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Written Statements

Volume 714: debated on Thursday 5 November 2009

Written Statements

Thursday 5 November 2009

Animal Procedures Committee: Annual Report

Statement

My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Office (Meg Hillier) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

In accordance with Section 20(5) of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, the committee’s annual report for 2008 has today been laid before the House. Copies are available in the Vote Office. The report includes:

the 86/609 Working Group submitted advice to the Home Office in relation to the revision of Directive EC 86/609;

the Housing and Husbandry Sub-Committee guidance on fish welfare and euthanasia;

the Education and Training Sub-Committee continued its work on module 5 training and guidance for accrediting bodies;

the Minister’s updated response to the Animal Procedures Committee’s report on the annual statistical report;

the Applications Sub-Committee produced guidance to applicants for the process of referral to the Applications Sub-Committee; and

the committee’s programme of work for 2009 onwards.

Cultural Objects: Acceptance-in-Lieu

Statement

My right honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Margaret Hodge) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

2008-09 has, once again, been a year of outstanding success for the acceptance-in-lieu scheme, with a wide range of cultural objects saved for the nation. Objects ranging from a Titian to a David Hockney and from family archives to architectural drawings with a value of £19.8 million have been accepted under the scheme.

This year’s allocation includes “The Triumph of Love” by Titian and works by Van Dyck, Millais and Reynolds. Archives also feature heavily in this year’s report, as do works by contemporary artists, including Frank Auerbach, David Hockney and Howard Hodgkin. Once again, the scheme has helped to save items which are of significance within a more local context such as a landscape by Gainsborough, which is to be allocated to Norwich Castle Museum.

All of these items will now be available for everyone to enjoy for all time.

A full report detailing all of the material accepted in lieu in 2008-09 will be issued later today by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, which administers the scheme on behalf of the Government. It is available online at http://www.mla.gov.uk/what/cultural/tax/acceptance _in_lieu.

The following statement gives details of disposals and transfers made during 2008-09 as required under Section 9 (6) of the National Heritage Act 1980.

Table 1

Allocations made under the National Heritage Act 9(3) of items accepted in lieu of tax in the financial year 2008-09—permanent allocations

Item

To whom permanently allocated

The Gerald Coke Handel Collection

The Foundling Museum

“Le Château de la Duchesse de Berry” by Richard Parkes Bonington (1802-28)

The Castle Museum and Art Gallery, Nottingham

The architectural archive of William Nicholas Brakspear (1818-98)

Royal Institute of British Architects

Iranian Qajar Enamelled Gold Bowl

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

Japanese Edo-period Helmet

Victoria and Albert Museum

“Achill Landscape” by Paul Henry (1876-1958)

Tate

“The Triumph of Love” by Titian (Tiziano Vecello) (c. 1485-1576)

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

Trafalgar Sword and three groups of medals

The National Trust for display at Claydon House, Buckinghamshire

The archive of Henry Addington, Viscount Sidmouth

Devon Record Office

“Lead Mining at Leadhills” (four paintings) by David Allan (1744-96)

National Galleries of Scotland

The Bingley Cups

Victoria and Albert Museum

“Portrait of Princess Mary” by Sir Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641)

Historic Royal Palaces for display at Hampton Court Palace

“Landscape” by Thomas Gainsborough (1727-88)

Castle Museum, Norwich

“The Entrance to the Grand Canal” by Francesco Guardi (1712-93)

Northampton Museum and Art Gallery

“Study of Arms” by Perino del Vaga (1501-47)

The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

“Birds in a Landscape” by Jacob Bogdani (1658-1724)

Cheltenham Museum and Art Gallery

“Study for Doll Boy” and “The Berliner and the Bavarian” by David Hockney (b. 1937)

Tate

“The Vigor Family” by Joseph Highmore (1692-1780)

Victoria and Albert Museum

18th century needlework

Victoria and Albert Museum

“Still Life with Green Bottle” by Francis Campbell Boileau Cadell (1883-1937)

National Galleries of Scotland

“The Flower Seller” by Walter Sickert (1860-1942)

Charleston, East Sussex

Shrubland Park architectural archive

Suffolk Record Office

The Archive of Sir Joseph Rotblat

Churchill Archive Centre, Cambridge

Table 2

Allocations made under the National Heritage Act 9(4) of items accepted in lieu of tax in the financial year 2008-09—temporary allocations (those not superseded by a permanent allocation)

Item

To whom temporarily allocated

The archive of the Winn Family of Nostell Priory

Wakefield Metropolitan District Council for management by the West Yorkshire Archive Service

Horace Walpole’s Mirror from Strawberry Hill

Leeds City Council for display at Temple Newsam House, Leeds

“Portrait of the Rev. Isaac Donnithorne” by Thomas Gainsborough (1727-88)

