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Written Statements

Wednesday 19 December 2012

Armed Forces: Nuclear Deterrents

Statement

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Defence (Philip Hammond) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

On 18 May 2011, my predecessor, the right honourable Member for North Somerset (Dr Liam Fox) made an oral statement to the House (Official Report, col. 351) and published The United Kingdom’s Future Nuclear Deterrent: The Submarine Initial Gate Parliamentary Report. Since then my ministerial colleagues and I have undertaken to provide an annual update on the programme. As we reach the end of 2012, I have today published The United Kingdom’s Future Nuclear Deterrent: 2012 Update to Parliament and a copy has been placed in the Library of the House.

Climate Change

Statement

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (Edward Davey) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Today the Government have published a parliamentary report announcing that, recognising uncertainty over the international framework for reducing aviation emissions and particularly the treatment of aviation within the EU Emissions Trading System, they are deferring a firm decision on whether to include international aviation and shipping emissions within the UK’s net carbon account.

The parliamentary report clarifies that the first four carbon budgets, covering the period 2008-27, have been set to leave headroom for international aviation and shipping emissions, putting us on a trajectory which could be consistent with a 2050 target that aligns with the UK’s share of the international goal of limiting global temperature rises due to climate change to 2°C.

The Government do not intend to alter the way in which international aviation and shipping emissions have been taken into account in carbon budgets 1-4.

The Government reaffirm their overall commitment to the 2050 target and recognise that emissions from international aviation and shipping should be treated the same as emissions from all other sectors, in order to reach our long-term climate goals.

In taking this decision, the Government have taken full account of advice provided by the Committee on Climate Change, and will revisit this issue when setting the fifth carbon budget.

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Publication of this report fulfils the Government’s statutory obligations as laid out in Section 30 of the Climate Change Act. Copies of the parliamentary report have been laid in the House and can be obtained electronically from the DECC website at: http://www.decc. gov.uk/en/content/cms/emissions/carbon_budgets/carbon_budgets.aspx.

ECOFIN

Statement

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): My right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer (George Osborne) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

A meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council was held in Brussels on 12 December 2012. Ministers discussed the following item:

Banking supervision mechanism

Ministers agreed an approach on the Commission’s proposal for a single supervisory mechanism in the European Central Bank and an amending regulation for the regulation establishing the European Banking Authority (Regulation 1093/2010).

The Government have been clear that the UK will not participate in the banking union, including the single supervisory mechanism. Other member states outside the eurozone have also signalled that they will not participate at this stage. Accordingly, it is vital that these proposals are underpinned by measures that protect the single market. To ensure this, the Government have secured a number of safeguards to protect those outside banking union.

There will be a duty on the ECB to have regard to the unity and integrity of the single market. Importantly, the ECB will be subject to an express obligation to ensure that no action, proposal or policy of the ECB shall directly or indirectly discriminate against any member state or group of member states as a venue for the provision of banking or financial services in any currency.

The scope of the ECB’s supervisory remit will be expressly limited to credit institutions in participating member states. The supervision of central counterparties will be explicitly excluded from the ECB’s mandate.

The Government have also secured symmetry of treatment between the ECB and national competent authorities in those member states who are not participating in banking union. Powers and decisions of the EBA, for example in cases of mediation between supervisors, will apply equally to the ECB and other supervisors. The Council has also agreed that the ECB’s supervisory powers should be aligned with those available under Union law to national competent authorities in non-participating member states.

There will be a statutory underpinning for a bilateral memorandum of understanding between the ECB and Bank of England to ensure proper co-ordination of supervision for cross-border banks.

The introduction of banking union will see the interests of the eurozone converge as participants move forwards with further integration. We have therefore secured

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changes to voting arrangements in the European Banking Authority to ensure that the eurozone cannot systematically dominate decision-making on matters that affect the whole single market. All key decisions taken by the EBA will require a double majority—that is either an overall qualified majority or simple majority in the Board of Supervisors of the EBA, plus a simple majority of representatives of participating member states and a simple majority of representatives of non-participating member states. This will ensure that all member states will continue to have a meaningful voice in EBA decision-making. In addition there will be a review by the Commission of the decision-making rules when the number of non-participating member states reaches four or fewer and this review will report to the European Council.

Taken together, this is a good agreement for the eurozone and the wider European Union, including the UK. The proposals will now be discussed between the Council and the European Parliament before the final texts can be agreed.

Education: Funding Reform

Statement

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): My honourable friend the Minister of State for Schools (David Laws) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The school funding system should be transparent, pupil-led and easy to understand. That is why, from 2013-14, we have made changes so that the core funding for all schools and academies will be allocated based on the needs of pupils, using clear and consistent local funding formulae.

We are now reforming the way that local authorities and academies are funded for education services. The current funding arrangements, designed when there were far fewer academies, can no longer support an increasingly autonomous school system following the growth in the number of academies.

We need to ensure that academies and local authorities receive money for the pupils who are their responsibility. As key responsibilities transfer to academies, an appropriate amount of funding should also transfer. Academies are responsible for a range of education services, such as school improvement, audit and asset management, that local authorities perform on behalf of maintained schools. This gives academies greater freedom to secure the right services for their pupils.

