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Written Statements

Monday 8 October 2012

ECOFIN

Statement

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Economic and Financial Affairs Council will be held in Luxembourg on 9 October 2012. Ministers will discuss the following items:

Financial transactions tax

Ministers will be updated on developments since this was discussed at ECOFIN in June. The Government remain opposed to the European Commission’s proposal for a financial transactions tax because of the significant negative impact it would have on jobs, growth and financial activity and the UK will not, therefore, participate. Should other member states seek to proceed through enhanced co-operation, the UK is not minded to block those member states. However, before taking a firm view, it will want to understand the scope of any new proposal and for what purpose the revenues will be used; and be satisfied that there will be full compliance with treaty provisions on the enhanced co-operation process.

Revised capital requirements rules

An update from the presidency on negotiations with the European Parliament is expected. The UK supports a faithful implementation of the Basel III agreement through the Capital Requirements Regulation/Directive IV. The UK also supports member states retaining adequate flexibility to increase standards to ensure financial stability in their jurisdictions.

Proposal for a directive on the fight against fraud to the EUs financial interests by means of criminal law

The Commission will provide information on these proposals, which were published earlier in the year but have not yet been discussed at ECOFIN. The Government support an effective framework to protect the financial interests of the EU, which ultimately helps to protect UK taxpayers as well. However, the scope of the instrument should be appropriate and any new measures must be proportionate and fully respect different criminal justice systems across the EU, including those of the UK. The Government are considering carefully the criminal offences outlined in the proposal and how this differs from current law.

Current legislative proposalseconomic governance, deposit guarantee schemes directive (DGSD) and bank resolution and recovery (RRD)

The presidency will inform delegations about the current state of play and its strategy for addressing these proposals.

On economic governance, negotiations continue between the council and European Parliament to finalise agreement. The UK broadly supports these proposals for the euro area (the only area to which they apply). They are designed to enhance budgetary co-ordination and monitoring among euro area member states and

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to enhance surveillance for those countries in financial difficulty or receiving financial assistance from the euro area, EU and/or the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

With regard to the DGSD, the UK believes that any discussion on the potential mutualisation of the fiscal elements of deposit guarantee proposals should be taken forward in the context of banking union proposals rather than individual dossiers.

On the RRD, the UK is seeking to support the development of this single market measure, which seeks to delink the risks between banks and sovereigns, but we continue to evaluate which aspects of the directive should be discussed as part of the banking union proposals in the context of creating greater fiscal integration in the euro area.

Follow-up to the Informal ECOFIN held on 14 and 15 September 2012

There will be a debriefing on this by the presidency, covering, in particular, the state of play with regard to the Commission’s proposals on banking supervision.

The Government believe that a banking union is an essential part of a stable single currency. As the single currency’s central bank, the European Central Bank is the right organisation to take on the central supervisory role for euro area banks. The Government remain committed to the unity, integrity and operation of the single market and will work to ensure that this is upheld.

European Semester 2012

Ministers will discuss possible changes to the format of the forthcoming European Semester. The Government fully support the European Semester as a means of ensuring strong European economic governance. The UK is not subject to sanctions under any part of the European Semester.

Implementation of the Stability and Growth Pact

ECOFIN will look to adopt a council implementing decision amending the financial support programme for Portugal and a revised council recommendation to Portugal under Article 126(7) in respect of its excessive deficit.

The Government welcome the Portuguese Government’s continuing commitment to the programme and the progress achieved to date. The Commission has found that Portugal has taken effective action to correct its excessive deficit but that unexpected adverse economic events have had a major consequence for the public finances. The Government believe that member states should take forward credible fiscal consolidation to reduce their deficits and support recovery. The Government are concerned by the public announcement of Portugal’s revised deficit targets before discussion at Council and the tight timetable for adoption which prohibits parliamentary scrutiny.

International meetings: follow-up to the G20 Finance Deputies meeting on 23 and 24 September and preparation of the G20 Finance Ministers and Governors meeting on 4 and 5 November

The Commission and the presidency will provide a debriefing from the G20 Finance Deputies meeting in Mexico City, and the council will be invited to discuss headline messages for the forthcoming G20 ministerial

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meeting. The Government’s main concern in this context is ensuring that the global economy remains on track towards recovery.

