The Chief Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Des Browne): I am pleased to announce that a total of 30 bids from organisations spanning the public and voluntary sectors have been awarded funding for projects following the 8th annual bidding round of the Invest to Save Budget. A total of £26 million has been allocated over the three years to 200809 for England. The allocated sum rises to £31 million to include consequential funding for the devolved Administrations. Details of the winning projects have been placed in the Library of the House.
The Invest to Save Budget (ISB), set up following the 1998 Comprehensive Spending Review, provides initial funding support for projects that increase the extent of joint working between different parts of the public sector; identify innovative ways of delivering public services; and reduce the cost of delivering the services and/or improve the quality and effectiveness of services delivered to the public.
Successful projects are required to agree a detailed implementation plan with the sponsor Departments, setting out how the project will be delivered. Each project must also provide six-monthly progress reports to sponsor departments and the Treasury and carry out an evaluation of the project's success once it has been completed. Wider dissemination of the good practice from completed projects is then fed back into the whole spectrum of public service providers.
I am also pleased to announce that there will be a 9th ISB bidding round held later in the year, with a focus on the third sector's role in building fairer communities and delivering public services. Full details of the round, including detailed bidding guidance and criteria, will be announced over the coming months.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Mr. Adam Ingram): I am pleased to announce that our report on the production of highly enriched uranium for the defence programme and arms control verification has now been completed. Copies of the report will be placed in the Library of the House and published on the MOD website.
This follows a similar report on defence holdings of plutonium, published in 2000, and meets our commitment for historical accounting as set out in the strategic defence review. It is also intended to have the report circulated during the current session of the conference on disarmament in Geneva (which closes on 31 March 2006), as a contribution to wider consideration of these complex issues.
Its publication demonstrated our continuing determination to work constructively towards negotiation of a fissile material cut-off treaty, our goal of the global elimination of nuclear weapons and our commitment to openness in Government.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Mr. Adam Ingram): The UK's chemical protection programme is designed to protect against the use of chemical weapons. The United Kingdom is fully compliant with the Chemical Weapons Convention, under which such a programme is permitted. Under the terms of the Convention, we are required to provide information annually to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). In accordance with the Government's commitment to openness, I am placing in the Library of the House a copy of the summary that has been provided to the Organisation outlining the UK's chemical protection programme in 2005.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Mr. Don Touhig): The Ministry of Defence has recently completed a review of the Strategy for Veterans which was launched in March 2003. The review, which was undertaken in consultation with the ex-Service organisations. Government Departments and the Devolved Administrations, has confirmed that our broad approach to veterans issues holds good.
"On 27 October 2005 I announced to the House that the Government have commissioned a wide-ranging review of fraud. The review team has produced its interim report and I have today placed copies in the Libraries of both Houses.