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Written Ministerial Statements

Thursday 10 May 2012

Business, Innovation and Skills

National Careers Service and the National Careers Council

The Minister for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning (Mr John Hayes): On 5 April 2012, I launched the National Careers Service, and published “The Right Advice at the Right Time” in which I said that we would establish an independent National Council for Careers.

I am now writing to announce that I have appointed Dr Deirdre Hughes OBE to be the council’s first chair. Dr Hughes has a wealth of experience in the careers guidance sector; she is a commissioner and member of the executive board of directors at the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES). She was recently awarded an OBE in the 2012 new year honours list for her services to careers guidance. She will be supported on the council by a team of experienced and dedicated specialists drawn from across the public, private and third sector, as well as from the careers profession, and with a range of backgrounds including HR, finance, and communications.

The National Council for Careers will be a driving force for excellence in careers guidance and will provide independent, expert advice to the Government on the future development of the National Careers Service.

The National Careers Service and the National Careers Council will transform the provision of careers guidance, which is a vital part of an efficient labour market which drives growth. I have today published a press release which gives more details including the names of the members of the council. It is available from www.bis.gov.uk.



The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury (Mr David Gauke): I am announcing a change in legislation to protect public finances and prevent tax avoidance. This follows a decision of the Court Justice of the EU which affects the way in which the UK treats certain face value vouchers for VAT.

It is the Government’s intention to introduce legislation as part of the Finance Bill 2012 that will have effect from the date of the announcement. This will align domestic legislation with the relevant EU directive and, additionally, protect revenue and guard against potential artificial avoidance of VAT through the use of face value vouchers.

Although the legislation will apply from 10 May, any VAT due arising from its operation will not become payable until after Royal Assent of the Finance Bill 2012. Until then, suppliers may continue to account for VAT under the current rules.

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HMRC have today published a statement on their website explaining the change, together with a technical document containing draft legislation which the Government intend to include in the current Finance Bill by way of amendment. Copies of the documents will be deposited in the Libraries of both Houses.

Culture, Media and Sport

Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport (Mr Edward Vaizey): The Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council will take place in Brussels on 10-11 May. The culture, audio-visual and sport issues will be taken on 10 May. I will represent the UK at the culture and audio-visual sections of the Council, together with Fiona Hyslop, the Scottish Minister for Culture and External Affairs. Shona Robison, the Scottish Minister for the Commonwealth Games and Sport, will represent the UK for the sport section of the Council.

Audio - visual

The Council is expected to adopt conclusions on the digitisation and online accessibility of cultural material and digital preservation. These conclusions follow on from the conclusions on Europeana adopted by the Council in 2010 and take account of a Commission recommendation on the digitisation and online accessibility of cultural material and digital preservation which was adopted in 2011. They note the developments in digitisation in recent years, identify key issues for further progress in this field and invite the member states, the Commission and Europeana to take further measures to maintain progress. The UK will support the adoption of these conclusions.


The Council will be invited to adopt a partial general approach on the proposal for a regulation establishing the Europe for Citizens programme for 2014-2020. This programme will follow on from an existing EU programme. The UK will support the adoption of the partial general approach.

The Council will also adopt a decision designating Donostia-San Sebastián (Spain) and Wroclaw (Poland) as the European capitals of culture for 2016.

Culture and Audio-visual

The Council will be invited to adopt a partial general approach on the proposal for a regulation establishing the Creative Europe programme for 2014-2020. The programme will follow on from the current Culture, Media and Media Mundus programmes. There will also be a debate on the proposal, on the basis of a presidency discussion paper, focusing on the proposed new loan guarantee facility for the cultural and creative sectors.

The partial general approach does not include the programme budget and the proposed loan guarantee facility. However, the UK will not be able to support it, as it does not provide for selection decisions—that is, decisions about which projects will be awarded EU funding under the programme—to be subject to member state scrutiny through the formal comitology arrangements.

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In the debate, I will make clear that the UK is able to support other elements of the partial general approach, and also that we welcome the opportunity to consider the loan guarantee facility in the light of developments in the negotiations on the Multiannual Financial Framework.


