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(2) The Department for Communities and Local Government (Local Government) DEL will be increased by £81,165,000 from £24,792,523,000 to £24,873,688,000. Within the DEL change, the impact on resources and capital are as set out in the following table:
|(1)The total of 'Administration budget' and 'Near cash in Resource DEL' figures may well be greater than total Resource DEL, due to definitions overlapping.|
(2)Capital DEL includes items treated as resource in Estimates and accounts but which are treated as Capital DEL in budgets.
(3)Depreciation, which forms part of Resource DEL, is excluded from the total DEL since Capital DEL includes capital spending and to include depreciation of those assets would lead to double counting.
d) £1,000,000 from Fire and Rescue Services Improvement programme (Main DEL) to Best Value Inspection (Local Government DEL) to support Audit Commission Comprehensive Performance Assessment inspection work on Fire and Rescue Authorities;
e) £125,000 from E-Planning (Main DEL) to Local Government on Line (Local Government DEL) to cover the costs of the National Process Improvement Project as part of the Transformational Planning Project
(v) A transfer of £1,000,000 from the Local Government on-line programme to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to facilitate more efficient electronic
transfer of data between DWP, Communities and Local Government, the Department for Children Schools and Families (DCSF) and local authorities.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Mr. Sadiq Khan): I am delighted to announce today the publication of Place Matters: The Location Strategy for the United Kingdom, which has been prepared for me by the UK Geographic Information Panel. Copies have been placed in the Library of the House.
The UK location strategy is a thoughtful, authoritative and important document and its recommendations are closely aligned to the delivery of Government policy in many areas. Ministerial colleagues share with me in recognising the reality identified by the strategy that everything happens somewhere. The Government acknowledge that a better understanding of location is an important factor in moving forward the transformational Government agenda.
Implementation of the location strategy will maximise the value to the public, Government and UK industry of the use of geographic information. It will provide a consistent framework to assist national, regional and local initiatives and service delivery for the benefit of all our people. Key areas where the location strategy will be of benefit are in policy and operational areas of the public and private sector, where shared and integrated place-based information is essential for decision making. It will also be the basis for delivering the United Kingdoms obligations under the European INSPIRE directive.
The Government now wish to build on the progress represented by publication of the location strategy. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has agreed to lead implementation of the location strategy alongside INSPIRE; implementation planning has commenced. Agreement has been reached that the initial phases of implementation will be funded by contributions that will be drawn from key stakeholder Departments across Government. A key early deliverable is the establishment of a UK location council, to be chaired by DEFRA, and I am also pleased to announce that Government have approved the actions necessary to set up the location council. It will continue the excellent work undertaken by the UK Geographic Information Panel, which will now be dissolved.
I wish to place on record my thanks to the UK Geographic Information Panel, chaired by Vanessa Lawrence CB, for its excellent work in conceiving, developing and championing the UK location strategy to this point.
The Secretary of State for Defence (Mr. John Hutton): I should like to make a statement on the restructuring of coalition regional commands in Iraq and the implications for the ongoing UK mission there.
As the Iraqi security forces have grown and matured, coalition forces across Iraq have been able to move increasingly into over-watch and mentoring operations. These successes have allowed coalition forces and structures to be rationalised and combat forces from several nations have been able to return home. The UK has also been able to reduce the scale of its deployment.
Until recently, the area south of Baghdad was divided into three multi-national divisional areasMND-Centre under US control, MND-Centre South under Polish control and MND-South East under UK control. In future, it is anticipated that only a single multi-national divisional headquarters will be required south of Baghdad, given that the Iraqi security forces now have the lead in providing the security for all nine provinces in this area. As part of this restructuring, MND-Centre merged with MND-Centre South as Polish forces completed their mission and MND-Centre has now also taken over over-watch from MND-South East of the three provinces Muthanna, Dhi Qar and Maysan. This new US divisional area is called MND-Centre. Security in these three provinces is provided by the 10th Division of the Iraqi armypreviously trained by UK and Australian forcesand therefore this boundary move does not affect any UK forces which are focused in Basrah. This restructuring of divisional areas is therefore an adjustment to reflect better both the dispositions of coalition and Iraqi forces on the ground and the continuing improvements in security. This new divisional area will remain MND-Centre.
