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Written Statements

Volume 467: debated on Thursday 22 November 2007

Written Ministerial Statements

Thursday 22 November 2007

Treasury

Budget ECOFIN

Items on the agenda are as follows:

Preliminary Draft Amending Budget No. 7 for 2007— Finance Ministers will be invited to adopt Preliminary Draft Amending Budget 7. This would amend the 2007 budget to reflect latest implementation capacity.

Letter of Amendment No. 2 to the Preliminary Draft Budget for 2008—Finance Ministers will be invited to adopt amending letter 2 to the Preliminary Draft Budget for 2008. The letter reflects latest information on agricultural prices and other developments influencing future implementation capacity.

Draft Budget for 2008The Council will look to agree their second reading of the 2008 Draft Budget and finalise figures for compulsory expenditure (mainly agriculture), in preparation for the subsequent Conciliation with the European Parliament. The UK will seek a budget that respects the principles of budget discipline and sound financial management and reflects realistic forecasts for agriculture and structural funds spending.

Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

East of England Regional Development Agency

I have decided to appoint the new Board Members listed below.

Stuart Evans

Beverley Hurley

The new appointments will all be for a period of three years.

I have also decided to re-appoint Marco Cereste for a further period of three years

The appointments will begin on 14 December 2007 and will expire on 13 December 2010.

I have placed further details of the new appointments in the Libraries of both Houses. They were all made in accordance with the code of practice of the Commissioner for Public Appointments.

Biographies

Marco Cereste

Marco is currently coming to the end of his second term as an EEDA Business Board Member. He has built a very successful and diverse group of family business operating in the UK and Italy which he now chairs. Marco was elected for a second time earlier this year to the Peterborough council after a five year gap. He has also worked in the NHS for 22 years and is Chair of the Peterborough Primary Care NHS Trust and Anglia Support Partnership. He is Deputy Chair of the Greater Peterborough Partnership and holds a number of other non-executive directorships including Standard Life Healthcare and the Peterborough Urban Regeneration Company. He has been an elected member of the C.G.I.E; this council meets at the Italian Foreign Office in Rome and represents all the Italians not resident in Italy. In 2002 he was awarded the title of Grand Ufficiale, the highest honour in Italy’s oldest order. Marco was previously appointed to the EEDA Board by a Minister. He has obtained office as a local councillor, has held office as chair, treasurer and secretary of the local branch of the Conservative Party and canvassed on behalf of the party.

Stuart Evans

Stuart Evans is an entrepreneur and Chartered Director. He was the founding CEO of Plastic Logic Ltd. a highly successful Cambridge University spin out that has won £75 million investment in potentially world-changing plastic electronics technology, initially for flexible displays in electronic books and newspapers. He has a Cambridge BA/MA, Harvard MBA and a twenty year international career of successful venture capital backed technology start-ups. His business skills include:-fund raising, building teams, spin-outs, exits and acquisitions, sales and marketing, corporate governance and turnarounds. He is a non-executive director of Huntingdon-based Pursuit Dynamics plc. and a Trustee of the Arthur Rank Hospice Charity in Cambridge. Stuart holds no other ministerial appointment and has not undertaken any political activity in the last five years.

Beverley Hurley

Beverly started out in social housing and regeneration in inner city London. Her career then took her to Canada, where she helped pioneer a major change management project for a global gold mine. On returning to the UK, Bev established two more successful businesses prior to joining YTKO, a thriving consultancy specialising in the commercialisation of science and technology innovation. Becoming CEO in 1999, she has led the company’s expansion into Europe, adding strategic marketing and investment services for high-growth start-ups, and increasing the company’s business support services for the public sector. She created the Norfolk Network to stimulate greater enterprise and innovation in the county, and leads the Enterprising Women programme across the East of England. Bev holds a number of public positions including Prowess and the Norfolk Exchange, and is an Enterprise Fellow at the UEA’s Business School. Beverly holds no other ministerial appointment and has not undertaken any political activity in the last five years.

