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Written Ministerial Statements

Friday 12 November 2010


Defendant Anonymity (Rape Cases)

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice (Mr Crispin Blunt): I have placed in the House Libraries copies of an independent assessment of research relevant to defendant anonymity in rape cases. This discharges an undertaking given in the summer.

The assessment has found insufficient reliable empirical evidence on which to base an informed decision on the value of providing anonymity to rape defendants. Evidence is lacking in a number of key areas, in particular, whether the inability to publicise a person's identity will prevent further witnesses to a known offence from coming forward, or further unknown offences by the same person from coming to light.

The coalition Government made it clear from the outset that they would proceed with defendant anonymity in rape cases only if the evidence justifying it was clear and sound, and in the absence of any such finding they have reached the conclusion that the proposal does not stand on its merits. It will not, therefore, be proceeded with further.

The report we are publishing today will be of wider interest to those concerned with criminal justice policy, the offence of rape, and violence against women and girls.

The Government's commitment to give anonymity to teachers accused by pupils, and take other measures to
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protect against false accusations, is separate. We will announce the outcome of that work, which is being led by the Department for Education, in due course.

Work and Pensions

National Employment Savings Trust

The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Steve Webb): I am pleased to announce that, yesterday, the NEST Corporation awarded the second stage of the scheme administration contract for the NEST pension scheme to Tata Consultancy Services.

This significant milestone for workplace pension reform follows my statement on 27 October, about the making automatic enrolment work review, and the decisions that were taken as part of the spending review.

The NEST pension scheme will be available to all employers who wish to use it and will ensure that employees currently without access to a good quality workplace pension scheme have the opportunity to save for their retirement.

NEST will be self-financing in the long term through the charges paid by its members. It will therefore be delivered at nil overall cost to taxpayers. Until charge revenues are sufficient to meet the full costs of the scheme, it will be funded through a loan from the Department to cover its initial set-up and operational costs.

The contract runs until June 2020 and includes a possible extension for up to a further five years.

On 2 March, the House was informed that the contract to deliver scheme administration services for NEST was being awarded to Tata Consultancy Services Ltd in two stages.

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