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Written Statements

Volume 467: debated on Wednesday 7 November 2007

Written Ministerial Statements

Wednesday 7 November 2007


United Kingdom/Saudi Arabia (Double Taxation Convention)

A new Double Taxation Convention with Saudi Arabia was signed on 31 October 2007. After signature, the text of the convention was deposited in the Libraries of both Houses and made available on HM Revenue and Customs’ website. The text of the convention will be scheduled to a draft Order in Council and laid before the House of Commons in due course.

Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

Landward (Onshore) Oil and Gas Licensing Round

I am pleased to inform the House that I am today inviting applications for Petroleum Exploration and Development Licences (PEDL) for unlicensed blocks in parts of England, Scotland and Wales which will form the 13th round of landward petroleum licensing.

Strategic Environmental Assessment (Sea)—Post Adoption Procedures

BERR’s draft plan to offer licences for onshore oil and gas exploration and production through a 13th licensing round has been the subject of a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) initiated in 2005. The SEA is documented on the Department’s website at:

The SEA considered the alternatives to the draft plan and the potential implications of resultant activities in the context of the objective of the draft plan, the SEA objectives, the existing regulatory and other control mechanisms, the existing environmental problems and their likely evolution over time, and in the light of scoping feedback provided by consultation bodies and others. The conclusion of the SEA was to proceed with the licensing programme, but with some licensing conditions. It was recommended that BERR place an explicit expectation on licence applicants to demonstrate understanding of the environmental sensitivities and potential constraints on blocks both at the application stage and during any subsequent operations.

The assessment was documented in an environmental report which was subject to a three-month public consultation. The start of the consultation was widely advertised in newspapers and by email.

All responses received from statutory and other consultees on the draft plan and the environmental report have been considered by BERR and a post consultation report prepared and placed on the Department’s website (link above). This report summarises consultee comments and BERR responses to them.

In deciding to proceed with a 13th onshore licensing round, BERR has considered the conclusions and recommendations of the SEA environmental report together with feedback received from consultees.

Under the terms of a PEDL, licensees may not conduct activities such as the drilling of wells, installation of facilities or production of hydrocarbons without the authorisation of the Secretary of State and licensees are required to provide proof to BERR that the relevant planning and other permissions and consent(s) have been obtained.

Once block applications have been received, the Department will undertake a plan level appropriate assessment (AA) screening or full assessment (as appropriate) of the potential for likely resultant activities in the blocks to adversely affect the integrity of Natura 2000 conservation sites. This AA will consider specific blocks and provides BERR with a further opportunity to identify if there are overriding reasons not to offer a licence for a particular block.

In addition to the website above, a copy of the SEA environmental report and post consultation report can be reviewed at:

Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

1 Victoria Street



Arrangements to view these reports can be made by telephoning 02072155032.

Companies Act

The Companies Act 2006, which received Royal Assent on 8 November 2006, will bring major benefits to business by modernising and simplifying company law.

The Government set out the commencement timetable for the Act by written statement on 28 February 2007. There were three main phases to the implementation timetable, with most provisions being commenced on 1 October 2007, 6 April 2008 or 1 October 2008.

In line with this timetable, a major tranche of provisions was commenced on 1 October 2007, including provisions relating to directors' general duties, the business review and company resolutions and meetings. A further tranche of provisions will be commenced with effect from 6 April 2008, including the provisions relating to accounts and reports, audit and abolishing the obligation on private companies to have company secretaries.

The written statement of 28 February 2007 explained that we need to ensure that the registrar of companies has sufficient time to implement important changes to Companies House systems and processes in relation to areas such as company formation, and give appropriate notice to users of the new forms. For this reason, the Government decided that the commencement of provisions most closely relating to these changes should be commenced with effect from 1 October 2008.

Companies House has made considerable progress with the necessary changes to its systems and processes. However, there remains a great deal of work to be done and the Registrar of Companies has advised that he cannot be absolutely confident that the necessary changes can be completed on time. The Government recognise that business needs certainty about the implementation timetable, and has therefore decided that the commencement date for most of the provisions due to be commenced on 1 October 2008 should be put back to 1 October 2009. This includes provisions relating to company formation, share capital, company and business names and directors' residential addresses.

