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Written Statements

Volume 449: debated on Monday 11 September 2006

Written Ministerial Statements

The following statements were received between Monday 4 September and Friday 8 September 2006

Cabinet Office

Publication of Public Bodies Directory

I am pleased to announce that the 2006 version of the “Public Bodies Directory” has now been completed and copies of the directory are available in the Library for the Reference of Members. The directory provides information on individual public bodies as at 31 March 2006. The directory is also accessible at: http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/other/agencies/public_bodies/index.asp. This shows that at 31 March 2006 there was a reduction of 28 long-term public bodies since the same date in 2005.

The directory lists the public bodies sponsored by central Government, with contact details, information about their remit and about the membership of their boards. It also introduces a new category within the public bodies classifications; Public Broadcasting Authorities. This recognises the unique governance arrangements pertaining to the BBC and S4C, which set them apart from other non-Departmental bodies and public corporations.

The board membership figures are broken down between male and female members for individual bodies, and summaries are provided at departmental level for the proportions of board members who are women, have declared they have a disability or come from a minority ethnic background. There have been small increases in all categories. As at 31 March 2006, 35.5 per cent. of appointments made were women (up 0.5 per cent. on the position at 31 March 2005), 5.9 per cent. were members of ethnic minority groups (up 0.4 per cent.) and 5.1 per cent. were to those declaring a disability (up 0.8 per cent.).

A cross-Government summary of individual Departments’ figures will be placed on the public appointments website at: www.publicappointments. gov.uk. This reinforces the Government’s commitment to continue to pursue its diversity objectives and to promote outreach activity and plans.

The directory also includes information about the Government’s Task Forces, Ad-hoc Advisory Groups and Reviews, giving a more complete picture of the bodies and groups working to deliver the Government’s objectives.

Social Exclusion Action Plan

Today we are publishing the “Social Exclusion Action Plan”.

We have much to be proud of in our efforts to tackle poverty, promote social justice and create the right environment for sustained economic growth.

However, a consequence of this success is that the more modest progress of some specific groups within our society has become more apparent.

This Action Plan is the first step towards changing that. It aims to create the conditions to allow everybody to accept opportunity, reach their full potential and play their full part in society.

This Action Plan marks a new direction for the Government’s social exclusion policy. It commits us to:

Better identification and early intervention: We will identify early who is at risk of persistent exclusion and use this information to more effectively intervene and support those most in need, and before disadvantage becomes entrenched.

Identifying what works: We will systematically identify and promote interventions that work. To ensure effective adoption of best practice, we will build the capability of providers and commissioners.

Multi-agency working: We will break down barriers and enhance flexibility so local providers and agencies can work together to meet the needs of excluded groups, especially those facing multiple problems.

Personalisation, rights and responsibilities: We will tailor services to the needs of the individual. We will empower, where it is appropriate, excluded groups to make choices on their own behalf or ensure there is an independent, trusted third party to work on their behalf. Our approach will be framed by a clear understanding of the rights and responsibilities of citizens, services and the community.

Supporting achievement and managing underperformance: Where local authorities and services are delivering, Government will leave them alone. But where there is underperformance, Government will intervene.

The Action Plan outlines how these principles will be applied or piloted for excluded groups throughout the lifetime—during the early years, the childhood years and the adult years. Implementing more focused and immediate interventions will supplement and inform deeper systemic reform.

Copies of the Action Plan have been placed in the Library for the reference of Members.

Communities and Local Government

Ordnance Survey Agency Performance Monitors

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
(Angela E. Smith)

The following performance targets have been set for Ordnance Survey in 2006-07:

Ordnance Survey will report externally against a set of Agency Performance Monitors (APMs) as required of all Executives Agencies in Government:

1. To achieve an operating profit before interest and dividends of £4.5 million for the financial year 1 April 2006 to 31 March 2007.

2. Some 99.6 per cent. of significant real world features are represented in the database within six months of completion.

3. To continuously improve the timeliness of the supply of our data to customers with a success rate not lower than 96 per cent.