Tate

The Archive of Frank Martin (1914-2004)

Tate

Three works by David Bomberg (1890-1957)

National Galleries of Scotland

“Children Playing” (recto) and “The Fireplace” (verso) by Joan Eardley (1921-63)

National Galleries of Scotland

The Aberdare Archive

Glamorgan Archive Joint Committee for deposit at the Glamorgan Record Office

“Portrait of Julia” by Frank Auerbach (b. 1932)

National Galleries of Scotland

“The Angelus” by Jean-François Millet (1814-75)

British Museum

“Hagar and the Angel” by John Runciman (1744-69)

National Galleries of Scotland

“Portrait of the Harcourt Family” by Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-92)

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

Three nephrite handclubs and a stone adze

Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter

Punch and Judy Archive

Victoria and Albert Museum

“Portrait of Violet Trefusis” by Sir John Lavery (1856-1941)

National Portrait Gallery

“Portrait of Oscar Browning” by Emanuel Romano (1897-1984)

National Portrait Gallery

Penrhyn Castle Papers

Bangor University Library and Archive Service

Penrhyn Quarry Papers

Caernarfon Record Office

“Flower Painting” by Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder (1573-1621)

The National Gallery

“Shipping on the Schelde” by Bonaventura Peeters (1614-52)

The National Gallery

“The Proscribed Royalist” by Sir John Everett Millais (1829-1896)

Tate

Architectural Drawing by Jean Tijou (fl.1689-1712)

Royal Institute of British Architects

Roman funerary monument and altar

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

“Portrait of Peter Cochrane” by Sir Howard Hodgkin (b. 1932)

National Portrait Gallery

“Narcissus” by Paris Bordone (1500-1571)

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

Judicial Declarations: Freemasonry

Statement

My right honourable friend the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice (Jack Straw) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Since 1998, all first-time successful candidates for judicial appointment or the magistracy have been required to declare whether or not they are freemasons, the aim of the scheme being to promote public confidence in the judicial system. This policy was part of a wider approach across the criminal justice system, though its particular application differed in the separate services of the criminal justice system.

The policy was put in place in response to a report of the Home Affairs Select Committee—Home Affairs Committee third report: Freemasonry in the Police and the Judiciary, Session 1996-97 (HC 192). The report itself made no finding of impropriety in the conduct of the judiciary arising from membership of individual members of the judiciary of the freemasons. Its recommendations were therefore of a precautionary nature, and intended to maintain public confidence in the criminal justice system.

The United Grand Lodge of England made representations in May. It drew attention to the decision of the European Court of Human Rights in Grande Oriente d'Italia di Palazzo Guistiniani v Italy (no. 1) and Grande Oriente d'Italia di Palazzo Guistiniani v Italy (no. 2) and indicated that they might seek judicially to review the application of the policy to the judiciary. In the light of my consideration of those representations I decided to review the policy.

As a result of this review we have decided to end the current policy of requiring applicants for judicial office to declare membership of the freemasons.

The review of the policy operating since 1998 has shown no evidence of impropriety or malpractice within the judiciary as a result of a judge being a freemason and in my judgment, therefore, it would be disproportionate to continue the collection or retention of this information.

There are existing safeguards that help support the proper performance of judicial functions, and these apply to freemasonry no less than other interests—in particular, the judicial oath, the availability of the complaints procedure and the Office for Judicial Complaints, the independence of the Judicial Appointments Commission, which recommends candidates for judicial appointment, and judicial terms and conditions of service.

I remain committed to the overarching objective of ensuring public confidence and transparency in the justice system. I believe that the safeguards mentioned will achieve this, but in the light of this change in policy I will keep under review, together with the Lord Chief Justice, whether other action is required.

Leasehold Advisory Service

Statement

My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Ian Austin) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I have deposited in the Library of the House a copy of the annual report and accounts of the Leasehold Advisory Service (LEASE) for the financial year 2008-09.

LEASE is an executive non-departmental public body sponsored by Communities and Local Government and the Welsh Assembly Government to provide advice, information and other services to the public and others in relation to residential leasehold, and by the Ministry of Justice in respect of commonhold law.

The report sets out its main activities and performance during the year, a summary of its forward plans, and details of the financial status of the service, along with statistics on the number of inquiries it has dealt with over the past 12 months.

It shows the significant volume of enquiries (over 28,000) that the service has dealt with over the past 12 months as part of its work, the growing use of its website, and success of its mediation scheme, and gives an indication of the valued role which LEASE continues to play in the leasehold sector in providing advice to those who require information about their rights.

Proceeds of Crime Act 2002

Statement

My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Office (Alan Campbell) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I am issuing today guidance to the Serious Organised Crime Agency on the exercise of its functions under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. I am placing a copy of the guidance in the Library.

