Letter to the Chair of the Liaison Committee
from the Prime Minister,
dated 29 November 2010|
Dear Sir Alan,
I promised to write with more details on a number
of issues raised with me during my appearance at the Liaison Committee
on 18 November.
WITH BAE IN
I was asked about the Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft
The Ministry of Defence is now reviewing the relevant
contracts, which include the BAE Systems Surface Ships Terms of
Business Agreement, to identify any material that might need to
This review process by its nature must include consultation
with industry, as parties to the contract, and will therefore
take a number of days.
The Ministry of Defence does expect to be able to
provide copies of the Carrier contract and the Terms of Business
Agreement to the Treasury and Defence Select Committees very shortly.
I was asked about the background to the letter to
The Times, published on 12 November, signed by the
Chiefs of Staff.
The idea for the letter from the Chiefs came from
the Chief of the Defence Staff. No. 10 members of staff were not
involved in the process of drafting the letter.
There was concern in No. 10 that the letter from
retired Naval officers published on 10 November unfairly criticised
some decisions that were taken, on military advice, during the
Strategic Defence and Security Review and that it was right for
the Ministry of Defence to exercise its right of reply.
We will ensure that regional transport projects are
brought forward that reflect the views of people and business
in the region.
We are looking to develop less bureaucratic successor
arrangements to the previous Government's Regional Funding Allocations
for transport. These will give a proper voice to elected local
authorities and business interests in scheme prioritisation.
Philip Hammond has already committed to looking at
the involvement of Local Enterprise Partnerships in taking decisions
on strategic transport priorities.
The Regional Growth Fund is intended to rebalance
those areas of the economy which are currently reliant on the
public sector, including areas outside of London. The Department
for Transport is contributing around a third of the funding to
the £1.4 billion Fund, and we are keen for bids to include
We will be investing over £30 billion in key
transport infrastructure over the Spending Review: £18 billion
of rail investments, including Crossrail; £4 billion on Highways
Agency major projects, capital maintenance and enhancements; and
£6 billion on local transport major projects, capital maintenance
and enhancements. This will be of economic benefit to all regions.
The financial package which accompanied the devolution
of policing and justice was generous and took into account the
particular circumstances of Northern Ireland. It allowed access
to the Reserve to meet any exceptional security pressures. We
supported this in Opposition and we stand by it now.
£50.3 million has already been made available
from the Reserve, including an additional £12.9 million available
to the Chief Constable at the end of June this year.
It is now vital that the Northern Ireland Executive
take steps to set its budget in order to allow the Chief Constable
to plan effectively to meet the current threat.
The Government will be incorporating sustainable
development into decision-making across its policies and at the
very highest level.
Proposals will be published shortly. These include
new commitments on how Government makes policy, including proposals
for Oliver Letwin, working with Caroline Spelman, to scrutinise
Departmental Business Plans to ensure that they deliver against
our long-term commitments for sustainable development.
In addition, we are putting in place a robust mechanism
to ensure that the sustainability of cross-cutting policies is
challenged at Cabinet Committees.
We recently published an Action Plan to ensure that
our operations and procurement are the greenest ever. We will
announce new waste, water and carbon targets in December. We welcome
the role of Parliament in holding us to account on this.
We are also setting out Government-wide action on
climate change including both domestic and international activity.
The Carbon Plan will present, on a Department by Department basis,
Government action with clearly defined milestones and deadlines,
providing for both internal accountability and public transparency.
This document will be published in draft in spring 2011 and in
full later in the year.
The current session has been extended from the end
of 2011 to spring 2012 to facilitate the transition to year long
sessions. Priority in the first session is being given to legislation
to support deficit reduction and to achieve priority structural
As set out in Defra's business plan, following the
publication of a White Paper in summer 2011, and Parliamentary
time allowing, legislation could be introduced in May 2012 in
good time for the next Ofwat price review.
There are two main sources of UK Government civilian
funding in Afghanistan: DFID and the Conflict Pool. They
allocate resources both nationally and in Helmand.
While DFID's programme in Afghanistan is primarily
a national one, DFID works closely with the Foreign and Commonwealth
Office and the Ministry of Defence to bring security, governance,
stabilisation and development to the people of Helmand.
This is done in two ways. First, DFID works with
national policies and programmes to help them improve service
delivery and deliver better outcomes in Helmand. Second, DFID
supports a number of programmes directly in Helmand as part of
the overall stabilisation and development effort.
Currently, DFID Afghanistan programme funds for 2010/11,
some £176 million, are projected to be spent nationally and
in Helmand in 2010/11 as follows: Helmand (direct) 22%; national
78%. In 2011/12 we expect Helmand spend to increase.
The figures above do not include money channelled
via the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund to the Government
of Afghanistan's recurrent and investment budgets from which Helmand
also benefits as one of 34 provinces.
The current funding allocation for the tri-departmental
Conflict Pool managed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
is £68.5 million. The projected proportion of Conflict
Pool funding spent nationally and in Helmand is as follows:
Helmand 70%; and national 30%.
The membership has not changed since the Council's
second meeting on 18 May when the Secretary of State for Energy
and Climate Change and Chief Secretary to the Treasury (then Secretary
of State for Scotland) were added to the full-time membership.
Other Ministers are invited to attend Council meetings
when a discussion directly affects the interests of their Department.
Senior Officials, including the Chief of Defence
Staff and Agency Heads, are also invited regularly to provide
The full membership can be found on the Cabinet Office
I am copying this to Bernard Jenkin, Andrew Tyrie,
Louise Ellman, Laurence Robertson, Joan Walley, Anne McIntosh
and Malcolm Bruce.
The Prime Minister