Local authorities and academies receive funding for these responsibilities separately via two different grants from Government. The method of calculating how much money each academy should receive for education services is bureaucratic and convoluted. That is why we are establishing the Education Services Grant from 2013-14. The new grant will be allocated on a simple per-pupil basis to local authorities and academies according to the number of pupils for whom they are responsible. The funding for education services will be fairer, simpler and more transparent as a result.

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We consulted on these changes over the summer. The Government have listened to the local authorities that told us the transfer for the Education Services Grant from local government funding was too high. They told us they were now spending less on these services and so we have reduced the amount of money that is being transferred from local government funding for the Education Services Grant by £180 million, from £1.22 billion to £1.04 billion in 2013-14; £1.03 billion will be transferred in 2014-15. This means that less money will be transferred from local authorities for education services than we originally proposed.

We took this decision in order to protect local authorities, who are now spending more of their funding on other priorities, but it would not be right for academies to lose out as a result. That is why we are using money from the Department for Education’s budget to supplement the Education Services Grant rate for academies over the next two years. This will not affect the amount transferred from local authorities or the funding available for maintained schools. We intend to remove this transitional protection for academies over a limited period of time so that the rates for local authorities and academies are brought together.

The changes that we are announcing today will end year-on-year turbulence for academies, address the wide national variation in the current funding rates, and give local authorities and academies confidence in the way their funding has been calculated. Copies of the Government response to the consultation will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Energy: Smart Meters

Statement

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma):: My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (Edward Davey) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Today, I am pleased to announce the publication of the first DECC annual progress report on the roll-out of smart meters.

Smart meters have the potential to transform consumers’ relationship with energy bringing considerable benefits for both them and the energy industry. Smart meters will for the first time put consumers, who are at the heart of the roll-out, in control of their energy use, allowing them to adopt energy efficiency measures that can help save money on their energy bills, offset price increases and reduce carbon emissions.

The annual report provides an introduction to smart metering and its benefits to consumers, the energy industry and Great Britain as a whole. It describes the early work that is already being undertaken by the Government and the energy suppliers during the foundation stage of the roll-out, to help prepare for the start of mass roll-out towards the end of 2014. This early work will help to ensure that everything is in place to handle a roll-out of this scale (over 50 million meters to be installed in 30 million premises) and that consumers will have a good experience, which is crucial for realising the benefits. Energy suppliers are already

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testing and trialling the new technology and some consumers are already receiving smart meters from their energy suppliers and starting to see the benefits.

The annual report is being placed in the Libraries of the House and can be found at: http://www.decc.gov. uk/en/content/cms/tackling/smart_meters/smart_ meters.aspx.

Hillsborough

Statement

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department (Theresa May) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

In September 2012, the Hillsborough Independent Panel published their important report which sets out the truth about the Hillsborough disaster. I am today setting out the different pieces of work that will belatedly deliver justice for the victims and their families, and how this work fits together.

It will be the job of the criminal justice system and Government to work in three areas: investigation; inquest; and prosecution.

Investigation will need to cover all aspects of the truth set out in the report. Where the panel interrogated the documents, investigation of the report will go further and investigate all of the people and organisations involved—before, on, and after 15 April 1989. Investigation could lead to criminal prosecution; for serving police officers it could also lead to misconduct proceedings. Investigation will be the responsibility of both the Independent Police Complaints Commission and Jon Stoddart. The IPCC will principally investigate the aftermath of Hillsborough; Jon Stoddart will principally investigate the deaths at Hillsborough. It is not possible to appoint a single lead investigator unless that person is a police officer. For something this serious and complex, where a previous police investigation into the police has failed already, we do not believe that the police should be solely responsible for investigating the actions of the police. Investigation of the police in such a serious case is the job of the IPCC.

New inquests will be established if the Attorney-General is successful today in his application to the High Court to quash the existing inquest verdicts and order new inquests to be held. Inquests are likely to need to undertake further investigation. Responsibility for that, and for who conducts the inquests, as well as for their timing and location, will rest with the coroner.

Prosecution for criminal matters may flow from the findings of the investigation and the inquest. Prosecution will be the responsibility of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Crown Prosecution Service. The CPS will work closely with the investigations from the outset so that any risk to successful prosecutions is managed from the earliest stage, and throughout the process leading to the decision whether to prosecute and throughout any subsequent prosecution, should there be any.

There will be two investigations—one into the deaths at Hillsborough and one into the police actions in the aftermath. The investigations will be integrated, working

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from the same office in Warrington. They will be run from a single major incident room, share access to documents and other evidence, and work together on liaison with families and survivors.

The IPCC has powers to investigate the police—serving and retired, for both criminality and misconduct—but does not have powers to investigate the other people and organisations involved in the Hillsborough disaster; Jon Stoddart, as a police officer, has the powers necessary to investigate these others. This is why the investigation into the aftermath will be headed by Deborah Glass, IPCC Deputy Chair, and the investigation into the deaths will be headed by Jon Stoddart. Investigation into the deaths will overlap both investigations—covering the police, as well as all the other organisations and individuals involved in decisions and actions ahead of, and on 15 April 1989. Jon Stoddart’s investigation will report findings to the IPCC, in relation to police officers investigated.

