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The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Jacqui Smith): On 16 November 2006, my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for Security, Counter-terrorism, Crime and Policing announced a review of police pay arrangements led by Sir Clive Booth. The first part of Sir Clive Booths review looked at the arrangements for determining police officer pay in 2007. The second part considered the effectiveness of the current police pay machinery.
On 21 February this year my right hon. Friend published Sir Clive Booths report on part one of his review. His report Fair Pay for Police Officers contained recommendations for determining police officer pay for 2007, including that the police officer pay award for 2007 should be based on a new public sector-facing
index. My right hon. Friend made clear in publishing Sir Clive Booths report that the method for determining police officer pay for 2007 would then be progressed through the Police Negotiating Board, before the Home Secretary took the final decision.
The Police Negotiating Board have considered the recommendations in Sir Clive Booths report and the police officer pay award for 2007. Unfortunately the board was not able to reach agreement and the matter was therefore considered by the Police Arbitration Tribunal (PAT). I received the Police Arbitration Tribunals recommendation for the police officer 2007 pay award on 29 November 2007.
To increase the pay of all ranks of police officers covered by the three Standing Committees of the PNB by 2.5 per cent. with effect from 1 September 2007.
I have considered this recommendation very carefully. In doing so I have taken account of the tribunals findings and reasoning, the need to ensure value for money and the best use of resources, affordability and Government policy on public sector pay.
The tribunals recommendation for a 2.5 per cent. increase is based on a new index expanding that proposed by Sir Clive Booth. Having fully considered the PAT findings I accept the recommendation of the tribunal for an award of 2.5 per cent. However I have given very serious consideration to the implementation of this award and concluded that in the interests of affordability, and Government policy on public sector pay, the implementation of this award should be staged. This years police officer pay award will therefore be 2.5 per cent. with effect from 1 December 2007. Staging will mean that around £40 million extra will be available in 2007-08 to invest in the provision of policing services to the public.
The index suggested by the PAT for the 2007 award could inform discussion and negotiation of the police officer pay award for next year. However, I will continue to give careful consideration to any proposals from the police pay machinery on next years pay award. This consideration will include how any such award can make the best use of resources, affordability, the need to ensure consistency with Government policy on public sector pay and that the needs of the service and of the taxpayer and public are best served.
I am grateful to Sir Clive Booth for undertaking the review. He has undertaken a wide-ranging consultation with interested parties including the Police Federation, the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Association of Police Authorities, the Superintendents Association, the Chief Police Officers Staff Association, Unison and others. In his report on part two of his review, Sir Clive Booth recommends that: (i) a pay review body for police officers should be created; (ii) the pay of police officers and police staff should continue to be determined by separate mechanisms; (iii) the existing Police Staff Council machinery should be retained for the time being; and (iv) that chief officers are covered by the proposed pay review body for police officers, but if that is not created chief officers should become one of the groups covered by the Senior Salaries Review Body.
The Government welcomes Sir Clive Booths report and accepts that a pay review body for police officers, including chief officers, should be created, the pay of police officers and police staff should continue to be determined separately and that the Police Staff Council should be retained. We note that in due course unified officer and staff pay machinery may be considered, in particular as police workforce developments are progressed, but do not think that this is a practical proposition for the time being.
The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Jacqui Smith): We are today publishing further documents in relation to the forthcoming counter-terrorism Bill. We are publishing a letter I have sent today to the Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee setting out how the Government intend to legislate on pre-charge detention of terrorist suspects; a report by Lord Carlile of Berriew QC, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, on the proposals for the counter-terrorism Bill and a paper summarising the results of the public consultation on the proposals for the counter-terrorism Bill. Copies of all three documents are available in the Libraries of both Houses.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Mr. David Hanson): I am today publishing a Command PaperThe Governments Response to the Report by Baroness Corston of a Review of Women with Particular Vulnerabilities in the Criminal Justice System (Cm 7261). Copies are available on the official documents website at:
First, the paper indicates how the Government are responding to the 43 recommendations made by my right hon. and noble Friend Baroness Corston in her report. I am delighted that it has been possible to accept almost all of the recommendations.
Secondly, it gives a commitment to produce a detailed delivery plan within the next six months that will provide the mechanism by which all of the commitments identified in the response will be implemented. This will be driven forward by establishing a new cross-departmental Criminal Justice Womens Unit based in the Ministry of Justice.
