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Written Statements

Volume 566: debated on Tuesday 16 July 2013

Written Statements

Tuesday 16 July 2013


R v Mouncher and Others (Disclosure Handling)

On 26 January 2012, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, announced that he had asked Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Inspectorate (HMCPSI) to consider the way in which the prosecution team conducted the disclosure exercise in the case of R v. Mouncher and others, following the discontinuance of the trial on 1 December 2011. The HMCPSI’s independent review has examined and made findings on the following matters:

1. Whether the prosecution team (CPS and counsel) approached, prepared and managed disclosure in this case effectively, bearing in mind the history, size and complexity of the investigation and prosecution;

2. Whether the CPS and prosecuting counsel complied with their disclosure duties properly in relation to the extensive material generated in this case;

3. Whether the prosecution team CPS followed all relevant guidance and policy in relation to the disclosure in this case; and,

4. To make such recommendations as it feels appropriate in light of the examination and findings set out above, including, if appropriate, recommendations about CPS policy and/or guidance and CPS arrangements for handling of similar size and complexity cases.

The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has today published the findings of this review in full without any alteration or redaction and a copy has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. The full review is also available online at

The review concludes that despite the determination and hard work of the prosecution team (CPS staff and counsel), the approach to disclosure did not consistently meet the necessary standards. It notes that this was a very large case of about a million pages yet importantly also highlights that a great deal of unused material was disclosed to the defence and the number of disclosure decisions questioned at court represented a very small proportion of the decisions made.

The significance of the failure to disclose notes of police and CPS contacts with key witnesses was substantial. Other errors were less significant and some criticisms of the prosecution were unwarranted. While many of the mistakes or oversights did not disadvantage the defence or were capable of correction—and corrected—during the trial, their cumulative effect enabled the defence to undermine the confidence in the disclosure process.

The review also found some errors of principle—in particular, the prosecution took too narrow an approach to the disclosure test. The narrow approach was a failure of case management, particularly the lack of supervision of disclosure counsel’s work.

Finally, the review concluded that there was no evidence that prosecutors or police disclosure officers made decisions for any improper reason. Some mistakes were made in applying guidance but these represented a very small proportion of all the disclosure decisions that were made and many were discovered and corrected as a result of quality assurance exercises. More detailed conclusions can be found within the report including evidence of good practice.

The review recommends that more explicit guidance be included in the Prosecution Team Disclosure Manual including meetings with victims and quality assurance exercises as well as emphasising early CPS engagement with the police and how to consider the merits of an apparent defence.

The review also recommends the prosecution should prepare a written summary of the disclosure processes to be adopted including the rationale for the parameters used when applying the disclosure tests as well as the treatment of secondary source and duplicate material. The summary can then be served on the defence and the court. Finally, recommendations are made regarding the development of searchable IT systems to assist handling of disclosure in large and complex cases.

The DPP accepts in their entirety the findings and recommendations set out in the review. In January 2012, the DPP also ordered a complete overhaul of the CPS approach to modernise disclosure in serious and complex cases and since 1 March 2013 a new regime has been in place. This was designed to complement and support the Disclosure Case Management initiative launched by the senior presiding judge, Lord Justice Gross, on 3 June this year,

HMCPSI worked alongside the IPCC on this matter and their review is also published today.

Cabinet Office

National Fraud Initiative

I am today announcing that the Cabinet Office intends to take over hosting of the Audit Commission’s National Fraud Initiative (NFI) subject to the passage of the Local Audit and Accountability Bill.

The move to the Cabinet Office will allow the NFI to develop its existing work in line with Government activities to tackle fraud, error and debt. The programme will become part of the fraud, error and debt taskforce. I look forward to working with the NFI’s stakeholders to ensure that it continues to build on its existing success.

Officials in both DCLG and the Cabinet Office will work closely with the Audit Commission to prepare for a potential transition at the appropriate time.


National Insurance Contributions Bill

HM Revenue and Customs has published a draft National Insurance Contributions Bill.

I am placing copies of the draft Bill and accompanying documents in the Libraries of both Houses.

Counter-Terrorist Asset Freezing Regime

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Greg Clark): My noble friend the Commercial Secretary to the Treasury, Lord Deighton, has today made the following written ministerial statement:

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

This is the tenth report under the Act and it covers the period from 1 April 2013 to 30 June 2013. This report also covers the UK implementation of the UN al-Qaeda asset-freezing regime and the operation of the EU asset-freezing regime in the UK under EU regulation (EC) 2580/2001 which implements UNSCR 1373 against external terrorist threats to the EU. Under the UN al-Qaeda asset-freezing regime, the UN has responsibility for designations and the Treasury has responsibility for licensing and compliance with the regime in the UK under the Al-Qaeda (Asset-freezing) Regulations 2011. Under EU regulation 2580/2001, the EU has responsibility for designations and the Treasury has responsibility for licensing and compliance with the regime in the UK under part 1 of TAFA 2010.

Annexes A and B to this statement provide a breakdown, by name, of all those designated by the UK and the EU in pursuance of UN Security Council Resolution 1373.

The following table sets out the key asset-freezing activity in the UK during the quarter ending 30 June 2013:

TAFA 2010

EU Reg (EC) 2580/2001

Al-Qaeda Regime UNSCR 1989

Assets frozen (as at 30/06/2013)




Number of accounts frozen in UK(at 30/06/13)




New accounts frozen




Accounts unfrozen




Number of designations (at 30/06/2013)




(i) New designations (during Q2 2013)




(ii) Delistings




(iii) Individuals in custody in UK (at 30/06/2013)




(iv) Individuals in UK, not in custody (at 30/06/2013)




(v) Individuals overseas (at 30/06/2013)




(vi) Groups

8 (0 in UK)

25 (1 in UK)

64 (1 in UK)

Individuals by Nationality

(i) UK Nationals3




(ii) Non UK Nationals


Renewal of designation




General Licences

(i) Issued in Q2

(i) 0

(ii) Amended

(ii) 0

(iii) Revoked

(iii) 0

Specific Licences

(i) Issued in Q2

(i) 3

(i) 0

(i) 4

(ii) Amended

(ii) 1

(ii) 0

(ii) 1

(iii) Revoked

(iii) 0

(iii) 0

(iii) 0

1This figure reflects the most up-to-date 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 02/07/2013.

2Includes EU only and joint UK and EU listings.

3Based on information held by the treasury, some of these individuals hold dual nationality.

Legal Proceedings

Appeals against designations made under the Terrorism (United Nations Measures) Order 2009 and TAFA 2010 were ongoing in the quarter covered by this report, brought by Zana Abdul Rahim. The appeal brought by Gulam Mastafa against his designation under TAFA 2010 was concluded. Gulam Mastafa has since issued a civil claim against the Treasury and other Government Departments. A civil claim against the Treasury arising from the designation of another individual, known as “M” for the purpose of these proceedings is also on-going. A new challenge under s63(2) of the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008 has been issued by Mohammed Al Ghabra against the Treasury. This has been joined to be heard with a claim for Judicial Review brought by Mohammed Al Ghabra against the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

In the quarter to 30 June 2013, no criminal proceedings were initiated in respect of breaches of asset freezes made under TAFA 2010 or under the Al-Qaeda (Asset-Freezing) Regulations 2011.

