The Minister for Employment Relations and Postal Affairs (Mr. Pat McFadden): My noble Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform has today made the following statement:
The Government are committed to doing everything they can to ensure that appropriate lending to businesses continues. The Chancellor has already announced the creation of UK Financial Investments Ltd which, in respect of those banks recapitalised by Government(1), will monitor compliance with the conditions we set to maintain the availability and active marketing of competitively priced lending to small businesses and homeowners.
I am today hosting the first meeting of the Small Business Finance Forum. This forum, the establishment of which was announced to the House on 24 October, brings together all banks, small business representative organisations and small businesses themselves to have an informed dialogue to discuss and resolve their concerns on business lending.
I am pleased to announce to the House that today we have agreed the establishment of a new monitoring panel on business lending. This panel, made up of senior Government officials from HM Treasury and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and representatives of the Bank of England will monitor and enter into a constructive dialogue with individual lenders on the availability, risk and overall cost of lending to small and medium-sized businesses from the five major banks(2).
These banks have agreed to provide, in strictest confidence, data on the availability, risk and overall cost of lending to the monitoring panel.
The establishment of this panel, and the agreement of the five major lenders to enter into a dialogue with Government on this basis, demonstrates our continuing commitment to ensure that appropriate levels of finance are available for SMEs in the UK.
(1 )HBOS, LloydsTSB, RBS
(2) Barclays, HBOS, HSBC, LloydsTSB and RBS
The Minister for the Armed Forces (Mr. Bob Ainsworth): With the expiry of the call-out order made in November 2007, a new order has been made under Section 54 of the Reserve Forces Act 1996 to enable reservists to continue to be called out into service to support operations in Afghanistan. The new order is effective until 10 November 2009. Reservists continue to make a valuable contribution to operations in that country and some 670 reservists are currently called out in support of the operation.
The Secretary of State for Health (Alan Johnson): Healthy weight: Healthy Living, published in January 2008, announced a social marketing campaign of £75 million over three years. It now has the committed support from a range of partners from industry to local grass-roots organisations. This is the first coalition of its kind to be brought together by Government to tackle the growing problem of obesity.
Change4Life is a lifestyle revolution which will help families eat well, move more and live longer. Under the banner Change4Life, the Government are aiming to galvanise support from everyone in the country from grass-roots organisations to leading supermarkets and charities.
parents do not recognise that their children are overweightjust 11.5 per cent. of parents with overweight or obese children recognise it;
parents underestimate how much unhealthy food and convenience food they buy as well as overestimating the amount of activity their children do;
only 38 per cent. of adults know that obesity can lead to heart disease and only 6 per cent. know about the link of cancer with being overweight;
many families use snacks as rewards, as fillers during times of boredom and to appease conflict;
parents of older children are more worried about not feeding them enough and the risk of eating disorders such as anorexia; and
lack of knowledge, confidence and skills is the main barrier which stops parents cooking from scratch.
These statistics are a convincing evidence base for the campaign. They demonstrate the need for a change in peoples lifestyles and Change4Life aims to provide the information to enable families to make healthier informed choices.
The brand of Change4Life has now been unveiled and the first partner organisations have revealed their pledges which set out what they plan to do to help people make healthier choices in their lives. In addition to commercial partners, 12,400 local activists have signed up and many more have pledged their support. The pledges of commercial partners are as follows:
Tesco stores serve 20 million customers per week and employ over 250,000 people. The organisation is committed to spreading the word on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle among its customers and workforce.
Tesco will also run themed Change4Life promotional activity (Change 4 Life for Less) in store on healthier products, and their customer magazine, which reaches 5 million customers, will include features on the campaign and tips to help customers get healthier.
Tesco will support the campaign with a range of other initiatives. Their store-based Community Champions, staff members dedicated to understanding and linking up with the communities around their stores, will support
the project with activities tailored to their own communities, ranging from stalls in store to tell customers about the campaign, to visits to schools.