Manufacturing Strategy

The Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform
(Mr. John Hutton)

The Government’s Manufacturing Strategy has proved to be a valuable framework, successfully developing programmes such as the Manufacturing Advisory Service and National Skills Academy for Manufacturing, while targeting financial support in key areas such as science.

The UK is the sixth largest manufacturing country in the world. It represents 14 per cent. of GDP, accounts for more than half of our exports, three quarters of business R&D and directly supports 2.9 million jobs.

But rapid global and technological advances are changing the economic challenges for manufacturers in Britain. China and India already account for nearly 50 per cent. of world real GDP growth. Their importance as a driver for future growth is set to continue in 2008 and beyond.

The Government are committed to helping strengthen the future of our manufacturing sector by supporting companies to embrace new opportunities in increasingly competitive global markets. We will therefore renew our Manufacturing Strategy over the coming months to address that challenge. The renewed strategy will pay particular attention to opportunities for Britain to lead global markets created by the need to tackle climate change.

I am today announcing the formulation of a Ministerial Advisory Group to help renew the Manufacturing Strategy. This new group will be made up of a core membership of CBI, TUC, Engineering Employers Federation, Technology Strategy Board, and Regional Development Agency together with representatives from industry and trade unions. The group will report to my right hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Competitiveness and provide advice on key areas impacting on all aspects of manufacturing.

The Government will seek the views of manufacturers and other stakeholders across the UK in developing the strategy. A number of regional events will be undertaken as part of the process, which will be co-ordinated with regional Ministers and regional offices.

Full details of the Ministerial Advisory Group membership will be announced shortly. This group replaces the Manufacturing Forum, to whom I am extremely grateful for their work in steering the manufacturing strategy from 2004-07.

Children, Schools and Families

Early Years (Capital Funding)

I am announcing today £642 million of capital investment in early years settings from 2008-09 to 2010-11 to ensure every child can access high quality provision. This funding will play a key part in enabling local authorities to meet their duties to secure sufficient childcare in their area, to improve outcomes for children in the early years and to narrow the gaps between the most disadvantaged children and others.

This capital funding will focus in particular on the private, voluntary and independent (PVI) sector to ensure that all settings are of the highest quality and that all children—including those with disabilities—are able to access provision. The grant will also support small sessional providers to make the investments needed to deliver childcare more flexibly.

The grant aims to: (i) improve the quality of the learning environment in early years settings to support delivery of the Early Years Foundation Stage, with a particular emphasis on improving play and physical activities and ICT resources, (ii) ensure that all children, including those with disabilities, can access provision in line with the new duty placed on local authorities in the Childcare Act 2006, (iii) enable PVI providers to deliver an extended free early education offer for all three and four-year-olds and make access more flexible.

Communities and Local Government

Home Information Packs

The Government set out their approach and criteria for phasing the implementation of Home Information Packs (HIPs) including Energy Performance Certificates on 11 June. Sixty per cent of the market is now covered by HIPs. And the criteria for roll out to the rest of the market have now been met. We will therefore complete the phased roll out by extending coverage to the rest of the market from 14 December.

First time buyers of one and two bedroom homes will be the main beneficiaries as they will now get important information about their new home for free. Information such as searches for which they would previously have had to pay will now be included in the HIP paid for by the seller, reducing the costs of the first step onto the property ladder.

But all householders will benefit from having detailed information about the energy efficiency of their home, and measures to save on their fuel bills and cut carbon emissions.

Two hundred thousand Energy Performance Certificates have been generated since the summer. The analysis of the early phase of rollout of HIPs found that the average rating for homes was an E, and we know that approximately one-fifth of all homes are likely to get an F or G rating. This means that basic measures could significantly cut both fuel bills and carbon emissions. The Energy Savings Trust have also estimated that homeowners could also save around £300 a year on fuel bills from implementing the recommendations in the Energy Performance Certificate.

