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Written Ministerial Statements

Tuesday 9 November 2004


Second World War Commemorative Coin

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Gordon Brown): Her Majesty the Queen has been graciously pleased to approve my recommendation that a £2 coin should be issued in 2005 commemorating the 60th anniversary of the end of the second world war.

Collector versions of the coin will be released at a premium above face value and, during the course of the year, the coin will also become available at its face value from banks and post offices.


Housing Revenue Account

The Minister for Housing and Planning (Keith Hill): We have today issued for consultation the drafts of the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) subsidy and Item 8 determinations for 2005–06, which set out proposed figures for subsidy allocations for individual housing authorities. Copies of the draft determinations and supporting material are being made available in the Library of the House, and will be available on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's website. These allocations are based on the most up-to-date information available to us from authorities, and may change as that information is refined. Authorities have until 10 December to comment on the draft determinations.

For 2005–06, we will increase the resources per dwelling available at the national level for management and maintenance allowances by almost 11 per cent. in cash terms. This follows from the previously announced 6 per cent. real increase, and allowances for inflation and changes due to rent restructuring. It will provide authorities with an extra £144 per dwelling compared with 2004–05.

The major repairs allowance will increase by about 3.6 per cent. per dwelling in cash terms at the national level.

In addition, the draft determinations propose to continue the reforms in the calculation and allocation of management and maintenance allowances, which began in last year's determination round. The proposals for the management and maintenance allowances in 2005–06 take account of better and more representative data.

Data for the maintenance formula has been expanded to take account of criminal damage to dwellings, re-let data has been expanded to include re-let and terminations, whilst the property void rate is to be averaged across the year rather than simply being taken at year end.
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Similarly, for management allowances, we propose now to use crime figures based on harassment data, and take data from the 2004 index of deprivation, rather than the 2000 index that was used last year. Management allowances will also benefit from the same expanded definition of re-lets and terminations as used in maintenance allowances. Most local authorities will gain from the changes proposed in the draft determinations, and some will benefit substantially.

The Government also announced that the consultation on the three-year review of rent restructuring, which had recently closed, had highlighted some issues around the data used which required further analysis and consideration. It is important that we get this right. So we have listened to these concerns and decided to defer change for a year to ensure that we have the right basis for moving forward. We have reflected this in the allocation of allowances to authorities within the subsidy system. It remains our intention that social rents will be restructured and that over time tenants in social housing should pay similar rents for similar properties regardless of landlord.


Warship Support Agency Targets (2004–05)

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Mr. Adam Ingram): Key targets have been set for the chief executive of the WSA for financial year 2004–05 as follows:
KT 1a—Provision Of Available Force Element DaysThe measurement of the number of days when the material condition of a vessel enables it to perform its scheduled task on that day.To provide Commander-In-Chief Fleet (CINCFLEET) with the Target level of Available Force Element Days agreed in the CINCFLEET/Defence Logistics Organisation (DLO) Customer Supplier Agreement (CSA).
KT 1a—Provision Of Available Force Element DaysThe measurement of the number of days when the material state of a vessel enables it to meet its required Readiness Category.To provide CINCFLEET with the Target level of the Ready Force Element Days agreed in the CINCFLEET/DLO Customer Supplier Agreement (CSA)
KT 2—Timely Completion Of Upkeep PeriodsThe measurement of the amount by which the upkeep periods overrun.To meet the planned delivery dates for vessels undergoing deep maintenance and repair within the agreed Upkeep Factor tolerance.
KT 3—Timely Completion Of The High Priority Capability Improvement ProgrammeThe measurement of the number of high priority upgrades implemented in accordance with the agreed and published installation plan.To fit 87 per cent. of the high priority, Type A Capability Improvements (Alterations & Additions—A&A) selected by the Equipment Capability Customer (ECC).
KT 4—Provision Of Single Living AccommodationThe measurement of the increase in available Single Living Accommodation (SLA)To provide CINCFLEET, 2SL/CNH and Naval Base Lodger Units with the required quantity and quality of Single Living Accommodation for their entitled personnel, as articulated in DLO CSA.
KT 5—Provision Of Operational Support Services At The Naval BasesThe measurement of the delivery of Operational Support Services to a satisfactory standard.To provide CINCFLEET with the Operational Support Services articulated in DLO Customer Supplier Agreements (CSA) at the agreed ISO 9000 Quality Management Standard.
KT 6—Maintenance Of WSA Capacity To Support The Naval Force Generation Plan- the assurance that the Agency has the capacity to contribute to the Naval Force Generation Plan.To achieve a satisfactory assessment against all elements of the Agency's contribution to the Naval Force Generation Plan.
KT 7—Delivering Planned EfficienciesThe measurement of the delivery of planned efficiencies.To ensure delivery of 90 per cent. of the planned efficiency savings in the DLO Benefits Tracking Tool that are scheduled to be achieved this Financial Year.

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Director of Operational Capabilities (2nd Reappraisal of Initial Training)

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Mr. Adam Ingram): In my statement to the House on the Ministry of Defence's response to the Surrey police report into the four tragic deaths of Deepcut Barracks on 24 May 2004, Official Report, columns 1306–21, I informed right hon. and hon. Members that the Director of Operational Capability would undertake a further reappraisal of initial training in the armed forces to assess progress in the implementation of the recommendations of his first report.

This reappraisal, that included visits to 12 units across the three services, and interviews with 1,252 recruits and trainees and 307 instructor staff, command and administrative authorities and representatives of welfare, social and emotional support groups, is now complete.

The report confirms that significant progress has been made in implementing all the recommendations set out in the original report. It concludes that particular advances have been made in the field of duty of care arrangements for recruits and trainees, and highlights the considerable energy, imagination and leadership that is being applied in an effort to improve the regime in which recruits and trainees are trained. That said, it identifies areas where further work is required, to ensure that the training organisation meets the highest standards demanded. We are now taking these matters forward.

I am today placing copies of the report in the Libraries of both Houses.