The CPS will work closely with the investigations from the outset so that any risk to successful prosecutions is managed from the earliest stage, and throughout the process leading to prosecution. Should new inquests be ordered, the coroner may decide that it needs to direct further investigation into aspects of the deaths. It will be for the coroner to decide how that investigation should be conducted, if it is necessary.

The IPPC and Jon Stoddart’s investigations will not employ officers or former officers with any prior connection to the Hillsborough disaster, nor who have worked in West Midlands, South Yorkshire or Merseyside police forces. Jon Stoddart and Deborah Glass will be resourced to appoint investigators and staff as necessary to ensure that they each have the team they need to investigate all aspects of the Hillsborough Independent Panel report as fully and swiftly as possible.

Jon Stoddart recently retired as Chief Constable of Durham Police. He is being appointed to the Metropolitan Police as an Assistant Commissioner (a rank equivalent to chief constable). This ensures that he can be re-attested as a police officer and can hold the same senior rank that he held before he retired. He will not be under the direction and control of the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in leading this investigation and nor would the commissioner be responsible for any complaints raised against him. He will initially be seconded to the Home Office and then, once it exists in law, to the National Crime Agency (NCA).

I, the Home Secretary, lead in Government for co-ordination of this work. The Bishop of Liverpool has agreed to act as an adviser to me on Hillsborough.

A liaison board will be supported by the Home Office to bring together the individuals and organisations responsible for this work on a regular basis. It will work to integrate the three major pieces of work, ensuring effective planning, organisation and exchange of information, as well as avoiding duplication and unnecessary delay. It will provide assurance to me in my co-ordinating role.

The IPCC and CPS are establishing an independent challenge panel which will inform and advise the investigations and the work of the CPS. This will involve independent experts, including individuals nominated by the Hillsborough Family Support Group and the Hillsborough Justice Campaign.

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I have already said that we will ensure that the IPCC has both the resource and powers that it requires to undertake the investigations necessary. The Police (Complaints and Conduct) Bill has passed both the Lords and Commons stages and we are currently awaiting Royal Assent. The Bill will give two new powers to the IPCC to assist them in investigating the Hillsborough Independent Panel’s report. The new powers are: to require a serving police officer to attend an interview as a witness; and to enable the IPCC to investigate matters which were previously investigated by the Police Complaints Authority (PCA).

Now that the truth about the Hillsborough disaster has finally been revealed, it is crucial that the Government and the criminal justice system move swiftly to make sure that justice is done for all the loved ones who died on that day in 1989, and those who have been campaigning on their behalf ever since.

Industrial Development Advisory Board

Statement

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Lord Marland): My right honourable friend the Minister of State for Business and Enterprise (Michael Fallon) has made the following Statement.

On 22 March 2012 Mark Prisk, as Minister for Business and Enterprise announced in Parliament through a Written Ministerial Statement commencement of the triennial review of the Industrial Development Advisory Board (IDAB). I am now pleased to announce the completion of the review.

The Industrial Development Advisory Board is a statutory body which plays an important role providing independent and expert advice to Ministers on large capital investment projects in England, particularly applications under the Grant for Business Investment scheme or the Regional Growth Fund.

The review concludes that the functions performed by the Industrial Development Advisory Board are still required and that it should be retained as an advisory NDPB. The review also looked at the Governance arrangements for IDAB in line with guidance on good corporate governance set out by the Cabinet Office. The report makes some recommendations in this respect; these will be implemented shortly. The full report of the review of IDAB can be found on the BIS website and copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Justice: Administrative Justice and Tribunals

Statement

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice (Helen Grant) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I am today publishing a strategic work programme for administrative justice and tribunals. This document sets out the Government’s ambitions for administrative justice and tribunals under six headings:

governance of the administrative justice and tribunals system;

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non-HMCTS tribunals and new appeal rights;

funding of tribunals administered by HMCTS;

improving initial decision making;

enhancing proportionality; and

maintaining a user focus.

The Government recognise that administrative justice plays a vital role in holding the Executive to account and upholding the rights and entitlements of people subject to the decisions of public bodies. It deals with issues that affect the lives of more people than any other part of the justice system, providing a means of redress across a range of issues as diverse as immigration, social security, mental health and taxation. It is delivered by many different bodies, including tribunals, ombudsmen and regulators.

The last decade has seen a period of major structural reform in the tribunal system which, with the creation of the property chamber, will be largely completed in 2013. The unified tribunal system that has emerged, administered by Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service, ensures that the members and administration of tribunals remain independent from the departments and authorities that make the original decisions. It now provides rulings on hundreds of thousands of appeals on administrative matters every year. In addition to this, some tribunals also hear non-administrative claims such as disputes between employers and employees, which are heard by the Employment Tribunal.

With this period of structural reform almost at an end, the Government intend to shift their focus towards making practical improvements to administrative justice and tribunals processes. The programme of work planned under the headings above will allow us to make the system work better for users and be more cost effective for taxpayers. This work programme will be taken forward by the Ministry of Justice in partnership with other central government departments, public authorities and other bodies.

Copies of the strategic work programme will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses and on the department’s website at www.justice.gov.uk.

Justice: Social Media

Statement

The Advocate-General for Scotland (Lord Wallace of Tankerness): My right honourable and learned friend the Attorney-General (Dominic Grieve) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has today launched a public consultation on his interim guidelines for prosecuting cases involving communications sent via social media.

