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Written Statements

Volume 406: debated on Wednesday 4 June 2003

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Written Ministerial Statements

Wednesday 4 June 2003

Environment, Food And Rural Affairs

Veterinary Medicines Directorate

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
(Mr. Elliot Morley)

I have set VMD the following performance targets for 2003–04:

To process Marketing Authorisations quickly and efficiently with decisions based on sound, high quality science;
To develop and implement an effective and evidence-based policy on the regulation of veterinary medicines, under-pinned by good science, and to provide timely advice on these matters to Ministers;
To ensure effective post-authorisation surveillance and controls on the manufacture, distribution and use of authorised medicines and effective deterrents to illegal use of unauthorised medicines;
Cost-effective service at all levels of VMD;
To contribute effectively to the Developing DEFRA programme;
To ensure the strategic skills are in place to achieve the objectives set for VMD.

Performance Targets

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
(Mr. Elliot Morley)

The Department carried out a review of its five-science based agencies in 2002. It was published on 17 December. Copies of the report are available on of the review's recommendations was that improvements to the performance management arrangements for VLA, CEFAS and CSL should be introduced from 2003–04 including agreed outcomes, with output targets as measurable indicators for meeting those outcomes.I have set the Veterinary Laboratories Agency, the Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science and the Central Science Laboratory the following agreed outcomes and performance targets for 2003–2004:VLACost effective and efficient science businesses

Achieve full cost recovery
Maintain the ratio of overheads against turnover.
Achieve £525K procurement savings.

Outward looking and collaborative organisations

Prepare an annual report on their collaborative work.

Provision of R&D and science services of the required quality

Maintain current third party accreditations
Make satisfactory progress towards meeting the deadline of June 2004 for compliance with the DEFRA policy for Quality Assurance for Research.

Provision of a high standard of service to the satisfaction of customers

Meet 85 per cent. of ROAME1 milestones.
Meet 95 per cent. published turnaround time for export tests.
Achieve a customer satisfaction score of 75 per cent. CEFAS

Cost effective and efficient science businesses

To achieve savings by ensuring that support function costs grow more slowly than income.
To recover from government departments and agencies and external customers the full economic costs of the Agency's services
To manage the agency in an effective manner including pursuit of commercial exploitation of research outputs

Outward looking and collaborative organizations

To prepare an annual report on their collaborative work.

Provision of R&D and science services of the required quality

To maintain a high standard of excellence, based on indicators of scientific and technical quality.
Make satisfactory progress towards meeting the deadline of June 2004 for compliance with the DEFRA policy for Quality Assurance for Research.

Provision of a high standard of service to the satisfaction of customers

To give satisfaction to customers in the way that outputs are provided, taking account of the relevance, timeliness and value for money of outputs and the achievement of ROAME1 milestones.


Cost effective and efficient science businesses

To recover the full economic costs of operation on a resource accounting basis, recognising the normal costs of operation
To deliver the efficiency targets set out in the Business Plan.
To manage the agency in an effective manner, including delivery of e-government and commercial exploitation of research outputs

Outward looking and collaborative organisations

To prepare an annual report on their collaborative work.

Provision of R&D and science services of the required quality

To make satisfactory progress with the action plan for enhancing science quality resulting from the 2001–02 Science Audit
Make satisfactory progress towards meeting the deadline of June 2004 for compliance with the DEFRA policy for Quality Assurance for Research.

Provision of a high standard of service to the satisfaction of customers

To achieve a minimum of 90 per cent. of project milestones in commissioned projects which support the "Developing DEFRA" objectives To achieve a mean score of 4.2 on a scale of 0 to 5 for the assessment of customer satisfaction using the revised methodology
1Rationale, Objectives, Appraisal, Monitoring and Evaluation statement—an integrated approach to programme/project management


Gurkha Married Accompanied Service Review

The Government are acutely aware of the need to ensure that we have fair and appropriate terms and conditions of service for Gurkha personnel. The current arrangements stem from the 1947 Tripartite Agreement (TPA) between the Governments of UK, Nepal and India. One of the aims of this Agreement was to safeguard the cultural, religious and ethnic heritage of Gurkha soldiers in accordance with the wishes of the Nepalese Government. It also linked British Gurkha Terms and Conditions of Service to arrangements in the Indian Army.The Government recognise, of course, that not all the principles that underpinned the TPA in 1947 apply today. It is for this reason that successive Governments have regarded the TPA as having a degree of flexibility. This has enabled significant enhancements to be made to Gurkha conditions of service, particularly to Gurkha pay and pension arrangements. Indeed, Gurkha in-service remuneration is now in line with that of British personnel and Gurkha pensions, which were reviewed and at least doubled in April 2000, now compare favourably to professional salaries in Nepal, where all Gurkhas are discharged. Importantly, Gurkhas continue to be paid an immediate pension after only 15 years' service, whereas the vast majority of British personnel receive a preserved pension, payable at the age of sixty.The Government are satisfied, therefore, that these key elements of Gurkha terms anti conditions of service are tailored to the needs of Gurkhas in 2003 and in particular that the difference between the pension schemes is both necessary and proportionate.Gurkha accompanied service provisions, however, have not been reviewed since the Brigade's withdrawal from Hong Kong in 1997. It was decided at that time that married accompanied service should be introduced in the UK, but that, in accordance with the TPA, it should continue to be capped at 25 per cent. of Brigade strength. In practice, this means that family married quarters are provided for all Gurkhas holding the rank of Colour Sergeant or above. Below that rank, Gurkhas are entitled to one accompanied tour of around 3 years.The Government are well aware of the problems these restrictions cause, although there are important contemporary factors that influence our current practice. These relate to the impact that any change in policy could have on the deployability and effectiveness of the Brigade as well as the need to maintain links between Gurkhas and their home country. These links were of importance to the Nepalese Government when they agreed to the transfer of Gurkha units into the British Army in 1947 and remain so to this day. Our bilateral relations with Nepal are highly valued and we take our obligations to the Nepalese Government very seriously.It is important, therefore, that we strike the right balance between the aspirations and needs of our Gurkha soldiers and the effectiveness and employability of the Brigade as a whole. With this in mind, I have asked Officials, in consultation with the Brigade of Gurkhas, to undertake a thorough review of Gurkha married accompanied service arrangements. In so doing we will, of course, consult the Nepalese Government. We will also consider the implications for the Garrison Estate in Brunei, given that at any one time nearly a quarter of the Brigade is stationed there, and address the education and welfare implications of any increase in the number of Gurkha families based in the UK.I hope to be in a position to announce my findings to the House by the end of the year.

