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Today's Written Statements Update

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Written statements are published on the internet as soon as possible after Parliament receives them and are also published in the next day’s edition of Hansard.

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Brandon Lewis - Department for Communities and Local Government

This Statement confirms changes to national planning policy to make intentional unauthorised development a material consideration, and also to provide stronger protection for the Green Belt, as set out in the manifesto.

The Government is concerned about the harm that is caused where the development of land has been undertaken in advance of obtaining planning permission. In such cases, there is no opportunity to appropriately limit or mitigate the harm that has already taken place. Such cases can involve local planning authorities having to take expensive and time consuming enforcement action.

For these reasons, we introduced a planning policy to make intentional unauthorised development a material consideration that would be weighed in the determination of planning applications and appeals. This policy applies to all new planning applications and appeals received since 31 August 2015.

The Government is particularly concerned about harm that is caused by intentional unauthorised development in the Green Belt.

For this reason the Planning Inspectorate will monitor all appeal decisions involving unauthorised development in the Green Belt to enable the Government to assess the implementation of this policy.

In addition we will consider the recovery of a proportion of relevant appeals in the Green Belt for the Secretary of States decision to enable him to illustrate how he would like his policy to apply in practice. Such appeals will be considered for recovery under the criterion set out in 2008: There may on occasion be other cases which merit recovery because of the particular circumstances.

After six months we will review the situation to see whether it is delivering our objective of protecting land from intentional unauthorised development.

The National Planning Policy Framework makes clear that most development in the Green Belt is inappropriate and should be approved only in very special circumstances. Consistent with this, this Statement confirms the Governments policy that, subject to the best interests of the child, personal circumstances and unmet need are unlikely to clearly outweigh harm to the Green Belt and any other harm so as to establish very special circumstances.

Mr Hugo Swire - Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Copies of the British Councils Annual Report and Accounts for the 2014-2015 financial year have been placed in the libraries of both Houses. The Report can also be found at the British Councils website

During the period the British Council received 154.88 million Grant-in-Aid from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.

Mr Jeremy Hunt - Department of Health

NHS England will today publish the Mazars report on Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust. It will be available on the NHS England website later today at I want to update the House on the action that the NHS will be taking in response.

The report describes, as I set out to the House on 10th December (HC Deb, Col 1141-2), a lack of leadership, focus and sufficient time spent in the trust on carefully reporting and investigating unexpected deaths of mental health and learning disability service users. The report found that there had been no effective, systematic management and oversight of the reporting of deaths and the investigations that follow.

I am determined that we learn the lessons of this report, and use it to help build a culture in which failings in care form the basis for learning for organisations and for the system as a whole.

As a first step, I am announcing a number of measures today to address both the local issues at Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust and the systemic issues raised in the report:

- The Care Quality Commission will undertake a focused inspection of Southern Healthcare early in the new year, looking in particular at the Trusts approach to the investigation of deaths. As part of this inspection, the CQC will assess the Trusts progress in implementing the action plan required by Monitor and in making the improvements required during their last inspection, published in February of this year.

- Avoidable mortality understanding, action and improvement. The report reinforces the point that we need to do more across providers to understand and tackle the problem of avoidable mortality. Bruce Keogh and Mike Durkin are therefore writing to Medical Directors to describe the offer of help to providers (the mortality audit tool, case-note review methodology and reiterating the governments commitment to delivering medical examiners) setting out how to use the audit tool to supply data to support understanding and improvement.

- Learning Disability and mortality. The Learning Disability mortality review will support improvement by acting as a repository for anonymised reports pertaining to people with learning disabilities from a variety of sources, in particular anonymised copies of Serious Case Reviews and Ombudsman Reports. This project will start in January 2016.

- The Care Quality Commission will also be undertaking a wider review into the investigation of deaths in a sample of all types of NHS trust (acute, mental health and community trusts) in different parts of the country. As part of this review, we will assess whether opportunities for prevention of death have been missed, for example by late diagnosis of physical health problems.

I will continue to update the House on progress in each of these areas. I will place a copy of the report in the Library of both Houses once it has been published by NHS England.


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