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The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Mr. Michael Wills): In December 2007 the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Carmichael) asked a parliamentary question, on delivery services, Official Report, column 1462W , about companies under contract to the Ministry of Justice to provide mail services, and the Minister of State for Justice, my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Garston (Maria Eagle) answered. I have now taken over responsibility for this area from my hon. Friend. While preparing the answer to a more recent question from the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland on the subject, officials have identified two errors in the answer to the earlier question. I am sorry that these errors were made. I hope it will be helpful if I clarify the position now.
The information about DX Services Ltd was incorrectly reported. Although the Ministry of Justice was using DX Services Ltd at that time it did not have any formal contracts in place. Each constituent part of the Ministry of Justice had its own local agreement with DX Services Ltd but none of them had entered into a formal contract with the supplier.
Reference was made in the answer to TNT and Amtrak being under formal contract to provide mail services. However, at the time both of these suppliers
were under contract to provide courier services only for the Ministry of Justice and not mail services. Amtrak have since gone into liquidation and no longer provide services for the Department.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice (Bridget Prentice): In June 2009 the Government confirmed their intention to publish a draft Civil Law Reform Bill for pre-legislative scrutiny. I am today announcing that the Bill will be published in December and will include provisions:
to implement the reforms to the law of damages announced by the Ministry of Justice in July 2009;
to reform the law of succession so that where a person is disqualified by the forfeiture rule or refuses an inheritance by disclaimer his or her heirs are not disinherited;
to implement the reforms of the law relating to the calculation of interest on judgment debts and damages announced by the Ministry of Justice on 16 September 2008; and
to transfer the jurisdiction for appeals in barristers' disciplinary hearings to the High Court.
The draft Bill will not now include provisions to reform the law of limitation of actions. These provisions were based on a Law Commission report of 2001. But a recent consultation with key stakeholders has demonstrated that there are insufficient benefits and potentially large-scale costs associated with the reform. In addition, the courts have remedied some of the most significant difficulties with the law that the Law Commission identified, for example, in relation to the limitation aspects of child abuse cases. The limitation reforms will therefore not now be taken forward.
The Leader of the House of Commons (Ms Harriet Harman): Listed below are those Bills which the Government intend to bring forward in the current session. Details of each of these Bills are available from the Leader of the House of Commons website: www.CommonsLeader.gov.uk/Legislation:
2) Children, Schools and Families
3) Cluster Munitions (Prohibitions)
4) Crime and Security
5) Digital Economy
7) Financial Services
8) Fiscal Responsibility
9) Flood and Water Management
10) Northern Ireland Assembly Members
11) Personal Care at Home
1) Child Poverty
2) Constitutional Reform and Governance
1) Animal Health Responsibility and Cost Sharing
3) Civil Law Reform(**)
4) House of Lords Reform
5) Immigration Simplification(*)
6) International Development Spending
The Government's response and summary of the consultation on the 2009-10 Draft Legislative Programme was laid before the House yesterday and is available from the Vote Office and the Leader of the House of Commons website: www.CommonsLeader.gov.uk
(*)Previously announced and published in the 2008-09 (4th) session; for consideration in the 2009-10 (5th) session
(**) Previously announced in the 2008-09 (4th) session and yet to be published; for consideration in the 2009-10 (5th) session
The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Mr. Shaun Woodward): The Fifth Session UK legislative programme unveiled in the Queen's Speech on the 18 November contains measures of relevance to the people of Northern Ireland.
The following is a summary of the legislation announced in the Queen's Speech and its impact in Northern Ireland. It includes both new Bills that will be introduced in the current Session and Bills carried over from the last Session. It does not include draft Bills.
The following Bills extend to Northern Ireland, in whole or in part, and deal mainly with excepted or reserved matters. Discussions will continue between the Government and the Northern Ireland Executive to ensure that where provisions that are specifically for a transferred purpose are included in any of these Bills, the consent of the Northern Ireland Assembly will be sought for them:
Bribery Bill (MoJ)
Cluster Munitions (Prohibitions) Bill (MOD)
Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill (MoJ) (introduced in Fourth Session)
Crime and Security Bill (HO)
Fiscal Responsibility Bill (HMT)
It is intended that the following Bills will extend to Northern Ireland to varying degrees. They require the consent of the Northern Ireland Assembly in relation to those provisions in the devolved field:
Child Poverty Bill (Child Poverty Unit) (introduced in Fourth Session)
Equality Bill (Government Equalities Office) (introduced in Fourth Session)
Digital Economy Bill (DCMS)
Financial Services Bill (HMT)
Children, Schools and Families Bill
Flood and Water Management Bill
Personal Care at Home Bill
The Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Jim Murphy): The legislative programme for the fifth Session was outlined on the 18 November. Eight of the 10 new Bills outlined in the Queen's Speech in this final Session of the current Parliament contain provisions that apply to Scotland; once again this is a programme that will significantly benefit people living in Scotland.
