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|Table 5: Specific grant allocations 2008-08 to 2010-11|
|2007-08 £m||2008-09 £m||2009-10 £m||2010-11 £m|
|* Consultation will take place on how best to use these funds to support local delivery of PSA targets and crime strategy.|
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.
On 16 November 2006, my right honourable friend the Minister of State for Security, Counter-Terrorism, Crime and Policing (Tony McNulty) announced a review of police pay arrangements led by Sir Clive Booth. The first part of Sir Clive Booth's review looked at the arrangements for determining police officer pay in 2007. The second part considered the effectiveness of the current police pay machinery.
On 21 February this year my right honourable friend published Sir Clive Booth's report on Part 1 of his review. His report Fair pay for police officers contained recommendations for determining police officer pay for 2007, including that the police officer pay award for 2007 should be based on a new public sector facing index. My right honourable friend made it clear in publishing Sir Clive Booth's report that the method for determining police officer pay for 2007 would then be progressed through the Police Negotiating Board, before the Home Secretary took the final decision.
The Police Negotiating Board has considered the recommendations in Sir Clive Booth's report and the police officer pay award for 2007. Unfortunately the board was not able to reach agreement and the matter was therefore considered by the Police Arbitration Tribunal (PAT). I received the Police Arbitration Tribunal's recommendation for the police officer 2007 pay award on 29 November 2007. The PAT recommendation was to increase the pay of all ranks of police officers covered by the three standing committees of the PNB by 2.5 per cent with effect from 1 September 2007.
I have considered this recommendation very carefully. In doing so, I have taken account of the tribunal's findings and reasoning, the need to ensure value for money and the best use of resources, affordability and government policy on public sector pay.
The tribunal's recommendation for a 2.5 per cent increase is based on a new index expanding that proposed by Sir Clive Booth. Having fully considered the PAT findings, I accept the recommendation of the tribunal for an award of 2.5 per cent. However, I have given very serious consideration to the implementation of this award and concluded that in the interests of affordability, and government policy on public sector pay, the implementation of this award should be staged. This year's police officer pay award will therefore be 2.5 per cent with effect from 1 December 2007. Staging will mean that around £40 million extra will be available in 2007-08 to invest in the provision of policing services to the public.
The index suggested by the PAT for the 2007 award could inform discussion and negotiation of the police officer pay award for next year. However, I will continue to give careful consideration to any proposals from the police pay machinery on next year's pay award. This consideration will include how any such award can make the best use of resources, affordability, the need to ensure consistency with government policy on public sector pay and that the needs of the service and of the taxpayer and public are best served.
I am grateful to Sir Clive Booth for undertaking the review. He has undertaken a wide-ranging consultation with interested parties including the Police Federation, the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Association of Police Authorities, the Police Superintendents' Association, the Chief Police Officers' Staff Association, Unison and others. In his report on Part 2 of his review, Sir Clive Booth recommends that: (i) a pay review body for police officers should be created; (ii) the pay of police officers and police staff should continue to be determined by separate mechanisms; (iii) the existing Police Staff Council machinery should be retained for the time being; and (iv) that chief officers are covered by the proposed pay review body for police officers, but if that is not created chief officers should become one of the groups covered by the Senior Salaries Review Body.
The Government welcome Sir Clive Booth's report and accept that a pay review body for police officers, including chief officers, should be created, the pay of police officers and police staff should continue to be determined separately and that the Police Staff Council should be retained. We note that in due course unified officer and staff pay machinery may be considered, in particular as police workforce developments are progressed, but do not think that this is a practical proposition for the time being.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office & Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Lord Jones of Birmingham): Following my closing speech at Second Reading on the Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Bill on 28 November, (Official Report, col. 1280), I would like to clarify to the House the Government's understanding of the British Retail Consortium's views on the inclusion of a cost recovery provision relating to the operation of the primary authority arrangements under Part 2 of the Bill.
I understand that the position of the British Retail Consortium is that there should be no such charges on businesses in a primary authority partnership. In informal discussion during the consultation on the draft Bill with a number of businesses, however, it was put to us that the inclusion of a power for local authorities to recover the costs of the service provided from the business would not be unwelcome, provided that the service provided ensured a reliable level of consistency in the regulatory approach taken to the business across the country.
Making best use of taxpayers' money is essential in the allocation of funding to transport schemes. With that in mind the Government announced in 2005 that they planned to commission a review of options for the A303 Stonehenge improvement after a substantial increase in the estimated cost of the proposed 2.1 kilometre bored tunnel scheme. The approved budget for the scheme when it was taken to public
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The review identified a shortlist of possible options, including routes to the north and south of Stonehenge. After careful consideration we have concluded that due to significant environmental constraints across the whole of the World Heritage Site, there are no acceptable alternatives to the 2.1 kilometre bored tunnel scheme. However, when set against our wider objectives and priorities, we have concluded that allocating more than £500 million for the implementation of this scheme cannot be justified and would not represent best use of taxpayers' money. I am today placing the final report of the review on the department's website.
I am therefore today withdrawing all the draft orders which were considered at the public inquiry and I have instructed the Highways Agency to withdraw route protection for the complete scheme including the proposed bypass of Winterbourne Stoke.
The Government recognise the importance of the A303 Stonehenge improvement scheme and that today's announcement will come as a considerable disappointment to the scheme's supporters. The Highways Agency will investigate possible small-scale improvements to the A303 as part of its overall stewardship of route. The department also plans to discuss with the south-west region the implications of this decision for the wider strategy for improving the A303/A358 corridor to the M5 at Taunton.
In addition, the department will work with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and English Heritage on their plans to take forward in consultation
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The Government remain committed to working with stakeholders in investigating options for improving the environment of Stonehenge, including new visitor facilities, and exploring possible small-scale measures to improve traffic flows and safety along this section of the A303.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Peter Hain) has made the following Statement.
The proposed rates of benefit for 2008 are set out in the table attached. The annual uprating of benefits will take place for state pension and most other benefits in the first full week of the tax year. In 2008, this will be the week beginning 7 April. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland proposes to introduce similar changes for Northern Ireland.
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