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Written Statements

Tuesday 24 June 2014

Culture, Media and Sport

Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Mr Edward Vaizey): A meeting of the Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council was held in Brussels on 20 and 21 May. I represented the UK for the cultural and audiovisual section of the Council and Shan Morgan, the UK’s Deputy Permanent Representative, represented the UK for the sport section of the Council.

Culture and audiovisual

The Council was invited to adopt two Council decisions relating to the European capitals of culture action.

The first decision formally designated Leeuwarden in the Netherlands as European Capital of Culture for 2018. Leeuwarden was selected by a European panel of experts following a competitive selection process, and will hold the title in 2018 alongside Valletta, Malta, which was formally designated by the Council last year.

The second decision established a procedure for the Council to appoint three experts to the European selection and monitoring panel for the European Capitals of Culture 2020-33, as established by decision 445/2014/EU. According to that decision, the Council will be entitled to appoint three experts to the panel every three years. The procedure adopted provides for three member states whose cities are not subject to selection or monitoring during the relevant three-year period to be selected by ballot.

Those member states will then nominate one expert each, selected from a pool of suitable candidates maintained by the Commission, to be appointed by the Council.

The UK supported the adoption of both of these Council decisions.

The Council was also invited to adopt conclusions on cultural heritage as a strategic resource for a sustainable Europe. The proposed conclusions show that cultural heritage is well placed to deliver a wide range of benefits for society as a whole. These benefits are associated not only with economic growth but also with good quality environment, social well-being, intercultural dialogue, promotion of a sense of belonging to a community, and ultimately, with the building of a more cohesive Europe. The UK supported the adoption of these conclusions.

The Council held a policy debate on the future EU work plan for culture. The debate was based on a discussion paper circulated by the Greek presidency which invited member states to identify their priorities for the next work plan. In the debate France called for an EU cultural strategy to guide the adaptation of EU policies to the digital environment, including in competition, trade and taxation policies. This was supported by several member states who saw challenges for culture arising from digitisation and globalisation. Germany proposed a new working group to monitor and evaluate the impact on culture of policies and proposals in other areas, while Portugal and Spain called for greater co-operation and co-ordination between member states and at transnational level. Other key issues raised by

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member states included cultural diversity, cultural heritage, the role of culture in education, support for the creative industries, cultural statistics and access to culture. For the UK, I argued for further work on new sources of funding for culture and on data collection and evaluation to establish the added value of culture. Italy noted that it will take forward work on the new Work Plan for Culture during its forthcoming Presidency of the Council.

The Commission presented an update on the state of play in the negotiations for the transatlantic trade and investment partnership (TTIP) between the European Union and the United States of America.

The Commission regretted that audiovisual services had been excluded from the negotiating mandate but assured the Council that this exclusion had been respected during the negotiations. In the exchange of views which followed, a number of member states, including France, Germany and Belgium, underlined their support for the exclusion of audiovisual services from the mandate and pressed the Commission to ensure greater transparency in the negotiating process. I restated our position that the UK would have preferred to include audiovisual services in the mandate; and I expressed our support for the Commission in seeking to negotiate an agreement which will benefit the EU and its member states, contributing to economic growth and job creation.


The Council was invited to adopt conclusions on gender equality in sport. These conclusions recognise the important role that sport can play in terms of promoting equal opportunities and social inclusion. The UK supported the adoption of these conclusions.

The Council also adopted a resolution on an EU work plan for sport. The work plan sets out a programme of activity for the 2014-17 period and follows on from the current work plan for 2011-14 which is drawing to a close. The resolution identifies three priority areas for action: integrity of sport, in particular anti-doping, the fight against match-fixing, protection of minors, good governance and gender equality; the economic dimension of sport, in particular sustainable financing of sport, the legacy of major sport events, economic benefits of sport and innovation; and sport and society, in particular health-enhancing physical activity (HEPA), volunteering, employment in sport as well as education and training in sport. The UK supported the adoption of the resolution.

The Council held a policy debate on the economic, social and environmental sustainability of major sports events. The debate was introduced by a joint presentation by David Grevemberg, CEO, and Gordon Arthur, director of communications, of the Glasgow Commonwealth games 2014, who provided an overview of the key challenges and opportunities presented by the games. They highlighted the importance of ensuring that such events are inclusive and create social, economic and environmental benefits for local areas and communities.