There are some provisions due to be commenced on 1 October 2008 which do not necessitate changes to Companies House systems and processes. These could still be commenced on 1 October 2008, but we recognise the need to balance the timing of the commencement of deregulatory provisions against the complexity of phased implementation. The Government therefore intends to consult key stakeholders about the commencement date for the following provisions:

sections 69 to 74: objection to company names;

sections 82 to 85: trading disclosures;

sections 155 to 159: provisions relating to corporate directors and under-age directors;

sections 175 to 177: general duties of directors in respect of conflicts of interest;

sections 182 to 187: declaration by a director of an interest in an existing transaction or arrangement;

sections 811 (4), 812 and 814: inspection of register of interests in a company's shares;

repeal of the restrictions under the Companies Act 1985 on financial assistance for acquisition of shares in private companies, including the “whitewash” procedure.

I will make a further statement in December setting out the final commencement timetable in the light of these discussions.

Children, Schools and Families

Free Early Education Entitlement

I am announcing today plans to implement the Government’s commitment to extension of the free early education entitlement for three and four-year-olds to 15 hours each week for 38 weeks a year.

A longer entitlement, delivered more flexibly, will give children an even better start in life than the current arrangements and will give parents greater choice in balancing their work and family life. That is why over the next CSR period we are making funding available to enable every local authority to deliver 15 hours free early education a week to all 3 and 4 year olds for 38 weeks of the year, and to ensure the options available for using it are more flexible.

The extension will be phased in over the three years of the CSR period. Twenty pathfinder local authorities have been delivering the extended flexible entitlement since April 2007, assessing the demand for different patterns of provision, and exploring ways of working that enable greater flexibility in a diverse childcare market. Another 14 local authorities have been selected to join this group as a second wave of pathfinders, starting in September 2008. These authorities are: the London boroughs of Hackney, Lambeth and Brent, Wolverhampton, Liverpool, Salford, Kirklees, Middlesbrough, North-East Lincolnshire, Luton, Durham, Southampton, Nottingham City and Cornwall.

All local authorities not involved in the pathfinder phase will be funded to deliver 15 hours more flexible provision to their most disadvantaged children from September 2009. A year later the rollout will be completed, with every three and four-year-old eligible to receive 15 hours free per week, to be delivered as flexibly as possible in response to parental demand from September 2010.

The extension of the free entitlement and more flexible delivery will be funded through a new investment of £80 million/£170 million/£340 million over 2008-11, which will be made available through the standards fund.

This funding is over and above the amount already provided for the free early education entitlement as part of the dedicated schools grant. This large injection of additional funding emphasises the Government’s commitment to ensure that every child gets the best possible start in life and to help as many families as possible escape poverty and balance work and family life effectively.


Service Complaints Commissioner

A number of improvements have been made to the Service redress of individual grievance process (the Service complaints process) under the Armed Forces Act 2006 in light of recommendations made by Nicholas Blake QC. One of these is the establishment of the post of Service Complaints Commissioner, which will introduce an element of independence to the system and provide assurance that the system is working fairly and effectively. I am pleased to announce that Dr Susan Atkins has been appointed to the post of Commissioner. She will have a comprehensive induction prior to taking up full duties when the new Service complaints process comes into effect in January 2008.

As Commissioner, Dr Atkins can receive complaints directly from Service personnel, or allegations made on their behalf by family members or other third parties, about any wrong against a Service person in relation to harassment, bullying or other improper behaviour, and will have the power to refer them to the chain of command for action. She will be notified of the outcome. The Commissioner will also provide an annual report to the Secretary of State for Defence on the fairness, effectiveness and timeliness of the Service complaints process which will be laid before Parliament and published.

The appointment of the Commissioner is an important step towards the full implementation of the new Service complaints process which is due to come into effect in January 2008.

Afghanistan: Operational Command and Control

As part of our ongoing support to current operations, I am today announcing the formation of a temporary brigade headquarters to command UK forces in Afghanistan over the period October 2009 to April 2010. The brigade, which will be known as 11 Light Brigade, will be formed from existing service personnel and will be based in Aldershot.

The current deployment of UK troops in Afghanistan as part of the NATO-led international security assistance force is planned until 2009, although we have always made clear that our commitment to Afghanistan is a long-term one. The precise size and duration of the UK military in Afghanistan will depend on a number of factors, including the ability of Afghan security forces to take greater responsibility for the security of their own country. However, to ensure that any forces we might deploy are properly prepared and commanded, it is necessary for the brigade headquarters to be established now. We will keep our planning assumption under review but currently we assess that this HQ would disband on its return from Afghanistan.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Visit of Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey

The Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. visited the UK on 22 to 23 October. This visit provided a good opportunity to discuss not only issues relating to Turkey’s EU accession negotiations, but also the broad range of shared interests.

