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Written Ministerial Statements

Tuesday 1 March 2011

Communities and Local Government

Unpublished Research Reports: Immigration, the Economy and Regeneration

The Minister for Housing and Local Government (Grant Shapps): Today the Government are publishing a further group of reports presenting the findings from research projects commissioned by the previous Administration. There is a significant backlog of unpublished reports that were produced by the previous Government and over the next few months we will be publishing further reports in groups themed on particular topics.

The reports and findings are of general policy interest, but do not relate to forthcoming policy announcements. We are publishing these documents in the interests of transparency and as part of our freedom of information commitment to publish the results of all commissioned research. For transparency, all concluded research work is being published, though some reports may not be as complete or in the format that DCLG would normally require.

The 10 reports published below represent the findings from research projects at a total cost to taxpayers of £219,597. These findings cover the topics of immigration, the economy and regeneration.

(i) Impact of economic downturn on migration.

This discussion paper by A.E. Green reviews the evidence on the likely impact of an economic downturn on both international migration and migration in different parts of the UK, with particular focus on migrants from the A8 countries (of the 2004 accession to the EU). It observes that for 83% of A8 migrants, the main motivation for coming to Britain was to work and earn money. This report was commissioned in 2008 at a cost of £3,400.

(ii) Immigration and rural economies.

This report by Heather Wells and Paula Lucci considers the impacts and contributions of international migration to rural economies in the UK. The paper finds that there was a substantial increase in the size of the migrant population in rural areas in the four years before the recession, which was driven by a strong demand for migrant labour from particular industries. Immigration has had a significant but small negative impact on the wages of UK workers at the bottom of the occupational distribution. Challenges from immigration include pressure on existing local services and integration within local communities. This report was commissioned in 2009 at a cost of £24,275.

(iii) Measuring international and internal migration from the National Pupil Database.

This report by Ludi Simpson, et al. considers the dispersion of migrant pupils in the UK. The paper finds the number of immigrant pupils in UK schools has increased significantly in the four-year period to 2007-08 and that pupils of African origin tend to be concentrated in inner London and other major metropolitan areas while eastern European and other European pupils arrived since 2003 tend to be found in the

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more remote rural areas. A table in annex 2 gives a breakdown by local authority. This report was commissioned in 2010 by the last Administration at a cost of £78,500.

(iv) Economic Rationale for Spatial Policies or Why Place Matters.

This paper by Patricia Rice outlines why there are differences between places, and advocates policy that takes this into account. It considers that variations in outcomes for different areas are a result of regional trade and factor mobility, but seeks to explain the underlying differences between areas. This report was commissioned in 2007 at a cost of £2,034.

(v) Addressing the problem of worklessness: The role of regeneration.

This paper by Anne Green, with its focus on worklessness and regeneration considers the complex and challenging real-world roles of mainstream policies and area-based programmes, including the roles of local government, the community and employers. It notes that the neighbourhood level is an appropriate level for outreach to disadvantaged residents, and the voluntary sector can play an important role in facilitating community participation. Partnerships have been costly to develop and support, and have not generated the critical mass of support for the neighbourhoods that it was envisaged. This report was commissioned in 2009 as part of a series of four papers which together cost £11,622.

(vi) Regeneration—What are the problems and what can we achieve in addressing them? Neighbourhood level perspectives from the new deal for communities programme.

This paper by Paul Lawless, with its focus on neighbourhood renewal, draws on evidence from the evaluation of the new deal for communities programme to review the problems faced in the partnership areas and consider both process and change outcomes that regeneration programmes should seek to achieve. This report was commissioned in 2009 as part of a series of four papers which together cost £11,622.

(vii) Regeneration—What are the problems and what can we achieve in addressing them?

This paper by Pete Tyler, with its focus on local economic activity and regeneration, reviews what lies behind the problems faced by deprived places and notes that although rooted in a general failure of supply and demand mechanisms, problems tend to be multi-dimension and persistent and likely to require substantial policy intervention to make an impact. It anticipated that constraints on public expenditure would inevitably mean that regeneration initiatives would be operating in a more difficult environment. This report was commissioned in 2009 as part of a series of four papers which together cost £11,622.

