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Written Statements

Volume 469: debated on Monday 10 December 2007

Written Ministerial Statements

Monday 10 December 2007


Pre-Release Access to Statistics

Jointly with the Cabinet Office, I am today publishing “Limiting Pre-Release Access to Statistics: a Consultation Document”, copies of which have been deposited in the Libraries of both Houses. This fulfils the commitment I made to Parliament on 2 July that the Government will consult publicly on the rules and principles for pre-release access to official statistics in their final form.

The consultation document sets out how, as a part of the Governance of Britain programme of constitutional renewal, the Government are proposing to tighten the rules and principles under which pre-release access can be granted.

The Government welcome views on the proposals set out in the consultation document by 3 March 2008. The consultation responses will be used to inform the rules and principles for pre-release access that will then be laid before Parliament by the Minister for the Cabinet Office, for approval under the affirmative procedure.

Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

Advantage West Midlands

I have decided to appoint the new board members listed below.

Jas Bains

Angela Maxwell

The new appointments will all be for a 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.


Angela Maxwell

Angela Maxwell achieved prominence as one of the region’s most dynamic entrepreneurs after she powered Fracino, the UK’s only manufacturer of espresso and cappuccino coffee machines, from a £400,000 turnover in 1995 into today’s £2 million world-class leading brand. Industry awards include a millennium product award for design excellence in 2000 and recognition as an “Inner City 100” company in 2001.

Earlier this year, Angela was one of just 200 businesswomen honoured by the Queen at Buckingham Palace, in recognition of her outstanding contribution to UK trade and industry. A former European adviser to UK Trade & Investment and, a finalist in Businesswoman of the Year 2005. Angela recently accepted an invitation to become a regional ambassador for the Women’s Enterprise Network.

Acuwomen, her latest enterprise, is the UK’s first company to bring an all-women group of entrepreneurs under one roof. Angela’s hand-picked team encompasses strategic development, sales and marketing, design, PR, and telemarketing. The company’s client-base includes Coors Brewery, Talk Talk and the Probation Service.

Angela was previously commercial director at Sheffield Theatres, jointly responsible for a £40 million turnover. Angela has not undertaken any political activity during the last five years.

Jas Bains

Jas has spent his career in a variety of roles in local government and housing associations. Appointed chief executive in 2003 he has successfully helped transform Ashram Housing Association into a national award winning organisation.

He brings knowledge and experience of housing, regeneration and leadership of a large third sector organisation. A strong advocate of social cohesion and innovative in championing the needs of under represented groups. His main areas of economic interest are with improving economic prosperity for all and with embracing the opportunities afforded by globalisation, He is a founder member of the Wolverhampton India Trade Partnership.

He has held a number of non-executive board positions in the charities and public sector. Jas is a lifelong Wolves fan and season ticket holder. He has not undertaken any political activity during the last five years.

East Midlands Development Agency

I have decided to appoint the new board members listed below.

Michael Seals

Ann Cartwright

The new appointments will all be for a 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.


Michael Seals

Michael Seals is principally a farmer at The Hall Farm in South Derbyshire. Previously he helped develop and still retains an interest in the Dove Valley Park development also in South Derbyshire.

Michael Seals has been chairman of the National Fallen Stock Company Ltd since 2003, a DEFRA initiative designed to assist farmers in fulfilling obligations under European Regulation. He has held various posts in the National Farmers Union, and is currently their Food Law spokesman. Previously he was a member of the BBC National Rural Affairs Advisory Committee.

Ann Cartwright

Ann Cartwright is director of Brooke McNee Leadership Development Consultancy. Previous to this she was the chief executive of Family First Ltd, a registered social landlord in Nottingham.

Ann Cartwright is currently director and company secretary of Nottingham CVS and chair of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire CIPD Branch Committee.

England Regional Development Agency

I have decided to appoint the new board members listed below:

Keith Riley

Dolores Byrne

And reappoint the existing board members listed below:

Imtiaz Farookhi

Professor Bill Wakeham

All the above appointments will be for a 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 appointments in the Libraries of both Houses. They were all made in accordance with the code of practice of the Commissioner for Public Appointments.


