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Written Ministerial Statements

Wednesday 3 November 2004

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER

Planning Policy Statement 23

The Minister for Housing and Planning (Keith Hill): I am announcing today the publication of a new planning policy statement on "Planning and Pollution Control". The new Planning Policy Statement 23 (PPS23) and its two annexes covering pollution control, air and water quality and development on land affected by contamination, will replace the remaining extant parts of Planning Policy Guidance Note 23 (PPG23), "Planning and Pollution Control", published in 1994.

A draft of PPS23 was issued for public consultation in July 2002. The key policy aims of PPS23 are to facilitate planning for good quality, sustainable development that takes appropriate account of pollution and contaminated land control issues while avoiding duplication of the existing pollution control systems. The aim is to enable the planning system to contribute to improvements in the quality of air and water and to assist in the remediation of contaminated land through the process of development—which is the main driver in bringing such land back into beneficial use.

Local planning authorities will need to have regard to the policies in PPS23 in preparing their local development documents, as should regional planning bodies in the preparation of regional spatial strategies. The policies will also be material to decisions on individual planning applications where pollution issues arise or which concern contaminated land. Planning authorities have an important role to play in ensuring that development proposals do not risk adding to pollution, and properly address pollution issues and the action needed to bring contaminated previously developed land back into safe and sustainable use.

Copies of PPS23 are being made available in the Libraries of both Houses following publication. It is also being made available on the website of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

HEALTH

Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Ms Rosie Winterton): We have today agreed a 7 per cent. price reduction for branded prescription medicines with the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI). The reduction has been agreed as part of a new pharmaceutical price regulation scheme (PPRS) agreement. It will save more than £1.8 billion over the next five years on these medicines. This money will be channelled back into front-line national health services by local primary care trusts.
 
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The new PPRS agreement will last for five years. Its objectives are to:

It is important that we continue to encourage the pharmaceutical industry in its first-class research and development work to deliver new and improved medicines for patients. For this reason, the agreement includes improved incentives for the research and development of new medicines, including those for children.

The PPRS is a voluntary agreement between the ABPI and the four health departments in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is backed by section 33 of the Health Act 1999. It allows companies freedom of pricing for new active substances (new medicines) when launched on the UK market, and sets a target rate of return on capital and allowances for research and development and marketing expenditure. Companies that exceed the level of profit allowed under the scheme are required to repay the excess.

Those branded pharmaceutical companies that elect not to join the PPRS will be subject to a statutory scheme under sections 34 to 38 of the Health Act 1999.

HOME DEPARTMENT

Youth Justice Board

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Paul Goggins): The Youth Justice Board's annual review for 2003–04 has today been laid before both Houses of Parliament. Copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

The Youth Justice Board is an executive non-departmental public body established under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 to monitor the operation and performance of the youth justice system and to identify and disseminate good practice to prevent offending by children and young people. The board is also responsible for commissioning services for young people under 18 who are sentenced and remanded to secure facilities.

The annual review 2003–04 reports on the ongoing improvements to the youth justice system and early intervention initiatives. The review highlights:


 
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NORTHERN IRELAND

Northern Ireland Housing Executive

The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office (Mr. John Spellar): The accounts of the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIA 115/03) for the year ended 31 March 2004 incorporating the report of the
 
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Comptroller and Auditor General thereon will be laid before the Northern Ireland Assembly on Wednesday 3 November 2004.

Copies of the Northern Ireland Assembly paper have been placed in the House of Commons Library at Westminster and in the Northern Ireland Assembly Library at Stormont.