Press release: UK troops touch down in Norway following epic road move

#61
Public Health Minister Steve Brine has announced that the government will consult on the mandatory fortification of flour with folic acid to prevent fetal abnormalities.

The consultation will launch in early 2019 to consider the evidence around folic acid fortification as well as the practicality and safety.

Evidence from the Scientific Advisory Committee of Nutrition (SACN) suggests that expectant mothers can take folic acid during pregnancy to significantly reduce the risk of foetal abnormalities including:

  • spina bifida – where the membranes around the spine do not close properly and in some cases affect walking or mobility
  • anencephaly – where the majority of the brain never develops

Approximately 700 to 900 pregnancies are affected by neural tube defects each year in the UK.

Women who are trying to become pregnant are advised to take a daily supplement of 400 micrograms of folic acid before they conceive and during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. However, around half of pregnancies in the UK are unplanned, so many women are missing out on these nutrients early in their pregnancy.

The plans to fortify flour with folic acid are thought to be an effective way of reaching those with the lowest folate intakes – for example younger women from the most deprived backgrounds.

The consultation will also consider if there are any risks to other members of the general public. These include whether additional folic acid in the diet will mask the diagnosis of conditions such as pernicious anaemia, which is a deficiency in the production of red blood cell.

The proposal already has the support of the UK Chief Medical Officers and the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (the independent body that provides scientific advice on diet and nutrition to the UK governments).

Steve Brine, Public Health Minister, said:


All women should be able to access the nutrients they need for a healthy pregnancy and in turn, reduce the risk of devastating complications.

We have been listening closely to experts, health charities and medical professionals and we have agreed that now is the right time to explore whether fortification in flour is the right approach for the UK. My priority is to make sure that if introduced, we are certain it is safe and beneficial for all.

Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies said:


The evidence shows that fortifying flour with folic acid is a practical way of reducing folate deficiencies in pregnant women and reducing birth defects.

However, as with any intervention of this kind, we need to be certain it is also safe, and that means considering what the wider implications would be for the rest of the population who eat flour.

I am pleased to see the government taking action on this issue and hope to see the wider scientific community feed in their views to this important consultation which could benefit and improve the lives of many women and babies in this country.

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#62
Patients could benefit from faster access to treatment under 2 new programmes. The programmes will identify innovative technologies and treatments then speed up their uptake across the NHS.

£7 million in funding has been announced for ‘Test Bed’ projects across England that will help improve patient outcomes and the way NHS staff work.

The Test Beds programme is a joint programme between NHS England and government. It sees the NHS working with innovators using technology to address some of the biggest challenges in health and care.

The second wave of the Test Beds programme will take place in 7 locations across the country. Projects being tested include:


  • the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to deliver a more accurate and efficient breast cancer screening


  • a new digital platform to help people to manage diabetes


  • the combination of 3 new digital technologies to help reduce A&E admissions for patients with chronic long-term heart failure

A further £2 million will be available for ‘rapid uptake’ products. These are 7 proven innovative technologies that help to improve patients’ lives.

The ‘rapid uptake’ products include a range of treatments for conditions such as cancer, heart disease and multiple sclerosis.

The focus is on overcoming barriers to make their use across the NHS more widespread. Supporting these products will help 500,000 patients to access new treatments and save the NHS £30 million.

Through the Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC), leaders in the health system have identified these products so that UK patients benefit from the world-class health innovations developed in this country first.

The investment also supports the ambition of the government’s modern industrial strategy to make Britain the best place in the world for innovators, including new treatments to help people live longer, healthier and happier lives through the Life Sciences Sector Deal.

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock said:


The UK is a world leader in medical and health research and we want to make sure patients are the first to benefit from the tech revolution happening across the NHS.

Every day, innovative new treatments are demonstrating the power technology has to save lives – and I want to make these opportunities available across the whole NHS.

These programmes will fast track innovations from lab bench to patient bedside and help ensure that NHS patients continue to be the first to benefit from the life-changing treatments developed in this country.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said:


From the first vaccine to the first blood transfusion, the UK has an unmatched reputation in medical research and innovation.

This collaboration will rapidly bring life-saving products into real world clinical settings. Our modern industrial strategy builds on our unique strengths and heritage in medical research and innovation, not only creating new products and jobs but ensuring NHS patients are at the forefront of these technological advances.

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#63
Updated: New CO decision

23 October 2018


Breach of union rules and breach of statute decision: McAllister v Usdaw

The applicant made one complaint under Section 55(1) and two complaints under Section 108A(1) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 relating to the union’s presidential and council elections.

The Certification Officer dismissed the application upon withdrawal by the applicant.

9 October 2018


Breach of union rules decision: Coyne & Brooks v Unite the Union (2)

The applicants made 10 complaints in relation to the 2017 election of the General Secretary of Unite the Union. This decision of Assistant Certification Officer, Mr Jeffrey Burke QC, deals with complaints 2 to 10 that were determined following a five day hearing held between 25 and 29 June 2018. The Assistant Certification Officer dismissed all nine complaints.

Complaint one was determined following a hearing on 27 March 2018 before Mr Burke QC. In a decision dated 4 May 2018 he dismissed the complaint. D/2/18-19

28 September 2018


Breach of union rules decision: Peros v Napo - the Trade Union and Professional Association for Family Court and Probation Staff

The applicant made four complaints Under section 108A(1) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 concerning breaches of union rules in relation to disciplinary proceedings against him.

The Certification Officer upheld all the complaints but declined to make an Enforcement Order.

25 July 2018


Breach of union rules decision: Gates v Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists

The applicant made a complaint under section 108A(1) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 that the Union had breached a provision of its handbook in relation to a representative post in NHS Highland.

On 16 July 2018 the Certification Officer refused this complaint having found that the handbook does not form part of the Union’s rules.

18 July 2018


The Certification Officer’s Annual Report 2017-2018 will not be published in July 2018 as planned. It will now be published after the Parliamentary summer recess.

8 June 2018


Breach of union rules decision Dawson v University and College Union

The applicant made two complaints under 108A(1) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 that the union had breached its rules relating to the disciplinary process. The Certification Officer dismissed the application upon withdrawal by the applicant.

9 May 2018


Breach of union rules decision Dinsdale v GMB

The applicant made two complaints under 108A(1) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 that the union had breached its rules around branch elections. The Certification Officer refused both of these complaints.

2 May 2018


Breach of union rules decision Cullen v Unite the Union

Mr Cullen made a complaint of breach of union rules in relation to removal from a post. The Certification Officer struck out the application under section 256ZA of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 on the basis that it has no reasonable prospect of success and/or is otherwise misconceived.

4 May 2018


Breach of union rules decision Coyne & Brooks v Unite the Union

The applicants made 10 complaints in relation to the 2017 election of the General Secretary of Unite the Union. Assistant Certification Officer, Mr Jeffrey Burke QC, held a hearing on 27 March 2018, to determine the preliminary point, dealt with in Complaint 1, that, under the Union’s rules, there was no power to hold the election at all, at the time it was held. The Assistant Certification Officer resolved this preliminary point in favour of the Union. The remaining complaints will be heard over 5 days commencing on 25 June 2018. The details of the venue will be confirmed shortly.

23 March 2018


Breach of union rules decision Mr M Rolfe v POA

Mr Rolfe made three complaints of breach of union rules in relation to a disqualification from holding NEC posts until 2016. Two complaints were dismissed upon withdrawal by Mr Rolfe. The Certification Officer upheld one complaint in relation to a breach of union rule 10.9 and considered it appropriate to make an enforcement order. The Certification Officer ordered that:-

The NEC remove the disqualification of Mr Rolfe from holding any National Executive post which was imposed on him under rule 10.9 following his resignation as a Prison Officer on 3 May 2017. This order will take effect from the date of this decision.