Under Section 2A of the 2002 Act, as inserted by paragraph 124 of Schedule 8 to the Serious Crime Act 2007, SOCA must exercise its functions in the way which it considers is best calculated to contribute to the reduction of crime. In considering this, SOCA must have regard to any guidance issued by the Secretary of State. The guidance broadly sets out the way in which the agency should operate in this respect.

Guidance in the same terms is being issued simultaneously by the Attorney-General to the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Director of Revenue and Customs Prosecutions, the Director of the Serious Fraud Office and the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland, in accordance with Section 2A. In the interests of convenience and consistency of approach the Attorney-General and I are issuing our guidance jointly in the same document.

The joint guidance is being issued in accordance with the commitment in the Government’s report Extending Our Reach: A Comprehensive Approach to Tackling Serious Organised Crime (Cm 7665), published in July, to facilitate the use of non-conviction-based asset recovery powers.

I am placing a copy of the joint guidance on the Home Office website.

Railways: Franchises

Statement

Further to my Statements on 1 July 2009 (Official Report, col. 225 and Official Report, col. WS 24) on East Coast main line rail services, after the close of the markets yesterday I notified National Express East Coast Ltd that I am terminating their franchise with effect from 11.59 pm on 13 November.

The publicly owned east coast main line company will take over running of this franchise from that time, with an orderly handover from National Express East Coast. I can assure the travelling public that services will continue without disruption and all tickets will be honoured. Staff currently employed by National Express East Coast will transfer to the east coast main line company under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE), with the necessary statutory consultation.

Schools: Personal, Social and Health Education

Statement

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (Ed Balls) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The issues that personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education covers are all central to children and young people’s well-being and to their healthy development as they grow up. They are nutrition and physical activity; drugs, alcohol and tobacco; sex and relationships; emotional health and well-being; safety; careers education; work-related learning; and personal finance.

Sex and relationship education (SRE) is one important constituent element of PSHE education. As well as being crucial to the drive to reduce teenage pregnancy, it is vital for the healthy development of every child and young person.

I set out my intention to review SRE in the Children’s Plan, which was published in December 2007. A review group was established early in 2008 to this end, comprised of experts and representatives of faith groups, including the Church of England and the Catholic Education Service. The group was jointly chaired by Jim Knight, the then Minister of State for Schools; Jackie Fisher, principal of Newcastle College; and a representative of the UK Youth Parliament, in recognition of the importance of the review being informed by the views and experiences of young people, as well as those of parents and experts in SRE.

The review group completed its work in the summer of 2008. The review provided evidence, including from young people themselves, that the quality of SRE being delivered was too variable and was failing to meet young people’s needs on a consistent basis.

The group stressed that PSHE education was not given sufficient priority in schools and that its lack of status, specifically its non-statutory national curriculum status, was a key factor in explaining why schools did not prioritise it. The group was clear and unanimous in its view that making PSHE education statutory was necessary to achieve a step-change in the quality and status of the PSHE education that young people receive.

The group recommended that this statutory content (for secondary schools) should be based on the current non-statutory programmes of study for personal well-being, on which it based its work. It also made it clear that the statutory content for primary schools should be based on new programmes of study for personal well-being, developed by the Qualification and Curriculum Authority (QCA) in the context of Jim Rose’s review of the primary curriculum. I am placing a copy of the SRE content of the PSHE programmes of study in the House Libraries for information, alongside this Statement.

A review group which focused on drug and alcohol education, another key component of PSHE education, and which ran to the same timescale as the SRE review group also included among its recommendations that PSHE education should be made statutory.

In the Written Ministerial Statement on 23 October 2008, Jim Knight made clear our intention to accept the recommendations from both these review groups to make PSHE education statutory. The Statement also announced that I had commissioned Sir Alasdair Macdonald CBE, the outstanding head teacher of Morpeth School, to conduct an independent review to address the question of how the principle that PSHE education should have statutory status could best be taken forward into practice. In particular, I asked Sir Alasdair to examine how we could best ensure that in the sensitive area of SRE:

schools can continue to be able to tailor the curriculum in the ways they think best suit their pupils;

school governing bodies can retain their right to determine their own approach, in accordance with the ethos of their school; and

the arrangements put in place appropriately recognise and respect the rights of the very small minority of parents who already withdraw their children, and of those parents who might want to do so in future.

In carrying out his review Sir Alasdair talked to children and young people, parents, schools, faith groups and expert organisations involved in the development and provision of PSHE education. His findings were also informed by the results of a call for written evidence; field visits to a wide range of schools and professionals in local areas, selected on the basis of recommendations from expert organisations, including Ofsted; and focus groups with children and young people.

