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The council reached political agreement on two rail transport proposals. These are: a directive amending the 2004 directive on rail safety; and a directive amending the 2004 directive which established the European Railway Agency. The two texts are acceptable to the UK.

The directive on interoperability of the Community rail system was withdrawn from the council agenda, as the presidency and the European Parliament are likely to move towards a first reading agreement on adoption of the proposal. This is acceptable to the UK. The EP vote on the directive has been postponed until the December plenary.

Financial Inclusion

Lord Davies of Oldham: My honourable friend the Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Kitty Ussher) has made the following Written Statement.

The Government are today publishing Financial inclusion: an action plan for 2008-11, setting out commitments by the Government and key partners to achieve further progress in promoting financial inclusion. This document has been deposited in the Library of both Houses and is available on the Treasury’s website (

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The Government have three goals for financial inclusion:

that everyone should be able to manage their money effectively and securely, through having access to a bank account, and the confidence and capability to get the most from it;that everyone should be able to plan for the future with a reasonable degree of security. Therefore, affordable credit, saving accounts and simple insurance products should be available to all who need them; andthat everyone should have the information, support and confidence they need to prevent avoidable financial difficulty, and to know where to turn if they do find themselves in financial distress.

Financial inclusion: an action plan for 2008-11 affirms the Government’s commitment to promoting financial inclusion in the next spending period. As announced in the Comprehensive Spending Review, from 2008 to 2011, financial inclusion policy will be supported through a new £130 million Financial Inclusion Fund. The fund will be augmented with significant contributions from other government departments.

Initiatives that will be supported in the next spending period include:

£76 million (including £2 million from BERR) to fund free face-to-face money advice to financially excluded people;£38 million to increase consumer access to affordable credit through credit unions and other third sector lenders;£12 million to fund dedicated staff to work to promote financial inclusion locally, with a focus on increasing the availability and awareness of home contents insurance for low-income people, in particular in areas affected by the recent flood events; £2 million funding to the OFT to continue its “Save Xmas” campaign, promoting access to saving opportunities, particularly in credit unions;£5 million (including £3 million from the MoJ) to operate prison-focused outreach in every region of England and Wales; andA continuation of projects to tackle illegal lending in every region of Great Britain, which will be funded by BERR.

Building on their successful work in partnership with Government to increase take-up of basic bank accounts, and their support for other financial inclusion initiatives including easier access to free ATMs in low-income areas, the banks have also committed to support third sector affordable credit, including actions to develop new provision in 25 high priority areas identified by the Financial Inclusion Taskforce.

The taskforce, which has been extended until 2011, will continue to monitor these initiatives and advise the Government on financial inclusion developments.

The Treasury Committee conducted an inquiry into financial inclusion and savings in the spring of 2007, and published a report detailing its findings in October 2007. The Government have sent their response to the inquiry to the Treasury Committee today.

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Greater London Authority: Grant

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): My honourable friend the Minister for Local Government (John Healey) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I have today announced the following three-year settlement for the general GLA grant, which is provided by the Government to support the core activities of the Mayor of London and Greater London Authority.






This settlement includes DCMS funding allocation of over £9 million per annum for the Museum of London in anticipation of the transfer of its co-sponsorship of the museum to the GLA from April 2008, as well as an additional £0.5 million per annum for the GLA's other new powers and responsibilities following the Greater London Authority Act 2007 and election costs. The settlement also reflects the general requirement on local government for at least a 3 per cent per annum value for money saving over the Comprehensive Spending Review period.

The general GLA grant will continue to be determined by the Secretary of State annually, in accordance with Section 100 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999.

Housing: Supporting People Programme

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): My right honourable friend the Minister for Housing and Planning (Yvette Cooper) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The Government are today publishing provisional individual grant allocations to administering authorities for the Supporting People programme in 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11. The grant will fund housing-related support services for more than 1 million vulnerable people—including victims of domestic violence, teenage parents, older people and those with mental health problems—enabling them to live independently in their accommodation.

Final allocations for 2008-09 will be confirmed by a further Statement to this House in February 2008 and then for each subsequent year at the same time in that year.

The consultation on the Supporting People distribution formula completed in February 2006 and responses to this exercise have been assessed. Following consideration of the available options, a decision has been taken to use the updated formula to target the funding in 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2010-11 to help address some of the inherited uneven distribution of grant between authorities.

We are today publishing our response to that consultation on the department's website and invite

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respondents to refresh their comments if appropriate before we confirm final allocations in the new year.

This three-year settlement, alongside a radically slimmed down performance framework, will provide authorities with stability for the future and greater flexibility to budget and plan realistic delivery of housing support services.

A table of indicative Supporting People programme grant allocations and copies of the consultation response have today been placed in the Library of the House.

Police: Grants

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department (Jacqui Smith) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I have today placed in the Library my proposals for allocation of police grant for England and Wales from 2008-09 to 2010-11. I intend to implement the proposals on police grant subject to consideration of any representations and to the approval of the House.

