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1. Rounded to the nearest £100,000. Grant as calculated under the Local Government Finance Report (England) and Local Government Finance (No.2-Provisional Settlement Police Authorities) Report (Wales). Table includes the effects of floors and scaling.
2. Figures for the City of London relate to Home Office Grant only as calculated in the Police Grant Report (England and Wales). Revenue Support Grant is allocated to the Common Council of the City of London as a whole in respect of all its functions. The City is grouped with education authorities for the purposes of grant floors.
3. Welsh figures include Home Office floor funding.
|Table 3: Specific Grant Allocations 2008-09 to 2010-11|
|(*)This was later increased to £569 million in year (2009-10)|
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Meg Hillier): The "Identity and Passport Service Framework Agreement" is being published today in line with HM Treasury and Cabinet Office guidance. The framework agreement sets out clear strategic objectives, responsibilities and lines of accountability for IPS. These will help to ensure that IPS is able to deliver on its key purpose of safeguarding identity. A copy is available in the Library of the House.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Meg Hillier): The Justice and Home Affairs Council is due to be held on 30 November and 1 December 2009 in Brussels. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Justice,my noble Friend, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, Lord Bach, and the Scottish Lord Advocate, Elish Angiolini, intend to attend on behalf of the United Kingdom. As the provisional agenda stands, the following items will be discussed:
The Council, beginning in Mixed Committee with non-EU Schengen states, will receive an update from the presidency on the current state of play on the implementation of the regulation establishing the Visa Information system (VIS). The UK does not participate in that regulation.
The presidency will update Ministers on arrangements for the first milestone test for the second-generation Schengen Information System (SIS II). The UK welcomes the update and will seek to ensure that the test is well-planned and managed, ideally taking place before the end of 2009.
The Council will have an orientation debate on the Commission's proposal for establishing an EU agency for the management of large-scale IT systems. The Commission carried out an impact assessment which endorsed the need to create an agency. The UK supports the need for an agency and wishes to take part in the adoption and application of this proposal.
Finally, the Mixed Committee will be asked to adopt legislation giving Schengen visa liberalisation to Serbia, the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro. While the UK does not participate in the EU visa regime, we maintain an interest in all visa issues.
Following Mixed Committee, the Council will be asked to adopt a decision authorising the presidency to sign, on behalf of the EU, an agreement between EU and Japan on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters (MLA). The presidency has recently concluded negotiations on this agreement and UK objectives in relation to this were met. The UK is therefore content for such a decision to be adopted, subject to the views of the Parliamentary Scrutiny Committees.
The presidency will present the draft future JHA work programme (the Stockholm Programme) and there will be a general debate with interior items on day one and justice on day two. Ministers will be expected to agree the draft programme which will be adopted at the December European Council.
Measures contained in the programme aim to ensure that every citizen can have confidence that, wherever they are in the EU, judicial decisions made in a civil court in their favour can be enforced, criminals will face justice and all defendants are guaranteed a fair trial.
The programme will result in an EU where children are safer, where data are shared sensibly, where we facilitate legal travel but clamp down on illegal immigration, where mutual recognition is the cornerstone of judicial co-operation, where member states co-operate on counter-terrorism and combat organised crime, and where we work closely with external countries on JHA and beyond.
There will be a state of play discussion on the Common European Asylum System, which is likely to focus on the recently published asylum procedures and qualification directives. Since December 2008 the European Commission has been proposing measures to deliver the second phase of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS). The proposals on the procedures (which sets out minimum standards for deciding asylum claims, including rules on such things as interviews and appeal rights) and qualification (which sets out the circumstances in which applicants will qualify for international protection) directives were published by the Commission on the 23 October 2009. The presidency will want to gauge member states' initial reactions to the new proposals. The UK believes these directives are not necessary at this time as they undermine the migration pact and will be seeking to ensure that language in these directives aligns with the conclusions in the migration pact.
The presidency will present the outcomes and action points of the EU-US ministerial troika and of the EU-Western Balkans ministerial forum. There will also be a presentation on the preparation of the EU-Russia ministerial Permanent Partnership Council (PPC), due to be held on 2 December in Stockholm. The UK supports the presidency's efforts in these areas.
There will be a presentation on the six-monthly report by the counter-terrorism co-ordinator (CTC). The CTC has recently revised the counter-terrorism action plan and after receiving comments from member states will present the action plan to the Council. The UK supports efforts made by the CTC to continue to drive forward EU co-operation on CT, and is particularly appreciative of his efforts with priority third countries, such as Pakistan.
The presidency is seeking to adopt the Council decision on the Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme. The US Terrorist Finance Tracking Programme (TFTP) currently uses payment information carried through the SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications) system to identify and trace terrorist finance and facilitators. This agreement is needed because of a restructuring of SWIFT. The UK supports the Council decision subject to the views of the Parliamentary Scrutiny Committees.
The presidency is seeking to approve the proposal for an information management strategy for EU internal security. The strategy should allow enhanced project management and improved data security. The UK supports the latest draft which calls for a strategic approach across the areas of law enforcement, judicial co-operation and border management and is content for its approval at Council.
