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Written Statements

Volume 524: debated on Monday 28 February 2011

Written Ministerial Statements

Monday 28 February 2011

Treasury

ECOFIN (15 February 2011)

The Economic and Financial Affairs Council was held in Brussels on 15 February 2011. The following items were discussed:

Economic Governance

The Council held a first discussion on a package of legislative measures intended to strengthen economic governance in the EU, particularly in the euro area, in order to address the challenges posed by the sovereign debt crisis, and prevent the emergence of similar problems in the future, while fully respecting the provisions in the UK’s protocol to the treaty. In line with the deadlines set by the European Council, the presidency’s intention is to reach agreement on a general approach on all six proposals at the 15 March ECOFIN.

Savings Taxation Directive and Anti-fraud Agreements with Third Countries

The Council held an orientation debate on proposals to strengthen the provisions of the savings directive on the taxation of savings interest, and on anti-fraud and tax information exchange agreements with Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino and Switzerland. The Government support the presidency’s aim to maintain momentum on these proposals, so as to enable the Council to make progress as soon as possible.

Preparation of the European Council (24-25 March 2011)

a) Macro-economic and fiscal guidance

The Council adopted conclusions on macro-economic and fiscal guidance for the EU, under the new European semester. The Government believe the reform priorities set out in the conclusions are important and necessary steps to help promote economic growth in the EU and its member states.

b) Appointment of an Executive Board Member of the European Central Bank

Ministers adopted a recommendation on the nomination of Peter Praet (Belgium) as an executive board member of the European Central Bank to succeed Gertrude Tumpel-Gugerell, whose term of office expires on 31 May.

Implementation of the Stability and Growth Pact

The Council took note of a communication from the Commission assessing action taken by Bulgaria, Cyprus, Finland and Denmark in order to bring their government deficits below 3% of GDP. It was agreed that these member states had taken effective action regarding their deficits, and that no further steps under the EU’s excessive deficit procedure were required at present.

Preparation of the G20 Meeting of Finance Ministers and Governors (18-19 February)

The Council endorsed EU terms of reference in preparation for a meeting of G20 Finance Ministers and central bank governors to be held in Paris on 18-19 February. Discussions are expected to focus on the global economy and the G20 framework for growth, the reform of the international monetary system, commodities, financial regulation, and other issues such as development.

Discharge procedure in respect of the implementation of the 2009 EU budget

The Council adopted a recommendation to the European Parliament on the discharge to be given to the Commission for implementation of the EU’s general budget for 2009. The Dutch, Swedish and UK delegations, withheld their consent on the discharge. This marks a step change in the UK Government’s approach to financial management in the EU; the Government consider it unacceptable that the European Court of Auditors has not been able to grant a positive statement of assurance on the EU budget as a whole for the 16th year in succession.

Together with the Netherlands and Sweden, the Government also submitted a joint declaration, setting out concrete actions that would improve financial management (see attached).

Budget guidelines for 2012

The Council adopted conclusions setting out their priorities for the EU’s general budget for 2012, which will serve as the basis for negotiation with the European Parliament and the Commission later this year. The conclusions emphasise the need to take into account economic and budgetary constraints at the national level. The Government believe that the efforts made to curb the EU budget’s growth in 2011 must be stepped up for the 2012 budget.

Joint declaration signed by the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom

With reference to:

The European Court of Auditors’ annual report on implementation of the 2009 EU budget;

Discharge to be given to the Commission in respect of the implementation of the budget for the financial year 2009;

Draft Council recommendation 5891/11 FIN 47 PE-L 14, + ADD 1, + ADD 2;

The Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom are concerned that:

For the 16th year in succession, the European Court of Auditors has been unable to grant a positive unqualified statement of assurance on the EU budget as a whole;

The slow pace of reforms to the financial management of EU funds is detrimental to the credibility of the EU budget as a whole.

The Netherlands, Sweden and United Kingdom highlight that independent EU-level audit is a crucial function and we therefore strongly support the work of the European Court of Auditors;

The Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom agree with the European Court of Auditors that improving the quality of spending should be a high priority in order to attain significantly better results in the annual report on the 2010 budget.

The Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom want to see concrete steps towards achieving the following specific objectives before the Council debates discharge of the 2010 budget:

Member states are responsible for implementing the majority of funds from the EU budget in co-operation with the Commission. Member states are responsible for conducting checks and for putting in place an effective and efficient control system. As part of a closer dialogue with member states, the Commission is invited to make proposals and to strengthen member state responsibility. Member states should account for the administration of EU funds at national level, including the proper functioning of internal control systems;

For reasons of transparency and in order to incentivise sound financial management, member states’ annual summaries should be made publicly available. At the same time member states should be obliged to provide analysis of financial management data as an integral part of the annual summaries;

In support of a risk-based approach to auditing, a more structured dialogue between the Court of Auditors, the Commission and member states is necessary. The Commission should bring forward proposals to enable a stronger focus on the audit of larger projects and institutions which have a proven track record of risk.

