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Health: Teenage Pregnancy

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Lord Adonis): Today my right honourable friend the Minister for Children, Young People and Families (Beverley Hughes) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I inform the House that the Independent Advisory Group on Teenage Pregnancy has published its annual report for 2007-08. Copies will be placed in the House Libraries.

Intelligence: Commissioners' Annual Reports

The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): My right honourable friend the Prime Minister (Gordon Brown MP) has made the following Statement.

I have today laid before both Houses the annual reports of the Chief Surveillance Commissioner, the right honourable Sir Christopher Rose (HC 659), of the Interception of Communications Commissioner, the right honourable Sir Paul Kennedy (HC 947) and of the Intelligence Services Commissioner, the right honourable Sir Peter Gibson (HC 948).

The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) established the regulatory framework for the use of a wide range of investigatory techniques. It sets out the purposes for which the powers can be used, the public authorities that can use them, the authorisation procedures that they must follow and the use that can be made of the material obtained. It also provides for an appropriate oversight regime and a means of redress through the independent Investigatory Powers Tribunal. The reports that I have laid before Parliament today set out how the RIPA investigatory powers have been used during the periods covered.

The Government continue to believe that the existing system of authorisations, inspections and other safeguards set out in RIPA is appropriate, and welcome the valuable oversight role discharged by the commissioners appointed under the RIPA. The independent oversight that they provide is vital in ensuring that the various powers are used appropriately and only when necessary and proportionate.

The Interception Commissioner’s report notes that the Investigatory Powers Tribunal reached determinations on 83 cases during the period covered. The tribunal did not uphold any complaints during this period. A great deal has been done already to improve public authorities’ awareness of the obligations placed on them, and to ensure that proper consideration is given to necessity and proportionality. We recognise, however, that there is always more that can be done. The Government are reviewing those public authorities that have access to these powers to ensure that they have a continuing and justifiable requirement for them. On completion, the Government will list the authorities that can use each of the powers and the purposes for which they can use them, and set out revised statutory codes of practice, which Parliament will have the opportunity to debate.



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I am grateful to Sir Christopher, Sir Paul and Sir Peter, and to their support staff, for their work on these thorough reports.

Legal Services Commission

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): I am pleased to announce that following fair and open competition, regulated by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments, my right honourable friend the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice (Jack Straw) has appointed Sir Bill Callaghan to the position of chair of the Legal Services Commission (LSC).

Sir Bill’s appointment will take effect from 1 September 2008, and for a term of three years. He will chair the 12-member commission, which oversees the strategic direction of the LSC—the body responsible for legal aid in England and Wales.

Ministerial Gifts

The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): My right honourable friend the Prime Minister (Gordon Brown MP) has made the following Statement in the House of Commons.

I have today published lists of gifts given and gifts received by Ministers. Both lists provide details of gifts valued at more than £140 for the period 1 April 2007 to 31 March 2008. Copies of the lists have been placed in the Libraries of the House.

Ministerial Travel 2007-08

The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): My right honourable friend the Prime Minister (Gordon Brown) has made the following Statement in the House of Commons.

I am today publishing a list of all visits overseas undertaken by Ministers costing £500 or more during the period 1 April 2007 to 31 March 2008, which has been placed in the Libraries of the House. The list provides details of the date, destination and purpose of all such visits and the cost of Ministers’ travel and accommodation where appropriate.

Total expenditure on ministerial overseas visits for the last three financial years is set out in the table below:

YearExpenditure (£ million)

2005-06

6.1

2006-07

6.95

2007-08

5.3

National Security Strategy

The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): My right honourable friend the Prime Minister (Gordon Brown MP) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.



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On 19 March, I published the United Kingdom’s first ever national security strategy. It set out how we proposed to address and manage an increasingly diverse but interconnected set of security challenges and some of their underlying factors including climate change, competition for energy, poverty and globalisation. The aim is to safeguard the nation, its citizens, our prosperity and our way of life, against a constantly changing security environment. I want to update the House on arrangements for support to the National Security Committee and proposals for parliamentary oversight of the delivery of the strategy.