Annex A: Designated persons under TAFA 2010 by name4


1. Hamed Abdollahi

2. Bilal Talal Abdullah

3. Imad Khalil Al-Alami

4. Abdula Ahmed Ali

5. Abdelkarim Hussein Al-Nasser

6. Ibrahim Salih Al-Yacoub

7. Manssor Arbabsiar

8. Usama Hamdan

9. Nabeel Hussain

10. Tanvir Hussain

11. Zahoor Iqbal

12. Umar Islam

13. Hasan Izz-Al-Din

14. Mohammed Khaled

15. Parviz Khan

16. Waheed Arafat Khan

17. Osman Adam Khatib

18. Musa Abu Marzouk

19. Khalid Mishaal

20. Khalid Shaikh Mohammed

21. Ramzi Mohammed

22. Sultan Muhammad

23. Yassin Omar

24. Hussein Osman

25. Muktar Mohammed Said

26. Assad Sarwar

27. Ibrahim Savant

28. Abdul Reza Shahlai

29. Ali Gholam Shakuri

30. Qasem Soleimani

31. Waheed Zaman


1. Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA)

2. Ejercito de Liberacion Nacional (ELN)

3. Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC)

4. Hizballah Military Wing, including External Security Organisation

5. Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development

6. Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command (PFLP-GC)

7. Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)

8. Sendero Luminoso (SL)

Annex B: Persons designated by the EU under Council Regulation (EC)2580/20015


1. Hamed Abdollahi*2. Abdelkarim Hussein Al-Nasser*3. Ibrahim Salih Al Yacoub*4. Manssor Arbabsiar*5. Mohammed Bouyeri6. Sofiane Yacine Fahas7. Hasan Izz-Al-Din*8. Khalid Shaikh Mohammed*9. Abdul Reza Shahlai*10. Ali Gholam Shakuri*11. Qasem Soleimani*

Groups and Entities

1. Abu Nidal Organisation (ANO)

2. Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade

3. Al-Aqsa e.V.

4. Al-Takfir and Al-Hijra

5. Babbar Khalsa

6. Communist Party of the Philippines, including New People’s Army (NPA), Philippines

7. Gama’a al-lslamiyya (a.k.a. Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya) (Islamic Group—IG)

8. Islami Büyük Dogu Akincilar Cephesi (IBDA-C) (Great Islamic Eastern Warriors Front)

9. Hamas, including Hamas-Izz al-Din al-Qassem

10. Hizbul Mujahideen (HM)

11. Hofstadgroep

12. Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development*

13. International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF)

14. Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF)

15. Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) (a.k.a. KONGRA-GEL)

16. Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)

17. Ejército de Liberación Nacional (National Liberation Army)*

18. Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)

19. Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)*

20. Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine—General Command (PFLP-GC)*

21. Fuerzas armadas revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC)*

22. Devrimci Halk Kurtulu Partisi-Cephesi—DHKP/C (Revolutionary People’s Liberation Army/Front/Party)

23. Sendero Luminoso (SL) (Shining Path)*

24. Stichting Al Aqsa

25. Teyrbazen Azadiya Kurdistan (TAK)

4For full listing details please refer to:

*EU listing rests on UK designation under TAFA 2010.

Culture, Media and Sport

LOCOG and Public Sector Funding

In our final quarterly report on the games, published in October 2012, I said that the funds from the Olympic budget are still necessary in the transformation phase so we cannot provide an absolutely final cost, but it remains highly likely that the public sector funding package for London 2012 will come in under £9 billion.

The transformation phase is still in progress but with the voluntary liquidation of the London Organising Committee of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games (LOCOG) in train from 30 May 2013 now is a good time to update you on the latest position on the public sector funding package.

I am pleased to report that the anticipated forecast cost (AFC) of the Olympic and Paralympic programme has reduced from £8,921 million to £8,770 million, taking the total projected savings against the £9,298 million public sector funding package for the games (PSFP) from the £377 million that I reported in October 2012 to £528 million at end May 2013—an increase in savings of £151 million. The £528 million includes the handover to Government of a £20 million closing balance of non-grant income from LOCOG, effectively a repayment of grant.

The main reason for the increase in savings since end September 2012 is lower security costs :

a) A reduction in venue security costs from £514 million to £429 million, saving £85 million.

b) A reduction in policing and wider security costs from £455 million to £423 million, saving £32 million.

Taken together with spending on security for park construction by the Olympic Delivery Authority of £220 million, the cost of security met from the PFSP was £1,072 million. After taking full account of spending on venue security by LOCOG, this is a saving of £120 million compared to the provision and contingency announced in 2007 for the Olympic Delivery Authority and for policing and wider security.

The reduction in venues security costs follows LOCOG’s settlement with G4S.

LOCOG’s post-games risks were well managed, saving £30 million.

Details of the movements in funding requirement between 30 September 2012 and 31 May 2013 are set out in the following table :

Movements in the PSFP Requirement – 30 September 2012 – 31 May 2013

30 September 2012

31 May 2013





Olympic Delivery Authority




Park Transformation




Policing and Wider Security




Venue Security




Elite and Community Sports




Paralympic Games




LOCOG Park Operations




Funding available to LOCOG




Contingency held against LOCOG post-Games risks




Operational Provisions




Look of London and wider UK




City Operations




Domestic and International tourism campaigns




GLA Olympic and Paralympic programmes




PSFP contingency and other savings remaining








The transformation of the Olympic park venues and infrastructure, apart from the Olympic village, is being undertaken by the London Legacy Development Corporation, a Mayoral Development Corporation, chaired by the Mayor of London and accountable to the GLA, rather than by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA). The LLDC receives funding from the PSFP through DCLG and the GLA, to deliver the transformation programme (the £296 million for park transformation referred to in the table above).

The Olympic Delivery Authority remains responsible for the conversion of the Olympic village for residential use and for completion of the health centre and academy. This project involves the removal of temporary games-time elements and the installation of kitchens and other infrastructure to 2,818 apartments and the completion of sale of 1,379 of the properties to a social landlord, triathlon, for affordable housing and of the completion of sale of the remainder to a private landlord for rent. Good progress is being made and the first of the village blocks is due to be completed in time for occupation in summer 2013. The entire project will be completed in 2014, and when all remaining contracts have been closed out, the ODA will be dissolved. The LLDC’s programme is well under way. Key legacy users have been secured for all the venues on the new Queen Elizabeth Olympic park and the north section of the park is due to open in July 2013. The rest of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic park will open in spring 2014.

On completion of sale in 2014, the sale of the Olympic village private housing and associated land will yield over £550 million in receipts, as planned, keeping the costs within the £9,298 million PSFP. This includes returns to the Olympic Lottery Distribution Fund (circa £71million) and to the GLA (circa £30 million).

Any residual lottery funding held by ODA at the date of its dissolution will be returned to the Olympic Lottery Distribution Fund (OLDF) and when the OLDF is wound up in 2014 will be passed to the National Lottery Distribution Fund (NLDF).

The distribution of the net proceeds from the subsequent sale of land on the Olympic park is subject to a legal agreement between the Government and the GLA. It provides that after the first £223 million of net proceeds has gone to the GLA to pay off residual land debt, the next £900 million of net proceeds will be divided 75% to the national lottery distributors, and 25% to the GLA. Any further net proceeds will be divided 50% between Government and the GLA or LLDC. The first receipts to the lottery distributors from land sales on the Olympic park are expected to arrive in the mid-2020s.

On 19 July the Government and the Mayor of London will be publishing “Inspired by 2012”. This report will detail what has been achieved a year on from London 2012 across the areas of sport and healthy living, east London regeneration, economic benefits and growth, and bringing communities together.


MOD Annual Report and Accounts

I am today publishing the Ministry of Defence’s annual report and accounts 2012-13. 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.

Astute Boat 6

I am pleased to announce that the Astute class submarine hull 6 is to be named HMS Agamemnon. The boat is expected to join HMS Astute, HMS Ambush, HMS Artful, HMS Audacious and HMS Anson in service in 2022.

The seven Astute class boats planned for the Royal Navy are the most advanced attack submarines ordered by the Ministry of Defence, with improved firepower and communications, and the ability to operate stealthily for extended periods. The crew also benefit from greatly improved accommodation and facilities.

The boats will undertake a wide range of tasks in support of military operations worldwide.

Advisory Committee on Conscientious Objectors

On 22 March 2013, I announced to Parliament through a written ministerial statement, Official Report, column 60WS, the commencement of the triennial review of the Advisory Committee on Conscientious Objectors (ACCO). I am now pleased to announce the completion of the review.