MND-South East, which now consists solely of Basrah province, remains focused on developing the rapidly improving 14th Division. The delivery of 14th Division was defined by the Prime Minister in his 22 July statement as one of the decisive conditions for transition and it is therefore right that this is where UK forces concentrate their efforts. As the Iraqi security forces increasingly take responsibility for providing security, the role and shape of the coalition will naturally evolve as efforts increasingly focus on economic development, reconstruction and capacity building.
The Secretary of State for Defence (Mr. John Hutton): I attended an informal meeting of NATO Defence Ministers in Budapest, Hungary, on 9 and 10 October 2008. It provided an important opportunity for discussions on operations and on the transformation of NATO capabilities, following the informal Defence Ministers meeting in London on 18 and 19 September 2008, which was attended by my predecessor as Secretary of State for Defence, my right hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock and Loudoun (Des Browne).
The main focus of the meeting in London was the continuing transformation of the alliance. Ministers expressed their strong support for NATO transformation and for proposals made during the meeting to increase the targets for allies deployable capabilities. Over dinner, Ministers reflected on the implications for NATO of the events in Georgia in the preceding months. There was consensus that collective defence and discretionary, out-of-area operations required the same expeditionary capabilities.
The focus of the meeting in Budapest was on current operations. This was the first ministerial meeting in which Albania and Croatia participated fully. Ministers underlined the importance of the NATO operation in Afghanistan, and in response to a request from the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, directed ISAF to take action, with the Afghan authorities, against narcotics facilities and facilitators supporting the insurgency within priority regions. Ministers stated their continued support for NATOs KFOR mission and its work in providing a safe and secure environment in Kosovo. On Afghanistan, NATO Ministers also had a meeting with their counterparts from non-NATO nations making valuable contributions to the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, together with the Defence Minister of Afghanistan, the United Nations Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Afghanistan and a European Union senior representative.
At the request of the United Nations, Ministers agreed that NATO will contribute to deter piracy in the waters off the coast of Somalia, by providing a number of ships from the Alliances Standing Naval Maritime Group to patrol the waters off the coast of Somalia and escort ships carrying food supplies for the world food programme.
At the meeting, Ministers re-affirmed the importance that they attach to developing deployable capabilities and agreed to increase targets for the deployability of allies land forces. In addition, the first ministerial-level meeting of the NATO-Georgia Commission took place, where the Defence Minister for Georgia set out the Georgian Governments priorities in security and defence policy.
The Secretary of State for Defence (Mr. John Hutton): Subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary supplementary estimate, the Ministry of Defence departmental expenditure limits (DEL) will be increased by £3,434,312,000voted and non-votedfrom £34,075,771,000 to £37,510,083,000. The administration cost budget will be increased by £64,108,000 from £2,294,141,000 to £2,358,249,000. Within the DEL change, the impact on resources and capital are as set out in the following table:
|(1)The total DEL since capital DEL includes capital spending and to include depreciation of those assets would lead to double counting.|
a net increase in the RfR2 of £2,302,000,000 direct resource DEL, £1,063,000,000 capital DEL, and indirect resource DEL of £350,000,000 to reflect the forecast costs of peacekeeping operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Balkans;
transfers in from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of £2,400,000 for Balkans funding (RfR2) and £2,800,000 for helicopter pilot training for counter-narcotics operations (RfR1);
a transfer in from the Cabinet Office of £209,000 in respect of future funding arrangements for the expansion of the Parliamentary Counsel Office (RfRl);
transfers out to the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) of £4,000,000 being the MODs contribution to BERRs chemical and nuclear weapons disposal pool (RfR1); transfers out to the FCO of £16,000,000 and the Department for International Development of £1,970,000 being the MODs contribution to the stabilisation aid fund (RfR2); a transfer out to the Cabinet Office of £40,000 being the MOD contribution to the Government secure zone fund (RfR1); and a resource administration budget transfer of £45,000 to the Centre of Expertise for Sustainable Procurement (RfR1);
a transfer within RfR1 of £1,000,000,000 capital DEL to direct resource within RfR1 relating to single use military equipment (SUME) flexibility with no overall impact on DEL;
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