As envisaged in the National Security Strategy, the Government will be establishing a National Security Forum. We want to promote a constructive and informed dialogue with experts, stakeholders and the public to understand the security challenges we face and how we need to tackle them. The forum will have a core group of 12 publicly appointed members reflecting the broad range of the subject areas in the National Security Strategy. It is likely to include people with a range of experience and expertise in these issues; and, in addition to this core group, we will create a register of up to 100 expert associates who could be called upon to provide advice in specific areas. The purpose of the forum will be to provide expert advice to the National Security Committee (Cabinet Committee on National Security, International Relations and Development (NSID)). It will be invited to focus on the published strategy to inform the annual updates, although it will be able to commission its own research subject to agreement of its programme by NSID.

In advance of setting up the forum as a non-departmental public body, I will be establishing an interim forum in the early autumn. For the interim forum only, the Government will appoint its members, on advice from the Cabinet Office. Though an interim body, it will begin substantive work immediately. The chair of the interim body will be announced shortly. The National Security Forum will be supported by a new National Security Secretariat in the Cabinet Office. Alongside that, a Horizon Scanning Unit will be established which will co-ordinate the security-related horizon scanning currently undertaken in a number of government departments, with the intention of giving it an overarching framework and a more coherent output.

It is important that we have the right form of parliamentary oversight of the national security strategy and its delivery. There are already a number of Select Committees, and the Intelligence and Security Committee, which have an interest in the development and implementation of the National Security Strategy; and any new arrangement should not duplicate their existing scrutiny work. I propose therefore to consult the parliamentary authorities and the Opposition through the usual channels about the establishment and terms of reference of a joint committee on the national security strategy, comprising the chairs of the key departmental Select Committees with an interest in national security, and other Members of Parliament and Peers with particular interests or experience.

In March, I said that the Government would publish a “national level risk register setting out our assessment of the likelihood and potential impact of a range of

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different risks that may directly affect the UK”. We will be writing shortly to the chairs of the relevant Select Committees with our National Risk Register and placing copies in the Library of the House. Its purpose is specifically to give the public information about risks to the UK from natural disasters, accidents and malicious threats over the next five years so that those who wish to can prepare for the consequences. The National Risk Register will be a key tool in the development of community resilience networks, another national security strategy deliverable, which the Cabinet Office will be taking forward in the coming months and is the next step in improving the UK’s resilience.

Prison Service Pay Review Body

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): My right honourable friend the Minister of State (David Hanson) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I am pleased to announce that my right honourable friend the Prime Minister has appointed Mr David Lebrecht for three years as a member of the Prison Service Pay Review Body, commencing June 2008. My right honourable friend the Prime Minister has also reappointed Dr Peter Riach for a second term, lasting two years, as a member of the Prison Service Pay Review Body, commencing 1 March 2008. Both appointment and reappointment have been conducted in accordance with the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments guidance on appointments to public bodies.

Questions for Written Answer

Lord Bassam of Brighton: I regret to inform the House that the Written Answer I gave on 24 June to a Parliamentary Question (Official Report, col. WA217), about the number of occasions that Ministers and Department for Transport officials have met BAA Ltd referred only to the period from January 2008 to June 2008.

This occurred as a result of an administration error. As soon as officials were made aware of the complete Question, they provided a correct response.

The Answer should read:

Ministers from the Department for Transport have met BAA Ltd on 14 occasions since January 2006. Department for Transport officials meet regularly with BAA representatives to discuss matters relating to air transport.

Regional Development Agencies: Annual Reports and Accounts

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office & Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Lord Jones of Birmingham): My honourable friend the Minister of State for Employment Relations and Postal Affairs (Pat McFadden) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.



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I have today laid before Parliament the annual reports and accounts for 2007-08 for the eight regional development agencies (RDAs) outside of London. Copies have been placed in the Libraries of the House.

The annual report and accounts for the London Development Agency are presented to the Mayor of London rather than to Parliament. I shall provide a copy to the House Library when these are available.

