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The Minister of State, Department of Health (Dawn Primarolo): The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council will meet on 16 and 17 December. The Health and Consumer Affairs part of the Council will be taken on 16 December.
Items on the main agenda are: adoption of Council conclusions on health security; and Council conclusions on public health strategies to combat neurodegenerative
diseases associated with ageing and in particular Alzheimers disease. The United Kingdom supports these conclusions.
The presidency also intends to provide a progress report on the proposal for a directive on cross-border healthcare followed by a debate for member states. There will also be a presentation by the European Commission on the recently published proposal for a Council recommendation on European actions in the field of rare diseases, followed by an exchange of views.
Under any other business, the presidency and the Commission intend to provide information on the Council high level working party on public health on the health strategy; proposals for a regulation on the provision of food information to consumers; directive with regards variations to the terms of marketing authorisations for medicinal products; proposal for a directive on the quality and safety of organ donations; proposal for a recommendation on the safety of patients and the quality of health services including the prevention and control of nosocomial infections; Commission Green Paper on health professionals; information on events organised during the French presidency; Commissions High Level Group on health services and medical care; Commission communication on the future of pharmaceutical products and legislative proposals on pharmacovigilance, counterfeiting and information to patients; proposal for a directive amending directives on the structure and rates of excise duty applied on manufactured tobacco; strengthening of co-operation between member states in the field of e-health; and the forthcoming work programme of the incoming Czech presidency.
The Minister of State, Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (Mr. David Lammy): My right hon. Friend the Minister of State for Science and Innovation (Lord Drayson) has made the following written statement.
The following statement provides information on the Competitiveness Council which took place in Brussels on 1st - 2nd December. The research session of the Council was held on 2nd December and was chaired by Valerie Pecresse, Minister for Higher Education Research. The UK was represented by the Deputy Permanent Representative to the European Union.
Research Ministers agreed on a vision for the European Research Area (ERA) in 2020 aiming to help foster greater coordination of research activities across Europe, increase public and private sector investment in R&D and to facilitate the mobility of researchers in Europe. The Vision paper envisages future European research efforts being more responsive to societal challenges, the networking of education, research and innovation stakeholders and R&D underpinning European competitiveness. The UK welcomed the emphasis in the Vision on investment in research and innovation, especially in the current economic climate, as well as the emphasis on an ERA which encourages cooperation with countries outside the EU.
The Council adopted Council Conclusions on Joint Programming - a new process to help identify research fields in which national research programmes could be coordinated on a voluntary basis and reduce fragmentation of research funding in Europe. Joint programming approach will be piloted in the field of neurodegenerative
diseases. Council Conclusions on International R&D Cooperation, Marine and Maritime Research and the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) initiative were also adopted.
The Council did not agree a General Approach on the Regulation for a Community Legal Framework for a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC Regulation) as a consensus on the exemption of VAT and excise duties could not be reached. The dossier has been referred to the ECOFIN Council for consideration and will be taken forward under the Czech Presidency in the first half of 2009. I am writing separately to the Chairs of the Scrutiny Committees on this issue.
The Council took note of a presentation from the Luxembourg and Portuguese Ministers on researcher careers and mobility issues including encouraging the take up of science and technology related subjects in school, work-life balance and social security and supplementary pensions. Member States are to consider these issues further in the Commission-chaired Steering Group on Human Resources and Mobility.
Over lunch, Ministers discussed the role of the European Strategic Forum for Research Infrastructures (ESFRI). There was broad agreement that ESFRI played a useful role in allowing Member States to identify potential pan-European research infrastructures and to pull together consortia of interested parties to take these forward. There was little appetite to extend ESFRIs role in respect to helping to prioritise funding for research infrastructures or deciding on their location. On this latter point, there was broad agreement that decisions on location should be taken by the Member States paying for the infrastructures and that these should be located where they would be most effectively used.
Under Any Other Business, the Council took note of an updates from the Commission on the implementation of the Strategic Energy Technology Plan, work to establish revised cost estimates for ITER, the planned nuclear fusion research facility in France, and from the chair of the Governing Board of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT).
The Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor (Mr. Jack Straw): I have today laid before Parliament the Ministry of Justice Autumn Performance Report 2008 (Cm 7525). The report sets out the last six months progress the Ministry has made against its Departmental Strategic Objectives, value for money targets and public service agreements. The report will also be accessible on the Ministrys website.