4. To reduce carbon emissions from Ordnance Survey Headquarters by 28 per cent. against the base year of 2000-01.

5. To achieve an increase of at least 5 per cent. in business with customers transacted through our Ordnance Survey Options and Ordnance Survey Leisure map shop e-channels.

These targets reflect Ordnance Survey’s continuing commitment to customers, improved value for money for all of its stakeholders and commitment to Government policies.

Defence

Iraq Roulement - Theatre Reserve Battalion

On 18 July in a written ministerial statement I confirmed the details of the force package for the next routine roulement of UK forces in Iraq in November when the lead UK formation, currently 20 Armoured Brigade, will be replaced by 19 Light Brigade. I would now like to confirm some of the details of preparations for this roulement. As for previous roulements, elements of the Theatre Reserve Battalion, currently the 2nd Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, will be deployed to provide additional security during what is always a period of intense activity for UK forces. There will also be some additional support aimed at contributing to improving security in Basra city.

In total this involves approximately 360 additional personnel. They will begin deploying shortly and complete their work not later than January 2007.

This is a critical period for the Iraqi people and their Government. There is an opportunity to improve significantly the security situation in Basra city—building on, and reinforcing, recent progress in Baghdad. Improved security in Basra will create the conditions for the important civil development work being led by the UK’s Provincial Reconstruction Team. Therefore I have agreed that the deployment of troops from the Theatre Reserve Battalion, while strictly time limited, should on this occasion be brought forward and extended by a short period. In addition, I have also authorised the deployment of Royal Engineers to assist with reconstruction and countering the threat from improvised explosive devices, a Royal Marine boat troop to assist in tightening security on the Shatt Al Arab waterway, and a troop of Royal Military Police to augment our training of the Iraqi Police.

We ask our servicemen and women to discharge difficult and dangerous tasks. But over the next few months, through security operations and civil development projects, we have a key opportunity to make improvements to the lives of the people of Basra and lay the foundations for the departure, once the conditions are right, of coalition forces from front line roles in Iraq.

Education and Skills

Annual Uprating of Loans, Grants and Fees for Higher Education Students

The level of support for loans, grants and fees that will be available to eligible students in the 2007-08 academic year will be 2.33 per cent. higher than for 2006-07, in line with forecast price increases.

For students who have entered higher education on or after 1st September 2006, and are being charged variable fees, the maximum fee payable will increase from £3,000 to £3,070 in 2007-08. The increase to the fee will be matched by a corresponding increase to the loan for fees that students can take out.

For students who are not being charged variable fees (primarily students who entered higher education before 1 September 2006), the maximum fee payable will increase from £1,200 to £1,225.

The increased fee amounts have been authorised by the Student Fees (Amounts) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2006, which will come into force on 1st September 2007.

I am placing a memorandum in the Library giving details of all the increased loan, grant and fee rates for 2007-08. These rates are being incorporated in the Education (Student Support) Regulations 2007, which will be laid before Parliament in due course.

Education and Skills

Independent Advisory Group on Teenage Pregnancy - 4th Annual Report 2005-06

I would inform the House that the Independent Advisory Group on Teenage Pregnancy has published its Annual Report for 2005-06. Copies will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Veterinary Laboratories Agency - Performance Targets 2006-07

In my written ministerial statement of 16 May I set out the Performance Targets for the Veterinary Laboratories Agency for 2006-07. The third target listed under Service Delivery in that statement should have had the figure of 80 per cent. rather than 75 per cent. That and all other targets are set out again below.

Service Delivery

1. To meet 85 per cent. of Rationale, Objectives, Appraisal, Monitoring and Evaluation (ROAME) milestones together with evidence of significant progress towards an outcome based measure of research projects.