Policing and reducing crime remain top priorities for this Government. The 2006-07 British Crime Survey shows that since peaking in 1995, crime has fallen by 42 per cent, representing more than 8 million fewer crimes. The Government have worked very hard to maintain the police grant at a good level for the next three years as well as to provide secure and stable funding across policing, crime and drugs. Police authorities will receive a realistic and affordable increase in grant, backed up by a programme of reform and modernisation and a continuing drive to increase efficiency and productivity and cut bureaucracy. Chief constables and police authorities will have maximum flexibility to make the best possible use of resources to maintain the historically high number of police officers and have the right workforce balance they need to deliver local priorities.

I have placed in the Library of the House today copies of the national community safety plan for England 2008-11. The plan supports greater partnership working on community safety at national, regional and local level, and is intended to support practitioners in planning and delivering community safety objectives. The plan also includes our strategic policing priorities and key actions for the police service for 2008-09. The national community safety plan follows on from, and supports, the objectives in the Government's crime strategy, published in July this year—Cutting Crime: a new partnership 2008-11. The crime strategy sets out how we will continue to build on the achievements of the past 10 years, refreshing our approach to meet new challenges. The new Make Communities Safer PSA supports the crime strategy and helps to establish a more mature relationship between central government and local delivery partners for driving improvement priorities.

The settlement builds on considerable investment in the police service over the past decade. On a like-for-like basis, government grant for the police will

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have increased by more than 60 per cent or more than £3.7 billion between 1997-98 and 2010-11. Our investment in policing, as well as significant extra investment from local taxpayers and the delivery by police forces and authorities of substantial increases in efficiency, has helped to expand local policing successfully, reduce crime and make our communities safer.

The police service has responded well to the demands placed on it but we must make sure that the service is in the best possible shape to meet them. We are committed to consolidating and building on the significant reforms and achievements to date, to support the police service in meeting these new challenges. In support of these aims, Sir Ronnie Flanagan is currently undertaking an independent review of policing. We also intend to publish a Green Paper in spring 2008 to consult on wider proposals for change.

Excellent progress is being made in the delivery of neighbourhood policing. By April 2008 there will be a neighbourhood policing team in every area and we are ahead of schedule with more than 75 per cent of England and Wales already covered by neighbourhood policing teams. Sixteen thousand police community support officers are now supporting police officers in delivering real changes on the ground, fighting crime and making communities feel safer. Together with CLG, community safety partners and other agencies, the Home Office is working to integrate neighbourhood policing with local neighbourhood management to ensure that we have the greatest number of services working together to tackle the issues identified by our communities.

The Government remain committed to building on the significant progress that has been made to date in increasing efficiency and productivity and reducing unnecessary bureaucracy, to ensure that officers are most effectively focused on their front-line duties. We want to empower and equip officers so they can provide the most visible and accessible police presence in the community possible. We intend to support this through a new efficiency and productivity strategy on which we are working with the service. In addition, this will be supported by further improvements to working practices and processes, greater flexibility and streamlining of local performance management requirements and wider access to innovative crime fighting technology that will be supported by a new £50 million capital fund.

The police grant settlement 2008-09 to 2010-11

Total provision for policing revenue grants in 2008-09 will be £9,227 million, an overall increase of 2.9 per cent. Provision is also made for 2.9 per cent in 2009-10 and 2.7 per cent in 2010-11. I propose to distribute the settlement as set out below.

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Table 1: Police revenue funding settlement 2008-09 to 2010-11 compared with 2007-08
2007-08 £m2008-09 £m2009-10 £m2010-11 £m

Home Office general grant





DCLG-WAG general grant





Welsh Top-Up





Total general Formula Grant





% increase in general grant




Total Specific Grants





Total Government funding for police authorities





% increase in total Government revenue funding




* Consultation will take place on how best to use BCU Funds to support local delivery of PSA targets and crime strategy

Police funding proposals within the local government finance system are being announced by my honourable friend, the Member for Wentworth today. On 5 November, the Welsh Assembly Government announced their proposals for revenue support grant.

Provisional general policing grants—Home Office police grant, revenue support grant and national non-domestic rates—for English and Welsh police authorities in 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11 are set out at Tables 2 to 4.

General grant

Within the general grant provision of 2.7 per cent, I have set a funding floor at 2.5 per cent in each of the CSR years. This means that each police authority in England and Wales is guaranteed an increase of at least this level in each year. This provides for stability while enabling us to move towards fuller implementation of the needs-based funding formula.

The employer pension contribution rate payable by police authorities for police officers will be reduced from 24.6 per cent of pensionable pay to 24.2 per cent, with effect for three years starting from April 2008. This revaluation does not affect employee contribution rates. We expect that the reduced employer contribution rate will result in a saving to police authorities of approximately £15 million per year.

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