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Written Ministerial Statements

Friday 13 July 2012

Business, Innovation and Skills

Community Learning Trust (Pilots)

The Minister for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning (Mr John Hayes): In December 2011, “New Challenges, New Chances”, the Government’s reform plan for further education and skills, set out the Department’s intention to pilot a range of community learning trust models from August 2012, against the background of revived and strong Government support for lifelong learning. The pilots will lead the way in giving local people a real say in decisions about adult learning in their communities and maximising the value of public investment.

I am announcing today that 15 partnerships have been invited to pilot local community learning trusts. Local organisations, including learning providers, businesses, voluntary sector organisations, training organisations and local services, will work together to increase local decision-making about learning priorities and develop robust financial strategies that will enable community learning to grow and flourish.

The pilot trusts will test a range of different models to identify effective approaches to:

increase the overall number of learners;

motivate and progress people who are disadvantaged;

make the most impact on people’s lives;

generate income to reinvest in learning.

Pilot trusts will have support in developing a consistent evidence-gathering strategy and a robust external evaluation will review the different models and their impact on learning, learners and local communities.

I strongly believe that learning is not just for local people and their communities, but still more belongs to local people and must answer to them for its success or failure. These pilots will enable communities to have more control over their local learning offer and will help shape the future of community learning, which is surely among the brightest jewels of civil society.

The following organisations have been invited by the Skills Funding Agency to become pilot trusts:

Birmingham CLT

Blackburn with Darwen (Sustainable Neighbourhood Services)

Brighton and Hove Community Learning Trust BHCLT

CLCumbria (CLC)

Community Learning in Cheshire (CLiC)

Derby Community Learning Trust

Learning-for-All (Bedfordshire and Luton)

Liberate (West Sussex)

Liverpool Opportunities for Community Adult Learning (LOCAL)

Sheffield Community Learning Trust

Sunderland’s Community Learning Trust

The Luton Trust

The Solihull Source

Trust in Learning—new curriculum, in new places for new learners in Exeter

West of England Community Learning Trust (Bristol)

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European Structural and Cohesion Funds

The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Mr Mark Prisk): The Government are considering how best to deliver the 2014-20 programme for the European Regional Development Fund, European Social Fund, European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund. Within a smaller overall EU budget, our aims are for the funds to:

Help the UK meet its targets on driving sustainable growth and jobs;

Be delivered more efficiently and effectively.

In April this year my Department carried out an informal consultation in England to inform the development of the partnership agreement, which is essentially a high level business plan to be agreed with the European Commission, setting out how the UK proposes to deliver the funds.

In response to this informal consultation, stakeholders have called for:

Reduced administrative burdens in delivering each of the funds;

Ability to align funds, as appropriate, to enable a more holistic approach to dealing with barriers to growth;

Flexibility in managing funding programmes that allow for a more place based approach as well as an issue based approach;

Better use of match funding by aligning national programmes, local expenditure and private sector investment with EU funds.

Local engagement throughout the process.

The Government are now considering how to take this forward and will gather further evidence before a formal consultation in the spring.

We are placing copies of the Government response in the Libraries of both Houses. A copy will also be available on the website at:


Ordnance Survey (Performance Targets)

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (Norman Lamb): I am today announcing that performance targets have been agreed for Ordnance Survey for the period 2012-13. Ordnance Survey will report externally against these targets as is required of all Executive agencies in Government. The targets are:

To achieve an operating profit before exceptional items, interest and dividends of £30.4 million for the financial year 1 April 2012 to 31 March 2013.

To achieve a free cash flow before exceptional items of £22.4 million for the financial year 1 April 2012 to 31 March 2013.

Some 99.6% of significant real-world features greater than six months old are represented in the database.

To continue to reduce the underlying cost base of the core business by 5% per annum measured against a baseline of 2008-09 adjusted running costs.

To achieve a customer index score of at least 80%.

These targets reflect Ordnance Survey’s continuing commitment to customers, to continuing sustained achievement against the business strategy announced in

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April 2009 and developed in April 2010, to maintaining and delivering intelligent geographic information to all users, and to offering improved value for money for all, as well as a commitment to Government policies.

Export Controls

The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (Vince Cable): Further to my written ministerial statement of 7 February 2012, Official Report, column WS7 on strategic export controls, I would like to update the House on progress implementing the three proposals to increase the transparency of the export licensing process. The three proposals are:

To insert into all open export licences a provision requiring the exporter to report periodically on transactions undertaken under these licences. The Government will then publish this information.

To explore ways of making additional information (contained in standard export licence applications) public while protecting any sensitive material.

To appoint an independent person to scrutinise the operation of the Export Control Organisation’s licensing process. The role of this independent person would be to confirm that the process is indeed being followed correctly and report on their work.

The Department held a number of meetings with representatives of exporters and NGOs and issued a discussion paper and questionnaire in order to obtain the widest range of views on specific aspects of the proposals. We received around 100 responses to the questionnaire and I am grateful to all those who took the time to respond. A summary and analysis of the responses, and the conclusions drawn from them, have been published at: www.bis.gov.uk.

Taking each proposal in turn:

A facility will be provided on Spire, the export licensing database, for exporters to upload data on their usage of open-general and open-individual export licences. The data will include a description of the items exported or transferred, the destination, value and/or quantity, and some information about the end-user. This data will be published in aggregated form, by destination, in the Government’s quarterly and annual reports on strategic export controls, and will be searchable through the strategic export control: reports and statistics website.

When submitting a licence application, applicants will be required to indicate whether any information in their applications is sensitive and should not be made public, and give reasons why. In considering whether to release this information the Government will take the applicant’s wishes into account but will not be bound by them. I envisage that certain information will always be considered sensitive, such as a product’s unit price and its technical specifications, and in some circumstances the name of the exporter and end-user might also be considered sensitive. The mechanism by which we make this additional information public is still to be decided.

There was less of an understanding of how an independent reviewer would operate and the benefits that this role would bring. We will therefore return to this issue at a later date.

Work will proceed between now and the end of the financial year on making the necessary technical changes to Spire and the reports and statistics website, and in preparing guidance for exporters. We will of course aim to keep any additional administrative burden on exporters to a minimum.

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Public confidence in the workings of the export licensing system is crucial. These measures will result in a significant increase in the amount and quality of information that the Government make public about controlled exports. This will enable the public and Parliament to more effectively hold the Government to account in this important and sensitive area.


Annual EU Finances Statement

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr Mark Hoban): I am today laying before Parliament, the “European Union Finances: Statement on the 2012 EU budget and measures to combat fraud and financial mismanagement” (Cm 8405). It is the 32nd in the series.

The statement gives details of revenue and expenditure in the 2012 EU budget and covers recent developments in EU financial management and measures to counter fraud against the EU budget. It also includes an annex on the use of EU funds in the UK.

