Skip to main content

Written Statements

Volume 531: debated on Monday 18 July 2011

Written Ministerial Statements

Monday 18 July 2011

Business, Innovation and Skills

English for Speakers of Other Languages

I am today publishing the equality impact assessment of provision of English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) training, which I ordered earlier this year. I did so because of my determination that necessary additional cost-effectiveness should not unduly disadvantage vulnerable individuals in vulnerable communities.

Furthermore, I have asked the Association of Colleges to advise on developing with key providers an effective methodology for targeting funds at settled communities in which language barriers inhibit individual opportunity and community cohesion. Given the respective work that Lord Boswell and Baroness Sharp are doing on adult literacy and colleges in communities I have asked that they are involved in this work.

Simultaneously, we will devise means by which the quality of ESOL can be measured more effectively with a new emphasis on familiar benefits, progression to further learning and employment. I will discuss measurements of quality with Ofsted.

By targeting public funding on those in greatest need, and setting higher standards for providers, our reforms will make ESOL provision work better for learners, employers, and taxpayers.

Between 2001 and 2005 ESOL enrolments tripled, and Government spending peaked at £271 million. Despite policy introduced in 2006-7 to limit automatic fee remission to those on income-related benefits, by 2008-9 spending had only fallen to £250 million. We are, therefore, determined to continue to regain control of spending by introducing the further measures.

From August this year, full Government funding for ESOL courses will be available only for people on jobseeker’s allowance and employment support allowance (work related activity group) to help them find work. As part of a broader move towards rebalancing the investment in skills between Government, the employer and the learner, other eligible learners will be expected to make a contribution towards their course fees.

It is unacceptable that the public purse pays for free English language training for people who have come here to take up work—companies that recruit abroad must take full responsibility for that decision.

But I know that, in particular, there are women and families who rely on community-based English language to help them communicate with their children’s schools, as well as opening the door to other public services.

I am, therefore, pleased to announce that we will work in partnership with the Department for Communities and Local Government on developing new forms of support for those who need informal, community-based learning of English.

I am placing a copy of the impact assessment in the Libraries of both Houses.


Double Taxation Convention (United Kingdom and the Republic of Armenia)

A new double taxation convention with the Republic of Armenia was signed on 13 July 2011. The text of the convention has been deposited in the Libraries of both Houses and will be made available on HM Revenue and Customs’ website. The text will be scheduled to a draft Order in Council and laid before the House of Commons in due course.

Isle of Man Indirect Tax Revenue Sharing

The Treasury has agreed a revision to the formula governing the sharing of joint indirect tax revenues under the 1979 Customs and Excise agreement with the Isle of Man.

The new formula is intended to give the Isle of Man the revenue that they would collect if they ran their own indirect tax system, while providing the Isle of Man with generous transitional payments. In 2010 the Isle of Man changed the way that it measured its national income to more closely follow international standards. Under the previous formula this would have implied a significant increase in the Isle of Man’s share of joint revenues. The new formula provides the Isle of Man with a share of joint indirect tax revenues similar to that which the UK Treasury expected when the last formula was agreed in 2009.

The Treasury welcomes the recognition by Isle of Man Government that the previous revenue sharing formula was not sustainable and we are pleased that a new formula has been agreed, following negotiations. The Treasury hopes that it provides a stable and secure basis for the long-term future of the Customs and Excise agreement between the United Kingdom and the Isle of Man.

Counter-Terrorist Asset-Freezing Regime: 1 April 2011 to 30 June 2011

Under the Terrorist Asset-Freezing etc. Act 2010 (the Act), the Treasury is required to report quarterly to Parliament on the operation of the UK’s asset-freezing regime mandated by UN Security Council Resolution 1373.

This is the second report under the Act and it covers the period from 1 April 2011 to 30 June 20111.

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

As of 30 June 2011, a total of just under £230,0002 of funds were held 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) UKs domestic terrorist asset freezing regime under the Terrorist Asset-Freezing etc. Act 2010

As of 30 June 2011, a total of 85 accounts containing just over £120,000 were frozen in the UK under the domestic terrorist asset-freezing regime. No new accounts were frozen during the quarter.

Operation of the Terrorist Asset-Freezing etc. Act 2010

Asset-freezing designations and reviews

In the period 1 April 2011 to 30 June 2011, the Treasury made no new designations under the Act and did not conduct any reviews of existing designations.


Maintaining a fair and effective licensing system is crucial to ensuring the overall proportionality 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 designation. A licensing framework is put in place for each person in the UK 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 implementing asset-freezes in a proportionate way. Licences contain appropriate controls to protect against the risk of the diversion of funds for terrorist finance.

A total of four licences were issued this quarter under the Act in relation to three persons subject to an asset-freeze.

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.

No general licences were issued this quarter under the Act.

Legal Challenges

Two legal challenges against designations made under both the Terrorism (United Nations Measures) Order 2009 and the Act were ongoing in the quarter under review.

(2) UN al-Qaeda and Taliban asset-freezing regime

The UN al-Qaeda and Taliban asset-freezing regime, established under UNSCR 1267, is implemented in the UK by Council Regulation (EC) No 881/2002. Enforcement measures are provided for in the UK’s al-Qaeda and Taliban (Asset-Freezing) Regulations 2010.

In June, the UN adopted resolutions 1988 and 1989 which split the UNSCR 1267 al-Qaeda and Taliban regime into two separate regimes. The UN also introduced welcome new due process reforms including strengthening the role of the ombudsperson and enhancing arrangements for reviewing designations.

This quarterly report covers the combined al-Qaeda and Taliban 1267 regime. Future reports will cover the operation in the UK of the 1989 al-Qaeda regime and the 1373 regime only, as the Taliban regime will be taken forward on a basis similar to other country sanctions.

As of 30 June 2011, a total of 84 accounts containing just under £110,0003 were frozen in the UK under the al-Qaeda and Taliban asset-freezing regime.


During this quarter, the EU added three people to the list in annex I to Council Regulation (EC) No 881/2002.

Six people were delisted during the quarter, none of whom had UK connections.


Seven individual licences were issued in this quarter in relation to three persons subject to an asset-freeze under the al-Qaeda and Taliban asset-freezing regime. One of these licences was revoked.

(3) Proceedings

In the quarter to 30 June 2011, no proceedings were initiated in respect of breaches of the prohibitions of the Act or the al-Qaeda and Taliban (Asset-Freezing) Regulations.

1The 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.

2This 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 05/07/11.

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

Remote Gambling

On Thursday 14 July, the Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, my hon. Friend the Member for Weston-super-Mare (John Penrose), who is responsible for tourism and heritage, announced that he proposes that the Gambling Act should be amended so that remote gambling is regulated on a point of consumption basis. Under this proposal all operators, whether from here or abroad, will be required to hold a Gambling Commission licence to enable them to transact with British consumers. I will review the case for changing the taxation regime in line with my hon. Friend’s proposal and taxing operators on the basis of customer location.

Separately, other countries are also changing both their regulatory and taxation regimes for remote gambling. I will consider the tax implications of these developments. In particular, I will consider ways to prevent operators in the UK being subject to double taxation on remote gambling in the shorter-term.

Communities and Local Government

Local Government Finance

In the interests of delivering greater transparency I am today making available the written representations received by the Department for Communities and Local Government from local authorities during the consultation period on the 2011-12 provisional local government finance settlement. Copies of all written representations from local authorities received can be found at:

This opening up of this year’s local government finance settlement is provided in the context of the announcement we are making today to change the way local government is funded through the local retention of business rates from 2013.

