I start by setting out the context of how, where and why the UK armed forces employ remotely piloted aircraft systems, or UAVs as they are regularly referred to. In this debate, I shall use the term RPAS—remotely piloted aircraft systems—as the more accurate description

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of their capability, not only because that is what they are, but because that is how they are commonly referred to by the armed forces, particularly the RAF. Although the vehicles are unmanned, the system is guided by a whole team of highly trained and skilled people. Pilots, sensor operators and analysts all make decisions in real time, just like the crew of a manned aircraft. Defence remains a human endeavour. As the hon. Member for Dunfermline and West Fife (Thomas Docherty) said, humans have taken stand-off weapons development through the generations and the centuries, but there has always been human involvement.

Mr Kevan Jones: Does the Minister agree that there are also lawyers in the chain of that decision-making process, who ensure that the targets selected fall within legal parameters?

Mr Dunne: I will explain how the UK armed forces use rules of engagement that are clearly defined and informed by legal opinion, as the hon. Gentleman indicates.

RPAS technology is principally required and used by our armed forces for surveillance and reconnaissance tasks, as several Members mentioned, providing vital intelligence in support of our forces on the ground. While the utility of sensors is broadly similar to those aboard conventionally manned aircraft, RPAS have the ability to loiter for longer, building an intelligence picture that significantly enhances the situational awareness of commanders, forces on the ground and air crew.

RPAS surveillance and reconnaissance capability and the requirement for ever better intelligence, precision and situational awareness are such that they are now vital to mission success, as has been clearly demonstrated in theatre in Afghanistan. The UK currently only deploys RPAS for support of operations in Afghanistan. With the progress of technology and increasing appreciation of their military utility, the number deployed in Afghanistan has continued to increase, with further task lines of Reaper due to become operational next year.

To deliver operational RPAS capability for our forces in Afghanistan, a number of UK RPAS are being used for development trials and training in the UK and in a number of our partner nations. I confirm again that currently the operational deployment for RPAS is for the purposes of operations in Afghanistan, and that UK RPAS are saving the lives of both British and coalition service personnel and Afghan civilians on a daily basis. In that respect, RPAS are no different from other aircraft. The same rules that govern the use of conventional military aircraft apply to RPAS. As I said, UK RPAS are anything but unmanned.

Ms Gisela Stuart: Just for clarity, can the Minister tell us whether there are plans to use RPAS against pirate actions off the coast of Somalia? At the moment, he seems to be stressing that we are looking at the system in terms of Afghanistan and not further.

Mr Dunne: I was not intending to get into the wider deployment of RPAS, but it is the case that we are about to embark on a concept-of-use demonstration trial to see whether, for surveillance purposes, a maritime system

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could be deployed in the future, which relates to a question that was raised by the hon. Member for Dunfermline and West Fife. It is not at present beyond the demonstration phase.

Thomas Docherty: The Minister shows his skill by guessing what I am going to press him to say. As part of the procurement work for the T-26 and the development of the QE class, is it the intention of the Ministry of Defence that it will in the future be using RPAS?

Mr Dunne: The hon. Gentleman is seeking to jump some way ahead. The aircraft carrier will not be deployed in its full air strike capability until 2020. The main gate decision on the T-26 is not until the middle of the decade, so he is asking me to foresee military capability several years away. He may not be surprised that we are at least contemplating trialling some capability for future use at some stage. I will not be pressed further on that point, but I will address some of the issues that the hon. Lady mentioned. I want to continue setting the scene for a few more minutes.

The Reaper system, which is the UK’s only armed RPAS, is flown by professional pilots who remain in full control of the aircraft at all times; they follow the law of armed conflict and the UK rules of engagement in exactly the same way as pilots of manned aircraft. Reaper, as with other forms of RPAS, is primarily used for intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance, but through technological advance it has been enabled to be armed with precision-guided weapons, thereby meeting a secondary military requirement.

The decision-making process leading to the identification and engagement of a target by one of the two weapons systems available to UK Reapers is identical to that of conventionally manned aircraft, but the greater access to information through a combination of the aircraft’s onboard sensors, ability to access off-board information and duration of missions enables them to be deployed before engagement. Reaper pilots are, arguably, the best informed and connected of all air crew in this operating environment. They are well placed to provide battle-winning surveillance and engagement capability to meet UK ground forces’ needs.

The Reaper was fielded in 2007 and as of 1 December, despite more than 42,000 hours flown over Afghanistan, it has fired only 360 weapons—52 laser-guided bombs and 308 laser-guided Hellfire missiles. Of those precision-guided weapons on Reaper, the type employed is carefully selected in every engagement, which ensures that the most appropriate munition is used to deliver the required effect, in a proportional manner, thus minimising the risk to civilians and their property. The sophistication of the weapons also provides the ability remotely to change the course of the weapon post release, which is another example of the many steps taken by RPAS to avoid civilian casualties as collateral damage.

I am aware of only one incident where civilians have been killed by weapons deployed from a UK Reaper. As I mentioned last month, on 25 March 2011, there was a strike on two pick-up trucks in Afghanistan carrying a significant quantity of explosives, which resulted in the death of two insurgents and four Afghan civilians. That incident was highly regrettable. The subsequent report did, however, confirm that the actions of the Reaper crew had been in accordance with extant procedures

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and UK rules of engagement. Every weapon released by the UK’s RPAS is under the command of a professional pilot bound by the UK rules of engagement.

Touching on a point raised by the hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington (John McDonnell) about the psychological considerations of operating the Reaper, the experience thus far suggests that far from being detached from the reality of the situation, Reaper air crew are just as connected to the situation on the ground as operators of other aircraft types. They have increased information available to them, a longer time to study the information and the ability to abort the mission even after they have fired the weapon. The increasing specialisation of the role of flying RPAS is being considered by the RAF for recognition as a distinct skill within the flying service.