The Advisory Committee on Conscientious Objectors is an advisory non-departmental public body (NDPB), sponsored by the Ministry of Defence. It provides advice to the Secretary of State for Defence on appeals from service personnel whose applications to leave the armed forces on the ground of conscience have been rejected.

The triennial review was conducted in accordance with Government guidance for reviewing NDPBs. Accordingly, stage 1 of the review considered whether there continues to be a need for the function, which the ACCO currently undertakes, to be delivered and whether the function could be more effectively delivered through a vehicle other than a NDPB. Stage 2 of the review scrutinised the current governance arrangements of the ACCO to ascertain whether it complies with the principles of good governance.

The review concluded that there continues to be a need for a body, independent of the chain of command, to provide informed advice to the Secretary of State about the status of service personnel who are seeking discharge from the armed forces, on grounds of conscience but whose application to leave on this basis has been rejected by the chain of command. The review considered that the most effective method of delivering this function is through a NDPB. Finally, the review considered that the ACCO complies with the principles of good governance, but made five recommendations, which the MOD will now consider.

The five recommendations are:

Recommendation 1 —The departmental board must strengthen its corporate governance arrangement and monitor the performance of the relevant advisory bodies appropriately in accordance with their nature, size and role.

Recommendation 2—The sponsoring department should strengthen the terms of reference by stating clearly that they are responsible for assessing the effective performance of the Committee.

Recommendation 3—The sponsoring department in consultation with the Ministry of Justice on behalf of the Lord Chancellor, to consider whether the chair should become involved with lay member appointments or reappointment, including the skills and experience required by the Committee.

Recommendation 4—The chair should be asked to confirm the members’ reappointment to ensure that no question of cause for non-renewal is raised, and this is then put to the Lord Chancellor to make the re-appointment. It would be unnecessarily burdensome to do this every year.

Recommendation 5—That the Register of Interests should be reviewed and regularly updated.

The report of the review will be now published in full in accordance with Government guidance.

National Employer Advisory Board

In June 2012, I announced in Parliament through a written ministerial statement, the commencement of the triennial review of the National Employer Advisory Board (NEAB). I am now pleased to announce the completion of the review.

The NEAB is an advisory non-departmental public body (NDPB), sponsored by the Ministry of Defence, which provides informed but independent advice to Ministers, the MOD and the reserves community about how it can most effectively gain and maintain the support of and for the employers of Britain’s reserve forces. The review considered the effectiveness of how the functions of the NEAB are currently delivered, whether there is a need for the functions and for the advisory NDPB to continue, and if so, how the function might best be delivered in future.

The review concluded that informed independent strategic advice that the NEAB provides to Ministers, defence chiefs and the reserves community is still required and that it should be retained as an advisory NDPB. The review also considered the governance arrangements for the NEAB in accordance with Cabinet Office guidance on good corporate governance. The report makes some recommendations in this respect that will be considered by the chairman and sponsoring division. The review was set firmly in the context of the review of employer engagement under the future reserves 2020 programme where there will be an increased importance in understanding and anticipating changes in the employer environment.

Tri-Service Recruit Trainee Survey 2012

Today I am publishing the 2012 recruit trainee survey annual report. All recruits and trainees passing through phase 1 and 2 training are offered the opportunity to participate in the survey, which is anonymous and administered independently on behalf of the services by an external contractor.

The annual report contains the views of recruits and trainees about topics such as the preparation for joining, their treatment during phase 1 and 2 training, food, accommodation, access to instructional and welfare staff and complaints procedures. Overall the results are positive and importantly, the findings are used by service training headquarters and units to monitor the training environment and make improvements.

I intend to place a version of the full recruit trainee survey 2012 annual report in the Library of the House.

Service Police Crime Statistics and Analysis Cell

During the debate on the Military Justice System that was held in Westminster Hall on 31 January 2013, I put on record my commitment to produce the most accurate information possible relating to sexual offences involving members of the armed forces. I then initiated further work with the service police provost marshals to explore practical ways of achieving this.

I am now able to provide an update to the House on the work of a Service Police Crime Statistics and Analysis Cell, which has been created within the Service Police Crime Bureau that is located at Southwick Park, Hampshire.

The aim of the Crime Statistics and Analysis Cell is to improve the quality of, and speed of access to, information relating to service police investigations. Initially, this involves creating a new standalone database to cover all sexual offences investigated by the service police since implementation of the Armed Forces Act 2006. Over the coming months, this database will be updated with information provided by service police units and other organisations that work within the Service Justice System. This, in turn, will provide the service police and the Ministry of Defence with more reliable and assured management information on which to base future thinking and decision making.

Although the initial focus of the Service Police Crime Statistics and Analysis Cell is on information relating to sexual offences, its role is being expanded to cover certain other offences (e.g. firearms, drugs, theft, fraud and those involving violence). The aim is to ensure that more accurate and reliable data are available from April 2014. In parallel, the service police are also taking forward work to enhance their existing crime recording IT system, with a view to auditing and assuring its data and enhancing its search capability by October 2014.

Sexual offences of any kind are not tolerated in the Ministry of Defence. The work of the Service Police Crime Statistics and Analysis Cell will enable the service police to monitor patterns of offending behaviour more accurately, and to allocate their resources accordingly.


More Affordable Childcare

Today the Government are publishing “More affordable childcare”, which sets out our plans for improving the supply of affordable child care.

Reliable and affordable child care is vital to giving parents the choice to get into and remain in work. We know that for many parents, before and after school and holiday care is the most difficult and costly to find.

“More affordable childcare” sets out the Government’s plans to help working parents access the child care they need when they need it, in particular by:

helping schools to offer affordable after school and holiday care, either alone or working with private and voluntary providers;

enabling nurseries to expand by reducing red tape and removing planning restrictions;

ensuring that childminders and nurseries that are good or outstanding can automatically receive Government funding for two, three and four-year-olds; and

supporting parents to access more informal care.

We want to encourage more schools to follow the examples of trailblazers like Harris Academies and the Free School Norwich by offering parents child care before and after school and during holiday times, working with private and voluntary providers if they want to do so.

Today, Harris Academies has committed that every new Harris primary academy that opens will offer a wraparound care service from 8am to 6pm as a minimum for the children that attend. The Free School Norwich offers child care for parents before and after school and for 51 weeks a year, all on a self-funding basis.

The Government want to make it easier for nurseries and childminders to expand by extending the planning relaxations recently introduced for state-funded schools to nurseries, such as using vacant office space.

All good and outstanding childminders and nurseries will automatically be eligible to receive Government early education funding from September. At the moment local authorities act as gatekeepers to this funding. This change will mean that over 80% of nurseries and over 70% of childminders would be able to receive this funding. Less than 10% of childminders currently offer funded places. This reform will help create a fairer market for childminders, which alongside the introduction of childminder agencies should see increased choice for parents who want high-quality home-based care.

This change will free up local authorities to work in concert with Ofsted to improve weaker providers and attract new strong providers to their areas.

We will also seek to address historic unfairnesses in funding by looking to introduce a national funding formula for early education in time.

In addition, we are proposing to streamline regulations, so that:

schools have flexibility to provide child care beyond term times and beyond the school day, making it easier for schools to offer provision from 8am to 6pm for three and four-year-olds and primary school children, in addition to enabling school nurseries to accept two-year-olds;

we will remove the unnecessary after-school learning requirements for children of reception age, who are already being taught during the school day;

there will be a single set of safety requirements for all children, with separate learning requirements for those not at school, in place of the three separate sets of requirements that currently apply;

nurseries and childminders do not need to complete paperwork such as “learning journeys”, meaning more time with children; and

we will support parents to make common-sense arrangements with their friends and neighbours by increasing the amount of time that a child can be looked after informally from two to three hours per day.

Copies of the report and consultation documents will be in Libraries of both Houses.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Marine Conservation Zones and Marine Planning

Today the Government are publishing a summary of responses to the consultation on creating a series of marine conservation zones (MCZs) around our coast and the Marine Management Organisation is launching a consultation on the first draft marine plans for the eastern inshore and offshore areas.

