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The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Amos): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for
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Northern Ireland has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
Subject to parliamentary approval the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) will be taking a 200405 spring Supplementary Estimate. The effect this will have is to increase the NIO's DEL by £47,954,000 from £1,236,190,000 to £1,284,144,000. Within the DEL change, the impact on resource and capital is as set out in the following table.
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|Resource (£'000s)||Capital (£'000s)|
|Change||New DEL||Of which:voted||Non-voted||Change||New DEL||Of which:voted||Non-voted|
I have been considering Sir George Quigley's review of parades, the subsequent consultation on his report, the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee (NIAC) report of January this year and the events of last summer. Each of these offers different perspectives on how to go forward and I have come to a balanced decision about how to respond.
I have decided that a case has not been made to make fundamental changes to parading arrangements in Northern Ireland. Parades have been increasingly peaceful over the past few years. The number of contentious parades has fallen. Out of approximately 2,000 parades notified last year, only 200 were regarded as "contentious" and two resulted in serious public order incidents. I think this shows the success of the arrangements we have here in reducing tension. I want to echo the words of NIAC, which concluded that the Parades Commission remains the best hope for developing the peaceful resolution of disputes. I will therefore not be pressing forward with the changes recommended by Sir George Quigley at this time. I am, however, indebted to Sir George for his insightful and
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intelligent contribution to the debate around parades in Northern Ireland. Although I am not adopting his recommendations, my thinking has been greatly influenced by his work and I am indebted to him for his insightful and intelligent contribution to the debate around parades in Northern Ireland.
I shall be laying an Order in Council to amend the law on parades. The order makes clear that the Parades Commission can make determinations that include supporters and followers. Some doubts have been raised about the commission's remit. The police and NIAC have asked me to put the matter beyond doubt before the summer.
At the same time, I intend to take on board Quigley and NIAC's recommendation that parades and related protests should be considered by the same body. The order will bring protestors within the remit of the Parades Commission. I have been persuaded that the time is right for the Parades Commission to take on this function.
I am also launching a wide-ranging consultation exercise on mediation. I think there is a great deal of potential for mediation to help defuse the tensions surrounding parades and I firmly believe that agreed outcomes are the best way to resolve disputes. However, there has not been agreement about how best to deliver mediation. I have today published a consultation paper on these issues. The consultation will close on 23 May 2005.
The NIAC's report contained other recommendations about how the Parades Commission could make the way it carries out its work more effective. I am aware that the commission is examining these and I look forward to hearing their response.
The 27th report of the Review Body on Senior Salaries, which makes recommendations about the pay of the Senior Civil Service, senior military personnel and the judiciary, is being published today. Copies are available in the Vote Office and the Libraries of the House. The Government are grateful to the chairman and members of the review body for their work.
An uplift from 1 April 2005 of 2.5 per cent to the pay range minima and target rates for each of the Senior Civil Service pay bands below Permanent Secretary and a 3 per cent uplift to the pay range ceilings;
Pay increases for Members of Parliament and Ministers are linked automatically to the movement of the mid point of the pay bands for the Senior Civil Service. Their salaries will therefore increase by 2.8 per cent from 1 April 2005.
Subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary Supplementary Estimate, the Department for International Development departmental expenditure limit (DEL) will be increased by £163,106,000 from £3,758,690,000 to £3,921,796,000 and the administration costs limit will be increased by
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£10,024,000 from £222,000,000 to £232,024,000, Within the DEL change, the impact on resources and capital are as set out in the following table.
A partial draw down of £10,000,000 of administration costs end year flexibility, as set out in the Public Expenditure 200304 Provisional Outturn White Paper (Cm 6293), for the administration of development programmes, humanitarian assistance, systems to improve efficiency, and the administration costs of the new Post-Conflict Reconstruction Unit.
A full draw down of £153,092,000 of other resource end year flexibility, as set out in the Public Expenditure 200304 Provisional Outturn White Paper (Cm 6293), for development programmes in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia and for programmes contributing to multiple objectives, and for the programme costs of the new Post-Conflict Reconstruction Unit.
A reduction of £7,000,000 relating to transfers of Africa conflict prevention unallocated provision to the Ministry of Defence (£2,920,000) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (£4,080,000).
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A draw down of £6,528,000 of capital end-year flexibility, including £6,064,000 vired from other resource, as set out in the Public Expenditure 200304 Provisional Outturn White Paper (Cm 6293) for investment in improvements to management information and financial systems, acquisition of equity in Actis Capital llp, and the initial capital costs of the new Post-Conflict Reconstruction Unit.
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