2. To achieve 85 per cent. of surveillance deliverables to time.

3. To achieve a score of at least 80 per cent. satisfaction in the VLA customer satisfaction survey.

Financial

4. To achieve full cost recovery.

Efficiency

5. To deliver 2.5 per cent. efficiency savings.

Quality

6. Maintaining current third party certifications and accreditations.

7. To achieve ISO14001 certification for the regional laboratories.

Safety

8. To implement the VLA safety plan 2006-07 to timescales indicated in the Business Plan.

Further details are given in the VLA Business Plan for 2006-07 a copy of which has been provided to the Library of the House.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UK Nominations to the Economic and Social Committee

The Government have submitted to the EU Council Secretariat details of the United Kingdom’s 24 nominees for membership of the Economic and Social Committee. The Government have made these nominations on the basis of a fair and transparent selection process to ensure the UK delegation reflects the social and economic diversity of the United Kingdom.

The present four-year term of the ESC ends in September 2006. The UK divides its 24 members equally between Group I (Employers), Group II (Employees) and Group III (Other Interests).

The ESC is a consultative body, which produces Opinions for the Council of Ministers on draft legislation. Additionally the Committee can produce its “Own Opinion” on any other economic or social issue.

The UK has 24 full members in the ESC from a current total membership of 317. There are eight UK members in each of the three groups.

The nominees are:

Employers (Group I)

1. Kenneth Fraser

2. Peter Morgan

3. Madi Sharma

4. Bryan Cassidy

5. Jonathan Peel

6. David Sears

7. Brendan Burns

8. Brenda King

Employees (Group II)

9. Christine Blower

10. Sandy Boyle

11. Marge Carey

12. Peter Coldrick

13. Nicolas Crook

14. Brian Curtis

15. Judy McKnight

16. Monica Taylor

Other Interests Group (Group III)

17. RoseD’Sa

18. Maureen O’Neill

19. Michael Smyth

20. Jane Morrice

21. Richard Adams

22. Sukhdev Sharma

23. Tom Jones

24. Derek Osborn.

The 2005 Annual Report on Strategic Export Controls

The 2005 Annual Report on Strategic Export Controls will be published at 1100 today as a Command Paper. Copies will be placed in the Library of the House. The report describes UK policy and international developments in export control regimes, as well as information on export licensing decisions taken during 2005.

The Annual Report on Strategic Export Controls is an innovation of this Government. This report, the ninth Annual Report (the first report was published in 1997) is a step away from the traditional reports of the past. Our export licensing system is one of the most rigorous and transparent regimes in the world and the Annual Report—in this new format—symbolises our continued commitment to accountability and transparency by presenting detailed information in a more modern and user friendly format. This year, due to the increasing volume of information on strategic exports that is being published by the Government, all the statistical data that were historically published only in hardcopy are now made available on a CD ROM which accompanies the report. Since 2004 the Government have also produced detailed Quarterly Reports available on the Internet—ensuring that the UK provides some of the most open and timely export licensing information available anywhere. The new CD ROM includes the Quarterly Reports for 2005, as well as more consolidated data, information on licence refusals and fuller information on trade control (trafficking and brokering) licences issued during 2005. The complete report will be available on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office web site and also published through The Stationery Office.

International Development

East Africa - Humanitarian Update

At the beginning of this year the UN judged that 8.2 million people in East Africa and the Horn were in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, mainly food aid, following the worst drought for a decade. Since then approximately 490,000mt of food aid has been delivered to respond to these needs. Additional assistance has been provided in the form of emergency medical and nutritional relief, water and sanitation, shelter and other forms of relief. The UK has provided approximately £55 million or $103.9 million towards this. Overall the international donor community have provided over $660 million towards the relief effort.

The long rains in the early and mid part of 2006 have led to improvements in most areas. Unfortunately, most notably in Ethiopia, flooding has brought its own tragedy as over 600 people have died and more than 150,000 have lost their homes or been affected in one way or another. Most recently DFID has made available a further £6 million for humanitarian assistance in Kenya, where malnutrition rates remain high and current season harvest assessments present a very mixed picture. In Ethiopia we have provided £l million for urgent relief to flood-affected people.

