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Written Ministerial Statements

Tuesday 19 July 2011

Business, Innovation and Skills

Consumer Credit and Personal Insolvency Review

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (Mr Edward Davey): I have today— together with the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, the hon. Member for Fareham (Mr Hoban)—published a summary of responses to the consumer credit and personal insolvency review, (“Managing Borrowing and Dealing with Debt”), launched jointly by BIS and HM Treasury. The summary also includes the Government’s response on the insolvency aspects of the review. The call for evidence asked 31 questions covering a range of issues from advertising regulations to addressing unfair bank charges and dealing with debt; 216 responses were received.

On personal insolvency and debt advice, we propose to take action that will assist consumers in distress when things go wrong.

We have already committed to continue funding the face-to-face debt advice project for this year. In order to place debt advice in the future on to a more sustainable footing, we are pleased to announce that the Money Advice Service has agreed to take on responsibility for the co-ordination of debt advice services. The Money Advice Service will carry out a detailed review of the current debt advice landscape to identify the best way that these services can be delivered. The Money Advice Service will develop a model that ensures that debt advice is delivered in the most effective and efficient way.

Later in the year we will consult on increasing the petition debt levels for creditors. The level (currently £750) has not been increased since the Insolvency Act 1986 came into force and we believe that to be able to threaten someone with bankruptcy for such a small amount is disproportionate.

Financial rehabilitation following bankruptcy can be an unduly lengthy process, and a number of stakeholders commented on the difficulties a bankrupt can experience in operating even a basic bank account facility. The Government will be consulting in due course on amendments to address a perceived risk from banks that a trustee in bankruptcy may pursue the bank for property acquired by a debtor during the course of the bankruptcy.

Following comments about the potentially confusing number of possible debt solutions available to someone experiencing financial problems, we intend to consult on whether the provisions on county court administration orders should be repealed, as the numbers entering this process are rapidly declining, with just over 5,000 currently in existence.

We also recognise concerns about the provision of debt management services and note that there is potential for the regulatory landscape significantly to change. In

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the meantime, we will work alongside the OFT with the key players in the debt management industry to drive up standards and drive out unscrupulous behaviour.

On the consumer credit section of the review, it was clear that there was much concern about interest rates applying to the high-cost credit market with a number of respondents calling on the Government to introduce a cap on the total cost of credit that can be charged. Intervention in this market carries a risk that we might reduce access to credit. Given the concerns raised and the lack of hard evidence on what impact a total cost of credit cap might have on both the lenders and consumers, we will commission research to see if a cap on the total cost of credit would avoid adverse consumer outcomes.

We will report back later in the year to announce the Government position on the consumer credit aspects of the review while we continue to consider the evidence.

We are placing copies of the document in the Libraries of both Houses.



The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr George Osborne): The Economic and Financial Affairs Council was held in Brussels on 12 July 2011. The following items were discussed:

Bank stress tests

The Council held an exchange of views on the European Banking Authority (EBA) stress tests. It adopted a statement and agreed a communication strategy on backstop measures to address potential vulnerabilities in member states’ banking systems. I emphasised the importance of credible backstops, and of implementing Basel III in full. On 15 July, the EBA published results in aggregate format, while national supervisory authorities published results on individual banking institutions. At the time of publication, Ministers planned to issue statements, based on a common template, on remedial and backstop measures.

Stability and Growth Pact

a. Closure of Finland s excessive deficit procedure

The Council adopted a decision closing the excessive deficit procedure for Finland, given that its deficit for 2010 remained below 3% of GDP.

b. Implications of the economic situation for fiscal surveillance

The Council adopted conclusions which reinforced recommendations made in relation to the European semester and excessive deficit procedure. The Government welcome the conclusions, and their emphasis on ensuring that all member states fully implement budgetary strategies for timely meeting of fiscal targets. The Council will re-examine the situation after the summer, on the basis of an updated assessment prepared by the Commission.

Presentation of the Polish p residency work programme

The Council took note of the Polish presidency’s ECOFIN work programme for the second half of 2011.

Follow up to the G20 Deputies meeting in Paris on 8-9 July 2011

Finance Ministers took note of the meeting of G20 Deputies. It agreed that Ministers would prepare, at the informal ECOFIN in September, terms of reference for the meeting in Washington on 23 September of G20 Finance Ministers and central bank governors.

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Follow-up to the June European Council on 24 June 2011

The presidency summarised discussion on economic policy issues at the European Council. On the economic governance legislative package, the presidency would continue to liaise with the European Parliament and come back to the Council for further discussion after the summer. With reference to the euro-plus pact, the European Council would consider progress on the commitments made by signatories in December. The UK is not a member of the euro-plus pact.

Savings Taxation Directive

The Commission gave a presentation on its recommendation for a Council decision authorising it to negotiate changes with Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino, Andorra and Switzerland on the taxation of savings income. The Council agreed that the mandate should be further examined at working group level, and progress reported back to ECOFIN as soon as possible. The UK is keen to progress this dossier, and welcomes further commitments at Council.

11th Facilit y for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP) m inisterial meeting

Ministers held a joint lunch meeting with their counterparts from the EU’s Mediterranean partner countries to discussion implementation of FEMIP.

Private Finance Initiative Contracts

The Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Justine Greening): This Government have previously voiced their concerns about the value for money in private finance initiative (PFI) contracts. Today, as part of ongoing plans to reform PFI, Government are announcing their plan to deliver £1.5 billion savings from the existing stock of PFI projects. These savings will be retained by the contracting authorities and put towards front-line public services.

The Government are committed to ensuring taxpayers get value for money from PFI contracts. And we have already taken a series of steps to improve the cost effectiveness and transparency of PFI contracts.

At the spending review 2010 the Government abolished PFI credits to create a level playing field for all forms of public procurement.