A total of 40,632 responses to the MCZs consultation were received, ranging from support for the designation of all 127 MCZs recommended by regional projects to objections to many sites and concerns from most marine industries about management of MCZs. A final decision on which sites will be designated will be made over the summer with the aim of making designations in the autumn. At the same time we will indicate our proposed approach to the next stage of work on MCZs.

We are doing more than ever to protect our marine environment and a wide range of marine protected areas already exist. Nearly a quarter of English inshore waters are already established as marine protected areas. In total the UK has 214 marine protected areas covering 73,890 sq km designated under the EU habitats and wild birds directives. Together, these protect important European marine habitats and species and seabirds, their habitats and foraging areas. New MCZs will supplement this network, as will further marine special protection areas on which consultations are planned for the autumn.

We are also improving the way we manage fisheries in European marine protected areas. This will ensure that key habitats are protected from damaging activities, delivering benefits both in terms of conservation and the associated wider ecosystem services. Any restrictions in fisheries must be proportionate, fair and not discriminatory. Outside 12 miles, co-operation with other member states is necessary to ensure there is effective management. That is why I am pleased that, with the Netherlands and Germany, we are working to submit to the European Commission joint proposals, designed in co-operation with the fisheries and NGO sectors, for managing fishing activities on the Dogger Bank special area of conservation, one of Europe’s largest marine protected areas.

The first draft marine plans for the eastern inshore and offshore areas will enable transparent and streamlined decision making, reduce regulatory burden and provide certainty for developers, while safeguarding our environment. In short, marine plans will enable us to manage competing uses of our seas and identify opportunities for sharing space in busy areas so that as many industries as possible can benefit.

Our ambitious marine agenda also includes reform of the common fisheries policy, on which I made a statement to the House of Commons on 17 June, Official Report, column 637. We have secured significant reform of the current, broken CFP. We stood firm during these lengthy negotiations to agree reforms that will make fishing more sustainable, decentralise decision making and eliminate the discarding of dead fish.

We are making good progress on implementing the shark, skate and ray conservation plan, which aims to allow depleted stocks to recover and those faring better to be fished sustainably. Finally, to protect cetaceans we have implemented measures to reduce by-catch, which we will continue to monitor through the UK’s cetacean by-catch monitoring scheme, recognised as one of the best in Europe.

Together, all these measures will contribute to achieving good environmental status in our seas by 2020, as required under the EU marine strategy framework directive. The Government remain committed to taking concrete action to protect our marine environment to safeguard sustainable, productive and healthy seas.

Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Taskforce

In my statement to the House on 20 May 2013, Official Report, column 54WS, I announced the publication of the final report of the tree health and plant biosecurity taskforce. I set out the Government’s initial response and committed to providing the House with an update before the summer recess, having discussed the taskforce’s recommendations with a range of interested parties.

Last week, I heard from over 80 stakeholders at a summit organised to discuss the taskforce’s recommendations and to report on progress since the report was published. There was universal acceptance of the need for urgent action and a range of constructive ideas about how we should take forward work to safeguard plant health using the taskforce report as a blueprint. The key messages from those discussions were:

We need strong collaboration across the UK and with the Republic of Ireland to ensure effective biosecurity;

At EU level, we need to take a tougher line, seeking protected zone status well before new pests and diseases arrive and only allowing new trades when we are sure that they do not represent an unacceptable risk;

We need to hold other member states to high standards of surveillance and enforcement to ensure that all are playing their part in keeping the EU safe from threats from other parts of the world;

All our actions need to be underpinned by a strong evidence base and effective horizon scanning.

The summit also provided an opportunity to report on action taken since May when I made a commitment to rapid progress on two of the taskforce’s key recommendations: producing a prioritised risk register and improving our preparedness and contingency planning. Stakeholders have said that this was the right place to start and that we need the risk register in place as soon as possible.

Work on the first phase of the risk register has advanced very quickly through several weeks of intensive work with stakeholders to capture the key risks to UK crops, trees, gardens and ecosystems from plant pests and diseases, and the pathways through which they are transmitted. Over the summer, work on the risk register will continue to identify threats against which new action needs to be taken. This will include where regulation needs to be tightened, where we need to fill gaps in our knowledge and where the current approaches are no longer cost effective and should be adapted in the light of new information. Over 700 pests and pathogens will be considered. The first phase of the risk register will be published for consultation in the autumn.

Work on contingency planning to ensure we are prepared to face new threats will get underway shortly, drawing on the risk register. Again, stakeholders will play an important role in helping us develop robust plans.

I will ensure that there is effective leadership for these vital activities. I am announcing today that I will shortly be launching an exercise to recruit a senior-level chief plant health officer in response to another of the taskforce’s recommendations. He or she will play a prominent and influential role in advising Ministers, industry and others about the risks posed by plant pests and diseases. They will also ensure that measures are in place to manage those risks and minimise their impact. In the event of an outbreak, the chief plant health officer will lead the operational response, providing clear leadership and accountability.

Stakeholders have told me that it is vital that the chief plant health officer has direct access to Ministers and the authority to act when necessary. I will ensure that that is the case. I have recently initiated monthly biosecurity meetings to assess the latest risks to plant health, animal health and from non-native invasive species. The chief plant health officer will report directly to Ministers and senior officials at those meetings and will be able to call on the resources needed to tackle threats.

Plant health policy is devolved, but the chief plant health officer will play a role in representing the whole of the UK in EU and international fora. I am writing to Ministers in the devolved Administrations setting out my plans and inviting them to consider how this new role might encourage closer collaboration to improve biosecurity across the UK.

The taskforce also recommended that we review the legislation and governance surrounding plant health. The first phase of work on that will begin tomorrow as we launch the next round of the red tape challenge, which will include a review of existing regulation on plant health and forestry. This will provide an opportunity for all with an interest to comment and identify gaps, overlaps and anomalies, some of which were highlighted in the taskforce’s report. This is the first step in developing a clearer and more effective regulatory landscape for plant health.

As we develop the right framework to safeguard plant health, I will continue to take action to improve our understanding and to tackle current and imminent threats:

We have recently consulted on a pest risk assessment on Cryphonectria parasitica or sweet chestnut blight, and are planning to introduce measures to ban its import from areas where the disease is present before the next planting season.

Since May we have completed this spring’s spraying programme aiming to eradicate oak processionary moth in Pangbourne, Berkshire, and are piloting new approaches to reduce its impacts in London, where tens of thousands of oaks have been treated at 200 sites;

We have recently awarded a £1.1 million research contract for a three-year study of acute oak decline which is present in the UK;

Large-scale field trials are now underway in the east of England to try to identify resistance to Chalara, dieback of ash, and potential treatments for Chalara will undergo field trials this summer;

We have secured funding from the EU Life+ programme to support the development of ObservaTree, a tree health early warning system using volunteer groups.

I will continue the dialogue with stakeholders over the coming months and provide an update on progress. I will publish a full response to the remaining taskforce recommendations later this year.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Afghanistan (Monthly Progress Report)

I wish to inform the House that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, together with the Ministry of Defence and the Department for International Development, is today publishing the 29th progress report on developments in Afghanistan since November 2010.

The Prime Minister visited Afghanistan on 29 June accompanied by Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Baroness Warsi. In Helmand, they celebrated Armed Forces day with troops, witnessing the progress and changing role of British Forces as they move from a combat role to one based primarily on training, advising and assisting the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). In Kabul the Prime Minister and Baroness Warsi met President Karzai. The Prime Minister and President Karzai agreed on the importance of credible presidential and provincial elections, and the peaceful transfer of power to President Karzai’s successor, for the future stability of Afghanistan. They also discussed the peace process and Afghanistan’s relations with Pakistan.

On 18 June, the Qatari Government announced that the Taliban would open a political office in Doha for the purpose of talks with the US and Afghans.

