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Consultation on Night Flying Restrictions

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Ms Karen Buck): On 21 July 2004, my predecessor responsible for aviation, the hon. Member for Harrow East, (Mr. McNulty), launched stage one of a two stage consultation process about setting the night restrictions regime at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted for the future.

We shall be publishing at 10 am tomorrow the consultation paper on stage two. It was not possible to publish the second stage consultation paper in time to enable us to have a new regime in place by 30 October this year. Our second stage consultation on the new regime is important. The proposals take account of the responses to stage one. We shall welcome responses on the stage two proposals from any interested person or organisation. In order to allow time for the consultation process and analysis of responses, the present night restrictions regime will continue for a further year from 30 October 2005 until 29 October 2006. During that year we propose that the current regime should continue unchanged. The consultation document will then set out the proposed night restrictions regime to apply to the end of the summer season 2012.

Interested parties will have 14 weeks to comment on the consultation, with the closing date being 16 September.

Copies of the consultation document will be placed in the Library of the House and on the internet at I am also placing in the House Library, and at the same web address a summary of the responses to the stage one consultation. Copies of all the responses, except where the author has requested confidentiality, are available for six months for inspection by prior appointment at the DfT Library and Information Centre, Ashdown House, 123 Victoria Street, London SW1E 6DE.
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The stage two consultation document will be sent to all consultees and copies will be available on request from:

Department for Transport

Aviation Environmental Division

Zone 1/34

Great Minster House

76 Marsham Street

London SW1P 4DR.

I look forward to hearing what people have to say on this important issue.


National Pensions Debate

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Mr. David Blunkett): On 24 February the Government published "Principles for Reform: The National Pensions Debate". This set out our guiding principles on which further work would be taken forward.

In publishing this document, the Government committed Ministers to engaging with the wider public, key stakeholders and others, in seeking to build a consensus for a long-term solution to the issue of adequate provision of income in retirement.
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We and the Pensions Commission saw the importance of not rushing into immediate conclusions but instead, ensuring that we took people into our confidence and provided the information necessary for men and women to be able to make their own contribution to the debate.

One of the key principles laid out was that we should move towards as broad an agreement as possible. This is only feasible if, across the country, the debate is taking place on the basis of the necessary challenges being understood and the potential solutions laid out in an accessible and understandable form.

It is therefore imperative that the people who are ultimately affected—of whatever age—should be at the centre of the dialogue.

That is why, in the promise to listen, to share our problem, and to share ownership of the solutions, we have committed Ministers to engage across the country in stimulating that debate, which will enable us to develop such a national consensus, across political parties and a broader swathe of the British people.

The National Pensions Debate will therefore engage Ministers and others in structured events in which we'll ask all sections of the media to facilitate the programme of information, starting today in East London and moving across the regions in the weeks and months ahead.

We will endeavour to ensure that the widest possible dialogue takes place prior to the publication of the Pensions Commission report at the end of the year.