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The Government have accepted the Review Body's recommendations that there should be no increase in the senior military pay scales for 2010-11 recommended in last year's report, and that the bottom step of the senior military 2 Star scale should be removed.
For very senior NHS managers, the Government have accepted the Review Body's recommendation that there should be no increase in base pay for those whose current salary is £81,800 or more, and no increase in the non-consolidated pay pot.
The Government have not accepted the Review Body's specific recommendations that there should be a 2.25 per cent. increase in base pay for those whose total salary is less than £80,000, and that there should be an increase in base pay so that the total salary of those currently paid between £80,000 and £81,799 rises to £81,800.
The effect of the Government's response to the SSRB's recommendations on SCS pay is that there will be no increase in ministerial pay for 2010-11. All paid Ministers will also waive any increase in their pay as an MP to which they are entitled.
My right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Justice, Health and Defence are making statements today on the reports of the Prison Service Pay Body, the Doctors and Dentists Review Body and Armed Forces Pay Review Body in respect of pay for the relevant workforces for 2010-11. The Government's response to those reports is consistent with the need for senior staff in the public sector to show leadership in the exercise of pay restraint.
Looking ahead, the Government announced in the 2009 pre-Budget report (Cm 7747) that it would seek a 1 per cent. cap on basic pay uplifts across the public sector for 2011-12 and 2012-13, generating savings of £3.4 billion a year by 2012-13.
I also announced in "Putting the Frontline First: Smarter Government" (Cm 7753) a series of fundamental reforms to the scrutiny of senior salaries in the public sector, with new requirements for ministerial approval of salaries in excess of £150,000 and bonuses greater than £50,000; improved disclosure arrangements above these levels; and a review of senior pay across the public sector led by Bill Cockburn, chair of the SSRB.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Paul Clark): I wish to inform the House of the publication of a consultants' report entitled "Assessment of the provision of marine aids to navigation around the United Kingdom and Ireland", and of a revision to the planned level of light dues rates from 1 April 2010.
On 10 June, I informed the House that the Department for Transport and the Irish Department of Transport had agreed to undertake an independent assessment of aids to navigation around the UK and Ireland. Subsequently, the Department awarded a contract to Atkins, who has now completed the assessment.
The report of the assessment makes over 50 recommendations, many of which will be demanding of the three general lighthouse authorities (GLAs), and the two Governments, or which challenge long-standing assumptions about delivery and charging for the provision of aids to navigation. Key recommendations include:
The creation of a GLA joint strategic board to drive efficiencies;
The use of an annual target reduction calculator (RPI-X%) for GLA running costs; and
The development of a "roadmap" agreed with the Irish Government on the financing of the Commissioners of Irish Lights, setting out an incentivised financial model, which retains the all-Ireland body while allowing its costs within the Republic of Ireland to be covered wholly from Irish sources.
Many of the recommendations can be implemented quickly. Others will prove challenging and we will need to consult widely on some before deciding how to proceed. Nevertheless I welcome the Atkins report, which offers a blueprint for the provision, management and funding of aids to navigation for many years to come. The report will shortly be posted on the Department's website and copies will be placed in the Libraries of the House.
Last June, I also announced the first increases in light dues since 1993. They comprised a twofold set of increases, with the changes due to take effect on 1 July 2009 and 1 April 2010, providing payers with more time to prepare for the second rise and price their services accordingly.
The general lighthouse fund that finances the expenditure of the GLAs is now, as a result of careful administration and management, together with better than expected investment income returns over the last year, in a more robust position than was previously forecast. We have also worked closely with the GLAs to identify efficiency savings over and above the 5.6 per cent. reductions I announced last year with further reductions being made in 2010-11, largely in back-office running costs. The Atkins report also makes recommendations to deliver further GLA efficiencies over time. All of these outcomes have reduced anticipated future calls on the general lighthouse fund.
In the light of these factors, and having listened to the views of the GLAs and the Lights Advisory Committee representing shipping industry light dues payers, I have reviewed the level of light dues needed to maintain the fund at a viable level. As a result, I have concluded that we should now implement a smaller increase in light dues levels. I am therefore reducing by 2p the increase in light dues to be paid on and after 1 April so that the rate will stand at 41p per net registered tonne from that time. As previously announced, the tonnage cap will increase to 40,000 net registered tonnes, reflecting the increasing size of vessels that make up the world fleet.
I have chosen this course of action to ensure that the general lighthouse fund remains able to finance the GLAs and ensure the safety of all mariners, while recognising the difficult economic times that the shipping industry continues to experience.
The Minister of State, Government Equalities Office (Maria Eagle): Today I am laying before the House "The Government's Response to the Speaker's Conference" (Cm 7824), which sets out the work Government have done to increase diversity of representation in political and public life and responds to 20 of the Speaker's Conference's 71 recommendations to Government.
Copies of "The Government's Response to the Speaker's Conference" (Cm 7824) are available in the Vote Office, the Printed Paper Office and also on the Government Equalities Office website at: www.equalities.gov.uk.
We will continue to act to increase diversity in parliament. Fair representation is not only just, it is necessary for the legitimacy of our democratic institutions. For decisions to be made that meet the needs of all parts of society, the people making them need to bring diverse experiences
to bear and be representative of the wider population. Since 1997, women in Parliament have championed flexible working, the extension of childcare and legislation to tackle domestic violence, and forced marriage.
The Equality Bill currently before Parliament contains a number of specific measures to tackle under-representation, for example by extending the time available to political parties to use all-women shortlists to 2030, and increasing the options open to political parties and public bodies to tackle under-representation, for example by reserving places on electoral shortlists for those with a protected characteristic.
The Government welcome and accept the recommendation that political parties should be required to publish diversity data in their candidate selections, which is why we tabled an amendment to the Equality Bill to give it legal effect.
The Government's response includes commitments to examine progress on women's representation following the 2010 general election and consider further options if sufficient progress is not made; to find time for a debate in Government time on the implementation of the Speaker's Conference recommendations; and to consider establishing a democracy diversity fund to support the work of developing talented individuals from under-represented groups.