15 March 2018


Breach of union rules decision Pollock v Accord

The applicant made a complaint alleging that the Union breached a rule relating to its Executive Committees. The complaint was dismissed upon withdrawal by the applicant.

02 February 2018


Access to accounting records decision: Mr Markham v GMB

Mr Markham made a complaint alleging that GMB breached section 30(2) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 in failing to comply with his request to access branch accounting records. The Certification Officer upheld the complaint after the union conceded the breach. No enforcement order was made as Mr Markham had been granted access to the requested records.

19 January 2018


Breach of union rules decision Chisholm v Unite the Union

The applicant made two complaints under 108A(1) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 about her alleged removal from office as branch secretary. The Certification Officer refused both of these complaints.

16 January 2018


Breach of union rules decision Boswell and Ors v United Road Transport Union (URTU)

The claimants made three complaints alleging that URTU had breached its rules relating to disciplinary proceedings. The Assistant Certification Officer upheld one complaint that the union had breached its rules and dismissed the other two complaints. The ACO has now received further submissions from parties following the findings in this decision and is now considering the appropriate remedy

19 December 2017


Breach of union rules decision Prof Barron v University College Union

Prof Barron made nine complaints of breaches of rule of the LSE branch of the UCU pursuant to s.108A(2) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992. The Assistant Certification Officer (ACO) made a declaration that breaches had occurred in relation to complaints 2 and 8.

Complaint 2 – the ACO made a declaration that the union had breached 9.1 of the LSE branch rules by failing to ensure the branch committee appointed a returning officer for elections.

Complaint 8 – the ACO made a declaration that the union breached rule 11 of the LSE branch rules by failing to ensure the delegates to the 2017 Congress were elected from members of the LSE branch.

The ACO did not make any enforcement orders.

Complaint 3 was dismissed as it fell outside the Certification Officer’s jurisdiction. Complaint 5 was dismissed as it was submitted out of time. Complaints 1,4,6,7 and 9 were dismissed as no breach or threatened breach had been found.

12 December 2017


Breach of union rules decision Dr Elliott & Dr Borbora v British Medical Association

Dr Elliott made four complaints and Dr Borbora made three complaints alleging breaches of union rule relating to disciplinary procedures under section 108A(1) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.

The Certification Officer refused both Dr Elliott’s and Dr Borbora’s applications.

14 November 2017


Breach of union rules decision Mr Alec McFadden v Unite the Union

The applicant made two complaints under section 108A(1) of the Trade Union Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 that Unite the Union had breached its rules relating to disciplinary proceedings. Following submissions from the parties on two preliminary issues the Assistant Certification Officer, appointed by the Certification Officer to hear the complaints, decided to uphold the applicant’s complaints of breach of rules.

30 October 2017


Breach of Union Rule decision: Mr Tully v National Crime Officers Association

The applicant made five complaints under section 108A(1) of the Trade Union Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 that the National Crime Officers Association had breached its rules relating to disciplinary proceedings. The Certification Officer made five declarations that the union had breached its rules. The following enforcement orders were made: 1.The National Executive Committee’s decision at its meeting on 7 to 8 September 2016 to expel Mr Tully from membership of the NCOA is null and void. 2.The Union make arrangement to restore Mr Tully to membership of the NCOA by 19 November 2017.

13 October 2017


Financial irregularity decision: National Union of Mineworkers (Northumberland Area)

The Certification Officer has decided not to exercise his discretion to appoint an inspector to investigate the financial affairs of National Union of Mineworkers (Northumberland Area). He has written to the union to inform them of his decision and his reasons. The letter to the union, which contains background information and comment, is published here.

13 September 2017


Breach of Union Rules Decision: Penkethman & Walker v Communication Workers union

Ms Penkethman and Mr Walker made one complaint alleging a breach of rule relating to canvasing during the 2017 elections in the Midland No 7 branch of the CWU under section 108A(1) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992. Mr Walker made a further separate complaint relating to the receiving of a voting paper during the same election.

The Certification Officer refused both of the claimants’ applications

9 August 2017


Breach of Union Rules Decision: McFadden v Unite the Union

The claimant alleges that Unite the Union breached its rules in relation to disciplinary proceedings against him. Following a preliminary hearing the Assistant Certification Officer identified the issues in dispute which fall to be determined at a full hearing of the complaints. The Certification Officer also identified a preliminary issue to be decided by him before any further hearing. He set directions for the full hearing.

18 July 2017


The Annual Report of the Certification Officer, Gerard Walker, was laid before Parliament today 18 July 2017. The report describes the work of the Certification Officer over the year 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017 and provides detailed information on all trade unions and employers’ associations. The statistical information it contains is drawn from the annual returns received during the reporting period, which relate mainly to the year ending 31 December 2015.

22 May 2017


Burgess and ors, Wakefield, Bannister and Rogers v UNISON: The Public Service Union

The applicants made 16 complaints that UNISON had breached its rules in relation to its 2015 General Secretary election. Many of these complaints contained multiple allegations of breaches. In addition it was alleged that the Union breached section 49(4) and 49(6) of the 1992 Act also in relation to the 2015 UNISON General Secretary election.

The Assistant Certification Officer made decisions relating to all of the above complaints. She made one declaration that the union had breached its rules. No enforcement order was made.

19 May 2017


Breach of union rules decision: Mr K Johnson v GMB

The applicant made four complaints under section 108A(1) of the Trade Union Labour Relations (Consolidation Act) 1992 that the GMB had breached rules of the Union relating to matters specified in section 108A(2).

The Certification Officer dismissed the application upon withdrawal by the applicant.

28 April 2017

Amalgamation of ATL and NUT



An application to register the Instrument of Amalgamation of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers and the National Union of Teachers was received on 25 April 2017.

20 March 2017


Listings decision: Disabled Workers Union

Under section 3(3) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992. The Certification Officer refused the application by Disabled Workers Union to be entered in the list of trade unions.

10 March 2017


Mr Fernandez and Ors v Unite the Union

The claimants made four complaints of that the Union breached its rules on relation to branch officer elections in union’s LE/2000 Branch and one complaint of a breach of section 30 (2) of the 1992 Act in relation to the request for access to accounting records. The Certification Officer upheld one complaint of breach of rule and dismissed the other complaints. No enforcement order was made.

23 January 2017


Mathewson v NUM

Mr Mathewson made seven complaints alleging the union had breached its rules and one complaint of the union’s breach of Chapter IV of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992. Following correspondence, the Certification Officer struck out all eight complaints under section 256ZA(1)(a) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 on the grounds that they had no reasonable prospect of success and/or were otherwise misconceived.

10 January 2017


Laws v GMB

The applicant made a complaint under section 108A(1) of the Trade Union Labour Relations (Consolidation Act) 1992 that the GMB had breached rules of the Union relating to matters specified in section 108A(2).

The Certification Officer dismissed the application upon withdrawal by the applicant.

16 November 2016


Abrahams & Ors v URTU

The applicants made three complaints relating to the 2016 Election for General Secretary of the Union. These included two alleged breaches of Chapter IV of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 and one alleged breach of one of the Union’s rules. The Certification Officer upheld all three complaints and made a single enforcement order in relation to the breach of Section 47(1) of the 1992 Act – Complaint 2.

27 October 2016


Beaumont v Unite the Union (No.5)

The claimant made seven complaints that the union had allegedly breached its rules in relation to eligibility to hold lay office on its Executive Council, and related issues. The Certification Officer dismissed all the complaints.

19 October 2016


Burgess & Ors, Rogers, Wakefield and Bannister v UNISON: The Public Service Union

The claimants alleged that Unison breached its rules and the 1992 Act in relation to the election for the position of General Secretary of UNISON in late 2015. At the preliminary hearing on 6th October 2016, the Assistant Certification Officer determined that the complaints from all four applicants should be consolidated and determined at a single hearing. In addition the issues to be determined were identified and agreed. The ACO also gave directions for the full merits hearing which is to be heard on 19,20 and 21 December 2016.