Naval Recruiting And Training Agency: Key Targets

Subsequent to a proposal by the Agency's Owner, the Second Sea Lord and Commander-in-Chief Naval Home Command, I have today set the 2003–04 key targets for the Naval Recruiting and Training Agency, as follows:

To deliver RN personnel to the trained strength (or to other training organisations), to the required quality standard, within 5 per cent. variance from the tasked requirement.
To deliver RM recruits to within 2 per cent. variance from the tasked requirement.
To maintain success rates of 95 per cent. in career training (including targeted employment modules) and 97 per cent. in examined pre-joining training.
To increase the trained strength of the RNR to 2200 by 31 March 2004.
To reduce the average cost of the trained recruit to 98 per cent. of the 2001–02 baseline figure.
To achieve net benefits of £15 million in financial year 2003–04 from the partnering arrangement with Flagship Training Limited.

Merlin Mk1 Helicopters

I am pleased to announce the start of an Assessment Phase (AP) to be led by Lockheed Martin UK Ltd., with Westland Helicopters Ltd. as strategic sub-contractor, to determine how best to sustain the capability of the Royal Navy's Merlin Mk1 helicopters for future operations. Merlin Mk1 already delivers a quantum leap in capability over the aircraft it succeeded, the Sea King Mk6, and is recognised as crucial across the spectrum of maritime operations. We anticipate an upgraded aircraft entering service towards the end of the decade, building on significant operational experience and technological advances to ensure that the full potential of this versatile and capable aircraft is realised and that it continues to meet our security challenges for decades to come. The AP, costing £18 million, will investigate the most cost effective way to sustain this world beating capability and the scope for enhancements to broaden the utility and versatility of the aircraft. The partnering of Lockheed Martin as prime contractor with the world class manufacturing skills of Westland as strategic sub-contractor is believed to offer the lowest risk to the Ministry of Defence. The AP is planned to complete at the end of 2004 after which a decision will be made on the scope and programme for the Demonstration and Manufacture Phase.

Hms Dryad

On 19 July 2001, Official Report, columns 334–35W, my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for the Armed Forces advised the House that, in parallel with the work being undertaken on the Defence Training Review, the Royal Navy was conducting a comprehensive review of its training estate. Fundamental to this review was the creation of an integrated maritime warfare school, which would deliver all maritime warfare training on a single site at HMS Collingwood, near Fareham. Once the maritime warfare school was established, HMS Dryad, near Portsmouth, would be surplus to requirement and would close. It was envisaged that the transfer to HMS Collingwood would be completed, at the latest, by 2011.I am pleased to announce that an accelerated programme will allow the collocation to HMS Collingwood and the decommissioning of HMS Dryad, to be achieved by 2004. A small enclave, housing operations room simulators which are complex to remove, will remain on the site until the simulators are relocated or replaced, with an expectation that the site will be handed over to Defence Estates by 2007 for disposal in accordance with normal procedures.I have recommended that the proposals for the final closure programme are now put to the MOD Trades Unions for consultation in the normal way.

Home Department

Death Certification And Coroner Services

Today I am publishing and placing in the Library the report of the fundamental review of death certification and coroner services. This comprehensive and thoughtful report is the work of an independent review group chaired by Tom Luce, formerly of the Department of Health.I am very grateful to Tom Luce and his colleagues for delivering such a wide-ranging and careful report. In their comprehensive analysis of this complex and difficult area, they have consulted very widely, taking into account the views of families, interest groups, and the many professions and organisations that work in this field. This is not an easy topic, nor is it an area where there are simple answers. A careful balance is required between the requirement to investigate deaths that are a matter of legitimate public concern, and the need to respect the private grief of individual families. This report recommends some very significant changes and improvements to the way in which deaths are currently investigated and certified. It also highlights the good work being done by many of those working in this long neglected public service.We do not intend to respond to the detailed proposals in the Luce Report at this stage. This is because we need to consider them alongside the Second Report of the Shipman Inquiry, chaired by Dame Janet Smith, which will focus on death and cremation certification, and police investigation.I am pleased to announce that Tom Luce has agreed to do some further work on the links between the two reports. Once that has been completed, we will be able to announce plans for taking this work forward.

