To achieve a score of more than 86 per cent. in each quarterly Companies House customer satisfaction survey.
To achieve a 26 per cent. increase in the volume of documents submitted electronically by the end of 2008-09.
To achieve, on average, a target that a search customer can access their requested electronic document on our systems within 60 seconds.
To ensure that Companies House Direct, WebCHeck and WebFiling are available for 99 per cent. of the time between the hours of 7 am and midnight, Monday to Saturday for April to December 2008 and between the hours of 7 am and midnight Monday to Sunday for January to March 2009.
To achieve, on average, a monthly compliance rate for accounts submitted of 95.3 per cent.
To resolve 97 per cent. of all complaints within five days.
The chief executive to reply within 10 days to all letters from members of parliament delegated to him for reply.
To ensure that, on average, electronic transactions received are available to view on the public record within 72 hours.
To ensure that, on average, paper transactions received are available to view on the public record within eight days.
To ensure that 99.5 per cent. of images placed on the Companies House image system are legible and complete.
To achieve a target that 90 per cent. of staff rate Companies House as a good place to work.
To decrease the weight of non-recyclable office waste by 15 per cent.
To reduce CO2 emissions for the use of gas and electricity by 1.5 per cent. per person.
To achieve by 2010-11 a reduction, in real terms, of 15 per cent. compared to 2007-08 in the operational monetary cost of the registry per company on the register.
To achieve, taking one year with another, a 3.5 per cent. average rate of return based on the operating surplus expressed as a percentage of average net assets.
To pay all bills within 30 days, or on other agreed credit terms, on receipt of goods or services or a valid invoice, whichever is later.
Action will continue to be taken against bankrupts and company directors in respect of financial misconduct or dishonesty and I have asked the Service to increase its enforcement output by 7 per cent. over that achieved in 2007-08.
Companies Investigation Branch will continue to investigate the affairs of companies in the public interest and I have set targets in relation to the timeliness of dealing with complaints made and the handling of investigations into live companies that follow from those complaints.
The Services Enabling the Future strategy, a major programme of IT-led investment, will deliver savings over the period of the forthcoming comprehensive spending review and I have therefore set the Service a target to have reduced its case administration fees by 15 per cent. by 31 March 2011.
The Services Corporate Plan 2008-11 will be available at: www.insolvency.gov.uk
In addition to these targets the Service is required to meet centrally promulgated targets relating to replying to correspondence from hon. Members, making payments to suppliers. The Service will also look to maintain Charter Mark and Investors in People accreditation following reassessments during 2008-09.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Alistair Darling): On 18 March, Official Report, columns 53-54WS, I informed the House that the Government had formally notified to the European Commission proposals to continue to provide state aid to Northern Rock to support a restructuring of the company during the period of temporary public ownership. In addition, the board of Northern Rock plc set out in general its plans for the future direction of the business during the period of temporary public ownership. The Governments objectives in relation to Northern Rock remain the protection of taxpayers and consumers, and the maintenance of financial stability.
The board of Northern Rock plc has today published its annual report and accounts for 2007. These show that the Bank of England loan facilities to Northern Rock plc as at 31 December 2007 stood at £26.9 billion. Since then some £2.5 billion has been repaid and the gross loan stands at around £24 billion. These accounts also demonstrate that Northern Rock remains solvent and meets its regulatory requirements.
Contracting to a smaller, sustainable business through a reduction of the asset base from £107 billion in 2007 to £49 billion in 2011, while maintaining on average around £5 billion a year of new mortgage origination over this period and continuing to treat customers fairly;
Repaying of the Bank of England loan by the end of 2010 and enabling the Government to release their guarantee arrangements gradually by 2011, subject to the Financial Services Authority being satisfied of the capital position of Northern Rock at that time. In the meantime, the existing Government guarantee arrangements remain in place. Depositors money continues to be safe and secure. Retail deposits are projected to increase to £20 billion by 2011 providing closer to half the company's funding needsbut in total will remain below 2007 levels;
Restructuring the organisation and its operations so that these are aligned to the business objectives;
Strengthening risk management in key business areas.