Of course Reaper is not the only RPAS operated in Afghanistan. To correct the hon. Member for North Durham (Mr Jones), there are in fact five types—not four—of unmanned aircraft systems in operation. As I have already mentioned, Reaper is the only armed version, but we have also deployed the Hermes 450, which has already flown 65,000 hours for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance purposes. It will be replaced by the more modern Watchkeeper, which again is for surveillance purposes and is not armed. In response to the question put by the hon. Member for Birmingham, Edgbaston about Watchkeeper, training is already under way and we expect the system to replace Hermes during 2013. These and other smaller deployed tactical systems being operated by Army units in Afghanistan form part of a mix of airborne ISR capabilities, of which they are but one, albeit increasingly important, component. They complement the more traditional manned surveillance capabilities provided by our other aircraft types. Looking further ahead, technological advances are likely to increase the level of automation in some systems, just as in other non-military equipment, but I stress the point that the Government have no intention of developing systems that operate without human intervention in the weapon command and control chain.

Let me turn to the other specific points mentioned by the hon. Member for Birmingham, Edgbaston. On the main thrust of her remarks on the moral and ethical considerations, it would be instructive for her to look at the joint doctrine note 2/11, if she has not done so already, to which the hon. Member for North Durham referred. It was published in March 2011 by the Government, and was the first Government sponsored document to go into the UK’s approach to unmanned aircraft systems. It has a specific section on moral and ethical considerations, which inform the rules of engagement and the operations in which we are engaged at present.

Anas Sarwar: The Minister has quite rightly outlined the moral and ethical use of drones by the UK Government. What discussions have we had with our allies to ensure that they are applying the same principles?

Mr Dunne: As is standard procedure, I am here to answer for the UK Government use of unmanned air vehicles. Other countries that use such systems have their own rules of engagement, as is the case for the UK. We do not publish rules of engagement for the sensible reason that to do so would risk prejudicing the capability, effectiveness or operational security of our armed forces, and that is also the doctrine applied by other countries.

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The hon. Member for Birmingham, Edgbaston asked about the military chain of command and whether it would be retained. We have no plans in the Ministry of Defence to operate any of our facilities outside the military chain of command. The hon. Member for Dunfermline and West Fife referred to potential civil uses in the future for airborne surveillance equipment; the hon. Member for Strangford (Jim Shannon) referred to offshore fishing. It is conceivable that in due course other Departments might find other uses for the technology, but I am not aware that it is something that the MOD is engaged in at present.

Thomas Docherty: On Government thinking and working across Departments, can I press the Minister to say a bit more about what role he sees for UK companies in developing RPAS, and how the UK Government, through their various Departments, are supporting that procurement process?

Mr Dunne: Indeed, a number of Opposition Members asked about that issue. The extent to which the Government are supporting UK industrial investment in this technology is demonstrated by the commitments that we have made, in particular for Watchkeeper, where a very substantial investment has been made for a British-designed, British-built capability.

We have also undertaken some collaborative work with other nations. The issue of our collaboration with the French was raised earlier. We have committed, through a memorandum of understanding signed in July, to two specific strands of that work. One is investing in the concept phase for a future combat air system; that is at the very early stages of the work stream, but work is beginning. The second was in relation to potential French interest in procuring the Watchkeeper system. If British industry is able to export that system to the French in due course, that would be a further success for it. We recognise that British aerospace industry will take an increasing interest in this capability, and through our procurement we are seeking to support that interest.

Jim Shannon: The Minister, in an earlier response, said that there might not be a role for drones in the MOD in its entirety, but there is a role through the Royal Navy. The Royal Navy’s responsibility is for fishing enforcement, through European regulation. There are three ships set aside for that; I had the opportunity a few weeks ago to be on one, HMS Severn. Is there any intention of introducing drones in the Royal Navy for enforcement of fishing regulation?

Mr Dunne: As I mentioned earlier, the Royal Navy is undertaking a short-duration capability concept demonstrator, to inform the future concept of use for tactical maritime unmanned air systems. We are not intending to test a specific system, but a system will go through concept demonstration next year. The uses will be for the Royal Navy to decide, if it decides to procure a system in due course.

I think I have addressed the specific questions that the hon. Member for Birmingham, Edgbaston put to me.

Ms Gisela Stuart rose—

Mr Dunne: I will give the hon. Lady the opportunity to ask one more question.

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Ms Stuart: Clearly we intend to keep the chain of command within a purely military concept, but some of our very close allies do not. Do we have difficulties working with other Governments whose chain of command is not purely military?

Mr Dunne: As I have explained a couple of times, we are at present using RPAS on operations in Afghanistan, and at present we have no other operational use in mind for UK assets beyond Afghanistan. I think that is as far as I can go on that matter at the moment.

I will pick up on some of the comments made by the hon. Member for North Durham. I am grateful for his support for the continued use of unmanned aircraft systems. I am glad that he referred to the joint doctrine document, because it begins to set out some of the issues that are of concern. However, I do not accept the need to undertake a codification of separate rules for RPAS. As I have already mentioned, and as the hon. Gentleman acknowledges, all aircraft operators must follow national and international laws, together with the rules of engagement. Those rules are the same whether an air, sea or land-based platform is being used. Similarly, we have well-established command, control and supervisory frameworks for all our operational assets, so we do not believe at this point that additional measures are needed for RPAS. I will just pick up on the thrust of why I think he was suggesting that we need to take the public with us in our use of RPAS, which is something that I agree with. There is a greater role to be played by politicians and the military in explaining to the public the utility of unmanned systems from a military perspective, from the safety perspective of our own personnel, which is obviously vital, and in minimising the risk of collateral damage when weaponised systems are used. As a Government, we need to do more, and I welcome the help of the hon. Gentleman in advocating the use of such systems to the public at large.

Mr Kevan Jones: My hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Edgbaston said that we have to bring the public with us. The Americans are already looking at codification. Would it not be a help to the MOD in getting the arguments across? I accept that an anorak like me reads those documents, but the average person in the street does not. If we had a clearly laid out code, it would give reassurance to individuals who are rightly worried that this new technology is not under any type of control; that is not the case, so it will at least give them some reassurance.

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Mr Dunne: The difficulty with a code is how it is differentiated from rules of engagement. For the reasons I have explained, we do not wish to publish specific rules of engagement, so having a code would head us down a direction of potentially having to publish more about our operational use than would be safe for us to do.

We already have procedures in place for the oversight of all the military capabilities that we have deployed, and the National Security Council will consider whether forces should be deployed in the future. It operates with the benefit of the NSDR and NSDA, to use military acronyms—

Mr Kevan Jones: The Minister has been captured already.

Mr Dunne: I am in danger of falling into a trap that I should not have set myself.