In January this year the Government issued draft guidance to support the public sector in making savings from operational PFI projects. Since then Cabinet Office and Treasury have tested the guidance on a pilot project at the Queen’s hospital in Romford, Essex and the Ministry of Defence (MOD) has conducted savings pilots on its PFI projects. And today, on the Treasury website, the Government publish the updated savings guidance that reflects the lessons learned from these pilots.

In April this year the Government introduced new guidance to Departments to strengthen the approvals process of all projects. All major projects outside of a Department’s delegated authority now need to go through three approval points.

And earlier this month the Government published for the first time an unaudited summary of the whole Government accounts (WGA), a new level of financial transparency which revealed the scale of PFI project liabilities. The Treasury is also engaging with the National Audit Office on a new study of the balance of risk and

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return of private investor equity in PFI projects, and to consider how financial transparency in this area could be improved.

In making this announcement today. Government recognise the role played by the strong parliamentary campaign to reduce PFI costs and secure better value for money for the taxpayer.

PFI saving pilots

Annual savings of around 5% have been confirmed for each of the Romford PFI savings pilot and two MOD pilots. Savings have been identified in three main areas: effective contract management, making better use of PFI assets, and ensuring the public sector only pays for what it needs.

The level of savings achievable at other PFI projects will vary, reflecting the bespoke, complex nature of assets and services delivered under these long-term contracts. But the pilots have shown that valuable efficiency savings can be achieved when private sector suppliers work together with the public sector to reduce PFI costs.

Applying the lessons of the pilot projects across the PFI portfolio

The Government want to apply the lessons from these pilots to PFI projects across the public sector.

The Cabinet Office, supported by Treasury and by local partnerships, will now lead a central programme that brings together ongoing major Government supplier renegotiations with project level savings initiatives being delivered by local contract management teams across the country, for services including defence, hospitals, schools, street lighting and waste. All operational savings that are made will remain with the institutions concerned, to be reinvested in the areas of highest priority, to support investment in our hospitals, schools and other front-line services.

This new savings programme will drive the sharing of best practice across public sector authorities, recognising that improving local delivery skills is essential to ensure better value from the use of private finance in public infrastructure in the future.

In addition, the Treasury will be taking forward engagement with the PFI industry to secure agreement to a code of conduct for industry and public sector co-operation on operational savings initiatives, and to improve transparency. The Government will continue to look at what more can be done to get better value for money from existing and future PFI projects.

It is important that the lessons demonstrated from these savings pilots are factored into future procurements from the very beginning. The first example for this will be the new programme of privately financed schools that was announced today. The new schools programme provides an opportunity to test an improved approach to working with the private sector to deliver essential public assets. This Government are committed to ensuring that the lessons learned from the PFI savings pilots are applied in the future pipeline of privately financed projects.

Public Service Pensions

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury (Danny Alexander): The coalition programme gave a commitment to review the long-term affordability and sustainability of public service pensions, and Lord Hutton’s Independent Public

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Service Pensions Commission has demonstrated that reform is needed. At Budget, the Government made clear that they accepted Lord Hutton’s recommendations as a basis for consultation with public sector workers, trade unions and others and that we would set out proposals in the autumn that are affordable, sustainable and fair to both the public sector work force and the taxpayer.

The Government have already committed to retaining a form of defined benefit pension in the public sector and protecting accrued rights so that all the benefits that members have earned up to the point of change will be protected. Today, I would like to inform the House of the progress that has been made and the process going forwards.

The Government and the Trades Union Congress (TUC) have held a series of constructive meetings to discuss public service pension reform which have covered Lord Hutton’s key recommendations and the Government’s proposed employee contributions increase. A basis for agreement has been established in several areas, but differences remain on some of the key recommendations.

The Government and the TUC have agreed that to further inform the discussions on Lord Hutton’s recommendations, there should be scheme level discussions alongside the central process already established. Scheme level discussions will ensure a fuller understanding of the implications of reforms, before final conclusions are reached. These scheme level discussions will deliver initial proposals for reformed schemes by the end of October this year, allowing further work to finalise detailed scheme design before the Government introduce legislation in due course.

Lord Hutton’s recommendations will inform these scheme level discussions and the Government will provide scheme-specific cost ceilings. These ceilings will be based on Lord Hutton’s proposals, but will go further and ensure that the pension individuals receive at normal pension age would be broadly as generous for low and middle-income earners as it is now. These cost ceilings will ensure that public service pensions remain affordable and sustainable, by setting a limit on the contribution made by the Government and ultimately the taxpayer.

Further to the rationale for short-term savings set out in Lord Hutton’s interim report, the Government announced plans to target £2.8 billion savings per year by 2014-15 through public service employee pension contributions at spending review 2010. The scheme-by-scheme consultations for the unfunded public service pension schemes to deliver the first year’s savings of £1.2 billion will commence by the end of this month. Reflecting the Government’s commitment to protect the low paid, the Government’s have set out their preferred parameters for any design. There should be no increase in employee contributions for those earning less that £15,000 and no more than a 1.5 percentage point increase in total by 2014-15 for those earning up to £21,000. This amounts to a 0.6 percentage point increase in 2012-13 on a pro-rata basis. It is proposed that higher earners will pay more but the Government have proposed a cap on the maximum increase of 6 percentage points (before tax relief) by 2014-15. This amounts to a 2.4 percentage point cap in 2012-13 on a pro-rata basis. These consultations will be completed by the end of October, in order to ensure implementation by April 2012.

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The Government remain committed to securing the full spending review savings of £2.3 billion in 2013-14 and £2.8 billion in 2014-15, requiring each scheme to find savings equivalent to a 3.2 percentage point increase. Scheme specific discussions will make proposals on how these savings are achieved and will be required to make proposals by the end of October this year. For local government, the Government recognise that the funded nature of the scheme puts it in a different position and will discuss whether there are alternative ways to deliver some or all of the savings.

I have today exchanged letters on these issues with the General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress and copies of these letters have been deposited in the Libraries of both Houses.