Humanitarian assistance is still needed to address the urgent medical and nutritional needs of the most seriously sick and malnourished, and to meet other basic needs, including clean water, to the reduce risks of death and disease. Basic humanitarian indicators remain worrying, but we expect that the steps taken by relief agencies have mitigated what might have been more serious consequences, such as widespread mortality and displacement. We are closely monitoring the situation.

Assistance is also being provided in an effort to improve productive capacity by investing in livestock or other farming inputs such as seeds, tools and livestock vaccinations. However, it remains a challenge to achieve sustained benefits for the poorest and most vulnerable communities. In Ethiopia we are leading supporters of a productive safety nets programme to tackle chronic hunger; we are working on the development of a similar programme in Kenya. It is also important to note that substantial risks remain from conflict in the region, and we are working closely with the international community to promote peace and stability as a prerequisite to finding long term solutions to persistent humanitarian crises.

India - Reproductive and Child Health

I have approved support of £252 million over five years for the second phase of the Government of India’s nationwide Reproductive and Child Health Programme. DFID will disburse £10 million in financial assistance plus a further £700,000 in technical assistance in 2006-07. Thereafter, annual disbursements will be subject to satisfactory reports on progress.

This programme will support the Government of India in tackling India’s huge burden of maternal and infant mortality. One fifth (136,000) of all maternal deaths in the world, and one quarter (1.8 million) of all infant deaths occur in India. Globally we will not reach the Millennium Development Goals to reduce these deaths unless we succeed in India. The Reproductive and Child Health Programme is the Indian Government’s single biggest response to meet this challenge. The programme aims to reduce the Maternal Mortality Ratio from 407/100,000 live births in 1998 to 100/100,000 in 2015, and the Infant Mortality Rate from 70/1000 live births in 1998 to 30/1000 in 2015. If the programme achieves all its targets, over one million lives will be saved each year.

The programme will introduce new measures to tackle concerns about procurement irregularities in the first phase of the Reproductive and Child Health Programme, which was not funded by DFID. An action plan will help strengthen competitive tendering procedures and increase transparency for the purchasing of drugs and equipment, and new standards will be introduced to improve the quality of products. Until these measures take effect, all procurement contracts over $200,000 will be handled by international agents.

The total cost of this second phase of the Reproductive and Child Health Programme is around £5 billion, which the Indian central and state Governments will meet the bulk of. External aid will be around 15 per cent. of the overall budget, with the single largest contribution coming from DFID. Our aid is being fully coordinated with other development partners, including the World Bank.

The Reproductive and Child Health Programme is universal in coverage, and it will provide care through pregnancy, childbirth and childhood. But resources will be targeted on India’s poorest states, including Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, and Madhya Pradesh and will especially target women and children among the poorest and most marginalised families, in Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

DFID’s financial support will be used for upgrading maternity facilities; increasing skilled attendance at birth; the purchase of essential drugs, equipment, supplies and contraceptives; staff training; communications; the piloting of new ideas; and assessing the impact of the programme. DFID technical assistance will finance a National Health Systems Resource Centre, which will provide overall technical assistance to the Programme at central and state level, and strengthen health sector procurement.

This second phase of the programme is ambitious and will require a huge expansion in the delivery of public sector health services, to tackle some of the country’s biggest health problems. It also includes a number of additional accountability and financial management safeguards to strengthen the Government’s anti-corruption systems. The programme will be monitored closely by the Indian Government and development partners, through reviews every six months. A copy of the Project Memorandum for the DFID contribution has been deposited in the Library of the House.

Update on Recovery in Lebanon and Humanitarian Situation in Gaza

The recent conflict in Lebanon caused great harm to the civilian populations in both Israel and Lebanon. A million people, a quarter of Lebanon’s population, were displaced by the fighting and in Israel 300,000 people were reported to have fled their homes or taken to shelters. Israel had every right to defend itself against Hezbollah, but from the beginning we expressed the need for a proportionate response. I believe that this requires all sides to respect international humanitarian law.

