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The Prime Minister (Mr. Gordon Brown): I have today published the 10th report of the independent Advisory Committee on Business Appointments. The report provides an account of the work of the committee in giving advice about appointments that Ministers and senior Crown servants wish to take up after leaving office. The report covers the period 1 April 2008 to 31 March 2009. Copies of the report have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
I am grateful to Lord Wilson of Tillyorn KT GCMG PRSE, who will stand down from the committee at the end of this month, having served as a member, and more recently the interim chair, and to the other members of the committee for their contribution over this period. All have been most generous in giving their time and expertise to the committee's work.
The Government are in the process of refreshing the membership of the committee. Dame Juliet Wheldon QC and the right hon. Lord Lang of Monkton joined the Committee from 1 April; the right hon. Lord Macdonald of Tradeston CBE joined from 1 May; and Lord Dholakia OBE DL joined from 1 June. I am grateful to Sir John Blelloch KBE, the right hon. Lord Maclennan of Rogart and the right hon. Lord Morris of Aberavon KG QC, who have retired from the committee in recent months having given it long and loyal service.
The Prime Minister (Mr. Gordon Brown): I can announce to the House that I have arranged for the annual reports of the Chief Surveillance Commissioner, the right hon. Sir Christopher Rose, HC 704, the Interception of Communications Commissioner, the right hon. Sir Paul Kennedy, HC 901, and the Intelligence Services Commissioner, the right hon. Sir Peter Gibson, HC 902, to be laid before both Houses on Tuesday 21 July 2009.
The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) established, for the first time in the UK, a comprehensive regulatory system to govern the use of a range of investigatory techniques, some of which had been used without any statutory regulations or safeguards for decades. RIPA set out clear parameters within which these techniques could be used, and established an independent oversight regime and an independent complaints tribunal.
The Home Office is now in the process of reviewing the statutory codes of practice on covert surveillance and property interference, and on covert human intelligence
sources. It has recently completed a public consultation exercise on the revised codes of practice, and on all public authorities able to use certain techniques regulated in RIPA, the ranks at which those techniques can be authorised, and the purposes for which they can be used. The Government will shortly table statutory instruments giving Parliament the opportunity to debate a range of proposed revisions to the RIPA framework, following this consultation exercise.
The Prime Minister (Mr. Gordon Brown): I am today laying before the House the Government's "Road to 2010" plan (Cm 7675). This is a strategy that will lead us into the 2010 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) review conference and beyond. The "Road to 2010" covers every dimension of the nuclear issues that are facing us today and sets out how the UK will play a leading role in tackling them. Next year's conference provides an opportunity to renew and re-invigorate the bargain at the heart of the NPT which grants states access to civil nuclear power in return for a commitment not to proliferate nuclear weapons, and places a responsibility on nuclear weapons states to show leadership on the question of disarmament.
The UK remains committed to the reduction and eventual elimination of nuclear weapons, and to ensuring that nations have access to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. All states, including Iran and North Korea, have a right to such access-and we are ready to help, so long as these states reject the development of nuclear weapons. To promote the development of cost-effective civil nuclear technology which cannot be diverted for use in weapons programmes, we are launching a nuclear science centre of excellence. This centre will enhance collaborations between academia, industry and Government, both domestically and internationally, to focus on this important and difficult task. The Government are committing £20 million over the first five years to this centre.
All nuclear material must be held securely, to prevent it falling into the hands of terrorist groups or hostile states. The UK believes that nuclear security must become the fourth pillar of the global nuclear framework, alongside civil power, non-proliferation and disarmament. Momentum for greater nuclear security is growing, with President Obama announcing a nuclear security summit in the spring of next year, which the UK will take a full part in. In order to help reduce the risk that material will be lost or stolen, the UK is making an offer to assist any nation with security improvements should they request our help. This assistance could be in the form of using our expertise to strengthen security, for example through improving facilities or through training personnel. To improve our defensive measures, the Government are also providing an additional £3 million to maintain our world-leading forensics and detection capability at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE).
The Government recognise that urgent action is required to address proliferation of nuclear weapons. The "Road to 2010" plan sets out a phased approach which will
enable progress on non-proliferation and multilateral disarmament. In the first instance, steps must be taken to improve transparency of current weapons capabilities, as we seek greater control to prevent expansion of those capabilities. The second stage is verifiable multilateral reductions in arsenals. Finally, we must work globally both to establish the security conditions that will enable a world free from nuclear weapons and to overcome the technical and policy challenges associated with the complete abolition of nuclear weapons. For our part, as soon as it becomes useful for our arsenal to be included in a broader negotiation, Britain stands ready to participate and to act.
There is growing momentum across the globe to tackle these strategic challenges. The UK has been a civil and military nuclear power for many decades and so we have a great deal of expertise to offer. As we head towards next year's NPT review conference, I am committed to making the UK a leading nation in the drive to develop credible answers to the nuclear questions that face us today. It is vital that we make progress-I believe this strategy sets out what the UK can do alone and in partnership with other countries in the period up to the conference and beyond to bring us the security and prosperity we seek in the decades to come.
I am publishing today details of the number of and cost to Departments of the provision of allocated cars and drivers by the Government Car and Despatch Agency to Ministers during 2008-09.
|Department||No of Cars||Contracted Cost||Notes|
1. The Minister of State for Trade, Investment and Foreign Affairs was a post held jointly between the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR). The Government cars (GC) service costs were met by BERR.
2. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Trade and Consumer Affairs was a post held jointly between the Department for International Development (DFID) and BERR. The GC costs were met by DFID.
3. Cabinet Office figures include cars for Ministers in the Cabinet Office, the Prime Minister's Office and the Minister for the Olympics.
The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Mr. Sadiq Khan): On 14 July last year, my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, South (Mr. Harris), made a statement offering assurance to Parliament that a statement will be published at least every 12 months until the completion of the construction of Crossrail, setting out information about the project's funding and finances. This assurance was placed on the Crossrail Register of Undertakings and Assurances.
Government are committed to ensuring that there is a high level of transparency as to the progress and cost of the Crossrail project. Our intention in this area was set out in the Heads of Terms which were signed in November 2007. The Heads of Terms have now been superseded by the Crossrail Core Agreements, binding legal documents which set out the funding, governance and delivery arrangements for the Crossrail project. These were signed by the Secretary of State for Transport,
Transport for London, and Cross London Rail Links Ltd on 3 December last year, and were published in the House Library, with an accompanying statement to the House. Since the assurance was given, Cross London Rail Links Ltd has also changed its name to Crossrail Ltd.
In line with my hon. Friend's assurance to the House I am therefore publishing this statement within 12 months of the Crossrail Act 2008 coming into force on 22 July 2008, and set out below the information outlined in that assurance:
Total expenditure incurred by Crossrail Ltd in relation to the construction of Crossrail to the end of the period 22 July 2008 to 30 May 2009 (excluding recoverable VAT on land and property purchases).
The Government remain fully committed to Crossrail. This is a long-term major infrastructure project helping, and responding to, London and the South-East's transport needs for the next half century and more.
I have today published the Department's Annual Report and Resource Accounts for 2008-09 (HC 454). Copies have been laid before Parliament and placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
The report sets out the Department's activities and achievements over the last year. It also describes the Department's future expenditure plans for the period of the spending review 2007-10.
A new framework document which sets out the relationship and the revised governance and sponsorship arrangements between the Department for Transport and the Highways Agency has been published.
Copies of the document have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. Copies will also be available on the Department's website: www.dft.gov.uk and the Highways Agency website: www.highways.gov.uk.
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