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Written Statements

Volume 572: debated on Monday 16 December 2013

Written Statements

Monday 16 December 2013


Financial Management in Government

In June the Government announced that the Treasury would lead a review on how to strengthen financial management in Government. The Government have today published the review, copies of which have been deposited in the Libraries of both Houses and are available on the website:

The review consulted widely with UK and overseas finance officials, private sector experts, and finance institutes. Baron Sainsbury of Turville acted as expert external adviser to the review.

The review considers leadership across the Government finance function, the flow of management information and the framework of spending controls operated by the centre of Government.

The review recommends strengthening financial leadership within Government by creating a new role—director-general for spending and finance, which will combine the leadership of the Government’s finance function with overall responsibilities for public spending; and to strengthen the relationship between the new role and the Whitehall finance community. The review recommendations making an investment to better understand the costs of activities, and ensure this information is used to better inform decision making. The review sets out that a framework will be developed over the medium-term, within which Departments can take greater responsibility for areas of expenditure that are currently controlled by the centre. Finally, the review recommends consolidating internal audit services over the medium-term providing a single, integrated internal audit service, which will be an independent agency to the Treasury.

With constraints on public expenditure expected to be necessary for years to come, it is more important than ever to ensure taxpayers’ money is well spent. As improved financial management is an essential part of delivering better public services for less, the Government will implement all of the review’s recommendations.

Communities and Local Government

New Homes Bonus

Today, I am pleased to announce £916 million of provisional new homes bonus funding for local councils in England. The new homes bonus rewards the delivery of additional homes and is a powerful, simple and transparent incentive for housing growth.

I hope this funding will be welcomed by councils at a time when new orders in residential construction have risen to their highest level since 2007 according to Office for National Statistics figures published last week1. This is in stark contrast to the last Administration, when house building fell to its lowest peacetime rate since the 1920s. Top-down regional strategies and eco-towns failed hardworking families who aspired to own their own home, building nothing but resentment.

As I noted to the House in my recent answer of 2 December 2013, Official Report, column 558W, the new homes bonus ensures that those councils which promote and welcome local growth can share in its economic benefits, and support the communities in which people want to live and work. This money is not ring-fenced and so councils are free to spend the bonus as they choose, including on providing new facilities, protecting frontline services and freezing council tax.

The bonus is based on the council tax of additional homes (net of demolitions) and long-term empty homes brought back into use in the 12-month qualifying period, with an additional premium for affordable homes. The increase for 2014-15 will be paid in respect of 133,000 homes and 37,000 long-term empty properties brought back into use. The affordable homes premium is £15 million in respect of 42,830 new affordable homes.

These allocations bring the total amount of funding awarded under the new homes bonus since it began in April 2011 to over £2.2 billion. This total recognises delivery of almost 550,000 homes, over 93,000 long-term empty properties brought back into use and provision of over 160,000 affordable homes, in that period. This also reflects the success of this Government’s comprehensive programme to get empty homes back into productive use.

There are many good examples of local councils using the bonus in a variety of ways. For example, south Northamptonshire council reinvests affordable housing premiums into new community projects. South Lakeland district council has approved grants totalling almost £80,000 to support projects identified by organisations across the district such as improving footpaths, renovating buildings, and enhancing play areas. And Test Valley borough council is delivering a new £140,000 urban sports facility for Andover, funded by a mix of developer contributions and the new homes bonus. It has also launched a £300,000 community asset initiative, funded from the bonus, to support community-led projects. Other councils will simply be using the money to help freeze council tax and/or support local services.

Local authorities will have until 10 January 2014 to make representations on their provisional allocations. The Department has written to local councils with details for making representations on their authority’s provisional allocations. Final allocations are due in late January/early February next year.

A full list of the provisional allocations and local figures to assist hon. Members is being placed in the Library of the House.

1ONS Output in the Construction Industry statistics, October 2013 (Published 13 December 2013).

Culture, Media and Sport

Education, Youth Culture and Sport Council

A meeting of the Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council was held in Brussels on 25 and 26 November. Shan Morgan, the UK’s Deputy Permanent Representative, represented the UK for the culture, audiovisual and sport sections of the Council.