The presidency will provide Justice Ministers with information on the current state of play of working group negotiations on the proposed framework decision on combating the sexual abuse and exploitation of children and child pornography. The Government support this measure, but due to the changes brought about by the Lisbon Treaty, this proposal will no longer be taken forward as a framework decision. The Commission are likely to retable this proposal as a directive after the Lisbon Treaty comes into effect. The Government will update the Scrutiny Committees about this.
Justice Ministers will also have an orientation debate about the negotiations that have been taking place at official level about a proposed framework decision on transfer of proceedings in criminal cases. This proposal, too, will no longer be taken forward as a framework decision after the Lisbon Treaty comes into effect. It would need to be represented as a directive, but it is unclear in what timescale this will happen.
The Council will then have an orientation debate to clarify the way forward on the draft framework decision on combating trafficking of human beings following the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty. The presidency will also seek to adopt the action orientated paper (AOP) on human trafficking. The UK welcomes the approach adopted in the AOP, which creates a more coherent and proactive approach to combating trafficking by EU member states in partnership with third countries.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Alan Campbell): I have placed in the Library of the House the third annual report to Home Office and HM Treasury Ministers on the Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) regime to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. The reporting system is a key element in the United Kingdom's defences against money laundering and terrorist financing.
The report has been prepared by multi-agency Committee, under the chairmanship of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), which includes the financial services sector, police, other law enforcement agencies, and the Financial Services Authority.
The Government note the continuing progress that SOCA and the other participants are making to ensure that the reporting system is operating so as to help deter, detect and disrupt those involved in these crimes and in holding them to account. The Government also welcome the Committee's development of a long-term strategy to increase the value and impact of the SAR regime.
The overall goal is a SARs system that addresses the threats to the UK from crime and terrorism, contributes to the reduction of harm and the recovery of the proceeds of crime while minimising the costs of compliance to industry and others.
The Prime Minister (Mr. Gordon Brown): The Senior Salaries Review Body was commissioned to undertake a review into the financial assistance available to Members of the House of Lords in recognition that the expenses regime was now outdated and we needed to move to a system that would be more transparent and ensure greater accountability.
I am today publishing the SSRB's report, which I accept. In doing so, I wish to record my gratitude to Bill Cockburn and SSRB members for undertaking such a thorough and comprehensive review. Copies of the report have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. For the Government, the Leader of the Lords will now work with other Members of the House of Lords to take forward its implementation.
On 1 July 2009, Official Report, column 21WS I informed the House that National Express East Coast (NXEC) was expected to default on their franchise to operate rail services on the east coast main line and that in consequence I would establish a state company to ensure continuity of service from the date that the company ceased operations.
The NXEC franchise was terminated on 13 November when a state company, East Coast, took over the service with minimal disruption. I have since announced that the East Coast Company will manage the franchise for two years, until November 2011, so that the Government can review options for a new franchise and consult widely before it is re-let.
The termination of the NXEC franchise on 13 November is a default under the National Express East Anglia (NXEA) franchise. Having considered the relevant facts, I yesterday notified NXEA that their franchise will terminate on 31 March 2011, without the extension to 2014 which would otherwise have happened. The process for securing a new operator will start immediately so that after full consultation a new franchise can begin from April 2011.
In determining the future of the C2C and NXEA franchises, my overriding concern has been to minimise disruption to passengers and staff, and cost to the taxpayer, while ensuring that train companies stand by their commitments. I judge these objectives are best served by:
Terminating NXEA's franchise in 2011, causing them to for go three years of profit; and
Beginning the re-franchising process immediately so that a new operator is in place in early 2011.
However, my judgment is that the public interest would not be served by terminating the franchises immediately, necessitating state management during the re-franchising period and three operators in two years.
National Express remains bound to comply with its obligations under its franchises. My Department will be monitoring performance closely in the coming months to safeguard the interests of the travelling public.
The Secretary of State for Wales (Mr. Peter Hain): In parallel with the White Paper "Scotland's Future in the United Kingdom: Building on ten years of Scottish devolution", I am pleased to inform the House that the Government have agreed new arrangements in relation to future funding in Wales.
These address concerns, expressed by the House of Lords Select Committee report on the Barnett formula, the Independent Commission on Funding and Finance for Wales (chaired by Gerald Holtham), and also by the Welsh Assembly Government, about the continued application of the formula in Wales, in particular whether pressures in the Barnett formula for additional convergence towards the English average could in future disadvantage Wales.
the Government agree that the Barnett formula could lead to convergence to an extent that would be regarded as unacceptable although further convergence is not currently expected in the coming years;
the Government will make a full assessment of the extent of convergence with consideration of Wales' position relative to other parts of the United Kingdom as part of each spending review; and
following this assessment the Government would be prepared to take action if appropriate to ensure Wales is not disproportionately disadvantaged.
The Minister for Pensions and the Ageing Society (Angela Eagle): The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council will be held on 30 November and 1 December 2009 in Brussels. I shall represent the United Kingdom on all items on 30 November, except for the intervention on "gender equality: strengthening growth and employment", where the United Kingdom will be represented by my right hon. and learned Friend the Leader of the House of Commons, Lord Privy Seal and Minister for Women and Equality. Health business will be taken on 1 December 2009.
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