30 August 2016


Bannister v UNISON: The Public Service Union

Mr Bannister brought five complaints in which he alleged that UNISON: The Public Service Union breached its rules in relation to the UNISON 2015 General Secretary election. Three of Mr Bannister’s complaints were struck out under section 256ZA(1)(a) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 on the basis that they had no reasonable prospect of success and/or were otherwise misconceived. The remaining two complaints are to proceed to a full hearing in order to be determined.

26 August 2016


Brough v Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians (UCATT) (No. 2)

Mr Brough made a complaint alleging that UCATT had breached section 24(1) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 by failing to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the entries in its register of members were accurate and kept up-to-date. The Certification Officer upheld the complaint but considered it was inappropriate to make an enforcement order.

9 August 2016


Forbes v Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association

Mr James Forbes made two complaints against the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association (“the Association”) in which he alleged that the Association breached its rules in relation to its internal disciplinary procedure and breached section 47(1) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992. Mr Forbes died on 18 April 2016. On 20 July 2016 his complaints were withdrawn on behalf of his estate. The Certification Officer dismissed Mr Forbes’ complaints upon withdrawal by his estate.

14 July 2016


The Annual Report of the Certification Officer (2015-2016) is published and laid before Parliament. It is available to be downloaded from the Certification Officer’s website.

7 July 2016


Bentham v Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians (UCATT) (No. 3)

Mr Bentham brought two complaints in which he alleged that UCATT breached its rules in relation to its internal disciplinary procedure. The complaints were struck out under section 256ZA(1)(a) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (“the 1992 Act”) on the basis that they had been brought to the Certification Officer outside the time limits set out in section 108A(6) and (7) of the 1992 Act.

31 May 2016


Fletcher v Unite the Union

The claimant made a complaint alleging that Unite the Union breached section 30(2) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 in failing to comply with his request to access accounting records of the union. Upon the union providing the records the claimant withdrew the complaint. The complaint was dismissed upon withdrawal by the claimant.

17 May 2016


Fernandez Castillo and Ors. v Unite the Union

The claimants alleged that Unite the Union breached its rules in relation to the 2015 Branch LE/2000 election and breached section 30(2)(a) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992. At the preliminary hearing the Certification Officer determined which branch constitution was valid at the time of the election and that the Branch Balloting Protocol constituted rules of the union. The Certification Officer also determined which complaints made by the claimants would proceed to a full hearing.

17 May 2016


Brough v Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians (UCATT) (No 3)

Mr Brough made two complaints alleging the union had breached its rules relating to disciplinary matters. Following correspondence, the Certification Officer struck out both complaints under section 256ZA(1)(a) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 on the grounds that they had no reasonable prospect of success and/or were otherwise misconceived.

4 May 2016


Chapman v Community

Mr Chapman made five complaints relating to disciplinary proceedings by the Union. Mr Chapman alleged that the Union breached a number of its own rules during disciplinary proceedings against him and in handling a complaint by him against another Union member. The Certification Officer refused four of the claimant’s applications but declared in the claimant’s favour on the fifth complaint. The Certification Officer did not make any enforcement order.

22 March 2016


Henderson v GMB

Mr Henderson made five complaints relating to the Union’s election for the position of General Secretary and Treasurer. These included four alleged breaches of 47(1) Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 and one alleged breach of one of the Union’s by-laws. The Certification Officer refused all five of the claimant’s applications.

12 January 2016


Mills v Unite the Union

The claimant made a complaint alleging that Unite the Union had breached section 30(2)(a) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 in failing to comply within 28 days with her request to access accounting records of the union. The Certification Officer upheld the complaint and made an enforcement order.

25 November 2015


Sweeney (No. 2) v Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians (UCATT)

Mr Sweeney brought two complaints in which he alleged that UCATT breached its rules in not paying his or the person accompanying him their travel expenses in order to attend an appeal hearing before the General Council of UCATT. The complaints were struck out under section 256ZA(1)(a) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 on the grounds that they had no reasonable prospect of success and/or were otherwise misconceived.

17 November 2015


Rowlandson v UNISON

Mr Rowlandson made five complaints alleging that the union had breached its rules in relation to branch elections and one complaint in relation to disciplinary procedures. The union conceded breaches for four of the six complaints and the Certification Officer declared, by consent, that the relevant rules had been breached as alleged. He made a single enforcement order in relation to these complaints. The Certification Officer refused to make a declaration on the remaining two complaints.

22 October 2015


Radford v Equity (No.2)

Mr Radford made three complaints alleging that the union had breached two of its rules in relation to disciplinary procedures. The Certification refused the claimant’s application in relation to the first complaint. The Certification Officer upheld the second and third complaints for which he also made enforcement orders. The decision was issued to the parties on 22 October 2015 and reviewed, following an application from the Union, on 12 November 2015.

15 October 2015


Ritson v National Union of Teachers (NUT)

Mr Edward Ritson made six complaints alleging that the NUT breached its rules in relation to the nomination procedure followed by its Sefton Branch for local officers and committee. Following a settlement between the parties, Mr Ritson withdrew his complaints, which were dismissed by the Certification Officer upon withdrawal.

2 October 2015


Murray v Unite the Union

Mr Murray made a complaint alleging that the union had breached one of its rules in relation to the election of the Scottish Regional representative to its Executive Council that took place in 2015. The union conceded a breach of the rule. The Certification Officer made an enforcement order that the election be re-run.

29 July 2015


Brough v Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians (UCATT)

Mr Brough made a complaint alleging that the union had breached its rules in relation to its internal disciplinary procedure. The Certification Officer dismissed the complaint.

20 July 2015


The Annual Report of the Certification Officer (2014-2015) is published and laid before Parliament. It is available to be downloaded from the Certification Officer’s website. Hard copies of the report are available upon request to the Certification Office ([email protected]).

23 June 2015


Wilson v UNISON: The Public Services Union

The claimant alleged that the union breached its rules in relation to a ballot of members of the Doncaster Local Government Branch Retired Members Section. The application was struck out under section 256ZA of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 on the grounds that the complaint advanced by the claimant had no reasonable prospect of success and/or was otherwise misconceived.

3 June 2015


Stevens v Union of Democratic Mineworkers

The claimant brought five complaints against the Union of Democratic Mineworkers. The complaints alleged breaches of rule relating to:

  • the notices required for branch meetings;
  • the voting of a branch delegate at the Union’s Council;
  • the election of a National Executive Committee member;
  • the attendance of a trustee at a National Executive Committee; and
  • a rule change relating to sections of the union.

Two of these complaints were upheld, two were dismissed and one was struck out by the Certification Officer under section 256ZA(4) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992. The Certification Officer did not make any enforcement orders.

19 May 2015


Todd v Unite the Union

The claimant brought five complaints against Unite the Union. The complaints alleged breaches of rule relating to the complainant being prevented from speaking to the National Industrial Sector Committees of the Union and the handling of her complaints relating to the issue. The Certification Officer struck out all five complaints under section 256ZA of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 on the grounds that the complaints had no reasonable prospect of success and/or were otherwise misconceived.

15 May 2015


Boothroyd v UNISON

The claimant made a complaint alleging that UNISON breached its rules in removing him from membership. The claimant withdrew his complaint on the Union reinstating his membership. The Certification Officer dismissed the complaint upon withdrawal by the claimant.

15 May 2015


Beaumont (No. 4) and Mansell v Unite the Union

The claimants brought five complaints against Unite the Union. One complaint related to eligibility to sit on its Executive Council and was upheld. The other four related to the Executive Council election in 2014 Two of these complaints were upheld and two were dismissed. The Certification Officer did not make any enforcement orders.

17 April 2015


Street and Street v UNISON (on remission from the EAT)

The complaint, as remitted to the Certification Officer by the Employment Appeal Tribunal, following the Certification Officer’s decision (D/28-29/12-13) and EAT judgement (UKEAT/0256/13) was dismissed by the Certification Officer.