Finally, RPAS is not shielded in secrecy, which was the expression used in the article in The Times that was referred to earlier in the debate. During the last few weeks, months and years, we have released significant details about our use of RPAS, but our use of RPAS should not be confused with general MOD policy on safeguarding information relevant to targeting and intelligence. I hope that, on reflection, the hon. Gentleman will recognise that that is an overriding requirement and puts to rest the need for any potential confusion with a system of codification, rules of engagement or secrecy over the matter.

Let me finish by restating that the UK complies fully with its obligations under international law, as set out in article 36 of additional protocol 1 to the Geneva conventions, to review all new weapons, and means and methods of warfare. That process applies to unmanned capabilities as well as to other manned weapons systems.

I welcome the opportunity presented by the hon. Member for Birmingham, Edgbaston to put on the record once again the Government’s clear view of the benefits of RPAS in minimising the risk to civilians, as well as to our own service personnel and other coalition forces. RPAS provide vital intelligence to our forces on the ground and I can only see their importance increasing, as part of our overall service capability.

Mr Edward Leigh (in the Chair): Order.

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Health Services (Cornwall)

4 pm

Andrew George (St Ives) (LD): I am delighted to have secured this debate on health services, which are important in Cornwall—and, I am sure, in the rest of the world as well.

The national health service was created in 1948. It looks forward to its 65th birthday while facing the biggest challenges in its history, and nowhere more so than in Cornwall and on the Isles of Scilly. The previous Labour Government set a demanding target of £20 billion efficiency gain by 2015, something not advanced for any other health system on the planet, and the present Government have introduced the biggest reorganisation since the NHS was created.

As the Minister knows, I have argued, and voted, against the Government on what is now the Health and Social Care Act 2012. However, we must face up to what the Government have done, to ensure that, irrespective of the wisdom or otherwise of the policies, the Act does not undermine our vital local health services in Cornwall and on the Isles of Scilly.

Along with the significant financial challenges, which are a great deal more significant in Cornwall and on the Isles of Scilly than in the rest of the country, I hope to raise some of the many other challenges that the local NHS faces, including the consequences of the loss of the helicopter service to the Isles of Scilly.

I want to mention the important campaign that Sandra Cousins, one of my constituents, launched a year ago, following the tragic death of her daughter Mercedes Curnow, which led to the setting-up of the Mercedes Curnow Foundation. Mercedes died on 14 December 2011, aged 23. She and her mother had sought to highlight the need to strengthen the systems for detecting and treating cervical cancer in young women—particularly those under 25, who are denied screening in many circumstances.

There are many other issues. Nationwide, there needs to be a greater emphasis on registered nurse-to-patient ratios in some acute settings, and the need in Cornwall is significant. There is the risk of regional pay, the need to ensure adequate community hospital beds and primary care services, and the public health agenda, which must ensure adequate levels of NHS dentistry. That might be far too many issues to fit into the limited time available.

I am very reassured that highly professional and dedicated clinicians are already working hard to ensure that our local health services are the best they can be in the circumstances. In 2013, the new service in Cornwall will, as in the rest of the country, be largely led by local general practitioners. I am delighted that the shadow Kernow clinical commissioning group—“Kernow” is Cornish for Cornwall—chaired by Dr Colin Philip, was only this afternoon authorised by the NHS Commissioning Board to be responsible for the £700 million for commissioning health services across Cornwall.

The group is very open to working with the local community in ways that are extremely encouraging. For example, the Cornish campaign group 38 Degrees is already working with the group and suggesting amendments to its constitution to ensure that local health services are protected in ways that any local community would wish

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them to be protected. It is well on the way to creating new structures, challenging as they are, that will shape how the NHS operates in Cornwall.

A big challenge nationally is to ensure that the NHS really effectively puts patients before profit. The previous Government rolled out the red carpet for private health companies in Cornwall, as elsewhere, and gave them opportunities to profit their shareholders by delivering some of the less challenging elements of NHS work. I have questioned the basis on which tariffs will be awarded for procedures. After I raised questions with him about the risk of cherry-picking, the new Secretary of State told me, in a letter dated 30 October 2012:

“Under these new rules, commissioners should adjust the tariff price if a provider limits the type of patients it treats…resulting in lower costs than the average of the tariff category. As a result, providers undertaking only the more simple interventions—for example, because they do not have the proper facilities to handle more complex cases—would be paid a suitably lower price.”

That is certainly the case in Cornwall, where a number of private providers deal with some of the easier and less complex cases—for example, patients without anaesthetic risk and those without co-morbidities. If those providers are offered a lower tariff price the question that needs to be asked is whether that might have the unintended consequence of commissioners driving patients into the arms of the private providers that cannot provide the range of services that the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust, for example, excellently provides for our local community.

There is also fragmentation, which although a nationwide issue is a particular risk in a peninsula that depends on core services and has no alternatives. Although patient choice might well apply, and is welcome as a luxury beyond the core services, the risk is, of course, that it will not necessarily help services if it results in their fragmentation.

On the role of the private sector, my hon. Friend the Member for Truro and Falmouth (Sarah Newton) and I have raised concerns with the Care Quality Commission about what we detected had been going on with the out-of-hours GP service in Cornwall. The CQC, in its report in July, found—as the Minister will know because of the significant national ramifications—that there had been some manipulation of some of the data records, and inadequate staffing. The primary care trust, in its report on 20 September 2012, identified that it had deliberately altered data 250 times between January and June this year, which had the effect of inflating its published response times. That is not particularly encouraging. The problem is that in a very competitive environment there is an increased risk that that might happen.

Cornwall must ensure that it gets a fair share of the cake. Our allocation is significantly less than what the Government say we deserve—their stated target—and they should take account of the underfunding we have had in recent years. For example, between 2006 and 2012 Cornwall has received £201 million less than its target. That is a significant amount, and I would be surprised if anywhere else in the country had been allocated so much less than what the Government said it should get. This year, 61 primary care trusts will receive a total of £1.3 billion over target, while 88 PCTs, one of which is Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, will receive £1.3 billion below target.

Added to that, Cornwall receives less money for each medical procedure within a national tariff, using the market forces factor framework as the index. The Royal

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Cornwall Hospitals Trust receives the lowest payment of any acute trust in the country. It inherited debts from troubles that originated in 2006-07, which rose to £46 million in 2008-09. Although repayments have reduced the debt to £22 million, it will be passed on to the new quasi-independent foundation trust, which we hope will be established next year.