The current economic and financial climate demands that the EU spend within its means, the Government remain determined to ensure transparency and better value for money in EU budget spending, and to push for improvements in EU financial management.

Cap on Income Tax Relief (Technical Consultation)

The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury (Mr David Gauke): At Budget 2012 the Government announced the introduction of a limit on currently uncapped income tax reliefs which will have effect from April 2013.

The Government have today published a consultation document on the delivery of the cap, which sets out the tax reliefs that will be included in the cap and contains consultation questions on the operation of the cap. The document is available on the HM Treasury website at:


Views on the proposed approach to implementation set out in chapter 3 of the consultation document are sought by 5 October 2012. Draft legislation will be published in the autumn.

Inheritance Tax: Simplifying Charges on Trusts

The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury (Mr David Gauke): HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is today announcing the publication of a consultation document “Inheritance Tax: Simplifying charges on trusts” which explores options for simplifying the calculation of inheritance tax charges on trusts.

The Government recognise that these calculations can be complex and time consuming and for some smaller trusts in particular the professional costs involved can often be disproportionately large compared to the tax at stake. The consultation is seeking views on ways

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of applying the charges without creating undue burdens for trustees where it can be done fairly and without loss to the Exchequer.

The consultation document has been deposited in the Libraries of both Houses and is available on the HMRC website.

Counter-Terrorist Asset Freezing Regime

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Mr Mark Hoban): Under the Terrorist Asset-Freezing etc. Act 2010 (“TAFA 2010”), the Treasury is required to report quarterly to Parliament on its operation of the UK’s asset-freezing regime mandated by UN Security Council Resolution 1373.

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This is the sixth report under the Act and it covers the period from 1 April to 30 June 2012. This report also covers the UK implementation of the UN al-Qaeda asset-freezing regime and the operation of the EU asset-freezing regime in the UK under the EU Regulation (EC) 2580/2001 which implements UNSCR 1373 against external terrorist threats to the EU. Under the latter regime, the EU has responsibility for designations and the Treasury has responsibility for licensing and compliance with the regime in the UK under part 1 of TAFA 2010.

Annexes one and two to this statement provide a breakdown by name of all those designated by the UK and the EU in pursuance of UN Security Council Resolution 1373.

The following table sets out the key asset-freezing activity in the UK during the quarter ended 30 June 2012:

 TAFA 2010EU Reg (EC) 2580/2001Al-Qaeda Regime UNSCR 1989

Assets frozen (as at 30/06/2012)




Number of accounts frozen in UK

(at 30/06/12)




New accounts frozen




Accounts unfrozen




Number of designations (at 30/06/12)




(i) new designations (during Q2 2012)




(ii) Delistings




(iii) individuals in custody in UK




(iv) individuals in UK, not in detention




(v) individuals overseas




(vi) groups

8 (0 in UK)

26 (1 in UK)

69 (2 in UK)

Individuals by nationality

(i) UK Nationals(2)

(ii) Non UK Nationals





Renewal of designation




General Licences (i)

Issued in Q2

(ii) Amended

(iii) Revoked


(i) 0

(ii) 0

(iii) 0


Specific Licences:


(i) Issued in Q2

(ii) Revoked

(i) 5

(ii) 0

(i) 0

(ii) 0



(1)This figure reflects the most up-to-date account balances available and includes approximately $64,000 of suspected terrorist funds frozen in the UK. This has been converted using exchange rates as of 02/07/12. (2)Based on information held by the Treasury, some of these individuals hold dual nationality.

There are no significant areas of activity to report on this quarter.

Legal Challenges

One legal challenge against designations made under both the Terrorism (United Nations Measures) Order 2009 and TAFA 2010 was ongoing in the quarter covered by this report. This was the appeal by Zana Abdul Rahim. There were no specific developments during the quarter in this case. An appeal was issued by Gulam Mastafa against his 2012 designation under TAFA 2012 and he was also given leave to appeal out of time against his 2011 designation. A damages claim was served by M, seeking payment of damages by the Treasury flowing from his designations under the Terrorism (United Nations Measures) Order 2006, which was quashed by the Supreme Court in R (on the application of Ahmed) v. HMT [2010] UKSC 2 and the Terrorism (United Nations Measures) Order 2009.


In the quarter to 30 June 2012, no proceedings were commenced involving the Treasury in respect of breaches of the prohibitions of the Act or the al-Qaeda (Asset-Freezing) Regulations 2011.

1- Designated persons under TAFA 2010 by name(3)





Bllal Talal ABDULLAH


Imad Khalil AL-ALAMI


Abdula Ahmed ALI


Abdelkarim Hussein AL-NASSER


Ibrahim Salih AL-YACOUB









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Zahoor IQBAL






Parviz KHAN


Waheed Arafat KHAN


Osman Adam KHATIB








Khalid Shaikh MOHAMMED






Yassin OMAR


Hussein OSMAN


Zana Abdul RAHIM


Muktar Mohammed SAID




Ibrahim SAVANT


Abdul Reza SHAHLAI


Ali Gholam SHAKURI




Waheed ZAMAN










2 – Persons designated by the EU under Council Regulation (EC) 2580/2001(4)



2. Abdelkarim Hussein AL-NASSER*

3. Ibrahim Salih AL YACOUB*

4. Manssor ARBABSIAR*

5. Mohammed BOUYERI

6. Sofiane Yacine FAHAS

7. Hasan IZZ-AL-DIN*

8. Khalid Shaikh MOHAMMED*

9. Abdul Reza SHAHLAI*

10. AN Gholam SHAKURI*

11. Qasem SOLEIMANI*

12. Jason Theodore WALTERS

Groups and Entities

1. Abu Nidal Organisation (ANO)

2. Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade

3. Al-Aqsa e.V.

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4. Al-Takfir and Al-Hijra

5. Babbar Khalsa

6. Communist Party of the Philippines, including New People's Army (NPA), Philippines

7. Gama'a al-lslamiyya (a.k.a. Al-Gama'a al-lslamlyya) (Islamic Group — IG)

8. Islami Buyuk Dogu Akincilar Cephesi (IBDA-C) (Great Islamic Eastern Warriors Front)

9. Hamas, including Hamas-Izz al-Din al-Qassem

10. Hizbui Mujahideen (HM)

11. Hofstadgroep

12. Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development*

13. International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF)

14. Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF)

15. Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) (a.k.a. KONGRA-GEL)

16. Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)

17. Ejercito de Liberacion Nacional (National Liberation Anny)*

18. Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)

19. Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)*

20. Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine — General Command (PFLP-GC)*

21. Fuerzas armadas revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC)*

22. Devrimci Halk Kurtulu Partisi-Cephesi — DHKP/C (Revolutionary People's Liberation Army/Front/Party)

23. Sendero Luminoso (SL) (Shining Path)*

24. Stichting Al Aqsa

24. Teyrbazen Azadiya Kurdistan (TAK)

(3. 4.)For full listing details please refer to: http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/terrorism.htm.