We will establish a new Green Homes Service to offer those buying or selling a home with an F or G rating free or discounted help with energy efficiency measures, by linking them up with grants and loans provided by energy companies and others. Home buyers could potentially be eligible for hundreds of pounds to get help with insulation or other improvements.

As set out in the criteria of 11 June there are now sufficient energy assessors and home inspectors fully qualified and accredited to provide Energy Performance Certificates for all homes bought and sold. Some 5794 people are now accredited.

In addition, the government has also conducted monitoring and analysis of the implementation programme to ensure continued smooth roll out. Early monitoring shows:

HIPs are taking on average seven to 10 days to prepare.

The majority of property, and drainage and water searches, are being delivered within five days

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) are being prepared on average within two to four days

On average, a HIP costs between £300 and £350. Most of these are not new costs, as they cover the cost of searches and other documents which have simply been transferred from buyer to seller at the beginning of the process. The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is of course new but provides consumers with valuable information of the costs of running their home.

Competition from HIPs is reducing the costs of average property searches. Eighty-five local authorities have already reduced their charges by £30 on average.

The Government have also commissioned and considered extensive analysis by Europe Economics on the impact of HIPs on the market. We are today publishing their independent report which includes modelling on the impact as well as analysis of the first few months of implementation. It finds no evidence of any impact on transactions or prices, although there is a predicted short term impact on new listings as sellers change the timings of their listings. It concludes that the impact on listings is short lived, and the impact on the market is marginal compared to the wider factors.

We also asked Europe Economics and Dr. Peter Williams who is a member of the National Housing and Planning Advice Unit to consider whether changing housing market conditions meant we should change the approach to completing the roll out. Their conclusion was that there are strong arguments for rolling out as planned, and that further delay could cause greater difficulties and uncertainties in the market.

In the light of this evidence therefore we will tomorrow lay the commencement order to extend HIPs and EPCs to one and two bedroom properties from 14 December. In order to ensure continued smooth implementation, we are also extending the temporary provisions on first day marketing for all properties from 1 January to 1 June, providing flexibility for sellers as part of the roll out to one and two bedroom properties.

The implementation of Home Information Packs so far, and the work of the Stakeholder Panel, has also highlighted further improvements that are needed to benefit consumers.

HIPs have already led to improvements in the delivery and cost of searches, with significant reductions in the cost of searches, and in some areas, substantial reductions in the delays in producing searches. However, there are still wide variations in costs and services and we want to see further improvements for consumers. We will therefore publish guidance on access and charging in December for local authorities and personal searchers with the aim of speeding up searches and delivering a fairer deal for consumers.

We have asked Ted Beardsall, Deputy Chief Executive of the Land Registry—and member of our Home Buying and Selling Stakeholder Panel—to advise on what else could be done to improve the search process, ensuring better quality and timeliness of information, and improving value for money for consumers.

Stakeholders have also raised concerns about the costs and timeliness of leasehold information, and the impact that this will have on Home Information Packs when one and two bedroom properties are included given the higher number of leasehold properties. In the majority of cases we would expect leasehold documents to be readily available and easily provided as part of Home Information Packs. However we are aware that some leaseholders, whether in the pre-existing system or creating a HIP, can find the relevant documents difficult to obtain quickly. We know that some also face disproportionate charges to access their documents.

As leasehold information is an important part of the home buying and selling process, and is already generally paid for and provided by the seller, we continue to believe there are considerable advantages to consumers from having leasehold information early on in the Home Information Pack. However, to ensure continued smooth roll out we will phase the introduction of leasehold information in response to stakeholder concerns. We will temporarily amend the HIP regulations so that the lease document itself must be included, but other leasehold information will be introduced as a requirement in six months time. This will allow HIPs for one and two bedroom properties to bed down in advance of leasehold information being required. In the interim, we have also asked Ted Beardsall to advise us and the Home Buying Stakeholder panel on what more can be done to improve the timeliness and cost of leasehold information, alongside the work on searches.