Race Relations Act

I have made a new authorisation under section 19D of the Race Relations Act 1976 (as amended) to allow a certain proportion of the permits issued under the new Sectors Based Schemes in the hospitality and food processing sectors to be available for issue only to nationals of countries who are due to accede to the European Union on 1 May 2004.This reflects the Government's commitment to these countries to give greater access to the UK labour markets in the period leading up to the date of their accession to the European Union.A copy of the new authorisation, which came into force on 30 May, has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Golden Jubilee Awards

I am pleased to report that the first of the Queen's Golden Jubilee Awards for voluntary service by groups in the community were announced on Monday 2 June.This prestigious new annual Award for groups of volunteers has been given this year to 200 groups whose outstanding voluntary activity has enhanced and improved the quality of life and opportunity for others in the community. The Government actively support the work of the voluntary and community sector and are encouraging more people to participate in community activity. This Award will give some of those people the recognition they richly deserve. The details of the winning groups are as follows:

Winners of the Queen's Golden Jubilee Award for voluntary service by groups in the community 2003
Voluntary GroupActivity Description
East Midlands
1Age Concern Spalding Districthelping the elderly of Spalding and Pinchbeck and giving respite to their carers.
2The Ashfield Environmental Projectproviding free services to the elderly, infirm or disabled, including gardening and horticultural training opportunities.
3Bakewell & Eyam Community Transportproviding transport for those who have no car, or cannot use public transport.
Winners of the Queen's Golden Jubilee Award for voluntary service by groups in the community 2003
Voluntary GroupActivity Description
4The Buxton Mountain Rescue Teampreventing loss of life or injury by undertaking mountain rescue operations.
5Coping with Cancer in Leicestershire & Rutlandproviding information and practical and emotional support to people affected by cancer.
6Derbyshire Gypsy Liaison Groupsupporting Gypsies and promoting understanding of their culture.
7The Lincoln MS Therapy Centreproviding support, therapy, advice and friendship to Ms suffers, their family and friends.
8The Muslim Khatri Associationproviding social and recreational activities, advancing education and relieving poverty in Leicester.
9The Nottinghamshire Bereavement Trustcomforting and helping the bereaved and assisting to develop Children's Gardens in major local cemeteries.
10The Green Health Partnership Volunteersproviding practical conservation activities involving people with mental ill-health to benefit both them and the environment in Derbyshire.
11The Pet Shop Girls Charitable Trustundertaking fund-raising and other events for the local community of Ollerton and District.
12Wellingborough Prison Visitors Centre Volunteersproviding practical and emotional support for visitors to Wellingborough Prison.
East of England
131220 (March) Squadron— Air Training Corpspromoting interest in aviation, training and development and community service for young people.
14The Aylsham and District Care Truststrengthening the community through the development and co- ordination of voluntary care services and social activity.
15Connect Club Welwyn and Hatfield (WOT-NOTS Project)preserving, protecting and promoting the mental health of local residents.
16Dunstable and District Disabled Sportsproviding sports and other activities for disabled people.
17The Garboldisham Village Hall Management Committeeproviding and maintaining the village hall for recreational, cultural, educational and sporting activities.
18The Gunton Woodland Community Projectproviding, maintaining and regenerating a safe, accessible and pleasant woodland environment for the public.
19Harlow Well Women Centreproviding an accessible centre for women with professional counselling, advice, support and information.
20Hospice at Home Volunteersbefriending and supporting those suffering from life-threatening illness, their families and carers.
21Jimmy's Night Shelterproviding accommodation for rough sleepers in Cambridge, helping them move into suitable accommodation and raising awareness.
22Senior Stopproviding a meeting place and advice for older people in Peterborough.
23SNAP Special Needs and Parentssupporting parents and carers of children with any special need or disability in Essex.
24The Magdalene Grouprunning a drop-in centre, giving support and providing activities for people working in prostitution in Norwich.
25The Mount Bovingdon Visitors Centre Associationproviding a safe, comfortable environment and support for visitors to the prison.
26The Redbourn Care Grouprecruiting and organising volunteers to provide caring services to those who need assistance.
Winners of the Queen's Golden Jubilee Award for voluntary service by groups in the community 2003
Voluntary GroupActivity Description
27The Woolverstone Projectproviding sailing opportunities for those with physical or mental disabilities in East Anglia.
28Watford Mosque and Welfare Associationcatering for the religious, social welfare and cultural requirements of the Muslim Community.
29Guernsey Welfare Service Limitedproviding food, clothing and fuel vouchers to people on low incomes in the community.
30WRVS Alderneymeeting the needs of the elderly and those less able to help themselves.
Isle of Man
31The Volunteers of Hospice Care, Isle of Mansupporting and enabling hospice services for the people.
32Honorary Police of Jerseyproviding community policing and contributing to the administration of the justice system.
33Aldgate Advice Centre Volunteersassisting and befriending rough sleepers and homeless people.
34The Barnet Retired and Senior Volunteer Programmeharnessing the expertise and skills of volunteers over 50.
35Body and Soulsupporting those living with and affected by HIV and AIDS, across London.
36Harlesden Environmental Action Residents and Traderscreating a cleaner, safer and healthier environment for the community.
37Homeless Action in Barnetmeeting the needs of homeless people and asylum seekers.
38Kith and Kidsempowering and socially including families in North London where one or more members has a disability.
39The Lambeth Summer Projects Trustproviding educational and recreational holiday activities to reduce the potential for young people to commit crime.
40MERUproviding free specialist equipment for disabled children in South London and the surrounding area.
41Nubian Lifereasserting the dignity of African and Caribbean Elders by providing for their health, psychological and cultural needs.