Although we have had disappointing responses from Ministers so far, my hon. Friends the Members for Truro and Falmouth and for North Cornwall (Dan Rogerson) and I are still arguing that the debt should be written off to give that foundation trust a clean slate on which to begin its work next year.

I entirely support and thoroughly endorse the trust’s response to the latest revelations with regard to concern in the obstetrics and gynaecology department. I make it clear, so that there is no equivocation or uncertainty, that I entirely endorse the actions the trust has taken with the external review, and we hope that that will be brought to a conclusion as soon as possible. The trust is certainly doing all it can to reassure patients in Cornwall. The trust has high standards, and we entirely support the work it is doing. We hope that patients who may be concerned will contact the trust.

Sandra Cousins of the Mercedes Curnow Foundation has been working tirelessly. Although I have written to Ministers on this issue over the past year and have received helpful and instructive replies, a large number of young women are still dying, unnecessarily in my view and certainly in the view of Sandra Cousins and her many supporters across the country.

Sandra is also concerned that, even where GPs are prepared to undertake a smear test—smear tests for young women under 25 have to be authorised by a doctor—laboratories, apparently, are not always following through by undertaking work on those tests. She argues that laboratories must accept and follow through the necessary tests. She draws a comparison with Australia, where the cervical screening limit is 18 and where, since 2009, the human papilloma virus vaccination has been available for those up to 26 years old, which is much higher than in this country. The mortality rate from cervical cancer in Australia is half the UK’s.

Sandra Cousins says:

“I also feel regarding the hpv vaccination that it should be done nationwide in schools. Cornwall is a prime example of low uptake of the vaccination, 49% compared to many counties that are 89%, because it is done at G.P. practice not in schools.”

She advances the case for schools, but she is also concerned about the 18 to 26-year-old cohort, because HPV vaccination ends at the age of 18 and there is no cervical screening for those under 25. Her daughter, of course, fell into that cohort, and I certainly believe she has a strong case for advancing the points that she is making.

Of 20 cervical smear and HPV tests that the Mercedes Curnow Foundation has funded, 18 were positive. Those women went on to have further investigations and treatment. Sandra Cousins cites other examples where that is an issue that needs to be addressed in more detail.

I have mentioned regional pay, and I am pleased that MPs across the south-west met the Under-Secretary of State for Health, my hon. Friend the Member for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich (Dr Poulter) last week. We

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were reassured by his response, and he will be writing to the south-west consortium. Indeed, those south-west MPs will be writing to the chief executives of the 19 trusts engaged in that consortium to encourage them to get back to national negotiation.

I urge the Government to consider nurse staffing levels. With all the stories about poor care and nursing in hospitals, few are prepared to consider the resources that are going into the hospital wards themselves. On many occasions, nurses are running around unable to fulfil all of their duties because there is an insufficient number of them on the ward. There are mandatory registered nurse-to-patient ratios in places such as Australia and they work well, with good outcomes.

The commercial helicopter service to the Isles of Scilly ceased just over a month ago, and it is already having an impact on services to my constituents on the Isles of Scilly. Blood samples and patients are unable to get over to the mainstream health services on the mainland, and I hope the Minister is prepared to look closely at that and perhaps work with the Department for Transport to help find a solution. Cross-departmental co-operation is required.

We have low levels of NHS dental provision in Cornwall, and I am concerned that the local authority might put the director of public health not on the chief officers board of the local authority, but under one of those senior officers. There are major concerns across Cornwall that Peninsula Community Health, the community interest company set up last year, is unable to provide the necessary staff to staff community hospital beds. It is important that we front-load community and primary care to get the balance right between those acute hospitals seeking to discharge patients earlier than they are able and avoiding unnecessary admissions to those hospitals.

I am sorry that I have gone on for a minute longer than I intended. There are many challenges, but the biggest that we face—I hope the Minister will take this on board—is Cornwall’s unfair funding deal: £200 million of missing money over the past six years alone.

4.16 pm

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (Anna Soubry): It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Leigh.

I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for St Ives (Andrew George) on securing this debate and on raising what can only be described as a rich pot-pourri of topics relating to the state of the health service in his county and to his constituents, whom he serves not only in St Ives and across Cornwall but on the Isles of Scilly.

I assure my hon. Friend that the total revenue allocated to NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly increased by 2.8% in 2012-13, which is entirely in line with the 2.8% overall increase nationally. That represents an additional £26 million to invest in front-line care in his local area. Indeed, the total budget for NHS Cornwall and Isles of Scilly is £941.8 million for 2012-13. On top of that, I am advised that the local NHS expects to achieve efficiencies of 4%, totalling £36 million, with those funds being made available to support improved services to patients in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

I understand that the independent Advisory Council on Resource Allocation has been developing a new allocations formula. I am told that allocations to clinical

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commissioning groups for 2013-14 will be announced by the NHS Commissioning Board later this month and that ACRA’s final recommendations are due to be published alongside those allocations.

It is not for me to say whether Cornwall should receive more or less money—it is difficult to think that Cornwall could possibly ever receive less—but if there are some inequities, I am sure my hon. Friend and his colleagues from the county will do their best, as they always do, to put forward those arguments with full force. I assure him that they will continue to be listened to.

Andrew George: The Government are clear that Cornwall receives less money than they say it should. I gave the figure earlier that Cornwall received more than £200 million less than the Government said it should.

Anna Soubry: Indeed, but it is for ACRA to come up with a new formula, and it is hoped that that can be advanced. The formula might, of course, be to the benefit of the county.

There is a rich number of topics to address, and it is difficult to know where to begin, but I will start by saying that I am disappointed that my hon. Friend chose to vote against the Government’s excellent NHS reforms. In his area, as he has already told us, the CCG was authorised yesterday. I will give some examples of how that movement of power and determination into the hands of front-line professionals will benefit his constituents.

The CCG has secured more than £500,000 from the Government’s dementia challenge fund to improve the lives of people in Cornwall living with dementia and their carers. The funding will be spent on improving dementia care in residential and nursing homes and in the community, and increasing peer support in communities and hospitals. Those are just some of the things that that successful application for £500,000 will achieve. The CCG is also investing £300,000 to expand the acute care at home programme. I have many other examples, including four services in Cornwall that have been expanded through the “any qualified provider” scheme: psychological therapies, back and neck pain treatments, adult hearing services and ultrasound and MRI diagnostic services. My hon. Friend raised concerns about the march of the private sector, but if there is such a march—I have no evidence of it—it would seem that in his county, it is by no means to be feared; indeed, it is to be welcomed.

