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23 Feb 2009 : Column WS1

Written Statements

Monday 23 February 2009

Department of Health: DEL


The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): My honourable friend the Minister of State, Department of Health (Ben Bradshaw) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Subject to the necessary supplementary estimate, the Department of Health's element of the departmental expenditure limit (DEL) will increase by £26,403,000 from £98,565,431,000 to £98,591,834,000 and the administration cost limit will be increased by £3,280,000 from £219,163,000 to £222,443,000. The Food Standards Agency DEL increases by £700,000 from £137,720,000 to £138,420,000. The overall DEL including the Food Standards Agency will increase by £27,103,000 from £98,703,151,000 to £98,730,254,000. The impact on resource and capital are set out in the following table:

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ChangeNew DEL
Voted £mNon-voted £mVoted £mNon-voted £mTotal £m

Department of Health

Resource DEL, of which






Administration Budget *




Near-cash in Resource DEL






Capital DEL






Total Department of Health DEL






Depreciation **






Total Department of Health spending (after adjustment)






Food Standards Agency

Resource DEL, of which





Administration Budget *




Near-cash in Resource DEL





Capital DEL




Total Food Standards Agency DEL






Depreciation **



Total Food Standards Agency spending (after adjustment)






The Department of Health DEL has increased by £26,403,000 made up of:

the take-up of £3,000,000 (administration costs) end-year flexibility as announced in the provisional outturn White Paper (Cm 7419);£30,000 (£-200,000 capital) for adjustments to Invest to Save budget awards; a net transfer of £296,000 (administration costs) from the Cabinet Office for services of the Parliamentary Counsel, offset by funding for the centre of expertise for sustainable procurement (administration cost limit);a transfer of £-16,000 (administration costs) to the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills for the skills training strategy (administration cost limit);a net transfer of £-5,025,000 to the Department for Children, Schools and Families mainly for substance misuse funding offset by a grant for the child migrant trusts;a net transfer of £28,318,000 with the Ministry of Justice mainly for adjustments to prison healthcare budgets offset by funding for mental health review tribunals; and a transfer of £-200,000 to the Statistics Board for information on migration statistics.

In addition, there is movement from the revenue to capital DEL of £200,000,000 to allow for increased capital investment in the NHS.

The Department of Health’s administration cost limit has increased by £3,280,000 as described above.

The change to the Food Standards Agency element of the DEL is due to:

a transfer of £450,000 from programme into capital; andreinstatement of £700,000 non-cash budget to the Comprehensive Spending Review settlement position.



The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): My right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Alistair Darling) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

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The Economic and Financial Affairs Council was held in Brussels on 10 February 2009. The following items were discussed:

Preparation of the meeting of the European Council

European economic recovery plan

Ministers held a debate on the current state of implementation of the European economic recovery plan (EERP), including a first horizontal evaluation report from the European Commission. The Government are firm supporters of the timely, targeted and temporary measures taken at national level under the framework of the EERP to stimulate growth in the EU.

ECOFIN exchanged views on the financial aspects of the Commission's proposals for energy and broadband projects to be funded through the EU budget. The Government will continue to scrutinise the Commission's proposals in detail.

Key issues paper

ECOFIN held an orientation debate on the key issues paper on economic and financial issues for the spring 2009 European Council. The full version of the paper will be agreed before the European Council based on the outline proposed by the presidency. The Government supported the outline, which emphasises the serious challenges in 2009 and the remaining need for action to stabilise financial markets and facilitate a speedy economic recovery.

Reduced rates of VAT

Following a political discussion by Ministers, the presidency indicated that it would reflect on how to take the dossier forward in response to the European Council's request to settle the issue by March. A further discussion is expected at the ECOFIN meeting on 10 March, in the run-up to the next European Council, on 19 and 20 March. The Government continue to believe that member states should be allowed the flexibility to apply reduced rates of VAT where they do not materially affect the functioning of the single market.

General budget of the EU: discharge procedure in respect of the implementation of the budget for 2007

ECOFIN adopted a recommendation to the European Parliament on the discharge to be given to the Commission for implementation of the EU general budget for 2007. The UK welcomes the references within the recommendation relating to the key role of member states in improving financial management and accountability of EU funds under shared management.

Other business

Short selling

The council took note of an intervention by the Dutch Minister calling for work to enhance greater co-ordination between member states and at international level on temporary measures aimed at short selling. The Commission and the Committee of European Securities Regulators (CESR) will look further into these issues, which the UK welcomes in the wider context of effort to improve corporate governance.

Breakfast meeting on the economic situation

Ministers discussed the implementation of financial rescue packages. They agreed that the priority is to fully restore the functioning of credit channels and on

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that basis agreed to a set of lines of communication. ECOFIN agreed that, to safeguard banking sector stability, measures to deal with impaired assets could usefully complement agreed instruments, consistent with principles set in October 2008. ECOFIN will continue to monitor this issue closely. The UK fully supports these measures and the ECOFIN lines of communication as the basis of a flexible, co-ordinated European response to the financial situation.

NATO Parliamentary Assembly


The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (David Miliband) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

My honourable friend the Member for Wakefield (Mary Creagh) has replaced my honourable friend the Member for Glasgow North (Ann McKechin) as a member of the United Kingdom delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.

Northern Ireland: Policing and Justice


Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Shaun Woodward) has made the following Ministerial Statement.

On 18 November, an historic agreement was announced by the First Minister and Deputy First Minister setting out a process which would pave the way to the devolution of policing and justice powers to the Northern Ireland Assembly.

The agreement and the subsequent report of the Assembly and Executive Review Committee on the modalities of devolution contained a number of significant decisions on the shape of the post-devolution framework for the administration of policing and justice in Northern Ireland.

The Government are committed to helping to move the process forward in whatever way they can.

I am therefore today introducing a Bill to Parliament to give effect to those elements of the November statement and the AERC report that require primary legislation.

The Bill does not provide for when devolution will happen, nor does it provide for what is to devolve—both of these still require further consideration by the parties and ultimately by Parliament.

It does, however, provide a framework for the post-devolution administration of justice by providing for a new ministerial model which the Assembly can use to set up a new department of justice.

It also provides for certain functions in relation to judicial appointments and removals to rest with the Judicial Appointments Commission rather than the First and Deputy First Ministers.

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In addition, later this week I will be laying an order under Section 17(4) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 to increase the maximum number of ministerial offices to 11. This will enable the Assembly to give effect to the recommendation of the AERC report that a department with policing and justice functions should be established as an additional department to the existing departments which make up the Northern Ireland Executive. The Assembly is currently prevented from establishing an additional department by Section 17 of the Northern Ireland Act, which limits the number of ministerial offices to 10.

Separately, I will also commence a number of provisions under the Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2006 and the Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007. This will ensure that when the Northern Ireland Assembly makes a decision to legislate to set up the new department of justice it has a full range of options to choose from.

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