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Written Ministerial Statements

Tuesday 30 October 2012

Business, Innovation and Skills

Nuttall Review on Employee Ownership

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (Jo Swinson): Today I am publishing the Government’s response to the Nuttall review on employee ownership. In parallel with this, I am also publishing a consultation on deregulating employee share buybacks, along with draft regulations.

Copies of these documents will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

The Government response sets out how we will address each of the 28 recommendations made in the Nuttall review. It focuses on three themes of raising awareness, increasing the resources available to support employee ownership and reducing its complexity. These three themes will make up the key elements of the Government’s approach to promoting employee ownership in the private sector, complementing and drawing parallels with the activity around public sector mutualisation.

UK Green Investment Bank

The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (Vince Cable): On 24 May 2011, I made an oral statement setting out the Government’s plans for a UK green investment bank which would help lead the United Kingdom’s transition to a green economy. I gave a commitment to update the House on further milestones and am very pleased to tell the House that the bank began full operations on 29 October 2012.

The commencement of commercial operations by the bank has been contingent on state aid approval from the European Commission. On 17 October 2012 the European Commission gave its approval, relating to the bank’s remit, its operating model and Government funding of £3 billion over the period to March 2015. Under the terms of the state aid approval, the bank will be able to make investments, on commercial terms, across the following green sectors:

offshore wind;

waste;

non domestic energy efficiency;

biofuels for transport;

biomass power;

carbon capture and storage;

marine energy; and

renewable heat.

The Department for Energy and Climate Change is seeking state aid approval for the financing of the green deal separately. The UK green investment bank would be able to invest in the green deal in accordance with the terms of that approval.

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My Department has, in parallel with the state aid application process, been taking the necessary steps to ensure that the company would be ready to begin operations soon after receipt of state aid approval. I have, in particular, given my approval as shareholder to the appointment of Shaun Kingsbury as the company’s chief executive officer, with effect from 29 October 2012. I have also agreed the appointment of six non-executive directors with a wealth of relevant experience in investment and wider green issues.

On 26 October 2012 the board of UK Green Investment Bank plc resolved that the company would be ready to begin full operations on 29 October, having concluded that the necessary personnel, processes and systems would be in place.

In April this year UK Green Investments (UKGI)—a team of finance professionals in my Department—began making investments in green infrastructure on commercial terms, committing £180 million to specialist fund managers to co-invest equity in smaller waste infrastructure, energy from waste, and non-domestic energy efficiency projects. Assets built up by UKGI will transfer to the bank.

The Government will provide funding to the bank under section 228 of the Banking Act 2009, pending parliamentary approval of a bespoke power to fund the bank under clause 4 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill.

Cabinet Office

Cabinet Committees List

The Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General (Mr Francis Maude): Today I am publishing an updated Cabinet Committee list. I have placed a copy of the new list in the Libraries of both Houses.

Charitable Incorporated Organisation

The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office (Mr Nick Hurd): I have today laid draft secondary legislation needed to give effect to the charitable incorporated organisation (CIO). The CIO is a new legal structure, under the Charities Act 2011, designed specifically and only for charities.

Charities seeking the benefits of incorporation can currently set up as a company limited by guarantee, but many are put off by the additional administrative burden of dual registration and regulation under both charity law and company law (of the 162,000 registered charities only just over 30,000 are structured as a company limited by guarantee). The CIO has the benefits of legal personality and limited liability, but will be solely registered with, and regulated by, the Charity Commission for England and Wales. The CIO will add to the range of legal structures that charities can choose to adopt. Implementing the CIO supports the Government’s aim of making it easier to set up and run a civil society organisation. Due to its limited liability, the CIO structure should make it easier for charities to recruit and retain trustees, and to engage in contracts and hold property. Implementation of the CIO is supported by the Charity Commission and will be welcomed by the voluntary sector.

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The CIO is expected to be a popular legal structure for both new and existing charities seeking the benefits of incorporation. Given the expected levels of demand for the CIO, and to help the Charity Commission manage its available resources to support the implementation of the CIO, we have agreed with the Charity Commission a phased implementation plan, which is set out below.