42Redbridge Night Shelteralleviating the effects of poverty by providing cold weather shelter to homeless adults.
43Alzheimer's Society (Enfield Branch)supporting carers of people with dementia.
44The Arab Group in Hounslow and Suburbssupporting the Arab community with an advice service and social activities.
45The Centre for Filipinosresponding to the needs of Filipinos in the UK and enabling them to participate fully in society.
46The Greenwich Chinese Community Schooladvancing education within the Chinese community, understanding Chinese culture and encouraging mutual aid.
47The Muslim Women's Welfare Associationproviding help and advice to Asian women in Waltham Forest.
48The Neutral Ground Child Contact Centrerunning a support centre in Abbey Wood, where children of separated families can meet estranged parents.
49The Nightshelter Volunteersproviding shelter for homeless people in Newham throughout the winter.
50The Sikh Community Care Projectdeveloping and facilitating community initiatives in Waltham Forest, particularly for the Sikh community.
Winners of the Queen's Golden Jubilee Award for voluntary service by groups in the community 2003
Voluntary GroupActivity Description
51The XL Projectworking with and supporting schools, families and communities in South London.
52Wandsworth Community Transportenabling and helping individuals with mobility problems to access facilities in Wandsworth town centre through its shop mobility project
North East
53Ferryhill Town Youthbringing together young people through sporting and other activities.
54Grange Road Methodist Church Resource Centreproviding recreational, leisure and educational activities for people of Hartlepool.
55Quaking Houses Village Hall Associationproviding facilities and activities for the community of Stanley.
56Stepney Bank Stableseducating and motivating young people from inner-city area and adults with learning difficulties.
57The Gateshead Visible Ethnic Minorities Support Groupsupporting ethnic minority communities and promoting multi- cultural events.
58The Northumberland Family Camping Groupproviding low-cost family holidays.
59The Scotswood Family Drug Support Groupproviding support and advice to families of drug misusers in Scotswood.
60West Harton Churches Action Station Limitedproviding advice and education facilities to South Tyneside residents.
North West
61Acorn Venture Urban Farmenabling disabled people in Kirkby to become involved in farming and giving young people opportunities to work with animals.
62Advocacy in Wirralproviding support and advocacy to people experiencing mental health problems.
63CancerCare (North Lancashire and South Lakeland)providing support, therapy, counselling and practical help for cancer patients and their families.
64Chorlton Good Neighboursoffering support, practical help and friendship to those in need in Chorlton.
65Delamere Toy and Tape Libraryproviding toys and equipment for children up to 8 years and for individuals with special needs.
66East Cheshire Hospice Volunteerstransporting patients, helping in Day Care and helping bereavement counsellors and receptionists.
67Friends for Leisureenabling young people with learning, sensory and physical disabilities in Macclesfield to participate in mainstream leisure activities.
68Halton Child Contact Centrehelping children in Runcorn and Widnes in family breakdown to continue or re-establish contact with their non-resident parent or other family members.
69Keswick (Calvert Trust) RDA Helpers Groupproviding disabled people opportunities to ride and carriage drive to benefit their health and well being.
70Knutsford and District Good Neighboursproviding transport for patients and providing practical assistance to elderly, disabled and housebound people.
71MOSACproviding support, education and advice to parents of abused children in Blackpool, Wyre and Fylde.
72One Voice/Team 2000improving lives of local residents through urban regeneration, crime prevention and educating young people in community citizenship.
Winners of the Queen's Golden Jubilee Award for voluntary service by groups in the community 2003
Voluntary GroupActivity Description
73Rochdale Childerproviding help and assistance for any Rochdale child in need.
74South Lakeland Voluntary Society for the Blindproviding practical support, information, advice and social activities to local people with sight problems.
75St Rocco's Hospice Volunteersproviding practical help and emotional support, transporting patients and helping with hospice events and fundraising.
76The Blackbrook Group and Residentspromoting community fire safety through young people in Warrington working with the Fire Service.
77The Blackburn Breast Care Support Groupproviding support for women who have suffered from or have concerns about breast cancer.
78The Friday Clubproviding holidays and social activities for adults with learning disabilities in Warrington and giving respite to their carers.
79The Littleborough Coach House Trustmaintaining a historic listed building for use by local groups and societies.
80The Open Doorproviding facilities and resources to improve the quality of life for residents of Benchill and to regenerate the area.
81The Salford Link Projectproviding links between ethnic communities and statutory and voluntary organizations, including promotion of advice and education programmes.
82The Standish Friendly Visiting Groupbefriending elderly and housebound people and those living alone and arranging outings to places of interest.
83The Volunteers of Drugline—Lancashiresupporting people affected by drug use, directly or indirectly, by providing counselling and a telephone helpline.
84Wirral and Chester Riding for the Disabledproviding practical facilities for people with physical or learning difficulties to enjoy horse riding.
Northern Ireland
85Broughshane and District Community Associationenhancing the sense of community ownership and responsibility.
86Lynn Social Clubproviding meals on wheels and organizing social and recreational activities for the community of Larne.
87Newtownstewart Development Associationpromoting economic development through tourism and employment regeneration and providing social and recreational facilities.
88St John Ambulance HQ Transport Divisionproviding a volunteer first aid and ambulance service for the community of Northern Ireland.
89The Lack Women's Groupproviding recreational classes and training for local women in Lack.
90Samiritans—Belfast Branchproviding a 24 hour confidential emotional support service for people experiencing distress or despair.
91The Walkway Women's Group & EBCECproviding educational, arts and environment opportunities for local women in Belfast
92Voluntary Service Bureauproviding advice and practical fitting of security devices to older and vulnerable people.
