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The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Quentin Davies) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
The provision of armoured fighting vehicles to our forces has attracted considerable interest among honourable Members and the British public. I am today announcing the MoDs new armoured fighting vehicles sector strategy and how it links to the defence industrial strategy.
The defence industrial strategy set out the Governments approach to the delivery of the capabilities required by our Armed Forces now and in the future, recognising the important contribution that the defence industry makes. Building on the principles of the DIS, the new AVF sector strategy lays out further guiding principles which will shape MoDs relationship with industry, setting the context for individual project decisions and contributing to a coherent sector programme.
In our strategy, we have changed the emphasis on how we meet our operational sovereigntyrequirements, making clear that it is not necessary to retain industrial capabilities in the UK in order to achieve appropriate operational sovereignty. We plan to make greater use of the global market, particularly within the EU and NATO, so long as we have assured access to the appropriate capabilities and expertise to design, modify, maintain, repair, overhaul, assemble, integrate and test our armoured fighting vehicles. Of course our critical requirement for affordability and value for money will remain. We continue to have a requirement to manufacture certain UK-specific critical sub-systems onshore and we will retain onshore the ability to maintain, repair and overhaul our vehicles, making use of the Defence Support Group. However where bids we receive offer comparable value for money, I will always take into account employment and industrial considerations in this country.
Contrary to our present position, which normally involves manufacturers or lead contractors retaining the exclusive right to the use of the design information of platforms or systems we acquire, we will in future in principle wish to acquire at the outset rights over design information, as well as assured access to relevant design knowledge, sufficient to allow third-party modification of designs where appropriate, and to permit routine maintenance repair and overhaul activities.
Our strategy will generally be to procure base vehicles which can provide a suitable platform for the systems we require and which allow for modification and enhancement in the light of future developments in technology and future operational requirements. This
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We owe a great debt to the men and women of the Armed Forces who operate in hostile environments, risking their lives to secure freedom and to ensure that international terrorism, which threatens us all, is not allowed to take hold. We must ensure that they receive the very best support and the very best equipment for the roles they are undertaking. In this Statement today, I have outlined a new strategy, one which will enable us to make the best procurement decisions in support of our Armed Forces. I believe that once the strategy is fully implemented it will ensure that we give our Armed Forces the armoured fighting vehicles they need and deserve to do their jobs as safely and effectively as modern technology can provide at best value for money for the UK taxpayer.
The Minister for Economic Competitiveness and Small Business (Baroness Vadera): My right honourable friend the Minister of State, Cabinet Office (Angela E Smith) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
The 2008 Fast Stream recruitment report is being published online today at http://www.cabinetoffice.gov. uk/reports/faststream.aspx. Copies have been placed in the Library and are also available in the Vote Office and the Printed Paper Office.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Davies of Oldham): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Hilary Benn) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
In my oral Statement to the House on 18 June I warned that the threat to the UK posed by floods, heat waves and coastal erosion presents a great challenge which we need to plan for. According to the UK climate change projections, the UK faces warmer, wetter winters and hotter, drier summers, with more drought, heat-waves, flooding and sea-level rise. The results illustrate how important it is for the country to plan for the impacts of climate change. The projections underline that cutting global greenhouse gas emissions to limit future climate change is essential for the UKas for the rest of the world.
In response to this, experts have been appointed to the Adaptation Sub-Committee to the Committee on Climate Change, which has been established under the Climate Change Act 2008 to advise government on
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I am announcing the first six members of the Adaptation Sub-Committee to the Committee on Climate Change today. They are: Dr Sam Fankhauser, Professor Martin Parry, Professor Jim Hall, Dr Andrew Dlugolecki, Baroness Barbara Young and Mr Graham Wynne. The sub-committee will be headed by the newly appointed chair Lord John Krebs.
With permission Mr Speaker, I wish to update the House on the issue of parliamentary standards. But first, I would like to offer you congratulations on your election yesterday. I look forward to working with you to address the issues of concern to members of the public and to members of this House of Commons.
As you said yesterday, Mr Speaker, I strongly believe that the overwhelming majority of Members of Parliament are decent people who work hard to serve the public interest, not to serve their own self-interest. But that is not the impression that the public have and so we are taking action.
Of course we must protect Members security but I can tell the House that for the publication of the 2008-09 receipts this autumn, the question of redaction will be looked at again, considering the advice of the Information Commissioner.
Work has begun by Sir Thomas Legg, who has been contracted by the House Authorities to lead a reassessment of all claims over the past four years and having reconsidered each claim and the evidence submitted to support it, to report whether it was within the rules as they obtained at the time with a view to ensuring that where there has been overpayment then it must be paid back.