The ceasefire, reached after much diplomatic activity, including strenuous efforts by the British Government, is holding and has aided the relief effort but the humanitarian situation in Lebanon remains serious.

On 15 August, the day after the ceasefire came into effect, I visited Beirut to assess the situation for myself. The priorities for the humanitarian aid effort were to secure sustained access for humanitarian convoys to reach the most vulnerable; to ensure safe return for displaced citizens; to minimise the risk of injury and death from unexploded munitions for those returning and for aid workers; and to repair basic infrastructure, such as water and power supplies and bridges.

From early in the conflict, the UK responded to Lebanon’s call for help. Our total funding commitment now stands at £22.3 million, including our share of multilateral spending, making us one of the biggest bilateral contributors to the humanitarian effort. In line with our assessment of current priorities, this money is helping to provide shelter, healthcare, water and sanitation, and to clear unexploded munitions. We have agreed to provide urgently needed prefabricated bridges to open critical humanitarian supply routes. The first three bridges arrived in Lebanon on 1 September.

The Government have also urged Israel to lift all restrictions on normal shipping entering Lebanese ports, as set out in resolution 1701. This is essential in order to help restore the economy. The partial lifting of the economic blockade last week has further enhanced the chances of avoiding a much bigger humanitarian crisis and will help Lebanon begin the path to recovery. We continue to push for further progress on the issue.

The international community has responded generously to Prime Minister Siniora’s appeal for assistance at the Stockhom conference on early recovery held on 31 August. Collectively we have pledged over $900 million to aid recovery. It will be important that these pledges are acted on as soon as possible.

Lebanon needed our aid, and we are ready to do more as needed, but more than anything else what Lebanon and the region need is peace. The conflict of this summer was a symptom of a wider collective failure to resolve the conflict that has affected the Middle East for decades. UNSCR 1701 was a step in the right direction, and must be implemented by all parties, but we need to encourage negotiation, compromise and above all political leadership to end the long-term suffering of people on both sides of the border.

Unfortunately, what has happened in Lebanon is not the only humanitarian crisis in the region. We cannot forget the plight of the Palestinians, especially in Gaza, where violence continues and people die. Since the start of the current conflict on 28 June, over 200 Palestinians have been killed and over 700 injured. The cost of damage to agriculture and industry is now estimated at around $46 million. Many households continue to receive only six to eight hours of electricity per day. However, there are plans to rebuild the Gaza power station and to supply electricity from Egypt, which should improve the situation. Intermittent electricity supply is affecting all key services. Water supply and sanitation services remain limited, with severe health implications. The UN now estimates a 65 per cent. increase in the number of children with diarrhoea compared with this time last year. Hospitals are struggling to operate vital equipment and to store drugs and vaccines safely.

Food prices are rising and 70 per cent. of Gazans are now considered to be food insecure. The World Food Programme reports a 72 per cent. increase in numbers using their feeding programme. Gaza crossing points are open intermittently, primarily for humanitarian food supplies. Action is needed to ensure unrestricted humanitarian access, including the supply of medical equipment, fuel, food and electricity.

At the Stockholm Donor Conference on 1 September, donors pledged $500 million for the Occupied Palestinian Territories, of which $200 million was for humanitarian aid. The UK pledged £3 million to the Temporary International Mechanism (TIM) for operation, maintenance and repair work to keep water, sanitation and electricity services running. This follows an earlier contribution to the TIM of £3 million to fund essential health supplies. In addition, the UK made a contribution of £15 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in April. UNRWA provides healthcare and other basic services for Palestinian refugees, who comprise 70 per cent. of Gaza’s population. The UK has also deployed two experts to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to improve its capacity to monitor the humanitarian situation in Gaza. These two experts will assist donors and others to make sure help gets to those who need it the most.

Health

NHS Financial Performance

My Department published on 11 August 2006 the NHS financial performance for the first quarter of 2006-07. The report indicates that the NHS is on track to achieve our aim of a net financial balance by the end of the year. The report shows that the NHS as a whole is forecasting a small surplus for the year of £18 million, after application of a £350 million contingency created by the Strategic Health Authorities.

