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Copies of the government response have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses and the response is available on the Ministry of Justice website at www.justice.gov.uk. The Civil Justice Council's report is available on the Civil Justice Council website at www.civiljusticecouncil.gov.uk.

Legal Aid

Statement

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): The Government are committed to funding legal aid for family cases, and currently dedicate £582 million each year to family legal aid. In real terms, in the last seven years expenditure on family representation has increased by 25 per cent while the number of people helped has dropped by 11 per cent. For this reason, we have been working to redesign the system to get the best value for the taxpayer and to ensure that our priority of protecting and helping vulnerable children is met.



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On 17 December 2008, I announced a consultation paper, Family Legal Aid Funding from 2010, published by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and the Legal Services Commission (LSC) (Official Report col.WS120) which set out proposals for legal aid payments for family work to apply from 2010. The consultation closed on 3 April 2009, following an extension of the original closing date of 18 March, which was granted following requests from representative bodies.

The consultation paper focused on two new payment schemes:

The Private Law Representation Scheme, which will bring all private family work (excluding advocacy) within a standard fee regime; andThe Family Advocacy scheme, which creates a single graduated fee scheme covering payments to both solicitor advocates and barristers for public and private family law cases.

There is a significant overlap between what solicitors and barristers do, and this consultation proposed that barrister and solicitor advocates would receive the same fees for the same advocacy work and most respondents agreed with this principle.

I remain convinced that it is right to proceed with a harmonised family advocacy scheme and intend to do so.

Since the formal consultation ended, the Legal Services Commission has had a substantial amount of constructive engagement with stakeholders. They have provided a considerable amount of detailed advice on how to improve the structure of both the advocacy and representation schemes-primarily to recognise complexity in cases.

Our original proposals have been substantially revised to reflect many of their suggestions. This has required a considerable amount of reworking of the assumptions that underpin the modelling of the fee schemes. I have concluded that in order to ensure that those models are as accurate as possible, further analysis is required before we publish the final fee schemes.

My officials and the Legal Service Commission will be working on the fee schemes over the summer. They will be finalised and announced in time for the September bid round for new civil contracts in April 2010.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): The Legal Services Commission (LSC) is publishing today a response to its consultation, published in March 2009, on best value tendering (BVT) of criminal defence services. The consultation set out plans to pilot BVT in Greater Manchester and Avon and Somerset and, subject to the outcome of the pilot tender process, to roll out BVT more widely during 2010-12.

The LSC has listened carefully to concerns raised by those responding to the consultation and has been persuaded that there is a strong case for delaying the wider implementation of BVT until at least 2013 to enable a full evaluation of the impact in the two pilot areas. The pilot tender will go ahead in October 2009 with pilot contracts going live in July 2010.

The consultation was clear that the introduction of BVT would bring significant change to the way in which criminal defence services in the police station and magistrates' court are currently funded. However,

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BVT offers the potential to secure the long-term sustainability of criminal defence work by enabling legal aid providers to offer their services at a sustainable price that reflects the costs of provision in their local area. The proposals have been designed to secure best value for taxpayers' money and provide opportunities for practitioners to undertake more work where they have the capacity to do so.

The consultation response also details the final BVT model to be implemented in the pilot areas including the adjustments that have been made as a result of the consultation. In particular, the LSC intends to implement a more flexible, localised approach to maximum market share in response to concerns raised by respondents. It also intends to allow firms to undertake a small amount of police station work outside the area in which they have won a contract so that they can continue relationships with established clients.

Copies of Best Value Tendering for CDS Contracts 2010: A Response to Consultation have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses, the Vote Office and the Printed Paper Office. The document can be downloaded from the consultation section of the LSC's website at www.legalservices.gov.uk.

Marine Environment: Radioactive Discharges

Statement

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The OSPAR radioactive substances strategy was agreed by Ministers of all contracting parties in 1998. The objective of the strategy is to prevent pollution of the maritime area covered by the OSPAR Convention (Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic) from ionising radiation through progressive and substantial reductions in radioactive discharges.

It was agreed that contracting parties should report to the OSPAR Commission on progress in achieving the aims of the 1998 strategy.

Today, an updated strategy for radioactive discharges (the first having been published in 2002) was published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change. The UK discharges strategy forms our national report on progress and will be presented at the next OSPAR ministerial meeting in 2010.

The UK strategy is available via the DECC website at www.decc.gov.uk.

Millennium Development Goals

Statement

Lord Brett: My honourable friend the Minister of State for International Development (Gareth Thomas) has made the following Statement.

The new White Paper Eliminating World Poverty: Building our Common Future sets out the Government's vision of a more focused and effective UN that plans, manages and delivers "as one" for the world's most vulnerable people. The Government's intention is to put more of our funding through system-wide mechanisms that encourage a joined-up, efficient and effective UN effort.