Culture and audiovisual

The Council was invited to adopt a general approach on the proposal for a recast directive on the return of cultural objects unlawfully removed from the territory of a member state. This proposal aims to improve the operation and effectiveness of the existing directive and to promote co-operation between member states. The Commission intervened to contest a reference in a recital to the establishment of a high-level expert group, emphasising that the establishment of such groups was a prerogative of the Commission. However, the Council was content with the text proposed by the presidency and the general approach was adopted. The UK supported the adoption of the general approach.

The Council was also invited to adopt conclusions on media freedom and pluralism in the digital environment. The presidency noted that the UK had tabled a minute statement setting out our position on EU-level action in the area of media freedom and plurality. The Commission informed the Council that it intended to propose putting the EU group of audiovisual regulatory bodies on a more formal footing, and that it would continue to work closely with the Council of Europe on issues relating to media freedom. The Council was content with the text of the conclusions and they were adopted without opposition.

The Council held a policy debate on connected citizens: changing behaviour of viewers in the converged media environment. The debate was based on a discussion paper circulated by the Lithuanian presidency. It was introduced by Dean Donaldson, global director of media innovation at MediaMind, who provided an overview of the rapid pace of technological change and how media companies, markets and consumers are responding. In the debate, member states identified three key principles: pluralism, cultural diversity and protection of minors. Most member states agreed that over-regulation could have a negative effect on the development of the market. The UK expressed its view that the current regulatory framework was broadly appropriate and did not need to be revised at this stage. However, other member states considered that the audiovisual media services directive should be revised, in particular to change the country of origin principle to country of destination for regulation of audiovisual media services, and to deregulate in the areas of advertising and quotas for European works.


The Council was invited to adopt a recommendation on promoting health-enhancing activities across sectors. This recommendation encourages the promotion of health-enhancing physical activity by acknowledging the EU’s physical activity guidelines, co-operation between the sport and health sectors, awareness-raising on the benefits of adopting a more active lifestyle, and physical activity in supporting active ageing. The Netherlands informed the Council that it did not consider there was a sufficient cross-border element to the issue to justify EU-level action and that it should be for the member states to take action. Therefore, the Netherlands could not support the recommendation. However, most member states supported the recommendation and it was, therefore, adopted. The UK considered the text to be uncontroversial and supported its adoption.

The Council also adopted conclusions on the contribution of sport to the EU economy, and in particular to addressing youth unemployment and social inclusion. The conclusions present sport as a tool to address the social challenges that young people face across Europe. The Netherlands informed the Council that it considered there were insufficient cross-border aspects to justify EU-level action; however they would not block the adoption of the conclusions. All other member states, including the UK, were content with the conclusions which were adopted by the Council.

The Council held a policy debate on good governance in sport, based on a discussion paper prepared by the Lithuanian presidency. The debate was introduced by Sylvia Schenk, Senior Adviser for Sport at Transparency International, who provided an overview of the key challenges and opportunities for sports organisations and for Governments in supporting those organisations to implement and maintain high standards of governance. In the debate all member states agreed on the importance of good governance to maintaining integrity in sport and that sports organisations should remain autonomous, though with Governments providing a framework to support and guide them in governance matters. The UK emphasised that good governance mattered at all levels of sport from the grassroots up to the elite and professional levels.

Any Other Business

France presented a paper calling for the Commission to draw up a European strategy for culture in the digital era. The French Minister argued that it was important to ensure that culture was taken into account and cultural diversity promoted in other EU policies and initiatives, in particular in relation to taxation, intellectual property and copyright, and the digital agenda. He said that France would organise a forum on Europe and culture in Paris in April 2014. France’s proposal was welcomed by other member states and Greece indicated that consideration of this issue would begin during the forthcoming Greek presidency of the Council. The UK stressed that any future strategy should not impose new restrictions on areas such as the internal market, trade agreements and state aid. This position was supported by Sweden and the Netherlands. Denmark and Germany reminded the Council that culture was essentially a matter for the member states rather than the EU.