During his meeting with Mr. Erdogan on 23 October, the Prime Minister reiterated the UK’s strong support for Turkish accession to the European Union, and encouraged the Turkish Government to continue with its programme of reforms, and implementing its obligations to the European Union. In the context of a series of separatist Kurdish PKK attacks on Turkey in recent weeks, the Prime Minister condemned the indefensible terrorist violence, welcomed Turkey’s restraint in the face of severe provocation, and urged continued dialogue with international partners to resolve the issue.

The meeting also covered the launch of the Turkey/United Kingdom Strategic Partnership 2007-08. This document draws together into one jointly agreed high-level bilateral document the breadth of co-operation across the two Governments on a wide range of issues.

These include work to further Turkey’s EU accession process; improve our co-operation on global security (in particular the fight against terrorism, weapons proliferation, and organised crime); promote regional stability; deepen the defence relationship; tackle climate change and co-operate on developing secure energy supplies; increase our bilateral trade and investment; and increase our ties in education and culture.

In addition, the strategic partnership covered Cyprus settlement issues. It emphasised the primary importance of supporting the UN’s efforts to reunify the island. The leaders of the two communities in Cyprus reached agreement on 8 July 2006 on steps designed to lead to a resumption of settlement negotiations. That agreement, which has the full support of the UK, UN Security Council and the international community, has yet to be implemented. During his meeting with Mr. Erdogan, the Prime Minister underlined the importance of all parties seizing the opportunity for progress next year.

The strategic partnership also described a number of measures designed to bring the Turkish Cypriot community closer to Europe in order to prepare for reunification.

Home Department

Justice and Home Affairs Council

The Justice and Home Affairs Council will be held on 8 and 9 November 2007 in Brussels. My right hon. Friend the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, the Solicitor General of Scotland, Frank Mulholland, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, my hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham East (Bridget Prentice), and I will attend on behalf of the UK.

There will be a lunch before the start of the Council on 8 November for Interior Ministers, where the presidency is expected to report on the current work of the future group on home affairs. The Government would like to ascertain Slovenian plans for the group as the incoming presidency. My right hon. and noble Friend Baroness Scotland represents the Common Law Group of countries including the UK on this group.

The Council will start with the Mixed Committee items also attended by Norway, Iceland and Switzerland. Among these will be reports on the state of play regarding biometric visas, common standards on returning illegally staying third country nationals, and the implementation of SISOne4all, SIS II and the SIS Communication Network. The Government remain keen for implementation of the Schengen Information System II to stay on timetable.

The presidency is likely to put the data protection framework decision to a general approach on the articles and certain recitals. The Government support the proposed general approach.

The main agenda will open with a discussion of chapters 2 and 3 of the draft Council decision on Europol. The Government support the proposed conclusion of negotiations of these two chapters, which deal with information processing systems and common provisions on information processing. The text offers a balance of giving Europol added flexibility enabling it to establish new data systems while at the same time providing limits on what can be stored and safeguards for the protection of personal data. The Government also support the proposal for the implementation plan, which has been developed at the request of the June JHA Council to set out the steps and timescales for the introduction of Community Financing for Europol from January 2010.

The presidency is likely to seek a general approach on the Council decision implementing the Prüm arrangements for the exchange of data on fingerprints, DNA and vehicle registration. This instrument sets out the technical details to bring into operation the original Council Decision on Prüm, which was agreed in June. In parallel the presidency has sent the text of the Council decision to the European Parliament for an opinion to be delivered during the European Parliament plenary session on 9 and 10 April 2008.

The proposal on Council decision on the improvement of co-operation between the special intervention units of the member states of the European Union in crisis situations is also likely to go to the Council for a general approach. This decision creates a framework for crisis intervention units from a given member state to provide assistance to other member states. The UK is supportive of this decision as it enables member states to receive assistance from other member states if they so require, although the UK does not envisage needing to use this agreement. The scheme is voluntary and places no obligation on member states to either request or provide assistance. The UK is able to provide assistance to another member state if it wishes to do so under this agreement. If we want to call on assistance from another member state for a foreign crisis intervention unit to exercise police powers here, we would need to make legislative changes to UK law. The European Parliament’s opinion is also outstanding on this proposal and is expected after 15 January 2008.

