The Paymaster General (Dawn Primarolo): A new double taxation agreement with Macedonia was signed on 8 November 2006. After signature, the text of the agreement was deposited in the Libraries of both Houses and made available on HM Revenue and Customs' website. The text of the agreement will be scheduled to a draft order in council and laid before the House of Commons in due course.
Since the launch of the Government social enterprise strategy in 2002, the Government have created a new legal form, the community interest company; improved business support and advice and the availability of finance; and supported the establishment of the social enterprise coalition to provide a unified voice for the sector to work with Government in raising the profile of social enterprise.
Building on this progress, the action plan is about creating the conditions for social enterprises to thrive as part of a next phase of support, and sets out the Government's role to take actions forward as part of their continuing commitment to social enterprise.
Fostering a culture of social enterprise, by building the evidence and raising awareness of the impact of social enterprise, and promoting successful role models to attract new entrants, customers, financiers and support providers.
Ensuring that the right information and advice are available to those running social enterprises so that they can gain access to appropriate support to maximise their business performance and, in turn, their social impact.
Enabling social enterprises to access appropriate finance, by tackling barriers that might prevent investors from supporting social enterprises, or social enterprises from seeking financial support.
Enabling social enterprises to work with Government, where they can offer public benefits in the markets they operate in, ensuring that policy makers and commissioners are aware of the role they can play.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Angela E. Smith): The Department for Communities and Local Government has today announced additional investment in the order of £52 million, under the private finance initiative, for a project proposed by London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA).
This PFI project will allow LFEPA to build 10 new community fire stations, replacing 10 old fire stations, helping it to save more lives through improved response times and by providing fire safety advice to the communities which will help to reduce the number of accidental fire deaths in the home.
The amount agreed for this PFI project is in addition to the £125 million investment announced in October 2005 for individual projects from Staffordshire and Gloucestershire as well as a joint project put forward by Lancashire, Merseyside and Cumbria Fire and Rescue Authorities.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Mr. Adam Ingram): With the expiry of the call-out order made last November, a new order has been made under section 54 of the Reserve Forces Act 1996 to enable reservists to continue to be called out into service to support operations in Afghanistan. The new order is effective until 11 November 2007. Reservists are making a valuable contribution to operations in that country and some 380 reservists are currently called out in support of the operation.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Derek Twigg): I am pleased to be able to provide further details of our plans to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Falklands conflict in June 2007.
The commemorations will provide us with an opportunity to reflect on the events of 25 years ago. We will take time to remember those who gave their lives to defend the freedom of the Falkland Islands. As well as
the principal events in London, Pangbourne and Stanley, we anticipate that local communities and veterans groups around the country may wish to organise their own smaller scale events.
Our relationship with Argentina has come a long way in recent years and, in addition to remembering the sacrifices of our forces, we will recognise their losses too. Our commemorations will not be triumphalist.
Official events begin on Liberation Day Thursday 14 June at the Falkland Islands Memorial Chapel in the grounds of Pangbourne Nautical College, Berkshire. This service of commemoration and remembrance is held annually on behalf of the Falklands Families Association, but will have special significance in 2007 when it will be attended by senior members of the royal family, and carried live on BBC.
Later that day (UK time) attention will turn to the Falkland Islands and the first of a series of live link-ups with the islands. A service at Christchurch Cathedral, Stanley will be followed by an Act of Commemoration at the Falklands War Memorial, and British Forces currently based on the islands will parade through Stanley exercising the freedom that was bestowed on them by the Falkland Islands Government in 2002.
The showpiece event of these commemorations will be on Sunday 17 June. This will consist of a high impact visual event on Horse Guards parade followed by a march past of veterans and their modern day service counterparts up the Mall to Buckingham palace to witness a fly past of aircraft from the Falklands era as well as some of those flown by the same squadrons today. Central to the event will be the personal recollections of veterans and islanders as they tell their stories in their own words.
The events will be focussed on the veterans and their families and we are working closely with the South Atlantic Medal Association 82the principal association for those involved in Operation Corporate, along with a wide range of veterans and families organisations. I hope that as many as possible of the campaigns veterans will be able to attend the event on Horse Guards parade. Space in the audience will be limited, so tickets will initially be restricted to veterans (military and civilian), widows, their guests and families. Details can be found on the Veterans Agencys website at: www.veteransagency.mod.uk or by contacting the Veterans Agency helpline on 0800 169 2277.
The Secretary of State for Health (Ms Patricia Hewitt): On 9 November 2006, my Department published the NHS financial report for the second quarter of 2006-07. This report shows that the NHS as a whole is forecasting a £94 million deficit for the year, after the application of a £350 million contingency established by the strategic health authorities.
On the basis of trends in previous years, our objective of net financial balance across the NHS remains deliverable. Strategic health authorities have reported that they will be able to generate a further net contingency of £100 million to offset the deficit.