Dr. Dolores Byrne

Dolores Byrne has spent over 25 years working in the high technology sector, both in Government and in industry and is currently MD Innovation in QinetiQ, an international defence and technology company.

Dolores graduated in Physics from Queen’s University Belfast and also holds a MBA from Southampton University. She is a Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology, a Fellow of the Institute of Physics and has served as Vice-president of the Institute of Physics. Dolores was a member of the national WISE Board (Women in Science and Engineering), a member of the board of the MOD Defence Engineering and Science Group and was a school governor for seven years. She is currently a member of the board of AIRTO (Association of Independent Research and Technology Organisations) and of the Science, Engineering and Technology Advisory Council of SEEDA. Dolores has not undertaken any political activity in the last five years.

Keith Riley BA(OU), BSc(Eng), CEng, FIMechE, MCIWM, MIoD, FRSA

Keith Riley is managing director, Group Technical Services of Veolia Environmental Services plc and has a wide experience in recycling and waste management, particularly working with local authorities. Notably, he worked with the Hampshire local authorities as Managing director of Hampshire Waste Services, the private sector partner in Project Integra that put the county and cities of Portsmouth and Southampton at the forefront of good practice in the UK.

Keith holds degrees in engineering from Queen Mary College, University of London, and in social sciences from the Open University. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a Member of the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management and is a Chartered Mechanical Engineer. Prior to joining Veolia he worked within both large and small companies, including holding senior positions in some blue-chip engineering companies such as Babcock and Rolls-Royce, where he gained extensive experience working overseas.

Keith is Chairman and Trustee of the Resource Recovery Forum, a Trustee of the Veolia Environmental Trust and Trustee of Hampshire Natural Resources Trust. He also serves as an industrial advisor to several universities on resource and wastes management.

Keith is married with one son and two daughters and has lived within the south-east region for over 30 years. His main interests are choral music and historical buildings.

Imtiaz Farookhi

Imtiaz Farookhi joined SEEDA’s non-executive board on 14 December 2004. Imtiaz is chief executive of NHBC which provides warranty, risk management and regulatory services to the UK house building and wider construction industry. He has been chief executive at NHBC since 1997. He was born in Washington DC, and was educated at the Universities of Kent and London. He has a track record of improving corporate and operational efficiency and effectiveness.

A former board member of the Environment Agency and of the Learning and Skills Council, Imtiaz has substantial experience in both urban regeneration and post-16 education policy. He has also served on the Further Education Funding Council, on several public private partnerships and as a non-executive on a Training and Enterprise Council and on a Business Link. He is currently Chairman of the National Skills Forum for Construction and the Built Environmental, and a Board Member of CITB - ConstructionSkills.

As NHBC’s chief executive, Imtiaz plays a key role in highlighting issues facing UK house building such as skills shortages, sustainable development and customer service. He has developed and extended NHBC’s range of services and restructured its operations with sustained growth in turnover and balance sheet strength. He has also instigated a review of NHBC’s services and a restructuring of its operations.

Professor Bill Wakeham

Professor Bill Wakeham was appointed to SEEDA’s non-executive board on 14 December 2004. A chemical engineer by training, Bill has been vice-chancellor of the University of Southampton since October 2001. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Institution of Chemical Engineers, the Institution of Electrical Engineers, and the Institute of Physics. He is a chartered engineer and a chartered physicist. Bill joined the University of Southampton from Imperial College, where he was deputy rector from 1997. In a career spanning 30 years at Imperial College he was appointed pro-rector (research) in 1996, and pro-rector (resources) in 1999. He oversaw the college’s merger with a series of medical schools and stimulated its activities in entrepreneurship.

