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Lord Evans of Temple Guiting: This may be a convenient moment for the Committee to adjourn until Wednesday 26 October at 3.30 pm.

The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Brougham and Vaux): The Committee stands adjourned until next Wednesday at 3.30 pm.

Written Statements

Tuesday 18 October 2005


 
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Armed Forces Chaplains from Faith Communities

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Don Touhig) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

In his Written Ministerial Statement of 7 December 2004, my predecessor announced our intention to appoint the first chaplains to the Armed Forces from the Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh faith communities. These are the faiths, other than Christian, that are most represented in the Armed Forces.

Following a national recruitment campaign earlier this year, I am delighted to announce that chaplains from the Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh faith communities have now been appointed. These chaplains will be employed as Ministry of Defence civil servants, but will be fully integrated members of the existing Service Chaplaincy organisation.

I am confident that their presence will contribute enormously to encouraging and promoting religious understanding and acceptance within the Armed Forces, and that they will provide comfort, support and valuable advice to individual service personnel who share their faith.

Details of the new chaplains will be released both internally and externally once they take up their full formal duties following completion of a short period of induction and familiarisation training, during which they will learn about the Armed Forces and the work of the Service Chaplaincy organisation.

Government Indemnity Scheme

Lord Davies of Oldham: My honourable friend the Minister for Culture (David Lammy) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The provision for the Government Indemnity Scheme is made by the National Heritage Act 1980. The scheme facilitates public access to loans of works of art and other objects for public display made to museums, galleries and other such institutions by private owners and non-national institutions. It does this by indemnifying lenders against loss or damage to their loan. Loans covered by the scheme must be for public benefit. The scheme also covers loans of such objects for study purposes within borrowing institutions where this would contribute materially to the public's understanding or appreciation of the loan. Examples of this are enhancing interpretation or explanation to the public of objects, or bringing into the public domain the conclusions of any study.
 
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In the six month period ended 31 March 2005, the following undertakings to indemnify were given under Section 16 by the relevant departments for objects on loan to national and non-national institutions. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport issued 970 undertakings, the Scottish Executive Education Department issued 186 undertakings and the National Assembly for Wales issued 159. This made a total of 1,315 undertakings given under Section 16. The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) issued a total number of 64 undertakings to non-nationals.

The value of contingent liabilities in respect of undertakings given at any time under Section 16 and which remained outstanding as at 31 March 2005 for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport are £1,773,389,217.55.

The value of Section 16 contingent liabilities as at 31 March 2005 for the Scottish Executive Education Department are £656,814,466.00 and £80,350,537.00 for the National Assembly for Wales. The total value of contingent liabilities issued by MLA to non-nationals is £978,419,161.00.

The value of non-statutory undertakings given to Her Majesty in respect of loans from the Royal Collection and which remained outstanding as at 31 March 2005 are £133,424,160.00, £32,494,000.00 for the Scottish Executive Education Department and £4,720,000.00 for non-national museums issued by the MLA.

The grand total value of loans out by national institutions and to non-national institutions as remained outstanding at 31 March 2005 is £1,052,080,325.76.

Judicial Appointments Commission

The Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs and Lord Chancellor (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): I am pleased to announce that Her Majesty The Queen has appointed Baroness Prashar of Runnymede as the first Chairman of the Judicial Appointments Commission.

The appointment is for a period of five years in the first instance, and will expire in September 2009. Baroness Prashar has a distinguished record of public service, and I am sure her appointment will be widely welcomed.

Her appointment marks a further significant step in setting up a transparent and robust method of appointing judges in England and Wales.

Little Cheyne Court Wind Farm

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): My honourable friend the Minister for Energy (Malcolm Wicks) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The Government have today given consent under Section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989 to Npower
 
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Renewables Ltd's application to build 26 turbines with a capacity of up to 78MW, at Little Cheyne Court, near Dungeness.

Following objections by the relevant local planning authorities, the Government held a public inquiry into the application and appointed Clive Richardson, an inspector from the Planning Inspectorate to preside over it. Mr Richardson recommended the application be granted.

The decision to grant consent was taken after extensive and thorough consideration of the representations received, both for and against consent being granted. The extensive, independent public inquiry ensured that community and environmental concerns were heard.

We are aware that this decision will come as a disappointment to those local people who opposed the application. Conversely, the decision will be welcomed by those local people who supported the application. Today's approval takes into account the concerns raised, and includes a number of conditions recommended by the inquiry inspector to mitigate any impacts.

This wind farm will generate clean, renewable electricity and make a vital contribution towards reducing carbon emissions and meeting the UK's international obligations on tackling climate change.

Copies of the decision letter have been placed in the Library of the House.

National Minimum Wage

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: My honourable friend the Minister for Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs (Gerry Sutcliffe) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I am pleased to announce that the Government wrote to the Low Pay Commission on 14 October setting out our non-economic evidence on the national minimum wage.

The evidence outlines the Government's view on the following issues:

accommodation offset;

salary sacrifice schemes;

the older workers development rate;

apprentices by age; and

enforcement

The evidence has been placed in the Libraries of the House and will also be available on my department's website at www.dti.gov.uk.

NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency: Annual Business Plan

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): My right honourable friend the Minister of State (Jane Kennedy) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
 
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The NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency's annual business plan has been published today and copies have been placed in the Library.

The business plan highlights the agency's achievements in 2004-05 and sets out the key tasks and targets for the coming year.

This comprehensive plan has been formulated within the context of the agency's ongoing remit to lead the modernisation of the National Health Service purchasing and supply function and the arm's length body review and the supply chain excellence programme. The agency will undertake a stronger and more focused role in all areas critical to the delivery of NHS purchasing and supplies. The business plan sets out clearly how the agency will achieve these aims.


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