(*)EU listing rests on UK designation under TAFA 2010.

Communities and Local Government

August 2011 Riots

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Mr Eric Pickles): I am grateful to Darra Singh and the other members of the Riots, Communities and Victims Panel for their work on their independent review into last year’s public disorder. They have presented us with a substantial report that seeks to identify steps that can be taken to strengthen social and economic resilience in the aftermath of last August’s riots. We value the importance of the panel’s work and will publish further information on the Government response to the panel’s report in due course.

Riots Recovery

On 12 August 2011, as part of a concerted, cross-Government action, the Government announced a series of measures to help rebuild communities following the riots and public disorder in the summer of 2011.

The package provided immediate and ongoing support to open up shops and rebuild buildings which were damaged, make sure people who lost their homes were re-housed, and to help councils get their areas back to normal as quickly as possible.

Under these schemes, local councils played a pivotal role in providing support to local firms and local residents, with central Government reimbursing their costs. I would

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like to put on the record the thanks of Her Majesty’s Government for the work of local government in giving clear and determined leadership to their communities.

The Department for Communities and Local Government reimbursed councils’ immediate costs of around £10 million to make their areas safe, clear and clean again and to help councils reduce business rates, finance emergency building repairs and encourage customers back to affected areas. It also reimbursed councils for potential losses from New Homes Bonus payments as well as for immediate costs of just under £400,000 to re-house those made homeless by the public disorder.

We also recognise the leadership shown by the Mayor of London and local authorities across the country in driving recovery in their areas. Their leadership helped galvanise the community and brought people together to reclaim and rebuild their neighbourhoods. Salford celebrated local pride by launching an “I love Salford” campaign as an act of defiance against the looters. Manchester made sure people understood what help was on offer by knocking on doors and helping to complete forms. The Mayor provided immediate advice to those affected through a dedicated website and helpline as well as supporting the charitable High Street Fund. The Mayor has also created a Regeneration Fund to create jobs and economic growth in the worst affected areas.

Local authorities also provided their own funding or facilitated access to other funding. For example, the Croydon Enterprise Loan Fund provided interest free loans up to £10,000 to affected businesses and the Tottenham Fund in Haringey raised around £50,000 and received donations of clothes and goods for displaced families. Councils such as Ealing started making emergency payments to businesses within a week of the disorder working swiftly to overcome bureaucracy.

Government played their part, but communities themselves led the way and got on with the job of repairing the damage. We saw some remarkable examples of kindness—people coming together and giving their time and energy to cleaning up streets in the mornings after the disturbances, helping victims through donations of money and goods and affirming their pride in the places they live and work.

Riots Damages and Insurance

Separate to these actions, residents could potentially also claim back costs from their insurers and/or police authorities.

The vast majority of individuals and businesses who suffered losses as a result of the riots last August have received a payout. Police authorities have concluded 95% of all valid active uninsured claims made under the Riot (Damages) Act. Of those who have insurance approximately 95% of individuals and 92% of small to medium size businesses have received a payout from their insurer. There are also a number of claims to be settled by police authorities who are seeking reimbursement of costs they have paid to policy holders, so far 81% of these cases have been dealt with. The majority of cases that are still outstanding in police authorities are being delayed as a result of required information that has not been sent by the claimants or insurance companies.

While every effort has been made to support and compensate victims, we are reviewing the Riot (Damages) Act to ensure that it is fit for a modem policing world.

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Policing Reform

The scenes of disorder last year were unprecedented in modem times and we are working with the police to take forward recommendations of Her Majesty’s inspectorate of constabulary’s report, “The Rules of Engagement: A Review of the August 2011 disorders”. Significant progress has been made, including ongoing development of information and intelligence gathering; testing of swifter mobilisation capabilities; and, consideration and enhancement of the broad range of tactical responses required for policing disorder. Reform is an ongoing process and the work underway will help ensure the police maintain the sharpness to respond effectively each and every time.

The panel’s report also notes the need to improve engagement between the police and local communities. We know the public want a permanent and visible police presence in their communities, working alongside them to identify and tackle the issues that matter to them. The police should work openly and in partnership with all members of their community. From November, Police and Crime Commissioners will be responsible for ensuring that local people's voices are heard and acted upon and make sure that the police are delivering the priorities of the local community.

Social Policy Review

Alongside responsible steps to strengthen our capabilities to deal with any future disturbances should they arise. Government are taking forward action to address some of the more entrenched issues highlighted in the panel’s report. We have conducted a review of social policy which has built upon existing programmes of work that were in place to address some of these issues, such as enhancing the support provided to parents.

The importance of early intervention and good parenting was brought out strongly in the panel’s report. We know that the experiences children are exposed to in the very early years and before birth—social, economic, psychological and environmental—affect their health, wellbeing and outcomes in later life. The Government are increasing the number of health visitors by 4,200 and, for some of the most vulnerable families, doubling the number of places on the Family Nurse Partnership programme by 2015.

To support good parenting from the start, the Government are also retaining a network of Sure Start Children’s Centres accessible to all families and focusing support on those who need it most. Evidence shows that universal stigma free services can play a crucial role in reaching the most vulnerable families as well as helping to improve outcomes for children. We are also trialling providing access to universal high quality parenting classes to mothers and fathers of young children.

We gave local councils much greater flexibility over how they use their funding, to enable them to work with local partners to prevent families reaching crisis points. In addition we have provided up to £11 million of funding over 2011-13 to the voluntary and community sector to deliver national online and telephone support services, including specialist support to help parents when they need it in dealing with a wide range of issues including relationship advice and dealing with children with behaviour problems.

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Alongside expanding existing areas of work, the social policy review has led to the development of a further programme of action aimed at reducing crime and reoffending; supporting families and parents; welfare and work; supporting young people; and accelerating regeneration in our cities.

Troubled Families initiative

The Troubled Families programme is targeting those families that would benefit most from help to turn their life around. Troubled families include those with adults out of work, children not in school and families who are committing anti-social behaviour and crime. Through tackling the root causes underlying a family’s problems the programme will turn around the lives of 120,000 families by getting parents into work and children attending school. All 152 eligible councils have confirmed that they are ready and willing to run the programme in their area and are now well in to drawing up their lists of families so that help can get in there quickly. The programme is focusing on the most difficult families, but it will also help drive effective support to a wider number of families who are struggling but who are not the most disruptive or chaotic.

As well as addressing the family’s needs, we are taking action to improve young people’s life chances through a number of wide ranging reforms aimed at raising the educational attainment of disadvantaged pupils. These reforms include the pupil premium, the academy and free schools programme and strengthening teacher’s powers to tackle bad behaviour in schools.

