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Mark Lancaster - Ministry of Defence

The Ministry of Defence is required to review their Non Departmental Public Bodies at least once every three years to ensure that they have regular independent challenge.

I am today announcing the outcome of the Triennial review of the Veterans Advisory and Pensions Committees (VAPCs). The Review examined whether there is a continuing need for the function provided by the VAPCs and concluded in two stages. The first stage examined the key functions of the VAPCs and the second stage ensured that the body is operating in line with the recognised principles of good corporate governance.

The review concluded that the VAPCs continue to provide valuable impartial advice to both myself and Veterans UK, part of Defence Business Services. In addition, the VAPCs continue to play an important role in furthering the interests and needs of veterans, not least of which is the result of the establishment of forums under the Armed Forces and Community Covenants, which continue to generate significant contribution from the public sector, local authorities and military units. Thus the VAPCs are able to sustain clear and relevant value for a range of stakeholders.

Amber Rudd - Home Office

The Home Office requires an advance to start recruitment of the Director General of the Office for Police Conduct. This advance is to cover recruitment costs only, as the successful candidate will take up their post following Royal Assent of the Policing and Crime Bill.

Parliamentary approval for additional resources of 15,000 for this new service will be sought in a Supplementary Estimate for the Home Office. Pending that approval, urgent expenditure estimated at 15,000 will be met by repayable cash advances from the Contingencies Fund.

Mr Philip Hammond - HM Treasury

Further to the statement provided to the House on 4 December 2015, today I can inform the House that the trading plan to sell the Governments shares in Lloyds Banking Group has been re-started. This is a further step in the Governments plan to return Lloyds to the private sector.

I received advice from UK Financial Investments (UKFI) that selling shares through the trading plan represents good value for money for the taxpayer. This sales method has been very successful previously, achieving over 9bn of sales between December 2014 and June 2016. In total, we have recovered over 16.9 billion for the taxpayer from Lloyds through sales and dividend payments.

The trading plan commenced on 7 October 2016 and will run for a year. Shares will not be sold below a floor price that HMT has determined delivers value for money for the taxpayer and ensures that the government will get back all of the 20.3 billion that taxpayers injected into Lloyds during the financial crisis. The actual number of shares sold under the trading plan will depend on market conditions.

I can also announce the withdrawal of the Lloyds retail offer. At the current share price, the retail offer would be extremely unlikely to recoup all the money the taxpayers put into the bank. Our plan will get back all the cash taxpayers invested in Lloyds during the financial crisis and leave the bank in a better place to continue the crucial role it plays in supporting individuals, families and businesses up and down the UK.

I will update Parliament with further details at the end of the trading plan.

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