The forthcoming negotiations of the financial regulation provide an opportunity to take forward these proposals.

Counter-Terrorist Asset-Freezing Regime

The Government are committed to reporting quarterly on the operation of the UK’s terrorist asset-freezing regime. We believe this is essential to ensure transparency and accountability of the regime. The Terrorist Asset-Freezing etc. Act 2010 has enshrined in law the commitment to report quarterly to Parliament on the operation of the regime mandated by UN Security Council Resolution 1373.

This report covers the period October to December 20101. It is the last to cover the operation of the regime under the Terrorism (United Nations Measures) Order 2009, which was repealed on 17 December when the Terrorist Asset-Freezing etc. Act came into force and it also covers the first two weeks of the operation of the new Act.

The new Act strengthens civil liberties safeguards and makes the new regime fairer, more proportionate and more transparent.

A copy of the Act can be found on the HM Treasury’s website:

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/fin_sanctions_terrorist.htm

This report also covers the operation of the UN al-Qaeda and Taliban asset-freezing regime.

As of 31 December 2010, a total of just under £280,0002 of funds relating to terrorism were frozen in the UK. This covers funds frozen under the UK’s domestic terrorist asset-freezing regime, mandated by UN Security Council Resolution 1373, and also funds frozen under the UN al-Qaeda and Taliban asset-freezing regime, mandated by UN Security Council Resolution 1267.

(1) UK’s Domestic Terrorist Asset-freezing Regime

As of 31 December 2010, a total of 91 accounts containing just under £140,000 were frozen in the UK under the domestic terrorist asset-freezing regime mandated by UNSCR 1373.

Operation of the Terrorism (United Nations Measures) Order 2009 (prior to 17 December 2010)

Asset-freezing designations

In the quarter October to December 2010, the Treasury gave no new directions under the 2009 order.

Reviews under the 2009 Order

The Treasury keeps domestic asset-freezing cases under review and completed 38 reviews in this quarter. As a result of these 38 reviews, six persons had their designations revoked.

Licensing

Maintaining an effective licensing system is important to ensure the overall proportionality and fairness of the asset-freezing regime, whether the individuals concerned are subject to an asset freeze in accordance with a UN or EU listing, or domestic terrorism legislation. A licensing framework is put in place for each person on a case-by-case basis. The key objective of the licensing system is to strike an appropriate balance between minimising the risk of diversion of funds to terrorism and meeting the human rights of affected persons and their families. Licences contain appropriate controls to protect against the risk of the diversion of funds for terrorist finance.

Four licences were issued this quarter in relation to four persons subject to an asset freeze under the 2009 order.

In addition to issuing licences relating to a specific person, the Treasury may also issue general licences, which apply to all persons designated under a particular regime or regimes. Licences are granted where there is a legitimate need for such transactions to proceed and where they can proceed without giving rise to any risk of terrorist finance.

One general licence was issued this quarter to allow third parties to pay a designated person’s legal expenses under both the Act and the al-Qaeda and Taliban asset-freezing regime.

No licences were varied or revoked this quarter.

Legal Challenges

Two legal challenges against designations made under the 2009 order were ongoing in the last quarter.

Operation of the Terrorist Asset-Freezing etc. Act 2010 (after 17 December 2010)

The Act contains a transitional provision that ensures that all designations and licences made under the 2009 order remain valid as final designations under the Act until 17 March 2011. All UK asset freezes are therefore currently under review to consider whether they should be renewed under the new Act. The review process will be completed by 17 March 2011.

No new designations or licences were made under the powers of the Act between 17 December and the end of the quarter.

The Independent Reviewer

Under the Act the Treasury is required to appoint an independent reviewer to review the operation of the domestic terrorist asset-freezing regime. The independent reviewer will report on the first nine months of the regime and every 12 months thereafter.

The Treasury has decided to appoint David Anderson QC to the role of Independent Reviewer. He has recently been appointed by the Home Office as the independent reviewer of counter-terrorism legislation.

(2) UN al-Qaeda and Taliban Asset-Freezing Regime

The UN al-Qaeda and Taliban asset-freezing regime is implemented in the UK through EC Regulation 881/2002. Enforcement measures are provided for in the UK’s al-Qaeda and Taliban (Asset-Freezing) Regulations 2010.

As of 31 December 2010, a total of 112 accounts containing just under £140,0003 were frozen in the UK under the al-Qaeda and Taliban asset-freezing regime.

Designations

During this quarter, the EU added five people to its list made under EC Regulation 881/2002, implementing the UN al-Qaeda and Taliban asset-freezing regime established under UNSCR 1267.

Licences

One licence was issued this quarter in relation to one person subject to an asset freeze under the al-Qaeda and Taliban asset-freezing regime.

No specific licences were varied or revoked this quarter. The general licence referred to above also applies to the UNSCR 1267 regime.

Proceedings

In the quarter October to December 2010, no proceedings were taken for breaches of the prohibitions of the 2009 order, the Act or the al-Qaeda and Taliban (Asset-Freezing) Regulations.

