The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice (Maria Eagle): The Sixth annual Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) reports are published today. The MAPPA bring together the police, probation and prison services in each of the 42 areas in England and Wales into what is known as the MAPPA Responsible Authority. Other agencies are under a duty to co-operate with the responsible authority, including social care, health, housing and education services.
The Child Sex Offender Review, published in June, identified a number of ways in which the administration and co-ordination of the arrangements could be improved. It is essential, if we are to be reassured that offenders are being managed properly, that those running MAPPA locally are able to monitor and report on the arrangements; and that accurate records of cases are kept and action plans followed up.
The Government have therefore committed £1.2 million to strengthen precisely these aspects of MAPPA. Complementing this commitment will be the development of national standards for MAPPA, establishing improved information sharing, robust performance management arrangements and the development of consistent, auditable MAPPA co-ordination processes. These standards will ensure that agencies are serviced with the best possible information on risk on which to make decisions. They will also provide an important benchmark against which to measure and then drive up performance.
In addition, we will be providing an extra £l million for the implementation of the Violent and Sex Offender Register (ViSOR) across the probation and prison services. For the first time, the three responsible authorities will be working on the same IT system enabling the sharing of risk assessments and risk management information on individual violent and sex offenders in a timely way to reduce re-offending.
The annual reports describe how the arrangements work locally and include key public protection achievements in each of the 42 police and probation Areas of England and Wales. They report on progress against local business plans, outline next years plans, and provide contact points for further information. They also provide statistical information on the number of offenders eligible for the MAPPA and how they are managed.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Jim Fitzpatrick): Between April and June 2007 the Government and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) consulted on options for the reform of Air Travel Organisers Licence (ATOL) bonding by package holiday companies. The aim was to reduce burdens on ATOL holders and also to replenish the Air Travel Trust Fund (ATTF) following the Civil Aviation Act 2006, allowing the Governments loan guarantee to be phased out. As a result of the consultation, Government announced in August an in principle decision to introduce a pooled scheme, based on a £1 per passenger ATOL Protection Contribution (APC) paid by the tour operator, to replace the current ATOL bonding arrangements from 1 April 2008. Confirmation of the decision was subject to CAAs satisfactory progress on aspects of the scheme.
The Government are now content to confirm the decision. The Civil Aviation (Contributions to the Air Travel Trust Fund) Regulations 2007 have today been laid before Parliament which will allow the CAA to implement the APC from 1 April 2008.
There is no change in the comprehensive financial protection available to passengers. Those buying a package holiday will be entitled to a full refund if their travel organiser becomes insolvent before they travel, and assistance with returning home if they are already abroad.
The Minister for Pensions Reform (Mr. Mike O'Brien): On 25 July I announced that Chris Lewin and Ed Sweeney, who had been appointed as external reviewers to the Deregulatory Review in December 2006, had published their report Deregulatory Review of Private Pensions. Their report made a number of recommendations for change. We are grateful to Chris and Ed for their thorough and thoughtful report. I am today placing copies of our response in the Libraries of both Houses.
While the Government are committed to reducing burdens on employers who provide pension schemes, they also recognise the need to strike a balance with the need to protect members benefits. We therefore agree with the reviewers recommendation that no changes should be made which would adversely affect current pensioners or past service rights that have already been built up.
The Government believe that proposals outlined in our response to the recommendations made by the reviewers strike the right balance between encouraging employer provision of pensions and protecting members benefits. They will reduce costs and will make it easier for scheme rules to be changed to mirror relaxations to specific requirements. Some employers have asked for
Limited Price Indexation but our view is that it would not strike the right balance with the interest of members of schemes and we cannot support it.
Reduce the cap on the revaluation of deferred pensions so that the maximum increase required in the value of pension rights - between a member ceasing to build up any more rights in the scheme and their scheme retirement age would be 2.5 per cent. annually . The current cap is 5 per cent.
Introduce statutory overrides to enable scheme rules to be amended to take advantage of the measures in the Pensions Act 2004 which reduced the cap for annual increases to pensions derived from benefits accrued since 2005 from 5 per cent. to 2.5 per cent. and to make amendments to reflect any change to the cap used for the revaluation of deferred pensions.
The circumstances in which an employer leaving a multi-employer scheme must make a payment to the scheme under the Employer Debt Regulations.
A move to principles-based legislation, starting with the rules around the disclosure of information to members.
Employer concerns about the existing rules on surplus funds in defined benefit schemes.