The guidelines set out the additional considerations which are relevant when prosecutors assess whether a prosecution is required in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors. Each case will be considered on its own facts and on its own merits, and prosecutors have the task of balancing the fundamental right of free speech and the need to prosecute serious wrongdoing. The interim guidelines make a clear distinction between communications which amount to credible threats of

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violence, a targeted campaign of harassment or which breach court orders on the one hand; and other communications, eg grossly offensive communications, on the other. The first group will be prosecuted robustly, whereas the second group will be prosecuted only if they cross a high threshold. A prosecution is unlikely to be in the public interest if the communication is swiftly removed, blocked, not intended for a wide audience or not obviously beyond what could conceivably be tolerable or acceptable in a diverse society which upholds and respects freedom of expression.

The guidelines have been issued on an interim basis, as they are the subject of a public consultation exercise that will last for three months. The DPP will publish his final guidelines next year once he has considered the responses to the consultation. Copies of the interim guidelines have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Local Government: Finance

Statement

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Brandon Lewis) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Over the past two years, the coalition Government have worked with councils to help freeze council tax bills for hard-working families and pensioners, and this has seen council tax bills in England fall by 4.4% in real terms. Under the last Administration, Band D council tax bills rose by £751 (+109%) across England as a whole.

The Government are setting aside an extra £450 million over the next two years to help local government in England to freeze their council tax in 2013-14, which will be the third successive year in which a freeze scheme applies. The cumulative impact of three years’ worth of council tax freezes represents up to £227 off the council tax bills of an average Band D home.

I am now setting out the provisions for the new scheme that we are offering local authorities, fire and rescue authorities and police and crime commissioners, which freeze or reduce their council tax bills.

Authorities and police and crime commissioners which do not increase their basic amount of council tax in 2013-14 will receive a grant equivalent to the revenue they would have generated by increasing their basic amount of council tax by 1%. The amount an authority will receive will be equivalent to 1% of its 2012-13 average Band D amount, multiplied by a council tax base for 2013-14, which does not take into account reductions given to those receiving council tax support. This will put the calculation for the freeze grant on a consistent basis to previous years’ grants.

The grant will be paid in each of the financial years 2013-14 and 2014-15, amounting to some £225 million of funding in each year, and will be paid in instalments to mirror council tax receipts. Payments will be made using the grant-making powers provided by Section 31 of the Local Government Act 2003. Payments will be

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made in 10 instalments per financial year from April 2013. As in previous years, local precepting authorities are not eligible for the scheme.

To help local government with budget planning, the Government will publish on their website an estimate of the council tax freeze grant that each participating authority and police and crime commissioner will receive. Grants will be finalised once authorities have reported on their council tax decisions, which they are required to do by March 2013.

I would hope and anticipate that most authorities and police and crime commissioners will choose to take up the grant offer and freeze their element of the council tax. In doing so, they will be providing real help to families and those on fixed incomes, such as pensioners, with their cost of living.

However, for those bodies who choose not to protect families and pensioners and want to increase their council tax, the Government are proposing trigger points for council tax referendums so that any excessive increases in 2013-14 are put to the local electorate for approval. The Secretary of State has today proposed that a 2% referendum principle will apply for all principal local authorities, police and crime commissioners and fire and rescue authorities. This would mean that if an authority wished to raise their relevant basic amount of council tax in 2013-14 by more than 2%, their local electorate will have the opportunity to approve or veto the increase in a binding referendum.

The exception to this excessiveness principle will be shire districts, police and crime commissioners and fire and rescue authorities whose 2012-13 council tax was in the lower quartile of their category of authority. In the case of these authorities, a referendum must be held only where the authority increases its relevant basic amount of council tax for 2013-14 by more than 2%, and there is a cash increase that is more than £5 in the relevant basic amount.

The Secretary of State does not propose to determine principles for local precepting authorities for 2013-14. However, he intends to revisit this issue next year, having considered the extent to which local precepting authorities have exercised restraint in relation to council tax this year.

The Secretary of State is also consulting on alternative notional amount figures in respect of 2012-13 which a number of local authorities must use when determining whether the increase in their relevant basic amount of council tax in 2013-14 is excessive. These are required to reflect changes brought about by the localisation of council tax support. A copy of these amounts has been placed in the Library of the House.

Having considered any representations, the Secretary of State will put the final principles and final Alternative Notional Amount report before the House of Commons for approval alongside the Local Government Finance Report early in 2013.

My officials are today writing to all local authorities, fire authorities and police and crime commissioners with more details of how the council tax freeze scheme will operate. The council tax freeze offer applies to England. However, Barnett consequential funding has also been provided to devolved institutions, and their

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electorates will rightly want to hold the devolved representatives to account if they do not offer a council tax freeze to local taxpayers.

Overseas Territories: Joint Ministerial Council

Statement

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Mr Mark Simmonds, has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I chaired the first meeting of the Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council in London from 4-5 December. This council brings together the political leaders from the Overseas Territories and UK Ministers. It provides a forum for the exchange of views on political and constitutional issues and has a mandate to lead work to review and implement the strategy and commitments in the June 2012 White Paper The Overseas Territories: Security Success and Sustainability and to promote the security and good governance of the territories and their sustainable economic and social development.