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#64
Welcoming the report, Mrs Bradley said:


I want to record my sincere thanks to the Independent Reporting Commission for their first substantive report on tackling paramilitary activity. It is deeply regrettable that in 2018, tackling paramilitary activity still remains a critical issue for Northern Ireland, not least at this current political impasse.

This is a significant report which benchmarks the progress which has been achieved to date but reminds us of the continued and challenging work still to be done to ensure that communities are free from the threat of paramilitarism. The IRC has acknowledged the good work carried out to date, but they too have pointed to the challenges of dealing with this issue in the absence of a functioning Executive. That is why I remain resolute in finding a way forward to get devolved government up and running again as quickly as possible in order to that the Commission will see further progress in the coming year.

Paramilitarism is a scourge on our society. It was never justified in the past, it cannot be justified today and these groups should have no place in our society. We must all continue to work together to keep communities safe and free from these totally unacceptable attacks.

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#65
A man who pointed a gun at police officers has today been sent to prison after the Solicitor General, Robert Buckland QC MP, referred his sentence to the Court of Appeal for being too low.

Sebastian Alcock, 38, threatened 2 police officers with an imitation firearm. The police officers had received reports of a man behaving suspiciously, and asked Alcock to get out of the car for a drug search. At this point he became aggressive, struggling violently against the officers, and produced a gun, which at the time was assumed to be real. The police officers feared for their lives and escaped, and firearm officers arrested Alcock shortly after.

Alcock was originally sentenced at St Albans Crown Court in August, where he was given 15 months imprisonment suspended for 2 years. Today, after the Solicitor General’s referral, the Court of Appeal increased his sentence to 3 years immediate imprisonment.

Commenting on the sentence increase, the Solicitor General said:

“This was a serious violent incident that was made even worse by Alcock’s threats using an imitation firearm towards police officers working in the line of duty. The Court of Appeal has recognised this today.”

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#66
Updated: Changed end date to 11:45pm on 28 October.


The government is launching its consultation today (Sunday 29 July) for a new electoral offence which aims to crack down on threats and abuse towards those standing for election.

The consultation, which will run until 11:45pm on 28 October, also seeks views on clarifying the electoral offence of undue influence of voters. Currently, a person is guilty of undue influence if they threaten electors to vote a certain way or stop them from voting.

The consultation will review whether the requirement to have imprints, which is added to election material to show who is responsible for producing it, should be extended to digital communications.

This would also have the benefit of increasing transparency in digital campaigning, in light of recent concerns about the potential risks of ‘fake news’ and foreign interference in future ballots.

Following on from the recommendations set out by the Committee on Standards in Public Life (CSPL) last year, the Prime Minister announced that the government will consult on a new offence that would be in addition to the current offence of electoral intimidation which relates to undue influence on voters.

The consultation also comes amid concerns voiced by politicians and campaigners on all sides about the increasing intimidation and abuse of people taking part in elections.

The proposals would toughen current electoral law, which includes provisions against undue influence of voters, by introducing a new offence to tackle intimidation of Parliamentary candidates and campaigners. This new law could see people stripped of their right to stand for or hold public office, should they be found guilty of threatening or abusive behaviour, either in person or online.

Extreme cases of intimidation are considered a serious criminal offence, punishable with a custodial sentence where evidence of sustained, pressurising behaviour intended to cause distress and impact campaigning is found.

Minister for the Constitution, Chloe Smith said:


This government recognises that rising intimidation in public life is stopping talented people from standing for election and putting voters off politics and we want to tackle this extremely serious issue.

We are consulting on three new measures that will protect voters, candidates and campaigners so they can make their choice at the ballot box or stand for public service without fear of being victims of misinformation or abuse.

We can’t let intimidation of our candidates, campaigners, the public and those that serve us continue unchecked and I would encourage everyone to take part in this consultation.

Lord Bew, Chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, said:


Intimidation presents a real threat to the integrity, diversity, and vibrancy of our public life.

People of all backgrounds should not be put off from standing for public office as a result of intimidatory behaviour.

We warmly welcome that the government are implementing our recommendation to consult on a new electoral offence of intimidating Parliamentary candidates and introducing digital imprints.

The Electoral Commission identified these gaps in electoral law in evidence to our review, and these measures would play an important part in protecting candidates and voters at election time.

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#67
Former service personnel who left service after 1 April 2018 may be entitled to arrears of pay following the 2018 pay increase. To ensure that any arrears of pay are received, bank account and address details must be kept up to date and the JPAC centre informed of any changes on 0800 085 3600.

Background


The Armed Forces’ Pay Review Body’s (AFPRB) recommendation for 2018 was a 2.9% increase in pay for all personnel up to 1-star level (Commodore, Brigadier and Air Commodore) and the Senior Salaries Review Body’s (SSRB) recommendation was for a 2.5% pay increase for all officers of 2-star rank and above.

The first part of the pay increase is 2% pensionable pay which was paid in September salaries backdated to 1 April 2018 for officers up to 1-star level and officers ranked 2-star and above will receive their 2% pensionable pay increase in November salaries.

The second part of the pay increase is the bonus element which is 0.9% for officers up to 1-star level and 0.5% for officers ranked 2-star and above. This element will be delivered in two lump sum payments one in November 2018 and one in March 2019

All personnel who have left the service after 1 April 2018, or will do so before March 2019 will receive pro-rata payments for the period of service that they completed.

It is vital that bank account and address details are kept up to date for these payments to be made

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#68
The government has announced how it will take tougher action on fraud and save hundreds of millions of pounds for the NHS over the next 5 years, increasing the money available for improving patient care.

The plans were announced by Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock.

The new approach will start with a commitment to halve prescription fraud, which costs the NHS £256 million a year.

Prescription exemptions will be digitised, allowing pharmacies to check whether the patient does not have to pay charge before their medication is dispensed. This will be piloted next year, before being rolled out across the NHS.

The focus on prescriptions is one aspect of a wider crackdown on NHS fraud, which will prevent up to £300 million being lost to fraud by April 2020. This is part of the government’s commitment to ensuring public finances are managed responsibly and that every penny invested goes towards improving care.

Further measures being introduced to stop fraud include:


  • a new partnership between the NHS Counter Fraud Authority (NHSCFA) and the fraud prevention service Cifas, allowing NHS counter-fraud professionals to access Cifas data


  • more collaboration and data sharing between the NHS Business Services Authority and NHSCFA to identify the small number of pharmacists and dentists claiming payments for services they have not carried out


  • the introduction of a new counter-fraud profession in central government, bringing together around 10,000 counter-fraud specialists, including 400 focused on fraud in the NHS

NHSCFA will take forward these measures. It will work with its data-sharing partners to analyse large amounts of information and identify anomalies, unusual activity and inconsistencies in the NHS, referring to NHS investigators for further action.

NHSCFA was set up in November 2017 and replaces NHS Protect, which has been working to stop fraud since 2010.

Fraud in the NHS ranges from a few pounds, to hundreds of thousands and occasionally millions.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:


Those who abuse the NHS and choose to line their own pockets with money that should be spent on patients and frontline care will no longer have anywhere to hide. The new technology and analysis, combined with intel and experience of counter-fraud specialists will form the starting point of this new fight against NHS fraudsters.

We’re determined to make sure every penny of the extra funding we are giving the NHS as part of our long-term plan is properly spent. The message is clear: the NHS is no longer an easy target, and if you try to steal from it you will face the consequences.

Sue Frith, interim CEO of the NHS Counter Fraud Authority, said:


I am delighted that the Health and Social Care Secretary is showing such a keen interest in addressing fraud and supporting the NHS Counter Fraud Authority in its vital mission to prevent and detect fraud against the NHS. It is key to our success that we collaborate with others and I am confident that as we work with partners this ambitious target will be achieved.

