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England will receive a total of €4.2 billion1 or€91 per capita in competitiveness funding. Within England, the funds will be focused on the six underperforming regions, which will receive €121 per capita on average, or 73 per cent of England's share of the funds. The richer English regions will receive lower allocations, reflecting their stronger economic position, but allowing them to tackle pockets of deprivation. For example, the three regions of the greater south-east will receive on average €54 per capita. Cornwall will also receive €579 million of convergence funding, agreed at the EU level.
Scotland will receive a total of €573 million or €122 per capita in competitiveness funding for 2007-13. It will also receive €157 million in phasing-out convergence funding for the Highlands and Islands. Wales will receive a total of €121 million or €114 per capita in competitiveness funding for 2007-13. It will also receive €1.8 billion in convergence funding for west Wales and the valleys. Northern Ireland will receive a total of €419 million or €248 per capita in competitiveness funding for 2007-13.
The new arrangements for distributing competitiveness funding are a radical departure from the approach used in 2000-06. We now have the opportunity to put in place an objective methodology based on sound economic criteria. The change to a new system inevitably modifies each region's proportion of the funds in comparison with the current period. However, the use of a cap and safety net limits the change in each region's proportion of receipts, ensuring that no region faces a much steeper cliff-edge than others, and facilitating the transition from higher levels of funding in the current period.
The response to the consultation explains in more detail the Government's methodologies for allocating the funding. The indicative allocations for each of the UK's competitiveness programmes are set out in an annexe to the national framework. The European Commission must agree the allocations under the new structural funds regulations.
Finally, the response to the consultation and the national framework set out the broad arrangements for delivering the funds in the 2007-13 period. In England, the RDAs will take a leading role in delivering regional ERDF programmes, working in partnership with local stakeholders. Meanwhile, the regional skills partnerships will play an active role in setting strategies for ESF spending in the English regions within the context of a national English ESF programme. In this way, the two funds, while separate, can be more easily aligned to meet defined local and regional needs.
1 All allocations are in 2004 prices and are total allocations for the 2007-13 period. These allocations will be uprated in due course to current prices for each year of the 2007-13 programming period.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Margaret Beckett) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
The honourable Member for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk (Michael Moore) has replaced the right honourable and learned Member for North East Fife (Sir Menzies Campbell) as a member of the United Kingdom delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.
In June 2006, the NHS institute published the Delivery Quality and Value document, which showed how improving NHS productivity could deliver better patient care and resources for the NHS. The indicators present the performance of acute hospital trusts and primary care trusts against specific indicators in April to June 2006. The institute will publish these data on a quarterly basis.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): My honourable friend the Minister of State for Pensions Reform (James Purnell) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
In the 2002 Pensions Green Paper, Simplicity, Security and Choice: working and saving for retirement, the Government announced their intention to introduce a web-based retirement planner. The service, targeted at those people on low to medium incomes who do not readily have access to financial advice, was intended to inform planning and saving for retirement. The first element of the service, the provision of online state pension forecasts, was delivered, on schedule, in 2004. The remaining elements of the service were due for delivery in 2006.
Earlier this year, the Government proposed fundamental reforms in our White Paper, Security in Retirement, to both the state and private pension systems. In the light of these proposals and their inevitable impact on future pension provision, we carried out a detailed evaluation of whether the planner, as developed, could provide people with accurate information during this period of reform. The evaluation determined that delivering accurate online information about state pensions would become increasingly difficult given the uncertainty about the exact shape of future pension provision. This would also add considerable further cost and complexity. We have therefore decided to suspend further development of the web-based planner.
We remain committed to the principle of providing people with information to support retirement planning but are clear that this now needs to be set in the context of the wider White Paper developments.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Joan Ryan) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
The Home Office published a consultation document on 23 October to seek views on its proposals for an overhaul of the way in which government-funded refugee integration services are delivered. The proposals centre on the establishment of a core set of services to be made available to refugees across England (it will be for the devolved Administrations to decide on the case for analogous changes for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland). The proposals move considerably beyond those set out in the current national integration strategy, Integration Matters, and the Government will issue a revised policy statement on the future of refugee integration services as an outcome of the consultation process. The Government have invited comments on their proposals by Christmas, and a copy of the consultation paper has been placed in the Libraries.
Along with the changes in their refugee integration strategy, the Government will reform the arrangements for regular consultation on matters affecting refugees as an integral part of their wider approach to stakeholder management in the Immigration and Nationality Directorate. The National Refugee Integration Forum will therefore be wound up, although arrangements will be made to continue project work undertaken under its auspices. The Government wish to place on record their gratitude to those who have served on the forum since its inception in 2000.
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