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NHS Continuing Care

Lord Warner: My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Community (Dr Stephen Ladyman) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement today.

Today I am commissioning the development of a national consistent approach to assessment for fully funded National Health Service continuing care and announce the publication of the independent report on continuing care entitled, Continuing Health Care: Review, revision and restitution.

I would like to acknowledge the work during 2003–04 carried out in bringing together more than 95 health authority criteria into the legally compliant 28 strategic health authority (SHA) criteria which exist today. Having achieved this objective, significantly improved arrangements for assessing new cases, and made good progress with the retrospective review of cases where people have been wrongly denied funding in the past, it is now practical to move forward and improve the system further.

The department will work with the SHAs to build on all the good work done so far. Learning from good practice, we will produce a national approach to continuing care to improve consistency and ease of understanding. We want to help to achieve these aims. This does not constitute a break from past practice. As I have said before, all the current criteria are fair and legal. It will however make the process easier to understand for practitioners and patients alike.

Higher Education: Loans and Grants for Students

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Lord Filkin): My honourable friend the Minister of State for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education (Dr. Kim Howells) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The level of support available to students in the academic year 2005–06 will be 2.5 per cent higher than for 2004–05, in line with forecast price increases. I am placing two memoranda in the Library giving details of the new loan, grant and fee rates for 2005–06. The rates set out in Memorandum I will be incorporated in the Education (Student Support) Regulations 2005, which will cover support for eligible students under the current arrangements.
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Those set out in Memorandum 2 will be incorporated in the Education (Mandatory Awards) Amendment Regulations 2005 and the Education (Student Loans) Amendment Regulations 2005, which will cover the very small number of students who in 2005–06 will still receive awards and loans under the pre-1998 arrangements. The regulations will all be laid before Parliament in due course.

Civil Contingencies Act 2004

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My honourable friend the Minister for the Cabinet Office has today launched the public consultation on the regulations and guidance in support of the Civil Contingencies Act 2004, which received Royal Assent on 18 November.
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The Act and accompanying non-legislative measures will deliver a single framework for civil protection in the UK, modernising outdated legislation to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

The purpose of the public consultation is to consider the suitability and content of the underpinning regulations and guidance for practitioners and is in accordance with the Government's commitment to launch the consultation shortly after Royal Assent.

Copies of the consultation document, the draft regulations and guidance will be placed in the Library of the House. They can also be viewed on the UK Resilience website (

The consultation period will run until 3 March and is being carried out in accordance with the Cabinet Office code of practice on consultation. The final regulations and guidance will be drawn up in light of the responses to the consultation.

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