Communities and Local Government

Fire and Rescue Service

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Robert Neill): I would like to inform the House about losses relating to the failed FiReControl project. In my recent statement to the House of 5 July 2011, Official Report, columns 82-83WS, I announced our next steps following the closure of the project in December 2010 and a consultation on the future of fire and rescue services in England that finished in April 2011.

The amounts incurred on the project have been reported over the life of the project in the Department’s annual resource accounts. Additionally, in 2010-11, as the project has now been cancelled, amounts incurred over the life of the project, including future liabilities, have been disclosed as losses in line with reporting requirements. The disclosure recognises £212 million spent on the project as a loss (with £10 million disclosed in 2009-10) plus an estimated future loss of £231 million in relation to the control centre buildings. A copy of this disclosure has been placed in the Library of the House.

This represents nearly half a billion pounds of taxpayers’ money wasted by the last Government on an over-ambitious, ill-conceived, centrally imposed solution that was disproportionate to the risks faced and did not engage the end user—the fire and rescue service. The National Audit Office report of 1 July 2011, HC 1272, on “The failure of the FiReControl project”, clearly sets out the many failings under the last Government. In December 2010, I took firm action, recognised by the National Audit Office, by closing the project before any more public money was wasted.

Our way forward is based on local solutions. It both reflects the views of the sector and encourages fire and rescue services to make best use of the legacy assets from FiReControl, including the control centre buildings, for the benefit of the taxpayer and local communities.

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 July 2011”. This report explains

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the latest budget position as at 30 June 2011, and outlines some of the many wider economic and social benefits to the UK.

The overall public sector funding package (PSFP) 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. The ODA has also achieved additional significant savings in the quarter and, with just over a year to go to the 2012 games, the anticipated final cost (AFC), which is the current forecast of the final cost of the ODA’s programme, including risks, scope changes and inflation, is £7.250 billion, compared to £7.266 billion at the end of March 2011, a total decrease of £16 million.

In the last quarter £1.5 million was released from the PSFP to support crowd management and public safety at the sailing venue in Weymouth. An additional £0.8 million was also released to dress two venues outside London and expand the installation of Olympic rings and Paralympic agitos on buildings in the UK, while £3.1 million was released for a small number of additional events as part of the London 2012 Festival.

Throughout the Big Build, the ODA has made strong progress in preparing the venues and infrastructure at the Olympic park with 88% of the games-time construction programme now completed and in many cases ahead of schedule. Completed venues now include the velodrome, the main stadium (running track to be laid later this year), the handball arena, the basketball arena and the international broadcast centre (IBC). Construction works are nearing completion on the aquatics centre which remains on track to be finished by 27 July 2011—one year to go until the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic games. The venue will be unveiled by the ODA to mark one year to go.

The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games are continuing to help businesses and people through the difficult economic times. The games are also benefitting those living in the host boroughs, with nearly 25% of those working on the park hailing from the surrounding area. Currently, over 40,000 people have experienced work on the Olympic park and athlete’s village since April 2008. More than 98% of the ODA’s suppliers are based in the UK whether they be supplying the official merchandise for London 2012 or supplying the rain-screen cladding on the Olympic stadium. Smaller businesses have also had the chance to share in the success of the games with 73% of CompeteFor contracts awarded to SMEs.

The games are also supporting the Government’s “Plan for Growth”, by providing unique opportunities for business across the UK to grow internationally. UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) is enabling this through the Host 2 Host programme which seeks to maximise the economic benefits of hosting the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games. The programme allows business to create links and share best practice with previous and future host cities of Olympic games and other major sporting events.

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.

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

Deputy Prime Minister

Cities Minister

The Deputy Prime Minister (Mr Nick Clegg): The Prime Minister has agreed that from today, in addition to his existing role as Minister with responsibility for decentralisation, the Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government, the right hon. Member for Tunbridge Wells (Greg Clark), will become Minister for cities, with responsibility for English cities. He will report in this new role jointly to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

Energy and Climate Change

National Policy Statements

The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (Chris Huhne): Yesterday, the House of Commons debated and approved the six energy national policy statements which I laid for parliamentary approval on 23 June 2011. I am therefore pleased to inform Parliament that I am today designating them as national policy statements under the provisions of section 5(1) of the Planning Act 2008, and laying copies before you as required by section 5(9)(b) of the same Act.

I believe this designation marks a significant step forward, as it delivers a key part of our plans to move to a low-carbon future while protecting the security of the UK’s energy supplies at affordable prices.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office


The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr William Hague): I wish to inform the House that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, together with the Ministry of Defence and the Department for International Development, is today publishing the eighth progress report on developments in Afghanistan.

The report focuses on key developments during the month of June.

The UN Security Council unanimously adopted resolutions 1988 (2011) and 1989 (2011). This created two new sanctions regimes to replace the UN Security Council Resolution 1267 (1999) al-Qaeda and Taliban sanctions regime. This is an important step. It sends a clear signal that now is the time for the Taliban to break with al-Qaeda and join the political process. We welcome the Government of Afghanistan’s support of this initiative and their continued engagement in the implementation of sanctions to counter the insurgency,

June saw the anticipated increase in security incidents. The insurgency continued its attacks in an attempt to reassert itself, but the Afghan National Security Forces continue to respond effectively. The Afghan forces dealt

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with a major, sophisticated attack on the Intercontinental hotel in Kabul on 28 June professionally and speedily.

The Special Electoral Court established in December to investigate accusations of electoral fraud following the 18 September parliamentary elections, announced its findings. These called for the dismissal and replacement of 62 of the Lower House’s 249 MPs. The Lower House of Parliament responded to the announcement by passing votes of no confidence in the Attorney-General, Chief Justice and members of the Supreme Court.

Negotiations between the Afghan Government and the International Monetary Fund on a new IMF programme have stalled. While the Government of Afghanistan have made progress, the IMF is keen to see more robust action in key areas including asset recovery. A UK co-funded forensic audit of the Kabul bank is now under way.

I am placing the report in the Library of the House. It will also be published on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website (www.fco.gov.uk) and the HMG UK and Afghanistan website (http://afghanistan.hmg.gov.uk/).

