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Written Ministerial Statements

Friday 6 June 2008

Innovation, Universities and Skills

EU Competitiveness Council

The Minister for Science and Innovation (Ian Pearson): The following statement provides information on the Competitiveness Council that took place in Brussels on 29-30 May. The research session of the Council was held on 30 May and was chaired by Mojca Kucler Dolinar, Slovenian Minister for Higher Education, Science and Technology. A ministerial dinner took place on 29 May to discuss the location of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). I represented the UK at the dinner and at the Council.

The Council adopted a Council regulation establishing a joint undertaking to implement a joint technology initiative (JTI) for fuel cells and hydrogen. The JTI is expected to be launched as soon as possible.

The Council agreed a resolution on a code of practice on intellectual property for universities and other public research organisations, and agreed conclusions on European research infrastructures, family-friendly scientific careers, and the launch of the Ljubljana process, an initiative which aims to agree a long-term vision and governance structure for the European research area (ERA). I reiterated the UK’s support of the Ljubljana process and its aims, and emphasised the importance of recognising business investment in R&D and getting the framework conditions right to better encourage this. I also stressed the need to develop a fully effective external angle to the ERA in order to help address the global challenges of climate change, food supply, and energy sustainability.

Under ‘any other business’, the Council took note of presentations by the Commission on better careers and more mobility for European researchers, and on a code of conduct for responsible nanosciences and nanotechnologies research. I intervened on nano research, reiterating the UK’s support for the code and stressed the need to encourage its uptake. I emphasised the need for better co-ordinated research and regulation on nano research in order to help fill the gaps in knowledge that currently exist in the development and use of this technology, particularly in respect to addressing concerns on health and safety and the potential effects on the environment.

The Council also took note of presentations by the presidency on the progress of two proposals for decisions to set up research initiatives based on article 169 of the treaty (Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) and Eurostars), and on improving EU-Russia research links.

The Council could not reach the consensus needed to agree the location of the EIT administrative headquarters at the ministerial dinner on 29 May, and has agreed to meet again on 18 June to revisit the issue.

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Cabinet Office

London 2012 (Legacy Action Plan)

The Minister for the Olympics (Tessa Jowell): I have today launched the “Government Olympic Executive Legacy Action Plan—Before, During and After: Making the Most of the London 2012 Games”.

The document fulfils the commitment to publish a legacy action plan, following the publication of “Our Promise for 2012” in June 2007. The five promises are:

The plan outlines the ways in which the Government will deliver on these promises through new programmes and the unique added value of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games to existing programmes. As such there is no discrete legacy budget; rather we are creating Olympic value by drawing together programmes from across Government.

Under each promise, the plan sets out between two and four headline ambitions and details the major programmes that will contribute towards achieving that aim.

A robust and transparent governance system has also been put in place to drive progress, and this will be monitored alongside the delivery of PSA 22—a successful Olympic Games and Paralympic Games with a sustainable legacy, with more children and young people taking part in high quality PE and sport.

This is the Government’s first detailed statement on legacy, and it is the first time that a host city has published such a document before their olympiad has even begun. Further programmes will be created, and existing programmes and ideas developed over the next four years. We will report on progress regularly.

I would like to commend this plan to the Members of both Houses and thank them for their continued interest and support of the London 2012 Olympics.

Copies of the legacy action plan are available at www.culture.gov.uk and will be deposited in the Libraries of both Houses.

Leader of the House

Business Questions

The Leader of the House of Commons (Ms Harriet Harman): In my response to my hon. Friend the Member for Thurrock (Andrew Mackinlay) during business questions on 22 May I said:

I would like to clarify that the Constitutional Renewal Bill does not contain provisions to improve the
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accountability of the security and intelligence services. However, the accompanying Constitutional Renewal White Paper does contain proposals to make significant changes to improve the transparency and effectiveness of the Intelligence and Security Committee through a resolution of both Houses.

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