The council agreed a communiqué which identified priority issues and set out a comprehensive action plan for joint work. A copy of this communiqué has been laid in the Library of the House. The communiqué reflects the commitment of the Governments of the Overseas Territories and the UK to work together to support economic growth and jobs; to protect the environment and create green growth; to harness effectively the support of the EU, the Commonwealth and other international organisations; and to deliver better government, better education and stronger, healthier and safer communities.

In line with our commitment in the White Paper we will report to Parliament on progress in implementing the commitments in the communiqué by territory governments and UK departments.

The annual Joint Ministerial Council succeeds the Overseas Territories Consultative Council set up in 1999. It was attended this year by political leaders and representatives of the following territories: Anguilla; Bermuda; the British Virgin Islands; the Cayman Islands; the Falkland Islands; Gibraltar; Montserrat; Pitcairn; St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha; and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

On 5 December the Prime Minister welcomed territory leaders to 10 Downing Street: the first time that Overseas Territory leaders have had a collective meeting with a Prime Minister.

Pensions

Statement

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Brandon Lewis) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

On 12 September 2001, the then Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions announced plans to give taxpayer-funded pensions to councillors, through access to the Local Government Pension Scheme.

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The proposals came into force in 2003. The Councillors’ Commission report of the last Administration noted that 912 councillors in England had joined that pension scheme by 2004. A Taxpayers’ Alliance survey in February 2009, across the whole United Kingdom, found that 3,527 councillors had pensions as of 2007-08; a further survey in January 2012 found that figure had increased to 4,548 councillors by 2010-11. The trend is clear.

Abolition of taxpayer-funded pensions

Ministers in this Government take a fundamentally different view to the last Administration. We do not believe that taxpayer-funded pensions are justified. Councillors are volunteers undertaking public service; they are not and should not be employees of the council dependent on the municipal payroll. They are not professional, full-time politicians, nor should they be encouraged to become so.

Councillors do not receive a salary; rather, they receive allowances to compensate for their out-of-pocket expenses. Yet following changes made by the last Administration, allowances have slowly become a form of salary, a situation worsened by the state-funded pensions. This is a corrosive influence on local democracy and independent thought, blurring the distinction between council staff and councillors.

Every bit of the public sector needs to do its bit to help pay off the deficit inherited from the last Administration. Local government grants are being reduced. Ministers have cut and then frozen their salaries. Public sector pensions, including parliamentary pensions, are being reformed to reduce the burden on taxpayers. It is only right that councillors do their bit as well. We do not believe that an occupational pension scheme intended for employees, and paid for by taxpayers, is an appropriate vehicle for councillors.

Existing pension rights

Subject to consultation, we propose that there will be no access for councillors to the Local Government Pension Scheme in England from April 2014. In the interests of fairness, those councillors already in the scheme would have their accrued rights up to April 2014 fully protected, but would not be able to accrue any further benefits after that date in the existing scheme.

This will not prevent councillors contributing to a personal pension: if they put aside part of their (taxable) allowances into such a pension, then that is a matter for them; they will continue to receive income tax relief like any ordinary member of the population, subject to the prevailing tax rules.

Although central records on councillors’ participation in the scheme are not held by my department, initial rough estimates suggest that this could save £7 million a year in taxpayers’ money. There is absolutely no case for increasing councillor allowances to compensate. Instead, councils may want to consider earlier, voluntary closure of the scheme to their councillors as a sensible saving.

Civic duty

Eligibility regulations for the Local Government Pension Scheme are overseen by my department. Although this is a centrally mandated change (as was its original introduction), we believe these reforms will assist localism

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and local democracy by encouraging a greater separation between councillors and officers. Robust local scrutiny of council spending requires councillors to be substantively independent of means and of thought from the body they are overseeing. Civic duty should not be bought.

We do not believe it will have any detrimental effect on people choosing to become councillors. The best thing we can do to encourage more people to take part in municipal public life is to decentralise power to local communities so that being a councillor is a meaningful and rewarding role.

Elected mayors

We recognise that there is a greater expectation that an elected mayor is a full-time position. We therefore propose to consult on allowing elected mayors to remain in the scheme as a voluntary option (but not as an expectation), subject to local scrutiny, challenge and determination. The salaries of the Mayor of London, members of the Greater London Assembly and Police and Crime Commissioners will remain pensionable.

Timing

Statutory consultation is required and will commence in due course, as part of the planned consultation on the wider reform of the Local Government Pension Scheme. We will consult with the Welsh Assembly Government in respect of access to the Local Government Pension Scheme for councillors in Wales.

As a former councillor myself, I would like to pay tribute to their often unsung and ongoing work in standing up for their local residents. We hope these reforms will further strengthen the integrity and independence of councillors and increase the respect within their communities for the voluntary work they undertake as champions of the people.

Pensions: Automatic Enrolment Thresholds

Statement

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): My honourable friend the Minister for Pensions (Steve Webb) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The workplace pension reforms are a hugely important part of the Government’s commitment to secure and protect people’s income in retirement. As part of the automatic enrolment process, it is vital that employers comply with the spirit as well as the letter of the law.