The July and August progress reports on developments in Afghanistan will be published in a single document in early September.

British Council

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr Jeremy Browne): Copies of the British Council’s annual report and accounts for the 2010-11 financial year have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. It can also be found at the British Council’s website, www.Britishcouncil.org.

During the period the British Council received £189,983,000 grant-in-aid from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Building Stability Overseas

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr William Hague): I, together with my right hon. Friends the Secretary of State for International Development and the Secretary of State for Defence, wish to inform the House that the Government are publishing today our “Building Stability Overseas Strategy” which will help us to prioritise and implement a distinctive UK approach to building stability overseas with maximum impact.

The national security strategy (NSS) identified shaping a stable world as a core Government objective to reduce the likelihood of threats affecting the UK or our direct interests overseas. The strategic defence and security review (SDSR) made a commitment that we would reduce such threats by tackling them at source. The “Arab Spring” has highlighted the need for a strategic UK approach to early engagement in places at risk of instability, and to be prepared for a fast, flexible and integrated Government response.

The “Building Stability Overseas Strategy”, which is being published online today on the websites of all three Departments, sets out clear, achievable proposals for how we can improve the way we identify, prevent

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and end instability and conflict overseas by using our diplomatic, development, defence and security tools, and by drawing on Britain’s experience, relationships, reputation and values. We will prioritise action on those fragile and conflict-affected countries where the risks are high, our interests are most at stake and where we know we can have an impact. The strategy is based around three mutually-supporting pillars:

Early warning—Improving our ability to anticipate instability and potential triggers for conflict. To this end, we will establish an early warning system that will take a global view of countries in which political, economic and security shocks over the next 12 months could trigger instability. We will also produce a new internal watchlist of fragile countries in which we assess that the risks of conflict and insecurity are high and the UK has significant interests at stake.

Rapid crisis prevention and response—Improving our ability to take fast, appropriate and effective action to prevent a crisis or stop it escalating. We will therefore create a £20 million annual early action facility within the tri-departmental conflict pool. This will be a cross-Government facility with a mixture of official development assistance (ODA) and non-ODA resources to help us move more swiftly in response to warnings and opportunities. We will also continue to develop and improve the readiness of our stabilisation response teams (SRTs). These are integrated teams drawn from across Government—including military, police or civil servants and other experts—that can deploy swiftly into difficult environments and enable the UK to rapidly help shape the response to emerging crises, either bilaterally or with international partners.

Investing in upstream prevention—Helping to build strong, legitimate institutions and robust societies in fragile countries that are capable of managing tensions and shocks so there is a lower likelihood of instability and conflict. We are already investing more in upstream prevention, increasing to 30% by 2014-15 the proportion of UK official development assistance that supports conflict-affected and fragile states. In addition, we will work to ensure that the conflict pool provides predictable multi-year resources for: free, transparent and inclusive political systems; effective and accountable security and justice (including through defence engagement); and building the ability of local populations and regional and multilateral institutions to prevent and resolve the conflicts that affect them. We will also increase our work with other key groups such as local government, communities, the private sector, faith groups, civil society and the media.

I have deposited a copy of the strategy in the Libraries of both Houses. It is also available on the FCO website at: www.fco.gov.uk, the DFID website at: www.dfid.gov.uk and the MOD website at: www.mod.gov.uk.

National Diplomatic Missions (Outstanding National Non-Domestic Rates Bills)

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr William Hague): The majority of diplomatic missions in the United Kingdom pay the national non-domestic rates requested from them.

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They are obliged to pay only 6% of the total national non-domestic rates value which represents payment for specific services such as street cleaning, lighting, maintenance and fire services.

The total amount outstanding from all diplomatic missions is £566,009. As at 7 May 2011, missions listed below owed over £10,000 in respect of NNDR.

£35,000 has been repaid since February 2011.





Côte d’Ivoire


E. Guinea






Sierra Leone








Diplomatic Missions and International Organisations (Unpaid Parking Fines)

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr William Hague): In 2010, there were 5,109 parking fines incurred by diplomatic missions and international organisations in the United Kingdom which were brought to our attention by councils.

These totalled £491,086.

In March this year, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office wrote to diplomatic missions and international organisations concerned giving them the opportunity to either pay their outstanding fines or appeal against them if they considered that the fines had been issued incorrectly.

Subsequent payments totalled £105,360 (with a further £77,310 of the outstanding debt being waived by councils). There remains a total of £308,416 in unpaid fines for 2010.

The table below details those diplomatic missions and international organisations that have outstanding fines totalling £1,000 or more, as of 15 June 2011.

Diplomatic Mission/International Organisation Number of Outstanding Fines (excluding congestion charge) Amount in £










Saudi Arabia




































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Korea (North)












Cote D'Ivoire








































































Equatorial Guinea






Sierra Leone















London Congestion Charge (Diplomatic Missions and International Organisations)

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr William Hague): The number of outstanding fines incurred by the diplomatic missions in the United Kingdom for non-payment of the London congestion charge since its introduction in February 2003 until 20 January 2011 was £49,707,491.

The majority of diplomatic missions in the United Kingdom pay the congestion charge. The table below shows the 62 diplomatic missions and international organisations with outstanding fines totalling £100,000 or more.

Country Number of fines Total outstanding (£)










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South Africa






Sierra Leone







































Czech Republic















Equatorial Guinea

































Côte d'Ivoire





















Saudi Arabia



DPR Korea















Antigua and Barbuda



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Alleged Offences (Diplomatic Immunity)

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr William Hague): In 2010 15 serious offences allegedly committed by people entitled to diplomatic immunity were drawn to the attention of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 12 of these were driving-related. This is a decrease on the figures for 2009 (17 alleged offences—11 driving-related). We define serious offences as those that could, in certain circumstances, carry a penalty of 12 months or more imprisonment, also included is drink-driving or driving without insurance.