The Council will be invited to adopt conclusions on combating doping in recreational sport. These conclusions refer to the European Union work plan for sport for 2011-2014 which highlights the fight against doping as a priority theme and established an expert group on anti-doping. They set out why doping in recreational sport is an important problem and support the extension of the mandate of the expert group to collate best practices and produce recommendations in this area by the end of 2013. The UK will support the adoption of these conclusions.

There will also be a policy debate on future challenges in the fight against doping including in recreational sport. The UK will state the important role which the EU and its member states have to play in the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) review of the World Anti-Doping Code and that article 10 of the code (regarding the sanctioning of athletes) needs to be amended. The UK will make clear that we are pushing for tougher sentences as part of the WADA review. The UK will also set out its views on the issue of combating doping in recreational sport and note that the education of athletes, particular younger athletes, is a key issue.

Any Other Business

The German delegation will present a paper on the draft Commission communication on state aid for films and other audio-visual work. The UK, France and Austria have assisted in drafting the paper and I will intervene to raise initial concerns regarding the proposals relating to territoriality, that is, the obligation on producers to spend a specific part of their production budget in the territory offering aid, and aid intensity, that is, the amount of aid available as a percentage of the production budget.

The Commission will provide information on its communication on a European strategy for a better internet for children and on the first report on the application of Directive 2010/13/EU (the audio-visual media services directive). I do not foresee a need to intervene on either of these items. Finally, the Cypriot delegation will inform the Council of the priorities for their forthcoming presidency.


Findings of Squirrel HT2 ZJ 247 Board of Inquiry

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Mr Andrew Robathan): I wish to inform the House today of the findings of the Army board of inquiry into the accident involving Squirrel ZJ 247 on 29 May 2008.

The purpose of the board of inquiry is to establish the circumstances of the loss and to learn lessons from it; it does not seek to apportion blame.

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The board of inquiry was initially convened on 30 May 2008, but was dissolved on 25 July 2008 to ensure the independence of the board of inquiry. The responsibility for the inquiry was, therefore, removed from the training chain of command and was convened by the Commander Joint Helicopter Command on 28 July 2008.

At approximately 1538 hours on Thursday 29 May 2008, Squirrel helicopters HT2 ZJ 247, operating as one of a pair of aircraft during a training sortie, struck a set of three 33 kilo volt wires strung across the Kingscott valley, Devon. The aircraft was seen by the crew of the other Squirrel, and one eye-witness on the ground, to fall through a tree canopy onto the ground. Sadly, the two aircrew lost their lives. Our deepest sympathies remain with the families of those servicemen.

Following extensive investigation, the board concluded the accident was caused by Squirrel ZJ 247 striking the Kingscott valley wires. Contributory factors included the general lack of wire awareness, course details and maps providing little information of the wires within Kingscott valley, a lack of clarity of duties, tasks and responsibilities, and induction training and mentoring elements of qualified helicopter instructor training.

A redacted copy of the board of inquiry is being placed in the Library of the House and on the Ministry of Defence website on the conclusion of the inquest into the deaths of the aircrew. We have been as open as possible and have carefully considered the public interest arguments both for and against disclosure of the information in the report. We have ensured that each redaction is fully justified by an appropriate exemption in the Freedom of Information Act.

I remind the House that the purpose of the inquiry in identifying those factors which contributed to the loss is to identify lessons to be taken forward. The board and the chain of command made 38 recommendations, most of which have already been agreed and acted upon. Decisions on the remainder will be made in the near future.

The board of inquiry into the accident involving Squirrel HT2 ZJ 247 is now complete. I express my gratitude to the president and the board for their painstaking work.

Deputy Prime Minister

Electoral Registration and Administration Bill

The Deputy Prime Minister (Mr Nick Clegg): I am announcing today that the Government are introducing the Electoral Registration and Administration Bill into the House of Commons. The Bill will tackle electoral fraud by speeding up the introduction of individual electoral registration (IER) in Great Britain. It will also modernise our electoral registration system, making it more convenient for people to register to vote. The Bill also introduces a number of provisions that will make improvements to the running of elections.

Last June we set out our initial proposals and draft legislation for the introduction of IER (Cm 8108). We published our proposals for consultation and for pre-legislative scrutiny by the Political and Constitutional

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Reform Committee (PCRC). Also, in July and September 2011, the Government published draft legislation in relation to certain provisions contained in the Bill concerning the administration and conduct of elections for pre-legislative scrutiny by the PCRC (Cm 8150 and Cm 8177).