From April 2008, we will begin to roll out EPCs for newly built homes, as well as across commercial property for sale, rent or construction. By October 2008 all public buildings will have a display certificate.

All these measures are designed to promote the interests of the consumer. We will continue to actively monitor the rollout of HIPs and energy performance certificates and the home buying and selling process to ensure we can respond where further improvements are needed. The introduction of HIPs is part of a wider programme of reforms to home buying and selling including e-conveyancing and better redress, which aims to provide consumers with a clearer, more transparent and effective service, with better value for money, benefiting all potential homebuyers and helping in tackling climate change.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Specified Animal Pathogens Order Licence Conditions

I promised to keep the House informed of matters relating to the FMD outbreak. An incident has occurred at the Merial facility on the Pirbright site. While the incident was contained, I thought it right to report the matter given the understandable public interest in this site.

On 6 November, DEFRA restored the Specified Animal Pathogens Order (SAPO) licence to Merial Animal Health to permit the use of FMD and Bluetongue viruses for vaccine production. The licence was restored following detailed DEFRA and HSE inspections that confirmed that the terms of the licence (including operating procedures and installation of security measures) had been fully met and that it was safe for vaccine production to recommence.

The licence requires several layers of biosecurity to be in place. This includes first, a new facility which has been installed to heat treat waste from virus production. Secondly it requires the re-lining, sealing and testing of the effluent pipes and man hole covers as identified in the HSE and Spratt reports. Thirdly, the ground above the drains has been made a contained area and all movements across it controlled with decontamination required of any one who has need to enter that area. Lastly all effluent passes into the chemical treatment facility, which as the final layer of biosecurity would deactivate any live virus. It is monitored and tested daily.

All of these measures provide several independent layers of safety and ensure that the process is contained.

On Monday 19 November Merial discovered a shortfall in the quantity of virus recovered from production batches from the previous week. On inspection of the vaccine production equipment they identified possible technical problems with the functioning of a valve on a pipe leading from the centrifuge which is used to separate live virus from waste product. Operations were immediately stopped and the machine and associated pipework were decontaminated with steam. Citric acid was added in bulk to the effluent sump to disinfect any live virus that might have leaked out of the centrifuge.

Having been contacted on Monday, an engineer examined the machine on the morning of Tuesday 20 November. No problems were identified with the centrifuge, and investigations focussed on a valve on a steam line used to sterilise the associated pipework. This valve separates the live virus product line from the line which provides an outlet for the condensate from the steam cleaning stages. This water should not come in contact with live virus, but as a precaution does enter the contained drainage system leading to the final chemical treatment facility. As part of the SAPO licence, we require Merial to apply rigorous standard operating procedures. In relation to the valves these mean that each time the centrifuge is used two operators must certify that the valve is locked shut and its integrity is confirmed by pressure tests before and after each batch. In addition the preventive maintenance system includes regular inspections and although the valves on the centrifuge have a three-year life expectancy they are replaced annually. All these checks must be recorded.

Despite these measures Merial judged that the valve had been leaking, allowing an unintended probable release of live FMD virus into the contained drainage system, which was then pumped to the final chemical treatment facility without being heat treated.

During the course of Tuesday 20 November Merial arranged for the valve to be replaced and tested the centrifuge to ensure that it was now working properly. Merial informed DEFRA officials at 4pm of this incident and of the action that they had taken. Having learned of this possible breach of a SAPO licence condition, DEFRA suspended Merial’s SAPO licence with immediate effect.

A joint DEFRA, HSE and Veterinary Medicine Directorate inspection team visited the site yesterday morning. They confirmed that all work with live virus had stopped, they confirmed the details of the incident that Merial had reported, and carried out detailed inspection, including of record keeping.

The inspection team judge that while it was possible that live FMD virus had entered the contained drainage system, from their discussions and the evidence gathered they are assured that live virus has not been released to the environment. The extensive layers of biosecurity that we require under the SAPO licence effectively contained the virus in the closed, re-lined drainage system before deactivation in the chemical treatment facility.

