public disorder and the police’s capability and capacity to respond to significant incidents under continual review.

My department is working closely with the National Police Chiefs Council and National Police Coordination Centre to ensure these plans are appropriate and robust in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal. Hansard source(Citation: HC Deb, 11 April 2019, cW)

Helen HayesLabour, Dulwich and West Norwood

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans his Department has to guarantee the (a) residency and (b) other associated rights to public services of EU nationals in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Caroline NokesThe Minister for Immigration

In the event that the UK leaves the European Union without a deal, the Government will continue to operate the EU Settlement Scheme for European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss citizens resident in the UK by exit day and their family members, enabling them to obtain the UK immigration status which they will need in order to reside here permanently. This reflects the policy paper “Citizens’ Rights – EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the EU” published by the Department for Exiting the European Union on 6 December 2018 and updated on 28 March 2019.

In a ‘no deal’ scenario, EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members lawfully residing in the UK by exit day will continue to be able to access in-country benefits and public services on broadly the same terms as now. This means that they will retain their entitlement to healthcare, education, benefits and social housing on the same basis as now, and that these entitlements will be subject to any future domestic policy changes which apply to UK nationals. Further information is in the policy paper “EU exit: eligibility arrangements to access public funds after free movement ends if there is no deal” published by the Department for Exiting the European Union on 26 March 2019.  Hansard source(Citation: HC Deb, 11 April 2019, cW)

Helen HayesLabour, Dulwich and West Norwood

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has plans to allocate additional funding to Government Departments in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Elizabeth TrussThe Chief Secretary to the Treasury

The Government is committed to ensuring all necessary preparations are made before the UK’s departure from the EU, for all scenarios, deal or no deal. The Chancellor has already allocated over £2bn of additional funding for 19/20, as detailed in the Written Ministerial Statement, HCWS1205, laid on the 18th December (https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2018-12-18/HCWS1205/) Hansard source(Citation: HC Deb, 11 April 2019, cW)

 

Helen HayesLabour, Dulwich and West Norwood

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what contingency plans his Department has to mitigate (a) staff and (b) pharmaceutical shortages in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

Stephen HammondMinister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

The Department continues to monitor and analyse overall staffing levels in the health and social care sectors and we have been monitoring leaver and joiner rates of European Union staff on a regular basis since the 2016 referendum. While we do not expect our exit from the EU to lead to a significant number of health staff leaving on or around exit day, we are not complacent and are continually monitoring staffing levels and working with other Government Departments and local areas to put in place mechanisms to respond to any shortages.

We hugely value the contribution of EU staff working in health and social care and the Government has made it clear that we want them to stay. That is why EU staff in health and social care have had early access to the EU Settlement Scheme since December 2018, allowing them to secure their rights to live and work in the United Kingdom. In March 2019, we put in place legislation that ensures the continued recognition of qualifications from EU countries by all professional regulators covering the health and social care sectors. This means EU staff who are currently practising in the UK can continue to do so, and that professionals qualified in the European Economic Area and Switzerland can continue to apply for registration after ‘exit day’, even if we leave without a ‘deal’.

Furthermore, the NHS Long Term Plan sets out a vital strategic framework to ensure that over the next 10 years the National Health Service will have the staff it needs, so that nurses and doctors can administer the expert compassionate care they are committed to providing. Baroness Dido Harding, Chair of NHS Improvement, working closely with Sir David Behan, Chair of Health Education England, will lead a number of programmes to develop a detailed workforce implementation plan. Baroness Harding and Sir David will present these initial recommendations to the Department this spring.

On medicines, the Department has been working closely with trade bodies, product suppliers, the NHS in England, and the devolved administrations and Crown Dependencies, to ensure the continuation of the supply of medicines to the whole of the UK in the event of a ‘no deal’ EU exit. This includes the NHS, social care and the independent sector and covers licensed medicines (prescription only, pharmacy and general sales list medicines) and unlicensed medicines (specials, investigational medicinal products and UK imports).

The Department, together with industry and the NHS, has analysed the supply chains of 12,300 medicines and we are grateful for excellent engagement from all parties, which means our plans are well advanced. As a result of this analysis, the Department has put in place a multi-layered approach to minimise any supply disruption.

We are confident that, if everyone does what they need to do, the supply of medicines and medical products will be uninterrupted in the event of exiting the EU without a deal. Hansard source(Citation: HC Deb, 9 April 2019, cW)

Helen HayesLabour, Dulwich and West Norwood

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans her Department has to prepare for potential jobs losses in the event the UK leaves the EU without a negotiated withdrawal agreement.

Alok SharmaThe Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

The Government’s priority remains securing a deal to leave the EU. We have more people in work than ever before, with wages continuing to grow. As you would expect, DWP continues to ensure that there are contingency plans so we can provide our vital services to those who need them. For those who need it, we offer a wide range of tailored support through Jobcentres including our Rapid Response Service which provides support to employees and employers where there is a risk of large scale redundancies. Hansard source(Citation: HC Deb, 9 April 2019, cW)

Helen HayesLabour, Dulwich and West Norwood

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what additional funding her Department plans to provide to support people on low wages and insecure income in the event of increases to food prices and living costs as a result of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

The Government’s priority remains securing a deal to leave the EU. We have more people in work than ever before, with wages continuing to grow. DWP has contingency plans to ensure we can continue to provide our vital services to those who need them.

The Department already has a number of mechanisms in place to provide additional support to those who need it.

New claimants to Universal Credit can apply for an advance if they need financial support until the first regular payment of Universal Credit is made. Furthermore, we have recently implemented a £1000 increase in Work Allowance rates for some of the most vulnerable low paid working families. It will increase the amount that families can earn before Universal Credit is tapered away, providing 2.4 million working families with an extra £630 a year. Hansard source(Citation: HC Deb, 9 April 2019, cW)

Helen HayesLabour, Dulwich and West Norwood

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of the UK leaving the EU on (a) security and policing in the UK and (b) the ability of British security services to work with their European counterparts.

Nick HurdThe Minister of State, Home Department

The Government published ‘EU Exit: Assessment of the Security Partnership’ (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/759760/28_November_EU_Exit_-_Assessment_of_the_security_partnership__2_.pdf) on 28 November 2018.

This assessed the potential impacts of the UK leaving the EU, comparing the Future UK-EU Security Partnership (as set out in the Political Declara-tion) against a no deal scenario.

In a deal scenario, the agreement reached with the EU would provide for an implementation period during which we’d continue to use all the EU security tools we use now. For the future relationship, the Future Security Partnership would enable strong operational capabilities to tackle serious crime and terrorism: swift and effective data exchange; fast-track surrender arrangements; and continued close cooperation with Europol and Eurojust.

In a no deal scenario, the UK would no longer be able to cooperate with the EU using EU law enforcement and criminal justice mechanisms. The Home Officehas therefore coordinated the preparation of robust contingency plans, to ensure that we can transition our cooperation with European partners and continue to work together through alternative channels, should that be required. Broadly speaking, this would mean making more use of Interpol, Council of Europe Conventions and bilateral channels. Whilst these alternatives are not like-for-like replacements, they are largely tried and tested mechanisms which the UK already uses to cooperate with many non-EU countries. Our overriding objective, however, remains to secure a deal that is in the interests of both the UK and the EU.

Much of our national security cooperation with our European partners takes place outside EU structures and so is not dependent on our membership of the EU. Hansard source(Citation: HC Deb, 9 April 2019, cW) (All sources: TheyWorkForYou)

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