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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Defence (Liam Fox) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
The next roulement of UK forces in Afghanistan is due to take place in October 2010. Headquarters, 6 (UK) Division will remain as Headquarters, Regional Command (South) until November 2010 but the UK's current lead formation in Helmand, 4th Mechanized Brigade, will be replaced by 16 Air Assault Brigade. The forces deploying include:
Volunteer and regular members of the Reserve Forces will continue to deploy to Afghanistan as part of this integrated force package, and we expect to issue around 770 call-out notices to fill some 600 posts. On completion of their mobilisation procedures, the reservists will undertake a period of training and, where applicable, integration with their respective receiving units. The majority will serve on operations for around six months. As part of this commitment, we expect up to 16 members of the sponsored reserves to be in theatre at any one time.
The Lisbon treaty established new structures for the management of the EU's external relations. These are the high representative, the European External Action Service and the re-branding and amalgamation of Commission and Council Secretariat offices overseas as EU delegations. It is in the UK's interest that, where we have agreed a position with our EU partners, the EU makes its voice heard-complementing and supplementing our role.
A further element of the external representation question is the ability of the EU to participate in international organisations. In some cases, such as the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the EU has the status of an observer with limited rights of participation. This means that the EU is not able to represent the EU and the member states, where we have an agreed position, to the same extent as was possible for the rotating presidency, which, of course, was a full member of the UNGA.
Following the entry into force of the treaty of Lisbon the role previously played by the rotating presidency in representing the EU externally has passed to the high representative and the EU delegations who act under her authority. So, in order for the EU to fill effectively the role previously played by the rotating presidency in the UN General Assembly, the Foreign Secretary has agreed that, together with our EU partners, we should table an UNGA resolution which, if approved
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The granting of such rights to the EU will not affect the UK's position as a member of the UNGA or the UN Security Council. Furthermore, this does not change the existing balance of competence between the EU and member states.
The Foreign Secretary has also made clear through the UK Permanent Representative in New York that the UK's support for the proposed UNGA resolution is (i) strictly limited and does not imply agreement to seek additional rights in any other fora; and (ii) does not prejudge whether the EU should actually exercise those rights on any particular issue.
Discussions are ongoing with the wider membership of the UNGA about granting the EU additional rights of participation. The intention is to table a resolution in the UN General Assembly in the coming weeks.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Health (Andrew Lansley) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
We know that urgent reform of the social care system is needed and we are grateful to the Health Select Committee for its report on social care. This is an important contribution to the debate on how to deliver a care and support system which provides much more control to individuals and their carers, reduces the insecurity they and their families face and ensures that people are treated with dignity and respect.
We have made clear our commitment and determination to move on from more than a decade of indecision on how to fund social care, and to reach a fair and enduring settlement for the system for generations to come. We want a sustainable adult social care system that gives people the support and freedom to lead the life they choose, with dignity.
We recognise that how we should fund care and support is a key question for society to face-and one that will inevitably involve difficult choices and difficult trade-offs. But it is a question we can no longer avoid. We are grateful to the Health Select Committee for its interest in this area and will be recommending that the soon-to-be-established Commission on the Funding of Care and Support considers its report alongside other contributions to the debate.
We will also take decisive steps to accelerate the pace of reform so that older people and disabled people get the care they need and have more choice and control over how their needs are met. Transformation of services should be a key part of how local authorities continue to deliver services effectively and efficiently during a period of fiscal consolidation. As we take critical steps to reduce the deficit, the right response is for the pace of transformation to increase-maximising the performance and penetration of services such as re-ablement, intermediate care and telecare.
In addition, as a key component of a lasting settlement for the social care system, we will reform the law underpinning adult social care by creating a single modern statute, helping disabled people, older people and carers to understand whether services can or should be provided. We will be working with the Law Commission as it considers its proposals on this work.
We will bring together the conclusions of the Law Commission and the Commission on the Funding of Care and Support, with our vision, into a White Paper in 2011, with legislation following to establish a sustainable legal and financial framework for adult social care in this Parliament.
As a coalition Government, established with the aim of working together in the national interest, we have an unprecedented political opportunity to deliver reform. Care and support is a good example of where we need pragmatic, sustainable proposals to build a new and lasting settlement.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): My right honourable friend the Minister for Housing and Local Government (Grant Shapps) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
The Government value the role the park home sector plays in the housing market, offering an affordable alternative to mainstream housing for many people, often over the age of 50, in mainly rural, semi-rural and seaside locations. Although many residents appreciate and value the sense of community that park home living engenders, I am aware that many also experience difficulties in exercising their rights and achieving their aspirations. Furthermore, a minority of site owners continue to cause significant problems to residents and the local community in which they operate.
I am, therefore, today announcing that the Government intend, subject to parliamentary consent, to transfer most of the functions of county courts under the Mobile Homes Act 1983 to residential property tribunals. The aim of the transfer of the jurisdiction is to provide residents of park homes and their site owners with a level playing field in the resolution of disputes by providing access to a dedicated, low-cost specialist (housing) tribunal which can deal with cases quickly and effectively without the parties needing to be legally represented. This will mean that park home residents will be able to take action to resolve disputes with site owners without being restricted by the prospect of facing large legal costs.
I propose to lay before Parliament the necessary secondary legislation to affect the transfer as soon as possible after Summer Recess, with a view to transferring jurisdiction to the residential property tribunals by the end of the year.
I am also announcing my intention to work closely with interested resident and industry partners in developing potential measures for empowering residents to exercise more control over the management of sites where there are management failings by site owners which significantly impact upon the well-being of the local communities.
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Strathclyde): It has been agreed through the usual channels that the two dates for tabling Questions for Written Answer during the Summer Recess this year will be Monday 6 September and Monday 27 September.
Answers to Written Questions will be made available online once a week and an edition of Hansard will be published on Tuesday 28 September in which Answers received by that time will be published together with Written Ministerial Statements.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (Vince Cable) has today made the following Statement.
With my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, I am pleased to announce that UK Trade & Investment today launched the UK Inward Investment 2009-10 report, giving the national figures for inward investment over the past financial year.
The UK's ability to attract and retain inward investment is at the heart of the Government's economic recovery plans. These figures demonstrate how important investment is in stimulating growth and creating jobs.
Competition for this investment is intense, which is why the Government are committed to being open for business and to providing the best environment for investors, whether businesses were established here, expanding here, or locating here for the first time.
The estimated number of jobs created or safeguarded by inward investment rose to more than 94,000, a 20 per cent increase on the previous year. There were 1,619 direct investments in the UK by foreign-owned companies during the year.
Inward investment is a long-term decision for any company wanting to grow internationally. More investors are seeking to locate in the UK than anywhere else in Europe, helping to underpin the UK's long-term economic prospects.
In line with reduced global market liquidity, the number of acquisitions, joint ventures and mergers taking place fell 51 per cent from 457 in 2008-09 to 225 in 2009-10. But the number of new projects and the number of expansions have both increased, by 3 per cent and 18 per cent respectively.
Companies investing in the UK will do so with confidence. The UK's economy is stable and resilient, and this Government are taking action to secure the recovery and future growth. The UK has positioned itself as a springboard for companies seeking to grow internationally, both in and from a UK base.
UK Trade & Investment is the government department leading support for such companies in the international business environment. With my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs I congratulate UK Trade & Investment on the significant role it has played in assisting a record number of FDI projects, nearly half of the total locating in the UK in the year to 31 March 2010.
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