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Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will set out the period of time for which spent nuclear fuel from the Kalkar SNR 300 is permitted to be stored at the UKAEA's Dounreay site; when he expects the plutonium fuel to be moved from Dounreay; and what its final destination will be. [145282]

Mrs. Liddell: The Kalkar SNR 300 fuel is permitted to be stored at Dounreay until 31 December 2001. It is expected that the fuel will be removed by this date and returned to its German owners, Restabwicklung SNR 300 GmbH. UKAEA expect to return the fuel to Hanau in germany. The final destination of the fuel is a matter for its owners, but nay export of the fuel from the UK will be permitted only once its final destination and use has been notified.

Nuclear Security

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the review of security at nuclear plants. [145280]

Mrs. Liddell: Security procedures at civil nuclear sites are kept constantly under review and updated in the light of changing circumstances to ensure their continuing effectiveness. The Director of Civil Nuclear Security, the Government's Regulator, is confident that existing procedures are adequate and effective.

Manufacturing (Job Losses)

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what the (a) status and (b) composition is of

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the ministerial group on manufacturing job losses referred to by the Leader of the House on 21 December 2000, Official Report, column 574. [145777]

Mr. Alan Johnson: There is no formal ministerial group as described by the hon. Member on 21 December 2000, Official Report, column 574. However in addition to work undertaken by certain Committees, different groups of Ministers do meet from time to time to discuss industrial issues, including job losses. The status of such groups is informal and membership varies according to the issue under discussion. I am advised that my right hon. Friend was referring to the ongoing activity of such informal meetings and groups.


Court of Protection

Mr. Loughton: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if she will make a statement on her plans for the reform of the Court of Protection. [145736]

Jane Kennedy: Plans for the reform of the Court of Protection are set out in the Government's Policy Statement "Making Decisions", issued in October 1999. The Policy Statement sets out the Government's proposals to reform the law in order to improve and clarify the decision-making process for those who are unable to make decisions for themselves. This includes establishing a new single court jurisdiction which will deal with all areas of decision-making for adults without capacity. The new jurisdiction will be based at the Court of Protection. The establishment of the new Court will require legislative change.

Family Law Act

Mr. Coleman: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department when she will publish the final evaluation report of research into pilot information meetings under Part II of the Family Law Act 1996; and what plans the Government have to implement Part II of the Act. [146031]

Jane Kennedy: The Final Evaluation Report has been published today, and copies have been placed in the Library. The Lord Chancellor and I are grateful for Professor Walker and her team at Newcastle University for the very detailed and informative report they have produced.

On 17 June 1999, Official Report, column 213W, the Government announced that they would await the Final Evaluation Report before deciding the way forward on Part II.

The research has concluded that none of the six models of information meeting tested over a two-year period is good enough for the implementation of Part II on a nation-wide basis. It has shown that, for most people, the meetings came too late to save marriages and tended to incline those who were uncertain about their marriages towards divorce. While people valued the provision of information, the meetings were too inflexible, providing general information about both marriage saving and the divorce process. People wanted information tailored to

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their individual circumstances and needs. In addition, in the great majority of cases, only the person petitioning for divorce attended the meeting, but marriage counselling, conciliatory divorce and mediation depend for success on the willing involvement of both parties.

The Report has suggested testing a further model designed to address the majority of the shortcomings identified in the pilots. However, this new kind of meeting would not solve the underlying problems associated with compulsory information meetings, in particular the timing of the meetings in the divorce process and their inability to engage both parties.

Furthermore, in the Government's view the problems with Part II are not limited to the provisions on information meetings. The new procedures would be complex and likely to lead to significant delay and uncertainty which would not be in the best interests of the couple or their children. There are concerns that the provisions would prove unworkable in practice.

The Government therefore do not believe Part II would fulfil the principles of Part I of the Act, to which they remain committed. These principles include saving saveable marriages and, where marriages break down, bringing them to an end with the minimum distress to the parties and children affected.

The Government are not satisfied that it would be right to proceed with the implementation of Part II and propose to invite Parliament to repeal the relevant sections of the Family Law Act 1996 once a suitable legislative opportunity occurs. This decision does not affect section 22, in Part II, relating to the funding of marriage support services, which is in force and will remain so. In addition, while it is not possible to implement separately the provisions at sections 9(3) and (4) of Part II, the Government are sympathetic to the needs of Jewish women who are denied a religious divorce, and is considering the best way forward.

The Government will draw on the Evaluation Report and build on the initiatives already under way in their efforts to support marriage and stable relationships and to reduce the damaging impact of family conflict and relationship breakdown on children. They have taken forward a wide range of measures over the past three years to help families, including establishing the new Children's Fund and the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service, improving maternity and parental leave arrangements, and increasing funding for marriage and relationship support to a total of £5 million per annum by 2002-03.

Marriage and Relationship Support

Mr. Coleman: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what grants her Department has made towards marriage and relationship support in the current financial year. [146029]

Jane Kennedy: During the current financial year (2000-01), the Lord Chancellor's Department will spend £4 million on marriage and relationship support, an increase of £0.8 million on funding for the financial year 1999-2000.

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The funding has been allocated as follows: Relate--£2,396,585; Tavistock Marital Studies Institute--£486,161; Marriage Care--£333,516; One plus One--£357,000; Jewish Marriage Council--£48,313; Family Welfare Association--£99,925; London Marriage Guidance--£100,000.00; Parentline Plus--£60,000; National Marriage Week--£30,000; Community Family Projects--£30,000;£40,000; and Asian Family Counselling Service--£18,500.

The funding will be spent on improving existing marriage and relationship support services, research into the most effective interventions, and disseminating good practice.

We are increasing the amount of money available to £4.5 million from the next financial year (2001-02).

Civil Justice Reform

Mr. Coleman: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what action his Department is taking in respect of the recommendations in the final report of the Civil Justice Reform Group in Northern Ireland. [146030]

Mr. Lock: The Final Report of the Civil Justice Reform Group was published on 16 June with a consultation period until the end of September. The Lord Chancellor's original purpose in establishing the Group was to ensure a reform programme tailored to Northern Ireland's needs and informed by those with practical experience of the system.

The Lord Chancellor and I are very grateful to Lord Justice Campbell, who chaired the Group, and to the other members for their work. We are also grateful to those who responded during the consultation period. Broadly, the Lord Chancellor and I accept the Report's main direction and its principal recommendations. There are notable departures from arrangements in England and Wales but the Government are satisfied they are appropriate in the Northern Ireland context.

There are a few technical recommendations in relation to expert evidence on which the Lord Chancellor and I do not share the views expressed in the Report. These will require further consideration and of course there are other points of detail to be looked at closely during the implementation process, but overall the Government are of the view that the Report's recommendations represent a major step forward in the reform of the civil justice

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system in Northern Ireland to make it as accessible, economic and efficient as possible. Implementation will begin as soon as possible with an increase in the small claims jurisdiction early this year followed by an approximately two year rolling programme of subordinate legislation and operational changes.

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