The presidency informed the Council about the world conference on anti-doping which took place in Johannesburg on 12-15 November and the new code on anti-doping which will come into force in 2015. France informed the Council about the proposals to mark the 100th anniversary of the football matches in the trenches during the Christmas truce of 1914. These proposals were welcomed by several member states including the UK.

Finally, Greece informed the Council of the work programme and priorities for its forthcoming presidency of the Council. For culture and audiovisual, this will include taking forward negotiations with the European Parliament on the directive on the return of cultural objects unlawfully removed from the territory of a member state; an exchange of views on a cultural strategy for the EU; consideration of the role of cultural heritage in the 21st century, including conclusions on the social and economic dimensions; further dialogue on media convergence and media freedom; and a recommendation on cinema in the digital era. For sport it will include preparing and adopting the EU work programme for sport for 2014 to 2017.

Superconnected Cities Project

In March 2012 the Chancellor announced that 10 cities had been successful in their bids to be part of the Government’s super-connected cities programme, to bring faster and better broadband and high-speed wireless coverage to more people in our cities by 2015. In his autumn statement of 2012, the Chancellor announced a further 12 cities onto the programme. I would like to update the House on developments with the programme.

Following extensive work with the suppliers, cities and European Commission, the programme has been shaped around three main work streams:

a significant and sustainable upgrade in capability of high-speed/high-grade connections to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through a connection voucher scheme;

increased coverage of wireless connectivity in city centres, and provide a network of wi-fi hotspots in public buildings, such as museums and libraries in cities across the country; and

innovative connectivity projects that will increase broadband capability and support a more robust, resilient and sustainable broadband infrastructure.

The 22 super-connected cities have made good progress in developing their project plans, and they are moving quickly into the project implementation phase. An important strand of this programme is the connection voucher scheme for SMEs which was opened to all 22 cities on 7 December. The market tests in five cities over the summer have shown that suppliers and SMEs want to participate in the scheme, with over 60 suppliers registered for the market tests and an increasing number now registering for the full scheme.

I now look forward to rolling out the connection voucher scheme across all 22 cities over the coming weeks and bringing the benefits of faster and better broadband to as many SMEs as possible by 2015. This scheme is breaking new ground in the telecommunications sector. My officials will continue to work closely with all the cities as they roll out this scheme and monitor their progress, with a view to extending its benefits as widely as possible.

Alongside this, we have already seen some good progress on bringing wireless services into our city centres. For example, residents and visitors to Birmingham, Bradford, Leeds, Bradford, Cardiff, London and Manchester can access wireless services in city centres which have been provided by commercial suppliers and are free for a limited period at the point of delivery. The wider roll out of 4G mobile and our measures to remove the barriers holding up deployment should support this further.

I want to acknowledge the considerable work that the super-connected cities have done over the course of the last year. I expect the pace of progress to increase as we move into 2014, and I will provide an update to the House in due course on the programme.

Digital Radio

Radio is an important part of our cultural and media landscape—over 90% of the population consumes over a billion hours of radio a week.

The previous Government set the objective of a consumer-led transition from analogue to digital in its “Digital Britain” White Paper, and lay the foundations for that switchover with the Digital Economy Act. However, it was made clear that final decisions for a switchover would only be taken when existing FM coverage was replicated on DAB networks and 50% of all radio listening is digital.

This Government endorsed this approach, recognising that digital offers the capacity for many more radio stations, providing consumers with a greater choice of content, and increasing opportunities for the sector to develop new revenue streams. In 2010, we launched the digital radio action plan to inject momentum, and encourage industry to work together to identify and resolve issues in advance of a switchover.