On 14 June, President Karzai appointed a new Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission. Following the appointments, the chair of the Commission expressed her concern that some of the new appointees might not have the necessary expertise. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, expressed similar concerns, urging the Afghan Government to reconsider the recent appointments and reopen the selection process.

The UK has agreed a new programme in Afghanistan to strengthen Afghan women’s political participation, as candidates and as voters, in the upcoming elections. DFID has committed £4.5 million for the programme from June 2013 to December 2015.

On 18 June, President Karzai announced that the last of the 91 Afghan districts, covering 11 provinces and the remaining 13% of the Afghan population, will enter security transition. This fifth and final tranche of security transition means that the ANSF will assume lead security responsibility throughout the country, for all of Afghanistan’s 27 million citizens.

On 4 June, a written ministerial statement was laid in the House of Commons—Official Report, column 87WS, outlining the UK redundancy policy for locally employed staff in Afghanistan. This confirmed a package of training and financial support for our locally employed staff in Afghanistan, in recognition that as our presence in Afghanistan reduces our requirement for the support of local staff is also reducing.

I am placing the report in the Library of the House. It will also be published on the website (www.

British Council (Annual Report)

Copies of the British Council’s annual report and accounts for the 2012-13 financial year have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. It can also be found at the British Council’s website

During the period the British Council received £171,500,000 Grant-in-Aid from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

British Council (Triennial Review)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office will shortly commence a triennial review of the British Council. It is Government policy that all Government Departments are required to review all their non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs) at least every three years. The review will be conducted in two stages. The first stage will examine the key functions of the British Council. If the outcome of this stage is that the functions performed by the British Council are still required and that it should be retained as an NDPB, the second stage of the project will ensure that the British Council is operating in line with the recognised principles of good corporate governance. Copies of the review will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Gifting of Chemical Weapons Protective Equipment (Syria)

As I told the House on 10 July, Official Report, column 377, we are faced with a growing and protracted crisis in Syria. We have to be prepared to do more to save lives. There is evidence of attacks using chemical weapons in Syria—including sarin. We believe that the use of chemical weapons is sanctioned and ordered by the Assad regime.

I explained on 10 July that we are exploring the possibility of supplying the Syrian opposition protective equipment against chemical and biological weapons use and yesterday I laid a minute before Parliament providing more detail on these plans. We plan to equip the moderate armed opposition with 5,000 escape hoods, nerve-agent pre-treatment tablets (NAPs) and chemical weapons detector paper.

Escape hoods protect against sarin gas for approximately 20 minutes, allowing a person to move away from an affected area but not enabling them to continue to fight. They do not require fitting or extensive training to be effective. Pre-treatment with NAPs gives a person who is exposed to a nerve agent, including sarin, a greater chance of reaching a place where atropine can be administered under medical supervision. Chemical weapons detector paper enables the basic detection of chemical weapons agents. The capability to detect quickly whether chemical weapons agents are present will inform decisions on whether or not to remain in an area and so potentially save lives.

The gift will be offered to the supreme military council of the Syrian National Coalition, which the UK recognises as the sole legitimate representatives of the Syrian people. The approximate total cost of the equipment in the proposed gift is £656,800 which will be met by the Government’s conflict pool fund.

It is normal practice when a Government Department proposes to make a gift of a value exceeding £250,000, for the Department concerned to present to the House of Commons a minute giving the particulars of the gift and explaining the circumstances; and to refrain from making the gift until 14 parliamentary sitting days after the issue of the minute, except in cases of special urgency.

In this case, making the gift is a matter of special urgency. The rapidly deteriorating situation in Syria and the urgent need to support the Syrian opposition means that the Government need to act as soon as possible. We put great value on the scrutiny provided by Parliament, but summer recess means that it is unfortunately not possible to allow 14 sitting days for the House to consider the gifting minute. In this case, we will not proceed with plans to make the gift until a period of 14 working days after the minute has been laid has expired. If there are no objections, we will proceed with plans to make the gift on or after 3 August 2013.

The use of conflict pool funds to cover the costs of this gift has been approved by the Foreign Secretary, the Secretary of State for Defence and the Secretary of State for International Development. FCO and MOD officials have also assessed the gift against the consolidated criteria and the gift does not cross the risk thresholds in the consolidated criteria provided adequate measures are put in place to mitigate the risk of diversion. In assessing the risks of providing these materials, the FCO’s Counter Terrorism Department and the Office for Security and Counter Terrorism (OSCT) have been consulted and agree the recommendation to provide the gift. This gift is also consistent with HMG’s agreed policy on Syria.

This gift has undergone intense scrutiny to ensure that we are providing the best possible support to the Syrian opposition and that we meet all our national and international obligations.

Marshall Aid Commemorative Commission (Triennial Review)

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office will today publish the report of the triennial review of the Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission (MACC), which I launched in March this year. The review concluded that the Marshall scholarships make an important contribution to HMG’s foreign policy priorities through maintaining and strengthening the United Kingdom’s bilateral relationship with the United States. The review also concluded that the MACC should be retained as a non-departmental public body and that the Marshall scholarship process was well managed, had mechanisms in place to ensure sufficient accountability to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, including on the handling of its finances, and benefited substantially from the pro bono input of the MACC commissioners.

Copies of the report of the review, and of the MACC management statement and financial memorandum, will be published online and placed today in the Libraries of both Houses.

Great Britain China Centre (Triennial Review)

The triennial review of the Great Britain China Centre (GBCC) has now been completed. This review concluded that the GBCC has specific and valuable China expertise which benefits Government. The status of the GBCC as a non-governmental body is crucial to its effectiveness. The GBCC also leverages significant corporate and programme funding and the review concluded that the GBCC offers excellent value for money and should continue to exist in its current form. A full copy of the review will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Home Department

British Citizenship Applications (War Crimes)

I have made the Equality (War Crimes etc.) Arrangements 2013 and the Race Relations (Northern Ireland) (War Crimes etc.) Arrangements 2013 to enable the Minister to subject applications from certain nationalities for British citizenship to more rigorous scrutiny than others for the purposes of determining whether the applicant has committed, been complicit in the commission of, or otherwise been associated with, the commission of war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide.

The Equality (War Crimes etc.) Arrangements 2013 are made under paragraph (l)(l)(d) of schedule 23 to the Equality Act 2010, and replace the Equality (War Crimes etc.) Arrangements 2011. The corresponding Race Relations (Northern Ireland) (War Crimes etc.) Arrangements 2013 are made under article 40 paragraph 2(c) Race Relations (Northern Ireland) Order 1997 and replace the Race Relations (Northern Ireland) (War Crimes etc.) Arrangements 2011.

The condition for subjecting these applications to more rigorous scrutiny is that the applicant is a national of a state specified on a list approved personally by the Minister for the purpose of the arrangements.

I have now reviewed and approved this list. I am satisfied that the conditions set out in the arrangements are met in respect of the countries on the list.

The arrangements will remain in force until revoked. I will review the arrangements and the list annually.

I am placing copies of the arrangements in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament.

EU Directive (Categories of Migrants)

The Government have decided not to opt in at this stage to the Commission’s proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the conditions of entry and residence of third country nationals for the purposes of research, studies, pupil exchange, remunerated and unremunerated training, voluntary service and au pairing.

The proposed directive would repeal and replace existing directives 2004/114/EC and 2005/71/EC which are concerned with the entry and stay of third country students and researchers. The UK has not opted into the existing directives.

The Government consider that policies regulating the admission of students, researchers and other categories of migrant covered by the new proposal are best determined at national level. They have concerns that the new proposal may undermine the reforms of the immigration system which the Government have undertaken in order to reduce abuse of the student route and protect the labour market while continuing to ensure that the United Kingdom continues to be an attractive destination for students from overseas. The measures may therefore undermine the UK’s ability to control immigration in the national interest.

It would be possible for the UK to seek to participate in the directive after its adoption if this were to change.

