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Tube lines will remain responsible for the upgrade, maintenance and renewal of infrastructure on the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines under its PPP, with independent scrutiny provided by the PPP arbiter.

Mental Health: Criminal Justice


Baroness Thornton: My honourable friend the Minister of State, Department of Health (Phil Hope) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

On 30 April, my right honourable friend the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (David Hanson), announced the Government's response to my right honourable and noble friend Lord Bradley's review of people with mental health problems or learning disabilities in the criminal justice system. The Government accepted the direction of travel set out by Lord Bradley, and committed to developing a national delivery plan incorporating a full response to the report's recommendations.

The Government stated that they would report to Parliament on the progress achieved by the end of October 2009.

The Government are pleased to report that since the publication of Lord Bradley's review, a cross-departmental Health and Criminal Justice National Programme Board, chaired by David Behan (director-general for social care, local government and care partnerships in the Department of Health), has been established to consider Lord Bradley's recommendations in detail and to develop a national delivery plan. Improving Health, Supporting Justice-the delivery plan of the Health and Criminal Justice Programme Board-will be published in November and we will make a further Written Ministerial Statement about this on the day of publication.

The Government also accepted Lord Bradley's recommendation for a national advisory group to be established to help ensure wider involvement from interested organisations. I am pleased to announce today that Keith Pearson, who is currently chair of NHS East of England, has been appointed as the chair of the national advisory group.

National Probation Service


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

The indicative budget for 2010-11, communicated to probation chiefs in February 2009 was £844 million, compared with a budget of £894 million in 2009-10. This would have been a 5.6 per cent reduction year on year.

In the light of strong representations I have received from the probation service and from the probation unions, and my particular concern about employment prospects for recently-qualified probation officers, I

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can announce today that the confirmed 2010-11 allocation will be £870 million, £26 million more than the original indicative budget. This equates to a reduction of 2.68 per cent year on year. This is consistent with the savings expected across the public service.

In this economic climate the probation service along with all public services has to achieve efficiency savings. Probation boards and trusts have been required to review their structures, overheads, support services and efficiency levels. This funding will enable probation boards/trusts to review their staffing plans for 2010-11 which will benefit both the September 2009 graduates and the 305 trainee probation officers due to graduate in September 2010.

The additional funding will be targeted to increase confidence in community penalties and divert low risk offenders from short-term custody. Directors of offender management will be required to negotiate specific service improvements with individual boards/trusts which will be incorporated in SLAs/contracts for 2010-11 to ensure that this additional funding is targeted on front-line delivery. Detailed work will be undertaken by directors of offender management with areas/trusts to agree additional service delivery requirements and finalise individual allocations.

The total case load of offenders being supervised by the probation service rose by 53 per cent between 31 December 1997 and 31 December 2008 (from 159,200 to 243,400). This compares to an overall rise in the probation service budget of 70 per cent in real terms between 1997 and 2007.

The total offender case load has remained stable in recent years. At 31 December 2007 there were 242,700 offenders being supervised, compared to 243,400 at 31 December 2008 and 244,300 at 31 March 2009.

The overriding priority for the probation service is public protection which will not be put at risk. Probation areas are looking to make any required savings through back office and management rationalisation and improvements in efficiency and processes, protecting front-line delivery.

Taxation: Corporation Tax


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.

As part of the update provided by Budget 2009 on the Government's tax simplification reviews, the Government committed to consult on further simplification of the associated company rules.

I am today publishing a consultation document to fulfil that commitment. The consultation seeks stakeholders' views on a proposal to reform the associated company rules as they apply to the small companies' rate of corporation tax. The proposed reform aims to benefit businesses by providing a more targeted test to establish those companies whose profits should be considered collectively in establishing the rate of corporation tax that applies to them. Further details can be found in the consultation document, copies of which have been deposited in the Libraries of the House and are available on HM Treasury's website.

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): My honourable friend the Minister of State for Borders and Immigration (Phil Woolas) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I am announcing today our intention to make changes over time to our returns policy to Zimbabwe, recognising the different categories of people currently living in the UK. This reflects developments in Zimbabwe following the formation of the inclusive Government led by Prime Minister Tsvangirai.

As Prime Minister Tsvangirai has set out, including during his visit to the UK in June, there have been some positive changes in the situation in Zimbabwe over the past six months. While a great deal remains to be done to institute the political and other reforms set out in the global political agreement, the indiscriminate violence which marred the elections of 2008 has abated. And the formation of the inclusive Government has led to improvements in the economy, schools and the availability of basic commodities. In response to this changed situation some Zimbabweans in the UK are considering returning home to help rebuild their country. I consider we should be doing more to help them.

On 1 February we announced enhancements to the assisted voluntary return (AVR) package for Zimbabweans. AVR packages are available for individuals of all nationalities who are within the asylum system. The standard package provides support to help them reintegrate into their home country, including £4,000 for vocational training, assistance in setting up a business and a flight home. Since February the package for Zimbabweans has been supplemented with an extra £2,000 of reintegration assistance. This includes an additional £500 cash on departure, an extra £1,000 "in kind" assistance for business set-up, a £500 basic subsistence package and cholera prevention kits.

We are today changing the way we deliver our supplementary package for Zimbabweans such that the total value remains the same but, instead of providing the assistance in kind, cash payments will now be phased in over a six-month period through the IOM office in Harare. Making cash available to those who go home will support economic reform in Zimbabwe-enabling people to return voluntarily and use their skills to support change and help rebuild Zimbabwe with capital behind them. The scheme will also be extended until 31 December and will be reviewed at that point.

Alongside these changes to our voluntary returns package we have also considered carefully our position on enforced returns to Zimbabwe. We have kept this issue under review since the Home Office first deferred enforced returns to Zimbabwe in September 2006 and the courts have found that not all Zimbabweans are in need of international protection. The UK Border Agency will therefore be starting work over the autumn on a process aimed at normalising our returns policy to Zimbabwe, moving towards resuming enforced returns progressively as and when the political situation develops.

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The agency takes its obligations under the 1951 Refugee Convention seriously. We will continue to consider each case on its individual merits and where someone needs protection it will be granted. However, we have always expected those found not to be in need

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of protection to return home. We prefer these individuals to return voluntarily and the enhancements to the AVR scheme will support this, but where they choose not to do so we are bound to take steps, over time, to enforce the law.

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