The SAPO licence remains suspended and the inspection team will produce a full report to the acting chief veterinary officer. We will then consider what further action needs to be taken.

I will report further to the House in due course.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Entry Clearance Refusals

I have today placed in the library a copy of the report by Mrs. Linda Costelloe Baker, the Independent Monitor for Entry Clearance Refusals with Limited Rights of Appeal, covering the period 1 October 2006 to 31 March 2007. A copy is also being made available on the UKvisas website at: www.ukvisas.co.uk together with UKvisas’ response to the Monitor’s recommendations.

I am most grateful to Mrs. Costelloe Baker for this thorough and positive report based on the 713 sample cases that she has reviewed for the period 1 October 2006 to 31 March 2007.

Mrs. Costelloe Baker commends UKvisas for successfully maintaining a delicate balance between good service and adequate control against a background of major changes in the entry clearance processes—dedicated application centres, a risk assessment basis for decision making and biometric data capture—all benefiting the genuine visitor. She goes on to confirm that the overall quality of entry clearance refusal notices is improving.

Mrs. Costelloe Baker makes a number of constructive recommendations as to how UKvisas can continue to improve the quality of decision making, customer service and complaint handling. UKvisas welcomes these comments and is keen to use these recommendations to drive up the quality of its service to customers whilst maintaining a high level of immigration control.

I wish to record our thanks to Mrs. Costelloe Baker for the work and effort she has put into producing this her third report as Independent Monitor for Entry Clearance Refusals with Limited Rights of Appeal. The Independent Monitor’s next report will cover the period 1 April to 30 September 2007 and will be published in the first half of 2008.

Health

Primary Care Trusts (Revenue Allocations)

Revenue allocations to primary care trusts (PCTs) will be announced later this year for one year only—2008-09.

The independent Advisory Committee on Resource Allocation has requested and been granted an extension to the work it is doing on reviewing the formula in support of the revenue allocations, post 2007-08. Given that, we wanted to issue the allocations for 2008-09 as soon as possible to give the NHS time to plan. The intention is to announce the 2008-09 allocations shortly, and it is anticipated that the 2009-10 and 2010-11 PCT allocations will be issued by the summer 2008.

In this context and that of the recently announced three year settlement for health in the comprehensive spending review, PCTs should still be able to enter into three-year agreements with local partners where these are appropriate.

Home Department

Immigration

I am today launching the next stage in the Government’s comprehensive programme of reform of Britain’s immigration controls.

Britain’s economy and society profit from migration that is effectively managed and controlled. But our system must change if it is to be fit for the future. Over the next 12 months, we will be introducing fundamental changes. These include:

The points-based system, which will enable us better to manage economic migration. Our points policy will be advised by a Migration Advisory Committee, which will help us make better informed decisions about the migrants our economy needs, and a Migration Impact Forum, which will help us analyse the wider effects of migration;

A Single Border Force, bringing together the Border and Immigration Agency, Customs and UK Visas. This will provide tougher policing at ports and airports with a highly visible, uniformed presence, counting all migrants in and out of the UK;

The introduction of compulsory identity cards for foreign nationals, helping us to know who is here and what they are entitled to do.

If we are to stop illegal journeys, however we must stop illegal jobs. Our attack on illegal working therefore attacks the root cause of illegal immigration into Britain.

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on transforming our border strategy last week I am today announcing action on a further three key parts of our strategy on illegal working.

First, I am publishing a Statement of Intent setting out our approach towards licensing employers or colleges wishing to sponsor migrants for visa applications.

Under the points-based system, employers, and others who benefit from migration and wish to act as sponsors of skilled or temporary migrants, will need a licence to do so. To earn and hold a licence they must agree to fulfil certain duties. Today’s Statement of Intent sets out how a would-be sponsor can gain a licence, and what duties we will ask them to perform. We have developed this document working closely with employers’ representatives and others to strengthen the Border and Immigration Agency’s control of the system.