Scientific Procedures on Living Animals

My hon. Friend the Minister for Criminal Information, Lord Taylor of Holbeach, has today made the following written ministerial statement:

The “Statistics of Scientific Procedures on Living Animals—Great Britain—2012” (HC 549), was laid before the House today. Copies will be available in the Vote Office.

This annual statistical report meets the requirement in the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (ASPA) to inform Parliament about the licensed use of animals for experimental or other scientific purposes. It also forms the basis for meeting periodic reporting requirements at EU level. The next report to the EU is required in November 2015, which will be our 2014 statistics.

The 2012 statistical report shows that there were 4.11 million scientific procedures, which represents an overall increase of 8% over 2011. This increase is largely attributable to an increase in the breeding of genetically altered mice. Excluding the breeding of these animals, the total number of procedures actually decreased by 2%. The number of animals likely to be used in any given year is dependent on many factors, including investment in research and development, strategic decisions by funding bodies, global economic trends and scientific innovation.

The Home Office, as regulatory authority under ASPA, ensures that its provisions are rigorously applied and only authorises work that is scientifically justified and minimises the numbers of animals used and the animal suffering that may be caused.

The statistical report and supplementary information can be found at:

I am pleased to inform the House that I have also today placed in the Library the annual report of the Home Office “Animals in Science Regulation Unit” (ASRU) for the year 2012. The annual report can be found at:

The report describes how we have delivered our responsibilities under ASPA to regulate the use of animals, work to support the delivery of the transposed directive and provides information about cases of non-compliance with ASPA and the outcomes of those cases.

All establishments that carry out procedures on animals are subject to scrutiny by Home Office inspectors who play a key role in the implementation of ASPA. Inspectors implement a risk-based approach to inspection. Based upon an overview of risk across all licensed establishments, the chief inspector annually proposes a programme of inspection, agreed with the Minister, which best utilises the resources available. The risk-based approach and programme for 2012 is described in the ASRU annual report.

The transposition of directive 2010/63/EU into UK legislation during 2012 was a major undertaking. From the 1 January 2013 we harmonised standards with other EU member states where required and, where appropriate, maintained our higher standards whilst avoiding unnecessary bureaucracy and cost burden.

The programme for Government provides a commitment to work to reduce the use of animals in scientific research, an ambitious but achievable goal. We recognise that the use of animals in scientific research is a small but essential function in improving our understanding of medical and physiological conditions, the research and development of new medicines and the development of leading-edge medical technologies and is necessary to ensure the safety of our environment. Scientific advances in knowledge and new technologies present significant opportunities to replace animal use, reduce the use of animals, and, where animal use is unavoidable, to refine the procedures involved so as to minimise suffering (3Rs). It is key that we take these opportunities to ensure that replacement, refinement and reduction in the use of animals is integral to conducting animal research recognising that this not about baseline numbers. The statistics published today are evidence of a significant reduction in the use of animals for shellfish toxin testing. In 2009 the number of mice used in this test totalled 7,670 whereas in 2012 this has been reduced to 42. This is a prime example of successfully implementing a non-animal alternative.

In 2012, my predecessor announced the science-led programme being taken forward by the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs), which is primarily funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and I am pleased to report a number of significant advances in this area. Over the past 12 months, the NC3Rs has secured new funding which has helped launch the first 3Rs evaluation framework; made the biggest single investment in 3Rs research to date with new grant awards of £5.1 million; supported new approaches to replace animal use with £750,000 for interdisciplinary awards between toxicologists and mathematicians; and awarded four fellowships for exceptional early-career scientists developing models and tools with reduced reliance on animal research and improved welfare. The wider programme encompasses collaborative work led by the Home Office and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, between Government Departments and agencies, the Home Office inspectorate, the research community in both academia and industry, and others with relevant animal welfare interests. Significant progress has been made in developing a cross-Government action plan and we intend to provide a statement in the autumn that details our agreed plan and describes progress to date on the coalition agreement.

As the Home Office Minister responsible for ASPA, I was extremely concerned to read the allegations of non-compliance at Imperial College London (ICL) published by the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV). The use of living animals in scientific procedures which may cause pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm is strictly regulated under ASPA and I am determined to ensure that animal research is carried out humanely and only when necessary. The provision of a licence to an individual not only entrusts them to uphold their legal obligations but also to behave in ways which ensure the highest standards of animal care and welfare at all times. I take any reports suggesting that individuals or establishments are falling short of the high standards required by the Act very seriously.

I have met with the ICL establishment licence holder and other relevant senior individuals to discuss the independent investigative report that ICL have commissioned and agreed to publish. They have provided strong assurances of a rigorous inquiry. I have also had a meeting with the BUAV to assure them of the seriousness with which we are considering their allegations.

Visits by inspectors to licensed establishments, many of which are unannounced, are an important aspect of determining compliance with ASPA. An additional important role of inspectors is to advise those working under ASPA and encourage best practice with respect to the 3Rs. Inspectors have a right of entry to licensed establishments at all reasonable times and ready access to all records and it is, therefore, right and proper that they should investigate allegations when they are made. Home Office inspectors have been investigating the allegations against ICL at pace and I intend to publish a report later this year.

It is an imperative that lessons learned and broader issues for the wider community are taken from this incident. I have therefore requested the Government’s independent expert advisory body, the Animals in Science Committee (ASC), to review both the inspectorate’s report and the ICL independent report, when both are available, and to provide me with advice. The ASC report will also be made public.

Central to our work on openness and transparency is the review we are undertaking of section 24 of ASPA. Section 24 of ASPA provides for the protection of confidential information provided in connection with our regulatory activities under ASPA. A breach of section 24 can result in criminal sanctions. The requirements of section 24 are now out of step with our policy on openness and transparency and with the approach taken in other legislation, such as the Freedom of Information Act 2000. The solution we develop must improve the overall transparency surrounding research using animals, to create an environment which fosters informed debate leading to greater public trust, and also must protect personal identities and intellectual property.

The first stage of the review; engaging the full diversity of stakeholders in developing options has now been completed. The next stage of the process is to present those options in a wider public consultation, the outcome of which will further inform the direction of our work. We envisage completing the review and selection of the preferred option by the end of this year to enable us to present any legislative changes to Parliament in the new year.


Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority

On Friday 30 November 2012, I made a written statement to Parliament—Official Report, column 39WS, announcing the triennial review of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. I am pleased to announce the conclusion of the review and publication of the report today.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority is the Government body responsible for administering compensation schemes in respect of criminal injuries in England, Scotland and Wales as well as for victims of overseas terrorism. The authority’s aim is to compensate the blameless victims of violent crime or acts of terrorism overseas. Part of the Ministry of Justice, it was established in 1994 under prerogative powers.

The review has concluded that there is a continuing role for the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. The functions it performs are necessary to the provision of compensation to the blameless victims of violent crimes.

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority is currently classified as an Executive non-departmental public body. However, it is currently run, in effect, as an Executive agency of the Ministry of Justice. The triennial review report therefore recommends reclassifying it as an Executive agency, to better reflect its current operation and the changes made to its management structure made since the National Audit Office’s 2007 report, “Compensating victims of violent crime” (HC 100 Session 2007-08), This will ensure that the improvements made in dealing with victims’ claims quickly and effectively continue, and that the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority is more accurately classified.

As this reclassification is a technical change to CICA’s status, it was not necessary to undertake a stage two review of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority’s governance arrangements. However, officials from the authority and from my Department are undertaking an informal governance review, and will feed its findings into a revised framework document for the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.

The triennial review was carried out with the participation of a wide range of stakeholders and users, in addition to the body itself. The review was publicised on my Department’s website and stakeholders were invited to contribute through a Call for Evidence and a series of meetings. In addition to the project board, which oversaw the review, a critical friends group challenged the evidence used to make conclusions. Membership of this group included representation from the Cabinet Office and the National Audit Office.