Sir Alasdair delivered his report to me in March 2009 and I set out his findings and the Government’s response in a Written Statement laid on 27 April 2009. Sir Alasdair’s key recommendations were that, in making PSHE education statutory:

PSHE education must be an integral element of all initial teacher training courses and of the continuing professional development of teachers, school support staff and the wider children’s workforce involved in its delivery; and

governing bodies should retain the right to determine their school’s approach to SRE and in doing so:

they should ensure this can be delivered in line with the context, values and ethos of the school, but in a way that is also consistent with the core entitlement to PSHE education;

governing bodies should also retain the duty to maintain an up-to-date SRE policy, which is made available to inspectors, parents and young people;

governing bodies should involve parents and young people (in the secondary phase) in developing their SRE policy, to ensure that this meets the needs of their pupils, and reflects parents’ wishes and the culture of the communities they serve.

The existing right of parental withdrawal from SRE should be maintained.

In my Statement to the House on 27 April 2009 I confirmed the Government’s intention to accept all of Sir Alasdair’s recommendations. The right to statutory PSHE was included in the pupil guarantee in the White Paper published by my department in June and I confirmed that it would apply to all state funded schools.

In my April Statement I also said we would now consult on the detail of these recommendations, prior to moving to legislate on these matters. That consultation process has now been carried out and completed by the Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency (QCDA) on my department’s behalf, covering a wide range of detailed issues relevant to PSHE, and I am placing copies of their report setting out the results in the House Libraries.

This report makes clear that a wide range of views and opinions were expressed, which the QCDA gathered through a variety of means, including an online consultation to which 6,000 people responded. QCDA also consulted through conferences, focus groups and specially designed surveys of children and parents. The QCDA report also sets out their view that the results of their online consultation were influenced by campaigns on these matters conducted by several specific interest groups. The report explains that the QCDA sought to take this into account in their analysis and interpretation of the data.

I have considered carefully the outcomes of this consultation, together with Sir Alasdair MacDonald’s report and all the other information that has become available about these matters since my decision to review SRE in November 2007.

As a result, I can confirm our decision to accept the recommendations of the SRE Review Group and to proceed with legislation to make PSHE education part of the statutory national curriculum in both the primary and secondary phases. As the SRE group established in 2008 recommended, PSHE education will therefore be a foundation subject in the national curriculum in key stages 3 and 4, with the existing non-statutory programmes of study forming the basis for a core entitlement that all pupils should receive. At primary level the proposed new programme of learning, “Understanding Physical Development, Health and Wellbeing”, will be the basis of the core entitlement that all pupils should receive.

Over the past few months an issue has arisen about the age up to which parents should be able to withdraw their children from SRE, if they wish to exercise their right to do so. Currently parents have the right to withdraw their children up to the age of 19. In practice, only a very small minority of parents choose to exercise this right. However, I believe it is very important that this right is maintained. This is all the more necessary once, subject to the will of Parliament, PSHE education becomes a statutory part of the national curriculum.

It is important that parents, schools and young people are all clear about the age that is set, and that this is supported by parents and young people, as well as being practically deliverable and legally enforceable. We have, therefore, consulted experts in SRE and representatives of faith groups, among others, about this. In addition, my department commissioned some further quantitative and qualitative research in October 2009 to gather further relevant information. I am placing reports of the outcomes from that research in the House Libraries.

This research, which was carried out with samples of parents and of adults, found quite a wide spectrum of opinion, against a context in which four out of five parent respondents (81 per cent) to the surveys said they supported the principle that all children should receive SRE. When asked about the right of withdrawal, 20 per cent of parents said there should be no right of withdrawal, 33 per cent of parents said the right should end at age 11, 9 per cent said it should end at age 14, and 7 per cent at the age of 16. A clear majority therefore supported a reduction in the age to which a right of parental withdrawal should apply.

After careful consideration of the outcomes of discussions with experts and other interested parties, including representatives of faith groups, and of the findings of this research, I have concluded that parents’ right to withdraw their children from SRE should continue until their children reach the age of 15. I have come to this view because I believe that proceeding on this basis is balanced, practically deliverable and legally enforceable, and maintains the right of withdrawal for the small number of parents who wish to exercise it. I also believe that setting the age limit at 15 offers the best chance of building a strong consensus.

This means that every young person will receive at least one year of SRE before their 16th birthday.

It is of critical importance, in ensuring that PSHE helps children to achieve all their Every Child Matters outcomes, that the content of the new PSHE education curriculum is carefully thought through and constructed. This has already been the subject of detailed consultation with schools, young people, parents, faith groups and experts in the field, and through the work of the SRE Review Group. The proposed content of SRE that will be taught when PSHE education becomes statutory will now be subject to further formal statutory consultation on the detail, the process to be overseen by the QCDA and to be concluded by autumn 2010.

In order to implement the measures set out in this Statement we will include provisions, as necessary, in the forthcoming Children, Schools and Families Bill.