In the debate several member states highlighted the difficulty of competing with larger economies for major sporting events and some proposed joint bids between European countries both to share costs and as a way of matching bids from larger countries. Several member states noted that the economic, social and environmental aspects had to be factored into the planning of major events from the outset in order to ensure a lasting legacy. The UK used the example of the London 2012

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Olympic and Paralympic games to demonstrate the significant impact and transformative effect which major sports events can have on local communities and on levels of participation in sport. The Commission noted that all major events should be certified as “green”; and that through co-operation with the sports movement, human rights abuses around such events needed to be addressed.

Other Business

The Commission presented its communication on European film in the digital era; and the presidency informed the Council about the World Anti-Doping Agency meeting which took place in Montreal on 17 and 18 May.

Finally, Italy informed the Council of the work programme and priorities for its forthcoming Presidency of the Council. For culture and audiovisual, this will focus on the preparation of the next work plan for culture, as well as on the role of cultural heritage and digitisation. For sport it will focus on the role of sport in promoting economic growth.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Conflict Resources

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr William Hague): Together with my right hon. Friends the Secretary of State for International Development and the Secretary of State for Defence, I

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wish to update the House about our plans for funding conflict prevention, stabilisation and peacekeeping activities through the conflict resources settlement for the financial year 2014-15. Our written ministerial statement of 13 June 2013,

Official Report

, column 14WS, provided details of indicative planned allocations for financial year 2014-15, covering both the conflict pool and the peacekeeping budget. This statement updates the House on adjustments made to these planned allocations.

We have now reviewed conflict pool allocations for financial year 2014-15. This funding will continue to be spent within the strategic direction set by the building stability overseas strategy (BSOS) and remains an important priority for the Government. It is central to our national interests to enhance stability by supporting the development of societies with strong and legitimate institutions which can manage tensions peacefully.

The size of the overall settlement increases to £683 million in financial year 2014-15, with the peacekeeping budget continuing to have first call on available resources. Taking into account trends in peacekeeping demands and the recent significant savings we secured at the UN, in particular in the tri-annual negotiations on the scale of contributions, £444 million has been set aside for the peacekeeping budget, comprising £70 million of official development assistance (ODA) drawn from the conflict pool and £374 million non-ODA funding from the Treasury reserve. We have therefore been able to allocate £239 million to the conflict pool. This represents an increase of £10 million over last year’s allocation.

Table 1: SR10 Total Conflict Resources (£ million)
YearFinancial Year 2011-12Financial Year 2012-13Financial Year 2013-14Financial Year 2014-15

Total allocation





Peacekeeping agreed claim on Treasury





Peacekeeping ODA top up from pool





Conflict pool





The table below shows confirmed conflict pool allocations for individual programmes for financial year 2014-15 with allocations for financial year 2013-14 by comparison. These allocations may change during the course of 2014-15 to reflect changing priorities or to enable the Government to respond more effectively to new cases of conflict and instability.

Table 2: Conflict Pool Allocations
ProgrammeFinancial Year 2013-14 Allocation(£m)Financial Year Allocation 2014-15 (£m)







Middle East and North Africa (MENA)



South Asia



Strengthening Alliances and Partnerships (SAP)



Wider Europe



Stabilisation Unit



Early Action Facility (EAF)






*£5 million has been pre-committed from the £20 million EAF to the MENA programme ** Includes over commitment of available resources by £3.3 million

The middle east and north Africa programme (MENA) will be increased substantially to provide additional resources for the crises in Syria and Libya as well as their regional consequences. We will continue our commitments to Lebanon, the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Yemen, Bahrain, Egypt, Tunisia and Iraq. The MENA programme is now the largest in the conflict pool, reflecting the importance of improved stability in the region to UK national interests.

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There will also be an increased allocation for the Africa programme. This reflects our continued commitment to security, stabilisation and the political process in Somalia, increased resources for additional work in Nigeria and in the Sahel region, and continuing commitments in north and South Sudan, Zimbabwe, east and central Africa, and with the African Union.

Funding for Afghanistan remains significant but continues on a downward trend reflecting the planned conclusion of conflict pool-funded stabilisation activities in Helmand and other changes in the UK’s approach ahead of transition later this year. Of note, under the conflict, stability and security fund (CSSF), which will replace the conflict resources settlement in financial year 2015-16, we will provide £70 million per annum to support development of the Afghan national security forces (ANSF).

The south Asia programme will continue to focus on Pakistan, including work with civil society and in the border areas with Afghanistan. The programme will continue other regional commitments including on relations between India and Pakistan and in Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

The wider Europe programme will continue to cover the costs of UK personnel in the UN peacekeeping mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP), our commitments to EU peacekeeping and security sector reform missions in the western Balkans, and civil society work in central Asia and the Caucasus.