Tackling Gang and Youth Violence

We know that a significant proportion of young people involved in the disturbances had links with gangs. The cross-Government “Ending Gang and Youth Violence” report, published in November 2011, contains a series of actions for central Government and a set of principles and good practice examples to help local areas tackle the problem. Implementation of the report commitments is underway, including the provision of expert support to 29 areas most affected by gang and youth violence.

Training and employment

We recognise that a successful passage to adulthood is best served by work. As the panel’s report highlights, we need to make sure that young people have the skills they need to get ready for work. That is why we are overhauling vocational education and have created the biggest apprenticeships programme our country has ever seen. We are determined to bring down the number of young people who are not in education, employment or training through making continuing in education and training to 18 compulsory and supporting those most in need via the Youth Contract which will provide additional support worth almost £1 billion, to young people over the next three years. As part of the contract 160,000 wage incentives worth up to £2,275 each are now available to employers who recruit an 18-24 year-old from the Work Programme for at least 26 weeks. From late July 2012, in selected “youth unemployment hotspots”, wage incentives will be available via Jobcentre Plus to employ 18-24 year olds who have been claiming for six months.

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Effective Justice

The panel’s report highlighted the number of rioters with a large number of previous criminal convictions. Last year, the Government published innovative plans to reform how we punish, sentence and rehabilitate offenders. We are already taking active steps to strengthen community sentences to stop less serious offenders getting to the stage where custody is necessary, with more intensive community payback, longer electronically monitored curfews and bans on driving and foreign travel. But we want to go further and have just consulted on proposals which include a clear punitive element in every community order handed down by the courts. In addition, since March 2012 all prison leavers that claim jobseeker’s allowance will be mandated immediately onto the Work Programme. We are committed to improving the speed and efficiency of the criminal justice system, building on lessons learned from the swift response to the riots, and are setting out the work we are taking forward in the White Paper: Swift and Sure Justice: the Government's Plans for Reform of the Criminal Justice System, published today.

Alongside this we are taking forward policies to start tackling the high number of repeat offenders. We are making prison places of meaningful productive work and training where more prisoners are expected to work a full week and we are testing drug recovery wings which aim to get offenders off drugs for good. We are also implementing Payment by Results pilots, which will pay providers according to their success in reducing re-offending rates.

We are committed to legislating to extend landlords’ powers to seek possession where a tenant or member of their household is convicted of an offence committed at the scene of a riot.

Punishing Criminals

The acts of selfless kindness shown by many, contrast starkly with those who robbed and looted, acting as a reminder that the riots were perpetrated by a reckless minority.

Government have sent a strong message to those that took part in the riots that acts of mindless criminality will not be tolerated. Those involved have been brought swiftly to justice. As of June 2012, 1,968 people were found guilty and sentenced. 1,292 people received immediate custody and their average sentence length was over four times longer than the average sentence for similar crimes in 2010 (based on those found guilty at the magistrates court but sentenced at any court). Those sentenced to immediate custody were given an average custodial sentence length of 16.8 months. This compares to an average custodial sentence length of 3.7 months for those convicted at magistrates' courts, but sentenced at any court for similar offences in England and Wales in 2010.

Through these actions and the programme of work outlined in this response, we are confident that we are building strong foundations to address the issues raised in the panel’s report.

But there is one clear overriding message: the rioters were criminals. Such opportunistic criminality was not and will not be tolerated.

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Fire Service College (Performance Indicators)

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Robert Neill): The following key performance indicators have been agreed for the Fire Service College as part of the 2012-13 business planning round and performance against them will be reported in the college’s annual report and accounts:

1. To support the Department for Communities and Local Government in their objective to achieve a successful sale of the college and one that meets the Government’s objectives to:

Secure the college’s future as a provider of fire and rescue and wider emergency services operational training and as a venue for large multi-agency exercises;

Achieve overall value for money for the Department for Communities and Local Government, the UK fire and rescue service and the taxpayer, including transaction receipts;

Service continuing access to the national resilience strategic assets.

2. Achieve the 2012-13 budget;

3. Short-term staff sick absence, measured over the financial year, to be no more than four days per employee at the financial year end;

4. Achieve 80% in “Good” and “Excellent” scores for UK customer satisfaction achievement of learning objectives;

5. Achieve 80% in “Good” and “Excellent” scores for UK customer satisfaction achievement for overall learning experience;

6. To embed health and safety awareness throughout the organisation by reducing accidents by 10% and increasing near miss reporting by 15% compared to 2011-12.

The core role of the college is to support national resilience by providing safety critical operational, command and leadership training, and professional support to the fire and rescue service. These indicators support that core purpose and the work which the college is undertaking with the Chief Fire Officers’ Association and the wider Fire and Rescue Service to develop and deliver a common and consistent approach to operational and leadership training within an accredited framework in order to improve interoperability, training assurance and resilience. The indicators also acknowledge that the college is to be sold as a going concern to the private sector during the course of financial year 2012-13.

Communities and Local Government

Research Commissioned from the Previous Administration (Housing)

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Andrew Stunell): Today the Government are publishing a group of reports presenting the findings from research projects commissioned by the previous Administration.

We are publishing these documents in the interests of transparency and as part of our freedom of information commitment to publish the results of all commissioned research. For transparency, all completed work is being published regardless of format or robustness.

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The seven reports published today represent the findings from seven research projects at a total cost of £190,320. These findings cover the topics of building, planning and the environment.

This research provides an improved evidence base to understand the costs, benefits and practical implications of applying the Lifetime Home Standard to new build housing development. In particular it develops cost analysis which more accurately reflects the likely contribution of access standards to the cumulative impact of regulation on housing supply, and sets out clearly the likely impact on different housing typologies, and on site density.

Although these reports are from the last Administration, they do touch upon current Government policy. The coalition Government have set out in the national planning policy framework that local plans must take into account the housing needs of a range of users including older and disabled people. In November’s housing strategy, this Government also set out their expectation that new development should have a diverse mix of property types, including more accessible designs such as the Lifetime Home Standard. However, we do not intend to introduce national regulation. We believe that decisions should be made at a local level, in proportion to local need and aligned with other local housing support and information services.

Lifetime Homes Standards

(i) Modelling the current and potential accessibility of the housing stock—This report by building research establishment considers the accessibility of the existing housing stock in England with particular reference to its utility for older and disabled people. The report uses data from the English Home Condition Survey to identify the frequency and suitability of a range of built features within homes to arrive at an overall assessment of their accessibility and future adaptability. The report was commissioned in 2006 at a cost of £56,305.

(ii) Assessing the cost of Lifetime Homes StandardsThis report by the Building Cost Information Service looks at establishing the cost impact of introducing the Lifetime Homes Standards in private sector housing, identifying best practice and the potential cost savings that can be delivered through efficiency of design. The report was commissioned in 2009 at a cost of £34,818.