93Arran Lifelineproviding and servicing a telephone activated push button service in elderly and disabled peoples homes.
Winners of the Queen's Golden Jubilee Award for voluntary service by groups in the community 2003
Voluntary GroupActivity Description
94Canine Concern Scotland Trust—Therapet Scheme— Aberdeenproviding 'Therapy Dogs' for people in hospitals, hospices and residential and nursing homes to help those devoid of animal contact.
95Central Gurdware Singh Sabha, Glasgowmanaging a Sikh community place of worship and providing activities to promote Sikh culture.
96Churches Action for the Homelessrunning a day centre, accommodation and training centre for the homeless or those at risk of homelessness in Perth and district.
97Drug Initiative Group— Forfarrunning a café facility for young people and offering an alternative to drug use and misuse.
98Eighteen and Underproviding information and support to young people in Dundee who have been abused and researching ways of preventing abuse.
99Fife Christian Counselling Centreproviding support and counselling to members of the community.
100Focus Youth Project Management Committeeoverseeing the running of the Youth Project in Viewpark.
101Glasgow Association of Family Support Groupspromoting the development of groups to support and advise parents of drug abusers.
102Home Basicscollecting and refurbishing donated furniture and household goods for disadvantaged people in Tweeddale.
103Inverclyde Peace Initiativepromoting conflict resolution within the community to make it cohesive and sustainable.
104Islay Disabled Endeavours and Actionsproviding care, advocacy, craft working, training and health supervision for individuals with special needs.
105Lanarkshire Cancer Care Trust (The Volunteer Driver Serviceproviding, a personal hospital transport service for cancer suffers.
106McSence Limitedcreating sustainable community owned and run business, employing and training unemployed people of Dalkeith.
107Portlethen & District Community Ambulance Associationproviding transport for those unable to attend church, social or health facilities.
108Red Star Athletics Clubproviding sporting, recreational and social opportunities for people with disabilities in Glasgow.
109Roseberry Centreproviding support, advisory and counselling services to people with dementia and their families in and around Livingston.
110The Drop Inproviding social activities, meals and advice for pensioners in Irvine.
111The Hit Squadimproving the environement in Dawson by enabling elderly and infirm residents to undertake low maintenance gardening and run a community allotment.
112The Moorpark Community Associationproviding social and educational opportunities and raising funds to improve the local environment.
South East
113777 Conservation Groupconserving the environment of Buckinghamshire for the benefit of the public.
114A New Start For Netherfield Partnership Boardattracting and administering funds to transform Netherfield.
115Berinsfield Information and Volunteer Centreproviding advisory services for local people.
Winners of the Queen's Golden Jubilee Award for voluntary service by groups in the community 2003
Voluntary GroupActivity Description
116CHAINproviding practical help and information for the people of Hungerford.
117Epsom & Ewell Phabintegrating young people with and without physical disabilities.
118Fleet Pond Societypromoting the preservation and maintenance of the Fleet Pond Nature Reserve.
119Florence Nightingale House Volunteersenhancing the quality of hospice patients care.
120Folkestone Rainbow Centresupporting the community's needs physically, spiritually and emotionally.
121Gatehousea café for homeless people in Oxford.
122Hampshire Association for the Care of the Blindsupporting Hampshire people who have lost their sight.
123Havant Area Bereavement Care Groupproviding help and comfort to bereaved people.
124Katharine House Hospiceenhancing the lives of hospice patients and their families.
125Maidenhead Multiple Sclerosis Societyproviding a social venue and outings for MS patients.
126Mytchett Community Associationproviding a community centre and playing fields to improve the quality of peoples lives.
127Oxford Samaritansoffering year round confidential and emotional support for suicidal or desparate people
128Penrose Club for Adults with Special Needsproviding leisure activities in Surrey and encouraging the independence of it members.
129Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice Volunteersproviding specialist activities and practical support for hospice patients.
130SEBEV Search and Rescueassisting the authorities in the Thames Valley area, following reports of lost or missing persons.
131Tandemproviding a transport service and a weekly club for elderly and disabled people in Midhurst and Petworth.
132The Leatherhead Swans Clubhelping to provide recreation and leisure facilities for disabled people.
133The V Teamenabling people in Maidstone who are ill or have support needs to be successful volunteers.
134The Wireproviding programmes to enhance the lives of the people of Wick
135Working Hospice Volunteer Teamhelping to provide care for patients and their families
136Wokingham and West Berkshire Mindproviding support for mental health service users and carers.
South West
137Blackdown Support Groupsupplementing health and social services in the Blackdown Hills by providing care and support services.
138Burnham & Highbridge Stroke Cluba social club providing companionship and activities for people who have suffered strokes.
139Cheltenham and District Sports Association for the Disabledproviding swimming instruction and sailing opportunities for disabled people.
140Downderry and District Community Bus Associationproviding accessible and inexpensive transport for all local residents and holiday-makers.
141Gloucestershire Chinese Women's Guildproviding services for socially excluded and isolated Chinese women and their families.
142North Devon Display Gymnastics Clubproviding gymnastics and coaching opportunities for the people of North Devon.
Winners of the Queen's Golden Jubilee Award for voluntary service by groups in the community 2003
Voluntary GroupActivity Description
143Plymouth Musical Activities Clubproviding opportunities for young people to learn and perform music to support charitable organizations.
144St Keverne Youth Bandproviding young people with the opportunity to play musical instruments and perform.
145Swindon Children's Scrapstorepromoting recycling by collecting useable waste and donating it to community orgainsations.
146Talaton Village Community Shop & Post Officeproviding service to the community and a focal point for village needs.
147The Beacon Community Regeneration Partnershipregenerating areas of Falmouth, alleviating disadvantages and social exclusion, and providing support services.