Some 22,500 people are entitled to diplomatic immunity in the United Kingdom and the majority of diplomats abide by UK law. The number of alleged serious crimes committed by the diplomatic community is proportionately low.

Under the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations, those entitled to immunity are expected to obey the law. The FCO does not tolerate foreign diplomats breaking the law.

We take all allegations of illegal activity seriously. When allegations of alleged criminal conduct are brought to our attention by the police, we ask the relevant foreign Government to waive diplomatic immunity where appropriate. For the most serious offences, we seek the immediate withdrawal of the diplomat.

Alleged offences reported to the FCO in 2010 are listed below.

Offences allegedly committed in 2010

Driving under the influence of alcohol










Saudi Arabia





Driving under the influence of alcohol and without insurance


Saudi Arabia



Driving without insurance









Offences under the Human Trafficking Act


Saudi Arabia



Actual bodily harm/assault







Côte d’Ivoire


Figures for previous years are available in my written statement to the House on 28 June 2010, Official Report, column 26WS.

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Extending Patient Choice of Provider (Guidance)

The Secretary of State for Health (Mr Andrew Lansley): Today I am publishing operational guidance for the national health service on extending patient choice of provider.

In response to the NHS Future Forum’s report, this Government remain committed to extending patients’ choice to include choice of any qualified provider. Since April 2008, patients have been offered choice of provider in routine elective care. Both in the coalition agreement, and in the White Paper “Equity and excellence: Liberating the NHS”, Cm 7881, this Government committed to giving patients greater choice and control over their health care.

Our goal is to enable patients to choose any qualified provider where this will result in better care. We will adopt a phased approach, introducing choice of provider for services where there is a strong demand from patients for greater choice, starting with community services. We will ensure patients, carers and professionals are engaged nationally and locally, and lessons are learned from each stage

Choice of any qualified provider will mean that when patients are referred for a particular service, they can choose, where appropriate, from a range of providers that are qualified to provide safe, high-quality care and treatment—and select the one that best meets their individual needs. To ensure that competition is based on quality and not price, patients’ choices will be limited to services covered by national or local tariff pricing. The guidance is intended for commissioners and current and prospective providers of NHS-funded services. Commissioners will continue to shape local services in line with best practice, including where services need to be integrated to improve quality.

Today I am also publishing the Government’s response to the first part of our consultation, “Liberating the NHS: Greater choice and control”. A response to the feedback received on the remaining commitments will follow later in the year.

The guidance, “Extending patient choice of provider”, accompanying impact assessments and “Liberating the NHS: Greater choice and control Government response: Extending choice of provider (Any qualified provider)” have been placed in the Library. Copies of the guidance and the response to the consultation are available to hon. Members from the Vote Office and to noble Lords from the Printed Paper Office.

Suicide Prevention (Consultation)

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Paul Burstow): Today I am publishing a consultation on a new suicide prevention strategy for England. “Consultation on preventing suicide in England: a cross-Government outcomes strategy to save lives”, has been placed in the Library. Copies are available to hon. Members from the Vote Office and to noble Lords from the Printed Paper Office. The document is also available at: www.dh.gov.uk/en/Consultations/Liveconsultations/DH_128065.

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Suicide rates in England have been at a historical low recently and are low in comparison to those of most other European countries. However, there were still nearly 4,400 suicides in England in 2009, the latest year for which national data are available.

Suicides are not inevitable. An inclusive society that avoids the marginalisation of individuals and which supports people at times of personal crisis will help to prevent suicides. Government and statutory services also have a role to play. We can build individual and community resilience. We can ensure that vulnerable people in the care of health and social services and at risk of suicide are supported and kept safe from preventable harm. We can also ensure that we intervene quickly when someone is in distress or in crisis.

In developing a new national all-age suicide prevention strategy for England, the Government have built on the successes of the earlier strategy published in 2002. Real progress has been made in reducing the already relatively low suicide rate to record low levels. One of the main changes from the previous strategy is the greater prominence of measures to support families—those who are worried that a loved one is at risk and those who are having to cope with the aftermath of a suicide.

There is no single approach to suicide prevention. It needs a broad co-ordinated system-wide approach that requires input from a wide range of partner agencies, organisations and sectors. People who have been directly affected by the suicide of a family member or friend, the voluntary, statutory and private sectors, academic researchers and Government Departments can all contribute to a sustained reduction in suicides in England.

The draft strategy sets out our overall objectives:

a reduction in the suicide rate in the general population in England; and

better support for those bereaved or affected by suicide.

We have identified six key areas for action to support delivery of these objectives:

reduce the risk of suicide in key high risk groups;

tailor approaches to improve mental health in specific groups;

reduce access to the means of suicide;

provide better information and support to those bereaved or affected by a suicide;

support the media in delivering sensible and sensitive approaches to suicide and suicidal behaviour; and

support research, data collection and monitoring.

The new health and wellbeing boards will become the local forum for determining local needs. These boards will be able to support suicide prevention by bringing together local authorities, clinical commissioning groups, directors of public health, adult social services and children’s services and local Health Watch. This presents a unique opportunity for local agencies to look at the wider context and agree how best to marshal resources across agencies to have the greatest positive impact on local health and wellbeing.

The draft strategy has been developed with the support of leading experts in the field of suicide prevention, including the members of the national suicide prevention strategy advisory group, under the chairmanship of Professor Louis Appleby CBE. I would like to thank all members of this group for sharing their knowledge and expertise.

The consultation period will close on 11 October 2011.

19 July 2011 : Column 105WS

Southern Cross

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Paul Burstow): I wish to update the House further on the situation regarding Southern Cross Healthcare.

As I have always made clear to the House, the Government’s overriding concern is the welfare and safety of the 31,000 residents in Southern Cross’s care. We expect all parties to work together to secure a consensual, solvent restructuring of the business that meets their collective responsibility to secure the welfare and care of residents. I am pleased to see that Southern Cross, its landlords and lenders continue to share that view.