The Government therefore intend to introduce legislation at the earliest opportunity to clarify the law and to provide certainty by preventing the avoidance of the automatic enrolment duty through the exploitation of an easement aimed only at employers who provide defined benefits under hybrid schemes or defined benefit schemes. Our intention is for the legislation to have retrospective effect from the date of this announcement.

The legislation will make it clear that only defined benefits (whether offered under a hybrid scheme or a defined benefit scheme) offered to the jobholder in question would satisfy the pre-conditions for employers to defer automatic enrolment under Section 30(2) of the Pensions Act 2008. The legislation will amend the provisions of that Act relating to the transitional

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period for defined benefit and hybrid schemes, as well as the definitions of hybrid scheme and defined benefit scheme.

We intend the legislation to have retrospective effect. Any employer who offers only money purchase benefits to the jobholder and has issued a notice to them to defer automatic enrolment under Section 30 will need to automatically enrol that jobholder and backdate employer contributions to the date of this announcement. From the date the legislation comes into force, any employers who will be affected by the legislative change will be required to make back-payments covering the period from the date of this announcement. It will be the jobholder’s choice whether or not they wish to pay their own contributions for this period. Where jobholders wish to make contributions, employers and schemes will need to allow these to be made over an extended period.

Employers offering money purchase benefits will still be able to use the transitional arrangements under Section 29, which permit a gradual phasing in of the contribution requirements over a transitional period.

Police: Funding

Statement

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): My honourable friend the Minister of State for Policing and Criminal Justice (Damian Green) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I have today placed in the Library my proposals for the aggregate amount of grant to local policing bodies in England and Wales for 2013-14, for the approval of the House. Copies are also available in the Vote Office.

Today the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) will be publishing proposals for the distribution of formula grant to English local authorities for 2013-14. Funding to the police that in previous years was paid via the Local Government Finance Report issued by DCLG will now be paid via the Home Office Police Grant Report. This change reflects the fact that the police are outside the business rates retention scheme, and confirms my intention that this funding for the police will be permanently transferred to the Home Office in the next Spending Review.

The Welsh Government will shortly be setting out its proposals for the allocation of funding in 2013-14 for local policing bodies in Wales.

Earlier this month, the Chancellor announced further reductions to departmental budgets for 2013-14 and 2014-15 in his Autumn Statement. However, I have protected the police from these reductions in 2013-14. In addition, in 2013-14, I have protected the police from reductions announced by the Chancellor in November 2011 relating to public sector pay restraint. Without this protection on pay restraint, central government funding for the police would have been reduced by £66 million in 2013-14. As a result of both these decisions, the police will receive the same amount of total government funding in 2013-14 as was agreed at the October 2010 spending review.

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Following the Chancellor’s recent Autumn Statement, I have decided to defer publication of police funding allocations for 2014-15 in order to fully scrutinise all Home Office budgets. I have decided to apply damping, so that every police force area in 2013-14 will face the same percentage reduction in core central government funding (1.6% cash). I intend to apply damping in the same way in 2014-15. In making this decision, the Home Secretary and I have carefully considered responses to the recent informal consultation on damping. Many of the responses stressed the need to undertake a full review of the police allocation formula before changing damping policy, given that damping and the formula are inextricably linked. That is why we have decided to continue current damping arrangements and why the Home Secretary will be commissioning a fundamental review of the formula to begin once police and crime commissioners (PCCs) are established in their roles and able to engage fully in the review process. Determining how funding should be allocated to the police in the future is a complex and important matter which requires careful consideration and will take time. I am also aware that a continuation of existing damping arrangements is the basis on which many police and crime commissioners and police forces are making their financial plans.

We have embarked on the biggest reforms to the policing landscape for 50 years, and 2012 is the year when these reforms start to come together at both the local level, with the introduction of police and crime commissioners and at the national level, with the National Crime Agency. In November 2012, we welcomed 41 directly elected police and crime commissioners. These directly elected individuals will have the statutory duty to deliver an efficient and effective police force which clearly demonstrates value for money and, above all, cuts crime.

Police reform is working. Thanks to the hard work of officers up and down the country, day in and day out, crime is falling, even though budgets are reducing. As Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary has made clear, police forces have risen to the existing financial challenge, cutting spending while largely maintaining the service they provide. The proportion of officers on the front line is increasing, crime continues to fall, victim satisfaction is up and the response to emergency calls is being maintained.

As my decisions on police funding in 2013-14 demonstrate, we are committed to ensuring that the police continue to have the resources they need to carry out their important work. I recognise that the funding settlement remains challenging, but I am confident that PCCs and forces will continue to drive out waste and maintain the level of service that the public expect.

I have set out below how I propose to allocate the police funding settlement between the different funding streams in 2013-14.

Table 1: Police revenue funding—proposed figures for 2013-14
2013-14
£m

Total General Funding:

Comprising


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Police Core Settlement

4725

of which Home Office Police Main Grant

4540

of which National, International and Capital City Grant (MOPAC only)

185

DCLG

3144

of which formula funding

3067

of which council tax (11-12) freeze grant

75

of which Ordnance Survey

2

Welsh Government

148

Total Home Office Specific Grants:

Comprising…

Welsh Top-up

13

Counter Terrorism Specific Grant

563

NPoCC

1

PFI Grant

60

Total Government Funding

8660*

% cash change in Total Government Funding

-1.9%**

*

Includes a small amount of contingency funding which is not shown in the table.