As a result of the concerted action of our partners through the digital radio action plan, much has been achieved since 2010:

the BBC’s national DAB network is now at 94%; the national commercial network is now at 89% (including the recent launch of commercial services for the first time in Northern Ireland), and the local DAB network is over 70%;

digital radio listening has increased from 21.1% in 2009 to 35.6% now and around 45% of households have at least one DAB set;

41.6% of new cars sold in October had DAB radios fitted as standard, up from just 4.4% in 2010;

industry has developed a minimum specification for a DAB radio certification scheme and a car installer scheme has also been developed with the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

However, in spite of recent progress, the current rate of digital listening has not yet reached 40%. We have always been clear that the switch to digital must be consumer-led rather than Government imposed. Therefore, we do not believe that now is the time to commit to a switchover.

Nonetheless, we want to maintain the positive industry action to promote digital listening, because we know that consumers like the clearer sound and ease of tuning, not to mention the wide range of content offered.

Today, I have therefore announced the following:

There will be up to £21 million of new investment from the BBC, Government and commercial radio to build out digital radio coverage, so more homes can receive it;

Government will fund Ofcom to develop ways for smaller radio stations to go digital;

Ofcom is seeking expressions of interest to build and run a second national commercial multiplex in the new year to allow new national commercial radio stations to launch;

Ofcom is launching a review of music format rules for commercial radio, with a view to giving industry greater freedom to adapt to changing consumer tastes;

A new partnership will be formed between Digital Radio UK and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency as well as the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency to provide people with information on upgrading their car radio to digital;

That Digital Radio UK are planning to set a new digital certification mark scheme in 2014, which will be attached to all digital radios that meet a minimum technical specification and performance standards developed by industry;

Digital Radio UK will work with industry on an approved installer scheme so drivers can be confident when choosing someone to install a digital radio in their car.


Armed Forces Covenant

The armed forces covenant sets out the obligation that the Government and the nation have to the armed forces community. The covenant has two key principles: that those who serve in the armed forces, whether regular or reserve, those who have served in the past, and their families, should face no disadvantage compared to other citizens in the provision of public and commercial services; and that special consideration is appropriate in some cases, especially for those who have given the most, such as the injured and bereaved.

The Armed Forces Act 2011 enshrines these principles in law and places an obligation on the Defence Secretary to report to Parliament each year on the effects of membership of the armed forces on serving personnel, veterans and their families.

The Government are today publishing the second covenant annual report, which I am laying in the House today. The report’s main chapters are based around the fields specified in the legislation: health care, education, housing and the operation of inquests. Each chapter reports on some of the key achievements of the past year and records what more we plan to do.

Over the last 12 months, we have:

committed £17.5 million to ensure that Headley Court and nine specialist NHS facilities in England can provide state of the art prosthetics for injured personnel;

increased the service pupil premium to £300 per child from April 2013;

ensured that seriously injured veterans receive a new armed forces independence payment and will receive at least as much under this arrangement as they currently do from the highest rates of disability living allowance or personal independence payment;

revised the schools admissions code to allow infant schools in England to exceed the maximum class size in order to admit a service child;

purchased an additional 700 new high-quality properties for service families to begin occupying this year;

continued the community covenant, under which almost 400 local authorities in Great Britain have now pledged to work to bring the civilian and armed forces communities closer together;

allocated some £35 million through the covenant LIBOR fund to support charities and others in delivering 96 projects that will benefit the armed forces community; and

introduced the corporate covenant, which provides an opportunity for businesses and other organisations to declare their support for members of the armed forces community who work for and use their services.

Looking ahead, the report makes a number of commitments:

the new unified Defence Primary Healthcare Service will be fully operational from April 2014;

Ofsted will report on the use of the service pupil premium in schools with service children;

access to the standard learning credits scheme will be extended to all members of the reserve forces from April 2014;

a ministerially-chaired board will be established to oversee progress with improvements to the provision of service accommodation;

the MOD will consider whether there could be more flexibility in the provision of service accommodation, such as extending entitlement to those in long-term relationships; and

the MOD will provide a defined contribution for all paid service in the reserve forces to the future armed forces pension scheme with effect from April 2015.