1 The detail that can be provided to the House on a quarterly basis is subject to the need to avoid the identification, directly or indirectly, of personal or operationally sensitive information.

2 This figure reflects the most updated account balances available and includes approximately $64,000 of suspected terrorist funds frozen in the UK. This has been converted using exchange rates as of 12/01/11.

3 Includes approximately $64,000 of suspected terrorist funds in the UK.

Communities and Local Government

Social Housing

I am today publishing a paper which sets out the next steps in the Government’s reform of the social housing system, in light of the responses we have received to our policy document, “Local decisions; a fairer future for social housing”, published in November last year. The paper which I am publishing today also contains a summary of those responses and a copy has been placed in the Library of the House.

The reforms to social housing which are being taken forward in the Localism Bill will give local authorities far greater freedom and flexibility in the types of tenancies they can grant to social housing tenants; in the way they allocate their social housing; and in how they discharge their main homelessness duty. The reforms will also significantly improve mobility for social tenants. The reforms to tenure will only affect new social tenancies. We will ensure that the security and rights of existing social tenants continue to be protected in law.

I am publishing the response earlier than the usual three-month deadline from the end of consultation as I believe it will be useful to inform debate on the social housing provisions in the Bill.

The response to the consultation was overwhelming. Nearly 700 responses were received from individuals and organisations. There was a very strong response from local authorities and other social landlords who, in the main, welcomed the new freedoms and flexibilities which the Government are giving them.

The Localism Bill will give the Secretary of State the power to issue a direction to the regulator of social housing on a tenancy standard and a direction on mobility. I am taking the opportunity presented through the paper I am publishing today to set out the Government’s thinking on what we believe should be contained in both of these directions. I intend to publish a full technical draft of the directions on tenure and mobility later this year, when they will be subject to a full consultation.

Deputy Prime Minister

Fixed-term Parliaments Bill

The Constitution Committee’s eighth report summarised its inquiry into the Bill and I am grateful to the Committee for the careful scrutiny it has given the Bill. Today the Government have responded to the Committee’s report by means of a Command Paper which has been laid before both Houses of Parliament.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Rural Development Programme for England

I am today announcing a series of changes I will be making to the operation and delivery of the socio-economic elements of the rural development programme for England 2007-13 (RDPE), which are currently delivered by the regional development agencies.

Future responsibility for delivery of support for farming and forestry competitiveness, diversification of the rural economy and rural quality of life under axes 1 and 3 of the RDPE, and for management of the community-led Leader approach, will transfer from the eight existing RDAs to DEFRA. This will ensure continuity and consistency of delivery for customers, and compliance with the relevant European regulations.

As responsibility transfers to DEFRA, I shall be looking to move as quickly as possible towards a more consistent national approach to delivery of the programme, with a clear focus on the Government’s priorities for farming and forestry competitiveness and the needs of rural areas: managed nationally and delivered in a way which provides locally accessible support. So I have decided that we should aim to locate the RDPE teams in their existing towns or cities initially where that is cost-effective. In order to ensure as smooth a transition as possible, I will be introducing changes to the administration of the programme on a staggered basis from 1 July. These will deliver a more consistent national approach and efficiency savings for the taxpayer, including moving away from existing regions as the key governance tier.

We will engage further with stakeholders and customers about changes to the programme, building on the existing programme governance at the regional and national levels.

I have now informed RDAs of their indicative budget allocations for 2011-12. I am pleased that, following the spending review, we are able to continue to deliver funding under axes 1 and 3 and Leader over the remainder of the programme period. But budgets are constrained and I have asked RDAs to ensure the funding available is focused on delivering against our key priorities for competitiveness and rural areas, while also beginning the process of putting in place the new nationally consistent approach to delivery in 2011-12. RDAs will inform applicants and local action groups of the position within their region. Customers should continue to remain in touch with their existing contacts within the RDAs for further information about the position on individual projects or applications.

New Waterways Charity

On 21 June 2010 I made a statement about inland waterways policy for England and Wales, Official Report, column 4WS. I said that we were considering the appropriate civil society model for British Waterways, including the possible inclusion of the Environment Agency’s navigations. On 14 October, the Government subsequently announced their intention to move British Waterways in England and Wales from being a public corporation to a new waterways charity—subject to parliamentary approval.

As a result of work undertaken by the Government, British Waterways and the Environment Agency over the last few months, I am convinced by the compelling vision of a national trust for the waterways that includes the British Waterways and Environment Agency navigations. However, I wish to take a phased approach to the delivery of this vision, so that assets and liabilities can be transferred sustainably. In phase 1, the liabilities and assets of British Waterways in England and Wales will transfer into the new charity, alongside an “endowment” consisting of the property portfolio owned by British Waterways in England and Wales. In phase 2, the EA navigations would transfer to the new charity, if sufficient funding can be found in the next spending review to enable the charity to take on the liabilities associated with them, and subject to the agreement of the charity’s trustees.