The new system should reduce councils’ dependency on central Government and ensure they channel their energies into investing in local growth, rather than, as now and as illustrated in these written representations, focusing on lobbying for more resources at the expense of other local authorities.

This statement updates the number of responses given in the written ministerial statement of 31 January 2011, Official Report, columns 26-28WS, about the consultation on the provisional local government finance settlement for 2011-12. Responses were received from 230 local authorities.


The last Government left the biggest budget deficit in our peacetime history—with the state forecast to borrow £146 billion a year in 2010-11, or £400 million being borrowed every single day. The coalition Government’s savings will help eliminate the structural current deficit by 2014-15. This will help keep interest rates down, restore economic stability and reduce the amount of taxpayers’ money that would otherwise be spent on debt interest. As with a credit card bill, the longer one leaves to pay the debt off, the worse it gets. If a Government live beyond their means, it will mean higher taxes or deeper spending reductions in the future.

Councils account for around a quarter of all public expenditure, so they must play their part in the coalition Government’s determination to tackle the deficit. Even so, Ministers made several changes to the way central Government grant is shared out between authorities to achieve a fair and sustainable settlement.

The coalition Government took into account that some councils are very dependent on central Government grant. The weight given to levels of need in the formula was increased, so that more money follows socio-economic indicators. Four different bands were set for damping purposes for authorities in different circumstances, reflecting their relative reliance on central Government grant. These banded floors ensure that the most dependent authorities get the smallest reductions.

Ministers also smoothed the impact of the reductions and limited the need for councils to front-load their spending reductions. Reductions in overall spending power were limited to no more than 8.8% for all councils in 2011-12. The transition grant funding provided to limit losses—some £96 million this year—is going to the most dependent areas.

Taken together, these actions mean that those areas which are more reliant on central Government grant are protected from the greatest reductions in grant in the local government finance settlement for 2011-12.

Furthermore, Ministers have removed many costly burdens on local government such as comprehensive area assessments, and have removed ring fencing around all revenue grants except simplified schools grants and a new public health grant to provide the maximum local flexibility to allocate funding efficiently. These freedoms are accompanied by £300 million of capitalisation in 2011-12 to help early restructuring. The main application deadline was 12 May. It is intended to issue capitalisation directions in July, nearly six months earlier than in previous years, to provide early clarity to authorities.

Changes in the final settlement

The local government finance settlement for 2011-12 was approved by the House of Commons on 9 February 2011. Following consultation Ministers made a number of changes. Key amendments arising out of the consultation were:

£10 million was added to district formula grant to compensate for concessionary fares changes;

Transition grant increased so that no council faced a reduction in their spending power of more than 8.8% (from 8.9% before consultation), based on spending power figures as set out at the provisional settlement;

Spending power calculations were revised to exclude parish precepts, and to reflect local allocations of Local Economic Growth Initiative, Housing Market Renewal and Eco-Towns grants where one local authority acts as an accountable body for several local authorities;

A £1.9 million reduction was made to the quantum of the adjustment for the South Downs National Park;

The base position for Bury and other Greater Manchester authorities changed to reflect that Bury are no longer lead authority for staff transferred from the Learning and Skills Council, and;

The spending review announced that £200 million of capitalisation would be available in 2011-12. Following representations from authorities, the Government decided to increase the amount to £300 million, which was announced on 3 March.

Common themes raised by local authorities

Councils believe the current system is far too complex and lacks transparency, making it very hard for local communities to understand.

Councils frequently called for changes to be made to advantage their council at the expense of others. For example, Barnsley metropolitan borough council argued against the large proportion of floor damping that goes to local authorities in London and the south-east. By contrast, Basingstoke and Deane borough council argued against authorities above the floor having to fund floor damping, calling for a reduction of the scaling factor used for district councils and opposed the increase in weighting for relative needs.

The Association of North East Councils argued that the north-east received a worse deal than the south-east, and that deprivation had risen more in the north-east than London since 2007.

Brighton and Hove city council disagreed with the area cost adjustment for Cumbria, Wolverhampton, Wigan, Liverpool and Oldham, but not to its area. London councils contended that London has faced particularly tough settlements over the last five years, and that the area cost adjustment system penalised councils in high-wage labour markets like London. Southampton city council objected to being scaled back in the damping mechanism in order to fund inner-London boroughs. Ashford borough council asserted that district councils and south-east councils were being treated less favourably than other parts of the country.

Councils frequently maintained that they were so deprived that additional funding and weighting should be given to them, or that the measures of deprivation did not properly reflect their real level of deprivation.

The representations, taken together, illustrate the need for reform of the local government finance system. At present, the massively complex and opaque system encourages local authorities to argue for more money at the expense of other local authorities, and to champion their particular circumstances and downplay their locality rather than seize the opportunities for growth and success.

Culture, Media and Sport

A New Framework for Local Television

Today, I am publishing a new framework setting out proposals to help create a new generation of local TV services across the UK.

The framework outlines the steps the Government intend to take by using available secondary order-making powers and the funding of up to £40 million secured through the licence fee settlement with the BBC to support local TV services.

The proposals include three statutory instruments: the first, to reserve sufficient local, low-cost spectrum for carrying the local TV services; the second, to create a proportionate and targeted licensing regime for the spectrum and local TV service operators; and the third, to secure appropriate prominence for the licensed local services in television electronic programme guides.

Local TV will provide news and other content for local audiences, helping to holdlocal institutions to account and providing proper local perspectives. This framework offers the right incentives to the market to develop innovative business models; provides greater certainty and reduced risk for investors; and encourages new market opportunities and growth.

This framework takes into account a range of views provided to the Government through an earlier consultation and has involved a broad assessment of the technical, commercial and regulatory requirements involved. Information on spectrum coverage and possible locations will be made available in due course.

It is expected the first local television licences will be awarded by Ofcom from summer 2012. I have placed copies of the framework and associated impact assessment in the Libraries of both Houses.

Royal Parks Agency

I am publishing today a statement regarding the future governance of the eight royal parks and the Royal Parks Agency

In my ministerial written statement to both Houses on 18 January 2011, I outlined how the Government were committed to transferring more responsibility for the management of the eight royal parks to the Greater London Authority (GLA) and to ensuring that Londoners had a voice in how the parks are managed.

I have now considered a range of options for how best to achieve our objective of greater accountability to the GLA and to park users and local residents. I do not believe that primary legislation is necessary to transfer responsibility for the day-to-day management of the parks. Instead, I believe that it is possible to achieve an outcome that allows the mayor and local interests to have a significant say in how the royal parks are managed which is also cost-effective.

Our intention is that Crown ownership of the royal parks will be maintained. The royal parks will remain an Executive agency of DCMS and the responsibility of the Secretary of State but we will create a new royal parks board to provide a voice for the Mayor and for London in how the parks are managed. The chair and board will be appointed by the mayor, with board members including representatives of the London boroughs and the royal household. At the same time, we will task the board to develop and recommend new consultation processes that will give local communities and users of the parks a role in decision-making. The details of these new governance arrangements will be announced in due course. Board arrangements will be kept under review by the Secretary of State.


Defence Transformation

The strategic defence and security review (SDSR), announced last October, marked the start of the process of transforming defence to meet the challenges of the future. It set out a path to a coherent and affordable defence capability in 2020 and beyond; and some of the key building blocks—such as the return of the Army from Germany, and a Royal Air Force (RAF) structured around fewer, more capable fast jets.