We are very grateful for the feedback that we have received not only from the Committee, but from debates in Parliament and everyone who took the time to respond to our White Paper. The principle of introducing IER was widely supported by both the cross-party PCRC and those who responded to the White Paper. We listened to the feedback expressed about elements of the Government’s proposals and in our response to the PCRC and public consultation (Cm 8245) we announced a series of changes to the proposals. This included ensuring there were more safeguards in place so that as many eligible people as possible stay on the electoral register during the transition so that we can focus on those people eligible to vote but missing from the register. Since the publication we have been working with stakeholders to further refine our proposals. We have listened, and we have learned, and we are confident that our amended proposals will safeguard the completeness of the electoral register while improving its accuracy.

Today we are also publishing a set of documents alongside the Bill to help explain the effects of the proposals. This includes explanatory notes, a number of impact assessments including a statement of equality considerations and a privacy impact assessment, and a Keeling schedule to make it easier to understand the effect of measures within the Bill. It is also our intention that during the passage of the Bill we will publish draft secondary legislation with more detail on the system we will implement, to help inform parliamentary debate and enable those implementing IER to begin detailed planning as early as possible. Copies of these documents will be placed in the Commons Vote Office, the Lords Printed Paper Office, Libraries of both Houses and will be available online on the Cabinet Office website (www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk) and updated as planning for the introduction of IER progresses.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Veterinary Products Committee and Sub-Committees (Annual Report)

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Mr James Paice): I have received the annual report of the Veterinary Products Committee and its sub-committees 2011, which has been published today.

Copies of the report have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

I am pleased to acknowledge the valuable work done by the distinguished members of the Veterinary Products Committee and its sub-committees and thank them for the time and effort dedicated in the public interest to this important work.

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Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Foreign Affairs Council and Development Foreign Affairs Council

The Minister for Europe (Mr David Lidington): My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs will attend the Foreign Affairs Council on 14 May. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development will attend the Development Foreign Affairs Council also on 14 May. Both meetings will be held in Brussels and will be chaired by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Baroness Ashton of Upholland.

Foreign Affairs Council (FAC)


Building on commitments made at the Bonn conference in December, Ministers will consider what support the EU can provide towards civil policing in Afghanistan, looking forward to the NATO Chicago summit later this month. Ministers will also look forward to the Tokyo conference in July, where the international community will focus on ensuring the viability of the Afghan state.

This will also be an opportunity for Ministers, through agreed conclusions, to welcome the progress made in Afghanistan and reaffirm the EU’s commitment to supporting a stable and secure Afghanistan. We expect there to be a reference to making a commitment to an inclusive political process reflecting the views of all Afghans, including civil society and women. The conclusions are also likely to emphasise the importance of the Afghan Government making progress on governance and rule of law, including tackling corruption.

Middle East Peace Process

We are seeking conclusions that will reaffirm the EU’s position, that the changes across the Arab world underline the need for progress on the middle east peace process. We expect the conclusions to welcome the exchange of letters between the parties initiated on 17 April; and to call on the parties to pursue actions toward creating the environment of confidence necessary to ensure meaningful negotiations, and refrain from actions that undermine the credibility of the process.

Southern Neighbourhood

Ministers will review developments in Syria, Libya and Algeria.

On Syria, Ministers will take stock of the latest situation on the ground, following Kofi Annan’s expected briefing of the UNSC on 8 May.

On Libya, some partners may call for the EU to increase its post-conflict efforts in Libya, stressing the importance of the EU delegation being fully staffed and the EU playing a central role in co-ordinating member states’ input to the stabilisation effort.

We expect Ministers to follow up the EU monitoring report of Algeria’s parliamentary elections of 10 May. As well as reforms to Algeria’s constitution, the discussion is likely to cover the EU’s engagement with Algeria over the EU-Algeria association agreement. We see Algeria’s engagement, along with those of other countries in the region, as being an important factor in bringing stability, development, and economic prosperity to the region.

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There is likely to be a brief discussion of plans for the EU-Mexico summit, which will take place in the margins of the Los Cabos G20 summit scheduled for the 18-19 June. We support EU engagement with Mexico, which is a valued and important international partner.


Ministers will review the EU’s relations with Russia following President Putin’s inauguration and ahead of the EU-Russia summit in St Petersburg on 3 and 4 June.


