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Written Statements

Monday 21 January 2013

Groceries Code Adjudicator

Statement

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie): My honourable friend the Minister of State for Employment Relations and Consumers Affairs (Jo Swinson) has today made the following Statement.

I am delighted to announce that I have selected Christine Tacon to be the first groceries code adjudicator, subject to security clearance. In the spirit of open government, I have also asked the BIS Select Committee to conduct pre-appointment scrutiny of this candidate, although the final decision will remain that of the Secretary of State.

Christine has a background in both food production and in retail, culminating in 12 years as managing director of the Co-operative Farms. She has a strong knowledge of both supermarkets and suppliers, having held senior corporate responsibility within the Co-operative Group and running the largest farming operation in the UK.

The independent groceries code adjudicator will enforce the groceries supply code of practice, ensuring that supermarkets treat their suppliers lawfully and fairly. Its introduction fulfils the commitment in the coalition agreement to “introduce, as a first step, an ombudsman in the Office of Fair Trading who can proactively enforce the grocery supply code of practice and curb abuses of power, which undermine our farmers and act against the long-term interest of consumers”.

The Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill [Lords] will establish the adjudicator, and is currently before Parliament. It has recently completed Committee stage in the Commons.

Maritime Security

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 for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Alistair Burt) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I wish to inform the House of how the Government will be allocating funding to support work to reduce the threat to UK and international shipping and tackle the root causes of piracy.

Last year saw a dramatic decline in the number of pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia. The UK has been instrumental in achieving this success, though it remains fragile. UK contributions included:

playing a leading role in the Contact Group for Piracy off the Coast of Somalia, the foremost international body that addresses piracy in this area;providing support, assets and personnel to international naval operations; funding vital project work to build judicial and maritime capacity throughout the region; and

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allowing private armed security personnel to be deployed aboard UK ships.

Piracy is not, however, a problem specific to the waters off the coast of Somalia. The past few years have seen a worrying increase in the incidence of piracy and armed robbery at sea in the Gulf of Guinea. The Government are currently:

working with industry and international partners to establish the Maritime Trade Information Sharing Centre for the Gulf of Guinea, which will facilitate information sharing and act as an early warning system for vessels in the area;assisting the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) to help them to develop and implement their integrated maritime strategy; andworking with west African states to improve their maritime capacity so that they may police their own coastal waters.

In south-east Asia, the UK acceded to the Regional Co-operation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) on 12 May 2012. The Government hope to use the UK’s membership of the ReCAAP to protect trade routes, ensure the welfare of the seafarers who pass through the area, and prevent criminals profiting from piracy and armed robbery at sea.

The Government are committed to continuing the fight against piracy and maritime insecurity wherever it may occur.

To this end, I am pleased to announce a new a package of support worth £2.25 million for the work of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, with whom we are working in close partnership to deliver capacity building assistance. This includes:

$1.135 million of additional funding to the UNODC’s post trial transfer programme, to complete the construction of a new prison in Garowe, Puntland, to hold convicted pirates in facilities that meet international standards. Prison capacity remains one of the biggest challenges we face in bringing pirates to justice and it is essential that we provide a targeted, long-term solution;a $100,000 project to tackle corruption in the Somali penal system. As UNODC continue the process of transferring pirates back to Somalia, we face the risk that convicted pirates may seek to secure early release by the paying bribes to prison staff. The project will extend existing anti-corruption awareness training from Garowe prison to all the prisons in Somalia holding piracy prisoners; anda $240,000 project to develop the Somali coast guard. Supporting UNODC work with the maritime authorities in Mogadishu, Puntland and Somaliland to begin the process of securing Somalia's coastline.

The funding will also allow UNODC to continue its work with regional partners.

the UK will contribute $250,000 to assist UNODC in building a vulnerable prisoners unit in the Seychelles to handle Somali pirates who cannot be housed with the general prison population, further developing the Seychelles’ capacity to play a vital regional role in tackling piracy and in direct support of the joint UK/Seychelles RAPPICC initiative; and

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in Mauritius, UK support will provide $800,000 funding for a brand new and much needed facility equipped to handle piracy prosecutions; helping to spread the burden of prosecution across regional states.

The funding also includes $660,000 towards UNODC’s overall counterpiracy programme costs.

Finally, the UK will also provide funding for two other areas of bilateral support in pursuit of counterpiracy objectives: $200,000 for the work of the Trust Fund of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia and $160,000 for bespoke projects in Mauritius in support of the memorandum of understanding agreed at the London conference last year.

Olympic and Paralympic Games 2012: Tickets

Statement

Lord Gardiner of Kimble: On Friday 18 January 2013 my right honourable friend the Secretary of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Maria Miller) made the following Statement.

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This is to inform the House of the publication of the register of names in receipt of tickets purchased by Government to the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

In line with their values of transparency and accountability the Government committed to publishing all details relating to tickets provided which entailed a cost to the public purse. These accounted for less than 0.04% of the total ticket sales.

All departments’ tickets are included within the publication and the purchasing department, the Government Olympic Executive, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office or UK Trade and Investment, is listed against each ticket.

All invitations were issued against criteria agreed by the Cabinet Secretary in May 2012. These were:

encouraging growth;encouraging health and sports participation; andencouraging community engagement and volunteering.

The register can be found: http://www.dcms.gov.uk/publications/9672.aspx