The more data sets we are able to access from partners such as Cifas and the NHS Business Services Authority, the more fraud we can detect and prevent. NHSCFA are actively engaging with the fintech sector to identify technological solutions that could enhance data examination and exploitation capability.

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#69
The Slate Landscape of North-West Wales will be the UK’s next preferred nomination for UNESCO World Heritage site status, Heritage Minister Michael Ellis announced today.

The area - which runs throughout the county of Gwynedd - is said to have “roofed the 19th century world” as slate from its mines was exported around the globe.

The landscape was assessed for World Heritage Status by a UK panel of experts this summer and it will be formally presented to UNESCO next year.

It will then be considered by the International Council of Sites and Monuments followed by the World Heritage Committee in 2021. Should it be approved, the Slate Landscape will join the likes of Grand Canyon National Park, The Great Barrier Reef and the Lake District as a designated World Heritage Site.

The site was the world’s greatest exporter of slate during the mid 19th century, becoming a key part of the social and economic fabric of North Wales. The slate mined from the area also had a significant impact on global architecture with its materials used on a vast range of buildings, from terraces to palaces all around the world.

If inscribed it would be the fourth World Heritage Site in Wales, alongside the Blaenavon Industrial Landscape, the Castles and Town Walls of King Edward at Gwynedd and the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct.

Michael Ellis, Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism, said:


Gwynedd’s slate landscape is hugely important. Its vast quarries and mines have not only shaped the countryside of the region but also countless buildings across the UK and the world.

This is a crucial milestone on the road to becoming a World Heritage site and the global recognition that brings. While the UNESCO nomination process is very thorough, I believe this unique landscape would be a worthy addition to the list.

UK Government Minister for Wales, Mims Davies said:


It gives me great pleasure to see that the world-renowned slate landscape of Gwynedd has been selected as the UK Government’s preferred UNESCO World Heritage Site nomination.

An accolade such as this not only highlights the immense beauty and history that Wales has to offer but also acts as a catalyst to investment and tourism. The status which is globally recognised would help to revive and grow the economy of the slate areas that have had such a significant influence on the communities and heritage of North West Wales.

The UK currently has 31 other World Heritage sites and can nominate one site per calendar year. Jodrell Bank Observatory was nominated in January 2018, and has recently undergone an evaluation mission by UNESCO’s expert advisers. A decision on inscription for that site will take place during the annual committee meeting next summer.

A Parliamentary reception on the Slate Landscape, attended by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism, will take place this afternoon.

Notes to editors:


  • The World Heritage Centre manages over 1000 sites around the world and the UK has 31 World Heritage sites.


  • Once a nomination is submitted, UNESCO’s expert advisors assess the site, and make a recommendation to the World Heritage Committee.


  • The news, which comes after the Slate Landscape passed the UK’s rigorous technical evaluation process, signals the Government’s support in principle for a nomination to be formally submitted in mid 2019.


  • In Wales, there were 1 million visits by overseas tourists in 2017, spending £369 million in the local economy.


  • In addition, British residents took 9 million overnight trips to Wales in 2017, spending £1.6 billion.

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#70
The £17.8 million project, led by the Environment Agency, helps to protect 378 homes and 165 businesses in the town centre from flooding from Eller Beck and Waller Hill Beck, which rise very quickly after heavy rain. The project is designed to provide the town with this new level of protection over the course of the next 100 years.

Skipton has suffered from flooding from these becks as recently as December 2015. Prior to this Skipton has experienced a significant flooding in 1908, 1979, 1982, 2000, 2004 and 2007. A life was lost as a result of the 1982 flood.

Construction of the scheme started in March 2015, where two flood storage areas have been created upstream of Skipton at Eller Beck near Skipton Golf Club, and Waller Hill Beck to slow the flow of water from the surrounding hills, reducing the risk of the becks causing floods in the town centre.

The new flood storage areas can hold a combined total of 111 million gallons of water equivalent to 168 Olympic sized swimming pools, or 5.2 million bathtubs.

Eller Beck near Skipton Golf Course is the larger of the two storage areas. A 13 metre high, 610 metre wide earthworks dam has been built which can hold 433,000 cubic metres of water or 95 million gallons. Normal flows pass unrestricted through a pipe known as a culvert within the dam, but during a flood, a barrier called a penstock will be lowered to block off the culvert inlet so that water can be held back to form a reservoir.

The dam at Waller Hill is 9 metres high, 105 metres wide, and has the capacity to hold 72,000 cubic metres of water, or nearly 16 million gallons. A concrete culvert with inlet and outlet has been constructed to allow the beck to flow during normal conditions, which allows high river flows to be held back.

The scheme also includes 300 metres of new flood defence walls including new raised walls that have been constructed in the town centre at Morrison’s car park, and near private gardens and a children’s play area further upstream in the town. Some of the defences have been clad in matching stone to blend in with other buildings in the conservation area.

Environmental considerations include an otter ledge running through the culvert as well as an otter hedge running around the outside of Eller Beck Dam. These new wildlife-friendly additions will help to open up access for any local otter populations. A significant number of trees have also been planted around the two sites as well as further up the catchment including alder, oak, white willow as well as holly, hazel and blackthorn hedgerows.

Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, said:


Skipton is a town which knows the devastating impacts of flooding. We can never prevent all flooding, but we can reduce the risk of it happening and the damage if it does. I am delighted that this scheme will see hundreds of homes and businesses better protected for years to come.

This scheme forms part of more than half a billion pounds worth of government funding which we are investing across the whole of Yorkshire between 2015-2021 to reduce flood risk to nearly 60,000 properties.

The majority of the funding for the project has come from the Environment Agency which has contributed over £11m. Further funding also came from the Defra Growth Fund (£1.7m), North Yorkshire County Council (£750k), Yorkshire Regional Flood and Coastal Committee £300k and Yorkshire Water (£250k).

The scheme will also open up land to development for businesses which will have a positive impact on job creation and economic activity in the area and therefore benefits from Government Growth Deal funding, a deal between government and local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) to transform regional economy. The awarding bodies are the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Enterprise Partnership which awarded the scheme £1.2m, and Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, which extended a further £1.5m.

The scheme has also been made possible with support from Skipton Town Council, local businesses, the local community, and Craven District Council, who played an integral part in the successful application for significant Local Growth Funding.

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#71
In my role as Her Majesty’s trade commissioner for North America, my priority is to work with our teams across the US and Canada to help businesses of all sizes and from all parts of the UK to seize export opportunities in both countries, and to attract high quality investment to the UK.

Today, I am delighted to be hosting a series of trade events on board the Royal Navy’s new flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth alongside international trade secretary, Liam Fox.

This is an incredible opportunity: not only to demonstrate the strength of the UK-US relationship, but to build meaningful bridges between companies in key sectors.

The US and UK have long been partners at sea; the Anglo-American Shipping Collaboration during the Second World War saw millions of tonnes of supplies imported into the UK on US ships, protected by Royal Navy vessels.

Our militaries do more together than any 2 countries in the world, and our mutually-supportive cooperation enables us to operate together, and in wider alliances, around the world in the interests of global security.

Our troops equip, train, fight and recuperate together. Hundreds of UK personnel are stationed in the US, across 34 of the 50 states. The visit of HMS Queen Elizabeth to America’s largest city is a symbol of that ongoing friendship and a reminder that we are committed to standing shoulder to shoulder as we face today’s global challenges.

The UK and US have a particularly close working relationship in law enforcement and intelligence cooperation. Our countries’ expertise in cyber and artificial intelligence is a major theme of the trade day.

UK companies have the capability to provide the best-in-class services across a wide range of cyber security requirements, including threat intelligence, training and vulnerability assessments.

Aboard the HMS Queen Elizabeth today the DIT team here in New York, along with their counterparts across North America and in London, have arranged a series of roundtables and forums with industry that will allow key players from both countries, such as Garrison, iProov and Tessian, to meet and discuss opportunities to increase and develop their current partnerships in order to develop export opportunities.