Ministers will discuss the situation in Ukraine, including the continuing use of selective justice. They will consider the need to ensure free and fair parliamentary elections in October, and the importance of Ukraine making progress on a commonly agreed reform agenda. The discussion takes place against a backdrop of heightened tensions over the Euro 2012 competition, and the treatment of Yulia Tymoshenko.

Development FAC

Council Conclusions on Agenda for Change and Budget Support

We expect Ministers to adopt the Council conclusions for both the Agenda for Change and The Future of EU Budget Support with limited discussion. The coalition Government welcome both sets of conclusions and have ensured a strong focus on poverty reduction, results, increased transparency and value for money throughout.

2012 Annual Report on EU Develo pment Aid Targets

Ministers will discuss the findings of the Commission’s annual report 2012 on EU development aid targets. Council conclusions are expected to be adopted welcoming the report. The discussion is likely to focus on how to achieve the EU aid commitment to spend 0.7% of GNI on aid by 2015.

This report is welcome as a means to hold other member states to account and the coalition Government will continue to press others to fulfil their aid commitments.


Ministers will discuss the current situation in Burma. This will be an opportunity to set the direction for a properly planned and co-ordinated step-up in aid to Burma in response to the recent reforms.


Development Ministers may discuss Rio+20, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development.

Council Conclusions on food security under the Horn of Africa initiative

Commissioner Piebalgs will present the Commission’s approach to SHARE (Supporting Horn of Africa Resilience). The Council will adopt conclusions welcoming the approach and recognising the importance of support to build resilience in the horn of Africa.

Council Conclusions on Policy Coherence for Development (PCD)

Council conclusions will be adopted by Ministers with no discussion.

State of play on Joint Programming

Commissioner Piebalgs will present the latest situation in regards to joint programming. The coalition Government believe that any incentives for improved EU co-ordination, including joint programming approaches, need to come

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out of country-led processes, ongoing partnership discussions and must be owned by the partner country. We will not accept any Brussels-led processes.

International Family Planning

The Secretary of State for International Development will update the Council on the plans of the coalition Government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to address the urgent need for increased access to family planning in developing countries. The UK will be holding a global summit in London on 11 July 2012.

Home Department

Abu Qatada

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mrs Theresa May): Yesterday, the panel of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights met and rejected Abu Qatada’s request for a referral of the Court’s 17 January judgment to the Grand Chamber.

This decision means that the rule 39 injunction preventing Qatada’s deportation has now been lifted, and our deportation action against him—through the UK’s courts—can now resume. As I told Parliament in my oral statement on 17 April, the assurances and information we have received from the Jordanian authorities mean that we can be confident that Qatada will be deported within the law, although the process could still take many months.

There are now two routes open to us. The first is to certify his appeal as clearly unfounded. This would prevent him having a Special Immigration Appeals Commission (SIAC) appeal before deportation. The bar for certification is set very high. It would apply only when an immigration appeal is bound to fail, and it is a decision which could be challenged by way of judicial review.

The alternative, if the case is not certified, is that Qatada may appeal my refusal to revoke his deportation order, resulting in a further hearing before SIAC with the potential for further appeals on points of law domestically and to the ECHR.

I am taking legal advice on these options and will make a decision shortly.

The panel of five judges also found that Qatada’s application was in time. We disagree with that finding. We will write to the Court reiterating our understanding of the deadlines for seeking referrals to the Grand Chamber. We will also request that the Court publishes clear guidance on this timing point for future cases.

Counter-terrorism Codes of Practice

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (James Brokenshire): The Terrorism Act 2000 (Codes of Practice for the Exercise of Stop and Search Powers) Order 2012 has been laid before Parliament today. This order introduces codes of practice for Great Britain and Northern Ireland, governing the use of terrorism stop and search powers. It reflects one of the recommendations from the Government’s review

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of counter-terrorism and security powers, published in January 2011. The review recommended that stop and search powers under sections 44 to 47 of the Terrorism Act 2000 which, when and where authorised, allowed police to carry out stops and searches without reasonable suspicion, should be repealed and replaced with a more focused power. This recommendation was based on the Government’s commitment to ensure that our counter-terrorism powers are both effective and fair.