My hon. Friend mentioned the loss of the helicopter from Penzance to the Isles of Scilly. I know that the service has ceased, and I understand the worry that that causes him and many of his constituents. I understand that the service previously fulfilled all non-emergency health transportation needs, but I am informed that emergency transport is usually carried out by RNAS Culdrose, so any interruption to routine travel affects only non-emergency appointments. The islands are also served by a passenger ferry, and the NHS has back-up arrangements in place to use a cargo ship if needed for medical samples.

In response to the ending of the helicopter service, I am told that the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company, which runs the fixed-wing aircraft Skybus and the passenger ferry Scillyonian—forgive me for not pronouncing it correctly—

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Andrew George: The Scillonian.

Anna Soubry: My hon. Friend knows it better than I. The company has enhanced its services to accommodate NHS needs, and has committed to purchasing a second aircraft to enable it to increase flights. I hope that those arrangements are of some assurance to him.

On registered nurse staff ratios and the skill mix, we know that patient care in the 21st century is different from what it used to be. Hospitals report that the type of demand that they face is changing. In particular, the average lengths of hospital stays are about one third shorter than they were 10 years ago. It is true that the number of nurses has been decreasing, but the total number of professionally qualified clinical staff in the NHS is rising.

Planning the number of nurses and the shape and size of the work force must be based on the needs of the people in our care. Services must be properly designed around the care and treatment that people need. Those decisions could result in a need for nursing numbers to change, but that must be based on properly redesigning services, not just on affordability. Changes must be decided at a local level, based on evidence that they will improve patient care. It is important to use this valuable staffing resource wisely, in properly constructed multi-professional teams with appropriately blended skills focused on the care and treatment needed by patients, families and communities.

The Government are committed to improving quality standards in the NHS. Our role is to clarify the standard of patient care demanded of the NHS through the mandate and to underpin it with robust external monitoring and validation by appropriate bodies. We are not here to impose management solutions.

Andrew George: I am interested in what the Minister says. However, is she saying that she and her fellow Ministers are content that registered nurse staffing levels are currently adequate in all settings within the NHS?

Anna Soubry: With great respect, I could not possibly say either yea or nay to that, because I do not know what they are, but I always look forward to the continuing representations made by hon. Members urging Ministers to raise or change the numbers.

I turn to the concerns expressed about the financial situation of the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust. I hope that those concerns will now be allayed; the trust is forecasting a surplus of £3.8 million for 2012-13, and is progressing well on its path to achieving foundation trust status. Yesterday, through a video link, I spoke to one of the trust’s officers, who told me with much encouragement about plans for the future of the hospital and said that the trust believes that it is now on top of its financial situation. By way of example, I asked specifically about the trust’s preparations for winter, as it looks like we are going to have one of the hardest winters in this country for a long time. I was heartened by not only the trust but the PCT and others to whom I spoke about the high level of preparedness in Cornwall and Devon, two counties that are used to unusual snaps of weather, quick changes and sudden emergencies. I was left with a feeling of great confidence that those two counties are

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doing everything that they should to be ready. For what it is worth in this short time, I urge all counties to be in as great shape as Cornwall and Devon are.

In my remaining few minutes, I will turn to one particular point. My hon. Friend may have raised others. If I have not answered them, I will write to him. He rightly talked about a foundation trust set up by one of his constituents in memory of another of his constituents. I did not catch their names, so if he will forgive me, I will not make a hash of them, as it is a serious matter and a young woman lost her life. I am told that 80% of eligible women in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly took part in the NHS cervical screening programme in the previous five years. That uptake has increased from the previous year and exceeds the percentage of women who took part nationally.

My hon. Friend’s point was about screening for women under the age of 25. He said that it concerns him, and asked why the age should not be reduced. In May 2009, the advisory committee on cervical screening reviewed the screening age specifically and considered all the latest available evidence on the risks and benefits of cervical screening in women aged between 20 and 24. The committee was unanimous in deciding that there was no reason to lower the age from 25, which happens to be in line with the World Health Organisation’s recommendations. The committee gave a number of reasons, which I cannot read out given the time available. I am more than happy to supply him with a list of those reasons.

That is not to say by any means that my hon. Friend and his constituents should cease their campaign to achieve better levels of screening and awareness among young women about the fact that cervical cancer can affect them even though they are young. I say that as the mother of two daughters, one aged 21 and one 22. It may be of some interest to him that by complete coincidence, I was stopped today by my hon. Friend the Member for Loughborough (Nicky Morgan), who approached me because she too, unfortunately, had a constituent under the age of 25 who died of cervical cancer. She raised the

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same issue with me. I gave her an undertaking that I am more than happy to meet with her and her constituents to discuss it further, and I extend that invitation to my hon. Friend the Member for St Ives and to his constituents who are campaigning. It may well be that the matter should be revisited. As I said, the advisory committee considered the issue in 2009. The technology may have changed—I know not—but it is certainly a matter that needs to be considered, and I am more than happy to meet hon. Members to talk about it and see whether anything can be done.

It would appear that I have dealt with all the items on my list of notes, and so—

Dan Rogerson (North Cornwall) (LD): I am absolutely delighted that the funding formula is being reviewed, but a crucial question for us in Cornwall, when the formula arrives at a solution saying how much Cornwall should get, is whether we actually get it. It has not necessarily been a problem with the formula; it is that we have never reached the existing formula. It is about renewed determination that there will be a road of travel.

Anna Soubry: With 50 seconds remaining, this is a perfect opportunity for any other Member to stand up and make exactly the same point. It is a good point, and it is about to be made again.

Sarah Newton (Truro and Falmouth) (Con): I am pleased that we have made a lot of progress through the coalition—the gap has decreased from minus 7 to minus 2 —but a great enough rate of change to get Cornwall up to where it should be within this Parliament is essential for the people of Cornwall.

Anna Soubry: I am grateful for my hon. Friend’s intervention. She makes a good point. Like others who have spoken in this short debate, she advances her county’s cause eloquently and undoubtedly with some merit. I cannot make any promises, but I can ensure on my return to the Department that the matter is raised yet again at the highest level so that we can see whether we can make some progress.

