The White Paper is an annual report to Parliament on the provisional outturn for public expenditure. It focuses on spending within departmental expenditure limits (DEL) and annually managed expenditure (AME), and includes information on individual supply estimates, and administration costs and near-cash limits.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Alistair Darling): The Treasury, with the Bank of England and Financial Services Authority is today publishing Financial Stability and Depositor Protection: further consultation (Cm 7436). Copies of this document have been laid before Parliament and are available in the Vote Office and the Library of the House.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (Kevin Brennan): My right hon. Friend, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Ministry of Justice, the Member for Lewisham, East (Bridget Prentice) and I wish to make the following statement to the House about the implementation of Part 1 of the Children and Adoption Act 2006:
The provisions relating to Family Assistance Orders and risk assessments were implemented in October 2007.
We plan to implement the remaining provisions in Part 1 of the Act (sections 1 to 5 and 8) relating to new powers for the courts to order contact activities and new enforcement powers in the autumn of 2008.
Some provisions in Part 2 of the Act, relating to adoptions with a foreign element, are already in force. I announced the timetable for the implementation of the provisions in Part 2 relating to the restriction of adoptions from abroad in my statement to the House of 2 April. We are working to a longer timetable for the implementation of section 13 and will announce this in due course.
The Minister for the Armed Forces (Mr. Bob Ainsworth): The House will recall that on 29 April 2008, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence announced the deployment of the 2nd Battalion, The Rifles (2 Rifles) to Kosovo during June as part of our existing commitment to the NATO/EU-shared pan-Balkans Operational Reserve Force (ORF).
During this period the security situation in Kosovo has remained calm. There were no significant incidents of inter-ethnic unrest and a number of key political dates passed peacefully. In particular, the implementation of a new constitution represented an historic moment in Kosovos progress towards establishing itself as a stable, democratic and multi-ethnic state.
Against this background, NATO has now assessed that its Kosovo force has the capability to maintain a safe and secure environment without further recourse to the ORF. As a result, I am pleased to announce that 2 Rifles completed its mission on 30 June 2008 and is in the process of returning to UK. The UK will, however, remain committed to the NATO/EU pan-Balkans ORF until the end of this year, at a lower readiness.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Derek Twigg): I am pleased to inform the House that the Department is releasing the final report of the mild Traumatic Brain Injury Project Team established by the Surgeon General in June 2007. A copy will also be placed in the Library of the House.
I previously informed the House of the conclusions of the project team in my written ministerial statement on 15 January 2008 (Official Report, columns 23-24WS). Release of the final report provides further rationale and explanation of the key conclusions that:
There is no evidence that mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) is having an adverse effect on operational capability within the UK Armed Forces.
The majority of cases of mTBI become symptom-free within two to three weeks and 80 per cent. are symptom-free within three months.
The Royal Centre for Defence Medicine (RCDM) has identified 585 cases of casualties between February 2003 and November 2007 with Traumatic Brain Injury (whether mild, moderate or severe) out of some 36,000 referrals to deployed UK operational emergency departments. This represents 1.6 per cent. of all medical presentations during the period, and 0.5 per cent. of the deployed UK military population.
The report also provides further detail of the actions we have already taken to address mBTI, including the roll-out of a diagnostic and surveillance tool to deployed theatres, and the establishment of a treatment protocol covering information for deployed service personnel, telephone-based support for patients, and outpatient and inpatient treatment at the Defence Medical
Rehabilitation Centre, Headley Court, which becomes the DMS lead centre for mTBI, re-enforced by ongoing epidemiological and research findings.
Finally, the report and associated historical review and literature review documents will be placed in the Library of the House. They provide a sense of perspective, explaining that mTBI is almost certainly not a new phenomenon, and that it is impossible to draw clear distinctions between organic and psychological effects in the case of brain injury.
As I explained in my previous statement, research continues both here and in the US. Throughout our research we are in touch with United States developments, and collaborate with its researchers as appropriate. I shall keep the House informed of any further significant developments.
Pursuant to my answer of 2 June to the question asked by the noble Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay (Official Report, 2 June, col WAI5), we have continued our search for the records relating to an answer given to the noble Lord by my noble Friend the Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean on 6 January 2004.
We have now located the records concerned. The answer was drafted by the Overseas Territories Department and approved by the FCO Minister concerned in the normal way. The background to this answer states that assurances on this issue were given at the annual British Indian Ocean Territory US-UK political-military talks in June 2003, and that officials had tested this assurance with the US embassy in London, the State Department in Washington and the US Commanding Officer on Diego Garcia.
The Minister of State, Department of Health (Dawn Primarolo): On 1 July 2007, legislation was implemented in England to make virtually all enclosed work and public places smoke-free. The primary aim of the legislation was to protect workers and the general public from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke.
The Department has today published the Smoke-Free England: One year on report. This report presents a review of smoke-free legislation covering compliance, public opinion, the experience of business in implementing the legislation and academic research into health benefits.
The Secretary of State for Transport (Ruth Kelly): Since the publication of Towards a Sustainable Transport System in October 2007, my Department has been engaging with stakeholders on our longer-term transport strategy post-2014.
In this initial phase of work, views on the goals and challenges that potential transport policies should help meet have been obtained from over 250 organisations throughout the country, as well as from over 600 members of the public who have participated in citizens panels. Today my officials have sent a letter to all the organisations that participated summarising their contributions. A copy of this letter has been placed in the House Library.
We plan to consult formally on the next phase in our long-term transport planning later this year. This timing is a slight revision from that published in Towards a Sustainable Transport System to align better with the timetable in the Climate Change Bill and to ensure the process we develop is robust. In taking this work forward we will also take account of the cross-Government work on developing policies and proposals to deliver the UKs first series of carbon budgets.