The phased implementation timetable set out below is indicative (and implementation is subject to parliamentary approval of the secondary legislation needed to implement the CIO). The Charity Commission will need to retain flexibility to change the dates on which application windows open if the level of demand significantly exceeds expectations. The commission will maintain an up-to-date implementation timetable on its website.

The current package of secondary legislation does not make provision for the conversion of charitable companies limited by guarantee, community interest companies, or charitable industrial and provident societies. Separate secondary legislation will be brought forward in due course to provide a mechanism for the conversion for these entities that wish to convert into ClOs.

Charity Commission's indicative timetable

DateApplications for the CIO Structure

As soon as SIs are approved by Parliament

Window opens for charity Commission to receive applications to set up ClOs from brand new charities with anticipated annual income of over £5,000.

1 March 2013

Window opens for existing unincorporated charities with annual income over £250,000 to set up a CIO and transfer assets into it.

1 May 2013

Window opens for existing unincorporated charities with incomes between £100,000 and £250,000 annual income to set up a CIO and transfer assets into it.

1 Jul 2013

Window opens for existing unincorporated charities with incomes between £25,000 and £100,000 annual income to set up a CIO and transfer assets into it

1 Oct 2013

Window opens for existing unincorporated charities with incomes of between £5,000 and £25,000 annual income to set up a CIO and transfer assets into it.

1 Jan 2014

Window opens for existing unincorporated charities with annual incomes of less than £5,000 to set up a CIO and transfer assets into it, and for brand new charities with anticipated annual incomes of less than £5,000 to set up a CIO.

During 2014

Window opens for corporate conversions into ClOs (subject to parliamentary approval of separate conversion regulations to be made during 2013). This may also need to be phased by income bracket.

Culture, Media and Sport

Parliamentary Question (Correction)

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport (Mr Edward Vaizey): On 18 October 2012, Official Report, column 390W, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport answered the following parliamentary question:

Chi Onwurah (Newcastle upon Tyne Central) (Lab): To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, how many full-time equivalent staff there were in Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) in each quarter since May 2010.[12370].

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Mr Vaizey: The accompanying table shows such data as we hold on leavers and joiners to BDUK. As well as external joiners and leavers the figures include internal moves between broadband and other DCMS teams:

QuarterFull-time Equivalent Staff

2011

April-June

47.08

 

July-September

49.86

 

October-December

50.97

   

2012

January-March

49.28

 

April-June

65.77

 

July-September

75.77

The answer should have read:

The accompanying table shows such data as we hold on leavers and joiners to BDUK. As well as external joiners and leavers (including specialist contractors), the figures include internal moves between broadband and other DCMS teams. Figures are for headcount only.

QuarterFull-time Equivalent Staff

2011

Pre-April

19

 

April-June

21

 

July-September

29

 

October-December

34

   

2012

January-March

49

 

April-June

54

 

July-September

62

The answer was provided by the Department’s Human Resources (HR) team, who used their online databases to produce it. The databases do not capture on which team individuals are allocated—partly because DCMS operates a flexible resourcing system in which individuals frequently move across teams and projects. Additionally, the HR organogram system only holds details of civil service employees allocated to projects, and therefore, cannot provide accurate data on staffing in BDUK, which includes contractors and interim managers. The correct information in the revised answer has been provided directly by BDUK.

This answer tallies with the pursuant PQ 124568, tabled by the hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne Central (Chi Onwurah) on 22 October, regarding the numbers of leavers and joiners, which can be found in the Official Report for 24 October 2012, column 906W.

Energy and Climate Change

UK Carbon Capture and Storage Commercialisation Competition

The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (Mr Edward Davey): I am today providing an update on the UK’s carbon capture and storage (CCS) commercialisation competition. The UK is providing funding to support the development of CCS technology,

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which if developed at scale could allow the safe removal and storage of harmful carbon emissions from coal and gas plants.