This statement provides a summary of the legislation announced in the Queen's Speech and its application to Scotland. This statement includes both new Bills that will be introduced shortly, and those Bills that are carrying-over from the last Session. It does not include draft Bills. The Bills listed in section 1 are likely to contain provisions requiring the consent of the Scottish Parliament in line with the Sewel convention. A brief description is provided of the provisions likely to require consent. Section 2 details Bills that are not likely to contain provisions that require the consent of the Scottish Parliament, by way of a Legislative Consent Motion (LCM).
Discussions will continue between the Government and Scottish Ministers on Bills that might include provisions that trigger the Sewel convention. The Bills identified within the Queen's Speech in this section are as follows:
Bribery (MoJ)-This Bill primarily relates to criminal law which is a devolved matter in Scotland. Following a consultation exercise in Scotland, Scottish Ministers have agreed that the best way to reform the law on bribery in Scotland is via an LCM extending full provisions of this Bill to Scotland.
Child Poverty Bill (HMT) (introduced in the 4th Session)-This Bill enshrines in law the Government's commitment to end child poverty by 2020. Four indicators of child poverty are identified by this Bill. An LCM is required in order to extend the commitment to those matters that are within the competence of the Scottish Parliament.
Constitutional Reform and Governance (MoJ) (introduced in the 4th Session)-The majority of the provisions in the Bill extend to Scotland and Bill aims to rebuild trust
in our democratic and constitutional settlement by reinforcing the principles of transparency, accountability and probity across Government. An LCM is required for provisions concerning requirements placed upon the Scottish Ministers in relation to the civil service and special advisers. An LCM is also required for the amendments concerning time-limits for human rights claims under the Human Rights and Devolution Acts.
Crime and Security (Home Office)-The majority of this Bill will not apply to Scotland, however provisions that give Scottish Ministers new powers to regulate the private security industry will require a LCM.
Energy Bill (DECC)-This Bill will commit the Government to developing the use of clean coal and help vulnerable households with their energy Bills. It will require an LCM for the provisions that relate to funding for up to four commercial-scale carbon capture and storage demonstration projects.
Equality Bill (GEO) (introduced in 4th Session)- Equal opportunities is a reserved matter. This Bill requires an LCM as it will amend the Scottish Ministers functions by allowing them to impose specific public sector duties on the Scottish public bodies for the three new strands.
Financial Services Bill (HMT)-The Bill will strengthen governance of the financial sector, control the system of rewards and ensure savers and lenders are fully protected. An LCM will be required for provisions relating to consumer education.
Discussions will continue between the Government and Scottish Ministers to ensure that, if provisions relating to matters which trigger the Sewel convention are included in any of these Bills during their passage at Westminster, the consent of the Scottish Parliament will be sought for them in line with the Sewel convention:
Personal Care at Home Bill (DoH)
Children, Schools and Families Bill (DCSF)
Fiscal Responsibility (HMT)
Digital Economy (DCMS)
Cluster Munitions (FCO)
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Paul Clark): Following the completion of our public consultation, we have today published guidance from the Secretary of State to the senior traffic commissioner. The senior traffic commissioner is appointed under section 4D of the Public Passenger Vehicles Act 1981, as inserted by the Local Transport Act 2008. The publication of the guidance follows a formal consultation, and the Department's summary of responses has also been published today.
The new guidance represents an important step in the implementation of reforms to the traffic commissioner regime, provided for by the Local Transport Act 2008, which attracted broad support during the passage of the Bill. In particular, there was wide support for the appointment of a senior traffic commissioner and the proposed strengthened independence for traffic commissioners. This is achieved in part by replacing powers for the Secretary of State to issue directions to individual traffic commissioners with a power to issue guidance to the senior traffic commissioner.
The aim of the new guidance is to highlight issues and outcomes which the Secretary of State regards as key, and to provide guidance to the senior traffic commissioner as to how he might exercise his powers in relation to those issues. We expect that the senior traffic commissioner will want to issue a formal response to the new guidance in due course.
Copies of the guidance and summary of responses have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses and are available at: http://www.dft.gov.uk/consultations/closed/trafficcommissioner/.
In May 2009 I invited Sir Peter Hall, Professor of Planning at University College London, and Chris Green, formerly Chief Executive of Virgin Trains, to advise on ways to improve railway stations in England and Wales, focusing on getting the basic facilities right as well as considering the broader role of stations in the future.
Their report, which I have published, focuses on:
achieving an enhanced and consistent level of facilities at each type of station, so that passengers can find what they need and know what to expect;
a greater emphasis on end-to-end journeys, with more attention given to helping passengers get to and from the station by bus, bike or car; and
more effective integration of public transport into the planning of local communities.
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