We are publishing this document today so that those affected can prepare. We are also giving people the opportunity to comment on them. Our proposals may of course change before we finally launch the system. We will give businesses and others the opportunity to apply for sponsorship licences from early 2008.

Secondly, I am publishing today the results of the consultation on the new measures to prevent illegal working in the UK, and the action I now propose to take.

The consultation set out a new system of civil penalties and a tough new criminal offence for those who knowingly employ illegal workers. As a result I propose that the maximum level of penalty should be £10,000 per illegal worker.

The penalty measures we are introducing will provide a more effective means of encouraging employers to carry out proper checks and of dealing with non-compliance.

The results report is available on the Border and Immigration Agency website at: www.bia.homeoffice.gov.uk and copies of the report have also been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

I am also laying revised codes of practice for employers and the necessary regulations to bring sections 15 to 26 of the 2006 Act into force on 29 February next year, including an order for the approval of each House setting the maximum level of civil penalty that may be imposed for employing an illegal worker.

Thirdly, I am taking steps to raise employers’ awareness of these changes and to provide support arrangements.

Employers will need to know how the changes we are making under the points-based system and the new civil penalty regime will affect recruitment and employment practices.

National press advertising will commence immediately, to be followed in January with further advertising in the national press, trade press and on national radio, and direct marketing to employers in relevant sectors.

BIA has now enhanced the verification service for employers I announced in May by broadening the range of categories covered by the service.

Finally, the phased introduction of identity cards for foreign nationals will provide the opportunity to develop employer verification services still further and phase out insecure twentieth century documentation from the checking regime. I will bring forward proposals shortly on the roll-out of mandatory identity cards for foreign nationals.

International Development

UK and the World Bank 2006-07

I have placed in the Libraries of both Houses a copy of a DFID report, “The UK and the World Bank 2006-07”.

This report summarises the UK’s work with the World Bank from October 2005 (the end of the period covered by the last report) to the end of the bank’s financial year 2007 (June 2007). The decision to extend the period covered to the end of June 2007 brings the reporting period in line with the World Bank’s financial year and also covers the period running up to the appointment of a new World Bank president.

The report describes the main policy topics which the bank was involved in during this period and how it spent its money in supporting developing countries’ efforts to reduce poverty. The report provides a regional breakdown of the bank’s work and also describes the bank's efforts to improve the way it operates.

During the period covered, the UK worked closely with the bank to develop the Clean Energy Investment Framework, the Investment Climate Facility and a new governance and anticorruption strategy; and helped secure improvements in the bank’s implementation of the good practice principles on conditionality.

The next report will issue in approximately 12 months time and will cover the World Bank financial year 2008 (July 2007-June 2008).

Prime Minister

Numbers and Cost of Special Advisers

Listed below are the names of special advisers in post at 22 November 2007, the special advisers’ pay ranges for 2007-08, the number of special advisers in each pay band by Department and the total pay bill cost of special advisers for 2006-07.

All special advisers are appointed under terms and conditions set out in the “Model Contract and Code of Conduct for Special Advisers”. I am placing in the Libraries of the House revised copies of both documents.

Advisers in Post

Appointing Minister

Special Adviser in Post

The Prime Minister

Theo Bertram

Konrad Caulkett (p-t)

Matt Cavanagh

Dan Corry

Jo Dipple

Justin Forsyth

Joe Irvine (p-t)

Michael Jacobs

Gavin Kelly

Spencer Livermore

Patrick Loughran

Damian McBride

Geoffrey Norris

Sue Nye

Nick Pearce

Lisa Perrin

Kath Raymond (p-t)

Stewart Wood

Cabinet Office Minister and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

Polly Billington

Tom Restrick

Chief Whip (Commons) and Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury

Michael Dugher

Emma Reynolds

Chief Whip (Lords)

