The informal focused primarily on preparing a European position ahead of the meeting of G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors held on 4 and 5 September in London, including on IMF issues, executive remuneration and climate change financing. Ministers agreed to increase European resources available to the IMF, building on commitments made in the European Council conclusions in June. They also agreed that the G20 should move forward on reforms of financial regulation, stabilising the world economy, preparing for future growth and establishing sound compensation practices in the financial sector, building on the commitments made at the London summit.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Alistair Darling): The G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting was held in London on 4 and 5 September. Discussions at the meeting focused on the global economy, financial regulation and international financial institutional reform. Copies of the Communiqué and supporting annexes have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
The Secretary of State for Defence (Mr. Bob Ainsworth): The Prime Minister has been pleased to appoint Professor Alasdair Smith as the next chair of the Armed Forces' Pay Review Body, for a three-year term of office commencing on 1 March 2010. This appointment has been conducted in accordance with the guidance of the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Mr. Quentin Davies):
I am delighted to announce that the contracts for the third tranche of Typhoon multi-role combat aircraft have now been signed by the general manager of the NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency (NETMA), on behalf of the four
partner nations, and by the chief executives of the programme's co-ordinating industrial consortia, Eurofighter GmbH and Eurojet Turbo GmbH. This is excellent news for defence and for United Kingdom industry and represents the achievement of another major milestone for the Typhoon programme.
This order builds upon the success of the in-service tranche 1 fleet and the ongoing introduction into service of tranche 2 Typhoon aircraft, which are demonstrating outstanding performance in operation with the RAF. The tranche 3 contracts will provide an additional 16 aircraft as part of a UK order for 40 aircraft, 24 of which are replacements for aircraft being diverted to satisfy exports to Saudi Arabia. The contracts form part of what is thought to be the largest defence order ever placed in Europe, reflecting the successful and continuing co-operation between the four partner nations and European industry. The contracts have also enabled partner nations to programme significant through-life support savings. For the UK this is of the order of £900 million.
Typhoon is an outstandingly capable, state-of-the-art aircraft which is providing a significant enhancement to our defence capability. The aircraft has the flexibility to contribute across a wide range of operations delivering air superiority and precision ground attack capabilities. Additionally, the aircraft will be built with sufficient capability to allow the embodiment of upgrades to systems now and in the future. The tranche 3 aircraft will be an essential part of our defence capability to be retained until at least the 2030s as they will be delivered with sufficient incremental development capacity to be able to exploit nascent systems and weapons technology to ensure that we can continue to meet emerging defence challenges.
The order will provide major benefits for industry across the United Kingdom and is expected to sustain upwards of 15,000 direct jobs with defence manufacturers, many in high-technology positions, and a significant number in supporting industries across the economy more widely.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Mr. Quentin Davies): Further to the announcement on 19 July 2005, Official Report, column 59WS, volume 436, regarding the continuing programme of investment at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE), I should like to provide an update to the House. This is the first opportunity I have had to announce that, on 30 July 2009, agreement was reached between the Department and AWE Management Ltd (AWEML) to extend the priced period of work, within the existing overarching 25-year contract, with AWEML to 31 March 2013.
This work, providing important investment in skills and facilities at AWE, is valued at an average of around £1 billion per annum and represents the next period of priced work within the nuclear warhead capability sustainment programme. It is fully in accordance with the December 2006 White Paper "The Future of the United Kingdom's Nuclear Deterrent" (Cm 6994).
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Jim Fitzpatrick): Part one of the Marine and Coastal Access Bill, currently before Parliament, seeks to establish a new executive non-departmental public body called the Marine Management Organisation (MMO). The MMO will subsume DEFRA's Marine and Fisheries Agency, take on further functions from the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the Department for Transport and deliver a range of new functions, as set out in the Bill.