**

This is the difference in total central Government funding to the police compared to 2012-13 which included additional funding relating to the PCC elections. The reduction in core Government funding (ie funding that is damped) is 1.6%.

Provisional allocations of these grants (with the exception of counterterrorism funding) for each force area in England and Wales for 2013-14 are set out in Table 3.

Counterterrorism

I will continue to allocate specific funding for counterterrorism policing and have provided a ring-fenced budget for this throughout the spending review period to ensure that critical national counterterrorism capabilities are maintained. We have allocated at least £563 million to support counter-terrorism policing in 2013-14.

PCCs and forces will receive their specific counterterrorism allocations in the new year. For security reasons, these allocations will not be available in the public domain.

National Police Co-ordination Centre

From 2013-14, I will be providing funding from the police settlement for the National Police Co-ordination Centre (NPoCC) which is being established following a review led by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) into the August 2011 disorder. NPoCC will have three main functions, including assessing national capability and capacity in relation to the strategic policing requirement and police national requirements; co-ordinating a continuous testing and exercising regime to ensure effective mobilisation of national assets in a crisis; and brokering mutual aid in a crisis.

19 Dec 2012 : Column WS219

Private Finance Initiatives Grant

Specific funding will be given to cover the costs of police private finance initiative projects which are currently operational. This funding was added to the police settlement for this specific purpose. The Home Office will also support the two police PFI projects that are under construction and which are not yet operational.

Council tax freeze

Funding will be paid in each of the four years of the spending review period to all English local policing bodies who froze the police precept component of council tax in 2011-12. This funding is worth £75 million. Funding for the 2012-13 council tax freeze scheme has been paid from outside the police funding settlement. This will also be the case for future council tax freeze schemes.

Council tax referendums

The Communities Secretary, in consultation with the Home Secretary, will today give an indication of the council tax excessiveness principles he is minded to propose for 2013-14. After considering any representations, he will set out the final principles in a report to the House and seek approval for these in parallel with the final report on the Local Government Finance Settlement. In Wales, council tax capping is the responsibility of Welsh Ministers.

Neighbourhood Policing Fund

From 2013-14 the Neighbourhood Policing Fund (NPF) has been consolidated into Police Main Grant. The baseline against which damping has been calculated has been adjusted to ensure that final allocations reflect the fact that they had previously been allocated on a different basis to Police Main Grant. This minimises the impact on overall funding allocations to police force areas.

Other funding

Community Safety Fund

The vast majority of drugs, crime and community safety funding that the Home Office currently provides to a range of partners will cease at the end of this financial year. Instead, PCCs will receive funding from

19 Dec 2012 : Column WS220

a transitional and un-ring fenced Community Safety Fund worth £90 million. The funding has been allocated according to the current allocation of those funding streams which are ending. Force level allocations are set out in table 3. This funding will be rolled into Police Main Grant in 2014-15, and the baseline prior to damping being applied will be adjusted accordingly.

Police capital

Capital allocations will be as announced in the Written Ministerial Statement laid in January 2012. A portion of capital will continue to be top-sliced to fund the National Police Air Service in 2013-14 and 2014-15. These proposed figures are set out in table 2. The National Police Air Service began operations on 1 October in 11 police areas in the east and south east of England. Further forces are scheduled to join during 2013-14.

Table 2: Proposed division of police capital between funding streams
2013-142014-15
£m£m

Capital Grant

106

109

National Police Air Service

13

10

Special Grant Capital

1

1

Total

120

120

I still intend to allocate the majority of capital funding directly to local policing bodies. Like last year, all local policing bodies will receive the same percentage change in capital grant. I will also continue to maintain a capital contingency. These proposed allocations (set out at table 4) are the same as those announced in the Written Ministerial Statement laid in January 2012.

Royal Parks Policing

Funding in respect of policing the Royal Parks will continue to be provided by the Home Office to the Greater London Authority on behalf of the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime. In 2013-14 a total of £6.9 million will be provided from outside of the police funding settlement.

Table 3: Provisional revenue allocations for England and Wales 2013-14
2013-14
HO CoreCSFWelsh Top-upWGDCLG
Local Policing Body£m£m£m£m£m