Bill was Chair of SEEDA’s South East Science, Engineering and Technology Advisory Committee (SESETAC) until 1995, and plays a leading role on the board of the Southampton Strategic Partnership. Among other professional activities, he is a non-executive director of COGENT, the sector skills council for chemicals, nuclear, oil and gas, petroleum and polymers; a non-executive director of Meridian TV, and an executive member of the Worldwide Universities Network. He is also a member of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. Bill has also authored, co-authored or edited seven books and published over 350 papers in the open scientific and engineering literature in the research fields of thermophysical properties of fluids, intermolecular forces and thermodynamics.

He has an honorary degree from the University of Lisbon, was awarded the degree of Doctor of Science by Exeter University, and is a Fellow of Imperial College. In 1997 he was awarded the Touloukian Medal of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He was Rossini lecturer at the International Conference on Chemical Thermodynamics, Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 2000; and Ared Cezairliyan lecturer at the International Thermal Conductivity conference in 2001.


I would like to bring the House up to date on a number of matters connected to the collapse of Farepak:

Investigation of the collapse

The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform’s companies investigation branch conducts investigations into companies where there is concern over the way the company’s business has been conducted (usually a suspicion of fraud, misconduct or sharp practice). That is why an investigation was instigated into the collapse of Farepak, within days of the appointment of administrators.

Whilst the companies investigation branch completes 90 per cent. of its investigations within six months, the investigation into Farepak has regrettably taken longer because of the huge number of documents that have had to be analysed, the inter-company relationships and the numerous parties to be interviewed. The investigators (CIB staff with long experience of these types of investigations) have compulsory powers—those facing questions must answer them or face court proceedings. These powers are certainly wide enough to embrace all those who have had dealings with Farepak, including its bankers and advisers. It is anticipated that the investigation will be completed early next year.

As a proportionate and acceptable balance against these compulsory powers, the Companies Act requires that these investigations be accorded a limited disclosure regime—information obtained can only be disclosed through legal gateways and the report cannot be directly published.

But if subsequent court proceedings are initiated as a result of the investigation—such as disqualification proceedings against a director, or any prosecution, the story will be revealed during those proceedings. The report can also be disclosed to other regulators so that any appropriate lessons can be learned.

Liquidation of the company

It is the liquidator’s central duty to secure as much of a return as possible for all the creditors, including the customers. We understand that they are expecting to be able to secure a return of about 5p in the pound.

It is not yet possible to confirm when a payment will be made to customers as every agent and customer claim must be finalised before this can take place. As well as processing claims, the team has had a huge task in verifying claims and double checking that claims have not been duplicated by agents and customers. This work so far has reduced claims by approximately £2 million for the benefit of creditors.

Action to protect and inform consumers for the future

The Government have worked closely with the remaining companies to put in place effective measures to protect customers’ payments, including oversight by a new body, the Christmas Prepayments Association, and a code of practice. The companies have put in place new independently controlled trust accounts to protect customers’ money. The OFT has carried out a preliminary assessment of the code against the criteria in its Consumer Codes Approval Scheme, and the association have amended the code with a view to making a formal application for approval under the scheme.

The Government have also given the OFT £1 million for a consumer education campaign so that consumers are better aware of their options for Christmas savings, and are empowered to make decisions that are right for their own circumstances. The Government’s action plan for financial inclusion announces that the OFT will receive a further £2 million funding to continue the “Save Xmas” campaign into the next spending period.

We note the view of the Treasury Select Committee in its Thirteenth Report that, provided the operation of these arrangements proves to be satisfactory, formal regulation of this market is not likely to be appropriate or proportionate. But it remains our intention to reassess the regulatory framework once the outcome of the investigation is available, taking account of earlier advice from the OFT and FSA.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Special Tribunal for Lebanon

The UK continues to be deeply concerned by the political instability resulting from the absence of a President in Lebanon. President Lahoud’s term of office expired on 23 November. The ongoing political divisions over who should succeed him remain a source of instability. We have been urging all sides to come together in the spirit of compromise to choose a President who can lead the country forward. We support them in their efforts to do so and hope they will be able to resolve the political crisis as rapidly as possible.