The roundtable will see the founding of a new sub-committee of the UK’s prestigious Board of Trade, which will meet regularly to discuss how British cyber innovation can be exported around the world.

The UK currently exports £1.8 billion of cyber technology a year, but there is the potential to increase this to £3.1 billion by 2022.

Liam Fox and I will also attend the inaugural meeting of the Atlantic Forum today, this event will see the governments of both countries, senior military figures and businesses come together to discuss the cyber and artificial intelligence sectors and how we combat current threats.

The clear objective of today’s events is increased partnership with a country we consider our most significant ally both in defence and in trade.

Our cooperation will ensure that our nations maintain the joint capability needed to keep ahead of the curve.

The UK has recently been selected to be a global repair hub for the F-35, which is the fighter jet class that has been undergoing trials with the HMS Queen Elizabeth off the US East Coast over the past 2 months. We’re also investing billions of pounds in US attack helicopters, maritime patrol aircraft, and other systems.

Today’s events are just part of developing our broader trade and investment partnership with the US, our single largest trading partner, and with whom we are pursuing an ambitious trading future which will create even more export and investment opportunities for British businesses and consumers.

Every region in the UK trades with the US: salmon from Scotland appears in fine dining restaurants in Los Angeles, life sciences products from Manchester save lives in Texas, and space technology from Surrey takes off from Houston and Florida.

Our departure from the European Union gives us an unprecedented chance to see this trade increase, and the Department for International Trade is working hard to make this happen.

We are currently making good progress with Washington in our preparations for negotiating an ambitious UK-US Free Trade Agreement (FTA) once we have left the EU. Our trade and investment working group has met 4 times so far, and another meeting is scheduled in the near future.

At home, we are in the final stages of consulting on what an FTA should cover. We have had responses from across the business community and civil society, as well as significant input from members of the public. If you haven’t contributed to this, then please do so this week before the 26 October deadline.

Our US partners are also stepping up their own preparations.

I warmly welcome last week’s announcement from the US Trade Representative informing Congress of the intention to being formal negotiations with the UK once we leave the European Union. His reference to an FTA based on innovation is also an excellent reflection of the wider partnership we need to build between the UK and US to drive jobs and growth for the future.

Since starting my new role in North America last year, I have been struck by the demand for UK goods and services, across North America.

There are fantastic opportunities for UK companies here, which my hard-working team are constantly promoting through great.gov.uk and other channels. Events like those on board HMS Queen Elizabeth will ensure that we are putting business at the heart of our agenda over the coming months and years.

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#72
The G7 Foreign Ministers said:


The G7 Foreign Ministers, of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and the High Representative of the European Union, condemn in the strongest possible terms the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has confirmed took place in its consulate in Istanbul.

The confirmation of Mr Jamal Khashoggi’s death is a first step toward full transparency and accountability. However, the explanations offered leave many questions unanswered.

We reiterate our expectation for a thorough, credible, transparent, and prompt investigation by Saudi Arabia, in full collaboration with the Turkish authorities, and a full and rigorous accounting of the circumstances surrounding Mr Khashoggi’s death. Those responsible for the killing must be held to account. Saudi Arabia must put in place measures to ensure something like this can never happen again.

The circumstances of Mr Khashoggi’s death reaffirm the need to protect journalists and freedom of expression around the world.

We also extend our deepest condolences to Mr Khashoggi’s family, his fiancée, and his friends.
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#73
Thank you Mr President and a big thank you to all of our briefers. I would like to in particular ask SRSG Onanga and SR Moussa to pass on to their teams on the ground the thanks of the Council for the work they do in difficult circumstances and I echo my American colleague’s thanks and tribute to the Ambassador of Cote D’Ivoire for the very important work he has personally been spearheading on behalf of us all.

Mr President, we share the Secretary-General’s assessment that the security situation in CAR remains extremely fragile - a message repeated in a letter sent to all of us today by 45 NGOs active in that country.

As our briefers today have illustrated there are some positive signals of progress in CAR, but the security, humanitarian and justice situation remains concerning. The international community must not relax its efforts towards building a secure, stable, and peaceful CAR.

Civilians, peacekeepers, and humanitarian workers continue to be attacked. More than one in four Central Africans remain displaced; half of the population are in desperate need of humanitarian assistance. Only 36% of the 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan has been funded. We encourage all member states to help fill this gap. The UK has provided £63 million – or $81 million – in humanitarian aid to CAR since 2015. We believe that this aid supports progress towards a stable, secure, and peaceful CAR – something that remains in all of our interests.

It is clear that in order to achieve peace in CAR, efforts to stabilise the country in the short term must go hand in hand with longer-term progress on reconciliation, justice, and peace-building.

We therefore welcome the efforts of the African Peace Initiative, which remains the only viable path to peace. I agree wholeheartedly with the French Ambassador on the need to avoid parallel initiatives which risk confusion or worse.

A co-ordinated and sustained international support is vital if CAR is to achieve long lasting peace and stability. We therefore welcome the Secretary-General’s recommendation that there should be greater UN involvement in the Initiative, to ensure link up between political, peace, and security efforts and to reinforce crucial co-ordination between national and international partners on CAR’s road to peace.

Mr President, MINUSCA has an essential role to play in supporting the Peace Initiative, and the UK is committed to working within the Security Council to ensure that MINUSCA can deliver this support as part of its stabilisation mandate. We therefore welcome the Secretary-General’s recommendation for MINUSCA’s renewed focus on the peace process, including through more direct engagement.

Also, in support of MINUSCA’s mandate delivery, we commend the Secretary General’s plan to introduce a performance management mechanism to alleviate some of the pressures on the mission. This will give it greater ability to improve performance and to enforce the zero tolerance policy on sexual abuse and exploitation and sexual harassment. I note in this content, SRSG Parfait’s comments about ensuring that troops that are deployed are properly trained and equipped. He is right in saying that that is a responsibility of this Council.

We also welcome the Secretary-General’s recommendation to establish and implement a comprehensive strategic outreach and communication plan, making clear what MINUSCA is delivering for the people of CAR, building a better understanding of the peace process, and making sure we take into account the views and needs of Central Africans. As we have all heard many times in this Council and seen, an inclusive peace process, including one that is inclusive of women, is more likely to be sustainable and successful.

Among these concerns for CAR, we must remember that there can be no peace without justice. Incitement to violence, including on religious and ethnic grounds, and attacks on civilians, peacekeepers, and humanitarian workers will continue unchecked if perpetrators perceive impunity to be the standard.

We recognise the efforts by the government of Central African Republic, together with MINUSCA, to bring some of the perpetrators of serious crimes to account. In this regard, we hope that the positive news of the inaugural session of the Special Criminal Court yesterday will soon translate to concrete progress in the fight against impunity, especially now that the Court’s investigations can officially commence.

We urge the Central African Republic to work with international partners to expedite progress on criminal and transitional justice, and ensure that judicial mechanisms are in place to support due process on these and other cases – this remains an essential component to bringing stability to CAR.

Mr President, the international community and the government of the Central African Republic have come a long way since elections in 2015. We must continue to unite in our focus on building peace and stability in the country and on creating the conditions for the long-term protection and prosperity that the people deserve.

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#74
Thank you very much indeed Mr President. I apologize also to Mark that a previous engagement delayed my coming into the Chamber, but thank you very much Mark for another sobering briefing.

It is very good that the UN can report swiftly to the Council in line with Resolution 2417, whenever the risk of conflict-induced famine and widespread food insecurity in armed conflict contexts occurs. In that Resolution 2417, this Council expressed its intention to give its full attention to such information the Secretary-General provides. As we all know on the Council, Yemen has been one of those issues that the Council follows very deeply and is gravely concerned about. I am pleased to see the Ambassador has joined us today.

