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|NB. Figures shown above are based upon early estimates of student take up of Diplomas. When take up numbers have been confirmed the funding may change accordingly.|
The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Hazel Blears): Today I am publishing the Governments response to the Commission on Integration and Cohesion. Copies of the response have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
In August 2006 the Government asked Darra Singh, the chief executive of Ealing council, to chair a commission examining the issues of integration and cohesionhow, in the light of concerns about communities living parallel lives, of changing patterns of migration, and of new technologies transforming the way people interact with each other, Government can help build strong communities where neighbours feel at ease, share a sense of belonging, and have the opportunity to work together to shape the future of the place where they live.
In June 2007, the Commission delivered a serious and ambitious report based on in depth consultation. It set out practical proposals for building cohesion and integration at a local level and contained a number of specific recommendations for Government.
The report has already influenced a range of policies, changing the debate about how best to bring people of different backgrounds together and empower them to influence the decisions which affect their lives.
Today, I am pleased to set out in detail my response to all 57 of the Commissions recommendationswhat we have already done, what we will do in the future and how we will further develop the Commissions ideas.
It sets out a new clarity on, and commitment to, delivering cohesive and integrated communities, backed by increased investment in cohesion of some £50 million over the next three years, and a new public service agreement to drive practical action across Government.
At the heart of the Governments approach, like the Commissions, is the principle that cohesion can only be understood and built locally. Central Governments role is to set the national framework within which local authorities and their partners can deliver improvements to cohesion.
1) a move away from a one size fits all approach;
2) mainstreaming of cohesion into wider policy areas;
3) a national framework for local support and guidance; including establishing specialist cohesion teams to provide support to local authorities facing cohesion challenges and giving local authorities a tool to assess the impact their planned activities will have on cohesion;
4) integration of new migrants and existing communities; starting with new guidance for local authorities on developing information packs for migrants;
5) building positive relationships; to this end we are today also publishing a consultation on Guidance for Funders, which encourages local authorities to consider how funding can be better used to support greater interaction and;
6) sharing lessons about what works;
I am grateful to Darra Singh and his Commissioners for their hard work. With this response the Government are demonstrating their commitment to maintaining
the momentum the report has created and helping build stronger communities where all individuals, no matter what their background, feel a sense of shared belonging, and can work with their neighbours to shape a better future for the place where they live.
This indicated that, following further consideration of the new legal challenges that have been made against the current LABGI scheme and the inherent uncertainty this causes to the remaining LABGI pot, the Government intended to reconsider all aspects of the approach used to distribute resources available for Year 3 of the LABGI scheme.
Alongside our reconsideration of the Year 3 scheme, the Government have reconsidered the payments for Years 1 and 2 of LABGI, which were made on the basis of a number of Valuation Office Agency rateable value change codes. We have taken the view that there are a number of Valuation Office Agency change codes that have not previously been used in LABGI calculations, which could contain elements of business growth. In light of this, and to avoid the additional delay and uncertainty caused by further legal challenge, the Government proposes to reward authorities on the basis of a wider set of codes than has so far been the case for Years 1 and 2. I will set out the details shortly.
The Government is still finalising its analysis of options for allocating the resources available for Year 3 of the scheme. We continue to be convinced of the value of providing incentives to encourage business growth, a view echoed by the great majority of the responses to our recent issues paper on the reform of the LABGI scheme, Building Better Incentives for Local Economic Growth: Reforms to the Local Authority Business Growth Incentives Scheme. We also remain determined to try to achieve this policy aim for LABGI. However, the inclination of a small number of authorities to pursue legal action has created greater complexity, uncertainty and delay. Given this, it will be necessary to retain a portion of the Year 3 funding as a contingency in this final year of the current scheme. I will make an announcement on Year 3 methodology and the size of the contingency retained as soon as possible.
The Minister for Housing (Caroline Flint):
The Government are today confirming final programme grant allocations to administering authorities for the Supporting People programme in 2008-09. The programme funds housing-related support services for over 1 million vulnerable peopleincluding victims of domestic violence, teenage parents, older people and those with mental health problemsenabling them to live independently
in their accommodation. The Government have invested £8.7 billion since the Supporting People programme began in 2003 and announced a further £4.9 billion of funding for the next three years. Final allocations for 2009-10 and 2010-11 will be confirmed by a further statement to the House closer to the beginning of those financial years. In line with the Governments policy on three-year settlements, it is not intended that the 2009-10 and 2010-11 indicative allocations will be changed from those published on 6 December, other than in exceptional circumstances.
The refreshed consultation on the Supporting People distribution formula closed in January 2008. Following consideration of the responses, we are today confirming final allocations for 2008-09 and publishing our response to that consultation on the Departments website.
This three-year settlement, alongside a radically slimmed-down performance framework, will provide authorities with stability for the future and greater flexibility to budget and plan realistic delivery of housing support services.
A table of Supporting People final programme grant allocations for 2008-09 and a copy of the consultation response have today been placed in the Library of the House. The consultation response will be available on Communities and Local Governments website at:
The Secretary of State for Defence (Des Browne): Following a review of published operational casualty data to align current and historical methods of statistical recording, the number of casualties categorised as seriously injured (SI) (excluding natural cause) on Operation Herrick for 2006 has increased by one from 12 to 13. The number of Operation Telic casualties categorised as SI (excluding natural cause) for 2006 has increased by two from 19 to 21. There have been no changes to the number of very seriously injured (VSI) casualties in either operation. These changes bring the total number of SI casualties (excluding natural cause) for Operation Herrick to 57 and Operation Telic to 144 up to 31 December 2007.
The statistics on casualty severity which are published on the MOD internet site exclude those individuals whose condition was recorded as due to a natural cause. In a very small number of cases, however, it is not possible to confirm whether individuals are suffering from injury or disease. When casualty reporting on the MOD internet site was first established in early 2006, cases where there was uncertainty over the cause were excluded from the published statistics. However, during an exercise last year to validate and publish retrospective data for the period 2001 to 2005 for the first time, it was decided that such cases, where there is uncertainty over the cause, should be included. This ensures that all those who have suffered an injury are reported. To ensure consistency of the statistical approach, we have now added such cases into the published statistics for January 2006 onwards.
The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Hilary Benn):
On 2 July 2007 I announced
that Government spending on flood and coastal erosion risk management in England would increase to £800 million in 2010-11 and that I would publish details later. This past year has shown the impact that flooding can have on communities and individuals, and these record sums for managing the risk of flooding and coastal erosion are clearly needed.
We will be investing £1.8 billion directly with operating authorities in the next three years on flood management, including new or improved defences, monitoring, and the availability of flood warning. We are also making an initial provision of £34.5 million which may be needed to implement Sir Michael Pitt's recommendations.
We estimate that local authorities will spend around £260 million maintaining their own defences, as well as funding additional work by the Environment Agency and Internal Drainage Boards. This means that Government will be investing over £2.15 billion during the three year period.
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|LA Own Spend (Estimated)||Retained (for now) in DEFRA||EA Resource (maintenance & operational costs)||Capital Programme (new & improved defences & projects)|
I am also setting new targets for the delivery of the capital programme that will include improving the protection of 145,000 households over the three-year period including 45,000 of those most at risk. Targets have also been set that will see the condition of some 24,000 hectares of our SSSIs brought back into favourable condition by 2010.
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