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The first item on the agenda is a progress report from the presidency about negotiations with the European Parliament on the proposal for a regulation on security of gas supply. We understand that the presidency aims to reach a first reading deal with the European Parliament by the end of June. The UK has worked very closely with the presidency, Commission and other like-minded member states and is pleased with the progress made so far.
There will then be an exchange of views on the energy aspects of the Europe 2020 growth strategy where member states are expected to seek clarity on the process for monitoring performance towards energy efficiency targets, in preparation for a wider discussion of the strategy at the June European Council.
This will be followed by a debate on the EU's future energy policy as a contribution to the development of the energy strategy for Europe 2011-2020. Discussion will focus on the Commission's "stock-taking" document. Ministers will also be asked to adopt conclusions on the document. The UK is content with the text of the conclusions, which set out high-level principles for the new energy strategy.
The Commission and presidency will update the Council on a number of international items: the EU-US Energy Council, EU-OPEC, the 12th International Energy Forum, the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, the Energy Community Treaty and Russia/Ukraine. Finally, the Commission will present reports on the implementation of the European Energy Programme for Recovery; the Trans-European Energy Networks in the period 2007-09; and the Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plan.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): My honourable friend the Minister of State, Department of Health (Simon Burns) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
In 2008 Professor Ian Gilmore, President of the Royal College of Physicians, was asked to lead a review on how a prescription charge exemption for
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I wish to thank Professor Ian Gilmore for his work on the report, which we are publishing today. He has undertaken a thorough analysis of the issues and has carefully considered the views of patient representative groups, charities and other interested parties.
I am publishing today the Government Olympic Executive's Quarterly Economic Report - London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games Quarterly Economic Report May 2010. This report explains the latest budget position as at 31 March 2010, and outlines some of the many wider economic benefits to the UK.
The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games remain on time and within budget. The Olympic Delivery Authority's (ODA) anticipated final cost (AFC) has again not significantly increased which, as of 31 March, was £7.267 billion compared to £7.262 billion at the end of the previous quarter (31 December 2009). Savings have also been made in the quarter in areas including transport, logistics and landscaping.
The majority of contingency remains unreleased and the ODA continues to make strong progress in preparing the venues and infrastructure in the Olympic Park, with over 65 per cent of the venues and infrastructure programme to the 2012 Games now completed. The main stadium has reached its full height with the recent addition of 14 floodlight gantries. The roof structures of the Aquatics Centre and Velodrome are constructed, as are the pools in the Aquatics Centre.
The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games are continuing to help businesses and people through the recession. More than 1,000 companies have won direct contracts from the ODA worth more than £5 billion and, as of March 2010, a total of almost 10,000 people were working on the Olympic Park and Village. Twelve per cent of these workers were previously unemployed before starting work on the Olympic Park.
Copies of the Quarterly Economic Report May 2010 are available at www.culture.gov.uk and will be deposited in the Libraries of both Houses.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): My honourable friend the Minister of State for Policing and Criminal Justice (Nick Herbert) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
As part of the Government's plan to cut the budget deficit and get the economy moving again, I am today confirming my intention to require the police to make a fair share of the savings needed. I welcome the responsible and constructive way in which policing partners have already responded to the Chancellor's announcement of his plans to reduce the national budget deficit.
Total Home Office cuts will be £367 million and in order to minimise the impact on the police service the Home Office will cut a greater than proportionate share of its central budget by bearing down on overheads and reducing waste, including significant cuts to consultancy services, marketing costs and travel. However, the police need to contribute towards the overall reduction and I will therefore ask every police authority to make a fair share of savings.
As a result, I intend to reduce this year's core government funding to the police by a total of £125 million. I intend to implement this by reducing the Home Office core police settlement and the capital grant. I will, in due course, formally lay before Parliament an amended Police Grant Report for 2010-11 which will be subject to the usual debate and approval process.
Even after this reduction, government funding to the police will still increase by £124 million this year to around £9.61 billion. Set out below are updated force allocations for the individual grants which I intend to
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I am confident that savings of less than 1 per cent of expected spending in 2010-11 by police authorities can be made while maintaining a front-line policing service. It is for chief constables to use their expertise and decide what makes most sense for their force, but I am quite clear that this saving can be achieved by driving out wasteful spending on support functions, reducing bureaucracy and increasing efficiency in key functions-leaving the frontline of policing strong and secure. I expect forces to be held to this by both police authorities and Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary.
For my part, I am clear that the police should be focused on police work, not paperwork. This is why I am committed to cutting the centrally imposed red tape and bureaucracy that slows police officers down and keeps them off the streets and away from protecting the public.
The Government have shown their commitment to the police service by undertaking to honour the third year of the current pay settlement for police officers. Our programme for Government has set out measures to ensure a sustainable front-line police service, including a full review of the remuneration and conditions of service for police officers and staff. We also commit in our programme for Government to establishing an independent commission to review the long-term affordability of public sector pensions, while protecting accrued rights. The Government are determined to ensure that we can provide affordable pensions to public servants into the future.
|Figure 1. Proposed new allocations of the Home Office core police settlement by force (subject to parliamentary approval) and revised allocations of capital grant.|
|Police Authority||2010-11 HO Police Grant as agreed February 2010 £m||2010-11 Proposed amended HO Police Grant £m||2010-11 Capital Grant as notified January 2010 £m||2010-11 Amended Capital Grant £m|
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