The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 provides the police with more circumscribed powers to authorise stop and search of persons and vehicles without reasonable suspicion (section 47A) in exceptional circumstances. This places the powers provided by the Terrorism Act 2000 Remedial Order 2011 on a permanent footing. The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 also changes stop and search powers in the Terrorism Act 2000 (sections 43 and 43A) which require reasonable suspicion to enable searches of vehicles or their occupants. The powers contained within the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, and the robust statutory framework provided by these codes, provide the police with the powers they need to protect the public while ensuring that there are robust safeguards to prevent a return to the previous widespread misuse of stop and search powers.

A further recommendation from the Government’s review of counter-terrorism and security powers was to introduce provisions contained in the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008 which will enable the post-charge questioning of terrorist suspects. Post-charge questioning of terrorist suspects could help in prosecutions and may encourage terrorist suspects to assist investigations. In order to allow post-charge questioning to be commenced, and to make a number of other necessary changes, three orders have been laid which make changes to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) codes of practice C, G and H and introduce a new code of practice for the video recording with sound of interviews carried out under section 41 of, and schedule 7 to, the Terrorism Act 2000 and post-charge questioning of terrorist suspects under the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008.

The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (Codes of Practice) (Revision of Codes C, G and H) Order 2012 makes changes to the PACE codes of practice relating to detention, treatment and questioning (code C), power of arrest (code G) and detention, treatment and questioning of suspected terrorists (code H). Other than the changes to code H relating to post-charge questioning, the major substantive changes to codes C and H increase safeguards in the procedure to be followed by the police where a detainee changes their mind about wanting legal advice and aid the efficient operation of custody suites by clarifying what the custody officer can delegate to other staff. The changes to code G, alongside what is now section 149 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, deliver on three coalition commitments by giving guidance to police officers considering making an arrest on how to consider whether the individual was acting in self-defence, to protect another or to maintain discipline in a school.

The Terrorism Act 2000 (Video Recording with Sound of Interviews and Associated Code of Practice) Order 2012 and the Counter Terrorism Act 2008 (Code of Practice for the Video Recording with Sound of Post-Charge Questioning) Order 2012, introduce a new code of practice for the video recording with sound of interviews

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carried out under section 41 of, and schedule 7 to, the Terrorism Act 2000 and post-charge questioning of terrorist suspects under the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008. These changes will ensure the necessary safeguards are in place to enable the post-charge questioning powers to be commenced shortly.

Equality Act 2010 (Harmonisation Power)

The Minister for Equalities (Lynne Featherstone): I am required under subsection (11) of section 203 of the Equality Act 2010 to report to Parliament on the exercise of a harmonisation power provided for in that section.

This reporting requirement is triggered every two years, beginning now, with the second anniversary of Royal Assent to the Act.

I am accordingly today informing the House that no use has been made of the power in section 203.


Appointments and Diversity: A Judiciary for the 21st Century

The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice (Mr Kenneth Clarke): The judiciary play a critical role in the administration of justice. It is therefore vital that we select candidates for judicial office on merit, through fair and open competition, from the widest range of eligible candidates. However, despite progress, the composition of our judiciary still does not adequately reflect the society it serves.

This issue matters for obvious reasons of fairness, efficiency and enhancing public confidence in the justice system. That is why in November last year I published a consultation which proposed a number of initiatives that aimed to address issues that had been identified with the current system of appointing judges. We have considered carefully the responses received to our consultation and are particularly grateful to the House of Lords Constitution Committee for their own inquiry into judicial appointments, which ran concurrent to our own consultation, as it provided important additional insight and suggestions surrounding our policy proposals.

We propose to take forward a number of the proposals, and these will be included in the Crime and Courts Bill, which has been introduced today. The proposals being taken forward include the introduction of part-time working to the High Court, Court of Appeal and the UK Supreme Court, as well as provisions that will enable the application of the positive action provisions to judicial appointments. These proposals will definitely not undermine the principle that all appointments will be made on merit.

The overall effect of these changes will be to achieve the proper balance between executive, judicial and independent responsibilities; improve clarity, transparency and openness; create a more diverse judiciary that is reflective of society; and deliver speed and quality of service to applicants, the courts and tribunals and value for money to the taxpayer, ensuring that our judiciary,

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which is already a byword for integrity, independence and excellence, evolves into a modern, outward-facing institution that is fit for the 21st century and beyond.