Ben Coffman

Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

John Williams

John Woodcock

Minister of State (Competitiveness) Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

Graham Dale

Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families

Francine Bates

Alex Belardinelli

Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

Andrew Bagnall

Paul Richards

Minister of State (Housing), Communities and Local Government

Will McDonald

Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

Blair McDougall

Lisa Tremble

Secretary of State for Defence

Richard Burge

Alaina Macdonald

Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Mike Dixon

Beatrice Stern

Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

Madlin Sadler (job share)

Sarah Schaefer (Job share)

Secretary of State for Health1

Clare Montagu

Chris Norton

Secretary of State for the Home Department

Sue Jackson

Andrew Lappin

Leader of the House of Commons, Lord Privy Seal and Minister for Women and Equalities

Ayesha Hazarika

Anna Healey

Leader of the House of Lords, and Lord President of the Council

Philip Bassett

Jonathan Pearse

Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills

Josie Cluer

Andy Westwood

Secretary of State for International Development

Paul Sinclair

Anthony Vigor

Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice

Mark Davies

Declan McHugh

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

Sebastian Dance

Secretary of State for Scotland

Tom Greatrex

John McTernan

Secretary of State for Transport

Julie Crowley

David Leam

Chancellor of the Exchequer2

Emily Thomas

Sam White

Chief Secretary

Jennifer Gerber

Secretary of State for Wales

Andrew Bold

Joe Carberry

Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Matthew Burchell

Claire McCarthy

Minister for the Olympics and London

Nigel Warner

1In addition, the Secretary of State for Health has appointed Mario Dunn as an adviser on the NHS Next Stage Review and NHS workforce issues.

2In addition, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has appointed Andrew Maugham to the Council of Economic Advisers.

Pay bands for 2007-08:

The pay bands and pay ranges for special advisers for 2007-08 are as follows:

Scheme Ceiling

£137,400

Pay Band 4

£85,680 to £102,918

Pay Band 3 and Premium

£64,056 to £99,450

Pay Band 2

£50,286 to £66,708

Pay Band 1

Up to £52,122

Advisers by Pay Band:

At 22 November 2007, the number of special advisers in each pay band by Department is as follows:

DepartmentPay Band

1

2

3

4

No 10

4

3

11

-

Cabinet Office (includes Minister for the Olympics and London)

-

-

3

-

Chief Whips' Offices (Commons and Lords)

1

1

1

-

Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (includes Minister of State for Competitiveness)

1

1

1

-

Children, Schools and Families

1

-

1

-

Communities and Local Government (includes Minister of State for Housing)

-

2

1

-

Culture, Media and Sport

1

-

1

-

Defence

-

2

"

-

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

1

1

-

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

-

-

2 (p-t)

-

Health3

-

2

1

-

Home Office

-

1

1

-

Leader of the House of Commons, Lord Privy Seal and Minister for Women and

-

1

1

-

Equalities

Leader of the House of Lords and Lord President of the Council

1

-

-

1

Innovation, Universities and Skills

-

1

1

-

International Development

1

-

1

-

Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice

1

1

-

-

Northern Ireland

1

-

-

-

Scotland

-

1

1

-

Transport

1

1

-

-

HM Treasury4

3

1

-

-

Wales

2

-

-

-

Work and Pensions

2

-

-

-

Total

21

19

27

1

3Includes the adviser on the NHS Next Stage Review and NHS workforce issues.

4Includes the Member on the Council of Economic Advisers.

5This figure includes salary, severance pay and estimate of pension costs.

Paybill costs:

The cost of special advisers in 2006-07 was £5.9 million5

Transport

Heathrow Airport Consultation

I am today publishing a consultation “Adding Capacity at Heathrow Airport” which covers a range of different proposals for the future development of the airport. The consultation responds to a number of commitments made in the 2003 Air Transport White Paper. It presents the conclusions from three years of detailed analysis to consider whether conditions set on noise, air quality and public transport could be met with the addition of a third runway and proposals for making better use of the existing runways. The White Paper recognised the key importance of Heathrow to both local and national economies, and to our competitiveness internationally. While Heathrow’s operations impact on people across and around London, the forecasts included in the consultation indicate that it is possible to add capacity at Heathrow in a way which satisfies the local conditions. We want to make the information widely accessible and are engaging extensively with interested parties to give them the opportunity to test the evidence presented and respond to the consultation.