In order to become a legal entity, the MMO must have a chair and a board of at least five and no more than eight ordinary members. However, if recruitment of the board is delayed until after Royal Assent, it is highly likely that vesting of the MMO would have to be delayed. We have therefore sought HM Treasury approval for a Contingencies Fund advance to begin the recruitment of the board of the MMO prior to Royal Assent. Should Royal Assent not be granted, the recruitment process will be terminated.
Parliamentary approval for additional resources of £50,000 for this new service will be sought in a supplementary estimate for DEFRA. Pending that approval, urgent expenditure, estimated at £50,000, is being met by a repayable cash advance from the Contingencies Fund.
The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (David Miliband): The latest report on the implementation of the Sino-British Joint Declaration on Hong Kong was published today. Copies have been placed in the Library of the House. A copy of the report is also available on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website (www.fco.gov.uk). The report covers the period from 1 January to 30 June 2009. I commend the report to the House.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Alan Campbell): I am pleased to announce the publication of the second annual report of the "National DNA Database Ethics Group" on 9 September 2009. The group was established on 25 July 2007 to provide Ministers with independent ethical advice on the operation and practice of the National DNA Database (NDNAD).
The annual report makes a number of recommendations around the processes involved in taking DNA samples from children and young people, the retention of samples, and public information about the use of DNA. I have asked the National Policing Improvement Agency and the National DNA Strategy Board to let me have their considered comments on the report's recommendations as soon as possible.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Alan Campbell): I am pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Christopher Hughes, OBE, as chair of the National DNA Database Ethics Group. Mr. Hughes replaces Professor Peter Hutton, who resigned in March 2009. The ethics group provides Ministers with independent ethical advice on the operation and practice of the National DNA Database (NDNAD).
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice (Bridget Prentice): On Thursday 4 September I laid before Parliament the "Commonhold (Amendment) Regulations 2009". The regulations make consequential amendments to the Commonhold Regulations 2004, arising from the final implementation of the Companies Act 2006 on 1 October 2009. The principal changes are the removal of the prescribed form of memorandum of association for commonhold associations from the Commonhold Regulations 2004 and the insertion of a revised form of articles of association.
I am pleased to announce today that further significant progress has been made during the summer parliamentary recess towards the establishment of the UK Supreme Court.
The newly renovated Middlesex Guildhall building was formally handed over, from the Ministry of Justice, to Jenny Rowe, chief executive of the Supreme Court, on 1 August 2009.
The "Fees Order" specifying the fees payable to the court was laid in Parliament on 4 August 2009 following a full public consultation. The civil fees payable in the Appellate Committee were last amended in 2000. The vast majority of respondents to consultation agreed that it was equitable to uprate the fees payable in the UK Supreme Court to take account of inflation over that time. In addition the fees order introduces a robust system of fee concessions to ensure that access to justice is ensured.
While respondents to consultation agreed that the fees for devolution cases should be brought into line with civil fees generally, they were concerned that to make this change in one step represented too steep an increase-we have therefore decided to implement this change in stages.
A review of the fees will be undertaken in approximately three years to take account of the actual running costs of the Supreme Court.
The Leader of the House of Commons (Ms Harriet Harman): On Monday 29 June, the Prime Minister announced the Government's plans for "Building Britain's Future". The consultation on the Government's Draft Legislative Programme for the 2009-10 session is a central element of those plans.
As I said in my written statement of the 29 June 2009, Official Report, column 4WS, this is the third year that the Government have published their legislative programme
in draft for consultation in advance of the Queen's Speech. This provides an opportunity for both the public and Parliament to see how the Draft Legislative Programme forms part of the action the Government are taking to build a more prosperous, stronger and fairer Britain and to invite comments on that programme.
The consultation closes on 21 September so there is still time to contribute. Further information about the programme is available on the Office of the Leader of the House of Commons website (www.commonsleader. gov.uk). For those who wish to contribute please email: [email protected] or send responses to:
Legislation Committee Secretariat
London, SW1A 2AS.