This statement provides detail of our intent on future armed forces basing and rationalisation of the defence estate.

This has been a complex piece of work. It addressed the decision to accelerate the return of the 20,000 personnel still in Germany, plus their dependants, to the UK and the formation of the Army into five multi-role brigades. It took into account the footprint of the armed forces around the UK and the planned changes to the RAF force structure. A number of other initiatives, such as the future location for defence technical training and the restructuring of the Army’s non-deployable regional footprint, have also had significant estate implications. Finally, it has also taken account of the need to realise receipts from high-value sites defence no longer required to help address the black hole in the defence budget left by the previous Government.

Basing affects a wide range of interested parties across defence. Experts from across the Department and all three armed services were consequently involved in the study. Throughout the process MOD has been very clear and consistent about the criteria used—above all what is best for the defence and security of the UK and what makes overall military sense. We looked at what was best for those serving in our armed forces, and their families. We also recognised that defence decisions have broader regional, economic, and social consequences. Finally, the resulting plan must of course be affordable and offer value-for-money for the taxpayer.

The starting point for the review of basing has been the military requirement. Units which are part of larger formations have to be close enough together geographically to be able to work and train effectively and to create the formation coherence necessary for successful combat operations. To do so, they need access to suitable training areas of the right size, and with the right terrain, so they can prepare for deployment.

We have considered the impact of the proposed changes on service personnel and their families. Under the armed forces’ new employment model, the Army aim to base personnel close to a number of units so they can change post without their family needing to move home, and close enough to an urban centre for their families to have access to jobs and education and to the housing market. This will allow greater stability, which is important for the welfare of our armed forces and their families, and to continuing the Government’s commitment to rebuilding the armed forces’ covenant.

The defence of the United Kingdom, and wider military tasks, including the capacity to support the civil authorities in times of crisis, requires a strong military presence across the entire country. We have also considered the impact of changes on local communities. Finally, we have taken into account the need to make the maximum use of existing defence estate and to dispose of that which is not required.

Much detailed planning remains to be done, both to identify the most effective draw-down plan for the forces currently in Germany and to determine which units are the best match for which sites. We will also need to take into account the potential changes in the balance between the regular and reserve forces I have also announced today. And there will be a need for the appropriate level of engagement with local authorities, including the preparation of sustainability assessments and the other work needed to meet our obligations. This means that some uncertainties remain, particularly about the time scales in which the necessary moves will take place. But our strategic objective and the key building blocks of our plan are clear. I will set these out, together with indicative time scales we are currently assuming for planning purposes.

There is already a concentration of the Army in the south-west of England, around Salisbury and around Catterick in Yorkshire. These will make up three of the five multi-role brigades (MRBs).

One of the two remaining MRBs to be formed from the units returning from Germany will be based in Scotland. The centre of gravity of the brigade will be in the central Lowlands. The key sites that are anticipated to be used are Kirknewton, which we propose to develop into a major Army base, and Glencorse. Other MRB units will be moved into Caledonia and, eventually, Arbroath, with the long-term plan being to bring the bulk of the Royal Marines together in the south-west of England. A site will also be used at Albemarle Barracks, Northumberland. We will aim to move the first unit into Kirknewton in 2016-17, with units probably moving into Glencourse and Caledonia a year earlier. We will plan to move the Royal Marines out of Arbroath around 2015-16, with a unit from Germany moving in shortly thereafter.

RAF Marham will remain as a base for Tornado GR4 and we have decided that we will build up the Typhoon force at Lossiemouth, retaining that station for the long-term as a RAF base, providing the location for the northern quick reaction alert missions. We will start preparing the infrastructure at Lossiemouth to receive the Typhoon force straight away, and would aim to start to redeploy aircraft there in 2013. We will continue to redeploy aircraft over the following years as space becomes available.

Although Leuchars will cease to be an RAF base it will remain in military use and will be used to base two major Army units and a formation headquarters. Our aim will be to move the headquarters to Leuchars before 2015, with the major units thereafter in the period 2015-17. This will ensure that as space becomes available at Leuchars, the Army will begin to take advantage of it.

We are also planning to place Army units in Kinloss in around 2014-15, subject to further detailed planning.

The MRB centred in Scotland will require a new training area and the MOD is grateful for the positive engagement being taken forward with the Scottish Government to achieve this. We will continue to engage with the Scottish Government to develop firm plans, including the confirmation of a specific site. Overall, this is good news for Scotland with overall force levels increasing.

The other MRB will be based in the east of England centred on the former RAF base at Cottesmore (in Rutland). The RAF will vacate Cottesmore in 2013, and we anticipate the first unit coming back from Germany should arrive the following year. We also intend to use other former RAF bases and existing Army bases including north Luffenham, in Rutland, where we aim to bring the first unit back in about 2015-16, Bassingbourn, in Cambridgeshire, with the first unit arriving back around 2016-17, and Woodbridge, in Suffolk, where the first unit is unlikely to arrive back before 2017-18.

Other sites that are anticipated to be used to accommodate Army units returning from Germany are Aldegrove in Northern Ireland, with the aim of a unit arriving in 2015, and Pirbright where we are planning for units from Germany to arrive in 2013.

Defence must also continue to look to make the most efficient use of the defence estate and the process will continue to identify and dispose of sites that are no longer needed. Those sites which can be sold, especially high-value sites, will deliver much needed receipts to the defence budget. We also need to make sure we are making maximum use of those sites which remain. The decision has therefore been taken to vacate and dispose of Craigiehall, Redford and Dreghom Barracks in Edinburgh. We will aim to achieve these disposals by 2014-15 at the latest. We also plan in the same timescale to vacate and dispose of Waterbeach in Cambridgeshire which, subject to the necessary planning consents, will support the Government’s broader aim of increasing the supply of new housing. The units currently based at these sites will, as appropriate, be accommodated at other locations.

This conclusion also paves the way for a number of other estate-related initiatives to proceed.

In accordance with SDSR direction it is proposed that the Army’s four regional divisional headquarters will be replaced by a single UK support command. The new formation, commanded by a major general, will be known as headquarters support command and it will be based in Aldershot. Its creation will lead to the disbandment of Headquarters 2nd Division in Edinburgh, Headquarters 4th Division at Aldershot and Headquarters 5th Division at Shrewsbury in 2012. Savings at the regional brigade level will be made through structural changes to each of the ten regional brigade headquarters and to HQ London district, together with their supporting structures rather than closing individual brigade headquarters.

Another of the decisions from the SDSR was to reduce the Army by one deployable brigade as part of the measure to restructure towards five MRBs, replacing the current mix of armoured, mechanised and light brigades. Having considered the various options, we have concluded that 19 Light Brigade and its constituent units, currently based in Northern Ireland, is the most logical option from a military judgment for disbandment as it is not well suited to become an MRB, nor do the existing basing and training facilities in Northern Ireland cater for heavier equipments and all-arms training. Detailed planning and trade unions consultation will now commence on the basis of our intent to complete the disbandment by 2013. While this will result in a reduction in the current troop levels in Northern Ireland, with some units being amalgamated within different brigades and others disbanded, we continue to consider options for future basing in Northern Ireland consistent with our wider re-basing plans. We remain committed to maintaining a permanent military garrison in Northern Ireland. As part of the implementation planning we will now undertake, we will examine what alternative military uses can be made of the sites which are no longer required for 19 Light Brigade.