This business plan meets the Governments objectives. As set out in the Budget, the Government will, during 2008-09, replace the Bank of Englands loan to Northern Rock with direct Treasury funding. The Bank of England and the Treasury are agreeing with Northern Rock the terms of this financing. This will include a back-up liquidity facility, to meet the Financial Services Authoritys requirements, that may remain in place beyond 2010 until sufficient alternative liquidity arrangements are in place. Northern Rock will maintain, but contract over time, its Granite securitisation vehicle.
Furthermore Northern Rock has published as part of its business plan a competitive framework, which is subject to European Commission approval, setting out its commitment not to take unfair advantage of Government support during the state aid period. It will commit to a series of steps, in particular Northern Rock will restrict itself from positions of market leadership on any product category for 2008.
I have also agreed with Northern Rock a shareholder agreement that sets out the framework within which HM Treasury will operate its shareholder relationship with Northern Rock. This sets out our intention to run Northern Rock on an arms length, commercial basis, while approving strategy and holding the board to account for performance against the business plan.
The Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (Ed Balls): I am today publishing a consultation document, Promoting Achievement, Valuing Success: A Strategy for 14-19 Qualifications. Building on the aim that we set out in the Childrens Plan for a world-class education system for all 14-19 year olds, this strategy will help to ensure that we can unlock the talent of every young personenabling all teenagers to pursue qualifications that are understood and valued and allow them to achieve and succeed. This strategy builds on the advice we have received from a group of independent experts from all parts of the education sector and employers.
The current qualification system is overly complexit is often difficult for young people and their advisers to understand which will best meet their needs and support their aspirations. Not every qualification option has clear progression routes to further study or to skilled employment. Not all the qualifications currently on offer enable young people to develop all the skills and knowledge they need, and that employers and universities want. We want more comprehensive and coherent qualifications for young people, supporting better progression through a set of clear, well-valued qualification choices.
Building on the vision set out in the 2005 White Paper, 14-19 Education and Skills, there will be four key national qualification routes: GCSEs and A levels; Diplomas; Apprenticeships; and the Foundation Learning Tier. These will offer a range of choices from general education to job-specific learning, and will support young people of all abilities throughout the country. This clear new offer will build on the best of existing provision, but will also secure a coherent system of 14-19 education that is truly fit for the future, with the flexibility to meet the needs and aspirations of each and every young person. We have said that we will conduct a first full review in 2013 to consider how diplomas, GCSEs and A levels and any other general qualifications publicly funded for young people at that point, are combining to meet the needs of young people, employers and universities.
These proposals are an essential part of our plans to raise the education and training leaving age to 18, so that all young people have the right skills to meet the demands of a rapidly changing world and can continue learning throughout life.
We will establish a step-by-step process through which we can be assured that in simplifying the qualifications available, we are continuing to meet the full range of learner needs. This will ensure that we can bring in the best of what currently exists, while managing a process of transition to the future simplified system;
The extended diploma, which will recognise a wider range of achievement within the diploma framework;
Plans to make the Extended Project an option for all young people who study A Levels;
An extension of the diploma entitlement from the first 14 to all 17 diplomas post-16 from 2013.
We are confident that these proposals will go a long way towards our aim of attracting more young people to learning, transforming standards in the basics and in the wider skills for employability, and enabling all young people to be taking qualifications that have a real standing with employers and the public at large, establishing a strong progression route to further and higher education.
The formal consultation process will allow us to take the views of all those interested in these proposals, and to ensure that we are moving in a direction which will make our qualifications system more robust and responsive to the needs of all.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (Kevin Brennan): I would like to update the House on the work we have undertaken and the further action we plan to take to safeguard children and young people from forced marriage.
Keeping children and young people safe is a top priority for this Government and my Department. The Government are committed to improving the safety and welfare of all children and young people, whatever their background or circumstances. We are determined to do all we can to make the existing systems and guidance as effective as possible and to strengthen them where needed. We have introduced new legislation, new guidance and new structures to make children safer. And we are committed to doing even more as set out most recently in the cross-Government Staying Safe: Action Plan published last month.