The Government’s proposed approach, which will be subject to public consultation as part of the forthcoming consultation on setting up the new charity, is that the EA navigations should transfer to the new charity in 2015-16 in the next spending review period, if it is affordable to do so. To maintain momentum, a review will be undertaken in 2014 to assess the progress and achievements of the new charity and to consider the options for the transfer of the EA navigations.

The Government are absolutely committed to delivering their exciting vision for a national trust for the waterways over the coming years and consider that over time the new waterways charity offers the most sustainable future for both the BW waterways and EA navigations.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Afghanistan: Monthly Progress Report

I wish to inform the House that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, together with the Ministry of Defence and the Department for International Development, is today publishing the third progress report on developments in Afghanistan.

The report focuses on key developments during the month of January.

January saw a greater tempo of operations than in previous winters because of the high number of International Stabilisation and Assistance Force (ISAF) soldiers and Afghan security forces, the milder than usual weather and the insurgents’ continued attempts to intimidate the population through asymmetric attacks. Attacks such as the suicide bombing of a Kabul supermarket on 28 January and the assassination of the deputy governor of Kandahar province by a suicide bomber on 29 January show that the insurgency has little respect for the safety of civilians or legitimate governance.

ISAF will continue to seek to protect the population from such acts and build up Afghan security forces to ensure that they are ready to take responsibility for security across the country by the end of 2014. Progress continues to be made in developing the Afghan national security forces (ANSF). By the middle of January the Afghan national army (ANA) had reached a total of around 149,500 personnel and the Afghan national police (ANP) around 117,000. Both are still on track to meet the targets agreed at the London conference in January 2010.

ISAF’s monthly assessment in January highlighted progress in several provinces, including central Helmand. ISAF confirmed that security transition remains on track to begin early this year. President Karzai said that he intends to announce the first phase of transition in his Afghan new year address in March. The new Afghan Parliament was inaugurated on 26 January, marking the completion of the 2010 electoral process. The new parliamentarians convened for the first time on 29 January and began the process of electing a new Speaker.

On 1 January the Helmand provincial Government and elders from the Alikhozai from the Upper Sangin valley agreed a peace accord. The Helmand Provincial Government are working to establish a 15-man shura of elders who can represent local communities to consolidate and expand the agreement. Helmand provincial governor, Gulab Mangal, also established a five-man provincial reintegration secretariat to support the delivery of reintegration policy across Helmand.

The UK, through the Helmand provincial reconstruction team (PRT), supported a three-day conference in Lashkar Gah for 85 community elders and mullahs from seven districts to learn about the relationship between community-based and statutory justice systems.

In January, 984 communities elected community development councils that support local community-driven development projects. DFID contributes to the Government of Afghanistan’s community-driven development projects in rural and insecure areas: 1,431 project proposals were approved in January, and 372 projects were completed. These included improvements to water supplies and sanitation, the building of rural roads, the rebuilding of irrigation networks and electricity generation. Over 1,000 Sangin residents, nearly a third of them women, took part in a health education event in Sangin district centre. The Helmand PRT provided Afghan health workers with 8,000 home medical kits to distribute during such health training events.

Members of the High Peace Council, leading the Afghan Government’s reintegration and reconciliation strategy, visited Islamabad in January. They discussed Pakistan’s role in Afghan peace efforts with Pakistani leaders.

The drugs trade remains a threat to the stability of Afghanistan, has a corrosive effect on governance and provides financial and logistical support to the insurgency. Progress is being made on counter-narcotics: the first 50 Afghan interdiction operations of 2011 seized 1,985 kg opium, 61 kg heroin, 1197 kg cannabis, and 338 kg chemical precursors. Fifty-eight suspects were arrested. Additionally, almost a tonne of bomb-making equipment was found during these operations: a clear reminder of the links between the insurgency and the drugs trade.

I am placing the report in the Library of the House. It will also be published on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website (www.fco.gov.uk) and the HMG UK and Afghanistan website (http://afghanistan.hmg.gov.uk/).

Home Department

Charging for Immigration and Nationality Services 2011-12

I am announcing proposals to change the fees for immigration and nationality applications made to the UK Border Agency. The Government review these fees on a regular basis and make appropriate changes as necessary. I will shortly lay regulations for fees that are set at levels above the normal administrative costs of the service. We have continued with our strategic approach to charging setting certain fees above cost on the basis of the value of the service.

These fees must be set out in regulations before both Houses of Parliament and are subject to the affirmative procedure. The fees allow us to generate revenue which is used to fund the UK immigration system and to set certain fees below cost recovery to support wider Government objectives. The revenue generated will contribute towards securing our borders and controlling migration for the benefit of the UK. I will lay another set of regulations in Parliament for the fees for immigration and nationality services that are set at/below the cost of the service.

A table with details of all the proposed increases is set out at annex A. The table includes indicative unit costs for each application for FY 11/12. The unit cost is the estimated average cost to UK Border Agency of processing each application. Although our unit costs are not fixed over the course of the financial year, we publish unit costs so it is clear which fees we set over cost and by how much. Further details of all fees changes will be outlined in the explanatory memoranda accompanying both the regulations.

