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Written Ministerial Statements

Monday 19 July 2010

Treasury

Public Expenditure Provisional Outturn White Paper

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury (Danny Alexander): The Treasury will publish the 2009-10 Public Expenditure Provisional Outturn White Paper on Monday 26 July.

The White Paper is an annual report to Parliament on the provisional outturn for public expenditure. It focuses on spending within departmental expenditure limits (DEL) and annually managed expenditure (AME), and includes information on individual supply estimates, and administration costs and near-cash limits.

The outturn figures are described as provisional because, in some cases, they will be revised when Departments publish their final accounts.

A copy of the White Paper will be deposited in the Libraries of both Houses and will be accessible on the Treasury website.

Business, Innovation and Skills

Public Bodies

The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (Vince Cable): I would like to inform the House that an additional four of the public bodies for which my Department is responsible are to be abolished. The Strategic Advisory Board for Intellectual Property Policy (SABIP), SITPRO (Simplifying International Trade) and the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Advisory Body (WAB) will all close in the next year. The British Shipbuilders Corporation will be abolished next summer.

The functions carried out by these organisations will be passed to the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.

This reflects the Government's commitment to reducing the number and cost of quangos and builds on the 13 abolitions, mergers or termination in BIS funding I have already announced.

Culture, Media and Sport

Government Olympic Executive Report

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport (Hugh Robertson): I am publishing today the Government Olympic Executive's quarterly report-"London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games Quarterly Report July 2010". This report explains the latest budget position as at 30 June 2010, and outlines some of the many wider economic and social benefits to the UK.
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As part of the Department's contribution to reducing the overall national budget deficit, it was agreed that the Olympic Delivery Authority's (ODA) budget would be reduced by £27 million. Therefore the overall funding package for the games now stands at £9.298 billion, instead of £9.325 billion as announced in March 2007.

The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games remain on time and within budget. The ODA's anticipated final cost (AFC) has decreased by £6 million, which as of 30 June was £7.261 billion compared to £7.267 billion at the end of the previous quarter (31 March 2010). Savings have also been made in the quarter in areas including transport, logistics and landscaping.

The majority of contingency remains unreleased and the ODA continue to make strong progress in preparing the venues and infrastructure in the Olympic park, with over 70 per cent. of the programme to the 2012 games now completed. The Olympic stadium is structurally complete and work is ongoing on the field of play and installing the seats. The structures and roofs of the Aquatics Centre and Velodrome are complete and in place. The handball arena, basketball arena, international broadcast centre and main press centre have been erected. On the Olympic village, three-quarters of the floors in the blocks across the 11 residential plots as well as more than half of the bridges and underpasses are structurally complete. During the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) visit in July to view the progress of London 2012, the IOC president said:

The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games are continuing to help businesses and people through the difficult economic times. More than 1,000 companies have won direct contracts from the ODA worth more than £5 billion and, as of June 2010, approximately 10,000 people were working on the Olympic park and village.

I would like to commend this report to the Members of both Houses and thank them for their continued interest in and support for the London 2012 games.

Copies of the quarterly report July 2010 are available at: www.culture.gov.uk and will be deposited in the Libraries of both Houses.

Defence

Military Low Flying

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Mr Andrew Robathan): The amount of low flying training carried out in the UK Low Flying System (UKLFS) during the training year 1 April 2009 to 31 March 2010 was the minimum required for aircrew to reach and maintain their ability to fly at low level. A total of 57,520 hours of low flying training were conducted across all low flying areas. In comparative terms, there was an increase of 5,632 hours, or approximately 11% on the previous training year due to operational pre-deployment training for both fixed and rotary-wing aircraft, and the continuing introduction of Typhoon into service. The amount of operational low flying
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(between 250 feet and 100 feet) by fixed wing aircraft was 309 hours, accounting for 0.5% of all low flying activity.

I have today placed in the Library of the House documents providing a detailed account of the low flying training that has taken place in the UK Low Flying System for the training year 1 April 2009 to 31 March 2010.

This year, information about how military low flying is conducted is contained in a main document with the annual statistics in a separate appendix. The format in which the statistics are presented is the same as the previous year to enable comparison. In future years, only the statistical appendix will be produced unless there are major changes to the UKLFS.

Additional copies are available on request from the following address:

Alternatively it can be viewed on the MOD's web site: www.mod.uk/aboutdefence/whatwedo/airsafetyandaviation/lowflying

Health

NHS White Paper Consultation

The Secretary of State for Health (Mr Andrew Lansley): Today I am publishing the first of five supporting documents to the NHS White Paper, "Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS", which was published on 12 July. "Transparency in outcomes: a framework for the NHS", has been placed in the Library and copies are available to hon. Members from the Vote Office. The document is also available electronically at: www.dh.gov.uk/liberatingtheNHS.

The publication of this document marks the start of a full public consultation on the development of an NHS outcomes framework and fulfils a key commitment made in the White Paper to develop this in partnership with patients, the public and all those working or with an interest in the NHS.

The White Paper set out the coalition Government's ambition for the NHS to provide among the best outcomes in the world, delivered by empowered and engaged healthcare professionals liberated from central control and political interference.

"Transparency in outcomes: a framework for the NHS" puts forward proposals for a framework that is designed to refocus the efforts and accountabilities running throughout the NHS on improving the health outcomes achieved for patients.