Officials continue to maintain close contact with Southern Cross’s senior management, landlords and lenders. Government continue to be actively involved in discussions with all parties. When I last updated the House on 12 July, Southern Cross had the previous day announced their expectation that the end of the restructuring process would see the operation of all the company’s care homes being transferred to the landlords and alternative providers of care. This represents a step in the ongoing process, agreed between the company, its landlords and lenders on 15 June, for a consensual, solvent restructuring. Discussions to resolve the remaining steps continue.

I appreciate that residents, families and staff are anxious to know what will happen next. Let me repeat the assurances I have given to the House previously: whatever the outcome, no one—state-supported or self-funded—will find themselves homeless or without care. We have made clear to all parties involved in the restructuring discussions that they have a collective responsibility to ensure a way forward that covers all homes and assures continuity of care. In addition, we will continue to work with the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, the Local Government Association, the Care Quality Commission and others to ensure that they are ready to respond to any potential disruption to the continuity of care and to ensure that all residents are protected.

The announcement made on the 11 July by Southern Cross has no immediate effect on the provision of care or the operation of care homes. Southern Cross remains in operation, and will continue to operate all its care homes until transfers to new operators have taken place. I understand that this process is expected to be completed by the end of October or earlier. That does not mean however that it should take that long to make clear what each landlords plan is and how homes will be run by new operators.

Each of Southern Cross’s landlords is settling its arrangements regarding which care home operators to work with. This is a key part of the ongoing discussions. The Government are strongly urging all parties to set out their plans as swiftly as possible so as to offer reassurance to residents and families. As these arrangements are finalised, we understand that updates will be issued. NHP the biggest of the landlords, owning 249 Southern Cross homes, announced its plans on 18 July to contract with an alternative provider of care and to transfer Southern Cross care home staff. The Department is being kept up-to-date on developments.

19 July 2011 : Column 106WS

I want to make it absolutely clear that no transfer of homes will take place without new operators having been approved and registered by the Care Quality Commission. Alternative operators will need to be reputable and experienced care providers that can satisfy the CQC that they are capable of delivering high-quality care and of meeting all regulatory standards. A number of landlords which will take over the running of Southern Cross homes are already registered with CQC as care providers in their own right and there are established processes to allow these providers to extend their current registration to include additional homes.

For providers not currently registered with CQC, it will require a new application, which will be subject to full scrutiny and a determination of fitness to provide the service. CQC is committed to ensuring continuity of care, but it will not lower the regulatory bar or reduce the rigour of the registration. CQC’s principal concern is the safety of service users and it will not compromise on the standards required. I have been assured that CQC will ensure that resources will be made available to handle any registration work that is needed and they have been working with Southern Cross for some time to prepare for this.

The transfer of care homes to alternative operators will be a managed process that ensures continuity of services. The company has withdrawn its statutory redundancy notice and given an undertaking to care home staff that they will transfer to new operators on their current terms. All parties involved in the negotiations have given a clear commitment that the continuity of care will be paramount throughout the process.

For the future, I would like to assure the House that the Government will be considering what measures may need to be put in place to prevent similar situations from arising again. Options for financial regulation or other measures will be considered as part of the development of the forthcoming White Paper on social care. The Department of Health is already working with the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills to consider ways to ensure a diverse and dynamic social care market, but with the right safeguards for stability and continuity of care. I will update the House as this work develops.

With the forthcoming recess, I appreciate that hon. Members will want to be informed of developments. I undertake to write to hon. Members to keep them informed as the matter progresses.

Home Department

London Bombings (Government Response to Coroner's Inquests)

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mrs Theresa May): In my written ministerial statement on 9 May, Official Report, columns 26-27WS, I undertook to inform the House of the Government’s response to Lady Justice Hallett’s report following her inquests into the 7 July attacks.

All responses have been published on the inquests website earlier today. The Government have not asked for any part of their response to be withheld.

19 July 2011 : Column 107WS

The Government and the Security Service have carefully considered the coroner’s report and fully accept the three recommendations directed to it—namely recommendations 1, 2 and 9. The Government response sets out in full the next steps which have been or will be taken to address these three recommendations.

The Government response also provides full consideration on areas of concern that were raised by the coroner, but which were not attached to formal recommendations, and considers the broader UK implications of those recommendations addressed to London-based organisations.

Lady Justice Hallett has identified important areas where the Government and local partners, including the emergency services, can work to improve our ability to respond to emergencies. Through the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy, CONTEST, and the wider Resilience Programme led by the Cabinet Office, we will work to implement swiftly the actions set out in the Government’s response.

A copy of the Government response will be placed in the Library of the House.

Human Trafficking

The Minister for Immigration (Damian Green): I am today publishing the Government’s human trafficking strategy “Human Trafficking: The Government’s Strategy” a copy of which will be placed in the Library of the House.

Victim care arrangements remain central to the Government’s approach to combating trafficking. Adult victim care arrangements will be strengthened, with support offered by a greater range of specialist care providers. This will ensure that victims have access to the care they need, tailored to their particular circumstances and in line with our international commitments. We will also ensure that children remain a focus of our efforts as we look to combat those traffickers who exploit vulnerable children.

A renewed focus on preventing human trafficking is required. The UK is already a world leader in the fight against trafficking but we recognise more can be done with international partners to reduce the threat from overseas. The strategy recognises the importance of working with source and transit countries to target and disrupt the work of traffickers and prevent more vulnerable men, women and children from becoming trafficking victims. A key aspect of our approach will be better intelligence gathering and sharing and, from 2013 the National Crime Agency will play a vital role in spearheading our fight against organised criminal groups who are engaged in human trafficking.

The strategy also sets out our aim to better co-ordinate our border and policing law enforcement efforts to prevent traffickers from entering the UK. We will use intelligence to target those convicted or suspected of trafficking at the border as well as developing risk-based indicators to facilitate the systematic targeting of high risk passengers.