Given the need to reduce public spending, we have had to carefully consider our fee levels, to ensure we can maintain good service levels to our customers and secure the border for the general public. In principle it is the right time to ask migrants to make a greater contribution to funding the UK Border Agency than was previously the case. Therefore we should continue to seek a shift in the funding provided by migrants to deliver the border and immigration system with a consequent reduction in the burden on UK taxpayers.

In developing these proposals, we have sought to limit increases so as to avoid any broader economic impact (particularly on the most economically sensitive route of all, short-term visit visas).

I believe these proposals continue to strike the right balance between maintaining secure and effective border controls, and ensuring that our fees structure does not inhibit the UK’s ability to attract those migrants and visitors who make a valued contribution. It is right that those who benefit directly from the immigration system should pay to meet the costs of securing the UK’s borders. This will help to support the immigration system, maintain public confidence, and ensure that migration is managed for the benefit of the UK.

Full details on how to apply for all of these services will be provided on our website, www.ukba.homeoffice. gov.uk.

Annex A

Out of Country

Visa – Non PBS (New Products*)

Unit Costs April 2011

Current Fees Oct/Nov

2010

Proposed Fees April 2011

Visit visa – short

£140

£70

£76

Visit visa - long 2 year

£140

£245

£265

Visit visa - long 5 year

£140

£450

£486

Visit visa - long 10 year

£140

£650

£702

Short Term Student <12 Months Visa

£140

£70

£140

Settlement

£391

£750

£810

Settlement - Dependant Relative

£458

£1,680

£1,814

Certificate of Entitlement

£355

£245

£265

Other Visa

£163

£245

£265

Transit Visa

£73

£47

£51

Vignette Transfer Fee

£163

£93

£100

Call Out/Out of Hours Fee

£134/hr

130/hr max £939/day

£130/hr

*Forwarding documents to Commonwealth Countries/Overseas Territories (additional fee)

n/a

£65

£70

*Handling applications on behalf of Commonwealth Countries/Overseas Territories

n/a

£48

£50

*Single entry visa to Replace Biometric Residence Permit Overseas

£70

n/a

£70

Visa – PBS (New Products*)

Unit Costs April 2011

Current Fees Oct/Nov 2010

Proposed Fees April 2011

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur, Investor, Exceptional Talent) - Main Apps

£432

£750

£800

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur, Investor, Exceptional Talent) - Dependants

£432

£750

£800

Tier 1 CESC - Main Apps

£432

£700

£720

Tier 1 CESC - Dependants

£432

£700

£800

Tier 1 (Transition)

n/a

£332

£332

Tier 1 (Transition) CESC

n/a

£300

£300

Tier 1 Post Study - Main

£459

£344

£474

Tier 1 Post Study - Dependants

£459

£344

£474

Tier 2 Gen, Sport & MOR - Main Apps

£250

£350

£400

Tier 2 Gen, Sport & MOR - Dependants

£250

£350

£400

*Tier 2 ICT <12Mths - Main Apps & Dependants

£227

n/a

£350

*Tier 2 ICT <12Mths - CESC Main Applicant

£227

n/a

£315

Tier 2 CESC - Main Apps

£250

£300

£360

Tier 2 CESC - Dependants

£250

£300

£400

Tier 4 - Main Apps

£289

£220

£255

Tier 4 - Dependants

£289

£220

£255

Tier 5 Temp Work & YM

£206

£130

£190

Tier 5 CESC

£206

£120

£171

Tier 5 CESC - Dependants

£206

£130

£190

N.B. CESC = Council of Europe Social Charter reduction

Applications to the Channel Islands under Employment and Study routes attract Tier 2 & Tier 4 fees and costs respectively.

In Country

Nationality (New Products*)

Unit Costs April 2011

Current Fees Oct/Nov 2010

Proposed Fees

April 2011

Naturalisation (UK Citizenship) Single1

£238

£780

£836

Naturalisation (UK Citizenship) Joint 1

£319

£1,010

£1,294

Naturalisation (UK Citizenship) Spouse 1

£238

£780

£836

Nationality Registration Adult 1

£238

£580

£620

Nationality Registration Minor2

£238

£500

£540

Nationality Registration Multiple Minor Main 2

£319

£600

£810

Nationality Registration Multiple Minor Dependant 2

£238

£150

£270

Renunciation of Nationality

£238

£208

£225

Nationality Reissued Certificate

£88

£80

£86

Nationality Right of Abode

£162

£150

£162

Nationality Reconsiderations

£88

£100

£80

Status Letter (Nationality)

£88

£80

£86

Non-Acquisition Letter (Nationality)

£88

£80

£86

*Nationality Correction to Certificate

£88

n/a

£86

1Additional £80 per applicant is included to cover the ceremony fee.

2Additional £80 per applicant is required to cover the ceremony fee should the minor turn 18 during the application process. This will be requested at point of decision.