The report is available in the Library, and copies for hon. Members and noble Lords are available in the Vote Office and the Printed Paper Office. The report has also been published on the Departments website at:
http://www.dh.gov.uk/PublicationsAndStatistics/ Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/Publications PolicyAndGuidanceArticle/fs/en?CONTENT_ID=4140436 &chk=WmhHTZ
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (Mr. Ivan Lewis): On 14 November I was pleased to announce a £67 million investment of additional financial aid to further the dignity agenda in care homes.
The money, available next year, will help local authorities enhance the physical environment of care homes providing nursing or personal care to older people. This focused support will help older people living in care homes to do so with dignity and will enable care homes to be more responsive to the needs of older residents.
A good environment can support dignity and help people feel that they are being treated with respect and even small enhancements can have a positive impact on well-being. I hope that local authorities, care home providers and their residents will work together to find innovative ways of using this additional money to deliver higher standards of care.
I announced this funding at the launch of the dignity in care campaign through which I aim to stimulate a country-wide debate about the importance of care services respecting the dignity of those who use them.
At the campaign launch, I invited people to join me in taking up the dignity challenge. The challenge is a clear statement of what people can expect from a service that respects dignity, backed up by dignity tests that can be used by services see how they measure up.
I also invited people to join a new network of local champions of dignity charged with challenging poor practice and raising the profile of dignity in care locally. Support for the champions and service providers will be available in the form of an online practice guide and a programme of service improvement and network support to be delivered regionally. Other aspects of the campaign include working with Investors in People UK to help us ensure staff themselves are treated with dignity and respect and a commitment from the health and social care regulators to take forward this agenda.
The Minister for Policing, Security and Community Safety (Mr. Tony McNulty): On 6 November the police arbitration tribunals recommendation on the police officer 2006 pay award was received. The Home Secretary responded to this recommendation, agreeing to implement the 3 per cent. pay rise for police officers with effect from 1 September 2006. The Home Secretary also noted the tribunals comment that we not only had the right but a duty to consider and put forward different factors and approaches which could be applied in determining police pay and said that he would be reviewing the way police pay is determined including indexation and would announce the terms of reference of the review shortly.
Effective pay arrangements for police officers are essential for a modern police service which delivers high standards of community safety and security to the public. We must move quickly to put police officer pay on a sustainable basis. We cannot continue with arrangements which produce pay rises beyond the level which police authorities can afford to pay without detriment to service delivery. For that reason, we will establish a review of the way police pay is determined, reporting early in the new year and in good time to inform the 2007 pay round. Following this I will also be asking this review to consider further changes to the police pay negotiating machinery. In particular, I am minded to place responsibility for determining chief officer pay within the remit of the senior salaries review body and the review I have announced will look at this as part of its consideration of the options for replacing the current police officer pay determination arrangements.
I have asked Sir Clive Booth to undertake the first part of this review and I am pleased to announce that he has accepted. Sir Clive will report to me in early 2007 with recommendations on the pay determination mechanism that we should use for next year. This along with any other proposals for pay modernisation from the service or representative organisations will be considered in the 2007 pay round. The Home Secretary and I will consider further how the second part of the review looking at the police negotiating machinery should be taken forward including consideration of John Randalls report on this issue.
Part 1To consider the options for replacing the current arrangements for determining changes to police officer pay for 2007 and make recommendations on this. The conclusions and recommendations in part 1 to be framed so as to inform part 2 of the review.
Part 2To review the effectiveness of the negotiating machinery for the police, including the Police Negotiating Board and the Police Staff Council, and make recommendations for how police pay and other conditions of service should be determined. The review must consider the option of a pay review body for police pay and consider the impact of any proposal for determining police officer pay, on the negotiating machinery for police officers.
The future requirements of the service for the effective and efficient delivery of policing services, motivation and morale and recruitment and retention rates, and overall affordability.
Government policy on public sector pay and the broader economic and employment context, and consistency with the achievement of the inflation target of 2 per cent.
The need to enable wider police workforce developments including proper reward and recognition arrangements.
Arrangements for pay determination in other parts of the public sector.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Vernon Coaker): Tomorrow I will publish the summary of responses to the recent Home Office consultation document entitled New Powers Against Organised and Financial Crime.
The Green Paper was published on 17 July 2006 and invited views from stakeholders and the public on a comprehensive package of new measures that the Government believe will provide important new tools to assist the authorities in tackling organised criminality more effectively. The proposals included:
Establishing a civil prevention order to be used against individuals and organisations to prevent serious crime.
Improving data sharing within the public sector and between the private and public sectors so that financial crime may be more easily detected and prevented.
Introducing new offences of assisting and encouraging crime so that those on the margins of crime can be brought to justice more easily.
Amending the proceeds of crime legislation to bolster our ability to recover ill-gotten gains.
During its three-month consultation period the Green Paper generated more than l00 responses, summaries of which will be published tomorrow. The majority of responses received were overwhelmingly supportive of the proposals. As a result, the Government intend to introduce legislation in the coming session of Parliament; the overall aim being to prevent the UK from being an attractive option for organised criminals to operate in.
Copies of the document entitled New Powers Against Organised and Financial CrimeSummary of responses to Consultation will be available in the House of Commons Library and on the Home Office and Crime Reduction websites.
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