(iii) Health benefits of Lifetime Home StandardsThis report by the Building Research Establishment sets out findings from work to determine the relative benefits of building to the Lifetime Home Standard. Utilising existing data from the Housing Health and Safety Rating System, the research evaluated the health costs associated with the different levels of harm relating either to direct NHS costs or to societal costs. The report was commissioned in 2009 at a cost of £21,302.

(iv) Lifetime Homes: Technical forumThis report by Habinteg Housing Association captures discussions and recommendations which emerged from a Technical Working Group established to test proposals for improving guidance in the Lifetime Home Standard. This report was commissioned in 2009 at a cost of £17,448.

(v) Analysis of distribution of housing typologies in Public and Private Sector and typical compatibility with the Lifetime Home StandardThis research conducted by Levitt Bernstein considers the impact of and current compliance with the 16 point standard of “Lifetime

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Homes Lifetime Neighbourhoods—a National strategy for Housing in an Ageing Society”. Mindful that the standards were originally developed with very suburban two, three and four bed detached housing in mind, there was a need to review the 16 point standard and consider the implications of applying it to current and emerging new build housing typologies in England and Wales. The research develops and agrees a model of the variety and distribution of future housing typologies in England and Wales and analyses what impact the application of Lifetime Homes Standards will have on varying house typologies. The study focused primarily on private sector housing. This report was commissioned in 2009 at a cost of £34,360.

(vi) The Impact of Lifetime Homes on Site Density. This research work conducted by Levitt Bernstein is an extension to an earlier piece of work and represents an initial exploration of the impact that the application of Lifetime Homes Standards is likely to have on the site density of private sector housing. It concentrates on low to medium density suburban developments, typically 30-60 dwellings per hectare. The research consisted of a theoretical analysis to calculate the effect on plot size of various increases to plan footprints; an assessment of impact on density on a small sample of typical site layouts in addition to feed back from industry about site density and marketability. This report was commissioned in 2009 at a cost of £16,087.

(vii) Design of Lifetime homes. This research conducted by Hunt Thomson Architects seeks to evaluate the impact on designing private sectors homes to meet the Lifetime Home Standard, and in particular to understand the likely impact of seeking to minimise both increase in cost and any necessary increase in the overall size of properties by adopting the standard. The project utilised analysis of a range of typical speculative housing development plans and compares these designs with entirely new housing layouts which incorporate the 16 elements of the Lifetime Home Standard. This report was commissioned in 2009 at a cost of £10,000.

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

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

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


Youth Engagement

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Mr Andrew Robathan): The Defence Youth Engagement Review (YER) was completed late last year and, since then, the Ministry of Defence (MOD), assisted by other Departments and key stakeholders, has been developing

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its response. The review considered all aspects of defence youth engagement, including the award winning Education Outreach programme where MOD officials mentor young people. However, given their size and dominance, the review concentrated on the cadet forces.

I am delighted to inform the House that the review concluded that there is little wrong with our cadet forces at the detachment level; with over 3,300 units and 140,000 cadets spread across the UK. A copy of the review will be placed in the Library of the House.

The single services are justifiably proud of their association with the individual cadet forces and there is no intention to create a joint cadet force, although the review did point out some structural issues including the need for a more joined up approach from the MOD down to regional level. Following the YER, four key areas have been prioritised for further work; reviewing adult volunteers’ terms and conditions of service, reviewing cadet activity in schools, addressing the issues and duplication of the Management Information Systems, and exploring options to expand the cadet forces. The House will be aware of the Prime Minister’s announcement, as part of Armed Forces Day, that funding has been made available by the Government to open 100 new cadet units in state funded secondary schools by 2015.

The review also challenged us to consider how defence would engage with the National Citizen Service and to develop an expansion plan. Following discussions with the Cabinet Office and the Department for Education, over 600 cadets will join a tailored trial of NCS this summer.

Finally, the review highlights the excellent work done by our 26,000 cadet force adult volunteers. I believe we all owe them a debt of gratitude for their unstinting efforts to develop tomorrow’s citizens.

Energy and Climate Change

Plutonium Management

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Charles Hendry): In December 2011 the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) published its consultation response document on plutonium management.

The consultation response document set out Government’s preferred policy on plutonium management as reuse of plutonium as mixed-oxide fuel (MOX) noting that while Government believe they have sufficient information to set out a direction, it is not yet sufficient to make a specific decision to proceed with procuring a new MOX plant, and that if we cannot establish a satisfactory means of implementation then the way forward may need to be revised.

In addition the Government said that overseas owners of plutonium stored in the UK could, subject to commercial terms that are acceptable to the UK Government, have that plutonium managed in line with UK plutonium and in addition, subject to compliance with inter-governmental agreements and acceptable commercial arrangements the UK is prepared to take ownership of overseas plutonium stored in the UK after which it

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would be treated in line with UK owned plutonium. The Government consider that there are advantages to having national control over more of the civil plutonium that is in the UK allowing us greater influence over how we ultimately manage it.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change has agreed to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) participating in a series of swaps of plutonium material which will result in the NDA taking ownership of around four tonnes of plutonium stored in the UK previously owned by certain German utilities. Some of this plutonium was subject to contract for manufacturing MOX fuel in the now closed Sellafield MOX plant.

This transaction, which has been endorsed by the Euratom Supply Agency, will not result in any new plutonium being brought into the UK and will not therefore increase the overall amount of plutonium in the UK, but will enable a net reduction in the total amount of separated plutonium stored in Europe.

The commercial agreements between the NDA, German utilities and Areva will (i) make available plutonium in France to which the German utilities will take title and (ii) transfer title to NDA of the plutonium currently ascribed to the German utilities at Sellafield. This will result in German utilities’ plutonium being available in France for manufacture into MOX fuel by Areva without undertaking a physical shipment.

We agreed to this transaction since, in this case, taking ownership offers a commercially advantageous arrangement which enables the German utilities to receive MOX fuel and removes the need to transport this separated plutonium to France. Transporting separated plutonium is a complex operation that carries significant associated security obligations that require careful management. While the UK has significant expertise in transporting this category of material, avoiding such shipments and the associated security measures is desirable if there is an acceptable alternative solution to shipping. The financial benefits to the UK of taking ownership are considered to be sufficient to offset the estimated long-term cost of managing that plutonium in the UK. It will also enable MOX fuel to be provided to German utilities ahead of the German national reactor shut down programme. This places end dates on German reactor operations and therefore their capacity to use MOX fuel.