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Today I am confirming a pledge that I made at the 2008 MDG high-level event to provide £40 million (over 2009 to 2011) through the new UN MDG "Delivering as One" Fund. This new facility, developed jointly with Spain, Norway and the Netherlands, will fund UN-led development work in countries where UN agencies have agreed one programme, one budget, shared back-office services and one strong leader. Experience over recent years indicates that this approach leads to a stronger, more effective and efficient UN at country level, better able to support developing countries' national programmes to meet the MDGs. So far, 12 developing countries have adopted this "one UN" approach and others are expected to follow. UK funding will be closely linked to performance to ensure that the new fund contributes to improved efficiency and effectiveness in the UN's work.

NHS: Non-UK Residents

Statement

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

Since the publication of the cross-government immigration enforcement strategy Enforcing the Rules: AStrategy to Ensure and Enforce Compliance with our Immigration Laws, the Department of Health and the Home Office have been working together to review the rules on charging non-UK residents for access to National Health Service services in England.

The House will wish to know that the joint review has concluded and the Government are today able to outline their conclusions.

The National Health Service was founded over 60 years ago. Sixty years on, this Government remain committed to its founding principles: a national health service for the benefit of the people of the United Kingdom, free at the point of delivery and funded by general taxation.

However, it is neither feasible to operate the NHS without proper controls over access, nor fair, in an age of mass global travel and movement, to ask the taxpayer to fund unrestricted access to non-UK/EEA nationals. It is the Government's responsibility to protect NHS resources from exploitation or inappropriate use.

That is why, in concluding the review, the Government are today announcing measures to support a clearer and fairer system of access to NHS services-a transparent system that will maintain the confidence of the public by preventing inappropriate access.

The Government have decided to maintain the current system of charging non-residents for most secondary care (hospital) services. Treatment in an accident and emergency department and treatment for specified infectious diseases that could create a public health risk will remain free to all. The Government also propose limited extensions to the current range of exemptions from charges for hospital treatment for certain non-residents.



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Persons seeking refuge or asylum are already exempted from charges for the duration of their application including the full appeal process. The Government have not been persuaded that this full exemption should be extended to all of those whose application has failed but have not yet left the country. It has however recognised the case for those whose claim has been refused but who are being supported by the UK Border Agency because they would otherwise be destitute, have children and/or because it is impossible to return them home through no fault of their own. It is therefore proposed that an exemption from charges is extended to this group.

The Government also propose to exempt from charges all unaccompanied minors, including those in local authority care, while clarifying the principle that the accompanying parent or guardian of a non-resident minor is responsible for the cost of their NHS treatment. Together with the exemption for victims of human trafficking that was introduced from April this year, these changes reinforce the protection and rights to healthcare of the most vulnerable groups, regardless of their residential status.

While maintaining the principle that other visitors or irregular migrants who are not specifically exempted should be charged for their treatment and that, in non-urgent circumstances, treatment will be withheld if the costs are not paid, the Government remain firmly committed to the requirement that immediately necessary and other urgent treatment should never be denied or delayed from those who require it. We are currently engaging with key stakeholders to ensure that guidance to the NHS in this respect is clear and comprehensive.

The principles of providing immediately necessary treatment must always be applied to any maternity care, to ensure that the health of the mother or baby is not put at any risk. Maternity treatment therefore must never be delayed or denied. However, the Government have not been persuaded that charges should be abolished in relation to non-exempt patients for maternity treatment. There is clear case evidence that a small number of visitors enter the United Kingdom specifically to use NHS maternity services.

In relation to HIV treatment, the Government recognise that clinical evidence on treatment, including its role in prevention, is developing constantly. Moreover, HIV is a major global problem, the control of which creates significant financial as well as human costs. We will therefore undertake further analysis of the latest medical and public health evidence together with consideration of how the current policy on treatment aligns with the Government's wider international aid strategy for HIV. This analysis will inform a future decision on whether the current treatment policy (that only initial diagnosis and counselling are offered free of charge to non-UK residents or individuals who are not otherwise exempt) should be revised.

The Government also propose that the period of absence for current residents that can be disregarded for the purpose of determining continued eligibility for free NHS hospital treatment in England is extended from three to up to six months. This proposed change reflects the increasing tendency towards longer periods

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of travel overseas for some people and will protect the rights of British citizens who travel abroad while still residing substantively in the United Kingdom.

The Government acknowledge that general practitioners (GPs) are well placed to take account of the healthcare needs of their local communities. GPs also play a pivotal role in the provision of public health services (in which they are currently at the forefront of our response to the threat of pandemic swine flu). Since the inception of the NHS, GPs have had the responsibility of determining whether a particular individual should become a patient of their practice. This applies to all patients and, while the discretion that we give to GPs is limited-for example, decisions must not be discriminatory-we do not believe that any specific changes are required in respect of foreign nationals. Where an individual is refused registration, a GP is able to offer routine treatment on a private fee paying basis, but must provide any immediately necessary treatment free of charge.

