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Written Ministerial Statements

Monday 28 January 2013

Attorney-General

Code for Crown Prosecutors

The Attorney-General (Mr Dominic Grieve): On behalf of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, I am today depositing in the Libraries of both Houses an updated version of the Code for Crown Prosecutors. The code sets out how prosecutors working in the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) make decisions and is supported by comprehensive legal guidance on a range of topics, further details of which are available on the CPS website at: www.cps.gov.uk.

The code was last revised in February 2010 and has been updated following consultation to provide more focused and streamlined guidance for prosecutors. In this latest version, the evidential stage of the full code test remains much as before; however the code no longer lists the public interest factors tending in favour and against prosecution. Instead prosecutors are provided with questions to address to assist them in identifying the public interest factors relevant to the case. The revised code also highlights the need to consider proportionality at the public interest stage.

The code is published to provide transparency to the decisions taken by prosecutors. To ensure the code’s accessibility, it will be published in audio and Braille as well as in English, Welsh, and other languages. Copies of the “Code for Crown Prosecutors” will be available on the CPS website.

Transport

High Speed Rail

The Secretary of State for Transport (Mr Patrick McLoughlin): High Speed 2 is the engine for growth that Britain needs to compete and succeed in the global economy. It will generate jobs, rebalance the economy and secure the country’s future prosperity.

In January 2012, the Government announced the HS2 route that will link London and Birmingham, known as phase 1, following a thorough consultation. Today, I am publishing my initial preferred route, station and depot options for phase 2 linking Birmingham with Manchester, the East Midlands, Sheffield and Leeds.

There will be a comprehensive programme of engagement on all aspects of phase 2 and a public consultation, planned originally for 2014, has been brought forward to begin ahead of schedule this year.

A Command Paper published this morning. “High Speed Rail: investing in Britain’s future phase two—the route to Leeds, Manchester and beyond”, details the Government’s preferred route for 211 miles of new track and stations in the following locations:

Manchester (alongside the existing city centre terminal at Manchester Piccadilly).

Manchester Airport (linked directly to Manchester Airport’s three terminals).

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Leeds (in the South Bank area of the city centre).

South Yorkshire (at Sheffield Meadowhall, alongside the M1).

East Midlands (between Nottingham and Derby at Toton, alongside the M1).

In addition, Crewe will be connected directly with the high speed line via a dedicated link. HS2 will be integrated with the existing national railway network allowing cities and towns in England and Scotland beyond the high speed tracks—including Liverpool, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle, York, Preston, Warrington, Lancaster, Carlisle, Durham and Darlington—to benefit also from new connections and dramatic time savings thanks to trains able to use both conventional and high speed railway lines.

HS2 means our railway network will have the capacity to cope with ever increasing numbers of passengers and free up space on existing rail lines for more commuter, rural and freight services, meaning fewer cars and lorries on our roads.

We will deliver a fair deal for people whose homes, land or businesses will be affected by construction by continuing to offer a generous compensation package and investing millions in tunnels and other mitigation measures. That is why we are also launching today a public consultation on an exceptional hardship scheme to assist property owners and compensate people fairly. This is an interim scheme; longer-term compensation proposals will be developed in the future as they have been for phase 1.

Construction on HS2 will begin in four years and phase 1 will open to passengers in 13 years. Phase 2 will open six years after that.

A series of supporting documents setting out in detail the Department for Transport’s phase 2 proposals are available on: https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/ developing-a-new-high-speed-rail-network.

Work and Pensions

Work Capability Assessment (Cancer Treatment)

The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Mr Mark Hoban): Today we are implementing further changes to the Work Capability Assessment to improve the way in which it assesses the effect of cancer treatment.

Following extensive work with Professor Harrington, Macmillan Cancer Support, the Royal College of Radiologists and others we are now further improving the way we assess cancer patients.

The resulting changes will mean that hundreds more people who are awaiting, receiving, or recovering from any form of chemotherapy or radiotherapy for cancer will be placed in the support group for employment and support allowance where they will get the support they need while unable to work.

We strongly support the principle of the Work Capability Assessment and are committed to continuously improving the assessment process to ensure it is as fair and as accurate as possible. As part of the programme of continuous improvement of the Work Capability Assessment, today we are also making a number of amendments to the assessment and to the description of certain activities and descriptors. These changes do not represent changes in policy. Rather they are intended to clarify areas which are open to misunderstanding. They will make the process easier to understand for claimants and assessors.