The numbers you have cited Mark are truly horrifying. The scale is of very grave concern and the fact that the crisis does not seem to be getting better is also something that the Council needs to take a deep interest in.

The figures, I won’t repeat them, but the fact that they are in the millions ought to be very salutary for us to think about. And the acute malnourishment of nearly 2 million children under the age of five in particular is a warning call. I understand that nearly 400,000 of those children suffer from severe acute malnutrition and that’s a life threatening condition and it requires urgent treatment.

The highest number of severe acute malnutrition cases is in Hodeidah governorate – some 100,000 cases. After airstrikes in late July resulted in the damage of the main sanitation facility and water supply , suspected cholera cases almost doubled and that of course increases the risk of a new wave of cholera. Only the humanitarian response is containing an outbreak like last year’s and a further disruption of humanitarian operations could have, as Mark said, catastrophic consequences.

Mark – you asked for increased funding and more support to humanitarian operations. Those efforts from the UAE and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are welcome. For the UK, we are determined to play our part. On World Food Day on 16 October, the United Kingdom announced a package of over $125 million, which we hope will help UNICEF tackle malnutrition in Yemen.

But funding alone will not be enough to address the growing risk of famine. We need urgent action by all parties on the economy, imports and access, and protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure.

Mr President, I wanted to highlight four issues in particular.

Firstly, about the economy: We share the concern about the rapid depreciation of the Yemeni Riyal. Soaring prices putting several basic commodities out of reach for many Yemenis and the central bank struggling to pay public-sector salaries. We look to the Government of Yemen and the Central Bank to take urgent action to stabilise the Riyal – for example by issuing promised letters of credit to Yemeni commercial food importers. Until that happens, we also suggest that the Government of Yemen pause implementation of Decree 75, which is preventing staple goods such as wheat, cooking oil and rice getting into the country at a time when they are most needed.

Secondly, unhindered access for commercial and humanitarian food and fuel into and throughout Yemen is essential if famine is to be avoided. The conflict is cutting off important transport routes, including the main route between Hodeidah and Sanaa and alternatives become more congested and more vulnerable. For their part, the Houthis must stop interfering with the humanitarian response so that food, fuel and medicines reach those most in need throughout the North.

Thirdly, it is essential that military operations be conducted in accordance with international humanitarian law. This includes protection of civilians and it includes protection of civilian infrastructure. We have consistently made this clear in the Council, but I repeat it again today. Not only is it important that military operations proceed with regard to the principles of proportionality, precaution and distinction, it is also the case that further damage to food infrastructure, such as mills and wheat silos threaten already fragile food supplies.

Fourthly and lastly, as we have made clear – only a political settlement will enable the worsening humanitarian crisis to be properly addressed and will bring long-term stability to Yemen. We call on all parties to engage constructively and in good faith with UN Special Envoy’s efforts to bring about a political settlement. We look forward to hearing from Martin Griffiths again in this Council. We last heard from the Special Envoy on 11 September following disappointing news from Geneva. We support his efforts which have continued since then, and we look forward to further update in the coming weeks on progress towards reaching agreement between the parties on confidence-building measures and a broader framework agreement.

On the four points that Mark has made - some of which I have covered now – I think they deserve very urgent consideration by the Council.

Thank you.

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#75
The seizures were part of Interpol’s globally coordinated Operation Pangea initiative involving 116 countries.

Between 9-17 October the MHRA and UK partners found falsified and unlicensed medicines and medical devices in the UK including diazepam, modafinil and dermal fillers.

Using intelligence, MHRA enforcement officers raided a semi-detached property and a small lock-up unit in connection with the illegal supply online of potentially harmful medicines. This led to one arrest.

Raids on the properties in the north of England involved local police and forms part of an international response coordinated through Interpol to the growing illegal trading in online medicines and medical devices. Worldwide, Operation Pangea led to 859 arrests and yielded items worth in the region of £10.9 million.

As well as the property raids, the team also targeted airports and mail delivery centres. During the searches, officers found numerous packages containing illegal consignments of medicines and medical devices including many hidden within other innocent items such as video games and clothing.

The team also targeted websites on the open and dark web that offer falsified and unlicensed medical products. Our action has led to 123 websites being shut down and the removal of 535 online adverts.

MHRA Head of Enforcement Alastair Jeffrey, said:


Criminals who sell medicines over the internet have absolutely no regard for your health and taking medicine which is ether falsified or unlicensed puts you at risk of serious harm.

Our intelligence-led enforcement operations have seized millions of counterfeit and unlicensed medicines and devices in the UK. This is just the tip of the iceberg, and we will continue to take action against known criminals – working with our international partners to stop illegal medicines from entering the UK.

To protect your health, visit your GP, get a correct diagnosis and buy medicines from a legitimate high street or registered pharmacy which can trade online with a distance selling logo.

The MHRA has also issued the following safety advice when buying medicines:

Be careful when buying medicines online


Be careful buying medicines online – criminals are known to exploit vulnerable people by supplying medicines through unregulated websites and stealing their credit card details.

Do not self-prescribe


Self-diagnosis and self-medication can be very dangerous. If you have a concern about your health, visit your GP, get a correct diagnosis and if medicines are prescribed, buy them from a legitimate source.

Report it!


If you have any knowledge of criminal activity relating to the medicines offences then you should report this to us to our case referrals email address: [email protected].

If you wish to report a website, you can do so on our page

You may also provide information anonymously through 0800 555111 or Crimestoppers

Separately, we recently worked with law enforcement agencies in India to prevent unlicensed medicines entering the UK.

Ends

Notes to Editor

  1. Types of medicines seized include: epilepsy, asthma, acne, narcolepsy, breast cancer, cholesterol reduction, erectile dysfunction, analgesics, hair loss, weight loss, painkillers, fertility, breast/prostate cancer, anxiety/insomnia, skin lightening, anti-depressants, diabetes, premature ejaculation, tanning, pain management, anti-inflammatory, steroids, anti-viral, eye drops, bacterial infection, eczema, eyelash hair growth, depression, hormones, dental equipment, and fake condoms.
  2. Operation Pangea is an international initiative to target the illegal internet trade in medicines. It was instigated by the MHRA in April 2006 and started as the UK Internet Day of Action (IDA).There were 116 countries participating in Op Pangea XI.
  3. The annual operation is the largest internet based enforcement action of its kind to date and was coordinated by INTERPOL, together with the World Customs Organization (WCO), the Permanent Forum of International Pharmaceutical Crime (PFIPC), the Heads of Medicines Agencies Working Group of Enforcement Officers (WGEO), Europol and the Pharmaceutical Security Institute (PSI), and supported by the Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CSIP) and private sector companies including LegitScript, Google, Mastercard, Visa, American Express and PayPal.
  4. Prescription only medicine should only be taken in consultation with a GP or other healthcare professional. These people have access to patient health records and can take into account the risks and benefits associated with every medicine as well as providing on-going monitoring of the treatment.
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#76
The Netherlands will today (24 October) become one of the first nations to announce they intend to sail alongside the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier in her first deployment in 2021.

A Dutch warship will participate in the Carrier Strike Group, which will be one of the cornerstones of NATO defence capability in the years ahead.

Welcoming the King and Queen of the Netherlands to Downing Street for the first time, the Prime Minister will thank the Dutch for their help in exposing the campaign of reckless cyber-attacks on political institutions perpetrated by the GRU.

This follows October Council, where she argued alongside Prime Minister Rutte of The Netherlands that we should accelerate the work on further measures, including sanctions, to respond to and deter cyber-attacks.

At today’s working lunch, the Prime Minister will acknowledge that our defence and security cooperation with The Netherlands both bilaterally and through NATO is going from strength to strength, as we continue to negotiate a deep security partnership with the EU post-Brexit.

Our cooperation with our allies makes people around the world safer and more secure, and today The Netherlands will also sign up to the UK’s Call for Action on Modern Slavery – an international commitment to ending the trafficking of vulnerable people into forced labour.

