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Youth Matters Green Paper

The Secretary of State for Education and Skills (Ruth Kelly): The Green Paper "Youth Matters" has today been laid before Parliament.
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"Youth Matters" addresses key issues relating to the way in which we provide opportunities, challenge and support to our teenagers. The proposals in "Youth Matters" build on the ambition of "Every Child Matters" that all young people should achieve five key outcomes—being healthy, staying safe, enjoying and achieving, making a positive contribution, and achieving economic well-being.

We should not lose sight of the fact that most young people are doing well, achieving more at school and going on to further study. We need to support these young people with more and better information, advice and guidance, which takes into account how jobs are changing and our proposed 14–19 curriculum reforms, and which is delivered in a way that suits young people including through the use of modern technologies.

We also want to provide a wider choice of positive activities for young people to do when they are not in school, college or work and we want to encourage more young people to get involved in volunteering. It is a fundamental part of our proposals that young people and their parents should have a greater influence over the things that are provided for them locally. Proposals include supporting local authorities to develop a card for young people which will give them discounts on activities and could be credited with amounts that young people can spend on their choice of sports and other constructive activities. We also propose a new youth opportunity fund to be spent at young people's discretion on projects to improve things to do and places to go in their area.

We want to improve the way in which we support young people with specific needs and problems including providing them with a nominated lead professional who will be a single point of contact and making sure that support is provided in a coordinated, convenient and integrated way.

But we should also recognise that some young people have problems and some get involved in antisocial behaviour and crime. This can have a negative impact on their own life chances and affects the view the wider community has of all young people. Those who fail to behave well should be supported in improving their behaviour but should not benefit from the proposed discount card until they do so.

A copy of the Green Paper will be available in the Libraries of both Houses and will be accessible on the Department for Education and Skills website.


Agriculture and Fisheries Council

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Margaret Beckett): I will chair the agriculture items during the first Agriculture and Fisheries Council of the UK presidency on 18 July. My hon. Friend, the Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Mr. Bradshaw), will chair the fisheries item.

I will begin by setting out the presidency work programme for the next six months. It includes amongst other things, sugar reform, the EU's rural development strategic guidelines, forest law enforcement, governance
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and trade (FLEGT), avian influenza, welfare of broiler chickens and a range of proposals to progress the sustainability of the fisheries industry.

The Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection will then present to the Council his proposal for a directive laying down minimum rules for the protection of chickens kept for meat production.

The Fisheries Commissioner will follow with the only fisheries point on the agenda: emergency measures to protect anchovy in the Bay of Biscay, referred to the Council by France.

The Agriculture Commissioner will then present the EU strategic guidelines on rural development. This is simply a presentation of the proposal to the Council with no discussion at this stage.

There will be a lunch at which the Agriculture Commissioner will provide an update on WTO agricultural negotiations.

The afternoon session will be devoted to the first Council policy debate on reform of the common market organisation in sugar, following the publication of the Commission's reform proposal on 22 June. Ministers will be invited to respond to the following questions:

There is only one point under any other business at the request of the Dutch delegation on definition of fresh poultry meat and origin labelling.


NHS Complaints

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Jane Kennedy): The report of the committee of inquiry into how the national health service handled allegations about the conduct of William Kerr and Michael Haslem, two former psychiatrists who practised in Yorkshire [Cm 6640] is being published today. Copies have been placed in the Library. This is one of the three inquiries announced in June 2001 by the then Secretary of State for Health, the right hon. Member for Darlington (Mr. Milburn). The reports of the other two inquiries, to consider how the NHS handled allegations about the conduct of Richard Neale, a former gynaecologist; and Clifford Ayling, a former general practitioner, were published last September.

The Government would like to thank Nigel Fleming, the chairman of the inquiry, and the two members of his panel, Ros Alstead and Ruth Lesirge, for their thorough and thoughtful handling of undoubtedly sensitive issues. The Government are also grateful to those
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former patients of William Kerr and Michael Haslam who came forward and provided evidence to the inquiry which must, at times, have been very difficult and painful.

We will consider the conclusions and recommendations of this report very carefully together with those of the fifth Shipman report, the Clifford Ayling report and the Richard Neale report and will provide our response to them all later this year.

Independent Regulator of NHS Foundation Trusts

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (Mr. Liam Byrne): My noble Friend the Minister of State (Lord Warner) has made the following written ministerial statement today.


United Kingdom Passport Service

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Andy Burnham): The United Kingdom Passport Service annual report and accounts 2004–05 has been published today and copies have been placed in the Library of the House.

Zimbabwe (Immigration Removals Update)

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Charles Clarke): On 27 June I made a statement on the return of failed asylum seekers to Zimbabwe and on 6 July I updated the House on that issue. I would like to provide a further update on returns to Zimbabwe.

Our policy on enforcing the return of failed asylum seekers to Zimbabwe has not changed. We remain of the view that the correct way to operate a fair but credible asylum system is to consider each asylum claim on its individual merits, to grant protection to those who need it, and to seek to remove those who do not and who have no other basis of stay in the country, and who will not leave voluntarily. This is true of all claims, whatever the nationality of the claimant.

The courts have set a hearing on 4 August to consider the evidence provided by the Refugee Legal Centre relating to the treatment of failed asylum seekers upon their return to Zimbabwe. We welcome the opportunity this will provide for all the objective information relating to their treatment to be assessed. Pending the 4 August hearing, out of respect and courtesy to the clearly expressed wishes of the court, we have agreed not to enforce the removal of Zimbabwean failed asylum seekers to Zimbabwe.

This Government continue to have grave concerns about the human rights situation in Zimbabwe, and continue to press for an end to abuses. We will continue to provide protection through the asylum system for Zimbabweans with a well founded fear of persecution.
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