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In conclusion, our ambition set out in Budget 2006—a £600 million public and private package to support elite athletes—remains in place and on track. In recognition of the changed economic circumstances we have increased
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the public funding commitment and reduced the amount of funding that needs to be raised from the private sector. The Government will be working with all partners to raise the funds needed and remain confident that it can be achieved, and in doing so will establish a three-strand funding model—Exchequer, lottery and private funds—that will be the rightful and lasting legacy for the future of British elite sport.


Armed Forces' Pay Review Body

The Secretary of State for Defence (Mr. John Hutton): I am pleased to announce that I have appointed John Steele, Mary Carter and the Very Reverend Graham Forbes as members of the Armed Forces' Pay Review Body, each for a three-year term of office commencing on 1 March 2009. These appointments have been conducted in accordance with the guidance of the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments.

Energy and Climate Change

Environment Council

The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (Edward Miliband): Lord Hunt, Minister for Sustainable Development and Energy Innovation and I, will represent the UK at the Environment Council in Brussels on 4 December. Stewart Stevenson, Scottish Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change will also attend.

At the Environment Council the French presidency will report on progress on the EU climate-energy legislative package. They will also provide briefing on the proposed renewable energy directive. The main outstanding issues on the climate and energy package include the redistribution of a proportion of allowances to the new member states for the purposes of solidarity; how to identify those sectors at risk of carbon leakage and what measures would be appropriate to reduce this risk; and the use of revenues from the auctioning of allowances. The door is still open for agreement on a financing mechanism for the demonstration of carbon capture and storage technology.

The presidency will also report on progress on the proposal for a regulation setting emission performance standards for new passenger cars—C02 from cars—and on the proposal for a directive on industrial emissions—integrated pollution prevention and control, IPPC directive.

Furthermore, there will be a policy debate and adoption of Council conclusions on the sustainable consumption and production (SCP) and sustainable industrial policy (SIP) action plan. The policy debate is likely to focus on next steps for delivering the plan, ecolabelling, lifestyles and behaviour, and carbon content display for products.

Following policy debates, Ministers are due to adopt Council conclusions on addressing the challenges of deforestation and forest degradation to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and addressing the global mercury challenges in preparation for the 25th session of the UNEP Governing Council in Nairobi on 16 to 20 February 2009.

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Under ‘any other business’, the European Commission will present communications on: the dismantling of ships; the EU strategy on invasive alien species, the EU and the Arctic region and the implementation of European Community environmental law. Additionally, the European Commission is likely to present a Green Paper on biowaste management in the European Union. Finally, the Irish delegation has asked for a discussion under ‘any other business’ on waste—the fall in demand for recycled materials.

Home Department

Magee Review (Government Response)

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Jacqui Smith): The House will wish to know that we have today published the Government’s response to Sir Ian Magee’s independent review of criminality information.

As I have said previously, we are grateful for the work that Sir Ian has done on the review and our response accepts the rationale behind all of his recommendations. These and the actions highlighted in our response encourage the better use, sharing and management of criminality information so that we can continue to reduce the risk of harm to the public while ensuring that information is held securely and shared only where it is lawful and proportionate to do so.

My introduction to the response is also the Government’s statement of intent on the improved management of criminality information and its use to reduce the risk to the public. It sets out a number of examples of work we have already put in train to further protect the public, for example:

We are building on these achievements and have begun a programme of work to take forward Sir Ian’s recommendations. This will often not involve doing new things, but instead means factoring in the principles of the review into existing or planned pieces of work that we are already committed to delivering. For example, work to support the deportation of EEA nationals in appropriate circumstances and the developing identity management strategy.

Everyone in the Public Protection Network needs to recognise how their jobs contribute to protecting the public and they need to be provided with the training and resources necessary so that they can properly make their vital risk-based decisions relevant to public protection.

This is not just about solving yesterday and today’s problems, it is also about trying to make sure that similar issues do not arise in the future. This will require long-term change to how Public Protection Network organisations operate and more work across organisational boundaries.

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This will take time, but we have also set ourselves clear short-term milestones. We are already establishing robust ministerial governance structures and will appoint an independent adviser to ensure we maintain momentum. By the end of January 2009 we will agree a strategic direction for criminality information management and will provide new guidance on managing risks across the whole Public Protection Network by April. We aim to implement a number of steps to improve our business processes by the middle of next year and by September staff training on managing criminality information will be enhanced.

This will take us some considerable way to meeting our key objective which is to provide frontline Public Protection Network staff with the information they need, in the format that they need, at the time that they need it so that they can protect the public. Our response to Sir Ian’s review is an important aspect of meeting that challenge.

Copies of the documents have been placed in the Vote Office.

Justice and Home Affairs Council

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Meg Hillier): The Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council was held in Brussels on 27 and 28 November 2008. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary and my noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice attended on behalf of the United Kingdom. The following issues were discussed at the Council:

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CEDAW Optional Protocol

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Mr. Michael Wills): The review of the experience of the United Kingdom under the optional protocol to the United Nations Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women announced on 25 June 2007 by my noble Friend Lord McKenzie of Luton (Official Report, c. 483) has been concluded.

The CEDAW optional protocol allows women in the UK to submit complaints directly to the United Nations Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women if they feel that their rights have been violated. The Government accepted the optional protocol to reaffirm our commitment to women’s rights and gender equality, and to gain greater empirical evidence on the value of individual petition to the UN generally.

The review of CEDAW was carried out by Professor Jim Murdoch of Glasgow university school of law. Professor Murdoch finds that: the CEDAW operational protocol has not yet provided women in the UK with real benefits; non-governmental organisations in the UK have not used the optional protocol in advancing the cause of women; and that the quality of the UN Committee’s adjudication on admissibility of complaints can appear inconsistent.

Government expenditure on cases involving the UK has been calculated at just over £4,000 per case.

Professor Murdoch’s findings suggest that the first three years have not provided sufficient empirical evidence to decide either way on the value of other individual complaint mechanisms. We will need further evidence, over a longer period, to establish what the practical benefits are. In the meantime, the Government will consider the merits of other individual complaints mechanisms on a case-by-case basis.

Copies of Professor Murdoch's report of the review have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses, the Vote Office and the Printed Paper Office. A copy will also be placed on the Ministry of Justice website at

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Legal Aid

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice (Mr. Shahid Malik): My noble friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Lord Bach) has made the following written ministerial statement:

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