The competition, which has £1 billion in capital funding available to support commercial scale CCS projects, was launched on 3 April 2012. Its objective is to identify and support projects which can contribute to reducing the costs of CCS technology so that it can compete with other low-carbon technologies in the 2020s. The competition closed for bids on 3 July 2012 and eight bids were received.

Since then, my Department has undertaken a detailed analysis of the bids received and I can today announce we will be taking four projects forward. The next stage will be a new intensive phase of negotiations leading to decisions on which projects to support further in the new year. These negotiations are critical to ensuring we reach the best deal for the UK taxpayer.

The four full chain projects we are taking forward are (in alphabetical order):

Captain Clean Energy Project—A proposal for a new 570 MW, fully abated coal integrated gasification combined cycle (pre-combustion) project in Grangemouth, Scotland with storage in offshore depleted gas fields. Led by Summit Power, involving Petrofac (CO2 Deepstore), National Grid and Siemens.

Peterhead—A 340 MW post-combustion capture retrofitted to part of an existing 1180 MW combined cycle gas turbine power station at Peterhead, Scotland. Led by Shell and SSE.

Teesside Low Carbon Project—A pre-combustion coal gasification project (linked to c330 MWe net power generating capacity fuelled by syngas with 90% of CO2 abated) on Teesside, north-east England with storage in depleted oil field and saline aquifer. A consortium led by Progressive Energy and involving GDF SUEZ, Premier Oil, and BOC.

White Rose Project—An oxyfuel capture project at a proposed new 304 MW fully abated supercritical coal-fired power station on the Drax site in North Yorkshire. Led by Alstom and involving Drax, BOC and National Grid.

We will make further announcements in the new year.

The NER300

The NER300 is a European Commission competition for CCS and innovative renewable projects. The Commission is due to announce awards from its first round of funding at the end of this year. In order to do that member states need to state which projects they are prepared to support from the list that the Commission has published. The Commission has informed us that no more than two or three CCS projects (across Europe) will receive funding in this round. The maximum support available for CCS projects is around £250 million per project. Each member state is allowed to support three projects in total (i.e. CCS and renewables projects combined), although projects on the Commission’s reserve list are allowed to be supported without limitation at this stage.

With a maximum of two or three CCS projects able to be supported across Europe, the UK will not secure funding for three UK CCS projects. My officials have therefore confirmed support for the one UK renewable project on the Commission’s candidate list of projects and for the two CCS candidate projects that remain in the UK process. My officials have also confirmed our continued support for the one renewable and one CCS project the UK has on the NER reserve list. (The CCS reserve project also remains in the UK process.)

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For clarity, the NER projects the UK has supported are:

Teesside CCS, White Rose Oxyfuel CCS and Sound of Islay Tidal as our three candidate projects;

Peterhead CCS and Kyle Rhea Tidal Turbine Array as the reserve projects.

Significant UK Government funding is required for the CCS projects. Our support for the CCS projects is therefore subject to them ultimately being successful in the ongoing UK Government competitive process. My officials have written to DG Climate Action to explain the next steps in our process and to reconfirm the substantial financial offer we have committed to CCS. DG Climate Action will now consider our response and we understand they aim to make award decisions to successful projects by the end of this year.

Justice

Advisory Committee on Civil Costs

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice (Mrs Helen Grant): The guideline hourly rates (GHR) for solicitors in legal proceedings are set by the Master of the Rolls. The Advisory Committee on Civil Costs (ACCC) was established in 2007 by the Ministry of Justice to provide advice on this and other issues— 12 September 2007, Official Report column 124WS.

I am grateful for the work which the ACCC has carried out since its inception. However, I have decided that the ACCC’s remaining function of advising on the GHR should be transferred to the Civil Justice Council (CJC) from January 2013. I envisage that a sub-committee of the CJC would be established to deal with this issue. The ACCC will be disbanded forthwith, which will reduce the number of advisory bodies.

