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Written Ministerial Statements

Thursday 12 May 2011

Business, Innovation and Skills

Local Enterprise Partnerships

The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Mr Mark Prisk): I would like to inform the House that today I have written to local enterprise partnership chairs and shadow chairs setting out the new measures that BIS is introducing today to support partnerships as they deliver their ambitions for growth. These initiatives include:

A new £5 million start-up fund for LEPs aimed at helping those partnerships which do not have any institutional capacity to get started and get themselves on a sustainable financial footing. This funding will be available in 2011-12 only.

The launch of a toolbox for LEPs, which provides information on economic development activity across Government Departments and ideas for strong LEP/ Government co-operation. This includes the contact details of the six local relationship management teams which BIS has put in place to provide the key first point for contact for LEPs on any issues they have.

More details of these initiatives can be found on the BIS website through the following address:

http://www.bis.gov.uk/policies/economic-development/leps.

Culture, Media and Sport

Government Olympic Executive

The Minister for Sport and the Olympics (Hugh Robertson): I am publishing today the Government Olympic Executive’s quarterly report—“London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games Quarterly Report May 2011”. This report explains the latest budget position as at 31 March 2011, and outlines some of the many wider economic and social benefits to the UK.

The overall public sector funding package for the games remains at £9.298 billion. As reported in the annual report in February this year, the breakdown of the funding package altered from April 2011 reflecting the changing focus of the programme from construction to the operational delivery of the games. We continue to seek value for money and cost savings in our day-to-day running of the project. Through a combination of further savings achieved in the quarter together with reducing risks, the overall anticipated final cost of the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) programme has reduced by £35 million to £7.266 billion.

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The ODA continues to make strong progress in preparing the venues and infrastructure in the Olympic park with 83% of the games-time construction programme now complete. The last piece of turf on the Olympic stadium’s field of play was laid in March, marking the completion of construction on the flagship venue. Construction started on the Olympic stadium just under three years ago in May 2008 and has been completed on time, under budget and with an exemplary safety record. Over 240 UK businesses have won contracts for the construction of the stadium and over 5,250 people have worked on the project over the past three years.

This quarter also saw the completed 6,000-seat velodrome unveiled in February. After the games, the legacy velodrome will be used by elite athletes and the local community and will include a café, bike hire and cycle workshop facilities. The ODA will also today announce that the handball arena is complete and that the basketball arena is nearing completion.

The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games are continuing to help businesses and people through the difficult economic times. Some 100 companies that have worked on the 2012 games have had their achievements highlighted in the first edition of “Springboard to Success” which was launched by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), the ODA and LOCOG at Sport Accord. The directory showcases 400 UK companies specialising in major infrastructure and sporting project supplies who have won contracts at domestic and international sporting events including London 2012, with a view to helping them win more work in this billion dollar sector. Notable contracts awarded by LOCOG in the last quarter include an agreement with G4S Secure Solutions (UK) for recruiting, training and managing a 10,000-strong security work force for the games. The terms of this major contract provide for extensive insurance coverage to address potential liabilities, and beyond this, LOCOG has agreed to indemnify G4S for certain claims which cannot be covered by insurance. The Government have confirmed that in the event of a shortfall between LOCOG’s revenues and its costs, LOCOG’s indemnification obligations would be covered by the Government as ultimate guarantor of games funding.

The games will also provide a golden opportunity for the tourism industry. The Government’s tourism policy, published in March, aims to help the tourism industry achieve its potential for growth through a range of measures including creating a sustainable new model for destination marketing and management, taking advantage of the series of major events which the UK is due to host over the next few years. Major companies have already pledged support to help match the £50 million of public money the Government have committed through VisitBritain. This initiative aims to generate 4 million extra overseas visitors over the next four years bringing in an extra £2 billion-worth of visitor spend and helping to create 50,000 new jobs across the country.

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 May 2011 are available online at www.culture.gov.uk and will be deposited in the Libraries of both Houses.

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Justice

Inquests (Service Personnel Overseas)

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice (Mr Jonathan Djanogly): My hon. Friend the Minister for the Armed Forces and I wish to make the latest of our quarterly statements to the House with details of the inquests of service personnel who have died overseas. We wish to express the Government’s deep sense of gratitude to all our service personnel who are serving, or who have served, in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As always, the families of those service personnel who have lost their lives in the service of their country in operations in Iraq and Afghanistan are very much in our thoughts. Our deepest condolences go to them, and in particular to the families of the 14 service personnel who have died since our last statement.

Today we are announcing the current status of inquests conducted by the Wiltshire and Swindon coroner, and other coroners in England and Wales. This statement gives the position at 5 May.

I have placed tables in the Libraries of both Houses to supplement this statement. The tables outline the status of all cases and the date of death in each case. They include information about cases where a board of inquiry or a service inquiry has been held.

Both our Departments will continue to work closely together to improve our processes and we will continue the Government’s support for coroners conducting inquests into operational deaths. We are grateful to them and their staff for their dedication. We would also like to thank once again all those people who provide support and information before, during and after the inquest process.

Since October 2007 both Departments have provided additional resources for operational inquests. These resources have been provided to the Wiltshire and Swindon coroner Mr David Ridley due to the repatriation of service personnel at RAF Lyneham and the formation

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of the MOD Defence Inquests Unit in 2008. These measures have been provided to ensure that there is not a backlog of operational inquests. On 16 March my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence announced in a written ministerial statement (

Official Report

, column 11WS) that repatriation ceremonies for those killed in operational theatres will move to RAF Brize Norton, in the Oxfordshire coroner’s district, by 1 September. We will again provide additional resources to the Oxfordshire coroner Mr Nicholas Gardiner.

Current status of inquests

Since the last statement there have been 17 inquests into the deaths of service personnel on operations in Iraq or Afghanistan.

A total of 453 inquests have been held into the deaths of service personnel who have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan, including 12 service personnel who died in the UK of their injuries. In three further cases, no formal inquest was held. In two of these cases the deaths were taken into consideration during inquest proceedings for those who died in the same incident.

Open inquests

Fatalities in Iraq and Afghanistan

At present there are 88 open inquests to be concluded into the deaths of service personnel who died in Iraq and Afghanistan, 21 involving deaths in the last six months. The Wiltshire and Swindon coroner has retained 37 of the remaining open inquests, while 39 are being conducted by coroners closer to the next of kin. Hearing dates have been set in 16 cases.

There is one remaining open inquest into deaths from operations in Iraq.

Inquests into the deaths of service personnel who returned home injured

Twelve inquests remain to be held of service personnel who returned home injured and subsequently died of their injuries. One hearing date has been set. The remaining 11 cases will be listed for hearing when the continuing investigations are completed.

We shall continue to inform the House of progress with the remaining inquests.