(viii) Regeneration—How should the problem be addressed?

This paper by Stephen Syrett, reviews the weaknesses of past approaches to regeneration, pointing out the over-dominance of centralised structures, the neglect of education and training in deprived areas, the need for greater clarity over the role and relevance of area-based initiatives. Local capacity will only develop if greater scope and freedom is given to local actors to make their own priorities. This report was commissioned in 2009 as part of a series of four papers which together cost £11,622.

(ix) Modelling and forecasti ng county court claims and orders for mortgage repossessions.

This report by Professor John Muellbauer and Janine Aron was commissioned jointly by the former National Housing and Planning Advice Unit and the UK Spatial Economic Centre. The study explores the determinants of mortgage possession court orders as well as forecasting court orders on a regional basis for England and Wales from 2011 to 2015. It observed that the recent house price and credit boom of 2006-08 had increased the proportion of households with overstretched budgets and over-extended debt relative

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to their assets. The most important determinant of court claims and orders was found to be the debt to income ratio. This report was commissioned in 2009 at a cost of £30,366.

[Official Report, 4 April 2011, Vol. 526, c. 11MC.]

(x) Housing supply revisited: Evidence from international, national, regional, local and company data.

This report by Michael Ball, et al. considers the responsiveness of housing supply to changes in prices and the degree to which planning restrictions and other factors limit this responsiveness. If found that factors other than planning supply influence the responsiveness of housing supply. It suggests that different planning targets are required for each local authority, to reflect local decision making processes. This report was commissioned in 2009 at a cost of £69,400.

At a time when public budgets must be reduced, the new Government want to ensure their research delivers best possible value for money for the taxpayer and that sums expended are reasonable in relation to the public policy benefits obtained. My Department has rigorous scrutiny and challenge processes for commissioned research.

New projects will continue to be scrutinised to ensure the methodology is sound and that all options for funding are explored at an early stage. This includes using existing work from other organisations, joint funding projects with other Departments or organisations and taking work forward in-house.

These reports and findings are of general policy interest, but do not relate to forthcoming policy announcements and are not a reflection of the current Government’s policies and priorities. DCLG is publishing these reports in the interests of transparency.

Copies of these reports are available on the Department for Communities and Local Government website. Copies have been placed in the Library of the House.


Armed Forces Redundancy Process

The Secretary of State for Defence (Dr Liam Fox): The strategic defence and security review (SDSR) set out in October 2010 long-term plans for our armed forces, based on a detailed analysis of the future risk and threats to our national security, but also recognising the dire fiscal situation inherited by this Government. That new 2020 force structure will be more agile and flexible, better able to respond to new threats such as cyber-warfare, terrorism and managing the consequences of failed or failing states. As the SDSR made clear, however, that force structure will require fewer people: the combined size of the Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force will fall by some 17,000 by 2015. These changes are about delivering the future force we need, not about today’s operational capabilities.

Some of this reduction will be achieved by slowing down recruitment—but the long-term health of the services requires that we maintain a steady influx of new recruits. And so we estimate that up to around 11,000 personnel will need to be made redundant. In formal terms, redundancy schemes for the armed forces are compulsory. But there will be scope for individuals to volunteer to be considered for redundancy and where possible we will meet our manpower target through volunteers. But some difficult choices are sadly inevitable.

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The SDSR set out some changes to our long-term requirements for fast jets, multi-engine aircraft and helicopters. As a result, our future requirement for pilots has reduced. Some 514 individuals currently being trained are potentially affected by these changes. Starting today and over the next 10 days, those trainee pilots will be informed of their future in the RAF. Some 344 will continue with their pilot training. But I very much regret to inform the House that up to 170 will not. Some of those individuals will be offered alternative appointments. But sadly many will have to be made redundant.

