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But if subsequent court proceedings are initiated as a result of the investigation—such as disqualification proceedings against a director, or any prosecution, the story will be revealed during those proceedings. The report can also be disclosed to other regulators so that any appropriate lessons can be learned.

Liquidation of the company

It is the liquidator’s central duty to secure as much of a return as possible for all the creditors, including the customers. We understand that they are expecting to be able to secure a return of about 5p in the pound.

It is not yet possible to confirm when a payment will be made to customers as every agent and customer claim must be finalised before this can take place. As well as processing claims, the team has had a huge task in verifying claims and double checking that claims have not been duplicated by agents and customers. This work so far has reduced claims by approximately £2 million for the benefit of creditors.

Action to protect and inform consumers for the future

The Government have worked closely with the remaining companies to put in place effective measures to protect customers’ payments, including oversight by a new body, the Christmas Prepayments Association, and a code of practice. The companies have put in place new independently controlled trust accounts to protect customers’ money. The OFT has carried out a preliminary assessment of the code against the criteria in its Consumer Codes Approval Scheme, and the association have amended the code with a view to making a formal application for approval under the scheme.

The Government have also given the OFT £1 million for a consumer education campaign so that consumers are better aware of their options for Christmas savings, and are empowered to make decisions that are right for their own circumstances. The Government’s action plan for financial inclusion announces that the OFT will receive a further £2 million funding to continue the “Save Xmas” campaign into the next spending period.

We note the view of the Treasury Select Committee in its Thirteenth Report that, provided the operation of these arrangements proves to be satisfactory, formal regulation of this market is not likely to be appropriate or proportionate. But it remains our intention to reassess the regulatory framework once the outcome of the investigation is available, taking account of earlier advice from the OFT and FSA.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Special Tribunal for Lebanon

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (David Miliband): The UK continues to be deeply concerned by the political instability resulting from the absence of a President in Lebanon. President Lahoud’s term of office expired on 23 November. The ongoing political divisions over who should succeed him remain a source of instability. We have been urging all sides to come together in the spirit of compromise to choose a President who can lead the country forward. We support them in their efforts to do so and hope they will be able to resolve the political crisis as rapidly as possible.

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Despite the ongoing uncertainty, progress continues towards the establishment of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. On 30 May 2007, the Security Council adopted Security Council Resolution 1757, establishing the Tribunal. The Tribunal will try those accused of killing the former Lebanese Prime Minister, Rafiq Hariri, who was assassinated on 14 February 2005 along with 21 others in a car bomb in central Beirut. This attack was part of a campaign of targeted political attacks against anti-Syrian MPs and political activists in Lebanon. The most recent of these was the assassination of MP Antoine Ghanem on 19 September. Mr. Ghanem was killed along with two bodyguards and four other civilians in a car bomb explosion in east Beirut which also injured more than 70 other innocent civilians.

The UK has been, and remains, firmly committed to the pursuit of justice for Rafiq Hariri’s murder and the sequence of assassinations that followed it. The UK worked closely with UN partners to establish the UN Independent International Investigation Commission (UNIIIC) into Mr Hariri’s assassination. We were also co-sponsors of UN Security Council Resolution 1757 establishing the Special Tribunal. As part of our continued commitment, and in response to the UN Secretary-General’s call for contributions, I am pleased to announce that the UK will be contributing £500,000 ($l million) to the Tribunal.

The success of the UN-led investigation process and of the Tribunal remain vital for the stability of Lebanon. It is essential that justice is done to send a clear message that political assassinations will not be tolerated. The UK will continue to offer its strong support to the UN and the Lebanese Government as they take this important work forward.


Social Care Reform

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (Mr. Ivan Lewis): “Putting People First: a shared vision and commitment to the transformation of adult social care” is published today. This concordat sets out the cross-sector commitment to personalising public services and the need for the state to empower citizens to shape their own lives and the services they receive.

The concordat has been placed in the Library and copies are available to hon. Members in the Vote Office.

Home Department

Protective Services

The Minister for Security, Counter-Terrorism, Crime and Policing (Mr. Tony McNulty): I am today announcing that the Home Office will be increasing its contribution to the work of police forces and authorities dealing with serious and organised crime and other protective services. In 2008-09 and 2009-10, some £11 million will be made
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available, rising to £13 million in 2010-11. This will help the police service to ensure that they meet the standards expected in the delivery of protective services throughout England and Wales by 2011.

From these amounts grants will be available up to £5 million in 2008-09 and £4 million a year in 2009-10 and 2010-11 to continue the work of the Regional Intelligence Units addressing serious and organised crime. These have been developed, with Home Office financial support, by the Association of Chief Police Officers in collaboration with police forces and authorities throughout England and Wales. We shall be discussing with police forces and authorities the financial contribution that they will need to make in collaboration to ensure the success of these units.

We shall continue financial support to the East Midlands Special Operations Unit recognising its success in tackling serious and organised crime and the special needs of the region. We expect the five forces and authorities in the region to become increasingly self sufficient in the collective provision of this capability and will therefore be discussing with them a tapering of financial support over the period.

These funds also include completion of grants towards the start-up costs of Protective Services Demonstrator Sites and the project to evaluate their development and disseminate best practice. There are now 13 demonstrator sites being funded involving 34 police forces working in collaboration to deliver protective services.

Finally we will be discussing with police forces and authorities the other opportunities there may be to make critical enhancements to their collaborative contribution to protective service improvements using the money the Home Office is making available.

G6 Counter-Terrorism Symposium

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Jacqui Smith): I met with counterparts from Poland, France, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States, along with experts from the seven countries for a two-day symposium at Schwielowsee, near Werder, on 30 November and 1 December 2007.

