"I am today publishing DCA'S strategy for the next five years. This explains how we intend to reform and modernise the justice system and constitution so that they are transparent, accountable and responsive to the needs of the public. An overview of the strategy and the detailed strategy itself are both available on the DCA website www.dca.gov.uk/, and I shall also be placing copies in the Libraries of both Houses".
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Mr. Ivor Caplin): The new rates of war pensions and allowances proposed from April 2005 are set out in the tables below. The annual uprating of war pensions and allowances for 2005 will take place from the week beginning 11 April.
|Weekly rates unless otherwise shown||Rates2004||Rates2005|
|Disablement Pension (100% rates)|
|officer (£ per annum)||6,648.00||6,851.00|
|over 50% but not over 70%||13.10||13.50|
|over 70% but not over 90%||18.65||19.25|
|specified minor injury (min.)||810.00||835.00|
|specified minor injury (max.)||6,055.00||6,243.00|
|unspecified minor injury (min.)||335.00||345.00|
|unspecified minor injury (max.)||7,874.00||8,118.00|
|adult dependency increase||44.35||45.70|
|increase for first child||10.30||10.60|
|increase for subsequent children||12.10||12.50|
|Constant attendance allowance|
|full day rate||48.10||49.60|
|Allowance for lowered standard of occupation (maximum)||48.04||49.52|
|Therapeutic earnings limit||3,744.00||4,056.00|
|Exceptionally severe disablement allowance||48.10||49.60|
|Severe disablement occupational allowance||24.05||24.80|
|Clothing allowance (£ per annum)||164.00||169.00|
|Education allowance (£ per annum) (max)||120.00||120.00|
|War widow(er)s' pension (further details in schedule WWP)|
|widow(er)sOfficer (£ pa max)||5,948.00||6,132.00|
|Childless widow(er)s'u-40 (other ranks)||23.13||23.85|
|Childless widow(er)s'u-40 (Officer max. £s pa)||5,948.00||6,132.00|
|(a) age 6569||11.05||11.40|
|(b) age 70 to 79||21.15||21.80|
|(c) age 80 and over||31.40||32.35|
|Increase for first child||15.20||15.65|
|Increase for subsequent children||16.95||17.50|
|Increase for first child||17.25||17.80|
|Increase for subsequent children||18.95||19.55|
|Unmarried dependant living as spouse (max.)||94.15||97.15|
|Rent allowance (max.)||36.40||37.55|
|Adult orphan's pension (max.)||74.15||76.45|
The Government remain committed to reduce the number of fire deaths and deliberate fires. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's fire public service agreement target commits us to achieving long-term reductions in fire deaths and arson, including in the worst off areas. The Government also recognise the fire and rescue national framework sets out the strategy for meeting the Government's objectives and delivering an improved service that achieves better value for money for the communities it serves.
6 Dec 2004 : Column 73WS
At the request of fire and rescue authorities we agreed to publish the 200506 national framework in time to inform authorities' budget setting processes. The 200506 national framework reflects progress that has been made since the publication of the 200405 national framework in July 2004 and reflects comments we have received in response to our consultation exercise. We have carefully considered all responses and have reflected them in the national framework where appropriate. The Government's full response to the comments is published on the ODPM website.
The national framework is a forward looking document. Fire and rescue authorities will soon begin the process of comprehensive performance assessment. Fire CPA will provide a robust assessment of progress by the service since publication of the White Paper and a firm basis for further improvement.
The 200506 national framework has effect under section 21(6) of the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004 as a revision, which appears to the Secretary of State to be significant, of the 200405 national framework.
The Minister for Housing and Planning (Keith Hill): On Wednesday this week the East of England Regional Assembly (EERA) will be launching its proposals for revising the Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) for the East of England. I am today announcing that public consultation on EERA's draft proposals will, commence on Wednesday and run until 16 March 2005.
This is the first RSS to come forward under the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. The draft revisions set out EERA's view as to the appropriate spatial development strategy to guide planning and development in the East of England to the year 2021. The RSS sets out EERA's proposals for the development of the region's economy, housing and transport infrastructure. It also encompasses policies and proposals for the environment, town centres, waste, culture, sport and recreation, and mineral extraction.
The RSS will provide the regional framework for the plans and strategies of a range of public, private and voluntary organisations, including the preparation of local authority development plans and local transport plans.
In order to allow for the Christmas holiday period, public consultation has been extended from the minimum 12 weeks required by statute to 14 weeks, ending on 16 March 2005. It is open to anybody to make representations on the content of EERA's draft RSS. Public consultation is a key part of our planning reforms and I would urge stakeholders to take the opportunity offered to make their views known. Full details about the consultation document and how to respond are available on EERA's website and at local council offices.
The consultation will lead on to an examination in public (EiP) to debate and test EERA's draft proposals. The EiP is due to start in September 2005. A panel
6 Dec 2004 : Column 74WS
independent of EERA and central government will oversee the EiP process. The panel will, on the basis of the representations received, decide which matters should be discussed and who should be invited to attend.
Following the EiP, the panel will prepare a report of findings and recommendations to the Government on how the draft RSS might be improved. This will be a public report, due in early 2006. The Government will then issue proposed changes to the draft RSS, taking account of the panel's recommendations and representations on any matters not considered at the EiP. The proposed changes are likely to be published for public consultation during summer 2006.
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