148The Sheltered Work Opportunities Projectproviding horticultural work opportunities for people suffering from mental health problems in Bournemouth.
149The Southmead Project Limitedproviding education, training, and counselling for individuals and families affected by drug misuse and historic abuse.
150The St James Priory Projectsupporting homeless people in Bristol with addition problems and facilitating their reintegration into society.
151Trussell Trustproviding food for people in crisis in Wiltshire and augmenting the work of other statutory and voluntary organisations.
152Thorncombe First Responderspioneers of community life support between a '999' emergency call and the arrival of ambulance.
153Aberfan and Merthyr Vale Youth and Community Projectproviding activities for young and unemployed people.
154Bush and Park Tenants and Residents Associationimproving the lives of estate residents.
155Grangetown Community Concernacting as an umbrella group for other voluntary organisations.
156Gwynedd Hospice at Homeenabling patients to use day Hospice facilities, and supporting Hospice Nurses.
157North Wales Superkidsproviding family holidays and gifts for needy children and young people.
158Ogmore Centre Trustproviding residential courses for young people and a community life- long learning facility for rural residents.
159Perthcelyn Tenants and Residents Associationorganising social activities and learning opportunities for residents of the Perthcelyn estate.
160Swansea Old People's Welfareoperating four day centres for elderly and housebound people
161The Clwyd Special Riding Trustenabling people with special needs to ride or carriage drive.
162The Muslim Welfare Association of Vale of Glamorganpromoting education, art and culture among the ethnic minority community.
163Treasure Troveproviding a residential project for young people aged 16 to 25 years both with and without physical disabilities.
164Tyddyn Bach Trustcaring for and supporting those affected by HIV and Aids, and their families and carers in the UK.
West Midlands
165Harborne Carnival Associationpromoting and organising an annual carnival to improve community spirit and support local charities.
Winners of the Queen's Golden Jubilee Award for voluntary service by groups in the community 2003
Voluntary GroupActivity Description
166OSCAproviding volunteers to support and represent people with learning difficulties throughout Shropshire.
167Perry Hall Community Associationproviding entertainment, holidays and exercise for residents of Perry Barr, Birmingham.
168Pershore Pathfindersproviding social activities for blind and partially sighted people.
169Rock Community Busproviding educational, leisure and play activities to socially and economically disadvantaged communities in Birmingham.
170S.H.A.R.P. Peer Educationinforming young people in Sandwell and Dudley of the dangers of leaving home unplanned and how to access support.
171The Shifnal Millennium Sensory Garden Committeecreating and maintaining a sensory garden for the community, especially elderly and disabled people.
172St Michael's Hospiceproviding specialist palliative care for people form Herefordshire and surrounding counties and support for family and friends.
173Stepping Stones Support Limitedproviding support, advice and information to women experiencing domestic violence in Walsall.
174Age Concern Stourbridgeproviding services for the elderly including day care facilities and transport
175T.S. Sutton Coldfieldguiding young people towards responsible and confident adulthood by encouraging personal attributes and conduct.
176The Asian Blind Associationproviding advice and counselling for blind and partially sighted people, and their carers, in Coventry.
177The Rose Staner Friendship Cluboffering friendship and support to elderly visually impaired people living alone in Coventry.
178The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital League of Friends Volunteersproviding support to patients, hospital management and staff.
179The Stonehouse Gangproviding activities for pre-school and school children, youths and senior citizens in Selly Oak.
180Watch Limiteda community-led organisation, working to improve the quality of life for people in Hillfields.
181Wetton and Alstonefield Community First Respondersproviding emergency medical aid in response to '999' calls from remote areas.
182The Wolverhampton Asian Women and Diabetes Groupproviding support and information about diabetes to Asian women.
183Wolverhampton Support for Deafened Peopleproviding a battery and repair service for hearing aid users.
184The Wolverhampton Urdu Centreproviding information, advice and linguistic services in Asian languages.
Yorkshire and the Humber
185The Crosby Community Associationrunning a drop-in centre, neighbourhood watches, children's groups and an outreach service.
186FLAGproviding support and respite care to families of children with disabilities.
187Friend to Friendproviding activities for the elderly people of Holme Valley.
188Hornsea Inshore Rescuerescuing those in difficulties at sea and promoting water safety.
189Manor Young People's Health Projecteducating and advising the young in Sheffield on health issues.
Winners of the Queen's Golden Jubilee Award for voluntary service by groups in the community 2003
Voluntary GroupActivity Description
190Sheffield Cathedral Breakfast & Archer Projectssupporting the homeless by providing education, breakfasts, shower and laundry facilities.
191The Community Care Association-Stockesleypromoting voluntary action and developing projects with service users and carers.
192The British Fishermen's Associationachieved compensation for distant water trawler men in Hull.
193The Friends of Pacessupporting the local community of Sheffield and children with cerebral palsy by generating funds.
194The Goodwill Motorists' Friendship Grouporganising year-round, fun-filled gatherings for housebound (infirm, blind and/or bereaved) people, sponsored and entertained by groups in North East Lincolnshire.
195The Junctionproviding support, education and advice to people in Harrogate with a wide range of special needs.
196The Longhill Link Up Trustproviding services and activities for those living on the Longhill Housing Estate.
197The Manor Farm, Monkswood, Thorogate Community Centremaintaining the community centre and providing activities for the local people.
198The Safe Anchor Trustgiving special needs groups free access to waterways, and maintaining the canal environment in West Yorkshire.
199Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Associationproviding a rescue service for people and animals above and below ground in the Yorkshire Dales.
200York Students in Schoolsintroducing students from the University of York to Classrooms in York to help teachers and children.