The report has been compiled in consultation with the covenant reference group, which brings together representatives from Government Departments, the devolved Governments in Scotland and Wales, and from external members, including the three families federations, the Confederation of Service Charities, the Royal British Legion, SSAFA, the War Widows Association and Professor Hew Strachan of Oxford university. As in previous years, observations by the external members of the covenant reference group are published as part of the report itself. Once again, I am most grateful to the external members for their continued involvement and assistance.

Public Service Pensions Act 2013

I am pleased to lay before Parliament today a report. It sets out the likely effect of section 10 of the Public Service Pensions Act 2013 on members of the defence fire and rescue service and the Ministry of Defence police.

The report has considered the effects—as far as they are known—on health and well-being, operational capability and the likelihood of early retirement in consequence of section 10.

I am clear though that it provides a basis for further engagement with both Unite and Prospect on behalf of the defence fire and rescue service and the Defence Police Federation on behalf of the Ministry of Defence police. Recent meetings with representatives of both groups have resulted in agreement as to how that future engagement will be conducted. This will begin in the new year.

I know too that, at the Adjournment debate of 26 November 2013, Official Report, column 231, the Under-Secretary of State for Defence, my hon. Friend the Member for Broxtowe (Anna Soubry) who is responsible for defence personnel, welfare and veterans agreed to meet my hon. Friend the Member for Argyll and Bute (Mr Reid) and the hon. Member for Telford (David Wright), the Defence Police Federation, Unite and Prospect in the new year. Action is in hand to make those arrangements.

Successor Submarine Programme

On 18 May 2011, my predecessor, the right hon. Member for North Somerset (Dr Fox) made an oral statement to the House, Official Report, column 351, announcing the approval of the initial gate investment stage for the procurement of the successor submarines to the Vanguard class. He also placed a report “The United Kingdom’s Future Nuclear Deterrent: The Submarine Initial Gate Parliamentary Report” in the Library of the House.

This Government have committed to publishing an annual report on the programme and I am today publishing the second report, “The United Kingdom’s Future Nuclear Deterrent: 2013 Update to Parliament”. A copy has been placed in the Library of the House.

Deputy Prime Minister

City Deals

Following the successful completion of the first wave of city deals in July 2012, with the “Core Cities” the Government committed to work with a further 20 cities and their wider areas to negotiate a second wave of city deals in October 2012.

I can today inform the House that the Government and business and civic leaders in the Tees Valley and Hull and the Humber have reached agreement on city deals.

The Hull and Humber city deal will build on the area’s strengths in the energy industry. A centre of excellence for energy skills will be established where local businesses will work with training providers to ensure local young people are equipped with the skills they require for careers in the energy sector and a payment-by-results system will be introduced so that skills training providers are properly incentivised for supporting local adults into sustainable employment or education that furthers their careers. To provide confidence to companies wishing to invest in developing key sites around the Humber, while ensuring the area’s environmental assets are protected, the deal commits statutory agencies to working together to provide a single point of contact to potential investors. In addition, the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership and its member local authorities have committed to the production of a 25-year spatial plan to optimise the Humber estuary. The city deal will also deliver a business support programme to provide businesses with the support they require to grow. Hull and the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership predicts that the deal will lead to an expected £460 million of private sector investment in development on the Humber and deliver more than 4,000 jobs, in offshore wind related industries.

The Tees Valley city deal acknowledges the area’s strengths in large-scale production, chemical and process industries. The deal will see the Tees Valley make plans for an industrial carbon capture and storage network, which will identify the best options for an onshore network, explore investment opportunities and develop a business case for investment in industrial carbon capture and storage. In parallel, two waste heat networks will be developed, where waste heat from industry will be used to heat homes, businesses hospitals and local businesses, serving to reduce energy bills in the areas covered. The deal will benefit local businesses through the Tees Valley Business Growth Hub, which will give them a single point of contact for national and local business support. Tees Valley Unlimited Local Enterprise Partnership predict that the city deal will create 3,500 jobs and unlock £44 million of private and public sector investment.


Technical and Vocational Education

As part of our drive to increase rigour and responsiveness of vocational qualifications, I am confirming today which vocational qualifications for 14 to 19-year-olds have met the standards required to count in the school and college performance tables. The lists of qualifications published today will apply to courses taught from September 2014 for performance tables in 2016 and beyond.