Despite the ongoing uncertainty, progress continues towards the establishment of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. On 30 May 2007, the Security Council adopted Security Council Resolution 1757, establishing the Tribunal. The Tribunal will try those accused of killing the former Lebanese Prime Minister, Rafiq Hariri, who was assassinated on 14 February 2005 along with 21 others in a car bomb in central Beirut. This attack was part of a campaign of targeted political attacks against anti-Syrian MPs and political activists in Lebanon. The most recent of these was the assassination of MP Antoine Ghanem on 19 September. Mr. Ghanem was killed along with two bodyguards and four other civilians in a car bomb explosion in east Beirut which also injured more than 70 other innocent civilians.

The UK has been, and remains, firmly committed to the pursuit of justice for Rafiq Hariri’s murder and the sequence of assassinations that followed it. The UK worked closely with UN partners to establish the UN Independent International Investigation Commission (UNIIIC) into Mr Hariri’s assassination. We were also co-sponsors of UN Security Council Resolution 1757 establishing the Special Tribunal. As part of our continued commitment, and in response to the UN Secretary-General’s call for contributions, I am pleased to announce that the UK will be contributing £500,000 ($l million) to the Tribunal.

The success of the UN-led investigation process and of the Tribunal remain vital for the stability of Lebanon. It is essential that justice is done to send a clear message that political assassinations will not be tolerated. The UK will continue to offer its strong support to the UN and the Lebanese Government as they take this important work forward.


Social Care Reform

“Putting People First: a shared vision and commitment to the transformation of adult social care” is published today. This concordat sets out the cross-sector commitment to personalising public services and the need for the state to empower citizens to shape their own lives and the services they receive.

The concordat has been placed in the Library and copies are available to hon. Members in the Vote Office.

Home Department

Protective Services

I am today announcing that the Home Office will be increasing its contribution to the work of police forces and authorities dealing with serious and organised crime and other protective services. In 2008-09 and 2009-10, some £11 million will be made available, rising to £13 million in 2010-11. This will help the police service to ensure that they meet the standards expected in the delivery of protective services throughout England and Wales by 2011.

From these amounts grants will be available up to £5 million in 2008-09 and £4 million a year in 2009-10 and 2010-11 to continue the work of the Regional Intelligence Units addressing serious and organised crime. These have been developed, with Home Office financial support, by the Association of Chief Police Officers in collaboration with police forces and authorities throughout England and Wales. We shall be discussing with police forces and authorities the financial contribution that they will need to make in collaboration to ensure the success of these units.

We shall continue financial support to the East Midlands Special Operations Unit recognising its success in tackling serious and organised crime and the special needs of the region. We expect the five forces and authorities in the region to become increasingly self sufficient in the collective provision of this capability and will therefore be discussing with them a tapering of financial support over the period.

These funds also include completion of grants towards the start-up costs of Protective Services Demonstrator Sites and the project to evaluate their development and disseminate best practice. There are now 13 demonstrator sites being funded involving 34 police forces working in collaboration to deliver protective services.

Finally we will be discussing with police forces and authorities the other opportunities there may be to make critical enhancements to their collaborative contribution to protective service improvements using the money the Home Office is making available.

G6 Counter-Terrorism Symposium

I met with counterparts from Poland, France, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States, along with experts from the seven countries for a two-day symposium at Schwielowsee, near Werder, on 30 November and 1 December 2007.

The symposium was intended to provide a chance to reflect, together with the help of legal and academic experts, on developments in international terrorism and to intensify dialogue on effective measures to take against this threat.

In May 2007, the Interior Ministers of the G-6 countries and the US met in Venice at Italy’s invitation to discuss counter-terrorism issues. They came to the conclusion that they needed to work together on legal issues around how states counter international terrorism in order to come up with effective responses to the wide variety of threats faced by the international community and its citizens. At that meeting, the participants agreed to intensify their dialogue.

