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The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): I have made a Statement under Section 19(1)(a) of the Human Rights Act 1998 that, in my view, the provisions of the Appropriation Bill are compatible with the convention rights. A copy of the Statement has been placed in the Library of the House.
In my Written Statement to this House on 22 March, I set out the steps that would need to be taken before publication of the Bloody Sunday inquiry report. These included a checking process which would enable me to meet the obligations on me in relation to Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights and national security. I can confirm that this checking process has now been completed and I have received advice from the checking team which confirms that there is nothing in the report which, if published, could breach Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights by putting the lives or safety of individuals at risk, or put national security at risk. I am therefore satisfied that the report can be published in full and I have advised Lord Saville of this.
However, given the time needed to print the report, it will not be practically possible to publish the report to Parliament before this Parliament is dissolved for the general election. As I informed the House in my Statement of 22 March, Lord Saville has indicated that if such a situation were to arise his tribunal would agree to retain custody of the report until after the general election. I have now written to Lord Saville to ask the tribunal to retain custody of the report.
The report has not been shown to me or to any other member of the Government, or to any officials except the five members of the team which carried out
8 Apr 2010 : Column WS252
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Lord Young of Norwood Green): My honourable friend the Minister of State for Further Education, Skills, Apprenticeships and Consumer Affairs has made the following Statement.
I am today announcing that the new Skills Funding Agency, an agency of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, became operational from 1 April 2010. This follows the announcement in the White Paper Raising Expectations: enabling the system to deliver, which was published jointly with DCSF on 17 March 2008.
The Skills Funding Agency takes over responsibility for funding post-19 education and skills training from the Learning and Skills Council for England, which has been abolished under the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009. The budget and overarching priorities and targets for the agency have already been published in the Government's Skills Investment Strategy, a copy of which can be found on the department's website at www.bis.gov.uk.
The chief executive of Skills Funding, as a statutory office holder, will report to the Secretary of State on the performance of the Skills Funding Agency, and will prepare an annual report and accounts for each financial year which will be laid before Parliament.
Further information on the accountability and governance framework for the Skills Funding Agency and the relationship with the department is set out in the Skills Funding Agency framework document, copies of which will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
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