In UK - Non PBS (New products*)

Unit Costs April 2011

Current Fees

Oct/Nov 2010

Proposed Fees

April 2011

ILR Postal Main

£243

£900

£972

1 ILR Postal Dependant

£243

£250

£486

ILR Postal CESC Main

£243

£850

£875

ILR Postal CESC Dependant

£243

£250

£486

ILR PEO Main

£243

£1,250

£1,350

ILR PEO Dependant

£243

£350

£675

ILR PEO CESC Main

£243

£1,100

£1,215

ILR PEO CESC Dependant

£243

£300

£675

ILR Dependant Relative Postal

£299

£1,680

£1,814

ILR Dependant Relative PEO

£299

£2,050

£2,214

LTR Non Student Postal Main

£418

£500

£550

LTR Non Student Postal Dependant

£418

£150

£275

LTR Non Student PEO Main

£419

£800

£850

LTR Non Student PEO Dependant

£419

£200

£425

Transfer of Conditions Postal Main

£219

£200

£216

Transfer of Conditions Postal Dependant

£219

£50

£108

Transfer of Conditions PEO Main

£219

£600

£648

Transfer of Conditions PEO Dependant

£219

£150

£324

Travel Documents Adult (CoT)

£241

£220

£238

Travel Documents Adult CTD

£241

£77.50

£77.50

Travel Documents Child (CoT)

£152

£138

£149

Travel Documents Child CTD

£152

£49

£49

Replacement Biometric Residence Permit

£37

£30

£37

Mobile Case working (Premium+)

£2,211

£15,000

£6,000 + PEO

Fee

Call Out/Out of Hours Fee

£134/hr

£130/hr max £939/day

£130/hr

Work Permit Technical Changes

£123

£20

£22

Residual FLR IED Postal - Main

£246

£500

£550

Residual FLR IED Postal - Dependants

£238

£150

£275

Residual FLR IED PEO-Main

£148

£800

£850

Residual FLR IED PEO - Dependants

£148

£200

£425

Residual FLR BUS Postal - Main

£148

£850

£1,000

Residual FLR BUS Postal - Dependants

£148

£250

£500

Employment LTR outside PBS Postal

£362

£500

£550

Employment LTR outside PBS Postal Dependant

£362

£150

£275

Employment LTR outside PBS PEO

£303

£800

£850

Employment LTR outside PBS PEO Dependant

£303

£200

£425

*Additional Out of Hours Caseworking1 - PEO Main

n/a

n/a

£300

*Additional Out of Hours Caseworking1 - PEO Dependant

n/a

n/a

£150

*EEA Applications at PEO (per person)

n/a

n/a

£300

1Out of hours caseworking fee payable on top of standard PEO fee

CESC = Council of Europe Social Charter reduction

LTR = Leave to Remain

PEO = Public Enquiry Office

ILR = Indefinite Leave to Remain

In UK - PBS(New products*)

Unit Costs

April 2011

Current Fees

Oct/Nov 2010

Proposed Fees

April 2011

Tier 1 - Postal Main

£269

£850

£1,000

Tier 1 - Postal Dependant

£269

£250

£500

Tier 1 - Postal CESC Main

£269

£770

£900

Tier 1 - Postal CESC Dependant

£269

£250

£500

Tier 1 - PEO Main

£253

£1,150

£1,300

Tier 1 - PEO Dependant

£253

£300

£650

Tier 1 - PEO CESC Main

£253

£1,000

£1,170

Tier 1 - PEO CESC Dependant

£253

£300

£650

Tier 1 - (Post Study) - Postal Main

£337

£550

£594

Tier 1 - (Post Study) - Postal Dependant

£337

£150

£297

Tier 1 - (Post Study) - PEO Main

£337

£850

£918

Tier 1 - (Post Study) - PEO Dependant

£337

£250

£459

Tier 1 - Transition Postal Main

n/a

£500

£500

Tier 1 - Transition Postal Dependant

n/a

£150

£250

Tier 1 - Transition PEO Main

n/a

£700

£700

Tier 1 - Transition PEO Dependant

n/a

£200

£350

Tier 2 - Postal Main

£169

£500

£550

Tier 2 - Postal Dependant

£169

£150

£275

Tier 2 - Postal CESC Main

£155

£450

£495

Tier 2 - Postal CESC Dependant

£155

£150

£275

Tier 2 - PEO Main

£169

£800

£850

Tier 2 - PEO Dependant

£169

£200

£425

Tier 2 - PEO CESC Main

£169

£700

£765

Tier 2 - PEO CESC Dependant

£169

£200

£425

*Tier 2 - Postal Main (ICT <12 months)

£169

n/a

£350

*Tier 2 - Postal Dependants (ICT <12 months)

£169

n/a

£175

*Tier 2 - PEO Main (ICT <12 months)

£169

n/a

£650

*Tier 2 - PEO Dependants (ICT <12 months)

£169

n/a

£325

*Tier 2 - Postal CESC Main (ICT <12 months)

£155

n/a

£315

*Tier 2 - PEO CESC Main (ICT <12 months)

