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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): My right honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Jonathan Shaw) has made the following Ministerial Statement.
On 3 March, the Government published the five-year cross-Government Independent Living Strategy. The strategy sets out a series of government commitments aimed at ensuring that disabled people have choice and control over the support they need to live their everyday lives.
The strategy was produced in partnership with disabled people, and we need to ensure that disabled people are actively involved in making the strategy a reality and checking that good progress is being made. Consequently, the launch of the strategy saw the start of a consultation to seek views on how best to do this.
Following the consultation, and the further involvement of disabled people in the development of the Governments response, the Government have decided to implement the following steps to make sure disabled people are actively involved in the implementation and monitoring of the strategy:establish an Independent Living Scrutiny Group to review progress on implementing the strategy;develop a web-based and print resource to support disabled peoples involvement in local strategic partnership boards;work with Equality 2025 to look at how best to use and develop existing networks to form a network of networks, creating a two-way channel for communication between the Government and disabled people; examine some of the options, for example, specific courses suggested by respondents for building leadership capacity; andwork to help disabled peoples organisations benefit more from new opportunities to build capacity in the third sector.
The Governments response will be available on the Office for Disability Issues website later today at http://www.odi.gov.uk/working/independentlivingstrategy.asp.
Finance Ministers agreed to adopt preliminary draft amending budgets 10 (as amended by the Commission during the course of negotiations) and 11 to the 2008 EC budget. These amend the 2008 budget respectively to reflect latest implementation capacity, thus reducing the level of funding required from member states in 2008, and to mobilise the EU solidarity fund for Cyprus following the recent drought there.
Finance Ministers agreed to adopt amending letters 2 (as amended by the Commission to include budgetary aspects relating to the proposed food facility for developing countries), and 3 to the preliminary draft budget for 2009. These reflected the latest information on agricultural market prices and other developments, and a budgetary transfer to cover the costs of a new reflection group as called for by the October European Council.
During a conciliation meeting between the Council and the European Parliament, agreement was reached on the 2009 EC budget and on the financing for the proposed food facility. The agreement establishes total payment levels of €116.1 billion (0.89 per cent of
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Five joint statements relating to the budget were also agreed at budget ECOFIN. These concerned the financing of the food facility, the implementation of cohesion policy and EU agencies. The Government are supportive of these statements, which affirm the co-ordination and visibility of Community development assistance and call for sound financial management and budget discipline in the areas that they concern.
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 (Rt. Hon. James Purnell) has made the following Statement.
My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Health (Alan Johnson) and I have today published the Governments response to Dame Carol Blacks review of the health of Britains working-age population, Working for a Healthier Tomorrow.
Dame Carols review, published on 17 March 2008, built upon the growing evidence that work is generally good for health and that the mounting costs of ill health are unacceptable, whether for individuals and families, for businesses, or for society as a whole.
Her analysis brought into focus, as never before, the scale of the economic cost of ill health and its impact not just on work but on human life. She laid the foundation for a consensus around a new vision for health and work, setting out radical and far- reaching proposals to prevent illness; make early access to work-related health support available to all; and improve the health of the workless so that everyone with the potential to work has the support they need to do so.
Today we are responding in full to Dame Carols recommendations. Our response Improving Health and Work: Changing Lives sets out our proposals. It includes a series of pilots and programmes with the potential to redefine the ambition of health and employment support in Britain, shifting the focus of welfare beyond helping people into work to helping them stay there, and further widening the focus of national healthcare from treatment to prevention and early intervention.
Dame Carol set out a challenging vision for improving the health of the working-age population. Ultimately, responsibility rests with a range of people: government; employers; trade unions; healthcare professionals; and individuals themselves. Today, with the publication of our response, we are setting out the Governments real commitment to this agenda and how we will play our part.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (Lord Young of Norwood Green): My right honourable friend the Minister of State for Higher Education and Intellectual Property (David Lammy) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
On 29 October 2008, my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills announced that the Government are making extra money available, totalling £100 million in steady state, to meet the higher than expected demand for student support in 2009-10 and beyond. This will enable the Government to maintain their intention that two-thirds of eligible students should receive either the full grant of £2,906 or a partial grant in 2009-10. We also expect that our commitment for one-third of eligible students to receive a full grant will be exceededunder the new package, we anticipate that 40 per cent of students may be eligible for a full grant.
This means that students with household incomes ranging from £18,360 to £50,020 will be eligible for higher levels of grant than in 2007-08, while those with incomes ranging from £18,360 to £57,708 will be eligible for a more generous package of grant and loan support than in 2007-08. Amendment regulations to the Education (Student Support) (No. 2) Regulations 2008 are being laid today.
My predecessor as Minister of State for Higher Education, Bill Rammell, placed a memorandum in the Library on 13 May 2008 giving details of the increased loan, grant and fee rates for the 2009-10 academic year, in line with forecast price increases. The detailed tables in that memorandum gave income thresholds for the partial maintenance grant and for the non-means-tested element of the student loan, which have now been revised. I am therefore placing an updated memorandum in the Library which makes clear the levels of support available to new entrants in 2009-10, as well as giving tables showing support for continuing students.
The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): My right honourable friend the Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Stephen Timms) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
Subject to parliamentary approval of any necessary supplementary estimate, the HM Revenue and Customs total DEL will be increased by £91,338,000 from £4,448,459,000 to £4,539,797,000. Within the total DEL change, the impact on resources and capital are as set out in the following table:
Subject to parliamentary approval of the winter supplementary estimate, HM Treasury's DEL will be increased by £1,318,000 from £220,233,000 to £221,551,000 and the administration budget will be increased by £1,223,000 from £168,202,000 to £169,425,000 with no change to the capital DEL. The impact on resources and the administration budget is set out in the following table:
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