This proposal does not go so far as Sir Rupert Jackson’s recommendation for a Costs Council as the new sub-committee’s standing role will be limited to a review of the GHR; other fixed costs will remain for the Lord Chancellor to consider in the first instance. However, there may be other costs issues on which the Lord Chancellor and judiciary would welcome advice from the new sub-committee from time to time. I will liaise with the Master of the Rolls, who chairs the CJC, concerning the membership, terms of reference and work to be undertaken by the CJC within the scope of its statutory role of keeping the civil justice system under review.

Inquests (Service Personnel)

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice (Mrs Helen Grant): My right hon. Friend the Minister for the Armed Forces and I wish to make the latest of our quarterly statements to the House reporting progress with the inquests into deaths of service personnel who have died on active service overseas. As the season of remembrance approaches, we make this statement in solemn recognition of the sacrifice made by our service personnel who have given their lives for their country. We honour too the sacrifice of the families they have

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left behind. Our thoughts are particularly with the families of the 13 service personnel who have died since our last statement in July.

In this statement we provide details of inquests conducted by the Oxfordshire coroner, the Wiltshire and Swindon coroner and other coroners in England and Wales. This statement gives the position at 21 October 2012.

We have placed tables in both Libraries of the House giving supplementary information for this statement. The tables provide the status of all current cases. They include information about those cases where a board of inquiry or a service inquiry has been held or has been directed to be held.

The Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Justice have worked together for several years to ensure that our processes are the best they can be. On 17 September His Honour Judge Peter Thornton QC took up post as the first Chief Coroner for England and Wales. He will have a number of specific powers and duties in relation to service personnel inquests. Most recently, on 24 September, we commenced section 12 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, which for the first time enables deaths of service personnel killed abroad on active duty to be investigated in Scotland, where the Chief Coroner thinks it appropriate. We wish him well and look forward to working with him.

Our Departments will continue to support the coroners who are conducting these inquests. Once again we record our sincere thanks to coroners, to their staff and to all those who help, support and inform families throughout the inquest process.

Both Departments have provided funding for additional resources for these inquests since October 2007 to the coroners for Wiltshire and Swindon and for Oxfordshire. This is because the airbase for the repatriation of fallen service personnel was previously located at RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire; repatriations were rerouted to the RAF Brize Norton airbase in Oxfordshire in September 2011.

Current Status Of Inquests

Since the last statement eight inquests have been held into the deaths of service personnel on operations in Iraq or Afghanistan. Altogether, 563 inquests have taken place in relation to service personnel who have fallen in Iraq and Afghanistan or have died in the UK of injuries received in those operations. In three cases there has been no formal inquest. In one of these, the serviceman died of his injuries in Scotland and it was decided not to

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hold a fatal accident inquiry. In the other two cases, the death was taken into consideration during the inquest proceedings for other service personnel who died in the respective incidents.

Open Inquests

Deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan

Currently 51 open inquests remain to be concluded into the deaths of service personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan. A total of 24 of these inquests relate to deaths in the last six months.

Nine of the open inquests have been retained by the Wiltshire and Swindon coroner and 19 by the Oxfordshire coroner. Coroners closer to the next of kin are conducting the remaining 23 inquests. Two hearing dates have been set at present.

Deaths of service personnel who returned home injured

Six inquests are open into the deaths of service personnel who returned home injured but sadly died of their injuries. These inquests will be listed when the continuing investigations are completed.

We will continue to inform the House of progress.

Work and Pensions

National Employment Savings Trust

The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Steve Webb): Later today the Government will publish the consultation document “The National Employment Savings Trust (NEST)—Proposals for amendments to the NEST Order”.

These proposed minor technical and consequential amendments will align the order with changes to automatic enrolment legislation. They will also provide clarity and certainty to NEST and the employers and members who use it.

The period of consultation will begin today and will end on 26 November 2012.

A draft amendment order is annexed to the consultation document, along with an initial assessment of the impacts.

I will place a copy of the consultation document in the Libraries of both Houses and it will be available later today on the Department’s website at: http://www.dwp. gov.uk/consultations/2012