International meetings: preparation of the annual meeting of the IMF and World Bank Group on 12-14 October

Ministers will consider a draft statement by the presidency to the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC). The IMFC will address the IMF’s work programme, including IMF surveillance and quota and governance issues. On IMF quota and governance, the Government support the reforms agreed in 2010: the UK was one of the first countries to ratify them. The Government are committed to playing a constructive role in the ongoing quota formula review. It is important to agree a formula that reflects the relative positions of members in the global economy consistent with the multiple roles played by quota and clearly rooted in the fund’s wider mandate.

Guidelines for Prosecutors (Cases Affecting the Media)

Statement

The Advocate-General for Scotland (Lord Wallace of Tankerness): My right honourable friend the Attorney-General made the following Written Ministerial Statement on 13 September 2012.

The Attorney-General (Dominic Grieve): The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has today published his final guidelines for prosecutors on assessing the public interest in cases affecting the media. The publication of the guidelines follows a public consultation on the interim guidelines, which was launched on 18 April 2012 (Official Report, col. 21 WS). The DPP undertook to produce the guidelines when he gave evidence on 8 February 2012 to the inquiry being conducted by Lord Justice Leveson into the culture, practices and ethics of the press.

The final guidelines are broadly the same as the interim guidelines but they have been amended in a number of sections to reflect views and comments received during the consultation process. The guidelines set out the additional considerations that are relevant when prosecutors assess whether a prosecution is required in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors. Each case will be considered on its own facts and on its own merits before a decision is made whether to prosecute.

The DPP’s Principal Legal Adviser, Alison Levitt QC, has looked at all current prosecutions and is satisfied that they are consistent with the approach set out in the final guidelines. Copies of the guidelines and the summary of responses will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament.

Sport: Legacies

Statement

Viscount Younger of Leckie: My right honourable friend the Minister for Sport and Tourism (Hugh Robertson) made the following Statement on 18 September.

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The Government are determined to deliver on the commitment to “Inspire a Generation” and secure a lasting sporting legacy from the Games. We already know that 1.3 million more people are playing sport every week in England than when we won the bid in 2005, but we also know that we need to maintain the momentum from London 2012. That is why we have put in place the following 10-point sports legacy plan:

Elite Sport

Elite funding

Through UK Sport, we have committed lottery and exchequer funding of around £125 million a year over the next four years for elite sport. This will provide the sports’ governing bodies with the certainty they need to put long-term plans in place to try and emulate, or better, the success our athletes have enjoyed in London. In return, and in the volunteering spirit of the Games, all funded UK athletes will be asked to offer up to five days a year of their time to inspire the next generation through school and community sport.

World class facilities

We have invested in new world class sports facilities that will support community and elite sport for future generations inspired by London 2012. After the Games, the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) will begin a £300 million construction project to remove the temporary venues and facilities and transform the Olympic site into the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. On the Olympic Park, the Stadium, Aquatics Centre, Velodrome and Copper Box will be transformed into their final legacy configurations and the Hockey Arena moved to a new location in Eton Manor at the north of the park alongside. The Lee Valley White Water Centre, the Eton Dorney Rowing Centre, the Hadleigh Farm Mountain Biking Centre and the Weymouth Sailing Centre were developed or improved for the Games and will reopen to elite and community use. There will also be a legacy from the investment made into facilities used as Games time training centres including:

three new facilities—(Europa Gym at Bexley, Redbridge Leisure Centre, Mayesbrook Park); one temporary facility (basketball)—two competition specification floors for use in major events around the country;two refurbished athletic tracks (Mayesbrook Park, Newham Leisure Centre);two hockey pitches at the Old Loughtonians club; andsix building and sports floor upgrades (Barking Abbey School, Hackney Community College, Langdon School, Sobell Centre, Rokeby School).

In addition, a number of the temporary facilities used for the Games will be relocated to communities across the UK. Considerable progress has been made to date on the disposal of a number of assets including:

pools: up to 9 pools comprising 3x50m and 6x25m pools are available for possible relocation to legacy end users. Sport England will lead the management of this process;

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shooting enclosures: business cases received from UK applicants for 25m and combined 10/50m shooting enclosures are being considered at present; andre-allocation of one of the hockey pitches from the Riverbank Arena to the Richmond Hockey Club (in SW London), where it will also be used by the University of Westminster.