Two new draft directives on legal migration will be presented by the Commission. The first is for a new EU “Blue Card” scheme to attract highly skilled migrants. The second proposes a single application procedure for third country nationals entering the EU, combining separate applications for residency and the right to work into a single application. We will only opt-in to these directives if it is in the UK’s national interest to do so and we judge them to be compatible with our points-based system for managed migration.

Although the UK is not participating in the application of the draft regulation amending the common consular instructions, the UK has been involved in the discussions, particularly where they relate to biometric capture and age limits. The presidency noted that a number of key issues, which had been extensively examined at working party level, remained outstanding, and that further discussion with, among others, the European Parliament is necessary.

The presidency will report on progress made in negotiations on the draft directive on common standards and procedures in member states for returning illegally staying third-country nationals. The Government made the decision not to opt in to this Directive shortly after it was issued in September 2005. The Scrutiny Committees of both Houses agreed with that decision. Negotiations in the Council have been lengthy and the first reading has not yet been completed. There are a number of outstanding issues unresolved. The content of the draft directive has not changed sufficiently for the Government to reassess the original decision not to opt-in.

The presidency will report back on the Balkans Ministerial Forum on Justice and Home Affairs that took place in Brdo in October. They will also announce the EU-LAC (Latin America and Caribbean) seminar on migration.

The presidency also wants to obtain agreement on the proposed directive on certain aspects of mediation in civil and commercial matters. The Government support this proposal. It believes this type of citizen focused practical measure demonstrates the value of European co-operation in this field. By promoting the use of mediation to settle cross-border disputes this instrument will be of benefit to Europe’s citizens and businesses.

A debate is also scheduled on certain aspects of the proposed Council framework decision on the recognition and supervision of suspended sentences, alternative sanctions and conditional sentences.

The presidency has stressed the importance of implementing the Council of Europe Convention and it is hoped that the Council conclusions on Cybercrime will be agreed at this Council. The Government agree on the need for co-operation with non-EU states, and fully support the Council of Europe Convention.

It is also hoped that Council conclusions on trafficking in human beings will be adopted. The Government welcome renewed activity in the European Commission on human trafficking.

The Council will conclude with a lunch for Justice Ministers to discuss the outcome of the European Court of Justice’s decision in the “Ship Source Pollution” case. The Government welcome the clarification which this judgment has provided.

Leader of the House

Deposited Papers

I am pleased to announce that from today all documents deposited in the Library of the House by Ministers will be done so electronically. Members and Peers will still be able to request a hard copy document from the Library as well as an electronic version which, whenever possible, will be available online at in a single series containing both House of Commons and House of Lords Library deposited papers.

The Library document “Rules for depositing papers in the Libraries of the House of Commons and Lords” is available on the Parliament website.

I am grateful to Government Departments for their co-operation and the Libraries of both Houses for their work in improving access to information for Members of Parliament and the public.

Government's Legislative Programme: 2007-08

Listed below are those Bills which the Government intend to bring forward. Details of each of these Bills are available from the Leader of the House of Commons website www.CommonsLeader.

1) Banking

2) Channel Tunnel Rail Link (Supplementary Provisions)

3) Children and Young Persons

4) Climate Change

5) Counter Terrorism

6) Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts

7) Education and Skills

8) Employment

9) Energy

10) European Communities (Finance)

11) European Union Reform Treaty

12) Health and Social Care

13) Housing and Regeneration

14) Human Fertilisation and Embryology

15) Local Transport

16) National Insurance Contributions

17) Pensions

18) Planning Reform

19) Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions

20) Sale of Student Loans

Draft Bills

1) Apprenticeship Reform

2) Citizenship and Immigration

3) Constitutional Renewal

4) Cultural Property (Armed Conflict)

5) Heritage Protection

6) Marine

7) Marine Navigation and Port Safety

Carry Over Bills

1) Crossrail

2) Child Maintenance and Other Payments

3) Criminal Justice and Immigration


Boundary Commission for England

I should like to inform the House that I have, under schedule 1 to the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986, reappointed Mr Michael Lewer CBE, QC as a member of the Boundary for Commission for England. The appointment is effective from 1 November 2007 to 31 October 2008.

Northern Ireland

Independent Monitoring Commission

I have received the 17th Report of the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC). This report has been made under articles 4 and 7 of the International Agreement that established the Commission and it reports on levels of paramilitary activity in Northern Ireland. I have considered the content of the report and I am today bringing it before Parliament. I have placed copies in the Library of the House.