Work is under way by the Committee on Standards in Public Life whowith Sir Christopher Kelly as chairhave taken on the task of undertaking a root and branch review of the allowances and to make recommendations. They are taking evidence and will complete their work in the autumn.
This afternoon will see the publication of the Parliamentary Standards Bill, which will establish a new and wholly independent authority to take over the role of the Fees Office in authorising Members claims, overseeing a new allowance system, following proposals from the Committee on Standards in Public Life, and maintaining the Register of Members Interests.
I can assure the House that although there will be a new independent authority for allowances, we will work closely and sympathetically with the House authorities on the future for the staff currently working in the Department of Resources.
I shall set out in my business Statement the date for Second Reading of the Bill but the House should know that we intend that its Committee stage as well as Report and Third Reading will be taken on the Floor of the House and we hope that there is sufficient consensusfollowing the consultation which has been led by my right honourable friend the Justice Secretaryfor it to reach Royal Assent by the time the House rises for the Summer Recess so that it can be ready to start work with the Kelly Committees recommendations by the end of the year.
The Justice Secretary and I are grateful for the constructive cross-party discussions that preceded the Bills introduction. A number of those on the cross-party group, including the Government, are prepared to go further. This Bill is the first stage of legislation and covers the specific but important and urgent task of setting up an independent authority to run our expenses system.
Following the resolution of the House on 30 April there willfrom 1 Julybe a new registration requirement so that any payment to an MP for services, whether in cash or kind, will have to be registered. Guidance from the Registrar of Members Financial Interest has been sent to all Members this morning.
The abuse by some Members of our allowance system has caused a high level of public concern and has required this comprehensive range of actions to ensure that we can say to the publicin the words of the honourable Member for Gloucesterwe get it and were sorting it.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (Ed Balls) made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
Following the publication of the 18th report Part 1 of the School Teachers Review Body (STRB) (Cm 7546) on 31 March 2009, to which I responded in a Statement of that date, I have today written to consultees with the outcomes of my consultation on the report and my response. Copies of the letter are available in the Vote Office, the Printed Paper Office, the Libraries of the House, and at www.teachernet.gov.uk/pay.
I shall be taking forward the recommendations on the teachers pay award and pay ranges for excellent teachers for September 2009. Informed by the consultation I will implement interim changes to leadership pay that will better enable reward for system leadership
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To recognise the greater responsibility associated with running a number of schools, I will be encouraging governing bodies to make responsible use of the flexibilities that they already have to determine an appropriate level of pay for these heads in a way that is not constrained by the maximum of the leadership pay range but is appropriate, fair and transparent. These are interim arrangements while the STRB looks in greater depth in the coming year at new pay arrangements for school leaders that will recognise and reward the vital contribution that they will make to the delivery of our vision of the 21st century school.
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.
The House will have seen reporting of the visit to London by Morgan Tsvangirai, Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, on 19 to 24 June 2009. My right honourable friend the Prime Minister and I met Mr Tsvangirai yesterday and made clear our determination to support him in bringing to Zimbabwe the change demanded by ordinary Zimbabweans.
My right honourable friend the Prime Minister announced that the UKs assistance for Zimbabwe will increase to £60 million this year, including an additional
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We want the inclusive Government to succeed, and to help them meet their commitments to reform outlined in the global political agreement. As my right honourable friend the Prime Minister made clear, we are prepared to provide further support to help rebuild Zimbabwe should there be further progress by the Zimbabwean Government in meeting their commitments to deliver political and economic reform. The Zimbabwean Government have made some progress in delivering reform, notably on the economic front, but much more needs to be done to deliver improved services and security to ordinary people. This includes work to implement IMF recommendations and reform the Central Bank; to reform the constitution as a prelude to new elections; to promote respect for human rights, freedom of the media and the repeal of repressive legislation; and to stop land seizures.
The southern African region has a key role to play in supporting reform in Zimbabwe. My right honourable friend the Prime Minister signalled yesterday our wish to work closely with South Africa, and I look forward to working with the new South African Administration. My noble friend Lord Malloch-Brown is in regular touch with Ministers from the Southern African Development Community, a number of whom he met this month in Cape Town.
We will continue to do what we can to support Zimbabwe and its neighbours in seizing this historic opportunity for reform in Zimbabwe, and to build on the positive momentum generated by Morgan Tsvangirais visit to work with reformers to make progress on key issues.
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