The symposium was intended to provide a chance to reflect, together with the help of legal and academic experts, on developments in international terrorism and to intensify dialogue on effective measures to take against this threat.

In May 2007, the Interior Ministers of the G-6 countries and the US met in Venice at Italy’s invitation to discuss counter-terrorism issues. They came to the conclusion that they needed to work together on legal issues around how states counter international terrorism in order to come up with effective responses to the wide variety of threats faced by the international community and its citizens. At that meeting, the participants agreed to intensify their dialogue.

The symposium discussed, inter alia:

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Germany has indicated an intention to convene further work to continue the fruitful dialogue of this symposium.


Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeals Panel (Northern Ireland)

The Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor (Mr. Jack Straw): On 1 December 2007 responsibility for certain functions in respect of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeals Panel for Northern Ireland transferred from the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to the Secretary of State for Justice. The transfer was effected by a machinery of government change.

The Criminal Injury Compensation Appeals Panel for Northern Ireland was established under the Criminal Injuries Compensation (Northern Ireland) Order 2002 and hears appeals from the final decision of the Compensation Agency for Northern Ireland on applications for compensation made by, or in respect of, persons who have sustained criminal injury.

Prior to the transfer on 1 December 2007, responsibility for the entire criminal injuries compensation scheme, which included the Compensation Agency for Northern Ireland and the Criminal Injury Compensation Appeals Panel for Northern Ireland, lay with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. Responsibility for the Compensation Agency for Northern Ireland will remain with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

From 1 December 2007 responsibility for appointing, removing and remunerating the adjudicators who hear the appeals and the reporting, accounting and auditing arrangements in respect of Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeals Panel for Northern Ireland rests with the Secretary of State for Justice. Full details in relation to the statutory functions which have been transferred can be found on the Northern Ireland Court Service website


Olympics (Baseline Budget)

The Minister for the Olympics (Tessa Jowell): In March this year, I announced the overall public sector funding package for the Olympic and Paralympic games totalling £9.325 billion. Of this total, £6.090 billion including tax and £500 million of initial contingency was identified as public sector funding for the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA). The remainder of the package covered security, sports and other non-ODA costs, together with a prudent contingency for ODA and security costs. A fuller breakdown is included at table 1.

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As with any major project at this stage, further work was needed to ensure that the budget is fully aligned with scope, programme and risks. This work has now been completed allowing us to publish a more detailed ODA budget in line with the recommendations of the NAO report in July 2007 (The budget for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games). I can now confirm that this has validated the ODA budget and overall funding package I announced in March.

Detailed Project and Programme Plan

The ODA has completed a detailed project by project analysis of its scope, costs, programme and risks to assess the total projected cost of their programme of works for the games and for legacy transformation. This has confirmed that the base cost, excluding general programme contingency, is £6.090 billion, the same as the ODA budget within the announcement in March 2007 of a total Government funding package of £9.325 billion.

It is recognised that regenerating a 500 acre park to stage a great Olympic and Paralympic games, as well as providing the underlying infrastructure so that long-term legacy benefits can be achieved, involves managing significant risks. This is the reason why the Government included a prudent contingency in the March announcement.

Therefore, in addition to the project level analysis, programme-wide risks have also been assessed and quantified. The contingency available, within the funding package announced in March, has been confirmed as sufficient to cover the risks at both project and general programme levels.

Allocated Contingency

In June 2007, the Ministerial Funders’ Group—established to manage the allocation of contingency to the ODA within the overall budget—met and agreed a first allocation of contingency to the ODA, being £360 million out of the £500 million of initial contingency announced in March, to enable the ODA to manage early cost pressures.

Following its second meeting on 26 November 2007, the Funders’ Group has now agreed:

Total Contingency Available

As a result of this further work and recent decisions, there still remains £2.009 billion of contingency. This contingency includes provision against known programme-wide risks, and against risks that are outside the ODA’s control. The programme-wide risks, and other risks outside the ODA’s control, have been assessed and quantified and the contingency available has been confirmed as sufficient to cover such risks.

Access to any of the £2.009 billion contingency will only be on the basis of a case by case assessment of actual risks arising and any mitigation that can be taken. The ODA is also incentivised to limit requests for release of the contingency to the minimum
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consistent with securing good value in such a large and complex programme, and will manage its contracting strategy accordingly.

Table 2 summarises the funding position, including a detailed breakdown of the ODA budget as a result of these decisions, and table 3 summarises the contingency released.

In addition, as previously identified, £238 million of the £2.247 billion contingency has been set aside to cover the risks in relation to security beyond the budget of £600 million I announced in March. The funding allocated to security will continue to be subject to oversight and scrutiny in the coming months and years by the relevant Cabinet Committee, the Home Secretary and the Metropolitan Police.

Next Steps

In the new year, the ODA will issue a summary of the baseline scope, aligned budget, programme and
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risks. The budget and scope now agreed will provide a robust baseline for future reporting.

I will provide a detailed account of progress across the Olympic programme when the first Olympic annual report is produced in the new year. I will make further reports to Parliament on a six monthly basis, including information on further allocation of contingency.


The following tables do not include a breakdown of individual project costs, budgets or contingency requirements where this is necessary to protect ongoing commercial confidentiality.

Table 1: Funding announcement March 2007.

The total public sector Olympic funding envelope is £9.325 billion and the maximum public sector funding package for the ODA is £8.099 million as follows:


Total Funding Package


Less Non ODA costs

Elite and Community sports


Paralympic Games


Look of London





Security contingency



Total Non ODA


Total Available for ODA


ODA Base costs inc VAT


Contingency released


Total ODA before unallocated contingency


Contingency remaining


Maximum funding available for ODA


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