The House of Lords Constitution Committee report from their inquiry into judicial appointments made reference to a majority of our consultation proposals and the comments of the Committee have been referenced within our consultation response, which will be published tomorrow. However, their report also made comment on a number of issues that were not included within our consultation and as such I will be bringing forward a Command Paper towards the end of May to respond to these additional recommendations.

Our response to consultation is available online at: http://www.justice.gov.uk/consultations/closed-with-response.

Service Personnel (Deaths 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 giving details of the inquests of service personnel who have died overseas. As always, we would like to express our abiding gratitude to all of our service personnel who have served, or are now serving, in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our thoughts remain with the families of those service personnel who have given their lives for their country in connection with the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. We particularly remember the families of the 15 service personnel who have died since our last statement in January.

In this statement we are announcing the current status of inquests conducted by the Wiltshire and Swindon coroner, the Oxfordshire coroner, and other coroners in England and Wales. This statement gives the position at 3 May 2012.

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

The Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Justice will continue to work closely together, seeking to improve our processes and to continue the Government’s support for coroners who are conducting these inquests. We would take this further opportunity to express our thanks to coroners and their staff, and to all who seek to support families and provide information, throughout the inquest process and afterwards.

To prevent a backlog of inquests from developing, both Departments have provided funding for additional resources since October 2007. Prior to 1 September 2011, these resources were provided to the Wiltshire and Swindon coroner, Mr David Ridley, because the repatriation of service personnel took place at RAF Lyneham, which was within his district. Following the transfer of repatriation ceremonies to RAF Brize Norton on 1 September 2011, we are now also providing additional resources to the Oxfordshire coroner. We wish to thank Mr Nicholas Gardiner, who recently retired as Oxfordshire coroner, and to wish his successor, Mr Darren Salter, well.

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Current status of inquests

Since the last statement there have been 20 inquests into the deaths of service personnel on operations in Iraq or Afghanistan. A total of 537 inquests have been held into the deaths of service personnel who have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan, including 24 service personnel who died in the UK of their injuries. No formal inquest was held in three other cases. 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 44 open inquests to be concluded into the deaths of service personnel who died in Iraq and Afghanistan. Twenty of these involve deaths in the last six months.

The Wiltshire and Swindon coroner has retained 11 of the remaining open inquests, the Oxfordshire coroner has retained 14 and 19 are being conducted by coroners closer to the next of kin. Hearing dates have been set in four cases.

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

Inquests into the deaths of service personnel who returned home injured

Six inquests remain to be held for service personnel who returned home injured and subsequently died of their injuries. Those cases will be listed for hearing when the continuing investigations are completed.

We shall continue to inform the House of progress.

Transparency in the Justice System

The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice (Mr Kenneth Clarke): The Government have today introduced legislation to enable the filming and broadcast of selected court proceedings in England and Wales.

As a first step, we plan to allow filming of judgments and legal arguments in the Court of Appeal. Cases in the Court of Appeal normally deal with complex issues of law or evidence, and victims and witnesses rarely appear in order to provide new evidence. Given the complexity of legal issues in Court of Appeal cases, we believe that allowing advocates’ arguments to be filmed in addition to judgments would be more likely to improve public understanding of the criminal justice system than judgments alone.

We are clear that this should not be at the expense of the proper administration of justice, and that protecting the interests of victims and witnesses must remain paramount. Existing reporting restrictions will continue to apply and we have no intention of allowing victims, witnesses, defendants or jurors to be filmed. However, we believe that television has a role to play in opening up the criminal justice system, and are therefore removing the ban on cameras in courts to allow broadcasting in certain limited circumstances.

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The Government hope to see broadcasting extended to judges’ sentencing remarks in the Crown Court in due course, and we are working with the judiciary to achieve this.

A paper has been deposited in the Libraries of both Houses, providing more detail on our proposals to allow broadcasting of selected court proceedings.

