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the take up of end year flexibility of £120,000,000 Resource DEL Direct (near cash) and £72,000,000 Capital DEL;
a transfer in of £72,000 from the Cabinet Office in respect of this year's funding arrangements for the expansion of the Parliamentary Counsel Office;
a transfer in of £200,000 from the DTI as contribution to the Principal Non-industrial Superannuation Scheme (PNISS) also known as the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) pension scheme;
to increase Request for Resources 2 by £1,040,000,000 Resource DEL and £360,000,000 Capital DEL to reflect the costs of peace-keeping in Iraq and Afghanistan;
to increase Request for Resources 3 by £7,210,000 for War Pensions Benefits Costs and £500,000 for War Pensions Benefits Programme Costs - Far Eastern Prisoners of War, to reflect the latest forecast outturn.
The Secretary of State for Defence (Des Browne): I am pleased to announce that I have appointed Mr Keith Murray McNeish for a three year term of office as a member of the Armed Forces' Pay Review Body commencing March 2007. This appointment has been conducted in accordance with the guidance of the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments.
The Deputy Prime Minister (Mr. John Prescott): Subject to Parliamentary approval of the new Estimate, the Deputy Prime Minister's Office Departmental Expenditure Limits for 2006-07 will be £1,960,000 as set out in the table below:
|Depreciation, which forms part of resource DEL, is excluded from the total DEL, since capital DEL includes capital spending and to include depreciation of those assets would lead to double counting.|
The Minister for Schools (Jim Knight): The Government Actuary has reported on the results of his valuation of the Teachers Pension Scheme (TPS) as at 31 March 2004. His report, which takes account of the reforms to the TPS that will be introduced on 1 January 2007, including the increase in the contribution rate paid by teachers from 6 per cent. to 6.4 per cent., recommends that, from that date, the employer contribution rate for the TPS should increase from the current rate of 13.5 per cent. to 14.1 per cent.
The principal factor underlying the increase in the contribution rates relates to continuing improvements in life expectancy compared to the assumptions adopted in the previous valuation. The agreed package of TPS reforms will deliver savings on the employer contribution rate of some £280 million a year compared to the contribution that would have been required if the existing scheme provisions had remained in place. This reform package, which includes an agreement on cost sharing between members and employers of any future changes in the contribution rate and a cap of 14 per cent. on the employer rate from the 2008 scheme valuation onwards, should ensure the long term financial sustainability of the TPS.
The Minister for Higher Education and Lifelong Learning (Bill Rammell): Anne Lambert, UK Deputy Permanent Representative to the EU, attended the Youth Council on behalf on the UK, I represented the Government at the Education Council.
2. Ministers exchanged views on better knowledge and understanding of Youth. They agreed that there was a need to support the development of youth policy with independent research based on practical experience. There was agreement that there should be a two-way relationship between policy and practice, with research concentrated in areas where policy decisions were most relevant to young people. The Council also endorsed the setting up of a EU database on youth policies to support implementation and evaluation. The UK tabled a paper, but did not intervene in the discussion.
4. On the latter, I underlined the crucial importance of the reform process and the supporting role of the EU. I noted that some progress has been made since Hampton Court, but we now need to inject a sense of urgency. Links between business and HE are needed to ensure the right supply of skills and qualifications for the labour market and widening participation. To this end I proposed that a compendium of best practice in modernising universities should be drawn up on the back of the ongoing peer-learning activity between member states. This was supported by the Commission and many member states.
5. Ministers gave a cautious welcome to the Commissions recent proposal. For the UK, I said the EITs success would depend on its clarity of purpose. The focus on knowledge transfer is welcome. It is now crucial to ensure that the EIT provides value for money; we have concerns about the budget, and want to be sure resources will not be diverted from elsewhere. The Commission hopes the Regulation will be adopted by the end of 2007 and that two Knowledge and Innovation Communities would be up and running by 2010.
6. The Council adopted Conclusions on enhancing European co-operation in vocational education and training (VET). These will encourage Member States to develop strategies to raise skills levels and improve the quality and attractiveness of vocational training. The informal meeting of Education Ministers on 4-5 December will pursue this theme. The Commission flagged up two
forthcoming initiatives: a Communication on adult learning; and a consultation on developing a European Credit Transfer System for VET.
7. The Council also adopted Conclusions on efficiency and equity in education and training systems. These will encourage member states to develop education policies which produce the best outcomes for all groups in society, including disadvantaged young people. The presidency inserted a reference to member states exclusive responsibility for the organisation of the education systems.
8. The Council agreed a general approach on the draft recommendation on a European Qualifications Framework (EQF). The EQF will give a model for comparing qualifications in different member states and thereby support mobility.
The Minister for Higher Education and Lifelong Learning (Bill Rammell): The UK has a continuing obligation under the United Nations Charter to promote the well-being of the inhabitants of its Overseas Territories, and we are committed under the White Paper Partnership for Progress and ProsperityBritain and the Overseas Territories to ensuring their social and economic development. I am therefore pleased to tell Parliament that in response to representations about students from our Overseas Territories, the Department for Education and Skills will be making changes to our Education (Fees and Awards) Regulations and to The Student Fees (Qualifying Courses and Persons) Regulations from the 2007-08 academic year to allow these students to pay home fees, and not the higher overseas fee rate. This policy change will also apply to students from the overseas territories of Denmark, France and the Netherlands.
The Secretary of State for Education and Skills (Alan Johnson): Subject to Parliamentary approval of any necessary Supplementary Estimate, the Department for Education and Skills Departmental Expenditure Limit (DEL), (including the Office for Her Majestys Chief Inspector of Schools (OFSTED) which has a separate Estimate) will be decreased by £99,618,000 from £59,702,608,000 to £59,602,990,000. The administration cost budget will be increased by £331,000 from £272,230,000 to £272,561,000.
|Change||New DEL||Of which: Voted||Non-voted||Change||New DEL||Of which: Voted||Non-voted|
|*Depreciation, which forms part of resource DEL, is excluded from the total DEL, in the table above, since capital DEL includes capital spending and to include depreciation of those assets would lead to double counting.|
|** The total of 'Administration budget' and 'Near-cash in resource DEL 'figures may well be greater than total resource DEL, due to the definitions overlapping.|
|***Capital DEL includes items treated as resource in Estimates and accounts but which are treated as Capital DEL in budgets.|
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