A small minority of visitors deliberately seek to enter the UK, legally or illegally, in order to access NHS services without payment, some returning on a number of occasions for additional treatment while their previous debt remains unpaid. We therefore believe that there is a strong justification for practical working level co-operation between the NHS and UK Border Agency to apply immigration sanctions to those seeking leave to enter or remain when they have substantial uncleared debts to the NHS. It is only fair that these individuals are prevented from returning to the United Kingdom, or extending their stay here, until they have cleared their debt. The Government therefore propose to amend the Immigration Rules to provide that non-EEA nationals will normally be refused permission to enter or remain in the United Kingdom if they have significant debts to the NHS.

The Government are also attracted to the principle of visitors who are not covered by EEA or other reciprocal health agreements being required to have personal health insurance provision, as is already the case in some other countries. We intend initially to seek views on the merits and feasibility of such a scheme, which will inform further work to evaluate possible options.

The proposals apply to England only. The Government will, however, consult with devolved Administrations, particularly with regard to the proposals on health tourism and health insurance where there may be benefits in a United Kingdom-wide approach.

The proposed policy changes in this Statement will be put to public consultation in the autumn and full supporting information will be provided at that time. Subject to a positive consultation outcome, revised regulations will then be laid as required to enable changes to take effect.

Northern Ireland: Boundary Commission

Statement

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



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I have today placed a copy of the Boundary Commission's annual report for the period 2008-09 in the Libraries of both Houses. Copies are also available on the Boundary Commission website at www.boundary commission.org.uk.

Olympic Games 2012

Statement

Lord Davies of Oldham: My right honourable friend the Minister for the Olympics and Paymaster-General (Tessa Jowell) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I am publishing today the Government Olympic Executive's quarterly economic report, London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games Quarterly Economic Report July 2009. This report explains the latest budget position as at 30 June 2009 and outlines some of the many wider economic benefits to the UK.

The Olympic project remains on time and within budget. The overall £9.325 billion public sector funding package for the London 2012 Games remains unchanged and the anticipated final cost of the Olympic Delivery Authority's (ODA) programme is the same as it was at the end of March 2009 at £7.234 billion.

On the eve of our three-years-to-go celebrations, the ODA continues to make good progress on the Olympic Park, recently announcing that it had hit all of its 10 milestones. Good progress is being made on all of the principal venues and on 16 July the ODA announced that the outer shell roof structure of the Olympic stadium had been completed just 14 months after construction started.

The report also confirms that the London 2012 Games are providing business and employment opportunities around the UK in challenging times. There are now over 4,000 workers on site. Of these, 10 per cent were previously unemployed. To date £3.5 billion-worth of contracts have been directly awarded by the ODA, 98 per cent of these to UK companies.

I would like to commend this report to the Members of both Houses and thank them for their continued interest and support of the London 2012 Games.

Copies of the Quarterly Economic Report July 2009 are available at www.culture.gov.uk and will be deposited in the Libraries of both Houses.

Parole Board

Statement

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Bridget Prentice) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The role of the Parole Board has changed significantly since its creation in 1968, from an advisory body to a court-like decision-making body. It has evolved in light of legislative changes, court judgments and changing case loads, but its functions, status and resources have not been systematically considered in light of these changes.



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I am today therefore announcing a consultation on options for the future of the Parole Board. The consultation period will last from 20 July 2009 until 20 November 2009.

Copies of the consultation paper have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses, the Vote Office and the Printed Paper Office. They are also available at www.justice.gov.uk. The ministry's website also gives details of how to respond to the consultation exercise.

Regional Spatial Strategy: East of England

Statement

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): My honourable friend the Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government is today publishing the revision to the East of England plan (the revision to the East of England regional spatial strategy) concerning accommodation for Gypsies and Travellers and travelling showpeople, together with the accompanying supporting document, which includes a summary of consultation responses and a sustainability statement. This final, single-issue revision to the East of England plan reflects consideration of responses to the consultation on the Secretary of State's proposed changes, which were made in the light of the recommendations of the independent panel who conducted an examination in public into the draft policy.

This is the completion of an important single-issue revision to the East of England plan, which was published in May 2008. It builds on the foundations of the draft policy, which was prepared by the East of England Regional Assembly and the findings of the independent panel who conducted an examination in public.

The policies that are published today become part of the East of England plan and provide a framework for local planning authorities to prepare relevant policies in their development plan documents, which must be in general conformity with the East of England plan.

The strategy reflected in the final policies aims to guide development of additional accommodation for Gypsies and Travellers and travelling showpeople in the East of England most immediately to 2011, and in the longer term to 2021.


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