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Written Statements

Volume 547: debated on Monday 25 June 2012

Written Ministerial Statements

Monday 25 June 2012


Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander Ltd

Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander Ltd (KSF) was the UK subsidiary of the Icelandic bank Kaupthing bank hf. On 8 October 2008, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) decided that KSF was in breach of its threshold conditions under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA) and that it should be prohibited from accepting any new deposits.

Treasury officials have prepared a note on the events around the failure of KSF, focusing on: the chronology of events ahead of the failure of Icelandic banks in October 2008; why the FSA came to the decision that KSF had breached its threshold conditions; the discrepancies in reporting on whether Iceland would honour its obligations to UK depositors; and whether the actions of UK authorities triggered the administration of KSF Isle of Man (KSF IoM).

The note clarifies that, while the Treasury used asset-freezing powers in relation to Landsbanki Islands hf, another Icelandic bank, the use of these powers by the Treasury did not have any direct impact on the failure of KSF, KSF IoM or Kaupthing Bank hf.

I have placed copies of the document in the Libraries of both Houses.

Energy and Climate Change

Fukushima Nuclear Site

Today I welcome the findings and recommendations set out in Dr Weightman’s final report on the events at the Fukushima nuclear site and publish the final Government response to this report. I commend Dr Weightman and his team on the depth and quality of their work.

As part of his report Dr Weightman invited Government to report back on the recommendations by June 2012. In December 2011, Government gave their initial response. The Government response published today updates this and sets out the work we have done or intend to do in implementing Dr Weightman’s recommendations. This includes:

Further strengthening our work with international partners on nuclear safety, particularly through the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The UK has recently joined the IAEA’s global response and assistance network for nuclear emergencies, RANET.

Taking forward work from the nuclear emergency planning liaison group review of the UK’s national nuclear emergency arrangements in the light of the experience of dealing with the prolonged Japanese event—and implementing a new UK national strategic framework for nuclear emergency planning and response.

Ensuring that openness and transparency are enshrined in the work we are taking forward to create the Office of Nuclear Regulation as a statutory body.

Copies of the Government response will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses or can be obtained from the DECC website.


Winterbourne View Hospital

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

I am today publishing an interim report of the review which I set up to establish the facts and bring forward actions to improve care and outcomes of people with learning disability or autism and behaviours that challenge. The interim report 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.

This interim report does not cover what happened at Winterbourne View itself. I will be able to report on that once current criminal proceedings against former staff at the hospital are completed and all the evidence is published in the serious case review being conducted by South Gloucestershire council.

But there is already good evidence that the health and care system is not meeting the needs of people with learning disability or autism and behaviour which challenges, and there is an unacceptable gap between best practice and actual practice.

This interim report looks at the quality of the health and care support provided to the approximately 15,000 people in England with learning disabilities or autism who have mental health conditions or behaviour which challenges, and the quality of health and care services they receive. It draws on the reports of the Care Quality Commission’s focused inspection of 150 hospitals and care homes for people with learning disabilities, widespread engagement with people with learning disabilities, people with autism, family carers, voluntary groups, health and care commissioners, providers and professionals, as well as the regulators, and other evidence submitted to the review team.

The main findings set out in the interim report are that there are too many people in in-patient services for assessment and treatment and they are staying there for too long. This model of care has no place in the 21st century. Best practice is for people to have access to the support and services they need locally to enable them to live fulfilling lives integrated within the community. In too many services there is robust evidence of poor quality of care, poor care planning, lack of meaningful activities to do in the day, and too much reliance on restraining people.

All parts of the system—commissioners, providers, workforce, regulators and Government—must play their part in driving up standards of care and demonstrating zero tolerance of abuse. This includes acting immediately where poor practice or substandard care is suspected.

Our key objectives are to:

improve commissioning across health and care services for people with behaviour which challenges with the aim of reducing the number of people using in-patient assessment and treatment services;

clarify roles and responsibilities across the system and support better integration between health and care;

improve the quality of services to give people with learning disabilities and their families choice and control;

promote innovation and positive behavioural support and reduce the use of restraint; and

establish the right information to enable local commissioners to benchmark progress in commissioning services that meet individuals’ needs, improve the quality of care, and reduce the numbers of people in in-patient services for assessment and treatment.

The report sets out clear actions at a national level to support local improvement and ensure that we are able to deliver these key objectives.

I will continue to update the House and will publish the final report of the Winterbourne View review in the autumn.

International Development

Departmental Annual Report and Accounts

I have today published and laid before Parliament, the Department for International Development’s annual report and accounts for the year 2011-12.

The report covers DFID’s activities during 2011-12 in line with the International Development (Reporting and Transparency) Act 2006 and includes a full set of accounts for 2011-12. The report has 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. It is also available online on DFID’s website (

The annual report contains results which are both clear and quantifiable. This has been possible because for the first time, this Government have established systems which allow us to measure and track, in detail, the results which UK aid is achieving.

Over the last two years aid from Britain has quite simply transformed the lives of millions in the world’s poorest countries. This has included:

vaccinating over 12 million children against preventable diseases;

improving the land and property rights of 1.1 million people;

supporting 5.3 million children (2.5 million of them girls) to go to primary school;

distributing 12.2 million bednets to protect people against malaria;

supporting 26 African countries to agree an Africa free trade area;

enabling 11.9 million people to work their way out of poverty by providing access to financial services;

preventing 2.7 million children and pregnant women from going hungry;

reaching 6 million people with emergency food assistance;

supporting freer and fairer elections in five countries;

improving hygiene conditions for 7.4 million people.

These results show what British aid can achieve. It is time that aid funded by the British people is easily and clearly identified as coming from the UK.

For that reason, I am today launching a new UK aid logo which we intend, in future, to apply to things like emergency grain packets, buildings and pumps. The logo features the Union flag and will be instantly recognisable across the world. The logo has been designed in-house at no additional cost to the taxpayer and will be introduced gradually as existing stocks run down.

Both the annual report and our new logo are testament to the extraordinary results which British aid is achieving. They are results of which this House and this country can be proud.