Deputy Prime Minister

Local Government Bill

I can confirm that a note on the policy intent with regard to clause 71 of the Local Government Bill was available in the House Libraries on 29 May 2003 in advance of Committee consideration of the Bill in another place. Copies were also sent to Baroness Hanham and Baroness Hamwee. In addition, copies of the revised draft regulations for Part 1 of the Bill and the first draft of the regulations with regard to the 2004 local government elections provisions of the Bill, together with the draft guidance for the new charging provisions currently out to consultation.

Firefighters' Dispute

The Fire Brigades' Union Executive Council and the National Employers have reached an agreement which will be put to a recall conference on 12 June. As a result I am pleased to announce that the Armed Forces personnel deployed on firefighting duties have been stood down during the run up to the conference.


Container Security Initiative

On 9 December 2002, HM Customs and Excise and the US Customs Service signed a Declaration of Principles to implement the US Container Security Initiative (CSI) in the UK.CSI is an important intelligence sharing partnership designed to make the movement of terrorist material, in sea containers to the US, more difficult.Guidelines on the practical operation of CSI have been agreed between the two services and four US Customs and Border Protection Agency officers will, this week, commence work at the UK's largest sea container port of Felixstowe.

Northern Ireland

Quinqennial Review

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
(Mr. Desmond Browne)

Stage One of the Quinqennial Review of the Northern Ireland Health and Social Services Estates Agency has been completed. The report has been made available to the House of Commons and the Northern Ireland Assembly's Libraries and on the Department of Health Social Services and Public Safety's website.The purpose of Stage One was to establish whether there was a continuing need for the services provided by the Northern Ireland Health and Social Services Estates Agency and, if so, to consider a range of options for delivering those services.The views of a wide range of stakeholders and interest groups including some from outside Northern Ireland were considered. These included Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance (NIPSA) and HPSS Boards Trusts and Agencies, political parties and Northern Ireland Local Government Association (NILGA). Various options for delivering the services—such as privatisation, contracting out/market testing, merger with another public body or reallocation of services to another public body—were considered. The review concluded that there was a continuing need for the services provided by the Northern Ireland Health and Social Services Estates Agency and that agency status remained the best value for money option for delivering them.Stage Two of the review, which will begin shortly, will examine how the agency operates and make recommendations for how delivery of its services might be improved. I will inform the House of the outcome in due course.


London Underground

I intend, subject to the passage of the Railways and Transport Safety Bill currently before Parliament, to transfer London Underground to Transport for London on or about 15 July 2003.

In my written statement of 4 February 2003 I said that the Government, Transport for London and the Mayor had agreed to work together to secure the transfer of the London Underground to TfL as soon as possible after the completion of the London Underground Public Private Partnerships (PPP). I also said that I would continue with the proposed amendments to the Greater London Authority Act 1999 as set out in the Railways and Transport Safety Bill. These amendments will ensure that the operation of London Underground's contracts is not affected when they are transferred from one body to another. In order to achieve this, the amendments in the Railways and Transport Safety Bill must be in force before the relevant provisions in the contracts transfer to TfL.

The remaining London Underground PPP contracts came into effect on 4 April 2003. The Railways and Transport Safety Bill has so far made good progress through Parliament. It is now in everyone's interest to set a target date to ensure an early and orderly transfer of London Underground. Subject to the continued good progress of the Railways and Transport Safety Bill through the House, I therefore intend to transfer London Underground to Transport for London on or about 15 July.

Transfer of London Underground to Transport for London will give effect to the policy originally set out in the Greater London Authority Act, and enable the investment that has already begun under the PPP to continue under the framework envisaged by the Act.

Trade And Industry

Insolvency Service Performance Targets 2003–04

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Trade and Industry
(Miss Melanie Johnson)

I am pleased to announce that in the light of a strong performance outturn by the Insolvency Service in 2002–03 I have been able to reconsider the targets set for the current year.On the basis of an expected outturn of 83 per cent. in the User Satisfaction Index I set the agency a target for 2003–04 of a satisfaction level of 84 per cent. I am pleased to report that the final outturn for 2002–03 was in fact 85 per cent. and I have therefore increased the target for 2003–04 to 86 per cent.Similarly in the disqualification area, on the basis that the outturn for the average time taken to conclude disqualification proceedings would be 25.4 months I set the agency a target of 25 months for the current year. In fact the outturn was 24.3 months and I have therefore set the agency a target of 24 months for the current year. Also in the disqualification area the projected achievement against the percentage of cases concluded within 24 and 30 months was 43 per cent. and 82 per cent. respectively and I therefore set targets for this year of 45 per cent. and 84 per cent. In fact performance was 58 per cent. and 84 per cent. and I have therefore set increased targets of 60 per cent. and 85 per cent.