The report confirms the IMC’s previous assessments that the ERA is fully committed to pursuing the political path and that it will not be diverted from it. Paragraph 2.2 of the report notes that “Sinn Fein’s entry into the Northern Ireland Executive has meant that the provisional movement as a whole has been more closely engaged in the democratic process” and that, against this background, the IMC “strongly believe that this position is now stable”.

On Loyalism, I welcome the IMC’s assessment that the UVF’s 3 May 2007 statement, renouncing violence and committing to transform itself from a military to a civilian organisation, represents ‘a major turning point’ for the organisation. The report notes that the position is not yet entirely transformed and there are some pockets of resistance but does not doubt that the leadership is clear on the direction in which it is taking the organisation, has briefed the message in the statement down to the grass roots and has started to take steps to reduce the organisation’s size.

I share, however, the concern of the IMC that the pace of real change within the UDA remains far too slow. The IMC recognise that internal turbulence within the UDA has been a key factor in this in the six months under review, giving rise to continuing incidents of violence. The report also notes the very recent progress there has been by way of contact between the UDA and the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning. But the violent scenes in Carrickfergus and Bangor were a stark reminder of Northern Ireland’s troubled past. We must see an end to violence and criminality of this kind.

The IMC also calls on both the UVF and the UDA to decommission as a test by which any paramilitary organisation must ultimately expect to be judged. The report notes that in respect of PIRA the IMC did not consider it had embarked on a political path until after it had decommissioned arms in September 2005 and that it takes no different approach to the UVF or UDA.

In relation to dissident republican groups, the IMC makes it clear that these groups still pose a threat. Three paramilitary murders were reported, the first since February 2006. All three have been attributed to dissidents. These groups are ruthless and dangerous, and their intent to cause harm and destruction is undiminished, but they will not deter us from achieving long-term political stability.

Once again, I am grateful to the IMC for their submission of this report and for its careful analysis. As ever, this report offers a clear picture of the challenges ahead to secure an end to paramilitarism in Northern Ireland.

Government's Legislative Programme (Application to Northern Ireland)

The Third Session UK legislative programme unveiled in the Queen's Speech on the 6 November contains measures of relevance to the people of Northern Ireland.

The following is a summary of the legislation announced in the Queen's Speech and its impact in Northern Ireland. This does not include draft Bills. The Bills listed in section 1 are not likely to contain provisions requiring the consent of the Northern Ireland Assembly because the legislation is predominantly or wholly within an excepted area. Section 2 details Bills that are likely to contain provisions that require the consent of the Northern Ireland Assembly. Finally, section 3 details Bills that will have a limited impact in Northern Ireland because, for example, they extend only to England and Wales.

The list also identifies the lead Government Department.

1. The following Bills extend to Northern Ireland, in whole or in part, and deal mainly with excepted or reserved matters:

Banking (HM Treasury)

Counter Terrorism (Home Office)

Criminal Justice and Immigration (Ministry of Justice)

European Communities (Finance) (HM Treasury)

Human Fertilisation and Embryos (Department of Health)

National Insurance Contribution (HM Treasury)

Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions (Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform)

2. It is intended that the following Bills will extend to Northern Ireland to varying degrees. They will require the consent of the Northern Ireland Assembly in relation to those provisions in the devolved field:

Child Maintenance and Other Payments (Department of Work and Pensions)

Climate Change (Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts (HM Treasury)

Education and Skills (Department for Children, Schools and Families)

Energy (Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform)

Health and Social Care (Department of Health)

Pensions (Department of Work and Pensions)

Planning Reform (Department for Communities and Local Government)

Discussions will continue between the Government and the Northern Ireland Executive on Bills that might include provisions that require the consent of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

3. The following Bills will have limited or no impact in Northern Ireland:

Channel Tunnel Rail Link (Department for Transport)

Coroners (Ministry of Justice)

Crossrail (Department for Transport)

Employment (Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform)

Housing and Regeneration (Department for Communities and Local Government)

Local Transport (Department for Transport)

Sale of Student Loans (HM Treasury).


Queen's Speech

The Third Session UK legislative programme unveiled in the Queen's Speech on 6 November contains significant measures of relevance and benefit to the people of Scotland.

The Government are committed to continuing to deliver improvements to the lives of people across Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom.