Routine business on basing and further work on disposals will continue. Stafford will become home to two additional Signals Regiments in the period 2015-18. This will be done in close consultation with the German authorities, which will continue as the Army now draws up its plans for how to draw down from Germany in a sensible and coherent way.

RAF Lyneham is the preferred location for future defence technical training. This confirms that the Department will withdraw from Arborfield in Berkshire and Bordon in Hampshire, releasing the sites for sale by 2014-15 at the latest. This announcement in no way threatens the existing defence presence at St Athan. There are no plans to move or reduce the 300 technical training posts as part of the rationalisation to Lyneham. Indeed plans to relocate additional defence units to St Athan are being developed, and if those plans come to fruition, they will bring a major uplift in employment at that base. We intend to make an announcement before the end of the year.

As noted above, 160 brigade will also continue to be in Wales at Brecon.

Finally, even with the decisions to use the former RAF bases to the greatest extent possible, the demand for civilian workforce at RAF Kinloss, Cottesmore and Lyneham will be reduced. This, combined with the need to match skills to jobs, means that around 545 posts in total will be lost. Consultation has been under way with trade unions on the drawdown of RAF Kinloss, Lyneham, Cottesmore and much work has been done to help individuals to assess their future options. Staff have been encouraged to apply for MOD voluntary early release (VERS), and many have taken up that opportunity. However, to manage the drawdown of the stations efficiently, it is necessary to introduce a redundancy scheme, which will commence with voluntary redundancy terms. Consultation with trade unions on the redundancy scheme will take place very shortly.

The detailed planning work, including the investment required to adapt sites, will now get under way based on this strategic direction. The Ministry of Defence will now begin the process of detailed planning and the appropriate and necessary engagement with the devolved Administrations and local authorities concerned around the country.

Further work will be done to draw up individual project plans and determine the timing and sequencing of the Army moves, and this may affect some of the indicative time scales set out here. Once completed, this will deliver the military requirement for basing and estate, which will facilitate our work to maximise the effectiveness of our armed forces under the adaptable posture set out in the SDSR. It will rebalance the defence footprint across the UK, offer stability to our armed forces, and deliver better value for money for the taxpayer.

Ministry of Defence Annual Report and Accounts 2010-11

I am today publishing the Ministry of Defence (MOD)’s annual report and accounts 2010-11. It provides a comprehensive overview of the Department’s financial performance for the year, together with data on some specific areas of non-financial performance including factual information on the Department’s progress against structural reform and business plan priorities. Copies will be available from the Vote Office and online from the MOD website at the following address:

Deputy Prime Minister

Co-ordinated Online Record of Electors

The previous Government legislated for the co-ordinated online record of electors (CORE) in the Electoral Administration Act 2006 and the Political Parties and Elections Act 2009. CORE was intended to provide a single source of electoral registration information for authorised users, principally to provide political parties with a system that would help them meet their donation reporting obligations. The CORE service was to be managed by a new public body, a corporation sole, established for the purposes of being the “CORE keeper”.

The cost of building the CORE system was estimated to be £11.4 million and £2.7 million per annum to run thereafter.

The Government have decided not to pursue the project. We do not believe that establishing this system is proportionate, cost-effective or consistent with the Government’s policy on databases and reducing the number of non-departmental public bodies. We will continue to consider more cost-effective ways to improve the processes and procedures for political parties to report donations.


Early Intervention

The Government welcome the recent publication of the second and final report of the review of the hon. Member for Nottingham North (Mr Allen) into early intervention. The Government recognise the case for supporting prevention and early intervention and are already taking action. Today, jointly with the Under-Secretary of State for Health, I am launching “Supporting Families in the Foundation Years” which sets out the importance of intervening early and the role that different services, working together, should play to ensure that children and families receive early help where needed. It reflects the review’s vision that every child should be helped to develop the necessary social and emotional skills to form positive relationships, have self-confidence, perform to the best of their abilities at school and in later life, being aware of the needs of both themselves and others. A society without those skills will ultimately fail—and the cost is already there to see in terms of children falling behind at school, at greater risk of developing physical or mental health problems, needing to go into care and, in the worst cases, getting into crime. Failure to get this right results in substantial costs both to society and children’s life chances, with poorer health, reduced employment prospects and relationship instability in later life, and the risk that these problems cascade on to the next generation. As the Government have already set out in their child poverty and social mobility strategies, we must take action now to address these issues.

The vision of the hon. Member for Nottingham North is wide-ranging in scope. He challenges central Government to respond to this vision, to ensure that early intervention principles are embedded across Government, but particularly to focus on the needs of those who can benefit most—our children and young people. He also argues that every local area should put in place effective strategies to work not only with the most challenging families, but also to take preventive action at every stage of a child’s development through community budgets.

Today’s launch of “Supporting Families in the Foundation Years” recognises the input of the hon. Member for Nottingham North to the early intervention agenda. He has directly contributed to Government’s thinking on this statement which has taken into account many of his recommendations, for example on adopting the term “foundation years” from pregnancy to five, his emphasis on the importance of parenting, and focusing on what works in evidence-based interventions such as the family nurse partnership. He has identified approaches to innovative finance and payment by results through data collection, along with proposals to encourage people at every level to focus on intervening early, particularly in the foundation years. Much of his vision links to Eileen Munro’s recommendations on offering early help.

The hon. Gentleman has conducted an analysis of evidence-based programmes in his two reports, and argues powerfully that in a tight fiscal climate it makes sense to use programmes which are most effective, and are proven to deliver results. We agree that evidence-based programmes and practice are important and, like the hon. Gentleman, recognise that any list of the most effective programmes will change over time so should be kept under review. Naturally it is for local areas to decide which programmes suit the needs of their community. Through “Supporting Families in the Foundation Years” we are asking the sector for their views on how best to encourage the sector to make full use of those programmes, as part of the commitment to the Government’s new relationship with the increasingly autonomous and self-confident sector.

On his recommendations on wider system reform, and the creation of early intervention places, the “Supporting Families in the Foundation Stage” document sets out an ambition that this work should link closely with community budgets focused on families with multiple problems, to encourage local authorities to work not only with the most challenging families, but also to support families earlier to reduce the numbers of families reaching crisis point.

In his second report, the hon. Member for Nottingham North has investigated a number of innovative approaches to contracting for outcomes and funding to support the delivery of this vision. This is challenging and new territory, but his proposals provide a very useful input to the Government’s consultations on how they can best deploy and unlock resources to improve the effectiveness of public services. We welcome his call for an independent foundation to champion early intervention and challenge public service providers and Government. Such a foundation has an important role to play. We welcome this proposal as a way of engaging the key partners in this agenda.

The Government view both reports of the hon. Member for Nottingham North as a very positive step forward in what we know about early intervention and its funding. We are very grateful to the hon. Gentleman and his review team for their considerable efforts in clarifying the challenge, and the opportunities, arising from an early intervention approach.

Families in the Foundation Years

Today the Under-Secretary of State for Health, the hon. Member for Guildford (Anne Milton) and I are publishing a policy statement “Families in the Foundation Years”, which sets out the Government’s policy and the services that we think should be offered to all parents and families across England from pregnancy until a child reaches the age of five.

Today we are also launching a document—“Supporting Families in the Foundation Years”—for commissioners, local leaders and professionals who work with families in the foundation years, setting out our vision for the system that will implement these policies. It has been developed with advice from a wide range of professionals with extensive knowledge and experience of the foundation years.