The thematic strengthening alliances and partnerships programme will receive an increased allocation to support UN work on peacekeeping and protection issues, for defence leadership and for activity in support of the ending sexual violence initiative (ESVI).

The conflict pool will continue to provide funding for the tri-departmental stabilisation unit, which plays an active role in supporting conflict pool delivery.

£20 million of conflict pool funding will again be provided for an early action facility (EAF) to respond to unforeseen demands and new opportunities. In financial year 2013-14 the EAF was used for work in Syria and Lebanon, Central African Republic and Ukraine. For financial year 2014-15 we are pre-committing £5 million of funding to the MENA programme to help avoid the disruption of planned programming in other regions.

Financial year 2014-15 will be the final year of the tri-departmental conflict pool in its current form. An evaluation of the conflict pool’s impact during the course of this spending review period will be carried out at the end of financial year 2014-15 and will be communicated to the House. A new £1 billion conflict, stability and security fund (CSSF) will be established in financial year 2015-16 and will build on the existing conflict pool to help prevent conflict and tackle threats to UK interests arising from instability overseas. The CSSF will be governed by the National Security Council, with a more strategic cross-government approach that will draw on the most effective combination of defence, diplomacy, development assistance, security and intelligence capabilities. These are all at the heart of the Prime Minister’s “golden thread” theory of development and can play a vital role in tacking the complex causes and impacts of conflict and instability, as set out in the national security strategy.

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Safety, Transparency and Openness in the NHS

The Secretary of State for Health (Mr Jeremy Hunt): Today I am announcing a package of measures to boost safety, transparency and openness in the NHS.

In March, I announced a new ambition to reduce avoidable harm in health care by half, thereby saving 6,000 lives. A new campaign—“Sign Up to Safety”—will be launched today to help achieve this ambition. The campaign will call for everyone working in the NHS to listen to patients, carers and staff, learn from what they say when things go wrong and take action to improve patient safety. Every health care organisation will be formally invited to sign up to the campaign and commit to delivering a safety plan that will contribute to the new ambition. The safety plans will be reviewed by the NHS Litigation Authority, and if the plans are robust and will reduce claims, trusts will receive a financial incentive from the NHS Litigation Authority to support implementation of their plans. This is just one way that we can tackle some of the financial costs of poor care.

In the Government’s response to Sir Robert Francis QC’s “Public Inquiry into Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust”, we pledged to create a hospital safety website for the public. As of today, NHS Choices will provide key hospital-level patient safety data in one place which means the public can see how hospitals compare in terms of safety across seven key indicators—including reporting culture, hospital infections and cleanliness, response to patient safety alerts and health care staff recommendations to their friends and families about the organisation they work in. In our response, the Government also said that hospitals needed to be more transparent about staffing levels, and for the first time the new hospital safety website will tell the public whether a hospital has achieved its planned levels for nursing hours.

Finally, I am announcing an independent review into creating an open and honest reporting culture in the NHS chaired by Sir Robert Francis QC, who chaired the landmark inquiry into the poor standards of care in Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust. The review is being established to provide independent advice and recommendations on measures to ensure that NHS workers can raise concerns with confidence that they will be acted upon, that they will not suffer detriment as a result and to ensure that where NHS whistleblowers are mistreated there are appropriate remedies for staff and accountability for those mistreating them. The review will consider the merits and practicalities of independent mediation and appeal mechanisms to resolve disputes on whistleblowing fairly. It will do this by listening to and learning the lessons from historic cases where NHS whistleblowers say they have been mistreated after raising their concerns and by seeking out best practice.

The safety campaign that we are launching today, together with what is now an unprecedented and world-leading level of transparency and openness, will help to create the right conditions needed to harness the commitment of everyone in the NHS to deliver the best and safest possible care.

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Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority Committee

IPSA's Estimate (2014-15)

Mr Charles Walker (Broxbourne) (Representing the Speaker’s Committee for the IPSA): The Speaker’s Committee for the IPSA is established under the

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Parliamentary Standards Act 2009. Under statute it must review IPSA’s estimate before it is laid before the House and decide whether it is satisfied that the estimate is consistent with the efficient and cost-effective discharge by the IPSA of its functions.

The Committee has approved IPSA’s draft estimate for 2014-15 without modification, in line with the advice provided to it under statute by HM Treasury.