I am grateful to all who contributed to the triennial review. The final report has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Powers of Attorney (Fees)

In October 2011, the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) increased its fees for Powers of Attorney (LPA) applications to enable it to deliver its transformation programme. A key aspect of this programme has been the development and implementation of a new IT system, supporting the OPG’s “digital by default” ambition and ensuring a more efficient and effective service for customers. The launch of a new digital tool, on 1 July, was a significant milestone in this programme of transformation.

As a result, the OPG will be reducing its fees for Power of Attorney applications with effect from 1 October 2013. The new fee will be £110 per application and £55 for a resubmission.

The proposed fee reduction only relates to fees charged for registering Lasting Power of Attorney or Enduring Power of Attorney applications. Further OPG fee changes will be made once the full transition to digital services is concluded during 2014-15.

Deaths of Service Personnel Overseas (Inquests)

The Minister for the Armed Forces, my right hon. Friend the Member for South Leicestershire (Mr Robathan) and I now make our latest quarterly statement to the House on progress with inquests into the deaths of service personnel on active service overseas. First of all we wish to express the Government’s and the nation’s deep sense of gratitude to all our service personnel who have served on behalf of us all in the Iraq and Afghanistan operations. They are second to none in their continuous courage and their complete professionalism. We think of those service personnel who have given their lives, and we remember the families who are trying to learn how to live without them.

This statement provides details of inquests conducted by the Oxfordshire coroner, the Wiltshire and Swindon coroner and other coroners in England and Wales. The statement shows the position at 9 July 2013.

There is additional information to supplement this statement in tables which we have placed in the Libraries of both Houses. The tables give the status of all current cases. They include information about cases where a board of inquiry or a service inquiry has been held or has been directed to be held.

Our two Departments will continue to work together to ensure that our processes are timely and effective. The Chief Coroner for England and Wales is in post and his additional powers and duties in relation to service personnel inquests will come into force this summer. As we have previously reported. Section 12 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 came into force last year and enables deaths of service personnel killed abroad on active duty to be investigated in Scotland where appropriate.

Once again we offer our sincere thanks to coroners and their staff who are conducting inquests into the deaths of service personnel, and we will continue to support them. We are also grateful to everyone else who provides help and support for bereaved families as the inquest process goes forward.

Both Departments have made funding available for additional resources for the coroners in Wiltshire and Swindon and in Oxfordshire since October 2007. This helps those coroners conduct the inquests of service personnel who have been repatriated to airbases at RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire and RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire in their respective districts. The extra funding prevents any backlog of inquests and makes it easier for the coroners to take the service personnel inquests forward while still dealing with their normal workload.

Current status of inquests

Since we made our last statement a further four inquests have been concluded into the deaths of service personnel on operations in Iraq or Afghanistan. There have been a total of 573 inquests into the deaths of service personnel who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan or have returned to the UK and sadly died here from injuries sustained on those operations. In three cases there has been no formal inquest. One of these cases concerns a serviceman who died from his injuries in Scotland, where it was decided not to hold a fatal accident inquiry. The other two deaths were taken into consideration at inquests into the deaths of other service personnel who died in the respective incidents.

Open inquests

Deaths in Afghanistan

As at 9 July 2013, 45 inquests are open into the deaths of service personnel in Afghanistan. Four of these inquests concern deaths in the last six months.

The Wiltshire and Swindon coroner has retained nine of the open inquests, while the Oxfordshire coroner has retained 22. Coroners nearer to the next-of-kin have accepted jurisdiction in the remaining 14 inquests. Eight hearing dates have been set.

Deaths of service personnel who returned home injured

Regarding the deaths of service personnel who returned home injured but have sadly died of their injuries, three inquests are open and will be listed when investigations into the deaths have been completed.

We will continue to inform the House of progress.

Law Commission (Triennial Review)

I have today published the report of stage 1 of the triennial review of the Law Commission. I have placed a copy in the Library. I have taken the unusual step of publishing the stage 1 report in advance of completing stage 2 as it is important that there is clarity about the future of the Law Commission while it is consulting on its 12th programme.

In line with the methodology established by the Cabinet Office, the Law Commission was assessed against the Government’s three tests: a) is this a technical function, which needs external expertise to deliver; b) is this a function which needs to be, and be seen to be, delivered with absolute political impartiality, such as certain regulatory or funding functions; and c) is this a function which needs to be delivered independently of Ministers to establish facts and/or figures with integrity.

The answers to these questions then enabled a fuller consideration of how these functions should be delivered in the future.

Stage 1 of the Law Commission triennial review found that there is a continuing need for its functions and that the NDPB model is most appropriate to maintain technical expertise and independence from Government. In particular, in the delivery of all its law reform projects, the Commission enjoys the support of a wide range of academics, research bodies and other experts who contribute to the Commission’s work—often on a pro bono basis—because it is an independent body producing impartial, evidence-based recommendations. Other potential delivery models were assessed, but were found to be less cost effective. The Government will now continue to conduct stage 2 of the triennial review, reviewing the control and governance arrangements in place for the Commission. I will report back to Parliament on the outcome in the autumn.

I am very grateful to all those who responded to the call for evidence. Their contributions and perspectives were extremely valuable.

Youth Justice Board for England and Wales (Triennial Review)

Today, I have published the report of stage 1 of the triennial review of the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales (YJB). I have placed a copy in the Library. I have taken the unusual step of publishing the stage 1 report in advance of completing stage 2 as it is important that there is clarity about the future of the Youth Justice Board ahead of recruiting a new chair of the YJB to replace the current chair when she finishes her second term of office in January 2014 and to ensure that the recommendations can be considered as part of my ongoing reform of the youth secure estate.

In line with the process and methodology established by the Cabinet Office, stage 1 of the review assessed the continuing need for the YJB to carry out each of its functions in their current form. The responses to the consultation have informed how these functions should be delivered in the future.

The report concludes that all of the functions remain necessary and makes 14 key recommendations relating to the delivery of these functions. It further concludes that it is appropriate for the majority of these functions to be delivered together as a critical mass of expertise. This decision recognises that the Government have repeatedly and recently stated their commitment to maintain a distinct youth justice system. Finally, the report concludes that the appropriate delivery model for the delivery of these functions is, at this time, as a non-departmental public body.

The Government will now continue to conduct stage 2 of the triennial review, reviewing the control and governance arrangements in place for the YJB with a particular focus on increasing ministerial accountability and a closer degree of control of financial management. I will report back to Parliament on the outcome in the autumn once this has been completed.

I am very grateful to all those who took the time to respond to the call for evidence. Their contributions and varying perspectives were extremely valuable.

Prime Minister

Trident Alternatives Review

In the 2010 strategic defence and security review, the Government confirmed their commitment to maintaining a continuous submarine-based deterrent and to beginning the work of replacing their existing submarines. As part of the coalition programme for Government, it was agreed that the Liberal Democrats would continue to make the case for alternatives. As a result, in 2011 the Deputy Prime Minister and I jointly commissioned Cabinet Office officials to conduct a focused review into alternative systems and postures.

The review was designed at the outset to be a neutral, factual review of options, led by officials in the Cabinet Office but drawing as necessary on expert advice from other Government Departments, especially the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Its terms of reference were to examine whether there are:

credible alternatives to a submarine-based deterrent;

credible submarine-based alternatives to the current proposal, e.g. modified Astute using cruise missiles;

alternative nuclear postures, i.e. non-continuous at sea deterrence, which could maintain credibility.

The Cabinet Office has today published an unclassified version of the review, copies of which are available in the Libraries of both Houses.

Government policy remains as set out in the strategic defence and security review. We will maintain a continuous deterrent and are proceeding with the programme to build a new fleet of ballistic missile submarines. Final decisions on the successor submarines will be taken in 2016 at the main gate point of the acquisition programme.