We will also ensure we monitor intelligence in relation to key events such as the Olympics and Paralympics to respond quickly and appropriately to any potential increased risk of trafficking.

19 July 2011 : Column 108WS

Proceeds of Crime

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (James Brokenshire): My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary is today laying before Parliament the 2010-11 annual report of the appointed person under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. The appointed person is an independent person who scrutinises the use of the search power introduced to support the measures in the Act to seize and forfeit criminal cash.

The report gives the appointed person’s opinion as to the circumstances and manner in which the search powers conferred by the Act are being exercised. I am pleased that the appointed person, Andrew Clarke, has expressed satisfaction with the operation of the search power and has found that there is nothing to suggest that the procedures are not being followed in accordance with the Act.

From 1 April 2010 to the end of March 2011 over £67 million in cash was seized by law enforcement agencies in England, Wales and Northern Ireland under powers in the Act. The seizures are subject to further investigation, and the cash is subject to further judicially approved detention, before forfeiture in the magistrates court. These powers are a valuable tool in the fight against crime and the report shows that the way they are used has been, and will continue to be, closely monitored.

Copies of the report will be available in the Vote Office.


Secure Estate Strategy for Children and Young People

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice (Mr Crispin Blunt): Today is the launch of a consultation on the “Strategy for the Secure Estate for Children and Young People for England and Wales”.

This is a joint publication between the Ministry of Justice and the Youth Justice Board. The consultation invites views on a proposed strategy for the under-18 secure estate for the years 2011-12 to 2014-15. Custody continues to play an important part in the youth justice system for the small number of young people for whom a community sentence is not appropriate. The recent reduction in the number of young people in custody means that the secure estate is now going through a period of change. This presents an opportunity to consider the most appropriate configuration of the estate and consider whether different regimes can deliver improved outcomes.

The consultation, which will run for 12 weeks, and details on how to respond can be found on the Ministry of Justice website at www.justice.gov.uk.

Deaths of Service Personnel Overseas (Inquests)

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. As always, we wish to express the Government’s deep

19 July 2011 : Column 109WS

and abiding gratitude to all of our service personnel who have served, or are now serving, in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Once again we also extend our sincere condolences to the families of those service personnel who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country in connection with the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in particular the 11 service personnel who have died since our last statement. Our thoughts remain with all of the families.

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 8 July 2011.

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

Our Departments will continue to work closely together to improve our processes. We will continue the Government’s support for coroners conducting inquests into operational deaths. We remain grateful to them and their staff for their dedication, together with those people who are providing support and information throughout the inquest process and afterwards.

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. These measures have been provided to ensure that there is not a backlog of operational inquests. As I confirmed in the last statement, we will again provide additional resources to the Oxfordshire coroner, Mr Nicholas Gardiner, when repatriation ceremonies for those killed on operations overseas move to RAF Brize Norton within his district. The move will take place on 1 September 2011.

Current status of inquests

Since the last statement there have been 23 inquests into the deaths of service personnel on operations in Iraq or Afghanistan.

A total of 476 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. In the third case, where the serviceman died of his injuries in Scotland, it was decided not to hold a fatal accident inquiry.

Open inquests

Fatalities in Iraq and Afghanistan

There are currently 75 open inquests to be concluded into the deaths of service personnel who died in Iraq and Afghanistan. Twenty-one of these involve deaths in the last six months. The Wiltshire and Swindon coroner has retained 28 of the remaining open inquests, and 35 are being conducted by coroners closer to the next-of-kin. Hearing dates have been set in 13 cases.

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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. Two hearing dates have been set. The remaining 10 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.

Prime Minister

Special Advisers

The Prime Minister (Mr David Cameron): Listed below are the names of the special advisers in post at 19 July 2011, including each special adviser’s pay band, and actual salary where this is £58,200 or higher, together with details of the special advisers’ pay ranges for 2011-12.

The paybill for the period 13 May 2010 to 31 March 2011 was £4.5 million. This compares to £6.8 million for the period 1 April 2009 to 31 March 2010, and £2.1 million for the period 1 April 2010 to 12 May 2010, which includes £1.8 million in severance pay.

Appointing Minister Special Adviser in Post Payband Salary if £58,200 or higher ( £ )

The Prime Minister

Craig Oliver

Within scheme ceiling



Andrew Cooper

Within scheme ceiling



Edward Llewellyn

Within scheme ceiling



Kate Fall




Gabby Bertin




Tim Chatwin




Steve Hilton




Polly Mackenzie(1)




James O'Shaughnessy




Lena Pietsch(1)




Patrick Rock




Liz Sugg




Peter Campbell




Sean Kemp(1)




Michael Salter




Alan Sendorek




Rohan Silva




Isabel Spearman (p/t)



Sean Worth



Tim Colbourne(1)



19 July 2011 : Column 111WS


Deputy Prime Minister

Jonny Oates




Richard Reeves




Alison Suttie




Chris Saunders




James McGrory



First Secretary of State, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

Arminka Helic




Denzil Davidson



Will Littlejohn



Chancellor of the of the Exchequer (2)

Ramesh Chhabra




Poppy Mitchell-Rose



Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice

David Hass




Kathryn Laing



Secretary of State for the Home Department and Minister for Women and Equality

Fiona Cunningham




Nick Timothy




Secretary of State for Defence

Luke Coffey




Oliver Waghorn




Hayden Allan



Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

Katie Waring



Giles Wilkes



Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Susie Squire



Philippa Stroud




Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change

Duncan Brack




Joel Kenrick



Secretary of State for Health

Bill Morgan




Jenny Jackson



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Secretary of State for Education

Henry de Zoete



Dominic Cummings



Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

Giles Kenningham




Sheridan Westlake




Secretary of State for Transport

Sian Jones



Paul Stephenson



Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Simon Cawte



Amy Fisher




Secretary of State for International Development

Philippa Buckley



Richard Parr



Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

Jonathan Caine



Secretary of State for Scotland

Euan Roddin



Secretary of State for Wales

Richard Hazlewood



Secretary of State for Culture, Media, the Olympics and Sport

Adam Smith



Sue Beeby



Chief Secretary

Will de Peyer




Julia Goldsworthy




Minister without Portfolio

Naweed Khan



Leader of the House of Lords, and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

Flora Coleman



Elisabeth Plummer



James Marshall



Minister for the Cabinet Office, Paymaster General

Laura Trott



Minister of State, Cabinet Office

Martha Varney



Minister of State (Universities and Science), BIS

Nick Hillman



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Leader of the House of Commons and Lord Privy Seal

Robert Riddell



Chief Whip (Commons)

Chris White



Ben Williams



(1)Appointed by the Deputy Prime Minister and based in No. 10. (2 )In addition, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has appointed Rupert Harrison (PB3, £80,000), and Eleanor Shawcross (PB2) to the Council of Economic Advisers.