For the first time 16 to 19-year-old students and their parents will be able to see which vocational qualifications are valued by industry and higher education. Two new types of vocational qualification for 16 to 19-year-olds are being introduced:

Tech levels are large level 3 qualifications comparable to A levels. They must lead to recognised occupations, for example in engineering, construction, horticulture, information technology, accounting or professional cookery, either directly or through a vocational degree. To count as a tech level in the performance tables, a qualification requires clear public support from professional bodies, or five employers registered with Companies House.

Applied general qualifications are also level 3 qualifications, but provide broader study of a vocational area which fulfil entry requirements to a range of HE courses, either in their own right or alongside other level 3 qualifications. Applied general qualifications need the backing of a minimum of three universities.

Tech levels and applied general qualifications will be reported separately in performance tables to other academic level 3 qualifications including A and AS levels, the international baccalaureate and the Pre-U.

The third annual list of 14 to 16 vocational qualifications is also being published. This includes a wide choice of qualifications including new engineering courses which have been designed by the Royal Academy of Engineering and backed by world-leading businesses like JCB, Rolls-Royce and Siemens.

The details of the qualifications which will count towards the technical baccalaureate measure (the techbacc) announced in April are also being published. Techbacc students will recognise the highest level of technical training achieved by students aged 16 to 19.

The lists of approved publications will be published at 9.30 am on the website.

Energy and Climate Change

“Energy Efficiency Strategy: 2013 Update”

The Government are today publishing the “Energy Efficiency Strategy: 2013 Update”.

In November 2012 the coalition published the first ever Government energy efficiency strategy, which sets out our mission to seize the energy efficiency opportunity in the UK. The 2013 update focuses on the significant progress that has been made over the last 12 months.

Since the publication of the energy efficiency strategy we have extended the support available to households; simplified the existing business energy efficiency policy landscape, reducing administrative burdens; paved the way for innovation by establishing access to new energy efficiency finance routes; and improved our understanding of the multiple benefits of energy efficiency.

Energy efficiency is a key priority in supporting household and business energy consumers with rising costs. We have taken steps over the last 12 months to ease the impact of rising prices, and plan to do more in 2014.

In developing the 2013 update, officials in my Department have worked closely with their counterparts across Government to ensure that the 2013 update captures the full range of our activity on energy efficiency.

I will place copies of the strategy update in the Libraries of both Houses. Copies are also available online on

Civil Nuclear Police Authority (Triennial Review)

The coalition Government are committed to ensuring accountability in public life. That is why we have established the triennial review process to examine all non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs).

As part of this ongoing programme, I am announcing today the triennial review of the Civil Nuclear Police Authority (CNPA)

As with all such reviews, this has two aims:

to challenge the continuing need for an NDPB to carry out this role—both its functions and form; and—if it is agreed it should remain as an advisory NDPB;

to review its control and governance arrangements to ensure it is complying with recognised principles of good corporate governance.

I will announce the findings of the review in March 2014.

If you would like further information, or to contribute to the review, please contact my Department at: This DECC mailbox will be open until end March 2014.


“Winterbourne View: Transforming Care One Year On”

On 10 December 2012, I made an oral statement and placed in the Library “Transforming Care: A national response to Winterbourne View Hospital”, Official Report, column 49. This followed our review of the events and appalling abuse of patients at Winterbourne View, a private hospital for the assessment and treatment of people with learning disabilities. Transforming care was accompanied by a concordat setting out an extensive list of commitments for a range of actions spanning across the health and care system and beyond. These involved a series of partners, including NHS England, the Local Government Association, the Care Quality Commission and many others.

