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Written Statements

Thursday 16 November 2006

Afghanistan: Call-out

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): My right honourable friend the Minister of State for the Armed Forces (Adam Ingram) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

With the expiry of the call-out order made last November, a new order has been made under Section 54 of the Reserve Forces Act 1996 to enable reservists to continue to be called out into service to support operations in Afghanistan. The new order is effective until 11 November 2007. Reservists are making a valuable contribution to operations in that country. Some 380 reservists are currently called out in support of the operation.

Care Services: Dignity in Care

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Ivan Lewis) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

On 14 November I was pleased to announce a £67 million investment of additional financial aid to further the dignity agenda in care homes. The money, available next year, will help local authorities enhance the physical environment of care homes providing nursing or personal care to older people. This focused support will help older people living in care homes do so with dignity and will enable care homes to be more responsive to the needs of older residents.

A good environment can support dignity and help people feel that they are being treated with respect. Even small enhancements can have a positive impact on well-being. I hope that local authorities, care home providers and their residents will work together to find innovative ways of using this additional money to deliver higher standards of care.

I announced this funding at the launch of the Dignity in Care campaign, through which I aim to stimulate a country-wide debate about the importance of care services respecting the dignity of those who use them.

At the campaign launch, I invited people to join me in taking up the dignity challenge. The challenge is a clear statement of what people can expect from a service that respects dignity, backed up by “dignity tests” that can be used by services to see how they measure up.

I also invited people to join a new network of local champions of dignity charged with challenging poor practice and raising the profile of dignity in care locally. Support for the champions and service providers will be available in the form of an online practice guide and a programme of service improvement and network support to be delivered

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regionally. Other aspects of the campaign include working with Investors in People UK to help us to ensure that staff themselves are treated with dignity and respect, and a commitment from the health and social care regulators to take forward this agenda.

More details about the Dignity in Care campaign, the dignity challenge and how to join the champions’ network can be found at

Crime: Community Safety Partnerships Northern Ireland

Lord Rooker: My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Peter Hain) has made the following Ministerial Statement.

The Government have received a report from the Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice in Northern Ireland on the operation of community safety partnerships. We welcome this scrutiny of CSPs, and the recommendations in the report will be carefully considered. Copies of the report have been placed in the Library.

Crime: Organised and Financial

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Vernon Coaker) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Tomorrow I will publish the summary of responses to the recent Home Office consultation document entitled New Powers against Organised and Financial Crime.

The Green Paper was published on 17 July 2006 and invited views from stakeholders and the public on a comprehensive package of new measures that the Government believe will provide important new tools to assist the authorities in tackling organised criminality more effectively. The proposals included:

Establishing a civil prevention order to be used against individuals and organisations to prevent serious crime.Improving data-sharing within the public sector and between the private and public sectors so that financial crime may be more easily detected and prevented.Introducing new offences of assisting and encouraging crime so that those on the margins of crime can be brought to justice more easily.Amending the proceeds of crime legislation to bolster our ability to recover ill-gotten gains.

During its three-month consultation period, the Green Paper generated more than 100 responses, summaries of which will be published tomorrow. The majority of responses received were overwhelmingly supportive of the proposals. As a result, the Government intend to introduce legislation in the coming Session of Parliament, the overall aim being to prevent the UK being an attractive option for organised criminals to operate in.

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Copies of the document, entitled New Powers against Organised and Financial Crime—Summary of Responses to Consultation, will be available in the House of Commons Library and on the Home Office and crime reduction websites.

EU: Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Truscott): My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Jim Fitzpatrick) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council was held on 7 November in Brussels. My right honourable friend Alistair Darling, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, represented the UK for discussions on an amended proposal for a directive concerning certain aspects of the organisation of working time.

Negotiations focused on the opt-out from the 48-hour working week and the need for a solution to the problems caused by the European Court judgments in SiMAP and Jaeger. The presidency sought views during the morning discussion on a draft presidency text of the directive. Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of the presidency and its subsequent tabling of an alternative section of text, it proved impossible to reach agreement, due to the refusal of a minority of five countries to agree any text that did not set an end date for the opt-out.

Falklands Conflict: 25th Anniversary

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Derek Twigg) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I am pleased to be able to provide further details of our plans to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Falklands conflict in June 2007.

The commemorations will provide us with an opportunity to reflect on the events of 25 years ago. We will take time to remember those who gave their lives to defend the freedom of the Falkland Islands. As well as the principal events in London, Pangbourne and Stanley, we anticipate that local communities and veterans groups around the country may wish to organise their own smaller-scale events.

Our relationship with Argentina has come a long way in recent years and, in addition to remembering the sacrifices of our forces, we will recognise their losses too. Our commemorations will not be triumphalist.

Official events begin on Liberation Day, Thursday 14 June, at the Falkland Islands memorial chapel in the grounds of Pangbourne Nautical College, Berkshire. This service of commemoration and remembrance is held annually on behalf of the Falklands Families Association but will have special

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significance in 2007, when it will be attended by senior members of the Royal Family and carried live by the BBC.

Later that day (UK time) attention will turn to the Falkland Islands and the first of a series of live link-ups with the islands. A service at Christchurch Cathedral, Stanley, will be followed by an act of commemoration at the Falklands war memorial, and British forces currently based on the islands will parade through Stanley, exercising the freedom bestowed on them by the Falkland Islands Government in 2002.