£169

n/a

£585

Tier 4 - Postal Main

£316

£357

£386

Tier 4 - Postal Dependant

£316

£100

£193

Tier 4 - PEO Main

£316

£650

£702

Tier 4 - PEO Dependant

£316

£150

£351

Tier 5 - Postal Main

£235

£130

£190

Tier 5 - Postal Dependant

£235

£30

£95

Tier 5 - Postal CESC Main

£235

£120

£171

Tier 5 - Postal CESC Dependant

£235

£30

£95

Tier 5 - PEO Main

£240

£600

£648

Tier 5 - PEO Dependant

£240

£150

£324

Tier 5 - PEO CESC Main

£240

£550

£583

Tier 5 - PEO CESC Dependant

£240

£150

£324

PBS Dependants Applying Separately - Postal

£418

£500

£550

PBS Dependants Applying Separately - PEO

£419

£800

£850

*Tier 4 - Permission to Change Course1

£160

n/a

£160

N.B. CESC - Council of Europe Social Charter reduction

1Only for migrants that applied to UKBA for permission to study between 31 March and 4 October 2009

PBS Sponsorship

Unit Costs

April 2011

Current Fees

Nov 2010

Proposed Fees

April 2011

Tier 2 Large Sponsor Licence

£1,007

£1,000

£1,025

Tier 2 Small Sponsor Licence

£1,007

£300

£310

Tier 4 Sponsor Licence

£1,007

£400

£410

Tier 5 Sponsor Licence

£1,007

£400

£410

Tier 2, Tier 4 &/or Tier 5 Licence (where sponsor currently holds T4 or T5 licence)

£1,007

£600

£615

Highly Trusted Sponsor Licence

£1,007

£400

£410

Sponsor Action Plan

£1,007

£1,000

£1,000

Tier 2 COS

£172

£170

£175

Tier 5 COS

£15

£10

£10

Tier 4 CAS

£15

£10

£10

International Development

Turks and Caicos Islands

Further to the written statement by the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, the hon. Member for North West Norfolk (Mr Bellingham) of 9 December, Official Report, columns 40-41WS, and the Department for International Development’s minute of 3 February notifying Parliament that the Secretary of State for International Development had approved in principle a loan guarantee to the Turks and Caicos Islands Government (TCIG), I would like to update the House.

The Department for International Development (DFID) has now finalised a guarantee in favour of Scotiabank (Turks and Caicos) Ltd to provide TCIG with access to a maximum capital amount of US$ 260 million over the next five years. I confirm that TCIG will immediately repay DFID its loan of £29.9 million plus interest.

This level of commercial borrowing is vital if TCIG is to turn around its dire financial situation. It will provide the time TCIG needs to implement budget measures which will lead to achieving a fiscal surplus in the financial year ending March 2013. As the Under-Secretary of State, my hon. Friend the Member for North West Norfolk, and I reported to Parliament on 9 December 2010, this is one of a number of key milestones to be reached before a date for elections can be set. Once the territory is in fiscal surplus it will be able to start to pay off its debt and should, after the five-year period is over, if not before, be able to secure new and reduced bank lending without the need for a UK Government guarantee.

The guarantee is intended to cost the UK taxpayer nothing. It will ensure that TCI does not fall victim to financial ruin and it is in line with DFID’s responsibility to underpin the reasonable needs of all British overseas territories.

The current chief financial officer has done an excellent job in getting a grip on TCIG’s public finances. To ensure that the financial plan stays on track to achieve a fiscal surplus DFID reserves the right to require TCIG to retain the position of chief financial officer for as long as the guarantee is in force and to nominate the holder of this post who shall then be appointed by the governor.

Northern Ireland

Robert Hamill Inquiry

In my written statement of 31 January 2011, Official Report, columns 35-36WS, I informed the House that following an announcement by the Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland that it planned to prosecute three individuals in connection with the death of Robert Hamill, I would not publish the report of the Robert Hamill inquiry until these legal proceedings had concluded. Publishing the report while proceedings are ongoing would jeopardise the individuals’ right to a fair trial.

I also set out the checking process which is required to meet the obligations on me in relation to article 2 of the European convention on human rights and in relation to national security. I can confirm that this checking process has now been completed and I have received advice from the checking team which confirms that there is nothing in the report which, if published, could breach article 2 of the European convention on human rights by putting the lives or safety of individuals at risk, or put national security at risk. I am therefore satisfied that once legal proceedings have concluded, the report can be published in full. I have advised Sir Edwin Jowitt, the chairman of the inquiry, of this.

I have also asked Sir Edwin to retain formal custody of the report in a secure location until the legal proceedings have concluded and it can be submitted to me and be published. The report has not been shown to me or to any other member of the Government, or to any officials except the two members of the team who carried out the checking process. I have not been briefed on the contents of the report, nor have any officials other than those in the checking team.

Again, I reassure the House that once the legal proceedings have concluded, I intend to publish the report in full and as soon as practicable. Once a timetable for publication becomes clear, I will update the House accordingly.