Leader of the House

Government's Legislative Programme 2012-13

The Leader of the House of Commons (Sir George Young): Following yesterday’s State Opening of Parliament, and for the convenience of the House, I am listing below 15 Bills which the Government intend to bring forward in the current Session:

Banking Reform Bill

Children and Families Bill

Crime and Courts Bill

Croatia Accession Bill

Defamation Bill

Electoral Registration and Administration Bill

Energy Bill

Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill

European Union (Approval of Treaty Amendment Decision) Bill

Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill

House of Lords Reform Bill

Justice and Security Bill

Pensions Bill

Public Service Pensions Bill

Small Donations Bill

In addition, a draft Care and Support Bill, a draft Local Audit Bill, a draft Water Bill and a draft Communications Data Bill were included in the Queen’s Speech. The Government intend to bring forward measures to maintain the ability of the law enforcement and intelligence agencies to access vital communications data under strict safeguards to protect the public, subject to scrutiny of draft clauses. Other draft measures for pre-legislative scrutiny will be published in the course of the session.

The Government also intend to bring forward a Scottish Law Commission Bill on Scottish Unincorporated Associations and Partnerships, if parliamentary time allows.

Following the resolution of the House of 13 October 2011, which invited me and the Procedure Committee to put in place a pilot scheme for explanatory statements on amendments to Bills, I will write shortly to the chair of the Procedure Committee with proposals for such a pilot in respect of two Bills to be introduced early in this session. I hope to make a further announcement soon.

Following the pilot for public reading stage of the Protection of Freedoms Bill in the last Session, I intend to bring forward proposals for a further pilot in respect of at least one Bill in the course of this Session. I will make a further announcement in due course.

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Detailed information about each of these Bills can be accessed from the Number 10 website at: www.number10. gov.uk/queens-speech-2012.

Northern Ireland

Government's Legislative Programme 2012-13 (Northern Ireland)

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Mr Owen Paterson): The second Session UK legislative programme unveiled in the Queen’s Speech on 9 May contains measures of relevance to the people of Northern Ireland.

The following is a summary of the legislation announced in the Queen’s Speech and its impact in Northern Ireland. It does not include draft Bills.

The list also identifies the lead Government Department.

1. The following Bills extend to Northern Ireland, in whole or in part, and deal mainly with excepted/reserved matters. Discussions will continue between the Government and the Northern Ireland Executive to ensure that where provisions that are specifically for a transferred purpose are included in any of these Bills, the consent of the Northern Ireland Assembly will be sought for them:

Justice and Security (Home Office/Ministry of Justice)

EU (Approval of Treaty Amendment Decision) (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

EU (Croation Accession) (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

House of Lords Reform (Cabinet Office)

Small Donations (HM Treasury)

Groceries Code Adjudicator (Business, Innovation and Skills)

Banking Reform (HM Treasury)

2. The following Bills may extend to Northern Ireland to varying degrees. They require the consent of the Northern Ireland Assembly in relation to those provisions in the devolved field:

Crime and Courts (Home Office/Ministry of Justice)

Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Business, Innovation and Skills)

Public Service Pensions (Department for Work and Pensions)

Energy (Department of Energy and Climate Change)

Discussions will continue between the Government and the Northern Ireland Executive on Bills that might include provisions that require the consent of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

3. The following Bills will have limited or no application in Northern Ireland:

Electoral Registration and Administration Bill (Cabinet Office)

Defamation (Ministry of Justice)

Pensions (Department for Work and Pensions)

Families and Children (Department for Education)


Government's Legislative Programme 2012-13 (Scotland)

The Secretary of State for Scotland (Michael Moore): The legislative programme for the Second Session was outlined by Her Majesty on Wednesday 9 May.

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The Government remain committed to reducing the deficit and restoring economic stability. This programme of legislation will focus on ensuring economic growth across the United Kingdom including Scotland.

We will implement important reforms of the banking system to promote a competitive economy and protect and sustain jobs. These reforms will also reduce risk in the system to help guard against a repeat of the financial crisis and provide greater stability in our banking system.

The Government will reform the energy market to help create a sustainable and greener energy future as well as supporting the transition to a greener economy with the creation of the new United Kingdom Green Investment Bank.

We will implement regulatory reform to reduce burdens on business and will take forward measures to reform the pensions system to make it fair and financially sustainable. We will create greater choice and flexibility for parents in how they share the care of their child in the first year, helping both parents to achieve a better work and family balance. A Groceries Adjudicator Bill will ensure large supermarkets treat their suppliers fairly and lawfully.

