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In the medium and longer terms, funding school places, and in particular responding to the increase in demand for primary school places, will be a priority from 2011, so that there is a good permanent place for every child where it is wanted. Partnerships for Schools, which since October has had responsibility for the delivery of schools capital programmes, is setting up a working group which will include representative bodies, to consider how best to allocate and target funding to ensure that this happens.
I am also today announcing the 11 local authorities which will be joining the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme for the first time. BSF is the most ambitious public building programme for decades, revamping the entire secondary school estate. The authorities joining today are Brent, Darlington, Devon, Havering, Kingston, Croydon, Norfolk, Plymouth, Sefton, Wakefield, and Warrington. Another two-Lancashire and Tameside-will be starting the next phases of their BSF schemes. Planning and building on these schemes will begin between January and March 2010. These additions bring the total number of local authorities in England which are active in BSF to 96.
The BSF projects announced today will join more than 1,000 individual rebuilding or renewal BSF projects already under way. Momentum has built quickly this year. One hundred and twenty-nine schools which have benefited from BSF investment are now open-more than double the number open in December 2008.
|Primary Capital Allocations|
The SSRB was commissioned to undertake a review into the financial assistance available to Members of the House of Lords in recognition that the expenses regime was now outdated and we needed to move to a system that would be more transparent and ensure greater accountability.
I am today publishing the SSRB's report, which I accept. In doing so, I wish to record my gratitude to Bill Cockburn and SSRB members for undertaking such a thorough and comprehensive review. Copies of the report have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. For the Government, the Leader of the Lords will now work with other Members of the House of Lords to take forward its implementation.
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.
A new protocol to the double taxation agreement with Oman was signed on 26 November 2009. The text of the protocol has been deposited in the Libraries of both Houses and made available on HM Revenue and Customs' website. The text will be scheduled to a draft Order in Council and laid before the House of Commons in due course.
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