I am very grateful to my right hon. and noble Friend for the report which provides a detailed and comprehensive analysis of the many and complex issues affecting women offenders and women at risk of offending. The Government agree that more needs to be done to address these issues and to tackle problems at an earlier stagein the community in particular. The duty of Government is to
protect the public but it is right that we continue to look at how the penal system treats women, and importantly to look at what is most effective in preventing reoffending.
My right hon. and noble Friend considered that the key to success was the need for high level governance and better mechanisms for cross-departmental working. I am therefore very pleased that we are able to set out in the Government response the action that will be taken to improve governance arrangements. The inter-ministerial group on reducing reoffending will provide the governance for this work, we will establish a cross-departmental Criminal Justice Womens Unit within the Ministry of Justice, and we have identified a ministerial championthe Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Garston (Maria Eagle)who will have responsibility for taking forward this work.
I would like to thank my ministerial colleagues and officials in their departments who have contributed to the development of this response. I look forward to working with them, and our non-Government stakeholders, in taking forward these commitments together. I am determined to make sure that more is done to ensure that we have in the 21st century a system that is properly responsive to the needs and characteristics of women.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Mr. Tom Harris): Making best use of taxpayers money is essential in the allocation of funding to transport schemes. With that in mind the Government announced in 2005 that it planned to commission a review of options for the A303 Stonehenge improvement after a substantial increase in the estimated cost of the proposed 2.1 km bored tunnel scheme. The approved budget for the scheme when it was taken to public inquiry in 2004 was £223 million. The latest reported cost estimate is £540 million which reflects a number of factors including unexpectedly poor ground conditions, more stringent requirements for tunnelling work and rapid inflation in construction costs.
The review identified a shortlist of possible options, including routes to the north and south of Stonehenge. After careful consideration we have now concluded that due to significant environmental constraints across the whole of the world heritage site, there are no acceptable alternatives to the 2.1 km bored tunnel scheme. However, when set against our wider objectives and priorities, we have concluded that allocating more than £500 million for the implementation of this scheme cannot be justified and would not represent best use of taxpayers money. I am today placing the final report of the review on the Departments website.
I am therefore today withdrawing all the draft Orders which were considered at the public inquiry and I have instructed the Highways Agency to withdraw route protection for the complete scheme including the proposed bypass of Winterbourne Stoke.
The Government recognise the importance of the A303 Stonehenge improvement scheme and that todays announcement will come as a considerable disappointment for the schemes supporters. The Highways Agency will investigate possible small-scale improvements to the A303 as part of their overall stewardship of route. The Department also plans to discuss with the south-west region the implications of this decision for the wider strategy for improving the A303-A358 corridor to the M5 at Taunton.
In addition, the Department will work with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and English Heritage on their plans to take forward in consultation with other stakeholders a review of the world heritage site management plan and to consider alternative options for the development of new visitor facilities at Stonehenge in the light of our decision on the A303 improvement. This further work will include examination of the case for closing the junction of the A344 with the A303 as part of the investigation of options for improving the setting of Stonehenge, taking into account the wider heritage and environmental needs, to which the Government remain committed, for this iconic world heritage site. The decision will be subject to a detailed assessment and public consultation, but we recognise the importance of this issue to the sustainability of the world heritage site.
The Government remain committed to working with stakeholders in investigating options for improving the environment of Stonehenge, including new visitor facilities, and exploring possible small-scale measures to improve traffic flows and safety along this section of the A303.
The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Ms Rosie Winterton): The Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council took place in Brussels on 29 November-3 December, I attended the first two days, as Europe Minister in the Department for Transport. The Portuguese Minister for Public Works, Transport, and Communications, Mr Mario Lino, was in the chair.
The Council agreed conclusions on the Galileo satellite navigation programme. The conclusions define the general principles covering governance and public sector procurement for the programme. The Transport Council conclusions place a €3.4 billion cap on costs in this financial perspective. The European Commission is identified as the overall programme manager, to be advised by member states. An independent project management team will also review progress and advise the Commission. The conclusions also emphasise the importance of competition in the supply chain, including multiple simultaneous procurement streams. The UK minutes statement, supported by Sweden, stresses the need for review by independent experts at key decision points, including when finalising the contract between the Commission and the European Space Agency for the procurement of the system, at the end of the current In-Orbit Validation phase (in 2010), and once quotes have been received from industry for the deployment phase, as well as regular review of costs, risks and likely revenues from the services to be offered by Galileo.