The symposium discussed, inter alia:

whether there were problems and gaps in the legal environment in which states worked to counter terrorism, and how such issues could be addressed;

some specific issues, such as: deportation of terrorist suspects; the creation of new criminal offences; and intelligence sharing;

other related issues such as the European Policing Mission (EUPOL) mission in Afghanistan.

Germany has indicated an intention to convene further work to continue the fruitful dialogue of this symposium.


Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeals Panel (Northern Ireland)

On 1 December 2007 responsibility for certain functions in respect of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeals Panel for Northern Ireland transferred from the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to the Secretary of State for Justice. The transfer was effected by a machinery of government change.

The Criminal Injury Compensation Appeals Panel for Northern Ireland was established under the Criminal Injuries Compensation (Northern Ireland) Order 2002 and hears appeals from the final decision of the Compensation Agency for Northern Ireland on applications for compensation made by, or in respect of, persons who have sustained criminal injury.

Prior to the transfer on 1 December 2007, responsibility for the entire criminal injuries compensation scheme, which included the Compensation Agency for Northern Ireland and the Criminal Injury Compensation Appeals Panel for Northern Ireland, lay with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. Responsibility for the Compensation Agency for Northern Ireland will remain with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

From 1 December 2007 responsibility for appointing, removing and remunerating the adjudicators who hear the appeals and the reporting, accounting and auditing arrangements in respect of Criminal Injuries Compensation Appeals Panel for Northern Ireland rests with the Secretary of State for Justice. Full details in relation to the statutory functions which have been transferred can be found on the Northern Ireland Court Service website


Olympics (Baseline Budget)

In March this year, I announced the overall public sector funding package for the Olympic and Paralympic games totalling £9.325 billion. Of this total, £6.090 billion including tax and £500 million of initial contingency was identified as public sector funding for the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA). The remainder of the package covered security, sports and other non-ODA costs, together with a prudent contingency for ODA and security costs. A fuller breakdown is included at table 1.

As with any major project at this stage, further work was needed to ensure that the budget is fully aligned with scope, programme and risks. This work has now been completed allowing us to publish a more detailed ODA budget in line with the recommendations of the NAO report in July 2007 (The budget for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games). I can now confirm that this has validated the ODA budget and overall funding package I announced in March.

Detailed Project and Programme Plan

The ODA has completed a detailed project by project analysis of its scope, costs, programme and risks to assess the total projected cost of their programme of works for the games and for legacy transformation. This has confirmed that the base cost, excluding general programme contingency, is £6.090 billion, the same as the ODA budget within the announcement in March 2007 of a total Government funding package of £9.325 billion.

It is recognised that regenerating a 500 acre park to stage a great Olympic and Paralympic games, as well as providing the underlying infrastructure so that long-term legacy benefits can be achieved, involves managing significant risks. This is the reason why the Government included a prudent contingency in the March announcement.

Therefore, in addition to the project level analysis, programme-wide risks have also been assessed and quantified. The contingency available, within the funding package announced in March, has been confirmed as sufficient to cover the risks at both project and general programme levels.

Allocated Contingency

In June 2007, the Ministerial Funders’ Group—established to manage the allocation of contingency to the ODA within the overall budget—met and agreed a first allocation of contingency to the ODA, being £360 million out of the £500 million of initial contingency announced in March, to enable the ODA to manage early cost pressures.

Following its second meeting on 26 November 2007, the Funders’ Group has now agreed:

A baseline budget and scope proposed by the ODA. The total budgeted base cost to be met by the public sector funding package remains at £6.090 billion including tax and excluding general programme contingency as I announced in March.

This includes the allocation to the ODA of the remaining £140 million from the initial £500 million contingency that I announced in March, covering as planned the cost pressures on early projects across the ODA programme.

Total Contingency Available

As a result of this further work and recent decisions, there still remains £2.009 billion of contingency. This contingency includes provision against known programme-wide risks, and against risks that are outside the ODA’s control. The programme-wide risks, and other risks outside the ODA’s control, have been assessed and quantified and the contingency available has been confirmed as sufficient to cover such risks.