Also published today are the RDAs’ reported outputs for 2007-08. These results are evidence that the RDAs continue to play a valuable role in improving the economic performance of the English regions and, through working with their partners, the RDAs are making a real difference to the individual regional economies concerned. The figures cover the number of jobs created and safeguarded, the number of people assisted to get a job, the amount of brownfield land brought back into use, the number of businesses created, the number of businesses assisted to improve their performance, the number of people assisted in their skills development and the amount of public and private sector regeneration infrastructure investment levered, all as a result of RDA activity.

Press releases on the outputs have been issued in each region. Copies of the output results have been placed in the House Library, and are available on the website of the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform at www.berr.gov.uk/regional/regional-dev-agencies/rda-performance/page46979.html.

Regional Spatial Strategy for the East Midlands

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

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government is today publishing proposed changes to the regional spatial strategy (RSS) for the east Midlands (the east Midlands plan). They follow the public examination held between May and July 2007 and the panel report published on 28 November 2007.

The panel report endorsed the strategy set out in the draft RSS, but made numerous recommendations to clarify and improve it. The Secretary of State has considered all the panel’s recommendations, along with other relevant evidence, together with updates to the sustainability appraisal and a habitats regulations assessment. The main changes proposed are:

increased housing growth across the region to 21,750 per year for the period 2006-26. Much of the additional growth is proposed in and around the main cities of Derby, Leicester and Nottingham, recognising growth related to growth point agreements in those cities and surrounding areas (the three cities growth point) and in other growth point agreements at Lincoln, Newark and Grantham;no change to growth area plans in Northamptonshire, which were set in the Milton Keynes and south Midlands sub-regional strategy in 2005, though the plan period for the area is extended to 2026 and the

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housing provision figure for Northampton is replaced following a successful legal challenge (in 2006) which quashed the original figure;reduction in housing provision in Lincolnshire coastal districts (East Lindsey, Boston and South Holland) pending a coastal strategy being agreed which will consider growth needs and flood-risk implications;a new policy relating to affordable housing in rural areas has been added and increased pitch requirements for Gypsies and Travellers are proposed;rejection of the panel’s recommendation to delete green-belt areas around Nottingham; and removal of site-specific references to major development sites around Nottingham, Leicester and Lincoln.

I have today written to the East Midlands Regional Assembly with the proposed changes, which will be published today on the Government Office for the East Midlands website at www.goem.gov.uk and distributed to interested people and organisations across the region. There will now be a public consultation period of 12 weeks on the proposed changes, which will end on 17 October. Copies of the relevant documents will be placed in the Library of the House and will be sent to all of the region’s MPs, MEPs and local authorities.

Regional Spatial Strategy for the South-west

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

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Communities is today publishing proposed changes to the draft revisions of the regional spatial strategy for the south-west.

The regional spatial strategy forms part of the statutory development plan for every local authority in the south-west and sets the framework for the production of local development frameworks and local transport plans. It provides the spatial plan for the development of the region, and provides the policy framework for employment, housing, transport and the environment.

The current strategy, initially published as regional planning guidance, became the regional spatial strategy in September 2004 with the enactment of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act. A draft revision of the regional spatial strategy was submitted to the Government in April 2006 by the South West Regional Assembly. It was subsequently tested in an examination in public (EIP) between April and July 2007 and the report of the independent panel which conducted this examination was published in January this year. The Secretary of State has considered the recommendations of the independent panel which held the EIP and has taken into account the representations made on the draft revision, and changes in government policy since the draft revision was submitted.



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Today’s publication of the Secretary of State’s proposed changes now represents the commencement of a public consultation of 12 weeks. Also being published are the report of a sustainability appraisal of the proposed changes and a habitats regulations assessment. Following consideration of the responses to the consultation, the Secretary of State expects to publish the finalised regional spatial strategy for the south-west by the end of the year. On final publication, it will supersede the current RSS.

In writing to the regional assembly to give notice of the publication of proposed changes, I have drawn particular attention to the need for further work by both the region and the Government on the infrastructure required to deliver the strategy. Copies of the relevant documents have been placed in the Library of the House and have been provided for all of the region’s MPs, MEPs and local authorities.


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