The Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Ed Balls): The annual report 2005-06 of the Financial Services Authority (FSA) has today been laid before Parliament. Copies are available in the Libraries of both Houses.
The report forms a key part of the accountability mechanism for the Financial Services Authority under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA), and assesses the performance of the Financial Services Authority over the past 12 months against its statutory objectives.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Mr. Adam Ingram): The Ministry of Defence has today awarded a contract for the supply of food to the armed forces to Purple Foodservice Solutions (PFS). The contract, worth in excess of £300 million, will commence on 1 October 2006 and will mainly cover the provision of food services to personnel on operations. The new contract is likely to save the Department more than £14 million over the next five years.
The Secretary of State for Defence (Des Browne): There remains a small number of UK veterans who served this country in the Armed Forces during World War I (WWI) to whom the nation owes a particular debt of respect and gratitude. In recent months, the death of a number of WWI veterans has raised the question of how the passing of the final veteran should be marked.
I would like to take the chance to pay tribute to the right hon. Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Mr.Ian Duncan Smith) who has spent a considerable amount of time and effort campaigning for the occasion to be marked in an appropriate manner.
For the present, our priority is to celebrate these remarkable people during the time that they remain with us. However, the death of the final known WWI veteran will be a major milestone in our nation's history and should be marked as so. Her Majesty the
Queen and the Prime Minister therefore support plans to hold a National Memorial Service in Westminster Abbey within two to three months of the death of the last known WWI veteran. This will commemorate not the death of the one individual, we sense from a number of the surviving veterans that this might be an intrusion into private grief, but the passing of them all.
While that generation included those associated most directly with the horrors of that war, those who fought in the trenches of the Western Front, it also includes those who carried out their duties in other theatres, at sea and in the air and those engaged in vital support roles back home. We also owe a debt to those from other parts of the British Empire who played their part.
We plan that the events of the day should reflect the laying to rest of the Unknown Warrior and the unveiling of the Cenotaph in 1920. The service will be preceded by a sombre procession. The overall aim will be for a reverential national event that is both commemorative and educational.
To ensure that as many people as possible have the opportunity to be a part of this significant event we will be producing an educational resource pack. This will be distributed to primary and secondary schools to help their pupils appreciate the significance of the day.
The Minister for the Cabinet Office (Hilary Armstrong): A revised edition of the List of Ministerial Responsibilities (June 2006) has been published today and copies placed in the Library of the House and the Vote Office.
My predecessor published guidance on 26 January on the operation of the Transport Innovation Fund (TIF). The guidance explained that TIF would enable us to direct resources towards the achievement of two key objectivestackling congestion (Congestion TIF) and improving national productivity (Productivity TIF). I can now provide an update on Productivity TIF.
We have been looking to identify a limited number of transport schemes which could be taken forward quickly for an initial allocation of Productivity TIF, and invited the Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) to submit their views on potential candidates. I
am grateful for the constructive way in which the RDAs responded to this request.
In our discussions with the RDAs, we proposed two priority themes which might offer both a strong strategic fit at the national level with the objective of supporting national productivity, and scope for schemes to be delivered quickly, with implementation able to start during the first two years when TIF becomes available2008-09 and 2009-10. These themes were:
measures to improve the capacity and resilience of the strategic national freight distribution networks, hence supporting international trade and competitiveness
measures to make the most of capacity at key pressure points on the strategic networks, thus improving mobility for business and freight users
Among the range of suggestions offered by the RDAs, there was substantial support for schemes reflecting these suggested themes, and I have concluded that for this initial round of Productivity TIF we should broadly follow them.
We are also keeping open the possibility of a contribution to the costs of taking forward Crossrail, although funding decisions on Crossrail will not be taken until after the conclusion of Sir Michael Lyons' review of local government finances.
|Scheme and Region|
The funding available in the opening years of the TIF is limited, and some will be needed for Congestion TIF, so it will only be possible for the TIF to support a small number of Productivity schemes in this initial allocation round. Only a limited proportion of the schemes aboveparticularly in the case of the larger, more costly road schemes - are likely to receive TIF funding.
Since the TIF is intended to supplement rather than supplant existing sources of funding, the availability of TIF funding for individual schemes will depend on other funding contributions, as well as value for money to the taxpayer.
The inclusion of a scheme in this list should not be taken to give any indication as to whether or not any statutory consents or other decisions that may be required for that scheme to proceed (for example, planning consents and decisions in relation to TWA Orders or Harbour Orders) will be given in favour of the scheme.
The Department will now be discussing with the appropriate delivery agents and other key stakeholders the work necessary to deliver the business cases by the end of July. I hope to announce decisions on first round allocations of Productivity TIF, and the approach to handling future allocations from the TIF, by the end of this year.