The report is available in the Library and is published on the Department’s website at: http://www.dh.gov.uk/assetRoot/04/13/79/95/04137995.pdf

Outsourcing of the NHS Supply Chain Services

A 10-year contract has been awarded to DHL to manage the supply chain and procurement services currently managed by the logistics division of the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) and part of the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency (PASA).

The effective date of the contract will be 1 October 2006 and the new service will be known as NHS Supply Chain. DHL will operate NHS Supply Chain as agent of the NHSBSA, which will be responsible for managing the contract on behalf of the Department and of the NHS.

DHL will manage the procurement and supply chain services of approximately £3.7 billion of NHS non-pay spend and forecasts savings greater than £l billion for the NHS frontline.

In addition, the partnership with DHL will:

Secure continuity of the services for at least 10 years;

ensure all Trusts will benefit from lower prices;

secure the vast majority of the 1,650 jobs that are being transferred;

protect staff terms and conditions under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE);

create up to 1,000 new jobs to support expansion over the 10 years;

guarantee that all the logistics distribution centres will remain open for five years at the very least; and

require the construction of a new distribution centre in the Midlands within 18 months.

We recognise that NHS Trusts value the NHS Logistics service and we have ensured that DHL will, at a minimum, maintain the current service. As is the case now, NHS Trusts will not be mandated to use the outsourced service. For DHL to be successful they will have to demonstrate value for money to NHS Trusts. They will also work very closely with clinicians to source the right products at the best prices from suppliers.

This is also an opportunity for suppliers with innovative products to gain better access to the NHS. DHL will purchase products on behalf of the NHSBSA in accordance with EU procurement regulations thus ensuring open and fair competition.

Review of Part IX of the Drug Tariff

The arrangements under part IX of the drug tariff have not been reviewed for over twenty years and there were clear indications that neither the NHS nor the taxpayer were receiving value for money.

We have therefore been consulting with the market over potential price cuts since October 2005.

In reviewing part IX, the Government’s objectives have been to:

Maintain, and where applicable improve, the current quality of care to patients;

secure value for money for the NHS;

ensure equitable payment for equivalent services and transparent reimbursement pricing;

work in partnership to deliver fair prices for the NHS and reasonable returns for suppliers and contractors;

facilitate the introduction of innovative solutions;

maintain local choice in the provision of services; and

keep administration arrangements to the necessary minimum.

We have consulted extensively with industry on these issues. Following consultation on dressings and chemical reagents, we have decided to implement a staged price reduction of up to 15 per cent. to the April 2006 drug tariff reimbursement prices for some blood glucose detection strips. Initially, reimbursement prices will be reduced by 12 per cent. on all affected products from 1 October 2006. This may be followed by a further reimbursement price reduction of 3 per cent. from 1 November 2006. We hope that the 3 per cent. variant will allow the market to maintain the free provision of related services, including the supply of educational material, helplines and metres. Responses to the consultation indicated that a price reduction of 15 per cent. may mean that it would be difficult to maintain these services. We have written to companies to inform them of the price changes.

A consultation on stoma and incontinence appliances has closed today and further consultation with industry will be held.

Spearhead Primary Care Trust Areas

The Government have set Public Service Agreement targets to address geographical inequalities in life expectancy, cancer, heart disease, stroke and related diseases. The targets aim to see faster progress compared to the average in the “fifth of areas with the worst health and deprivation indicators”. Achievement of the targets will be assessed on the outcomes for this group in 2010. The local authorities and primary care trusts which make these areas are the Health Inequalities Spearhead Group.

The Spearhead group is defined on local authority data and consist of 70 local authorities that are then mapped onto primary care trust boundaries.