The NHS outcomes framework will include a focused set of national outcomes goals and supporting measures which patients, the public and Parliament will be able to
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use to judge the overall performance of the NHS. The framework will also provide a mechanism by which the Secretary of State for Health can hold the proposed NHS Commissioning Board to account for the outcomes it is securing for patients through its role in allocating resources and overseeing the commissioning process that, in future, will be led locally by general practitioner consortia.

The consultation document puts forward proposals for a framework structured around five broad outcome domains and seeks views on this structure, the core principles that should underpin the development of the framework as well as the more specific outcome measures that should be included under each domain. The proposed outcome domains are:

The consultation period will close on 11 October 2010.

Home Department

Ministerial Correction

The Minister for Police (Nick Herbert): I regret to inform the House that there was an inaccuracy in the answer I gave to parliamentary question 4900 of 5 July 2010, Official Report, column 80W about pre-charge detention.

The response, in my name, indicated that since July 2006, no individuals have been held for the full 28 days pre-charge detention period. The response added that two individuals were arrested under section 41 TACT 2000 and subsequently charged and convicted of terrorism related offences on the 27 to 28 day of detention following their arrest in a counter terrorist operation led by Greater Manchester police.

My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary noted in the debate on Prevention and Suppression of Terrorism on 14 July 2010, Official Report, column 1019 that erroneous information was provided in the response. She also advised the House at that time of the correct figures.

I can confirm that eleven individuals have been detained for 14 days or longer. Six individuals have been detained for 27 to 28 days, of whom three were subsequently charged and three released. Of the three who were charged, two were convicted and the case of one was not proceeded with.

I can also confirm that the number of individuals who had been arrested as a result of an operation by Greater Manchester police was in fact one.


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Transport

Ministerial Correction

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Mrs Theresa Villiers): I regret to inform the House that there was an inaccuracy in the answer I gave to parliamentary question 4042 on 7 July 2010, Official Report, column 265W, about what new rolling stock orders have been placed for each rail franchise since 2007. The table was incomplete and omitted the order, placed in April 2009 by National Express East Anglia, for 120 new EMU vehicles. The full table is reproduced below.

FranchiseOrder dateTypeVehicles

Southern

May-07

EMU

48

London Midland

Aug-07

EMU

148

London Midland

Dec-07

DMU

69

Chiltern Railway

Jan-08

DMU

8

Southern

Mar-08

EMU

44

Virgin West Coast

Sep-08

EMU

106

National Express East Anglia

Apr-09

EMU

120


Work and Pensions

EU Employment and Social Policy Ministers Meeting

The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Chris Grayling): The informal meeting of Employment and Social Policy Ministers took place on 8 to 9 July 2010 in Brussels, Belgium. I represented the United Kingdom.

The priority for this informal meeting was the new Europe 2020 strategy, focusing on the main objectives, as well as the implementation of the new strategy. Ministers were given the opportunity to highlight the importance of the social dimension and employment in EU 2020, through four workshop sessions focusing on employment on the first day and social affairs on the second.

The presidency underlined the importance of both competitiveness and social cohesion in the European employment strategy within Europe 2020. Its ambition was for the Employment and Social Policy Council (EPSCO) to have greater influence. This would require changing working practices and methods but would provide Europe with a greater ability to co-ordinate and steer European economies. Most member states agreed
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on the need for a closer relationship between EPSCO and Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN). For the UK, I agreed on the need for a close relationship between EPSCO and ECOFIN but stated that this could be achieved through greater co-ordination, and need not require changes to formal mechanisms. I also underlined that job creation would not be possible without a thriving business sector.

There were discussions on how the EU could help member states deal with the consequences of ageing on the labour market. The Commission emphasised the need for policies which allowed older people to stay active on the labour market for longer. Member states agreed that demographic change was a real challenge and that action was needed in response. Several also highlighted that the increased demand for care services could provide job opportunities in many member states.

Member states were also invited to consider how European Union level policies could foster green jobs and prepare the labour market to tackle climate change. The Commission commented that there had been some debate on what green jobs actually were and that this term still held slightly different meanings in different member states. Those who intervened agreed that action on tackling climate change presented job opportunities, but that all relevant stakeholders, the Commission and sectoral Councils needed to work together in order to make any real progress.

On pensions and social inclusion in the context of an economic crisis, member states were asked to consider a common EU framework for adequate minimum incomes. This was met with opposition from many member states. For the UK, I agreed that while minimum income policies should be considered, this had to be at national and not European level.

The presidency invited ideas on how the Social Protection Committee (SPC) and the Open Method of Co-ordination (OMC), (the sharing of best practices), could help to design and implement guidance for the framework of pension schemes in the future. The Commission introduced their recently published Green Paper on pensions, which considered how best to ensure sustainable, adequate and safe pension schemes across the European Union. This was met with mixed views from some member states including the UK who all argued that the case for strengthened European level pension policy co-ordination was weak but that improved indicators, reporting and information sharing could be helpful.

There were discussions on how, within Europe 2020, the OMC could be reinforced and the role of EPSCO strengthened. Many member states stressed that Social Affairs Ministers would need to ensure that EPSCO continued to play a role in discussions. Some commented that an increased focus on budgetary issues risked forcing out the debate on social protection and social inclusion.


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