Asda will be actively supporting Change4Life in communications to customers and colleagues, through its trading activity including promotions that encourage healthier eating and the Asda website. Asda will dedicate space to profiling Change4Life in each issue of the Asda magazine, which has a circulation of 3 million and estimated readership of 5.5 million.
Asda have also committed to supporting Bike4Life to promote cycling as a fun, safe activity that all the family can do. Asda CEO, Andy Bond, will cycle from Lands End to John OGroats in August 2009 to raise £1 million for a new charity that will be set up to make cycling easier and more affordable for families living in deprived communities. This ride will be supported by a strong promotional campaign and events for customers and colleagues in all of Asdas stores.
Kelloggs will support the campaign by entering into a new funding agreement and programme with ContinYou to expand the highly successful Breakfast Clubs programme under the Breakfast4Life umbrella. This project includes an investment of £100,000 a year for the next three years, and broadening the partnership to include complementary organisations. Kelloggs and ContinYou aim to develop Breakfast Clubs in the 500 most deprived areas in Britain, and promote universal access to breakfast clubs for every child by 2013.
Kelloggs will also support the Swim4Life programme in a number of ways. They will be providing an additional £240,000 a year to Swim Active for the next three years. This money will be invested in new Swim Active projects that encourage reluctant swimmers into the water. This new activity, and other activities developed with the ASA, will be co-branded Swim4Life.
Kelloggs will also co-brand the Fit For Life workplace campaign with Change4Life. This campaign provides Kelloggs 2,000 employees with nutritional and exercise programmes as part of a FDF/BiTC programme.
PepsiCo as an organisation is committed to supporting Play4Life by producing a PSA print/outdoor advertisement to promote the benefits of active play and increase activity levels, using the wealth of sporting talent contracted to them.
PepsiCo has a portfolio of household brands that is well placed to support Change4Life. Through Tropicana for example, they will extend their partnership with their current breakfast club partner, Magic Breakfast under the Breakfast for Life umbrella.
In November Costcutter, Nisa Mills Group and a number of other retailers are taking part in a Change4Life programme in the North-East to improve the accessibility of fresh fruit and vegetable in low-income areas.
They are investing in new chillers in prominent locations at the front of stores, offering a wider range with strong Change4Life branding, providing tips and hints to customers and staff on how to eat more fruit and vegetables, as well as offering promotions on fruit and veg.
The Minister of State, Department of Health (Phil Hope): The Governments response to the consultation on reform of discrimination law, published on 21 July 2008, gave a commitment that the Government would make a statement after the parliamentary recess setting out a defined programme of work to tackle age discrimination in the health and social care sectors and to help service providers prepare for legislation.
This programme of work will address age equality issues in health and social care. It will inform the implementation of the Equality Bill, planned for next Session, which, subject to parliamentary approval, will ban harmful discrimination on grounds of age against people aged 18 and over, and will also consider non-legislative measures to tackle age discrimination.
age discrimination and unfair treatment based on age have no place in a fair society, which values all its members;
personalisation means that individuals needs for health and social care should be on the basis of their individual condition and circumstances, not general assumptions about their age;
services should be differentiated by age only where this is objectively justifiable; and
services for all people should be subject to achieving overall value for money in the use of public funds.
we shall seek views of stakeholders including professions and service commissioners and providers via the Departmental National Stakeholder Forum, the Social Partnership and the Third Sector Sounding Board, by running a learning event by the end of November 2008. This will raise awareness with a view to setting up an advisory group shortly afterwards;
we shall establish an advisory group to include key stakeholders with an interest in using, providing or commissioning services, training those who provide care, and monitoring action on age equality. The group will have a remit to produce advice to the Government to include:
a reference group of interested organisations and networks to get widest input and debate;
sub-groups for specific areas, for instance mental health and social care could start work on implementation plans in advance of other areas of healthcare for which evidence is not yet available; and
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