The UK has committed to publish annual figures for national holdings of civil plutonium at the end of each calendar year to improve transparency and public confidence. The most recent data can be found at:


These data will be updated in due course to reflect the change brought about by the UK taking ownership of the German plutonium.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Agriculture and Fisheries Council

The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Mrs Caroline Spelman): The next Agriculture and Fisheries Council is on Monday 16 July in Brussels and the first under the Cypriot presidency. The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural

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Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for South East Cambridgeshire (Mr Paice) who is responsible for agriculture and food will represent the UK. Stewart Stevenson MSP will also attend.

The main items on 16 July will be proposals and debates on the rural development, specifically risk management measures, and the single common organisation of the markets sections of the Commission Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

There will also be a Commission presentation and exchange of views regarding a consultation on fishing opportunities for 2013.

The document is a consultation on the Commission’s intended approach this year for the process of setting total allowable catches and effort levels for the EU fleet in 2013, in accordance with the EU common fisheries policy. The Commission is consulting on their intentions for this process with member states, Regional Advisory Councils and the Advisory Committee for Fisheries and Aquaculture.

There are currently six any other business points confirmed:

An update from the Commission on the situation in the dairy sector;

Co-operation with China in the agri-food sector;


The CAP paying agencies conference;

Fires in Spain;

Situation report on the dairy market;

A request for the re-introduction of export refunds for dairy products;

Animal welfare (Transport).


Plasma Resources UK Ltd

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Mr Simon Burns): I am announcing today that the Government will be exploring new opportunities for the future development of our government-owned limited company, Plasma Resources UK Ltd (PRUK).

The Department has successfully completed the first stages of the combination of its plasma products companies; which consist of the UK based fractionation facility Bio Products Laboratory Ltd (BPL) and the US based plasma supply company, DCI Inc. These two companies have been brought together under the Department of Health owned parent company PRUK.

Looking forward to the next phase of development, we have carefully examined the strategic options that will best allow the companies to grow and be successful in an established global industry, whilst also seeking to ensure jobs are maintained in the bioscience sector of the economy.

To ensure the continued success of PRUK, the future business strategy should address the need for investment in BPL’s specialist plant and skilled workforce in order to create more advanced products. PRUK should also continue to harness the potential of the US-based operations at DCI Inc which is well placed to develop

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its own portfolio. This requirement for further investment comes at a time when the Department of Health and the NHS is facing ever-increasing demands on its resources and must focus on delivering its front-line services.

Our conclusion is therefore that we will now assess development opportunities in conjunction with the private sector, seeking to gain a valuable contribution from not only a financial perspective, but also their operational expertise.

We have therefore appointed financial advisers to consider the most appropriate level of department ownership to deliver the Department’s objectives. This work will examine, in detail, the sale of all or part of the business, as well as other structures, to determine the best solution for the business, its employees, the NHS and taxpayers. Any future partner or investor would be chosen through a fair and open process and will be able to demonstrate the necessary skills, experience and resources to work with the companies to help them realise their potential and to develop their range of products.

As part of this process, we will be ensuring that any option continues to safeguard the interests of patients, that supplies of current products are secure and that resources are available to develop new products, such that NHS patients continue to receive the best possible care.


Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010 (Public Records Provisions)

The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice (Mr Kenneth Clarke): My noble Friend the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, Lord McNally, has made the following written ministerial statement:

Today, I am announcing further details of how the Government will reduce, from 30 to 20 years, the point at which historical records are made available at the National Archives and other places of deposit. This is in response to a report delivered by a committee chaired by Paul Dacre, the editor of the Daily Mail, which was commissioned by the previous Government.

The change to a “20-year rule” is a key part of our transparency agenda and will see a wealth of historical material opened to the public much earlier than under current arrangements. The aim is to provide greater openness and accountability, strengthening democracy through more timely public scrutiny of government policy and decision-making.

This is a major change and it is therefore important that it is introduced in a manageable and affordable way. A phased approach will be adopted. The point at which records are transferred to the National Archives (largely central Government records) will be reduced from 2013 over a 10-year transitional period, with two years worth of records being transferred to the National Archives every year until transition is complete. From 2023, when this transition is complete, we will transfer the single year’s worth of records which are caught by the “20-year rule” each year. This first stage of the change will affect an estimated 3.3 million records and cost an estimated £34.7 million to £38.5 million over 10 years.

We then intend to begin from 2015 a similar 10 year transitional period for records transferred to 116 local authority places of deposit, subject to the outcome of further detailed work on costs and the impact to the local authority archive sector. Current estimates of the cost of the second phase are £5.6 million to £15 million over 10 years. This will ensure that the “20-year rule” is implemented in an affordable way that achieves the greatest level of transparency.

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The maximum lifespan of a number of exemptions provided by the Freedom of Information Act will be reduced for all public authorities in parallel with the first transitional period. From 1 January 2014 the maximum duration of the following exemptions will reduce by one year per annum over a 10 year period: sections 30 (investigations and proceedings conducted by public authorities); 32 (court records); 33 (audit functions); 35 (formulation and development of government policy); 36 (prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs), except in relation to Northern Ireland and the work of Executive Committee of Northern Ireland Assembly; and 42 (legal professional privilege).

The transition to a “20-year rule” will be a transparent process. The National Archives will report annually to the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice on the progress made by ministerial Government Departments. Department-level data will be published on the National Archives’ website, including volumes due for processing each year, numbers transferred, and progress against declared transfer plans.

Community Payback

The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice (Mr Kenneth Clarke): In the range of community sentences, Community Payback is primarily a punishment. It also enables offenders to be reformed and to make reparation for their crimes by doing unpaid work which benefits the community. We want to improve Community Payback provision through innovation, higher standards of quality in delivery and better value for the taxpayer. We also want to increase public confidence in this sentence so that offenders are seen to be punished for their crime, to make amends for the damage caused to individuals and communities and to be prepared for an honest hard-working life after the end of their sentence.

We seek to ensure that, in delivering Community Payback, we open up public services to draw on the skills and innovative capacity of the private, voluntary and social enterprise sectors. In June 2011 we launched a competition for the provision of Community Payback services in the London Probation Area. This opened the way for three private sector bidders to compete for the provision of these services. This is the first time that a major area of probation work has been opened up to the private sector through a competitive bidding exercise. It follows that the contract award that I am announcing today represents a significant step forward in using competition to improve the delivery of probation services, in line with the proposals set out in the Green Paper “Breaking the Cycle: Effective Punishment, Rehabilitation and Sentencing of Offenders”.

The winner of the competition to provide Community Payback services in the London Probation Area is Serco. The winning bid delivers substantial savings to the taxpayer of £25 million (37 %) over the life of the four-year contract. They will work closely with a range of providers to deliver the service, including London Probation Trust. The new contract arrangements will see greater involvement of local communities in how Community Payback services are delivered in their areas. There will also be better coordination of services across London as a result of the establishment of a dedicated control centre to oversee operations on a day to day and real time basis. The new service will begin in October this year. The contract will run for four years initially. We expect to re-compete the service after that.