Access to any of the £2.009 billion contingency will only be on the basis of a case by case assessment of actual risks arising and any mitigation that can be taken. The ODA is also incentivised to limit requests for release of the contingency to the minimum consistent with securing good value in such a large and complex programme, and will manage its contracting strategy accordingly.

Table 2 summarises the funding position, including a detailed breakdown of the ODA budget as a result of these decisions, and table 3 summarises the contingency released.

In addition, as previously identified, £238 million of the £2.247 billion contingency has been set aside to cover the risks in relation to security beyond the budget of £600 million I announced in March. The funding allocated to security will continue to be subject to oversight and scrutiny in the coming months and years by the relevant Cabinet Committee, the Home Secretary and the Metropolitan Police.

Next Steps

In the new year, the ODA will issue a summary of the baseline scope, aligned budget, programme and risks. The budget and scope now agreed will provide a robust baseline for future reporting.

I will provide a detailed account of progress across the Olympic programme when the first Olympic annual report is produced in the new year. I will make further reports to Parliament on a six monthly basis, including information on further allocation of contingency.


The following tables do not include a breakdown of individual project costs, budgets or contingency requirements where this is necessary to protect ongoing commercial confidentiality.

Table 1: Funding announcement March 2007.

The total public sector Olympic funding envelope is £9.325 billion and the maximum public sector funding package for the ODA is £8.099 million as follows:


Total Funding Package


Less Non ODA costs

Elite and Community sports


Paralympic Games


Look of London





Security contingency



Total Non ODA


Total Available for ODA


ODA Base costs inc VAT


Contingency released


Total ODA before unallocated contingency


Contingency remaining


Maximum funding available for ODA


Base CostVATGross cost


Detailed Project




Site Preparation and Infrastructure









Enabling works




Structures, Bridges, Highways




Contribution to Prescott Lock upgrade




Other infrastructure (Greenway, Landscaping




Total Site Preparation and Infrastructure









Other Olympic Park Venues




Non Olympic Park Venues




Total Venues





Stratford Regional station




Contribution to DLR upgrade




Thorntons Field relocation




Contribution to North London Line upgrade




Other transport capital projects




Other transport operating expenditure




Total Transport Projects




Other Parkwide Projects

Logistics for site construction




Section 106 and master planning








Security for park construction




Total Other Parkwide Projects




IBC/MPC, Olympic Village, Programme Delivery and Taxation

IBC/MPC, Olympic Village




Programme Delivery




Corporation Tax and Net Interest












The amounts shown above are net of contributions receivable totalling £5 8 9m, which includes amounts related to enabling works, utilities and village.

Projects which are not disaggregated such as Other Olympic Park Venues are still subject to contract and accordingly are commercially sensitive at this stage.

Programme delivery includes a provision for performance related payments to CLM, the ODA Delivery Partner.

Contingency as announced on 15 March 2007 totalled £2,247m. This is included as two separate amounts, £2,009m as included above and £238m identified as

Security Contingency within the Non-ODA Budget. The Security Contingency of £238m was announced to Parliament on 17 October 2007 (Hansard 17 October 2007 Column 1133W).

While a cost to the games, all tax paid by the ODA will be a future receipt to the Exchequer and accordingly no net additional cost to the public sector.

Table 3: The Detailed Breakdown of Contingency Released.

Released ContingencyIincluded in Cost

Site preparation and Infrastructure






Other Parkwide projects


IBC/MPC, Olympic Village, Programme Delivery and Taxation



Work and Pensions

Self-Invested Personal Pensions

Consultation begins today on draft regulations which will allow protected rights to be held in Self-Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs). A copy of the consultation document and draft regulations have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament.

The consultation is the result of the very useful dialogue we have had with the pensions community about the existing restrictions preventing SIPPs from holding protected rights. In light of recent changes bringing SIPPs under the regulatory control of the FSA, the Government consider that these restrictions are no longer necessary.

The consultation runs until 29 February 2008.