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Tackling Corruption

4.30 pm

Catherine McKinnell (Newcastle upon Tyne North) (Lab): It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Leigh.

Sunday 9 December marked the United Nation’s international anti-corruption day. This year, the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, called on us all to pledge to do our part by cracking down on corruption, shaming those who practise it and engendering a culture that values ethical behaviour. Those words are poignant when considering the general feeling in the public, who have been protesting about fairness and ethical behaviour, particularly among multinational corporations.

According to the Christian relief and development agency, Tearfund, corruption hits the poorest sectors of society the hardest. It reduces access to and quality of essential public services, such as education and health care, prevents resources from reaching their intended destinations, undermines trust and harms economic growth. In Africa alone, the cost of corruption has been estimated at nearly £100 billion a year, or £3,000 a second, representing 25% of the continent’s GDP.

Tackling corruption is particularly important to ensure that money, whether tax, investment or aid, is used for economic growth and to tackle poverty. For example, the 2009 extractive industries transparency initiative report showed that in Nigeria there was a discrepancy of $800 million—equivalent to the health budget—between what companies said they pay to the Government and what the Government said that they received. That Government are rightly working to recover that money.

As co-chair of the all-party parliamentary group on anti-corruption—my fellow co-chair, my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow Central (Anas Sarwar), is also in the Chamber—I say that we need much greater focus on this issue. The Prime Minister made it clear recently that, together, transparency and fighting corruption are part of

“‘the golden thread’ of conditions enabling open economies and open societies to thrive”.

He announced, rightly, that he is putting transparency at the heart of the G8. In addition, the UK Government have set themselves the ambitious target of becoming the most open, transparent Government in the world. We will hold the Prime Minister to that statement.

The Bribery Act 2010 is a strong piece of legislation. The Department for International Development, created by the previous Labour Government, came top in the recent ranking for aid transparency. The UK Government came third in the 2010 open budget index for transparency in budgeting. The UK is also showing strong leadership in pushing for effective transparency legislation in the European Union, so that oil, gas and mining companies publish what they pay to Governments. However, 2013 is an opportunity to continue this progress, because as chair of the G8 and co-chair of the Open Government Partnership, the UK has a unique opportunity to harness the energy and commitment of Governments, the private sector and citizens to ensure that resources are used to tackle poverty.

The UK Bribery Act has, in many ways, set the standard globally. Now, effective implementation of the Act requires sufficient resources for enforcement. The

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Serious Fraud Office is responsible for enforcing the new legislation, but its budget has been cut from £52 million in 2008, to approximately £33 million in 2012 and it is expected to be further reduced in forthcoming years, which is a huge worry. Without sufficient funding, the SFO will not be able to do its job of enforcement, however good the legislation may be. Given the importance of the issue at stake, I hope that the Minister will give assurances that the SFO will have sufficient funding to implement the Bribery Act effectively. What steps are the Government taking to ensure that that happens?

With at least 11 Departments and public bodies having the remit of tackling corruption, there is clearly a need for cross-departmental co-ordination and an overarching anti-corruption strategy. The Prime Minister’s commitment in June 2010 to make the then Secretary of State for Justice, now the Minister without Portfolio, the right hon. and learned Member for Rushcliffe (Mr Clarke), the Government’s anti-corruption champion was welcome. However, the role lacks clarity and after the summer’s reshuffle we heard little more about it. The all-party group recently wrote to the Prime Minister about that and, although it was reconfirmed that the right hon. and learned Member for Rushcliffe will remain anti-corruption champion, we have yet to see further details about the remit of the role or any cross-Government strategy to tackle corruption at home and overseas. Will the Minister confirm when further details of the role of anti-corruption champion will become available and when we can expect the production of a cross-departmental anti-corruption strategy?

Some 3.5 billion people live in countries rich in oil, gas and minerals. Revenue from those sectors is often one of the greatest sources of wealth generated within developing countries. In 2010, for example, exports of oil and minerals from Africa were estimated at $333 billion, nearly seven times the value of international aid to the continent, which is currently valued at $48 billion. However, such wealth provides little benefit to the people living there, especially the poor, in part due to lack of transparency.

The UK has shown leadership in Europe in pushing for strong EU transparency legislation, for oil, gas and mining companies to publish what they pay, and has received cross-party support in the UK. We in the all-party group wrote to the then Department for Business, Innovation and Skills Minister, the hon. Member for North Norfolk (Norman Lamb), to show our support for strong Government leadership in Europe on the matter. Nevertheless, more can be done. The recently passed US Dodd-Frank Act, together with the EU transparency legislation, will cover all extractive industry companies listed on the US and EU stock exchanges, including many from G8 and G20 countries, such as Australia, Canada, China and Brazil.

Anas Sarwar (Glasgow Central) (Lab): I congratulate my hon. Friend on securing this important debate. It is said that developing countries lose three times as much in tax revenues as they receive in aid. We need to rush this legislation through so that we can start developing such countries and they can start raising their own income to allow their economies to prosper.

Catherine McKinnell: That is the crux of the issue. The Government have rightly supported the previous Labour Government’s calls for committing 0.7% of our GDP in aid to developing countries, but until we get the

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international structures right—the transparency—to ensure that that money goes to the right people and is spent in the right places, and that countries are able to protect their own resources and tax revenues, we will not make the progress that we would like and aid will not have the greatest effect. To win the argument on many fronts, work must be done on the anti-corruption agenda and increased transparency to improve the efficacy of that aid, which we are rightly committed to as a country.

Much more can be done. The UK has been a leader in spearheading and supporting the extractive industries transparency initiative, a mechanism by which companies report the payments that they make to Governments, host Governments report their revenues, and any discrepancies can be resolved. That has led to large differences being identified between payments made and revenues reported and, as a result, money has been recovered, as shown in the Nigeria example that I mentioned. However, despite supporting the EITI, the UK is not yet one of its 36 current members; only one G20 country is. Although many warm noises are coming from the G8 and G20 Governments on the transparency agenda, it is questionable whether we can provide global leadership without putting our own houses in order. What plans do the UK Government have to use the G8 to encourage other rich countries to pass transparency laws and to reach global standards on transparency for oil, gas and mining companies? Is there an existing timetable that the Government are using to sign up to the EITI?