Revised primary care trusts boundaries were announced on 19 May. Following the reconfiguration, the spearhead group list has been refreshed to take account of the new primary care trust boundaries. The list of 70 Spearhead group local authorities (that has not changed) and the revised list of 62 primary care trusts that map to them is as follows:

Local Authorities in the Spearhead GroupPrimary Care Trusts in the Spearhead GroupBarking and DagenhamBarnsleyBarrow-in-FurnessBirminghamBlackburn with DarwenBlackpoolBlyth ValleyBolsoverBoltonBradfordBurnleyBuryCarlisleChester-le-StreetCorbyCoventryDerwentsideDoncasterEasingtonGatesheadGreenwichHackneyHaltonHammersmith and FulhamHaringeyHartlepoolHyndburnIslingtonKingston upon Hull, City ofKnowsleyLambethLeicesterLewishamLincolnLiverpoolManchesterMiddlesbroughNewcastle upon TyneNewhamNorth East LincolnshireNorth TynesideNottinghamNuneaton and BedworthOldhamPendlePrestonRedcar and ClevelandRochdaleRossendaleRotherhamSalfordSandwellSedgefieldSouth TynesideSouthwarkSt. HelensStockton-on-TeesStoke-on-TrentSunderlandTamesideTamworthTower HamletsWakefieldWalsallWansbeckWarringtonWear ValleyWiganWirralWolverhamptonAshton, Leigh and Wigan PCTBarking & Dagenham PCTBarnsley PCTBirmingham East & North PCTBlackburn with Darwen PCTBlackpool PCTBolton PCTBradford PCTBury PCTCentral Lancashire PCTCity and Hackney PCTCounty Durham PCTCoventry PCTCumbria PCTDerbyshire County PCTDoncaster PCTEast Lancashire PCTGateshead PCTGreenwich PCTHalton & St Helens PCTHammersmith & Fulham PCTHaringey PCTHartlepool PCTHeart of Birmingham PCTHull Teaching PCTIslington PCTKnowsley PCTLambeth PCTLeicester City PCTLewisham PCTLincolnshire PCTLiverpool PCTManchester PCTMiddlesbrough PCTNewcastle PCTNewham PCTNorth East Lincolnshire PCTNorth Tyneside PCTNorthamptonshire County PCTNorthumberland Care TrustNottingham PCTOldham PCTRedcar & Cleveland PCTRochdale PCTRotherham PCTSalford PCTSandwell PCTSouth Birmingham PCTSouth Tyneside PCTSouthwark PCTStaffordshire County PCTStockton-on-Tees Teaching PCTStoke on Trent PCTSunderland PCTTameside & Glossop PCTTower Hamlets PCTWakefield PCTWalsall PCTWarrington PCTWarwickshire PCTWirral PCTWolverhampton PCT

Home Department

Control Order Powers

Section 14(1) of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 (the 2005 Act) requires the Secretary of State to report to Parliament as soon as reasonably practicable after the end of every relevant three-month period on the exercise of the control order powers during that period.

During the period 11 June to 10 September 2006, nine orders were made with the permission of the court under section 3(l)(a) of the 2005 Act—one in respect of a British citizen on 19 June 2006, one in respect of a foreign national on 31 July 2006, six in respect of foreign nationals on 1 August 2006 and one in respect of a British citizen on 5 September 2006.

The Secretary of State has also renewed one control order in accordance with Section 2 (4) (b) of the 2005 Act on 30 August 2006.

There are 15 control orders currently in force, six of which are in respect of British citizens.

During the period two requests to modify a control order obligation were agreed, and seven requests to modify a control order obligation were refused. A right of appeal exists in section 10(3) of the 2005 Act against a decision by the Secretary of State not to modify an obligation contained in a control order.

Trade and Industry

Suspension of Doha Development Agenda Negotiations

I would like to update the House on the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) negotiations on the Doha Development Agenda. On July 24, Pascal Lamy, the Director General of the WTO announced that he was recommending the suspension of the negotiations across all subjects after talks between the US, EU, Brazil, India, Australia and Japan broke down on the key issues of agricultural domestic support, agricultural market access and non-agricultural market access. He said the suspension would give all WTO members time to reflect, to examine available options and to review their positions. His recommendation was accepted at a WTO General Council meeting on 27 July.

The UK Government are very disappointed that insufficient progress has been made in the negotiations to allow the conclusion of the Doha Round this year. While it is very disappointing that no agreement has yet been reached, it is premature to say that the Doha Round has collapsed and cannot be revived. We believe that all key players have a responsibility to use the suspension of the negotiations to reflect on their positions with a view to showing flexibility in future that will allow an agreement to be reached. Developing countries, including the poorest countries, are the biggest losers from the failure to reach agreement.

The UK remains committed to achieving an ambitious, pro-development outcome to these negotiations. Our priority now is to encourage all WTO members to re-engage in the negotiations as soon as possible. The UK Government have taken and will continue to take every opportunity to press for this—within the EU and with other WTO members. The UK Government will also continue to press for progress on Aid For Trade for developing countries. Building developing countries’ capacity to trade is important in helping them integrate into the global economy and for providing a route out of poverty, and we do not believe that Aid for Trade should be conditional on the successful conclusion of the DDA.

The UK will continue to support a multilateral, rules based international trading system. We believe multilateralism is the best way of tackling unfair trade practices.

Work and Pensions

Independent Living Review - Membership of the Expert Panel

The Office for Disability Issues has set up an Expert Panel to support the work of the cross-Government Independent Living Review, as announced in another place by my noble Friend the Baroness Royall on 14 July.

The role of the Expert Panel will be to shape and steer the Independent Living Review which we have set up to identify imaginative and practical solutions to support independent living for disabled people. The Independent Living Review Project Team will report regularly to the Expert Panel and ensure that its views are reflected as the review progresses.

The review, which will report in summer 2007, will:

Bring together the views and experience of central and local government officials, disabled people and organisations of disabled people;

develop imaginative new solutions in the areas of health, social care, transport, employment and housing;

develop thinking on the relationship between independent living and individual budgets; and

make practical proposals for activity to support independent living.

Dame Jane Campbell, former Chair of the Social Care Institute for Excellence, will chair the Expert Panel. Rob Greig, National Director for Learning Disabilities, will be Vice Chairman.

Expert Panel members include a range of experts in the field of independent living, including disabled people, and people from organisations of disabled people, user-led groups and service delivery organisations.

I am pleased to announce that members of the Independent Living Review Expert Panel are:

Dame Jane Campbell, Expert Panel Chair, Disability Rights Commissioner, Former Chair, Social Care Institute for Excellence

Rob Greig, Expert Panel Vice Chair, National Director for Valuing People, Co-chair of Learning Disability Task Force

Saghir Alam, Disability Rights Commission, lead Commissioner for Partnership and Capacity Building, member of CENTREX Race and Diversity Panel

Ian Basnett, Chair of Independent Living Committee, Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Nasa Begum, Principal Adviser for Participation, Social Care Institute of Excellence (SCIE)

Zoe Carter, User Involvement Network for Mental Health Services in North Essex

John Dixon, Joint Chair of Disability Committee, Association of Directors of Social Services

David Gardiner, UK Older People’s Advisory Group, Better Government for Older People

Fazilet Hadi, Director of Policy, Royal National Institute for the Blind

Frances Hasler, Head of User Participation, Commission for Social Care Inspection

Rowen Jade, Office for Disability Issues Advisory Group

Raymond Johnson, National Manager, People First

Elaine Morton, Chief Executive, Independent Living Funds

Menghi Mulchandani, Chair, National Centre for Independent Living

Jo Williams, Chief Executive, Mencap

Jean Willson, Chair of Centre 404 (formally Islington Mencap), A local organisation founded by parents of children with learning difficulties, which provides family support, learning and leisure opportunities, and supported housing

Gerry Zarb, Head of Independent Living Strategy, Disability Rights Commission

Government Departments on the Office for Disability Issues Board of Management will also be represented on the Panel.

The first meeting of the Expert Panel is being held today, 11 September 2006.