Avon & Somerset

115.8

2.4

0

0.0

61.5

Bedfordshire

44.5

0.9

0

0.0

25.5

Cambridgeshire

53.7

0.9

0

0.0

26.5

Cheshire

68.4

0.8

0

0.0

49.0

City of London

20.6

0.1

0

0.0

37.2

Cleveland

50.2

1.7

0

0.0

42.3

Cumbria

31.9

0.4

0

0.0

33.9

Derbyshire

68.9

1.0

0

0.0

41.2

Devon & Cornwall

114.0

1.6

0

0.0

68.9

Dorset

45.9

0.6

0

0.0

18.8

Durham

47.3

0.8

0

0.0

40.6

Dyfed-Powys

33.9

0.9

6.0

15.0

0

Essex

114.4

1.2

0

0.0

60.9

Gloucestershire

38.2

0.5

0

0.0

21.3

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Greater London Authority

1138.4

18.4

0

0.0

821.4

Greater Manchester

248.3

6.8

0

0.0

199.0

Gwent

47.1

1.4

0

32.3

0

Hampshire

133.6

1.5

0

0.0

68.8

Hertfordshire

79.5

0.8

0

0.0

39.6

Humberside

73.4

2.3

0

0.0

51.0

Kent

118.3

1.3

0

0.0

72.8

Lancashire

111.4

1.8

0

0.0

86.8

Leicestershire

71.9

1.6

0

0.0

43.3

Lincolnshire

42.6

0.6

0

0.0

22.1

Merseyside

134.7

3.1

0

0.0

124.0

Norfolk

55.9

0.7

0

0.0

31.4

North Wales

48.8

1.4

6.9

23.9

0

North Yorkshire

46.3

0.6

0

0.0

29.6

Northamptonshire

47.7

0.9

0

0.0

26.4

Northumbria

121.2

2.8

0

0.0

118.1

Nottinghamshire

84.9

2.8

0

0.0

52.6

South Wales

97.6

3.5

0

76.6

0

South Yorkshire

110.0

3.2

0

0.0

84.9

Staffordshire

73.8

1.0

0

0.0

43.6

Suffolk

45.3

0.6

0

0.0

24.9

Surrey

69.3

0.7

0

0.0

31.7

Sussex

108.9

1.2

0

0.0

58.7

Thames Valley

155.9

3.1

0

0.0

80.4

Warwickshire

34.5

0.4

0

0.0

19.0

West Mercia

73.7

1.0

0

0.0

47.4

West Midlands

275.3

7.0

0

0.0

197.5

West Yorkshire

187.8

5.3

0

0.0

141.7

Wiltshire

41.7

0.5

0

0.0

22.5

Total England & Wales

4725.4

90.0

12.8

147.8

3067.2

Table 4: Proposed and indicative capital allocations for England and Wales
2013-142014-15
Local Policing Body£m

Avon and Somerset

2.3

2.4

Bedfordshire

1.0

1.0

Cambridgeshire

1.2

1.2

Cheshire

1.5

1.5

City of London

0.8

0.9

Cleveland

1.2

1.2

Cumbria

0.8

0.9

Derbyshire

1.4

1.5

Devon and Cornwall

2.5

2.6

Dorset

1.0

1.0

Durham

1.1

1.2

Dyfed-Powys

0.7

0.8

Essex

2.2

2.2

Gloucestershire

0.9

0.9

Greater Manchester

5.4

5.5

Gwent

1.0

1.1

Hampshire

2.7

2.8

Hertfordshire

1.4

1.4

Humberside

1.6

1.7

Kent

2.5

2.5

Lancashire

2.5

2.6

Leicestershire

1.6

1.6

Lincolnshire

0.9

0.9

Merseyside

3.1

3.2

Metropolitan

28.1

29.0

Norfolk

1.2

1.3

North Wales

1.1

1.1

North Yorkshire

1.0

1.0

Northamptonshire

1.0

1.0

Northumbria

2.9

3.0

Nottinghamshire

1.7

1.8

South Wales

2.3

2.3

South Yorkshire

2.5

2.6

Staffordshire

1.6

1.6

Suffolk

1.0

1.0

Surrey

1.4

1.5

Sussex

2.1

2.2

Thames Valley

3.4

3.5

Warwickshire

1.0

1.0

West Mercia

1.7

1.7

West Midlands

5.7

5.9

West Yorkshire

4.2

4.3

Wiltshire

0.9

1.0

Total England & Wales

106.0

09.3

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Schools: Funding

Statement

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): My honourable friend the Minister of State for Schools (David Laws) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Today I am announcing details of school revenue funding for 2013-14. My announcement includes the Dedicated Schools Grant and provisional allocations of the pupil premium.

Our document, School Funding Reform: Next Steps Towards a Fairer System, published in March 2012, set out the Government’s intention to introduce a national funding formula in the next spending review period. As the first step in this transition, all local authorities have now submitted proposals for simplified local formulae on the basis set out in the document.

The distribution of the Dedicated Schools Grant to local authorities will continue to be based on the current spend-plus methodology for 2013-14, but the presentation of the settlement has been changed to show three spending blocks for each authority: an early years block, a schools block and a high needs block. In addition, the baselines of local authorities

19 Dec 2012 : Column WS224

have been adjusted to reflect the incidence of high needs pupils and places supported by each authority. The underlying schools budget will be kept at flat cash per pupil for 2013-14.

Although the overall schools budget will stay at the same level on a per pupil basis before the addition of the pupil premium, the actual level of each school’s individual budget will vary. To protect schools from significant budget reductions, we will continue with a minimum funding guarantee that ensures no school sees more than a 1.5% per pupil reduction in 2013-14 budgets (excluding sixth form funding) compared to 2012-13 and before the pupil premium is added.

The pupil premium level of funding for 2013-14 for disadvantaged pupils is £900 per pupil. The service premium for 2013-14 is £300 per pupil. We are now publishing illustrative allocations of the premium for each local authority, parliamentary constituency and school. As the pupil premium is calculated using the pupil numbers from the January school census, final allocations will be confirmed in summer 2013.

Details of these arrangements, including per pupil funding for schools and early years for each local authority, are being sent to local authorities today and have been published on the Department for Education’s website.