Finally 81 per cent. of redundancy claims were actioned within six weeks against a target of 80 per cent. and I have therefore set a new target of 82 per cent. for the current year.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs


The search for a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus Problem has been and remains a high priority for the Government. For seven years, our contribution has been led with great distinction by Lord Hannay as Special Representative for Cyprus. But in the light of recent developments, we have been reviewing the arrangements for ensuring an active British input into Cyprus diplomacy.My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and I have therefore accepted Lord Hannay's recommendation that his term should end with effect from the date of this announcement, and I have decided, for the time being at least, not to make any further appointment of this kind. Lord Hannay has worked with enormous professionalism and dedication, in support of the United Nations, to bring peace, security and prosperity to Cyprus in the form of a comprehensive settlement to enable a reunited Cyprus to join the European Union in 2004. Lord Hannay's support and advice during his time as Special Representative—invaluable here in London, but also singled out for praise by the UN Secretary-General and many of our international partners—have brought this country great credit.The UN process culminated in the second revision of the Plan which the UN Secretary-General presented to the parties on 26 February, and in negotiations which reached a climax in The Hague on 11 March this year. For reasons set out in the subsequent report by the UN Secretary-General and endorsed in UN Security Council Resolution 1475, this final effort ended in failure, for which the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr Denktash, bore the prime responsibility. It is the British Government's firm view that the Annan Plan remains the best way forward. We also concur with the Secretary-General's judgement that he should not take a new initiative unless and until he is given solid reason by all the parties to believe that the political will necessary for a successful outcome exists and that they are prepared to commit to finalising the Plan by a specific date and to putting it to separate simultaneous referenda on a date soon thereafter.The House will understand that this announcement in no way indicates a weakening of the Government's determination to work with others under the aegis of the UN to find a solution to the Cyprus Problem. Should events again make it appropriate for a Special Representative to be appointed, the Government will not hesitate to do so.



The system of patient and public involvement in the National Health Service that will be in place from 1 September provides far greater support for patients than ever before.By 1 September the programme of work to set up patients' forums will be well under way and the support for them will be in place to provide. a one-stop shop for information and advice; the Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health (CPPIH) will be representing the patients voice nationally; local authority overview and scrutiny committees will be scrutinising the NHS; the NHS itself will be carrying out its new duty to involve and consult the public; there will be independent support for complainants; there will be support for patients from PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service) in almost all trusts; there will be a national help line set up by CPPIH that will provide advice, information and signposting for the public about where to get advice and support; and there will be monitoring of the NHS by the Commission for Health Improvement and by Patient Environment Action Teams.The Government have been consistent in their drive to ensure accessible and informed support for patients; provide for the independent scrutiny by democratically elected representatives; and, ensure that the views and experiences of patients are fed into decisions affecting their health and health services. Massive progress has already been made.We have listened to Parliamentarians and other stakeholders, including the CPPIH, and we are responding positively to comments around the specific issue of independent monitoring of the NHS during the transition period.We have therefore decided to make the position absolutely unassailable by retaining Community Health Councils to continue their monitoring function until 1 December, at which point all patient forums will be in place to take up this role. Sharon Grant, Chair of CPPIH, has stated that this decision allows an important breathing space to help ensure a smooth handover to the new system of Patient and Public Involvement Forums in December.All CHC staff and members have been sent a letter advising them of the change of arrangements.

Work And Pensions

Basingstoke And Deane Borough Council

On behalf of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, the Benefit Fraud Inspectorate (BFI) inspection report on Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council was published on Wednesday 28 May 2003 and copies of the report have been placed in the Library.In its response to the Housing Green Paper of November 2000, the Department for Work and Pensions developed a performance framework for housing benefits. The Performance Standards for housing benefit allow local authorities to make a comprehensive self-assessment of whether they deliver benefit effectively and securely. They are standards the Department for Work and Pensions aspires to and expects local authorities to achieve in time.The BFI inspected Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council against the Performance Standards. The report finds that the council is not at Standard for any of the seven functional areas of the Performance Standards—strategic management, customer services, processing of claims, working with landlords, internal security, counter-fraud, and overpayments.The report finds a number of weaknesses in the council's procedures and performance. A focus on paying benefit quickly, due to the council's strategy to support vulnerable people, meant that benefit had been paid without the necessary controls in place. The emphasis on paying benefit quickly has caused poor adherence to the Verification Framework, adopted by the council in April 1999.The quality of the council's counter-fraud activity was inconsistent and in some instances did not adhere to legal requirements. The council's Housing Benefit debt was not being managed, and the council did not use all of the recovery methods available to it.The report finds some clear strengths in the customer services offered by the council which had developed good working relationships with its major landlords and Housing Associations.In 2001–02, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council administered approximately £22 million in housing benefits, approximately 22 per cent. of its total gross revenue expenditure.The report makes recommendations to help the council address weaknesses and to further improve the administration of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit, as well as counter-fraud activities.My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is now considering the report and will be asking the council for its proposals in response to the findings and recommendations of the BFI.