The Council agreed conclusions on the Commissions action plan on Freight Transport Logistics. The action plan, published in October as part of a non-legislative freight package, identifies 35 short and medium-term actions for the promotion of a more efficient freight sector. In general, we support the Commissions objective of an efficient freight transport logistics industry which will promote long-term growth and at the same time address issues such as congestion, noise, pollution and CO2 emissions. We support the Commissions approach in facilitating discussions with industry to provide benchmarking and best practice information for logistics providers.
There was a policy debate on progress made on the renewed EU sustainable development strategy adopted by the European Council in June 2006. On the basis of this debate and another conducted in the Environment Council on 30 October, the presidency will prepare input to the conclusions of the December European Council. In the field of transport, the Commission concentrated on its initiatives on the internalisation of external costs, intelligent transport systems and the freight logistics action plan. A communication drawing lessons from these is planned for June 2008. I drew the Councils attention to the UKs new sustainable transport strategy, emphasising that transport has to be at the heart of economic planning and social policy, and make a contribution to public health and social inclusion.
The Council reached a political agreement on three legislative proposals in maritime transport. The first is a regulation on the liability of carriers of passengers by sea and inland waterways in the event of accidents, incorporating the main provisions of the Athens Convention 2002 into EC law. (The Athens Convention provides for compensation for death or injury or loss due to an accident at sea.) The agreed text of the regulation is acceptable to the UK. Shortly before the Council, the draft recast directive amending existing directives governing the activities of ship inspection and survey organisations (classification societies), was divided into a directive and a regulation, as had been requested by a number of member states, including the UK. The new directive contains the provisions directed at member states, and the regulation contains the provisions directly applicable to recognized organisations (ROs, the classification societies approved to work in the EU). The regulation will give the Commission the power to levy fines on ROs for non-compliance, after consulting member states. The Commission and the Council issued a joint statement on their intention to see similar rules applied at international level. The agreed texts of the directive and the regulation are acceptable to the UK.
Under other business, the Commission presented its recent communication on ports policy. The Commission also proposed that the current Commission observer to the International Maritime Organisation be replaced by a community observer. The Commission would like the Council to take a decision on this in April. I was among Ministers who stated their preference for a decision to be made in the light of a more general review of the communitys role in international organisations, planned for 2009.
The Council reached a general approach on a directive on airport charges, which aims to set common principles for the levying of charges for aircraft landing and
take-off and the handling of passengers at community airports. The threshold for application of the directive in the compromise text is 5 million passengers per year or the largest airport in a member state which has none reaching that figure. The agreed text was acceptable to the UK. It is more proportionate than the initial proposal and enables current UK economic regulation practices to continue.
The Council reached a political agreement on a recast regulation on common rules for the operation of air transport services in the community (the third package review) This regulation consolidates three existing regulations of 1992, which established the aviation single market. The proposal seeks to update the 1992 regulations in the light of experience of the single market. It closes certain loopholes and ensures clarity and consistent application of the common rules across all member states. The agreed text is acceptable to the UK.
Two issues of aviation external relations were on the agenda. The Council adopted decisions giving the Commission mandates to negotiate with Jordan on a comprehensive aviation agreement, and with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) on an agreement regarding aviation security audits and inspections and related matters. The principal aim of the latter is to reduce duplication of audits. Both mandates are acceptable to the UK.
In road transport, there were progress reports on two proposals: a recast regulation on common rules for access to the international road haulage market; and a regulation on common rules concerning the conditions to be complied with to pursue the occupation of road transport operator. Some key issues remain to be resolved: on the former proposal, the rules for access to domestic haulage markets (cabotage), and on the latter, the establishment of, and access to, national registers of operators.
The Council reached political agreement on two rail transport proposals. These are: a directive amending the 2004 directive on rail safety; and a directive amending the 2004 directive which established the European Rail Agency. The two texts are acceptable to the UK.
The directive on interoperability of the Community rail system was withdrawn from the Council agenda, as the presidency and the European Parliament are likely to move towards a First Reading agreement on adoption of the proposal. This is acceptable to the UK. The EP vote on the Directive has been postponed until the December plenary.
The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Ms Rosie Winterton): I have today made details available of our proposed distribution of special grant funding to local authorities to meet the additional costs of the new statutory minimum bus concession.
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