On 6 July I launched a consultation on revised standards for learning, development and care of children from birth to five—a simpler, strengthened early years foundation stage (EYFS). We also made available a discussion document on the new core purpose of Sure Start children’s centres focusing on the outcomes they support for children and families, particularly the most vulnerable.

Taken together these publications constitute our response to those recommendations from the hon. Member for Nottingham North (Mr Allen), the right hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr Field), and Dame Clare Tickell that deal partly or wholly with the foundation years. I have also laid a written ministerial statement today in response to the hon. Member for Nottingham North’s second and final report “Early Intervention: Small Investment, Massive Savings” which I welcome and which will inform wider work on innovative finance.

Today’s publications emphasise the vital role that skilled and knowledgeable professionals and strong leadership play across the foundation years. This requires a framework of high-standard qualifications that meet the needs of employers, and equip early education professionals to support young children’s development. I am pleased to announce I have asked Professor Cathy Nutbrown to lead an independent review of foundation years qualifications. The review will consider the quality and breadth of qualifications available to the early education work force, and how best to strengthen qualifications and career pathways in the foundation years, offering advice to me during next year.

I am also announcing that nine local authorities will be the first to trial payment by results in children’s centres. The areas are Southampton, Oxfordshire, Oldham, Gloucestershire, Devon, Croydon, Blackpool, Barnsley, and Barking and Dagenham. They will test how to reward and incentivise reaching the most vulnerable families, improving family health and well-being and raising attainment of children at age five.

Raising the status of the foundation years

This Government want to build on recent improvements in the quality of services for young children to create an environment in which local communities, business and public services work together to help families and parents to be the best they can be, particularly during the important first years of their children’s lives.

Research clearly demonstrates the impact of the first years of a child’s life on later life chances. Maternal health and health in early childhood are important for later well-being. Children who do well at age five are six times more likely to achieve at or above expected levels in the first years of primary school and the effects of good early education are still visible at age 11, and on into later life. Research also shows that children do best when parenting is warm, responsive and authoritative.

The strength of this evidence has been recognised in the recent major reports from the right hon. Member for Birkenhead on poverty and life chances, by the hon. Member for Nottingham North on early intervention and by Dame Clare Tickell on the early years foundation stage (EYFS). Both the hon. Member for Nottingham North and the right hon. Member for Birkenhead called for Government to adopt the term “Foundation Years” to signal the importance of the first phase of life in underpinning later achievement and well-being. Recognising the need to raise the status of this time of life, we have adopted this name in the statement we are making today.

Making this the most family-friendly country in Europe

Families are the cornerstone of our society, and this Government have committed to making this country the most family-friendly in Europe. We have already demonstrated our commitment to supporting families during the foundation years:

The Government have already increased to 15 hours a week the free entitlement to early education for all three and four-year-olds, and the paving legislation required to extend this entitlement to disadvantaged two-year-olds is currently before Parliament;

By 2015, we aim to increase the health visitor workforce by 4,200 (an increase of over 50%). Health visiting services can then deliver a full service to children, families and the community working closely with Sure Start children’s centres and other organisations;

Over the same period we will double (to 13,000) the number of vulnerable young families who will benefit from the family nurse partnership;

Investment in relationship support over the spending review period will further the positive impact relationship stability has on parenting;

The Government are consulting on a new flexible system of shared parental leave which will give mothers and fathers more choice about how they share their caring responsibilities;

The Government have announced that it wants to retain a network of Sure Start children’s centres, accessible to all families but focused on those in greatest need;

The Government are committed to strengthening accountability arrangements for children’s centres, including through introducing payment by results, so that success is recognised and rewarded. Nine local authorities, announced today, will become the first to trial payment by results in children’s centres—with up to 21 further trials to be announced early in the autumn. The experience of the trial areas will help the Government and local authorities develop a final set of measures so payment by results can be rolled out nationally from 2013-14.

Supporting children, families, and professionals

Taken as a whole, this package takes forward our principles of public sector reform by promoting greater involvement of parents in services; increasing flexibility in the free entitlement; strengthening quality across foundation years services; further opening up children’s centres to a wider range of providers; and reforming funding and strengthening accountability.

It emphasises the importance of intervening early and outlines the role that different services, working together, should play to ensure that children and families receive early help if this is needed, in line with recommendations from the hon. Member for Nottingham North and Professor Eileen Munro. The Government response to Professor Munro’s report was published on 13 July, and set out our commitment to early help.

As I confirmed in my statement on 6 July, we are introducing a new requirement on early years providers via the reformed EYFS to provide a summary report to parents on their child’s progress in the prime areas of learning and development between the ages of two and three. The report will help parents understand how they can encourage and support their child’s learning and social and emotional development at home and guide the provision of any additional support the child might need to help them catch up by age five. Parents will be encouraged to share that report with their health visitor to inform the health and development review at the age of two to two-and-a-half, which is part of the healthy child programme.

For the longer-term we are exploring the feasibility of a single integrated review at around age two, in which parents will be able to review their child’s progress with health visitors and early years providers jointly who will be able to offer help to address any issues early on. We will work with expert early years and health professionals, practitioners and sector representatives, and parents, to develop new models for this integrated review. We will explore, with the help of our health visitor early implementer sites, moving to a universally available single integrated review to support children and families from 2015 when the planned increase in health visitor numbers will make this possible.

We will place copies of “Supporting Families in the Foundation Years” in the House Library.

Lord Bew's Independent Review of Key Stage 2 (Government Response)

We are very grateful to Lord Bew and his panel of head teachers and other experts for their thoughtful, detailed and comprehensive work on their independent review of testing, assessment and accountability at key stage 2.

We believe the recommendations in Lord Bew’s final report will lead to a fairer and more effective system. We agree to the principles that underpin the final report and accept all of the recommendations in full.

We have always been clear that external accountability is vital to raising standards and narrowing attainment gaps, and we are pleased that Lord Bew’s report recognises this. While preserving strong accountability, Lord Bew’s recommendations include a number of important changes to the current system. We will encourage all agencies concerned with assessment and accountability of schools, including Ofsted, to take full account of the principles of the report.

We will publish a wider range of data, including new progress measures and three-year rolling averages, which will give a more rounded picture of school performance while allowing parents easier access to the information they need about their child. This aligns with our commitment to transparency and plans to make as much information as possible available to the public.

We also agree the recommendation to extend the time frame in which pupils who are absent on the day of a test can sit it, and will trial an extension to a week. This will apply to all pupils at the end of key stage 2 in 2012. An evaluation at the end of the test cycle will determine whether the extension will become permanent.

We welcome the fact that Lord Bew has considered the testing and assessment arrangements in each subject from the point of view of what is educationally most appropriate. We acknowledge the problems with the current writing test and agree that summative teacher assessment is the most appropriate way to assess writing composition. External moderation of that assessment will be important to ensure it is recognised as reliable and robust. We will develop and trial moderation arrangements next year and introduce them on a statutory basis from 2013. Teacher assessment judgments of writing composition will form the greater part of any overall writing judgment once the new arrangements are in place from 2013 onwards.

The Standards and Testing Agency will work with the profession on the design, implementation and administration of a test of essential skills which children need to master to become fluent, confident writers, such as spelling, grammar, punctuation and vocabulary, and consider the potential to include an assessment of handwriting in the test. We will trial the test in 2012 and intend to introduce it in 2013.