Open and transparent budget systems promote development by enabling citizens in developing countries to help their Governments to formulate budgets that reflect public priorities, to reduce money lost due to corruption, and to hold their Governments to account on spending. Such systems ensure the optimal use of resources gained from tax, aid and investment, which is even more vital now in times of austerity. For example, Mexico made details of agricultural subsidies to small farmers publicly available, showing a high concentration of recipients among the wealthiest 10% of farmers, who received nearly 20 times what the bottom 80% received. In 2007, under public pressure from the International Budget Partnership, the local non-governmental organisation Fundar, and Congress, maximum and minimum limits for farm subsidies were introduced and the recipient list was then cleaned up. In Uganda, public expenditure tracking surveys led to a reduction in leaked funds from 80% to 20% in five years, from 1995 to 2000, which was connected to Government grants for school fees. Many Governments, however, do not have transparent budgets, and nor do they allow citizen participation in the process. According to the 2010 open budget index, 74 out of the 94 countries surveyed failed to meet even the most basic standards of transparency and accountability. Only seven provided extensive information, of which the UK was one.

Clearly, much more needs to be done at an international level. The UK has an opportunity to make sure that that happens through its role as chair of the G8 and co-chair of the Open Government Partnership. The partnership, with 58 member countries, had its first steering group meeting under the UK chairmanship on 3 and 4 December, led by the Minister for the Cabinet Office. Countries have committed to publish data on Government spending

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in a way that the public can use, but the commitment is still limited and only includes the Executive’s budget proposal and audit report, while missing other key documents. Most importantly, the commitment does not require member Governments to develop practical ways of engaging their citizens and Parliaments in the process. As a result, the Open Government Partnership eligibility criteria need to be strengthened, so that countries show year-on-year progress and reach the highest standards of budget transparency, and to state clearly how citizens and parliamentarians can be involved in the budget process. For that to work, other key G8 and G20 countries need to commit to joining—fewer than half are currently members. Greater support is also needed to support civil society groups in using the information produced to hold their Governments to account. That could also be done, for example, through DFID programmes.

The process is comprehensive but crucial, and I will welcome further information regarding the Government’s plans to support its development in the years ahead as part of their wider anti-corruption strategy. A cross-governmental commitment to fighting corruption, throughout all Departments and across parties, is vital. I look forward to hearing the Minister’s response to the various questions and challenges that I have put to her today.

4.43 pm

The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office (Miss Chloe Smith): I thank the hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne North (Catherine McKinnell) for this important debate and for rightly celebrating international anti-corruption day, which fell on Sunday. We might be somewhat belated, but we are ensuring that we mark it in Parliament today.

Some interesting points have been made, which I will endeavour to answer as best I can. I will provide an update on the Government’s efforts to tackle international corruption, which, as the hon. Lady rightly said, have to go across Departments. I am sure that such efforts come with the strong good wishes of all parties. I also welcome the presence in the Chamber of the hon. Member for Glasgow Central (Anas Sarwar). He has not made a full speech today, but he is well known to the House as the co-chair of the all-party group on anti-corruption. He and the hon. Lady ought to be congratulated on their work on that agenda.

I will mirror many of the concerns that have been expressed this afternoon, and I lay out the reassurance that the Government are committed to tackling corruption at home and abroad. Corruption is a scourge that hurts individuals, businesses and social and economic development. Such injustice invariably hits the most vulnerable citizens the hardest, throughout the world, and it has a corrosive impact. Corruption can have a badly corroding effect not only on society, the rule of law and democracy but on the reputation of and trust in the state in general terms. In particular, if we look at people’s views of the ease and cost of doing business, the effect can be seen clearly in many places around the world.

The British Government’s view is that strong action to address corruption will help to move the vast resources involved to more productive ends. Instead of people’s resources being squandered to enable organised crime or to undermine the rule of law and those bonds of trust to which I referred, we seek for them to be used to support trade, commerce and growth.

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The UK has played a leading role in the international fight against corruption, and I wish to make a few points about that today. I also take the opportunity to welcome the correspondence that hon. Members have had with the Prime Minister on the role of the anti-corruption champion. Indeed, I have a copy of that correspondence with me.

I am delighted to have the full support of the Minister without Portfolio, my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Rushcliffe (Mr Clarke), as I address the issue today. I shall ensure that he hears the results of the debate, and I shall convey to him the points made by hon. Members in their desire for clarity on the breadth of his role and on his next steps.

I turn to what the UK is doing on the international stage. Over the past 20 years or so, there has clearly been progressive globalisation—not only of business but, crucially, of corruption. We must therefore internationalise the fight against corruption. The UK has taken part in the need for broader and more sophisticated legislation and co-ordination. The Bribery Act 2010 represents what many consider to be the most comprehensive anti-corruption legislation in the world, as I think the hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne North recognised. The Act clamps down on foreign as well as domestic bribery and addresses passive as well as active corruption. It acknowledges the international and multifaceted nature of the challenge, and I hope and believe that it will provide a template to many other legislatures around the world.

Some UK businesses might have been concerned when the 2010 Act came in so, as an aside, I reassure them that a legal system that provides a good reason not to pay bribes saves businesses money and protects their reputations. They could also point out any corruption with hope of redress if their competitors were not acting as honestly. Far from driving firms away, the Act ought to attract and to deliver something of an ethical premium in respect of doing business.

The UK has played a prominent role in co-ordinating international efforts. The hon. Lady mentioned the G20 anti-corruption working group, which the UK has co-chaired with Mexico and which has made progress on asset disclosure, mutual legal assistance and the denial of entry to corrupt public officials. The success of the group has been such that we have seen the bringing together of global expertise from civil society and, crucially, businesses.

Anas Sarwar: I agree with all the Minister’s comments so far, but can we tease out the details on what specific action the UK Government have taken, internationally or domestically, to clamp down on corruption?

Miss Smith: Without a doubt. I will carry right on and do exactly that, and I am happy to ensure that the hon. Gentleman has further information if I do not manage to cover everything in the time available.

The UK is the lead chair of the Open Government Partnership, an international initiative that has attracted 57 other countries since its launch, which is an accolade to the UK’s lead chairmanship. It allows us to help countries to build transparent governance structures which, because the battle is international, help the UK as well, demonstrating that transparency is a central plank of any effort.