Today, the RAF will also publish in some detail the specialist trades in which reductions in numbers need to be achieved, and in which it will be seeking volunteers for redundancy. Detailed information on the terms on offer, including the compensation package, will be made available online. Similar information will be published for the Army and Navy on 4 April 2011.

Once the deadline for response has passed, selection boards will sit for each of the three services to determine whether those who have volunteered should be released and which other individuals should also regrettably be made redundant to enable the manning targets to be achieved. We aim to inform all those individuals selected for redundancy of that decision in September 2011—on 1 September for the Army and RAF, and 30 September for the Navy. Those voluntarily leaving the armed forces will do so within six months, non-volunteers will do so within a year.

The Department will need to balance extremely carefully the needs of the individual with the needs of our armed forces. And I am determined that this very difficult process will be handled with the utmost sensitivity and professionalism. No one who is deployed on operations, recently returned from operations or is preparing to deploy on operations will be made redundant unless they have volunteered. Nor will those undergoing rehabilitation from injury be considered. But inevitably some incredibly difficult decisions will have to be made to ensure the long-term health and balance of our armed forces.

In Afghanistan, and as has been seen in recent days in Libya, our armed forces constantly perform great acts of heroism, selflessness and valour to keep us safe. As a country, we have an absolute responsibility to ensure that those who risk their lives in that way are properly looked after while they serve our country but equally importantly when they return to civilian life. For all those leaving the armed forces as a result of these changes, every effort will be made to assist in what can often be a difficult transition. A comprehensive package of support and advice on housing, finance and finding a job will be made available. Over the coming months. Ministers will scrutinise those plans in detail, working closely with domestic Departments, to ensure they are as good as can be achieved. Our people deserve nothing less.

Armed Forces Pay Review Body (Public Appointments)

The Secretary of State for Defence (Dr Liam Fox): I am pleased to announce that I have appointed Mr Paul Kernaghan CBE QPM, Vice-Admiral Sir Richard Ibbotson KBE CB DSC and Professor Peter Dolton as members

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of the Armed Forces Pay Review Body, each for a three-year term of office commencing on 1 March 2011. The appointments have been made in accordance with the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments code of practice.

Written Parliamentary Question (Correction)

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Mr Andrew Robathan): I regret to inform the House that there was an inaccuracy in my written answer (31219) given on 20 December 2010, Official Report, columns 987-88W.

The response said that that there were 265 civilian staff employed in London by the MOD currently not paid at a rate equivalent to or above the London living wage. I can confirm that excluding trading funds, there were no civilian staff employed in London by the MOD currently not paid at a rate equivalent to or above the London living wage.

Home Department

British Citizenship (War Crimes Screening)

The Minister for Immigration (Damian Green): I have made the Equality (War Crimes etc.) Arrangements 2011 and the Race Relations (Northern Ireland)

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(War Crimes etc.) Arrangements 2011 to enable the Secretary of State to subject applications from certain nationalities for British citizenship to more rigorous scrutiny than others for the purposes of determining whether the applicant has committed, been complicit in the commission of, or otherwise been associated with, the commission of war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide.

The Equality (War Crimes etc.) Arrangements 2011 are made under paragraph (l)(l)(d) of schedule 23 to the Equality Act 2010, and replace the Race Relations (Nationality) (War Crimes etc.) Arrangements 2007, made under section 41 of the Race Relations Act 1976. The corresponding Race Relations (Northern Ireland) (War Crimes etc.) Arrangements 2011 are made under article 40 paragraph 2(c) Race Relations (Northern Ireland) Order 1997.

The condition for subjecting these applications to more rigorous scrutiny is that the applicant is a national of a state specified on a list approved personally by the Minister for the purpose of the arrangements.

I have now reviewed and approved this list. I am satisfied that the conditions set out in the arrangements are met in respect of the countries on the list.

The arrangements will remain in force until revoked. I will review the arrangements and the list on an annual basis.

I am placing copies of the arrangements in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament.