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Written Statements

Wednesday 3 February 2010

Civil Service Compensation Scheme


Baroness Crawley: My right honourable friend the Minister for the Cabinet Office (Tessa Jowell) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I am pleased to inform the House that the Government have now finalised terms for reform of the Civil Service Compensation Scheme (CSCS) and that we have agreed these terms with the FDA, Prospect, the GMB, Unite and the Prison Officers' Association.

The CSCS sets out the terms which departments may use on redundancy or voluntary exits. In reforming the scheme, we have a number of objectives:

first, we wish to be certain that the scheme represents value for money for the taxpayer-and delivers the £500 million saving set out by the Prime Minister in his Written Ministerial Statement of 31 March 2009;secondly, we need to ensure that the scheme both does not create perverse incentives, through awarding excessively generous payments to some individuals on redundancy and complies with age discrimination legislation, by ensuring that the level of severance payments awarded is primarily linked to length of service, not to age; andthirdly, we need to ensure the reforms provide additional protection to the lowest paid staff.

Cabinet Office officials have held numerous meetings with the Civil Service unions since July 2008. We consulted fully on the provisional proposals that the Cabinet Office published in Fairness For All, on 31 July 2009, receiving over 18,000 comments in response. I met with the Civil Service unions on 22 September as part of that process.

In our response to the consultation, on 4 December 2009 we modified our original proposals to reflect the comments we had received. There were two issues that came through particularly strongly in the responses to the consultation and in my meeting with the unions. These were the need to ensure that the lowest paid workers with long service could still access up to three years' pay in compensation on redundancy, and the need to preserve the option of access to an unreduced pension on redundancy for those close to pension age.

I met with the unions again on 17 December to discuss our revised proposals. I asked Cabinet Office officials to have further meetings with the unions in order to see if it were possible to reach agreement within the parameters of the principles that have been established.

Following these discussions I am pleased that we have reached agreement with five of the six main Civil Service unions on a modified set of proposals. Unite, the GMB, Prospect, the Prison Officers' Association, and the FDA have agreed that these terms represent a fair deal for their members. Together these five unions

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represent a cross section of Civil Service staff, across all grades, ages and professions. The sixth and largest union PCS has not agreed the terms, but its members, along with all other civil servants, will be subject to the settlement with the implementation of the amending order.

The new terms provide added protection enabling the lowest paid to continue to receive a service-related redundancy payment of up to three years' pay, up to a maximum of £60,000. As in our earlier proposals, payments will be capped at a maximum of two years' pay for higher earners. The added protection for the lowest paid means that those earning under £20,000 will not be affected by the new cap limiting severance payments to two years' pay, while those earning between £20,000 and £30,000 will eligible for severance payments of up to between two and three years' pay.

We have also agreed some further transitional protection for existing staff. If made compulsorily redundant, staff aged at least 50 as of 31 March 2010 (and with a minimum of five years' service) will continue to receive existing compulsory retirement terms. This means they will continue to receive an early, enhanced pension based on their years of service as at 31 March 2010, thus providing a significant level of further protection for those closest to retirement from the position reached in December.

A relatively small number of civil servants, who joined the Civil Service before 1987, are currently eligible for a "reserved right" severance payment. Here we have modified our earlier proposals so that if made compulsorily redundant, these staff would receive a severance payment based on their years of service as at 31 March 2010 (with the cash value tapered to become equivalent in value to the new terms within three to four years).

We consider that the package of changes addresses concerns raised in the consultation and provides a fair deal both for civil servants and to the taxpayer.

I will lay the scheme amendments before Parliament by the end of this week, so as to implement the changes to the CSCS from 1 April 2010.

Criminal Justice Acts


The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): In June of last year the noble Lord, Lord Patten asked the Government, via a Parliamentary Question, how many provisions of the 65 criminal justice Acts enacted since 1997 are not yet in force; and what those provisions are.

It has been necessary to conduct a detailed exercise in order to obtain the information to answer this Question. I had anticipated that I would be in a position to provide this information by the end of last year and I apologise for the delay in responding. However this exercise has now been completed and I am pleased to be able to respond to Lord Patten's request. Provisions contained within the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, which received Royal Assent on the final day of the fourth Session, have not been considered as part of this exercise.

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Other than the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, 19 Acts containing criminal justice provisions have been enacted since 1997 for which the Ministry of Justice has responsibility, either in full or in part. Of these 19 Acts of Parliament, 68 of the sections for which the Ministry of Justice has policy responsibility currently remain unimplemented, either in full or in part and 25 of the schedules to these Acts are yet to be commenced in full or in part. A full list of provisions is contained within the table below.

Of the unimplemented provisions, many are minor, consequential or transitional provisions, for example all of the unimplemented paragraphs in schedule 7 to the Criminal Justice and Courts Services Act 2000. Of the remaining unimplemented provisions there are valid reasons for the delay as is illustrated by the examples set out below:

The majority of unimplemented provisions are contained within the Criminal Justice Act 2003 and relate to sentencing policy including the legal framework for custody plus (Sections 181 and 188 and linked provisions in Sections 280-283 and schedules 10, 11, 26 and 27)-a sentence which allows an offender to serve both a short custodial sentence and then be supervised in the community afterwards. Resource constraints have meant that we have been unable thus far to implement custody plus and there is no prospect of doing so in the near future. However we are keen to explore options to support offenders released from short-term custody. There is already provision for resettlement for offenders released after short custodial sentences, notably through the Home Office's drugs interventions programme partnership with prison teams, and other locally supported schemes.

The majority of the unimplemented provisions contained within the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 relate to the appointment of a Commissioner for Victims and Witnesses. A recruitment campaign conducted in 2006 failed to identify a suitable candidate for this role. Changes were made in the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 to reshape the role of the commissioner, reflecting developments in the provision of support and services to victims and witnesses since the 2004 legislation. The Coroners and Justice Act recently received Royal Assent on 12 November and we have now launched the recruitment for a victims' commissioner for which the 2004 Act provisions as amended will be commenced. We intend to commence the provisions in early February and aim to make an appointment soon after.

Section 10 of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 provides for courts to impose a publicity order, requiring the organisation to publicise details of its conviction and fine. As publicity orders are an entirely new disposal, commencement has been delayed until supporting guidelines are available for the courts. The Sentencing Guidelines Council published a consultation guideline on 27 October 2009 and a definitive guideline is likely to be ready early this year.

The majority of the provisions in the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 have been commenced but a few have not. For example, commencement of the offences of stirring up hatred on grounds of sexual

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orientation, contained within Section 74 of and Schedule 16 to this Act, has been delayed to ensure compliance with the e-commerce directive. This directive requires us to apply the offence to domestically established electronic service providers when they provide their services in other European economic area states. The necessary legislative changes to give us the powers we need in this respect were made by Section 143 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009. That section came into force on Royal Assent. We will therefore proceed to implement the offence as soon as regulations are made to ensure that we meet the requirements of the directive.

A further example relates to Section 39 of, and Schedule 7 to, the 2008 Act which introduce youth default orders which will enable a court to impose an unpaid work requirement on a young offender (of the age of 16 or 17), a curfew requirement or an attendance centre requirement in lieu of an unpaid fine. These provisions are yet to be implemented due to resource constraints.

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ActUnimplemented Provision

Crime and Disorder Act 1998

Schedule 8 (Paragraphs 86 and 90)

Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999

Schedules 2 (Paragraphs 1-2, 3(10)(b), 5 and 15) and 4 (Paragraphs 1-3, 4(1) and (3), 21 and 24)

Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000

Sections 59 and 61

Schedule 7 (Paragraphs 5, 7-11, 15(1)(a)-(d), (f), (g), 16, 17, 18(1), (2), (3)(a), (b), (c)(ii), 20, 22(1)(a)-(d), (f), (g), 23, 24, 25(1), (2), (3)(a), (b), (c)(ii), (4), 27, 29(1)(a)-(d), (f), (g), 30, 31, 32(1), (2), (3)(a), (b), (c)(ii), 33-36, 39, 54-56, 59, 60, 62-70, 73, 76, 98, 108, 109, 112-115, 119, 134, 149, 178, 180-188, 190-194, 197(a), (d), (e), 201(2)(b), (3), 202(2)(b), 203(5), 204 and 211)

Criminal Justice Act 2003

Sections 29(4), 33(3), 34, 35, 43, 53, 62-65, 137-138, 151, 154-155, 161, 181, 182(2), 188, 196(1)(b), 204(4), 213(3)(b), 216(2)(a), 244(3)(b), 266, 280-283, 298, 300 -301 and 303(b)(iii)

Schedule 3 (Paragraphs 1-5, 7-12, 14-21, 23-26, 29-32, 34(2)(b), (d), (f), (3), (4), 41, 42(b), 43, 44(3), 45-47, 48(2)(a)(ii), (b), (3)(b)(ii)-(iv), 49(a), 50, 51(3), (4), (6), (7), (9)-(14), 52, 53, 54(2), (3)(d), (e), (5)(a)(i)(a), (a)(ii), (b), 55(2), 56(2)(a), (3)-(5), 57(3)(a), (b)(ii), (c), 58, 60(2)-(6), (7)(a), (8), 61, 62, 64(2)(a), (3)(a), (4)(a), 66(2)(a), (3)(a), (b), (4), (5), (6)(b), (8), 67, 70-72, 73(2), (3)(a), (4)(a), 74(6), 75(2), (4); Schedules 4; 10; 11; 25 (Paragraphs 1-28, 30-35, 52-53 and 55-105); Schedules 26; 27; 31; 32 (Paragraphs 17, 27, 28, 33, 51, 53, 63, 68(2), 102(2)(b), (c), (3) and 123(3)) and Schedule 36 (Paragraphs 2, 4, 7-9, 11-14, 16 and 98)

Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004

Sections 15, 48-53, 54(2)(c), (3)(c)-(d) and 57

Schedules 8; 9 and 10 (Paragraphs 13, 15, 28 and 64)

Police and Justice Act 2006

Schedule 14 (Paragraphs 7, 15, 36, 38 and 41)

Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007

Sections 2(1)(d) and 10

Serious Crime Act 2007

Schedule 13 (Paragraph 7)

Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008

Sections 9, 11(2)-(8), 19, 33(2), (4), (7), (8), 34(2), (4)(b), (10), 39, 46(2), 74 (in respect of the provisions of Schedule 16 listed below) and 78

Schedule 4 (Paragraphs 3(3), (5), 25, 59(c), 92(a) and (c)); Schedules 7; 9 (Paragraph 2); Schedule 16 (Paragraphs 1-5, 6 (other than 6(3)), 7-11 and 17); Schedule 26 (Paragraphs 1, 2(3), 50, 63, 70 and 83) and Schedule 27 (Paragraphs 13(1), 28 and 36)

Energy: Biomass


The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The UK is committed to a massive expansion of renewable energy and a thriving, bioenergy industry is key to our goals. Indeed, bioenergy could supply up to half of our renewable energy needs by 2020-for heat, electricity and transport. Used wisely, energy from biomass will reduce CO2 emissions, make our energy supplies more secure, and create new industries and green jobs.

Biomass offers wider gains too. Over the next decade it can replace petrochemicals as the source of chemicals and other high-value products, as well as energy. Increasingly, the fuel for the new bioeconomy will be waste materials, including municipal waste diverted from landfill.

Biomass supplies will need to increase significantly to deliver the step change we want and in the short term at least we will be reliant on imports. It is essential that those supplies are sustainable. The Government are determined to ensure that biomass, whether imported or produced in the UK:

delivers real and substantive CO2 savings;uses land responsibly avoiding damaging land use change; anddoes not undermine global food supplies or inflate prices.

We are working hard for global sustainability standards on this basis; and we will ensure that these principles are applied to biomass used to generate energy in the UK. We will implement the sustainability criteria set within the renewable energy directive for biofuels and bioliquids and are pushing for early resolution within the EU of how to deal with indirect land use change effects.

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With sensible, robust controls in place, the UK has a lot to gain from biomass energy. I am informed by industry that it expects to be able to deliver 5GW of dedicated biomass, energy from waste, gasification and anaerobic digestion projects over the next few years-some £13 billion worth of investment. And industry wishes to ensure that developers have a stable regime in which to invest.

To help achieve this, I propose to look again at one aspect of support for biomass electricity under the renewables obligation. With most technologies our policy is not, as a rule, to change the level of ROC support once a generating station is accredited by Ofgem, i.e. support is "grandfathered". This is not currently the case for biomass. I am aware our current policy not to grandfather the support given for biomass electricity under the renewables obligation has caused significant investment concerns within the industry. We made the decision not to grandfather biomass in 2008 due to the fact that unlike other technologies supported by the renewables obligation, biomass electricity generation faces ongoing fuel costs which are subject to market fluctuation in an immature market. We recognised the need for flexibility to consider the impact on biomass prices when setting the banding levels, and that led to increased support for all biomass generators, not just new entrants, on the introduction of banding as a result. In fact, we doubled support for AD and dedicated biomass with CHP.

The feed-in-tariffs for small-scale electricity, announced on 1 February, include tariffs for anaerobic digestion of 11.5p per kw/h up to 500kW and 9p per kw/h between 500kW and 5MW. These tariffs are grandfathered, index-linked and will be available to generators accrediting at least until 2013. From 1 April this year, AD generators which need the security of a fixed rate for electricity they generate will be able to choose to join the feed-in-tariff scheme rather than the renewables obligation. Given the risk that investment will not come forward, DECC will review the policy on grandfathering and prepare a statement before the end of March. This review will also consider what action the UK can take to introduce sustainability standards, following publication of the European Commission's report on biomass expected this February.

Housing: Private Tenants


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

I am today publishing a policy statement, The Private Rented Sector: Professionalism and Quality: Consultation Responses and Next Steps. This sets out a summary of responses to our consultation document, The Private Rented Sector: Professionalism and Quality-the Government Response to the Rugg Review, published on 13 May and reported to the House by my right honourable friend for Derby South, the then Minister

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for Housing (Official Report, Commons, col. 50 WS). The document that I am publishing today sets out Government's plans following the responses to that consultation. Copies have been placed in the Library of the House.

The Government want to see a private rented sector which offers high-quality accommodation, and in which tenants can make choices based on clear information about their options, their rights, and their responsibilities. We also want to ensure tenants know where to turn if things go wrong. At the same time, Government want to increase professionalism in the private rented sector-supporting good landlords and agents, while driving out the worst practices of the sector that fail tenants and damage its reputation.

Alongside our longer-term plans for legislation to improve standards, today's document sets out our proposals to provide better help and support to tenants now. This includes a commitment to set up, by the summer of this year, a dedicated helpline for private sector tenants working with voluntary sector agencies, and an online consumer feedback website working with Consumer Focus.

Our consultation document, published in May 2008, set out a range of proposals to support a higher quality, more professional sector, while minimising the regulatory burden on good landlords and agents. The proposals included a national register of landlords for England; full regulation for private sector letting and managing agents; and encouragement to local authorities to create local lettings agencies.

Consultation responses were strongly supportive of the proposals, although there were some concerns about specific details, and about implementation. Alongside the formal consultation, Government worked with a wide range of organisations on the development of detailed policy to underpin the proposals.

Our Statement today reflects those consultation responses and the contribution of these work groups. It confirms the issues on which our intentions are now firm, as well as the detailed issues on which there is further work to do with interested stakeholders. In particular the statement includes commitments to:

establish a national register of landlords, to protect tenants and support local authority enforcement activity. We will carry out further detailed work with stakeholders to assess whether the register could also be used (either from the outset, or in the future) to apply registration conditions on persistently poor landlords; introduce full regulation of letting and managing agents. We will carry out further detailed work with stakeholders on the exact form of regulation, and whether it is led by an independent regulator, or by industry bodies; require all tenancies to take the form of a written agreement; andincrease the limit for assured shorthold tenancies from £25,000 a year to £100,000. This will reduce the number of tenants (up to 150,000 at present) who do not currently have the protection of an

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assured shorthold tenancy, and associated protections -such as the requirement to protect a tenant's deposit.

We remain committed to legislating at the earliest opportunity on these commitments to increase the protection and practical help available to tenants in the private rented sector.

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