One of the commitments in the concordat was that we would publish a progress report one year on and this was published on 13 December 2013. The report shows that the Department and its many partners, working closely with stakeholders, including most importantly self-advocates, family carers and the third sector, have made good progress carrying forward many of the concordat commitments and actions. There are many products from this work, including:

the new learning disability census, published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre;

a stocktake of progress by the joint improvement programme published down to local level;

an enhanced quality assurance programme to support delivery against the June 2014 milestone for people to be cared for in the right setting for them as individuals;

a new approach by the Care Quality Commission to the inspection of health and learning disabilities services from next year, to be led by Professor Sir Mike Richards;

new fundamental standards which will deliver corporate accountability, to be set out in regulations; and

steps to secure adult safeguarding boards through the Care Bill.

The full report includes an appendix detailing progress against all the commitments.

We know, that in spite of the progress over the last 12 months there is a great deal still to be done.

Of the 48 former Winterbourne View residents themselves, one has sadly since died so NHS England is tracking progress for the remaining 47. Thirteen of these people are still in an NHS inpatient setting and 12 of those are out of area. This remains unacceptable.

The new learning disability census data show 3,250 people meeting the criteria for inclusion, while earlier in the year NHS England and the clinical commissioning groups identified 2,677 individuals whose care plans have all now been reviewed. These new data will allow health and care commissioners to track back and resolve anomalies, which are likely to have been caused by definitional issues of terms such as “challenging behaviour”, and commissioning complexities. This information will ensure that all those who meet the inclusion criteria also receive the right attention, including care reviews, to help them move into the type and place of care which is right for them by June 2014.

The progress report “Winterbourne View: Transforming Care One Year On” 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.

Home Department

Modern Slavery

Modern slavery is a brutal crime which knows no boundaries and does not discriminate on gender, age, creed, culture or race. Traffickers and slave masters exploit whatever means they have at their disposal to coerce, deceive and force individuals into a life of abuse, servitude and inhumane treatment. This is simply unacceptable in modern day Britain. We will not, and cannot let this continue.

That is why I have set up a new modern slavery unit in the Home Office, and it will be responsible for ensuring that we tackle this problem from every angle, while always keeping the plight of victims at the very heart of our policies and everything we do.

Today, I have published a White Paper which includes a draft Modern Slavery Bill (CM 8770) to strengthen our response and reduce the number of victims of this abhorrent crime. This flagship Bill will be the first of its kind in Europe, and sends a strong message, both domestically and internationally, that the UK is determined to put an end to modern slavery.

The Bill will simplify legislation, toughen sentences for slave drivers, and enable the courts to restrict activity where individuals may be at risk. This will mean that more traffickers are pursued, disrupted and brought to justice. The Bill will also create an Anti-Slavery Commissioner who will galvanise law-enforcement’s efforts to tackle modern slavery.

We have already asked the right hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr Field) to lead a series of evidence sessions. The draft Bill will now be subject to pre-legislative scrutiny and copies will be available from the Vote Office. Both the Member for Birkenhead’s report and the Joint Committee’s report will inform development of the final Bill and an action plan which will be published in the spring.


Written Ministerial Question (Correction)

I regret to inform the House that a written answer I gave on 28 October 2013, Official Report, column 321W, to the hon. Member for Nottingham East (Chris Leslie) needs amendment. The hon. Gentleman asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what costs were incurred by his Department’s estate in respect of (a) gas and (b) electricity supply in the 2012-13 financial year.

The answer said that the costs incurred by the Scotland Office in the 2012-13 financial year, in respect of (a) gas was £6,876.40 and (b) electricity was £110,804.98, which includes £47,744.96 for Whitehall Standby Distribution System standing charges.

The figure for gas charges was correct. However, the figure given for electricity costs also included the charges for the Whitehall Heating System and the Standby Distribution System. The Whitehall Heating System supplies hot waters to Departments for central heating. The Standby Distribution System would supply electricity to Departments in the event of a power failure.

The correct answer to the hon. Member’s question is:

The costs incurred by the Scotland Office in the 2012-13 financial year, in respect of (a) gas was £6,876.40, and (b) electricity was £28,205.52. The charges for the Whitehall Heating System and the Standby Distribution System amounted to £82,599.46.

The overall costs of energy supplies provided in the original answer are not changed by this amendment.