The Prime Minister said:


The Netherlands is one of our closest allies, as our recent work tackling cyber security threats demonstrates.

As we leave the European Union, we will continue to stand side by side to defend against threats to the global rules based system.

As I welcome King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima today, I’m pleased to announce that the Dutch navy will be among the first nations to join the Carrier Strike Group as a sign of our ongoing cooperation.

Ahead of their lunch at Downing Street, the Dutch King and Queen will watch a display of Dutch-UK naval capability from Royal Marines of both countries on the HMS Belfast and the HNLMS Zeeland.

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#77
UK and Dutch ministers today announced new commercial agreements and economic cooperation with between the UK and the Netherlands at the UK Netherlands Innovation Showcase event.

A set of new deals and agreements between UK and Dutch companies alongside the Showcase - being held as part of the Dutch State Visit - will see closer collaboration in the FinTech, clean growth and digital sectors.

These include:


  • EEW OSB announce the sale of 35 sets of transition pieces for wind turbines to Borssele 1 + 2, a Dutch wind farm project. This multi-million pound contract with Ørsted safeguards 180 jobs in Teesside, and represents EEW OSB’s first export order.


  • Dutch company Royal Boskalis and UK-based Tekmar Energy have announced a framework agreement to support the global offshore wind market, covering new product development and innovation. Tekmar expect to create 50 highly-skilled UK jobs across the sector in the long term.


  • Royal IHC, a Dutch supplier of innovative and efficient equipment, ships and services for the offshore, dredging and marine mining markets, will open its new offshore base in Newcastle at the end of October.


  • AkzoNobel will open 30 new Dulux Decorator Centres in the UK, creating and protecting over 100 jobs and bringing the total to 218 Dulux Decorator Centres, with the ambition of further growth.


  • UK-based money transfer company Azimo and UK FinTech firms Currency Cloud and Vitesse are investing £5 million to scale up operations in Amsterdam and Rotterdam as a part of their expansion plans into the European market, creating jobs back in the UK.


  • UK-based DAZN, the world’s largest sports broadcaster by volume, has announced the opening of its new development centre in Amsterdam, helping the business to grow globally. The British creative tech success story is on track to hire almost 1,000 employees in the UK this year, and have announced a further 200 for 2019.


  • Dutch company Tony’s Chocolonely has announced plans to launch in the UK in January 2019, creating 20 jobs at a new UK office. The company has the objective of improving conditions for all across the cocoa industry.


  • ING have announced the refurbishment of their Innovation Lab in Moorgate. This comes after their £5 million investment in UK Fintech company Funding Options

Moving to a greener, cleaner economy as well as reaping the benefits of global digital transformation have been identified as some of the biggest economic opportunities of our time.

That is why the Government has put Clean Growth and promoting the digital economy at the heart of its modern Industrial Strategy and just days ago hosted our first ever Green GB Week to raise awareness of the need and opportunity of tackling climate change.

‘Green collar’ jobs have the potential to reach two million by 2030 and there are already 1.5 million jobs in the digital industries today and this is growing at twice the rate of the economy as a whole. The clean growth sector alone could generate up to £170 billion in annual exports for UK businesses. The visit is an opportunity to demonstrate that, although our relationship might be changing in the context of our exit from the EU, our cooperation on trade and innovation remains indispensable. The British Royal Earl and Countess of Wessex, the City of London Lord Mayor and Mayoress and the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Stef Blok will attend the Showcase hosted by the Department for International Trade.

International Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox said:


The Dutch State Visit is an opportunity to celebrate the UK and the Netherlands’ more than 400-year long trading heritage. As the UK forges an independent trade policy for the first time in more than four decades, my international economic department is working with the Dutch – our North Sea Partners - towards a bright trading future too.

The Innovation Showcase will demonstrate the huge opportunities for our economies – two of the world’s most innovative – to collaborate even further, creating jobs and prosperity for generations to come.

Business Secretary, Greg Clark said:


The UK has become a beacon for clean growth, leading the world in cutting emissions whilst growing the economy and creating almost 400,000 jobs across the UK.

Our Industrial Strategy identified clean growth as one of the greatest industrial opportunities for the UK. Tekmar Energy and EEW OSB are reaping the benefits, providing parts for offshore windfarms off our coasts and around the world.

Minister for Investment, Graham Stuart said:


It’s a privilege to host the UK-Netherlands Innovation Showcase - providing an exciting glimpse into the vibrant trading future our two innovative economies can offer in years to come.

We are working with our colleagues in the Netherlands to give businesses the help they need to make that future a reality, providing jobs and prosperity on both sides of the North Sea.

Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Europe, Andrew Mitchell said:


The UK and Netherlands enjoy a rich history of trade spanning four centuries, but our two innovative economies are embracing the technologies that will ensure we share a bright trading future too.

As HMTC for Europe, I’m looking forward to seeing for myself the breadth of new opportunities we have together at the Innovation Showcase, and ways in which UK companies can assist.

CEO of Azimo, Michael Kent said:


The Department for International Trade has played a critical role in giving UK FinTechs the support they need to thrive in the UK and to create the strong foundations necessary to scale globally.

This includes making it easier for companies like us to set up in places like the Netherlands – they’ve created the blueprint for building a strong FinTech ecosystem that other nations follow.

Matthew Wright, Ørsted UK Managing Director, said:


This multi-million pound order secures 180 jobs in Teesside and high utilisation in the facility for the first half of 2019. By building long-term relationships with highly productive suppliers such as EEW OSB, MHI Vestas Blades UK, and Ordtek, UK companies from across the value chain can not only benefit from UK projects, they can really take advantage of the growing global export opportunity.

Chief Executive of DAZN Group, Simon Denyer said:


The global sports industry is ripe for disruption and DAZN is leading the charge. We’re a fast-growth British tech export, and our software developers are creating a market-leading product in the UK, Poland and now the Netherlands – where we have opened a new development centre that will power our global expansion plans and create hundreds of tech jobs.

We’re scaling up fast and on track to hire almost 1,000 employees in the UK this year alone. The support we’ve received from the Department for International Trade to strengthen ties between the digital creative communities in London and Amsterdam has been invaluable.

The UK is home to the world’s largest offshore wind sector, with almost half of global offshore wind capacity installed here in the UK. This year we have produced record levels of wind power and opened the world’s largest windfarm off the coast of Cumbria.

To help grow the clean growth sector, the government is creating the right conditions to ensure businesses can seize those opportunities through our modern Industrial Strategy. Our world-leading Clean Growth Strategy sets out how we’re investing more than £2.5 billion in low carbon innovation as part of the largest increase in public spending on science, research and innovation in over 3 decades.

The government has also earmarked more than half a billion pounds for emerging renewable technologies to give them the certainty developers need to invest while driving down costs for consumers.

The Netherlands are the UK’s third-largest trading partner and fourth-largest export market, in the last year Heineken – one of the UK’s largest investors – announced a further investment of £44 million, creating more than 1,000 new UK jobs.

Fellow Dutch company NewCold – who operate within the frozen food supply chain – have also invested £100m in a new distribution centre in Wakefield, adding a further 70 jobs in the next two years to the current team of 200.

Notes for Editors

UK-Netherlands trade


  • The total UK-Netherlands trading relationship was valued £85.8 billion in 2017 – a 14.4% year-on-year increase.


  • Latest UK export figures from the ONS recorded a high value of £637 billion, while the UK is Europe’s number one destination for foreign direct investment.

Other UK and Dutch agreements include:

  • The UK’s Jacopa Ltd have established an agreement with the Netherlands’ Machinefabriek Bosker en Zonen BV (Bosker) to sell the latter’s internationally renowned water and wastewater automatic screen equipment into UK environmental and water utility markets. Bosker, in return, will offer Jacopa’s grit removal and sewage treatment equipment in Dutch markets.

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