We will continue to take forward measures to renew the constitution of the United Kingdom by reforming the composition of the House of Lords, making the registration system for electors more secure and working toward the end of the male bias in succession to the Crown.

In this Session we will protect freedom of speech and strengthen the oversight of the security and intelligence agencies and bring forward important measures to prevent and reduce organised crime.

This statement provides a summary of the legislation announced in the Queen’s Speech and its application to Scotland. It does not include draft Bills. Fourteen of the 15 new Bills mentioned in the Queen’s Speech for this Session of Parliament contain provisions that apply in Scotland, either in full or in part.

In addition to the Government Bills listed here we will seek to support the Scottish Law Commission in bringing forward measures to reform the law in relation to Scottish Partnerships and Unincorporated Associations.

The Government are committed to the principles of the Sewel convention. As in the First Session of this Parliament, we will work with the Scottish Government to secure consent for Bills that contain provisions requiring the consent of the Scottish Parliament.

The Bills listed in section 1 will apply to Scotland, either in full or in part. The Bill listed in section 2 will not apply in Scotland.

Section 1: Legislation applying to the United Kingdom, including Scotland (either in full or in part);

Crime and Courts

Families and Children

Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

Justice and Security

EU (Approval of Treaty Amendment Decision)

EU (Croatian accession)

Electoral Registration and Administration Bill

Public Service Pensions

House of Lords Reform

Groceries Code Adjudicator

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Small Donations


Banking Reform


Section 2: Legislation that will not apply in Scotland



Government's Legislative Programme 2012-13 (Wales)

The Secretary of State for Wales (Mrs Cheryl Gillan): The Government’s legislative programme for the Second Session of Parliament was announced in the Queen’s Speech on 9 May. The programme contains a wide range of measures that will apply to Wales, either in full or in part.

The Government are committed to working with the Welsh Government to secure agreement to any provisions that require the consent of the National Assembly for Wales. The following is a summary of the legislation announced in the Queen’s Speech and its application to Wales.

1. The following Bills, and draft Bills, would extend to Wales and deal mainly with non-devolved matters:

Banking Reform Bill

Crime and Courts Bill

Defamation Bill

Electoral Registration and Administration Bill

Energy Bill

Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill

European Union (Approval of Treaty Amendment Decision) Bill

Croatia Accession Bill

Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill

House of Lords Reform Bill

Justice and Security Bill

Pensions Bill

Public Service Pensions Bill

Small Donations Bill

Draft Communications Data Bill

2. Bills, and draft Bills, where some provisions may apply to Wales:

Children and Families Bill

Draft Care and Support Bill Draft Water Bill

3. Draft Bills with limited impact or no application to Wales:

Draft Local Audit Bill

Work and Pensions

Work Programme (Prime Contractor)

The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Chris Grayling): I am pleased to inform the House that there has been a recent change in the prime contractor network delivering the Government’s flagship Work programme.

Interserve, the international support services and construction group, on 4 May 2012 announced the acquisition of the Work programme provider, Business Employment Services Training Ltd (BEST), who are one of the UK’s leading providers of training and

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development for jobseekers and employers. Interserve is already involved in the Work programme through its Rehab Jobfit joint venture, which has contracts in Wales and the south-west.

This acquisition increases Interserve’s participation in this key area of Government policy and shows the continued appetite for further investment in the welfare-to-work market. I am delighted by this investment by Interserve which underlines the financial commitment being made by some of the UK’s leading employment and training organisations into helping the long-term unemployed find sustained employment through the Work programme.

Credit Union Feasibility Study

The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Steve Webb): The Government have previously announced that we will work with credit unions to look at ways in which the future progress of this sector can best be supported.

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A feasibility study looking at how credit unions could become sustainable and what more can be done to grow this sector, so that the affordable credit they offer gets to more people who need it, is now complete.

Credit unions have been doing a good job and we want to work with them to do more to give people on low incomes a real alternative to high cost lenders and loan sharks.

The feasibility study showed there is a market and demand from low income consumers for modern banking products and services, and that the total market could be as large as 7 million people.

Credit unions are ideally placed, serving their local communities, to help meet this demand and serve an additional 1 million people taking their membership up to 2 million.

So we are today publishing the feasibility study report to seek responses on the recommendations and what it means for the sector to ensure our plans reflect these views.

I will place a copy of the feasibility study report in the House Library later today.