In 2012 interim arrangements for writing assessment will be required. Those arrangements should be in line with the principles in Lord Bew’s report and ensure that results are as reliable and robust as possible. Teacher assessment judgments of writing composition will make a significant contribution to the overall writing results. We also believe some external testing will be required alongside teacher assessment. We will discuss the detailed arrangements for 2012 with the profession and confirm them to schools at the start of the new school year.

We will retain externally-marked tests in reading and mathematics, and will refine them over time to ensure they are accessible to all groups of pupils. We will also retain the current system of sample testing in science.

We agree that more emphasis should be placed on teachers’ own assessments of their pupils. We accept Lord Bew’s recommendation that teacher assessment should continue to be reported alongside test data, and that schools should be required to submit teacher assessment judgments before pupils sit the tests.

We recognise that Lord Bew’s recommendations represent substantial reform to the current key stage 2 testing, assessment and accountability system. We want to act as quickly as possible to take the recommendations forward. However, change of this scale needs to be implemented carefully to ensure the positive impact is realised for all involved. We will implement the recommendations as quickly as is practicable.

We are today placing my Department’s full response to Lord Bew’s final report in the House Library.

Non-Departmental Public Bodies (Resource Accounts)

I have today published and laid before Parliament the annual reports and accounts for the Training and Development Agency for Schools and the National College for School Leadership.

These reports cover the activities of the Training and Development Agency for Schools and the National College for School Leadership in 2010-11 and include full sets of accounts for 2010-11. As a company limited by guarantee, the accounts for the National College for School Leadership have been prepared in accordance with the Companies Act 2006 and International Financial Reporting Standards. The accounts for the Training and Development Agency for Schools have been prepared in accordance with the 2010-11 Financial Reporting Manual.

In reviewing the accounts I concluded that while the accounts had been prepared correctly, the disclosures about exit packages were inconsistent with the disclosures in the departmental resource accounts and with other non-departmental public bodies for which the Department has responsibility. The accounting officers have, therefore, agreed to publish additional information which ensures that the level of disclosure is consistent with that shown in the departmental resource accounts for 2010-11.

The additional disclosure for the National College for School Leadership is:

Exit package cost band

Compulsory redundancies 2010-11

Number of other departures agreed 2010-11

Compulsory redundancies 2009-10

Number of other departures agreed 2009-10




£10,000 to £25,000


£25,001 to £50,000




£50,001 to £100,000

£100,001 to £150,000

£150,001 to £200,000

£200,001 to £250,000

£250,001 to £300,000

£300,001 to £350,000


£350,001 to £400,000

£400,001 to £450,000

£450,001 to £500,000

£500,001 to £550,000

Total Cost (£000)





The additional disclosure for the Training and Development Agency for Schools is:

Exit package cost band

Compulsory redundancies 2010-11

Number of other departures agreed 2010-11

Compulsory redundancies 2009-10

Number of other departures agreed 2009-10

<£ 10,000



£10,000 to £25,000





£25,001 to £50,000



£50,001 to £100,000



£100,001 to £150,000



£150,001 to £200,000



£200,001 to £250,000



£250,001 to £300,000


£300,001 to £350,000


£350,001 to £400,000


£400,001 to £450,000

£450,001 to £500,000

£500,001 to £550,000


Total Costs

£0.019 million

£3.092 million

£0.061 million

£4.186 million

These reports have been placed in the Libraries of the House of Commons and House of Lords for the reference of Members and copies will be made available in the Vote Office. They are also available online at the websites of the National College for School Leadership ( and the Training and Development Agency for Schools (

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Export Control Policy (Review)

I told the Foreign Affairs Select Committee on 16 March 2011 that the Government would commission a thorough review of the UK’s policy and practice with regard to the export of equipment that might be used for internal repression, in particular crowd control goods, in the light of events in the middle east and north Africa and concerns in Parliament and the public about UK policy.

This review has now been completed. It was conducted by Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials in close consultation with their colleagues across Whitehall, and it examined our policy on arms exports. Its purpose was to determine whether improvements could be made to reduce further the risk of misuse of UK-origin controlled military goods and to increase confidence that goods exported from the United Kingdom would not be used for internal repression. It looked specifically at events in the middle east and north Africa region.

The review concluded that there was no evidence of any misuse of controlled military goods exported from the United Kingdom. There were some reports of the use of UK-origin crowd control vehicles in Libya, but these reports remain uncorroborated.

Consultations with our overseas posts revealed no evidence that any of the offensive naval, air or land-based military platforms used by Governments in north Africa or the middle east against their own populations during the Arab spring, were supplied from the United Kingdom.

However, the review also concluded that further work is needed on how we operate certain aspects of the controls. The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills has responsibility for our export licensing operations. The Secretary of State and I will consider how this should be done, and once that process is complete I will update the House on our proposals.

Spanish Site of Community Importance

In February 2009 environmental experts in Gibraltar identified that the European Commission had adopted the proposal by the Spanish Government to designate under the Habitats Directive a Site of Community Importance (SCI). The SCI, named Estrecho Oriental, overlaps the co-ordinates of British Gibraltar Territorial Waters (BGTW) and entirely overlaps an existing adopted UK SCI, Southern Waters of Gibraltar, which is managed by the Government of Gibraltar (subsequently designated by the Government of Gibraltar as a special area of conservation—SAC). The UK has sought to reverse the adoption of the Spanish site, first through diplomatic action with the European Commission and the Government of Spain and then through legal action. We continue to work closely with the Government of Gibraltar to resolve this issue.

The original legal case was launched by the UK in the European General Court (EGC) on 22 December 2009. This challenged the European Commission’s listing of this site as a Spanish Site of Community Importance. The Government are clear that only the UK can submit sites covering BGTW. Spain cannot enforce the management or monitoring of the specific area in question. There is therefore a risk that, given its lack of access to this site, Spain will make decisions without accurate scientific information which could have detrimental environmental or economic impact on Gibraltar and BGTW.

On 24 May 2011 the EGC ruled the UK’s case inadmissible on technical grounds, ruling that the UK should have challenged the Commission’s original rather than subsequent confirmatory decision to list the site. The UK’s rebuttal stated that due to the Commission’s deficient processes, lack of transparency and consultation, it had been unable to do so within the normal time limit. We have also highlighted that when the UK put forward its Southern Waters of Gibraltar site it did so on the basis of consultation with Spain, which was insisted on by the Commission. The Commission did not insist that Spain consult the UK before the listing of Estrecho Oriental.

Following extensive consultation and on the basis of legal advice the UK will be appealing against the court’s decision. The Government have a clear responsibility to uphold the UK’s position over the waters around Gibraltar. I want to reassure the people of Gibraltar that we will defend their interests on this matter.

The Government of Gibraltar had also launched their own separate legal action, which the UK supported. This was also ruled inadmissible on technical grounds. The Government of Gibraltar are appealing against that decision.

I will keep the House informed of further significant developments in the case.


Care Quality Commission Registration

I wish to inform the House that the Department is today publishing a consultation on proposed changes to the Care Quality Commission (Registration) Regulations 2009 and The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2010. The proposals include changes that will improve the effectiveness of current regulatory arrangements for health and social care and reduce the burden on providers (including the providers of health care at the Olympic games).

