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Written Ministerial Statements

Tuesday 24 May 2005


Criminal Defence Service Bill: Framework Document

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs (Bridget Prentice): I have today published the "Criminal Defence Service Bill: Framework Document" which accompanies the Criminal Defence Service Bill, introduced in the House of Lords yesterday. Copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. It is also available on the Department for Constitutional Affairs website.


EU Emissions Trading Scheme

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Margaret Beckett): On 11 March, we announced that we intended to issue allowances as soon as possible to allow operators to participate in the EU emissions trading scheme. I am pleased to say that the allowances have been published today. Emissions trading will start in the UK with the UK registry becoming operational, allowing operators participating in the scheme to access their allowances later this week.

Emissions trading are a key component of UK and wider European action to tackle climate change. The Government are committed to using the UK's G8 and EU presidencies this year to combat the growing problem of man-made climate change. The scheme is set to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions by around 65 million tonnes carbon dioxide (around 8 per cent.) below projected emissions of the installations covered by the scheme over the next three years. It gives industry a clear incentive to reduce carbon emissions, while enabling it to do so at least cost.
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Fifth Report: Independent Monitoring Commission

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Mr. Peter Hain): I have received the fifth report of the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC). This report has been made under articles 4 and 7 of the international agreement that established the Commission and it reports on levels of paramilitary activity in Northern Ireland. I have considered the content of the report and I am today bringing it before Parliament. I have placed copies in the Library of the House.

The report concludes that paramilitary groups continue to be active in violent and other crime and none has materially wound down its capability to commit violent or other crime. Dissident republican groups are the most committed to continuing terrorism. A downward trend in paramilitary violence has continued. Loyalist groups remain responsible for more violence than republican ones. Exiling continues and there are indications that a considerable proportion of the prisoners released under the terms of the Belfast agreement have re-engaged in paramilitary activities or have become involved in organised crime, or both.

The report recommends that the review of the licensing regime for the security industry should take account of the need to ensure it bears down to the maximum extent possible on paramilitary involvement, in conjunction with other control regimes and other aspects of law enforcement. A review of security licensing arrangements in Northern Ireland is underway and IMC's views will be fully taken into account as part of those deliberations.

The IMC report also recommends that I should continue the financial measures against the Progressive Unionist Party in the Northern Ireland Assembly. I shall now consider carefully the Commission's recommendations and will make a further statement in due course.

I am grateful to the Commission for its submission of this report and for its careful analysis.


Ministerial Cabinet Committees

The Prime Minister (Mr. Tony Blair): I have today placed a copy of the current list of Cabinet Committees with their full membership and terms of reference in the Libraries of both Houses. Details have also been updated on the Cabinet Office website.