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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Defence (John Hutton) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
I attended an informal meeting of NATO Defence Ministers in Budapest, Hungary on 9-10 October 2008. It provided an important opportunity for discussions on operations and on the transformation of NATO capabilities, following the informal Defence Ministers meeting in London on 18-19 September 2008, which was attended by my predecessor as Secretary of State for Defence, the right honourable Des Browne.
The main focus of the meeting in London was the continuing transformation of the Alliance. Ministers expressed their strong support for NATO transformation and for proposals made during the meeting to increase the targets for Allies deployable capabilities. Over dinner, Ministers reflected on the implications for NATO of the events in Georgia in the preceding months. There was consensus that collective defence and discretionary, out-of-area operations required the same expeditionary capabilities.
The focus of the meeting in Budapest was on current operations. This was the first ministerial meeting in which Albania and Croatia participated fully. Ministers underlined the importance of the NATO operation in Afghanistan, and in response to a request from the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, directed ISAF to take action, with the Afghan authorities, against narcotics facilities and facilitators supporting the insurgency within priority regions. Ministers stated their continued support for NATOs KFOR mission and its work in providing a safe and secure environment in Kosovo. On Afghanistan, NATO Ministers also had a meeting with their counterparts from non-NATO nations making valuable contributions to the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, together with the Defence Minister of Afghanistan, the United Nations Secretary-Generals special representative for Afghanistan and a European Union senior representative.
At the request of the United Nations, Ministers agreed that NATO will contribute to deter piracy in the waters off the coast of Somalia, by providing a number of ships from the Alliances Standing Naval Maritime Group to patrol the waters off the coast of Somalia and escort ships carrying food supplies for the World Food Programme.
At the meeting, Ministers re-affirmed the importance that they attach to developing deployable capabilities and agreed to increase targets for the deployability of allies land forces. In addition, the first ministerial-level meeting of the NATO-Georgia Commission took place, where the Defence Minister for Georgia set out the Georgian Governments priorities in security and defence policy.
During the passage of the Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007, Ministers undertook to make a Statement to Parliament each year on the volume of non-jury trial cases under the legislation. This is the first such Statement.
During the period 1 August 2007 to 31 July 2008 inclusive, the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland issued 29 certificates, relating to 28 cases, under Section 1 of the Act. Some of those certificates relate to cases that were already in the system at the time the previous Diplock arrangements under the Terrorism Act 2000 were repealed, but where the indictment had not yet been presented.
During the same period, 48 non-jury cases have been dealt with before the Crown Court. This figure is made up of 13 cases under the 2007 Act, and a further 35 cases being dealt with under the transitional arrangements put in place for the repeal of Part VII of the 2000 Act. Under those transitional arrangements, cases where the indictment had been presented at the time of repeal continued to be tried under the 2000 Act arrangements.
A further 24 cases were in the system at 31 July 2008. This figure is made up of 15 cases where certificates have been issued under the 2007 Act and nine transitional Diplock cases. These nine cases will be the last tried under the Terrorism Act 2000 arrangements.
Subject to parliamentary approval, the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) will be taking a 2008-09 winter supplementary estimate. The effect this will have is to increase the NIOs DEL by £31,542,000 from £1,183,975,000 to £1,215,517,000.
The change in total DEL of £31,542,000 relates to: £20,000,000 rephasing of Compensation Agency non-cash provisions budget from 2009-10 and 2010-11 into 2008-09;
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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Health (Alan Johnson) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
The Office for Strategic Co-ordination of Health Research (OSCHR) was established 22 months ago following Sir David Cookseys recommendations for better co-ordination of health research activities across the UK, and a stronger focus on translating basic science into improved care for NHS patients. Sir Davids report A Review of UK Health Research Funding was published in December 2006. The first progress report from the chairman of OSCHR, Professor Sir John Bell, was published on 18 November 2008.
Sir Johns report Office for Strategic Coordination of Health: Chairmans First Progress Report highlights the main elements of the combined approach that has been put in place by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and the Medical Research Council (MRC) since the Cooksey review. This period has seen an unprecedented commitment to health research in terms of funding, infrastructure, research programmes and the volume of health research commissioned.
The Governments single health research fund, which will soon top £1.7 billion a year, is allocated by the Department of Health to the National Institute for Health Research in England, and by the Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills to the Medical Research Council, which supports research throughout the United Kingdom.
The progress report also announces that the Prime Minister has asked for a set of national ambitions for health research to be developed to build on the progress so far and encourage the translation of major research breakthroughs into new NHS treatments and services. The national ambitions will be developed independently of government by the research funding bodies, under the auspices of OSCHR, in consultation with the academic community.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform & Cabinet Office (Baroness Vadera): My right honourable friend the Minister of State for Employment Relations and Postal Affairs (Pat McFadden) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
|RDA||Board member appointees|
The RDAs are playing a crucial role in supporting the national and regional economies in this critical and exceptional economic climate. All the appointees will bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to their RDA, adding a vast amount of value.
I have placed further details of these appointments, including biographies, in the Libraries of both Houses. I can confirm that the appointments were made in accordance with the Code of Practice of the Commissioner for Public Appointments.
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