The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office (Kevin Brennan): The Government proposes that, subject to Parliamentary approval, a census of population should be taken in England and Wales on 27 March 2011.
I am pleased to announce the publication of a White Paper Helping to shape tomorrow: The 2011 Census of Population and Housing in England and Wales [Cm 7513], which sets out the UK Statistics Authoritys detailed proposals for the census.
Government will use the information to form policy, to plan services for specific groups of people and, especially, to distribute resources effectively to local and health authorities to enable them to direct resources to where they are needed.
The design for the new census builds upon the lessons learned from the 2001 Census, and takes account of the formal recommendations of the Treasury Select Committee, the Public Accounts Committee, the National Audit Office and the former Statistics Commission.
After a census rehearsal in October 2009 and consultation with the Welsh Assembly Ministers, the Government will lay before Parliament an Order in Council for approval in accordance with the Census Act 1920.
The White Paper is also available on the UK Statistics Authority website at: http://www.ons.gov.uk/census/2011-census/2011-census-project/legislation/index.html
The Deputy Leader of the House of Commons (Chris Bryant): It has been brought to my attention that the reply I gave the hon. Member for Horsham (Francis Maude), on 11 November 2008, Official Report, Vol. 482, column 1129W was incorrect.
The amounts paid to Computing for Labour as subscriptions for software that is used for responding to constituents correspondence and other constituency casework for each year since 2003-04 are as follows:
Members typically claim for an annual membership of £50. Most other claims are for £100 for the caseworker management system; £199 for related training; and £235 a year for relevant IT support via Support line.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Paul Clark): I am today announcing a 12-week consultation on draft regulations for workplace parking levy licensing schemes made by local traffic authorities under the Transport Act 2000.
Powers for a local authority to make a workplace parking levy scheme were included in the Transport Act 2000, but some of the details of the legislative framework were left to be set out in regulations .The regulations would apply to any local traffic authority that wishes to make a workplace parking levy scheme in England outside London.
Nottingham City Council has designed a workplace parking levy scheme and made and published a Scheme Order. The order cannot come into force until confirmed by the Secretary of State for Transport, and the Secretary of State cannot consider the order in the absence of an appropriate regulatory framework. The regulations in todays consultation concern that framework.
Consultation documents are available on the Department for Transports website at www.dft.gov.uk/roads/consultations. Copies will be placed in the Library of the House.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Jim Fitzpatrick): The Department has today published a consultation paper on the designation of the Olympic route network (ORN). It sets out proposals for the roads that will form the ORNa network of roads to be used by athletes, games officials and the media during the London 2012 Olympic games and Paralympic games. The consultation closes on 19 March 2009.
For London, as for other recent host cities, the ORN is a vital part of plans for managing the transport challenge posed by one of the largest events that can take place in a country. The purpose of the ORN is to enable the safe, secure, and efficient transport of the athletes, games officials and media who are central to the games between venues and accommodation, while minimising the impact on residents, businesses and visitors. The commitment to have an ORN was included in our Olympic bid, and initial outline proposals for the network were included in the Olympic Delivery Authoritys Olympic transport plan published in October last year.
The proposed network that is the subject of this consultation is the result of further detailed work led by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), working closely with the Department for Transport, Transport for London, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, local highway authorities and other stakeholders.
We are taking forward this consultation now, more than three years in advance of the games and with the support of the Mayor of London, because the experience of previous host cities shows to the importance for a successful ORN of good preparation and early and effective communication with those who may be affectedincluding utilities who typically plan their major works years in advance.
Following consideration of the responses to this consultation, we plan to designate the ORN in the summer of 2009. This is the first stage in a two-stage process to create the ORN. Designation by the Secretary of State will give the ODA the powers to implement temporary traffic management measures on the ORN.
The ODA will, in the second stage, consult widely on potential measures to deliver the best possible solution for the games, the local area and the road network as a whole. Traffic management measures on the individual routes will be applied for the minimum time possiblein some cases they may only be needed for a few days. Many of the measures will be behind the scenessuch as improvements to traffic signals. Between some key locations on the busiest sections of the ORN, and only where there is sufficient space, the measures may include special lanes with use reserved for games vehicles.