The following is a summary of the legislation announced in the Queen's Speech and its impact in Scotland. This does not include draft Bills. The Bills listed in section 1 are not likely to contain provisions requiring the consent of the Scottish Parliament as the legislation is predominantly or wholly within a reserved area. Section 2 details Bills that are likely to contain provisions that require the consent of the Scottish Parliament in line with the Sewel Convention. A brief description is provided of the provisions likely to require consent. Section 3 details Bills that predominantly apply to England and Wales only whilst also containing some significant reserved provisions which will have an impact in Scotland. The Bills listed in section 4 predominantly apply to England and Wales only and will have limited impact in Scotland.

The list also identifies the lead Government Department:

1. UK legislation a wholly or predominantly reserved area, unlikely to contain provisions requiring the consent of the Scottish Parliament at Introduction:

The Bills in this section which deal with predominantly or wholly reserved matters are detailed below. Discussions will continue between the Government and the Scottish Executive to ensure that if provisions relating to matters which trigger the Sewel Convention are included, the consent of the Scottish Parliament will be sought for them:

Banking (HMT)

Channel Tunnel Rail Link (Supplementary Provisions) (Department for Transport)

Child Maintenance and Other Payments (Department for Work and Pensions)

Counter-Terrorism (Home Office)

Crossrail (Department for Transport)

Employment (Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform)

Energy (Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform)

European Communities (Finance) (HMT)

European Union Reform Treaty (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Department of Health)

National Insurance Contributions (HMT)

Political Party Funding and Expenditure (MOJ)

Pensions (Department for Work and Pensions)

2. Legislation likely to contain provisions requiring the consent of the Scottish Parliament at Introduction:

Discussions will continue between the Government and the Scottish Executive on Bills that might include provisions that trigger the Sewel Convention. The Bills identified within the Queen's Speech in this section are as follows:

Climate Change (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) Legislation relating to Climate Change is likely to include provisions in devolved areas to meet the new emissions target. The environment is a devolved matter in Scotland.

Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts (HMT) Scottish Ministers will be provided with a power in this Bill to distribute funds drawn from dormant bank accounts - Welsh and Northern Irish Ministers will also have similar powers. This will enable Scottish Ministers to direct spending priorities for their share of these assets in Scotland.

Education and Skills (Department for Child, Schools and Families) Education is a devolved matter but the Bill is likely to include provisions relating to data sharing that extend to Scotland to allow access to longitudinal surveys. This will enable assessments to be made on wage impact of education and training provisions.

Health and Social Care Bill (Department of Health) Health is a predominantly devolved matter, but the Bill will contain provisions relating to the regulation of health care professions; where the regulation of particular professions is devolved, the consent of the Scottish Parliament is required in order to produce a consistent and fair system across the UK for healthcare professionals.

3. Legislation that predominantly applies to England and Wales only whilst also containing some significant reserved provisions which will have an impact in Scotland.

Criminal Justice and Immigration (Ministry of Justice)

Local Transport (Department for Transport)

Planning Reform (Department for Communities and Local Government)

Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions (Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform)

4. Legislation that predominantly applies to England and Wales only or which will have a limited impact in Scotland

Children and Young Persons (Department for Child, Schools and Families)

Housing and Regeneration (Department for Communities and Local Government)

Sale of Student Loans (HMT)


Government's Legislative Programme (Application to Wales)

I am pleased to inform the House that the Queen's Speech on Tuesday 6 November unveiled the Government's Third Session legislative programme which contains 11 bills with Welsh Provisions.

There will be three Bills with framework provisions for Wales:

Education and Skills Bill

Local Transport Bill

Planning Bill

Further information on these provisions will be made available as the provision is introduced.

There are currently a further eight Bills in the programme which may contain specific provisions for Wales, which will generally be provisions to confer the same powers on Welsh Ministers, in devolved areas of responsibility, as are being conferred on UK Ministers in those areas in relation to England. These are:

Health and Social Care Bill

Sale of Student Loans Bill

Children and Young People Bill

Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Bill

Climate Change Bill

Energy Bill

Housing and Regeneration Bill

Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Bill

The Government are committed to delivering devolution and this Session, the first since the Government of Wales Act 2006 has come into effect, will see a record number of proposals for legislative competence to be transferred from Westminster to the National Assembly for Wales, both through framework powers, and by using the new Order in Council process. This marks a coming of age of devolution in Wales, with the Assembly being given the law-making power it needs to properly implement its own policies for the benefit of the people of Wales.