The showpiece event of these commemorations will be on Sunday 17 June. This will consist of a high-impact visual event on Horse Guards Parade followed by a march past of veterans and their modern-day service counterparts up the Mall to Buckingham Palace to witness a fly-past of aircraft from the Falklands era as well as some of those flown by the same squadrons today. Central to the event will be the personal recollections of veterans and islanders as they tell their stories in their own words.

The events will be focused on the veterans and their families, and we are working closely with the South Atlantic Medal Association 82, the principal association for those involved in Operation Corporate, along with a wide range of veterans’ and families’ organisations. I hope that as many as possible of the campaign’s veterans will be able to attend the event on Horse Guards Parade. Space in the audience will be limited, so tickets will initially be restricted to veterans (military and civilian), widows, their guests and families. Details can be found on the Veterans Agency website ( or by contacting the Veterans Agency helpline on 0800 169 2277.

A limited number of seats for the Horse Guards event are available to honourable Members. The Speaker's Office will issue tickets in due course.

Government: Legislative Programme for Scotland

Lord Evans of Temple Guiting: My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Scotland (Douglas Alexander) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The new UK legislative programme unveiled in the Queen's Speech on 15 November contains significant measures of relevance and benefit to the people of Scotland.

The programme demonstrates the continuing partnership between the United Kingdom and Scottish Parliaments and the Government and Scottish Executive.

The Government are committed to maintaining these close working partnerships as they continue to deliver improvements to the lives of people across Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom.

The following is a summary of the legislation announced in the Queen's Speech and its impact in Scotland. This does not include draft Bills. The Bills listed in Section 1 are likely to contain provisions that

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require the consent of the Scottish Parliament in line with the Sewel convention. A brief description is provided of the provisions likely to require consent. Section 2 details Bills that are not likely to contain provisions requiring the consent of the Scottish Parliament as the legislation is predominantly or wholly within a reserved area or has limited impact in Scotland. The list also identifies the lead government department:

Legislation likely to contain provisions requiring the consent of the Scottish Parliament at introduction.

Discussions will continue between the Government and the Scottish Executive on such Bills that might include provisions in devolved areas. The Bills identified within the Queen's Speech in this section are as follows:

Child Support Bill (Department for Work and Pensions): mainly reserved but may include provisions in devolved areas relating to the jurisdiction of courts and the joint registration of births (births jointly registered by both parents).

Climate Change Bill (Office of Climate Change): legislation relating to climate change is likely to include provisions in devolved areas to meet a new emissions target. The environment is a devolved matter in Scotland.

Consumers, Estate Agents and Redress Bill (Department of Trade and Industry): consumer protection is reserved but the legislation will include provisions creating a new National Consumer Council and Scottish equivalent with responsibilities including food safety, which is devolved.

Further education and training (Department for Education and Skills): education is devolved but the Bill will include provisions that give Scottish Ministers functions to make arrangements directly with the Learning and Skills Council for England in relation to career development loans and shared provision of services, i.e. procurement of goods and services and the development of information technology systems.

Serious organised crime (Home Office): likely to include provisions in reserved and devolved areas, including recognition of prevention orders and proceeds of crime, which are devolved matters.

Statistics and Registration Services Bill (Her Majesty's Treasury): the new statistics board’s remit will extend fully across the whole of the UK. Statistics that relate to a devolved matter are considered to fall within the competence of the Scottish Parliament and will also benefit from the reforms and functions of the board.

Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Bill (Department for Constitutional Affairs): this Bill will include provisions relating to the tribunals in Scotland, which are devolved. It also legislates on the devolved matter of immunity from seizure of cultural artefacts.

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Legislation unlikely to contain provisions requiring the consent of the Scottish Parliament at introduction.

The Bills in this section, which deal with predominantly or wholly reserved matters and matters which do not impact in Scotland, are as follows:

Border and immigration (Home Office)

Concessionary Bus Travel Bill (Department for Transport)

Criminal Justice Bill (Home Office)

Fraud (Trials without a Jury) Bill (Home Office)

Greater London Authority Bill (Department for Communities and Local Government)

House of Lords reform (Leader of the House of Commons)

Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Bill (Northern Ireland Office)

Local Government Bill (Department for Communities and Local Government)

Mental Health Bill (Department of Health)

Northern Ireland Bill (Northern Ireland Office)

Offender Management Bill (Home Office)

Pensions Bill (Department for Work and Pensions)

Welfare Reform Bill (Department for Work and Pensions)

NHS: Financial Performance 2006-07

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Health (Patricia Hewitt) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

On 9 November 2006, my department published the NHS financial report for the second quarter of 2006-07. This report shows that the NHS as a whole is forecasting a £94 million deficit for the year, after the application of a £350 million contingency established by the strategic health authorities.

On the basis of trends in previous years, our objective of net financial balance across the NHS remains deliverable. Strategic health authorities have reported that they will be able to generate a further net contingency of £100 million to offset the deficit.

The report is available in the Library, and copies for honourable Members and noble Lords are available in the Vote Office and the Printed Paper Office. The report has also been published on the department's website at AndStatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAnd Guidance/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidanceArticle/fs/en?CONTENT_ID=4140436&chk=WmhHTZ.

Police: Pay

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): My honourable friend the Minister for Policing, Security and Community Safety (Tony McNulty) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

On 6 November, the Police Arbitration Tribunal’s recommendation on the police officer 2006 pay award

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was received. The Home Secretary responded to this recommendation, agreeing to implement the 3 per cent pay rise for police officers, with effect from 1 September 2006. The Home Secretary also noted the tribunal's comment that we not only had,

and said that he would review how police pay is determined, including indexation, and would announce the terms of reference of the review shortly.

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