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Olympic Games 2012: Ministerial Decisions

Baroness Andrews: My honourable friend the Minister for Housing and Planning has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Because of the wider role that the Deputy Prime Minister may take in relation to the delivery of the 2012 London Olympics, and in order to ensure that the advice set out in the Guidance on Propriety Issues in the Handling of Planning Decisions in ODPM is followed, it has been decided that any planning decisions which fall to Ministers to take in respect of Olympics related developments will be taken by Baroness Andrews, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the ODPM.

Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005: Report to Parliament

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department (Charles Clarke) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Section 14(1) of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 (the 2005 Act) requires me to report to Parliament as soon as reasonably practicable after the end of every relevant three-month period on my exercise of the control order powers during that period.

The 2005 Act came into force on 11 March 2005. The second three-month period ended on 10 September. During the period 11 June to 10 September, I made an order with the permission of the court under Section 3(1)(a) of the 2005 Act on 5 September 2005 in respect of a British national.

I have revoked nine of the orders which I made in the previous quarter against individuals who were formerly certified under Section 21(1) of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001.

There are therefore three control orders currently in force.

I have refused three requests to modify the obligations in the control orders which I have made. A right of appeal exists in Section 10 of the 2005 Act against a decision by the Secretary of State not to modify an obligation contained in a control order. None of those subject to a control order has exercised this right in respect of the refusals mentioned above.

Royal Air Force: University Air Squadrons

Lord Drayson: My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Don Touhig) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

A Royal Air Force study has been conducted to determine the appropriate size, shape and disposition of the University Air Squadrons. The study was commissioned against the background of proposed changes to the future size of the RAF, and of the
 
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planned tri-service military flying training system in partnership with industry. The results of the study have been carefully considered and I have decided that University Air Squadron students will no longer undertake elementary flying training while at university, and that elementary flying training will take place on a standard basis for all pilots, after initial officer training.

There are 14 University Air Squadrons located at 12 airfields across the UK, with a total undergraduate membership of some 1,000. Presently, the main University Air Squadron roles are to attract high calibre graduates into the RAF and to deliver the RAF's elementary flying training task. Elementary flying training is the first stage of RAF pilot training and is currently undertaken by all pilot University Air Squadron members during the course of their degrees and by direct entrant RAF pilots over a six-month period following initial officer training.

The study concluded that University Air Squadrons should continue to play an important role in engaging university students in RAF experience, but their focus should subtly shift to put more effort into leadership and personnel development training, nurturing recruitment to all branches. Flying will be available to all University Air Squadron members on a voluntary basis, but undergraduates will no longer be required to undertake formal elementary flying training during their university period. Up to 10 hours a year of structured light aircraft flying will still be available to all University Air Squadron undergraduates, including those in ground branches. In future, ex-University Air Squadron graduates joining the RAF as pilots will now undertake elementary flying training alongside other direct entrant pilots.

Overall, the changes will increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the flying training pipeline and, for the University Air Squadron undergraduates, lessen the conflicting pressures to achieve a good degree and the highest standard during elementary flying training. They will create a fairer system, and resolve the inherent inefficiencies caused by undergraduates' elementary flying training being spread over such a long period. University Air Squadrons will now be able to concentrate on the recruitment and personal development of all potential officers regardless of branch preference.

With effect from autumn, the following airfields will no longer be used for elementary flying training and overall flying hours are expected to reduce: RAF Benson, RAF Cosford, RAF Leuchars, RAF Colerne, RAF Leeming, Glasgow Airport, Boscombe Down, RAF Woodvale and RAF St Athan. RAF Cranwell will see a slight reduction in flying due to a reduced requirement to train instructors, whilst RAF Wyton and RAF Church Fenton will see some increase due to the establishment of new training squadrons to meet the elementary flying training task.
 
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Light aircraft flying for University Air Squadron members will, however, continue and in some cases, particularly for those in ground branches, be enhanced. If implemented in full, these changes will result in a reduction of 21 RAF posts, but I do not envisage any other significant job implications.

Solicitors (Compensation for Inadequate Professional Services) Order 2005

Baroness Ashton of Upholland: My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The Government have today laid before Parliament the following instrument:

The order, made under paragraph 3(2) of Schedule 1A to the Solicitors Act 1974, will raise the maximum limit on the compensation which the Law Society's Council may direct a solicitor to pay on a complaint of inadequate professional service. The limit is raised from £5,000 to £15,000 with effect from 1 January 2006.

From 1 January, consumers seeking compensation for inadequate professional service will be able to benefit from the increased compensation level which the Law Society can order and avoid the necessity of automatically having to take court action in order to claim redress in those cases.

The revised limit will apply to those cases where a complaint of inadequate professional service is made to the Law Society by the complainant after 1 January 2006.

My department and the Law Society are in agreement that raising the compensation level would be in the interest of, and welcomed by, the consumer.

At present, if the compensation claimed is greater than £5,000 the Law Society cannot deal with it. This means that a complainant frequently has to retain the services of a further solicitor in order to get redress from the solicitor who generated the original complaint. This can be a lengthy and expensive process for a consumer. Raising the limit will enable a far greater proportion of complainants to obtain adequate redress without the need to resort to court proceedings.

A copy of the order to raise the compensation limit has been placed in the Vote Office and Printed Paper Office.

UN World Summit

Lord Triesman: The 2005 UN World Summit took place in New York from 14 to 16 September. My right honourable friends the Prime Minister, the Secretary of State for International Development and the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs attended for the Government. At the initiative
 
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of the UK and other UN member states, the summit included a session devoted to financing for development.

Overall, the summit delivered a worthwhile package of reforms and commitments. The full text of the outcome document is available at www.un.org/summit2005. Negotiations on the document were at times difficult, reflecting the ambitious agenda and divergence of views between UN member states on several issues. As EU presidency, the UK played an important role in these negotiations. Follow-up work is now under way in several areas to implement the agreements reached.

The reforms agreed included:

In some areas the outcome text did not meet our aspirations. Stronger language on terrorism, stating that the targeted killing of civilians is never justified and constitutes an act of terrorism, proved out of reach. Efforts to secure strong language on non-proliferation and disarmament (following disappointment at the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference) were unsuccessful. The EU pushed for more extensive reforms of the UN Secretariat. Furthermore, opposition from some countries prevented more detailed modalities being agreed for the new Human Rights Council.
 
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Some have criticised the summit's outcome document as modest. However, as the Prime Minister said in his speech at the summit, "if we did what we have agreed on doubling aid, on opening up trade, on debt relief, on HIV/AIDS and malaria, on conflict prevention so that never again would the world stand by, helpless when genocide struck, our modesty would
 
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surprise. There would be more democracy, less oppression. More freedom, less terrorism. More growth, less poverty."

The Government are committed to the full and early implementation of the reforms. We will continue to work towards achieving reforms where we wanted to see greater progress.


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