Serco will have a number of contractual and delivery requirements to meet, which are intended to raise the performance and quality of service provision. These

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include offenders being allocated to work promptly after sentence, offenders successfully completing their Community Payback requirement and where they do not comply, enforcement action being taken quickly. Work has to be visible and of demonstrable benefit to local communities.

As I have indicated, the result of this competition shows that it is possible to achieve considerable savings on the current cost of Community Payback provision while at the same time developing other non-financial benefits such as innovation in the delivery of the service, higher quality, improved compliance, more rapid commencement and intensive working for unemployed offenders. We are also expecting to see wider engagement with the public which will improve levels of confidence in the Community Payback service. Overall, our intention is to improve the effectiveness of the criminal justice system while reducing the cost to the taxpayer.

I turn now to updating the House on our wider programme of offender services competitions.

A key element of the “Open Public Services” White Paper published last year was that the provision of public services would be opened up to a wider variety of organisations as part of the Government’s commitment to improving the quality of public services. Competition not only promotes greater diversity in our provider base, but is also a powerful driver of more efficient and effective offender services. The Ministry of Justice’s “Offender Services Competition Strategy” published a year ago is making this policy a reality.

In the “Competition Strategy” I made a commitment to publish an annual update. The update covers activity on offender services competitions over the past year, gives an overview of current activity, and lists competitions that we plan to run in the following 12 months. It will be clear from the update that this amounts to a large and continuing programme of activity.

As well as the Community Payback competition in London, the update covers Prisons Competitions Phases One and Two, Prisoner Escort and Custody Services, Electronic Monitoring, Payment by Results pilots and the Offender Learning and Skills Services.

In relation to custodial services, for example, we have already completed the competitions for four prisons (HMP Birmingham, HMP Buckley Hall, HMP Doncaster, and HMP Oakwood) and we expect these to generate significant savings of £216 million over the life of the contracts A further nine prisons are currently subject to competition and we expect to award contracts in November this year. At that time we also expect to announce the custodial services that will be subject to competition in the next phase of our reform programme.

For community based offender services, we are engaged in a major competition to improve and enhance electronic monitoring, with contract award planned for early 2013.In the autumn we will publish our response to the consultation on “Punishment and Reform: effective probation services” setting out how we will accelerate a wider programme of competition for non-custodial services.

This Government are committed to public service reform and the success of our programme to date demonstrates how competition can be used effectively to open up the market, stimulate innovation and improvement and reduce cost to the taxpayer.

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Copies of the annual update have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. The document is also available on the Ministry of Justice website.

Criminal Justice Reform

The Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice (Nick Herbert): Today, the Government’s White Paper on criminal justice reform, “Swift and Sure Justice: the Government’s Plans for Reform of Criminal Justice” has been laid before Parliament.

The White Paper sets out a programme of reform which builds on some of the lessons learned from the response to last year’s disturbances, during which the police, prosecutors and courts worked together—and offenders were brought to justice within days, sometimes even hours.

The programme focuses on the points where work passes between the agencies and is designed to enable them to work together more effectively to deliver services which are:

swift: so that the low level, straightforward and uncontested cases are dealt with promptly and efficiently; and

sure: so that the system grips offenders at an early stage, preventing the slide into more serious offending.

The White Paper sets out for example, how we are already making better use of technology and managing cases more efficiently. It also sets out proposals for a new role for magistrates, reinforcing their historic role in community justice. From November, Police and Crime Commissioners will be in place to help galvanise local police, prosecution, courts and other agencies to work together to prevent crime and reduce reoffending.

The reforms aim to transform criminal justice from a fragmented, paper based system into a seamless, streamlined service. They complement the wider reforms to crime and justice we are taking forward to improve policing, to tackle anti-social behaviour, to introduce more effective punishments and community sentences, and to deliver better services for victims.

Taken together, they are the foundation of our strategy to reduce crime and the victims it creates.

Official for Judicial Complaints (Annual Report 2011-12)

The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice (Mr Kenneth Clarke): With the concurrence of the Lord Chief Justice, I will today publish the sixth annual report of the Office for Judicial Complaints (OJC). The OJC provides support to the Lord Chief Justice and myself in our joint responsibility for the system of judicial complaints and discipline.

I welcome the publication of this report which provides details of the important work undertaken by the OJC over the past year.

I am pleased to note that the OJC continues to provide a transparent and effective complaint handling service; dealing with over 1,600 complaints and 500 enquiries in last year, while continuing to deliver improved efficiency and value for money in the services it provides.

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I note also the encouraging progress which has been made with the ongoing review of the Judicial Discipline (Prescribed Procedures) Regulations 2006 (as amended) which is seeking to improve and streamline the judicial disciplinary process. The public consultation on the proposed regulatory changes closed on 23 May 2012 and the Lord Chief Justice and I look forward with interest to receiving the recommendations of the working group, which is currently considering the consultation responses.

The next 12 months look set to present a significant challenge to the OJC as, in partnership with key stakeholders, it seeks to define and implement a revised regulatory framework and improved disciplinary processes.

Copies of the report are available in the Libraries of both Houses, the Vote Office and the Printed Paper Office. Copies of the Report are also available on the internet at:


“Charging Fees in Employment Tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunal” (Government Response)

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice (Mr Jonathan Djanogly): I have today published the response to the consultation paper “Charging Fees in Employment Tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunal”. The response announces the proposed fee structure for these tribunals. The introduction of fees to these bodies will relieve pressure on the taxpayer by transferring some of the cost burden from taxpayers to users. It may also encourage parties to think through whether they might settle their disputes earlier and faster by using other less adversarial methods of dispute resolution, such as Acas conciliation, which will continue to be provided free to users.

These tribunals cost the taxpayer over £84 million per annum and currently no financial contribution is sought from parties. The Government think it is right that those who use the system should contribute towards the cost, in the same way as users of other parts of the justice system contribute to the costs of providing the service.

The consultation closed on the 6 March 2012 and 140 responses were received. The Government have considered carefully the points raised and has decided to introduce a fee at issue and before hearing as well as five application specific fees. The response document sets out the arguments brought forward by respondents and the Government’s consideration of those arguments in more detail. That document and associated impact assessments is available online at: www.justice.gov.uk.

We have decided to extend the existing HMCTS remissions system to protect access to justice for those using the employment tribunal and the Employment Appeal Tribunal. A number of concerns were raised in response to the consultation about the remissions system and how it will operate in light of the Government’s planned reform of the benefit system. It will be necessary to amend the remissions system for these changes and MOJ will therefore be undertaking a separate review of remissions.

