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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Earl Howe): The Government have presented to Parliament today its White Paper, Development and Training for Civil Servants: a Framework for Action. Also, copies of tables detailing progress in the Civil Service towards gaining Investors in People status have been placed in the Libraries of the House.
The Government place great importance on increasing the skills of the UK workforce in order to meet the challenges set out in the recent Competitiveness White Paper (Cm 3300). The Civil Service has a vital role to play in delivering national competitiveness. This White Paper published today sets out a framework for achieving this necessary step change in training and development in the Civil Service.
The proposals in the White Paper will strengthen the Civil Service and will give greater opportunities to individual civil servants. This White Paper is an important step in ensuring that the Civil Service is fully equipped to face the challenges of the future.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Transport (Viscount Goschen): The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, as part of their Local Plan for Priority (Red) Routes, have proposed the introduction of traffic signals at the currently uncontrolled junction of Lots Road with A3220 Cremorne Road, a red route. The Local Plan has been approved by the Traffic Director for London (appointed by the Secretary of State for Transport), who is responsible for co-ordinating the introduction of the red route network.
As you know, the Secretary of State for Transport has asked me to reply to your recent parliamentary Question asking about the expected opening date of the M.5 Interchange and whether the contractors will face any penalties for the delay.
There have been delays during construction of M.4 and M.49 caused by exceptionally wet weather, late diversion of services and some design changes. In order that work could be concentrated on M.4 to enable it to be ready for the opening of the Second Severn Crossing on 5th June, the completion date for M.49 was extended. The current contract completion date is 22nd July.
We will need to consider where the responsibility for the delay lies and I am sure you will appreciate that I cannot comment at this stage for fear of prejudicing our position. However, there are penalty clauses in the contract and these will be applied, if appropriate.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of National Heritage (Lord Inglewood): The Broadcasting Act 1990 already disqualifies bodies having political connections from holding broadcasting licences. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State announced on 25th March that the Government intended to introduce amendments to the Broadcasting Bill which would reinforce the duty and powers of the broadcasting regulators to satisfy themselves that organisations applying for licences had no political objectives. These amendments, which were accepted in Committee in another place on 13th June, in addition create a new offence of providing false information in relation to a licence application, and provide a power to suspend satellite broadcasting licences where programmes contain material likely to encourage or incite to crime or to lead to disorder.
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