Transport

High-Speed Rail

Today, I am launching the consultation on the Government’s proposals for a national high-speed rail network. “High Speed Rail: Investing in Britain’s Future” sets out the Government’s case for this network, the details of the Government’s strategy, and the proposed route for an initial phase from London to the west midlands. It will be one of the most extensive national consultations ever undertaken.

I believe that a national high-speed rail network from London to Birmingham, with onward legs to Leeds and Manchester, could transform Britain’s competitiveness as profoundly as the coming of the railways in the 19th century. It would reshape Britain’s economic geography, helping bridge the north-south divide though massive improvements in journey times and better connections between cities—slashing almost an hour off the trip from London to Manchester.

But the proposed high-speed rail network would do more. It would address Britain’s future transport capacity challenge—providing a huge uplift in long-distance capacity and relieving pressure on overstretched conventional lines. It would bring around £44 billion of net monetised benefits and support the creation of thousands of new jobs, as well as delivering unquantifiable strategic benefits. And it would help us to build a sustainable economy—by encouraging millions of people out of cars and off planes onto trains. Our competitors already recognise the huge benefits of high-speed rail and are pressing ahead with ambitious plans. Britain cannot afford to be left behind.

The Government’s support for high-speed rail was set out clearly in their programme for government, published in May last year. Since then, we have built upon the work already done by HS2 Ltd to consider the case for high-speed rail in the UK. Last October’s spending review settlement reaffirmed our support and provided over £750 million to fund the development of our national network proposals over the next four years.

Since then, the Government have received additional advice from HS2 Ltd on options for a national high-speed rail network and on direct links to Heathrow and the High Speed 1 (HS l) line to the channel tunnel.

The Government understand the concerns of those living near the proposed route. Following a series of visits I made along the proposed London-west midlands line, we have altered around half the original route—significantly reducing the potential local environmental impacts.

In the Chilterns area of outstanding natural beauty, all but 1.2 miles would be in tunnel, cutting, or close to the A413 road corridor. Since HS2 Ltd’s original report to Government was published in March 2010, the number of properties where high noise levels would be expected to be experienced has fallen from 350 to around 10.

In December 2010, I set out our proposed high-speed rail strategy, our preferred route and our approach to delivering a wider high-speed network.

However, we recognise that decisions should not be taken on a major infrastructure project of this scale until all those with an interest have had their say. So this consultation—which will run until 29 July—seeks views on: the case for high-speed rail; our strategy for a national high-speed network; the proposed route for an initial line from London to the West Midlands; and our options for providing assistance to those who are detrimentally affected by any new line. Responses can be submitted through the HS2 consultation website, or sent to a freepost address.

Copies of the consultation document have been placed in the Library of the House and are available on the DFT website. I am also publishing a number of more detailed supporting documents, including a detailed economic case, a full appraisal of sustainability and a route engineering report.

My Department will be conducting a series of regional seminars to inform the strategic debate, together with a series of roadshows along the line of the proposed London-west midlands route. These will give people the chance to discuss our plans and the specific local impacts and mitigation proposals with the engineers and other specialists working on the project.

This is a once-in-a-generation infrastructure investment that would have a transformational effect on Britain’s economy. Civic leaders of all political persuasions and business leaders from all parts of the United Kingdom support it. I urge all hon. Members with an interest to encourage their constituents to participate in the consultation. I will announce the outcome of this consultation process and the Government’s decisions on their strategy for high-speed rail before the end of 2011.

Local and Regional Rail Services

Local authorities and integrated transport authorities from time to time wish to develop proposals for new or enhanced rail services where, in their view, they offer the best way of meeting the transport needs of their area. They have the necessary powers to secure the provision of such services but they are sometimes inhibited by the risk that significant revenue funding may need to be committed over the long term. I am keen to encourage local bodies to identify the best solutions for identified local needs and therefore wish to ensure that they are not deterred from considering an improved rail service where it clearly offers value for money.

The Government’s priority remains one of reducing the budget deficit and, therefore, careful consideration has to be given to any proposal that might increase the cost of the railway, either in the short or long-term. However, we recognise the arguments put forward by promoters that regional and local rail services need to adapt to population, housing and economic growth in localities. Therefore, it is only right that, once they have demonstrated value for money after a trial period, new or improved services promoted by local authorities are treated in a similar way to the more established services which are currently funded as part of the national network.

I would therefore like to announce to the House that the Government still intend to fund the provision of new or enhanced services promoted by authorities which have rail industry support, but in view of the tough financial decisions made as part of the spending review, no such funding will be provided prior to April 2015 (the start of the next spending review period).

It is important that the promoter demonstrates that a rail scheme is the best way to address regional and local transport issues; hence promoters would still be expected to fund a new or enhanced service for the first three years to demonstrate its commitment to the service and show that it delivers value for money in the light of actual experience.

Schemes which the Department would consider funding in this way would be subject to a number of conditions, details of which have been deposited in the Library of the House and will be made available on the Department for Transport’s website.