Special Adviser Pay Bands for 2011-12

The pay bands and pay ranges for special advisers for 2011-12 are as follows:

Scheme Ceiling £142,668

Pay Band 4


Pay Band 3 and Premium


Pay Band 2


Pay Band 1


Pay Band 0

Up to £40,352


Olympics Airspace

The Secretary of State for Transport (Mr Philip Hammond): On 7 March the Government announced plans to introduce temporary airspace restrictions in the south-east of England during the London Olympic and Paralympic games to help protect key games locations from potential airborne risks. We also made clear that further work would be done to evaluate the potential impact of these measures before final decisions were made. Additional work was also envisaged on possible exemptions and alleviations to mitigate the impact of the proposed restrictions on the aviation industry where possible, without reducing the effectiveness and robustness of the security measures.

Since March further extensive work has been done in conjunction with the aviation sector to understand the likely impact of the planned restrictions on the industry. Alongside this, security experts have also carried out further analysis on the risks to the games. This work has given us a more sophisticated understanding of the relative challenges as regards the Olympics and the Paralympics. The changes to the original measures have been made to minimise the impact of the restrictions without compromising the safety and security of the games.

As a result of both this improved understanding and work with the aviation community, the Government are today announcing further development of the plans for temporary airspace control measures.

Between 14 July and 15 August 2012, the airspace measures will, as previously proposed, comprise an inner Prohibited Zone and an outer Restricted Zone, approximately 60 nautical miles across, centred on the Olympic park.

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Only certain categories of aircraft—those operating commercial services and subject to full aviation security procedures—will normally be permitted to operate within the Prohibited Zone. Aircraft involved in, for example, police, emergency medical, essential survey and Olympic broadcast operations will be exempt. Subject to specific conditions, exemptions will also be granted to flights operating from Denham, Fairoaks and White Waltham airfields, and the London heliport at Battersea—all located within the Prohibited Zone—directly to and from the boundary with the Restricted Zone.

As previously proposed, all types of aircraft will be permitted to operate in the wider Restricted Zone during this period provided that they can satisfy certain requirements designed to ensure that aircraft within the zone can be readily identified and monitored by air traffic control. Additional changes to the original plans are now proposed, including exemptions for flights directly exiting the Restricted Zone from airfields within three nautical miles of the zone’s outer boundary, and the removal of the prohibition against cross country solo student flights. Small changes to the boundaries of the Prohibited and Restricted Zones are also being made, primarily for reasons of air traffic safety and ease of navigation. Further work is under way to look at whether the current minimum period for filing a flight plan can be reduced from the existing two hours.

From 16 August until the Paralympic village closes on 12 September 2012, the Prohibited and Restricted Zones will be replaced by three separate, smaller, areas of restricted airspace one over central London and the Olympic park, one over the Eton Dorney Paralympic rowing venue, and one over the rowing village at Egham. Access to this airspace will be restricted to those aircraft permitted to operate within the earlier Prohibited Zone. A specific exemption will be granted in respect of operations into and out of the London heliport.

A similar approach—the introduction of localised areas of temporarily restricted airspace—will be taken in respect of the games venues elsewhere across the country as and when appropriate during the games period.

Full details of the planned airspace restrictions, including maps, can be found on the Airspace Safety Initiative website at: www.airspacesafety.com/Olympics.

It is not expected that any airports will need to close as a result of the planned measures. There should be no impact on scheduled air services, and a significantly reduced impact on most other types of operation within the Prohibited and Restricted Zones as a result of the changes made to the design and duration of the restrictions.

The Government’s paramount objective is the delivery of a safe and secure games for all. We are confident that the measures announced today are a proportionate approach, balancing the need to put in place appropriate and effective counter-measures against potential aviation based risks to the games with the desire to minimise the impact on the aviation community. However, should circumstances change, the Government reserve the right to implement additional airspace security measures should the need arise.

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Commission on Devolution in Wales

The Secretary of State for Wales (Mrs Cheryl Gillan): The coalition’s programme for government includes a commitment to

“establish a process similar to the Calman Commission for the Welsh Assembly”

and the Government’s proposals are now taking shape. I am pleased to inform the House of our plans so far.

A key strength of the Calman Commission was its consensual approach, and the Government are committed to establish a similar approach in Wales. With this in mind we have worked with the Welsh Government and all parties in the Assembly to reach a broad consensus on how we move forward.

An independent commission will be established in the autumn to look at the financial accountability of the Welsh Government and the National Assembly for Wales. The commission will examine issues of fiscal devolution and accountability in Wales and will focus on building consensus. It will take into consideration the work of the Holtham commission and will make every effort to report on its recommendations in the autumn of 2012.

After the commission has reported and the Government have considered its proposals, the commission will look at the constitutional settlement in Wales in the light of experience. The commission will aim to report its findings in 2013.

Work will continue between the UK Government and the Welsh Government over the summer, and I will look to make further announcements on the process after recess.

The Government are committed to considering all aspects of the Holtham commission’s reports. Separate discussions will continue between the UK Government and the Welsh Government on Holtham’s proposals for funding reform for Wales and they will be extended to include the operation of existing borrowing powers.