The Government are committed to keeping regulatory systems under review and to ensuring that regulatory burdens are kept to a minimum, while ensuring that the systems are effective at protecting service users. In line with commitments given to the House, officials have carried out an initial review of the operation of the regulations governing the new registration system for health and adult social care providers operated by the Care Quality Commission. The first year of operating the system has highlighted a number of issues in the regulations that either do not function as initially intended, lack clarity or which impose an unjustified burden on providers. This consultation document sets out the issues identified, proposes how they might be addressed and seeks views on these. It also asks respondents to identify other issues that should be considered as part of a wider review to begin later this year. The proposals include changes to both the regulation of health care and adult social care services that, subject to consultation responses and the parliamentary process, could be made swiftly and that we plan to start to implement in 2012.

By keeping the regulations governing the registration system under constant review, we will ensure that legislative framework keeps pace with service developments, focuses regulatory requirements where they are most effective, and delivers a system that allows the Care Quality Commission to provide the assurance that services meet the safety and quality requirements that people who use services and their families expect.

“Consultation on proposed changes to regulations for Care Quality Commission registration” has been placed in the Library. Copies are available to hon. Members from the Vote Office and to noble Lords from the Printed Paper Office.

Consultation on Value-Based Pricing (Government Response)

I am publishing today “A new value-based approach to the pricing of branded medicine—the Government’s response”.

The consultation document set out this Government’s proposals for introducing a system of value-based pricing for medicines, as stated in the coalition agreement. The system will enable patients to access the medicines and treatments their doctor advises they need by establishing a closer link between the price of a new branded medicine and the value which it offers in terms of benefits to patients, reflecting unmet need, therapeutic innovation, and benefit to society.

We have committed to honouring the terms of the pharmaceutical price regulation scheme 2009 until its expiry, but there is a need to reform the way in which we pay for medicines from 2014 onwards. The current system of pricing medicines does not promote innovation or patient access in the way that we are looking for. As we have made clear through the establishment of the cancer drugs fund prior to 2014, we are enabling NHS clinicians to have better access to the medicines required for their patients.

A total of 188 consultation responses were submitted by a wide-range of organisations and individuals. The Government’s response to the consultation provides a summary of the responses received. There was broad support for the concept of a value-based pricing system for new medicines, and for the objectives set out in the consultation document. Many responses welcomed the broader approach proposed for the assessment of new medicines’ value, while also acknowledging the complexity involved in carrying out such assessments.

The Government’s response confirms our intention to introduce value-based pricing in 2014. We want the arrangements that we put in place from 2014 to ensure that NHS patients have consistently good access to effective, clinically appropriate medicines, wherever they live. The current funding direction requiring NHS commissioners in England to fund drugs and treatments in line with the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence’s recommendations is designed to achieve this, and it is one of our key objectives for value-based pricing.

The response highlights our intention, set out in the Government’s response to the Future Forum report, to maintain the effect of the funding direction in the value-based pricing arrangements, to ensure that the NHS in England consistently funds medicines with a value-based price. The NHS will be required to fund drugs already recommended by NICE, as well as drug treatments subject to the value-based pricing regime. This means patients will continue to have the legal right to clinically appropriate, cost-effective drugs and treatments as set out in the NHS constitution and accompanying handbook.

The response confirms that, in relation to the scope of value-based pricing and the key elements of the value-based pricing assessment, we intend to pursue an approach in line with the proposals set out in the consultation document. The response also acknowledges that significant work remains to develop the value-based pricing system, in particular, as regards how to measure and assess the value of new medicines.

The response emphasises that we want our work to be informed by the best available evidence, and that we look forward to continued positive and productive engagement with the full range of interested stakeholders as our work progresses.

The consultation provided an important opportunity for different groups to contribute their views on our proposed approach, to inform key principles at the heart of value-based pricing and to signal their interest in engaging with further work to design and implement the new system.

We are grateful to all those who responded, and believe that the Government response to the consultation represents an important next step in the process of developing a new system that is stable and sustainable for both the NHS and industry, and delivers improved outcomes for patients through better access to effective medicines.

A copy of the Government response to the consultation has been placed in the Library. Copies are available to hon. Members from the Vote Office and to noble Lords from the Printed Paper Office.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Asthma

I am publishing today an “Outcomes Strategy for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Asthma”.

The “Outcomes Strategy for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Asthma” identifies the overarching objectives that will help transform respiratory care in England. The outcomes strategy will help local commissioners to identify the key dimensions of a quality service, and to complement other related local and national initiatives, such as the clinical guidelines developed by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence and the Public Health and NHS Outcomes Frameworks.

The strategy does not define how each aspect of care should be delivered. We think services need to be sensitively planned and appropriately delivered in response to the needs of each local community.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) affects over 3 million people in England, with one in eight people over 35 having COPD that has not been properly identified or diagnosed. One person dies from COPD every 20 minutes in England, around 25,000 deaths a year. Too often people are diagnosed late in the course of the disease when the disease is severe and disabling. More than 5 million people receive treatment for asthma, with around 1,000 deaths a year, the majority of which are preventable.

As we have developed the strategy we have had extensive engagement with people with COPD and asthma and their carers. The strategy offers a real opportunity to make a difference to people with respiratory disease. With better co-ordinated and integrated services we can provide care that better meets the complex needs of people with these conditions.

The “Outcomes Strategy for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Asthma” has been placed in the Library. Copies are available for hon. Members from the Vote Office and to noble Lords from the Printed Paper Office.

Winterbourne View and Castlebeck Facilities

I promised to update the House about ongoing activity in relation to Winterbourne View private hospital.

The House will wish to be aware that the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has today published its compliance report on Winterbourne View.

All patients have now left the premises and Winterbourne View is now closed. CQC undertook a responsive review of Winterbourne View following the abuse uncovered by Panorama. This review found serious concerns about the safety and quality of the service and CQC decided to take enforcement action to remove Winterbourne View from Castlebeck Care’s registration, closing the service permanently. CQC regulatory action in relation to Winterbourne View concludes with the publication of the compliance report today.

CQC has now inspected all Castlebeck Care services in England (23 in total). Individual reports on the findings are being drafted. These reports will be published separately and followed up with appropriate regulatory or enforcement actions where necessary. The final summary report and individual reports will be available on the CQC website by the end of July.

CQC’s own internal review is progressing with interviews of staff involved currently taking place. This information will provide the evidence for CQC’s individual management review as part of the serious case review, led by south Gloucestershire council. The internal review is expected to be completed by late summer.

CQC will be carrying out a focused inspection programme which will review care provided for people with learning disabilities by hospitals. The review will be in two phases:

phase one will consist of the inspection of 150 services that provide care for people with learning disabilities;

phase two will use the learning from phase one to look at a sample of other registered services covering alternative models of provision for people with learning disabilities.

South Gloucestershire council has appointed Margaret Flynn, chair of the Lancashire safeguarding adults board, as independent chair of the serious case review and the rest of the panel are now in place.

The panel for the NHS serious untoward incident review has been appointed with members from NHS South West, NHS South Central and NHS West Midlands. The review will be led by Dr Gabriel Scally, South West Regional Director of Public Health.

Arrangements are being put in place for family, carers and self advocate representatives to be involved in the review as part of a reference panel.

The first phase of the review has started. This involves gathering information from all commissioners of care and treatment at Winterbourne View since 2006.

The Department of Health review will be led by Bruce Calderwood, Mental Health and Learning Disability Director. The review will be advised by a panel of experts including Professor Jim Mansell, Mark Goldring and Anne Williams. Its activities will be informed by the views of service user and carer representatives including the National Forum for People with Learning Difficulties, the Challenging Behaviour Foundation and the National Valuing Families Forum.