Our aim will be to produce a single remissions system for courts and tribunals which is simpler to use, more

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cost efficient and better targeted to ensure that those who can afford to pay fees do so, while continuing to provide access to the courts and tribunal system to those who cannot. We will take into account the responses received to this consultation when we develop our proposals. A consultation will be published in autumn 2012 and respondents will have the opportunity to provide further comments at this point.

The consultation response document has been deposited in the Libraries of both Houses and we will now work towards implementation of the fee structure in the summer of 2013.

Prime Minister

Reports on Chief Surveillance, Interception of Communications, and Intelligence Services Commissioners

The Prime Minister (Mr David Cameron): I have today laid before both Houses the annual reports of the Interception of Communications Commissioner, the Rt. Hon. Sir Paul Kennedy (HC 496); “the Intelligence Services Commissioner, the Rt. Hon. Sir Mark Waller (HC 497); and, the Chief Surveillance Commissioner, the Rt. Hon. Sir Christopher Rose (HC 498).

The responsibility of the Commissioners is to provide independent oversight of the use of the investigative powers contained in the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, Regulation of Investigatory Powers (Scotland) Act 2000, the Intelligence Services Act 1994, and the Police Act 1997.

The Commissioners play a vital role in ensuring that public authorities make use of these powers in a way which is necessary, for a legitimate aim and which is proportionate to what is sought to be achieved. They are required under the provisions of the legislation to provide an annual report to the Prime Minister in respect of carrying-out their functions.

All Commissioners have concluded that these powers are on the whole being used properly and appropriately, in accordance with the requirements set out in statute.

They have also concluded that respective Secretaries of State and the various members of the intelligence services, police and law enforcement authorities and other public authorities are properly complying with their duties as set out in the legislation. The Commissioners provide a vital service in giving Ministers, Parliament and the public assurance in this area.

There have, regrettably, been breaches and errors in the use of these powers. While these have been few in number relative to the overall number of applications, the Government are not complacent; the causes of these breaches and errors will need to be addressed. The Commissioners also highlight the value of the use of these powers and provide a number of case studies to show the benefits they provide, particularly in terms of preventing and detecting serious crime and tackling threats to our national security.

I am grateful to Sir Paul, Sir Mark and Sir Christopher, and to the inspectors and staff which support them, for their work on these reports. The Government are further

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strengthening oversight of the agencies through the introduction of the Justice and Security Bill which, among other provisions, will give a statutory basis for the Intelligence Services Commissioner to be directed to review any function of the agencies.

Work and Pensions

Child Maintenance

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Maria Miller): I will shortly lay the 2012 Child Maintenance Command Paper (Cm 8399) entitled “Supporting separated families; securing children’s fixtures”. This paper will set out the details of the Government’s approach to the child maintenance landscape so that it is centred on supporting families.

For too long we have had a child maintenance system in this country that fails children, fails parents and fails the taxpayer. Half (over 1.5 million) of children living in separated families have no effective child maintenance arrangement in place despite a statutory system of maintenance that costs the taxpayer almost £500 million each and every year. There is little support for parents to work collaboratively and the present system provides little incentive for recalcitrant parents to take their financial responsibilities seriously, without the state incurring hefty enforcement costs. This has to change.

In January 2011, we published the Green Paper “Strengthening families; promoting parental responsibility; the future of child maintenance” Cm 7990 (available on the Department’s website at: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/strengthening-families.pdf. The Green Paper laid out our ideas about how the new child maintenance system might look; placing a greater emphasis on supporting parents to make their own arrangements; continuing to provide a heavily subsidised statutory scheme for those unable to do so; and introducing service charges for the use of the statutory scheme to provide a financial incentive to collaborate.

The Command Paper sets out further details on the ideas put forward in the Green Paper and provides more on: services for separated and separating families and how we will support parents to work together including maintenance direct; the new statutory scheme and its revised methods for calculating maintenance; and the programme for closing existing cases and moving them into one of the options in the new approach. Evidence shows that children benefit when parents work together after separation and the Government’s aim, through all of the proposed measures, is to encourage collaboration between parents.

Working with the voluntary and community sector, I am committed to helping ensure better co-ordinated services for separated and separating families so that, where parents decide to separate, they receive the right information and support to help them maintain a collaborative relationship with each other, including agreeing maintenance arrangements, in the best interests of their children. I announced our intention to invest £20 million in this programme in January and today I am setting out details—plans developed with the support

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of voluntary organisations—of how this money will be used to support families including online, on the telephone and face-to-face.

The new statutory scheme, which will be branded the “Child Maintenance Service”, will be faster and more efficient, using annual gross income reported by HMRC. I am setting out today further details of the new scheme including maintenance direct and collection charges, to encourage parents to pay each other directly within the statutory scheme. I am also setting out the proposed levels of charges where people fail to keep up to date with their maintenance and require expensive enforcement action to secure payments for their children.

All existing Child Support Agency cases will be closed to offer clients the opportunity to think again, with proper support, about whether a family-based arrangement may be best for their children. I am setting out today further details on the proposed way in which this process of case closure will work.

Draft regulations governing charging and case closure will also be published. A 14-week consultation on these will begin next week.

I will place the impact assessments and draft regulations for consultation in the House Library. These documents and the Command Paper will be published on the Department for Work and Pensions’ website shortly.

Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance (Duplicate Payments)

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Maria Miller): Disability living allowance (DLA) and attendance allowance (AA) are paid to people with extra needs arising from their disabilities. These benefits are administered by the DWP. Where people are of state pension age and are receiving state pension or pension credit, it has become normal practice to combine the payment of AA or DLA with state pension and pension credit so that the customer receives one combined weekly payment of benefit. These combined payments are administered by DWP Benefit Centres and Pension Centres.

In 2007 errors of duplicate payments were found for AA and DLA. Action was taken at the time and assurances given to Parliament that the situation was resolved. In 2011, in support of the Departments strategy to reduce losses to public funds, DWP Accounting Services began running a new scan across its payment systems. This identified that a full solution had not been found in 2007 and as a result duplicate payments continued to be paid in approximately 1,600 cases. The rate of duplicate payment varies from £20.55 to £131.50 a week depending on the award of AA or DLA and the estimated total overpayment is £16 million It is extremely disappointing that this situation was not resolved in 2007 and that thorough monitoring was not put in place then in the light of the fact that mistakes had been identified now.

To rectify this, a monitoring programme has been put in place to ensure that there should be no further duplicate payments occurring in the future, and it is clearly right that these cases should now be corrected. However given the age and disability of the customers affected, we have considered carefully how we carry out recovery. Indeed 60% of cases have an appointee. Each case will be considered on an individual basis and

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customers will be contacted to explain our error. I will consider making ex gratia payments, in a small number of cases where we consider it inappropriate to withdraw the over provision of benefit. Based on information

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held by the Department the estimated cost of these payments will be no more than £500. 000 in a full year. I will also be writing to appointees to remind them of their duties to ensure correct payment.