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The UK fully recognises the importance of the longer-term agenda, and Ban Ki-moon spoke about the millennium development goals on Sunday. That is another important point to note in the record. There is

“a golden thread of development”

and we intend that to be a central tenet of our G8 presidency in 2013. The UK intends to champion an agenda of transparency and accountability by changing the nature of the debate on development and aid. The power of open economies, open Governments and open societies can deliver that growth and prosperity that we seek and, crucially, the bonds of trust.

The hon. Lady asked about the extractive industries. The UK is leading efforts in the UK to require oil, gas and mining companies to publish key financial information for each country and project that they work on. In many ways, the UK’s work on transparency paves the way for the G8, and this is my point in answer to the hon. Gentleman.

The Department for International Development has made great strides over the last couple of years, as hon. Members recognise. We are publishing data according to the international aid transparency initiative. Through those efforts we have been able to move in one year from fifth to first place in the Publish What You Fund aid transparency index. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will welcome that, and I know that both hon. Members will welcome the fact that the traceability of aid benefits those for whom the aid is intended. We all agree on that, and our constituents throughout the country want transparency of Governments and a reduction in waste, fraud, and corruption in the country’s aid budget.

Anas Sarwar: We want transparency in how aid is delivered, but one frustration for our constituents is that although they may believe in aid, they see corruption by Government officials coming the other way. We must reform our institutions here to ensure that we do not aid and abet corruption in other countries.

Miss Smith: The hon. Gentleman raises a wise point. If he will forgive me, I will allow a Minister from the Department for International Development to respond in more detail than I can today.

Let me turn to what we are doing on enforcement and what we are doing in the UK, because both are vital. We are playing a key role in the tracing, seizing, recovering and return of illicit assets. That is important, and in September the Prime Minister launched a taskforce to work with the Egyptian Government to gather evidence on stolen money, for example. That builds on the work of two police units that DFID has funded in that arena.

Effective enforcement is central and essential in the trustworthiness of the whole process. Laws mean very little if they are not enforced by every official who might come into contact with the process. The UK targets foreign and corrupt officials who launder the proceeds of corruption and bribery through our country, and I will give an example. James Ibori, the former Governor of Delta state in Nigeria, became one of its richest men by embezzlement. Following a British police investigation, he was sentenced to 13 years in jail, which sends a clear message to those who might seek to use the UK as a refuge for criminal acts.

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In addition, the UK operates a comprehensive anti-money laundering framework which, in accordance with the revised international standards of the Financial Action Task Force, helps us to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.

Catherine McKinnell: Will the Minister clarify that the action that she is outlining and has given examples of is pursued under the Bribery Act 2010 and through the Serious Fraud Office? If so, will she clarify the SFO’s funding situation, and whether it has sufficient resources properly to tackle corruption on an international scale, an example of which she has given?

Miss Smith: I am conscious that the hon. Lady asked that question earlier, and perhaps I can return to it. I have just mentioned one case, and I can furnish plenty more than what I have been able to give on my feet this afternoon. She will appreciate from her role on the Front Bench that it will be hard for me to pre-empt future spending decisions, but we are putting a serious focus on the new UK National Crime Agency, which I am about to come on to. I hope that she will find reassurance in that.

As well as telling other countries to put their houses in order, the UK must put its house in order. We should not be complacent. According to Transparency International’s work, we are perceived to be less vulnerable to corruption than some of our friends, such as the US, France and Ireland, but we remain behind other counterparts with whom we might seek to compete. We have subjected and continue to subject our domestic systems to peer review by the OECD, the UN convention against corruption and the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption experts.

We are already working across Departments and law enforcement and prosecution agencies to see how we can make it easier for UK residents and businesses to identify, prevent and report bribery and corruption. We need to improve the intelligence picture through a more joined-up and co-ordinated approach that gives us a clearer picture of the true nature and scale of domestic bribery and corruption. We can then use that to support a stronger law enforcement response.

From next year, the new UK National Crime Agency will have a part to play, and while the details are being developed, it will seek to reduce the threat from corruption and bribery within the UK and internationally.

Anas Sarwar: The Minister is being generous in giving way, and I thank her for that. What role will institutions play as part of that framework? Clearly, our banks, whether consciously or subconsciously, are being used to funnel corrupt money through our institutions. Will they play a role in that framework?

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Miss Smith: I see the force of the hon. Gentleman’s argument. If he will allow me, I will ensure that in due course he receives a fuller answer than I can give him in the three minutes remaining.

I want to add to some points about what has just been announced in the autumn statement. The Government have reinvested more than £900 million in HMRC to tackle evasion, unpaid tax debts and avoidance. That allocation of extra resources to HMRC during this spending review period will add a real element to what we have discussed today. Our serious compliance activity shows that the Government are committed to clamping down on tax avoidance wherever it is identified, and that is an important plank in what we are talking about in the most general terms and in preventing corruption.

The autumn statement announced the closure with immediate effect of some newly identified loopholes that were being exploited, and that will protect hundreds of millions of pounds for the UK. It also announced the introduction of the UK’s first general anti-abuse rule, which provides a significant new deterrent to abusive avoidance schemes and strengthens HMRC’s means of tackling them wherever they persist. Finally, we are cracking down on the marketing of tax avoidance schemes through proposals to introduce new information disclosure measures.

Catherine McKinnell: The Minister is aware that very little time is left for this debate. Apart from the measures that she has just outlined on activities at HMRC, she has not told us whether there is a cross-departmental anti-corruption strategy, or whether one is likely to be published. That would be useful information to have before we run out of time in this debate.

Miss Smith: I endeavoured to address that in my opening words. As the hon. Lady and the hon. Gentleman know, my right hon. and learned Friend the Minister without Portfolio is delighted to continue to be the anti-corruption champion; there has been no change in that respect following the ministerial reshuffle in September. It is with his full support that I am here today answering the hon. Lady’s questions.

It has been difficult to give a full overview of everything the Government are doing, but that is what I have endeavoured to do in this debate. I will convey to my right hon. and learned Friend her desire for a fuller response. I am sure that the all-party group’s work, which is supported across parties, will be well recognised, and I am sure that its desire for that strategy can be discussed in greater detail at a later date.

Question put and agreed to.

5 pm

Sitting adjourned.