I have today placed in the Library a copy of the Winterbourne View compliance report. Copies are available to hon. Members from the Vote Office and to noble Lords from the Printed Paper Office. I will update the House further at the earliest opportunity.

Home Department

Use of Animals in Scientific Research

The coalition agreement includes two commitments relating to the use of animals in scientific research: to end the testing of household products on animals; and to work to reduce the use of animals in scientific research.

We believe these are ambitious but essential and achievable goals and that scientific advances present significant opportunities to replace animal use, to reduce the number of animals used, and, where animal use is unavoidable, to refine the procedures involved so as to minimise suffering. These long-standing aims are referred to as the 3Rs.

I am, therefore, pleased to inform the House that the Government have agreed arrangements to deliver both commitments.

The commitment to end the testing of household products on animals will be implemented using the licensing powers provided under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 by adding a condition to relevant project licences.

Before implementing the licence condition, I propose to consult with establishments holding relevant project licences to confirm the economic impact. I propose also to consult with establishments, relevant trade bodies and other stakeholders to agree a working definition of household product to accompany the condition.

The commitment to work to reduce the use of animals in scientific research will be delivered through a science-led programme led by the National Centre for Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs), an organisation with a strong record in reducing animal use. The NC3Rs will closely involve Government Departments and agencies, the Home Office Inspectorate, the research community in both academia and industry, and others with relevant animal welfare interests.

The programme will focus on refinement as well as reduction and replacement and will co-ordinate action to minimise and reduce animal use and suffering while avoiding actions which might simply drive work abroad to countries where lower standards or less stringent testing guidelines apply.

Key areas of activity will include exploiting the latest developments in science and technology to reduce animal use; facilitating data sharing and collaboration across industry and academia; providing an evidence base for changes to international regulations which require animal use; a continuing focus on the 3Rs and the use of non-human primates; and ensuring that the 3Rs are at the heart of the training of the research leaders of the future.

Terrorism Act 2000 and Part 1 of the Terrorism Act 2006 (Independent Reviewer Annual Report)

I am pleased to announce that Mr David Anderson QC has completed his first annual report as independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, on the operation of the Terrorism Act 2000 and part 1 of the Terrorism Act 2006 in 2010, which will be laid before the House today.

I am grateful to David Anderson for his detailed report and will carefully consider his recommendations. Following consultation within my Department and with other relevant Departments and agencies, I will place the Government’s response to his recommendations in the Library in the autumn.

Crime Statistics: England and Wales

On 20 January 2011, the Home Secretary, in a written statement to the House, Official Report, column 49WS, made clear her concern that,

“... our existing measures of crime are confusing and offer the public only a partial picture of the true level of offending. It is in the public interest that we have measures of crime that are clear, meaningful and in which the public can have confidence.”

The Home Secretary announced a review to be undertaken by the national statistician, Ms Jil Matheson to address these points. On 6 June 2011, the national statistician published her review of crime statistics for England and Wales. I am today placing a copy of the Government’s formal response to the national statistician’s recommendations in the Library of the House along with a copy of the review report.

The Government accept all the recommendations of the national statistician. The Government believe that the transfer of publication of crime statistics to the independent Office for National Statistics will help build public trust in the key data that are published nationally about crime. The Government also look forward to the national statistician’s independent advisory committee considering what further changes are necessary to the collection and presentation of crime statistics while reducing administrative burdens involved in collecting them.

Terrorism Act 2000 (Remedial) Order 2011

On 16 March, I made a remedial order under the powers conferred on me by section 10(2) and paragraph 1(1) of schedule 2 to the Human Rights Act 1998. That order replaced stop and search powers previously available to the police under sections 44 to 47 of the Terrorism Act 2000, with a significantly circumscribed set of powers, and provisions for an associated code of practice.

As required by paragraph 4(2) of schedule 2 to the Human Rights Act, I have placed a statement in the House Library to summarise the representations made during the 60 days since that order was made.

International Development

Parliamentary Written Question (Correction)

An error has been identified in the written answer provided to the hon. Member for Witham (Priti Patel) on 30 June 2011, Official Report, column 931W. The full answer given was as follows:

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether any funding from the public purse provided through his Department’s Strategic Grant Agreement with the Trades Union Congress was used to fund the Trade Unions and International Health and Safety workbook. [62589]

Between 1 January 2003 and 31 December 2005, the Department for International Development (DFID) provided £416,387 to the Trades Union Congress under the Strategy Grant Agreement. A final report on activities funded by this grant was presented to DFID in June 2006. The report provides a comprehensive description of the activities conducted by the ten Unions funded by this grant. There is no reference in the report to funds being used for the Trade Unions and International Health and Safety workbook.

The correct answer should have been:

Between 1 January 2003 and 31 December 2005, the Department for International Development (DFID) provided £416,387 to the Trades Union Congress under the Strategy Grant Agreement. A final report on activities funded by this grant was presented to DFID in June 2006 and is available on the TUC website. The report provides a comprehensive description of the activities conducted by the ten Unions funded by this grant. The report indicates that public funds were used for the production of the International Health and Safety workbook. However, information held shows only expenditure by broad category and does not give information on how much funding was used for each publication.

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission

Following an open recruitment process based on merit I have appointed Professor Michael O’Flaherty as the new Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. I am also appointing seven new Commissioners to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission—Grainia Long, Christine Collins, John Corey, Milton Kerr, Alan McBride, Marion Reynolds and Paul Yam. The new Chief Commissioner and seven new Commissioners will take up their posts in the early autumn.

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission is a key part of the architecture of human rights protections in Northern Ireland, and an important feature of the Belfast agreement. The Commission is now facing new challenges, not least in fulfilling its remit in a testing economic environment.

I am confident that these new appointments will ensure that the Commission will make a significant contribution to the advancement and protection of human rights in Northern Ireland in the coming months and years.

Prime Minister

Machinery of Government Changes

I am announcing that the following Machinery of Government changes will take effect from today:

The Government Property Unit will report directly to the Minister for the Cabinet Office and become part of the Efficiency and Reform Group within the Cabinet Office;

HM Land Registry, the Met Office and Ordnance Survey will move from the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Defence and the Department for Communities and Local Government respectively to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Explanatory notes will be published in the normal way.

Work and Pensions

Jobcentre Plus Annual Report and Accounts 2010-11

I am pleased to announce that the Jobcentre Plus annual report and accounts for 2010-11 will be laid before Parliament and published electronically on the DWP website later today at:

The annual report section provides a summary of Jobcentre Plus’s performance against the business priorities and targets in the 2010-11 published business plan along with structural reform priorities.

The accounts provide a summary of Jobcentre Plus’s administrative and employment programme expenditure for 2010-11.

State Pension Reform (Summary of Responses to the Consultation)

The consultation document, “A State Pension for the 21st Century” (Cm 8053) was published on April 4, 2011 and invited organisations and members of the public to respond to proposals for reforming the state pension system and managing future changes to state pension age.

The consultation ran from April 4 to June 24 2011 and during that period, I met with a number of organisations to explore our proposals for reform.

I will be publishing a summary of the comments received from the many different organisations and individuals who responded to our proposals by the end of July.

This document will not constitute a Government response to the consultation. The Government will consider in further detail all the responses received before taking any decisions about reforming the state pension system.

A copy of the summary of responses will be available on the Department for Work and Pensions’ website at:

Copies will also be available in the Vote Office and the Printed Paper Office.

I am grateful to all those who responded to the consultation.