Local Transport Bodies (Funding Allocations)

Further to my statement to the House of 23 January 2013 I am today confirming to local transport bodies (LTBs) the funding allocations for local major transport projects from 2015. These are set out below and reflect decisions taken by Ministers in DFT and the Treasury.

The funding that the Government is allocating today is only one element of over £12 billion being made available to local enterprise partnership (LEP) areas between 2015-16 and 2020-21 through the single local growth fund, details of which were announced in a statement by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury on 27 June 2013.

Later this month, local transport bodies are expected to publish details of their prioritised schemes to be taken forward from 2015.

We would expect that those LEP areas that make a good case for further transport investment through their strategic economic plans will receive additional funding from the competitive elements of the local growth fund. Decisions on that will be made following growth deal negotiations with the Government.

In order to maximise the competitive funding available to LEPs for transport and other projects and programmes within the local growth fund, most LTBs receive confirmed allocations for four years at a level one third below the indicative numbers provided in January 2013. This is within the range of scenarios that the Department asked LTBs to consider at that stage.

Those LTBs/LEPs where the principle of 10-year funding has been agreed through city deals receive confirmed allocations for six years at the annual level indicated in January 2013. They also receive an indicative funding allocation for a further four years beyond the confirmed funding levels. This recognises that these LTBs are expected to be further ahead than others in strengthening their local decision-making arrangements and the previous consideration of transport needs alongside other priorities in city deal discussions.

In addition to the funding allocations announced today, the funding for existing DFT-approved local authority major schemes will also flow nominally through the local growth fund and we will need to ensure that any delay to these projects does not impact on the total funding available to LEPs on a competitive basis. We will confirm the detailed mechanisms for how this will work at a later date but the key principle is that this element of the funding is dependent on the schemes going ahead as planned.

Confirmed Allocations For Local Transport Bodies

Local Transport Body

Confirmed funding from 2015-16 to 2020-21inclusive

Indicative funding from 2021-22 to 2024-25 inclusive















Confirmed Allocations For Local Transport Bodies

Local Transport Body

Confirmed funding from 2015-16 to 2018-19 inclusive




































































Note: The allocation for Lancashire will be confirmed upon the agreement of the Preston City Deal.

“Action for Roads: A Network for the 21st Century”

Transport is an engine for growth and our major roads are vital to the prosperity of our nation, connecting people to jobs and businesses to markets. However, our roads have suffered from a lack of investment in recent decades, and we face rising traffic in the years to come. Without action, this will place severe strain on networks that are already under pressure, worsening the experience of motorists and damaging Britain’s ability to compete.

That is why at the recent spending round we announced a transformational investment in our road network, with £12 billion for road maintenance and a trebling of investment in major road schemes, including the addition of over 400 extra lane miles of capacity, resurfacing 80% of the strategic road network and upgrading our most important “A” roads.

At the spending round Government also announced that they would turn the Highways Agency into a publicly owned corporation with long-term funding certainty and flexibility, backed by legislation.

Today I am publishing a Command Paper, “Action for Roads”, which builds on the investment commitments made at the spending round and outlines the reforms we are taking forward to ensure delivery, including:

Reform of the status of the Highways Agency to make it a publicly owned company.

Mechanisms for funding certainty and flexibility, to allow greater efficiency and to give suppliers the assurance they need to begin training new workers for delivering our future programme.

A clear, long-term roads investment strategy to provide a detailed view of what the Highways Agency will be expected to deliver.

New powers and independence, allowing the agency to operate with greater commercial freedom, deliver with certainty and cut costs.

A “motorists champion” to provide a strong voice for all road users, hold the new company to account and deliver the best performance and value for road users.

I expect these reforms to generate additional savings to the taxpayer of £600 million, while ending decades of underinvestment and uncertainty in our road network. And it will give the construction and maintenance industries the confidence they need to recruit and train skilled workers to deliver this increase in transport projects over the coming years.

When upgrading our network, the focus will be on cutting congestion and minimising the environmental impact of roads. That is why today I am also announcing £500 million by 2020 in additional funding for the Office for Low Emission Vehicles to advance ultra-low emission vehicle (ULEV) technology and encourage people to buy and use ULEVs. In addition, bridges and tunnels will be built to help cyclists and walkers to move between communities where motorways and major A roads make these journeys difficult.

The scale of additional funding being made available for strategic roads will allow more investment in environmental safeguards to help resolve and reduce long-standing environmental problems. These could include better landscaping, tunnelling, “green” bridges and noise barriers to improve roads’ environmental performance.

And the Government will tackle the backlog of maintenance on local roads, spending £6 billion over the next Parliament in addition to the money that councils spend from other sources to reduce the number of potholes. Our overall investment in maintenance will sustain over 11,000 jobs through every year of the next Parliament.

The Government intend to consult later this year on detailed plans for turning the Highways Agency into a publicly owned company.

The document is available at:

Related to the Command Paper, I am also today publishing “Road Traffic Forecasts 2013” and have placed copies in the Libraries of both Houses.

Work and Pensions

Access to Work

This Government are committed to increasing the number of disabled people in employment and building on the important work of Liz Sayce to improve and strengthen the Access to Work scheme.

Last summer we established an expert panel to advise the Department on how best to take forward Liz Sayce’s recommendations. Today I wish to announce a set of improvements to Access to Work following the panel’s final phase of work.

We know that personalised support is key to securing successful employment outcomes for disabled people. Access to Work aims to offer all customers a tailored service, so we will grant advisers more flexibility and discretion to make personalisation a reality. Access to Work advisers will be able to:

Offer up-front payments to customers who need their award in advance in order to take up or remain in employment;

Build tolerances into awards where needed to give customers who require a more flexible package the confidence that support is available.

This Government recognise the important role work experience can play as a route into employment. While Access to Work already supports Youth Contract work experience, I can announce today that we will set aside £2 million from the access to work budget to support disabled people to access a range of opportunities that help them get ready for employment. These will include traineeships, sector-based work academies and supported internships.

We also want to support disabled people who seek out their own opportunity with an employer. Access to Work already supports disabled people undertaking a Jobcentre Plus work trial. To provide disabled people with more choice about their route into employment, we will extend Access to Work to individually established work trials where there is a realistic prospect of employment after the trial.

Liz Sayce described Access to Work as the best-kept secret in Government. We have undertaken a 12-month targeted marketing campaign and positive results are coming through. We will continue to market and promote Access to Work for young people and for people with mental health conditions. We will also continue to up-skill staff and raise awareness of the scheme within Jobcentre Plus.

We recognise that more needs to be done to help those who acquire a disability while in employment to prevent them from falling out of work. We have already announced plans for a new health and work assessment and advisory service in 2014. We will ensure that this service has full awareness of Access to Work as well as the means to conduct a smooth handover to the programme, where appropriate.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mike Adams OBE and the expert panel for their invaluable insight and contribution to the reform of this important programme. We will keep listening to experts and users of the programme in order to continuously improve its operation.

Equality 2025

In accordance with the Cabinet Office’s guidance on public bodies a triennial review of the Equality 2025 advisory board (EQ2025) has been undertaken. It examined whether the functions the non-departmental public body (NDPB) performs are still required and, if so, what the most appropriate delivery model is.

I am today publishing the review, which concludes that there is a continuing need for independent strategic, confidential expert advice supplemented by lived experience of disability. It also concluded that this did not need to be delivered by an NDPB and recommended options for successor arrangements.

The current EQ2025 members’ contracts will come to an end at the end of September, and at this point the NDPB arrangements will cease.

I am very grateful for the excellent work of EQ2025 in advising on Government policy and in helping develop Fulfilling Potential, the Government’s disability strategy. It is crucial that policy is developed and implemented informed by expertise on disability issues and the lived experience of disabled people. I am committed to ensuring that Government have access to in-depth knowledge of disability, and see this review as an opportunity to get advice from an even wider variety of experts, individuals and organisations and broaden the regional scope of that advice.

I am today initiating a consultation seeking views of disabled people and others to help shape the way forward.

I will place a copy of the review in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament.