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Written Statements

Volume 455: debated on Wednesday 10 January 2007

Written Ministerial Statements

Wednesday 10 January 2007

Cabinet Office

Transformational Government Annual Report 2006

Following the publication in November 2005 of “Transformational Government - enabled by technology” Cm6683 and the publication in March 2006 of the Transformational Government Implementation Plan, I am today giving notice of the publication of the Transformational Government annual report 2006.

Transformational Government set out a vision for 21st century government, enabled by technology. The first annual report provides an overview of progress against the Transformational Government Implementation Plan and highlights evidence of transformational change already apparent across the public sector. The report also includes IT expenditure in 2005-06 of those parts of the public sector represented on the Chief Information Officers Council. Detailed progress reports against each of the 13 strands of the Implementation Plan will be published on the Chief Information Officers Council website to coincide with the publication of the annual report.

Copies of the annual report will be placed in the Library for the reference of Members and will be available in the Vote Office.

Copies are also available on the Chief Information Officers Council website www.cio.gov.uk

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Prime Minister

National Security (Northern Ireland)

There has been some concern over the arrangements set out in Annexe E which was published along with the St. Andrews Agreement. The Government are therefore issuing a new statement in relation to national security.

This will help bring Northern Ireland into line with a European approach which would provide a consistent and co-ordinated response to the threat from international terrorism which concerns us all. The threat presented by international terrorism to citizens was graphically illustrated by the train bombings in Madrid and the 2005 attacks in London. The loss of life was horrific and completely unacceptable. The handling of national security intelligence throughout the European Union including Northern Ireland is designed to provide a consistent and co-ordinated response to the grave threat posed by international terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and the Security Service will be completely distinct and entirely separate bodies. All necessary interaction between the Security Service and the PSNI, for example in response to the threat of international terrorism, will, as directed by the Chief Constable, be by way of liaison. No police officers will be seconded to or under the control of the Security Service. The small number of police officers who act in a liaison capacity with the Security Service will be PSNI Headquarters staff acting in that role for fixed time-limited periods to the extent that the Chief Constable deems necessary for them to perform their duties. Policing is the responsibility solely of the PSNI. The Security Service will have no role whatsoever in civic policing.

Leadership and direction of all police work is the responsibility of the Chief Constable who will remain accountable to the Policing Board.

All PSNI officers will be employed by the PSNI and will be accountable solely to the Chief Constable and to the Policing Board and upon transfer to the Ministers for Justice. The Patten policing reforms will be maintained and there will be no diminution in police accountability.

When the Policing Board establishes a special purposes committee under section 28 of the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2003 the Government will make any necessary statutory provision to ensure we will be representative of all political parties on the Board.

Future Justice Ministers will receive the same level of information as does the Board and the special purposes committee.

The Ombudsman will have statutory powers to hold to account all police officers. The Ombudsman will also have statutory access to all information held by the police. The Ombudsman's Office and the Security Service will agree arrangements for the Ombudsman's access to sensitive information held by the Service, where necessary for the discharge of the Ombudsman's statutory duties.

Furthermore, I can confirm that the Government will invite Lord Carlile, and any successor, to review annually the operation of the arrangements for handling national security related matters in Northern Ireland. In the course of his review, he will consult the Chief Constable, the Policing Board and the Police Ombudsman, as well as taking into account any views which the First Minister and the Deputy First Minister and, in due course, Justice Ministers may put to him.

Trade and Industry

UK Civil Plutonium and Uranium Figures

Attached are DTI revised figures for the United Kingdom’s stocks of civil plutonium and uranium as at 31 December 2005 in the Libraries of both Houses, replacing those figures deposited in the Libraries on 22 July 2006. Total stocks of plutonium in the UK are unaffected by the revision and remain at 139 tonnes at the end of 2005. The distribution of this total between the various material categories has been adjusted following the detection of a clerical error in the original data. We will send the revised figures to the director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), who will circulate them to member states. The revised figures will be available on the Department’s and the IAEA’s websites.

Annex B

United Kingdom

Annual Figures for Holdings of Civil Unirradiated Plutonium

National Totals

Tonnes

1. Unirradiated separated plutonium in product stores at reprocessing plants.

101.1

(98.8)1

2. Unirradiated separated plutonium in the course of manufacture or fabrication and plutonium contained in unirradiated semi-fabricated or unfinished products at fuel or other fabricating plants or elsewhere.

1.2

(1.0)

3. Plutonium contained in unirradiated MOX fuel or other fabricated products at reactor sites or elsewhere.

2.0

(1.9)

4. Unirradiated separated plutonium held elsewhere.

1.0

(0.9)

Total

105.2

(102.7)

Note:

(i) Plutonium included in lines 1-4 above belonging to foreign bodies.

26.5

(25.9)

(ii) Plutonium in any of the forms in lines 1-4 above held in locations in other countries and therefore not included above.

0.9

(0.9)

(iii) Plutonium included in lines1-4 above which is in international shipment prior to its arrival in the recipient State.

0

(0)

1As of 31 December 2005 (Previous year’s figures in brackets). Rounded to 100 kg plutonium with quantities less than 50 kg reported as such.

Estimated Amounts of Plutonium Contained in Spent Civil Reactor Fuel

National Totals

Tonnes

1. Plutonium contained in spent fuel at civil reactor sites.

7

(7)1

2. Plutonium contained in spent fuel at reprocessing plants.

27

(27)

3. Plutonium contained in spent fuel held elsewhere.

Less than 500 kg

(Less than 500 kg)

Note:

(i) The treatment of material sent for direct disposal will need further consideration when specific plans for direct disposal have taken concrete form.

Definitions:

Line 1: covers estimated amounts of plutonium contained in fuel discharged from civil reactors.

Line 2: covers estimated amounts of plutonium contained in fuel received at reprocessing plants but not yet reprocessed.

1 As of 31 December 2005 (Previous year’s figures in brackets). Rounded to 100kg plutonium with quantities less than 500 kg reported as such.

Annual Figures for Holdings of Civil High Enriched Uranium (HEU)

National Totals

Tonnes

1 HEU stored at enrichment plants.

0 kg

(0 kg)1

2. HEU at fabricating plants or at other reprocessing facilities.

395 kg

(446 kg)

3. HEU at civil reactor sites.

0 kg

(0 kg)

4. HEU at locations other than civil reactor sites, enrichment fabricating and reprocessing plants (that is; laboratories, research centres)

953 kg

(954 kg)

5. Irradiated HEU at civil reactor sites.

10 kg

(11 kg)

6. Irradiated HEU at locations other than civil reactor sites.

132 kg

(133 kg)

Total

1,490 kg

(1,544 kg)

Note:

The definition of high enriched uranium (HEU) is uranium enriched to 20 per cent. or more in uranium 235.

Annual figures for holdings of civil depleted, natural and low enriched uranium (DNLEN) in the civil nuclear fuel cycle:

86,400 tonnes

(84,000 tonnes)#

# To the nearest 100 tonnes

1As of 31 December 2005 (Previous year’s figures in brackets)

Transport

UK Vehicle Record (Centralisation )

After a review of vehicle record services, I have decided to centralise the UK vehicle record in Swansea from late 2008. This will result in a better service to the public and will save approximately £35 million over seven years.