Aviation plays an essential role in the UK’s economic growth and our continued prosperity. The Government consulted widely in 2002 on their air transport policy and set out their conclusions in the 2003 White Paper “The Future of Air Transport”. The White Paper set out a sustainable long-term strategy for the development of air travel out to 2030. This policy was reiterated last year in the 2006 “Future of Air Transport Progress Report”.

The White Paper identified an urgent need for additional runway capacity in the south-east and supported further development at Heathrow, including a new runway and additional terminal capacity, but only if three local conditions could be met.

First there should be no net increase in the total area of the 57 dBA noise contour. This would be measured at 127 sq km which was the size of the contour in the summer of 2002.

Secondly, being confident of meeting European air quality limits around the airport. The critical local pollutant at Heathrow is nitrogen dioxide (NO2) where the current European directive imposes limits from 2010.

Thirdly there would need to be improvements in access to the airport by public transport.

The White Paper also considered the scope for greater utilisation of the two existing runways by, for example, the use of mixed mode operations—where runways are used for both arriving and departing aircraft. It identified the need to study the impacts and benefits in detail, which would be subject to the same local conditions as a third runway.

Over the past three years, the Project for the Sustainable Development of Heathrow set up by the Department for Transport and including experts from the Highways Agency, the Civil Aviation Authority, the airport’s operator BAA, the Government Office for London and drawing on wider expertise from NATS and technical experts in air quality has considered these options further, including whether, and how, the local conditions could be met. The White Paper made a commitment to further consultation once the work was completed.

The White Paper also recognised the airport operator’s arguments for a sixth terminal north of the A4 to realise the full potential of the third runway and made a commitment to consult once further work had been completed on the proposals and their impacts. This consultation invites views on the airport operator’s revised proposal for adding a 2,200 m third runway (compared with 3,902 m and 3,658 m for the two existing runways) and a sixth terminal with access to the road and rail network which would enable the airport to handle around 702,000 air traffic movements a year by 2030.

The consultation also invites views on the introduction of ‘mixed mode’ operations as an interim measure ahead of a new runway subject to the same local conditions as a third runway. One option improves operational resilience at the airport but maintains the current 480,000 air transport movements cap, and another allows an extra 60,000 movements per year.

Depending on the outcome of this consultation, it will be for the airport operator to obtain the necessary consents in accordance with applicable planning rules and with relevant statutory and other criteria.

We would also like views on the results of a review of a number of operational procedures on the existing runways irrespective of any further capacity changes. For example the “Cranford agreement” which generally prohibits easterly departures off the northern runway.

We will make the information widely accessible and give all interested parties the opportunity to respond to the consultation. In addition to the standard consultation processes, my officials will also hold a series of public exhibitions to enable individuals and organisations to find out more and to register their views. All the consultation documentation and further details about how to respond are available on the Department’s website at: www.dft.gov.uk/heathrowconsultation.

I am also today publishing the report “UK Air Passenger Demand and CO2 Forecasts”. This report explains our passenger demand and CO2 forecasting methodologies and provides the latest CO2 forecasts. The White Paper argued that the aviation sector must fully meet its environmental costs and set out our policy to include aviation in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme so that growth in emissions from 2004-06 levels would be compensated for by equivalent reductions elsewhere in the economy. This approach is entirely consistent with last year’s Stern review.

Final policy decisions on adding capacity at Heathrow will be taken at the earliest in the summer 2008 in the light of the results of the consultation.

Copies of the consultation document have been placed in the Library of the House and are available in the Vote Office