Major sports events

To maintain the moment from London 2012, we have already won the right to host the following major sporting events throughout the UK:

Rugby League World Cup

2013

BMX Supercross World Series

2013

European Athletics Team Championships

2013

World Youth Netball Championships

2013

World Triathlon Championship Series Final

2013

Rowing World Cup Series

2013

Men’s World Open Squash Championships

2013

ICC Champions Trophy

2013

Commonwealth Games

2014

Ryder Cup (Gleneagles)

2014

Rugby Football World Cup

2015

World Rowing Series (Option)

2015

World Canoe Slalom Championships

2015

European Eventing Championships

2015

World Fencing Championships

2015

World Artistic Championships (M&W)

2015

European Hockey Championships

2015

IPC Swimming European Championships (50m)

2015

World Athletic Championships

2017

Cricket World Cup

2019

And because we know that hosting sporting events delivers significant economic benefits for the country as well as encouraging our young people to take up new sports, we are bidding to host more events including the European Swimming Championships (2016), the UCI Track Cycling World Championships (2016) and the IOC Youth Olympic Games (2018), among many others in the pipeline.

Community

Places People Play

Sport England’s £135 million sports legacy programme, Places People Play was launched in November 2010. This has already:

invested in 12 new large scale multi-sports facilities and over 700 community sports projects;recruited 22,000 sports makers who have committed to volunteer for at least 10 hours to support sports participation;launched the club leaders programme, which aims to reach at least 10,000 sport clubs;motivated over 100,000 to sign up for the Gold Challenge to test themselves in multiple Olympic and Paralympic sports and raise millions of pounds for charity; andgiven nearly 98,869 young people the chance to try new sports through the Sportivate programme.

Youth sport strategy (whole sport plans)

Also, through Sport England, we are investing £1 billion over the next five years in the Youth Sport Strategy to encourage everyone, but particularly young people,

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to take up sport and develop a sporting habit for life. This strategy will provide lottery and exchequer funding to: enable the sports’ governing bodies to create more opportunities for everyone to participate in sport at least once a week; help local authorities improve sport provision; support local organisations, well run clubs, voluntary groups and other partners such as the Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy Trust and Street Games; enhance sport provision at further education colleges and universities; upgrade community sports facilities and invest in new facilities;enable schools to open up their sporting facilities for use by local communities; androll out at least 6,000 partnerships between schools and local sports clubs by 2017.

Join In

The Government have supported the launch of “Join In”, a programme designed to use the volunteering spirit that did so much to enhance the Games and encourage people to give time in the community. Between 13 and 28 August 2012, communities across the UK took part in “Join in Local Sport”.

Over 6,000 events took place and early indications from the new Join In Trust are that the events attracted over a quarter of a million participants and, of those that took part, 10% volunteered on the day and over 10% signed up for future volunteering.

School Sport

School Games

We have introduced the School Games Programme, with sponsorship from Sainsbury’s and HRH Prince Harry of Wales as president. Over half the schools in England are already taking part, including primary, secondary, special and independent schools. In May 2012, 35,000 young spectators cheered on 1,600 elite young athletes in the inaugural national finals in the Olympic Park and other Olympic venues. In June 2012, 112,000 young athletes and 15,000 young volunteers took part in County Sport Festivals around the country and every school taking part in the programme held their own Olympic style sports day.

PE

PE and sport remains an integral part of the school curriculum. Nevertheless, we recognise that more needs to be done to ensure all our children have the chance to enjoy sport in school, to compete against their peers and to promote and celebrate sporting excellence at a young age.

Disability Sport Legacy

Disability sport

We want to inspire more people with disabilities to play sport regularly and for opportunities to be included within all legacy programmes.

Sport England has awarded £1.5 million to the English Federation of Disability Sport to work with the sports’ National Governing Bodies to increase sports participation by disabled people and make grassroots sport more inclusive.

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It has also awarded Lottery Funding to seven National Disability Sports Organisations—Mencap Sport/Special Olympics GB jointly, British Blind Sport, Cerebral Palsy Sport, Dwarf Sport Association UK, British Wheelchair Sport and UK Deaf Sport—to support and guide National Governing Bodies of Sport and other sports bodies to create opportunities for participation of disabled people.

In addition, Sport England is working with key organisations from the disability sector, such as Disability Rights UK, to bring them together with the sports sector. This will expand the reach and expertise available to the sports sector and bring more disabled people into sport.

In delivering the Youth Sport Strategy, Sport England will confirm the 2013-17 investment into a number of NGBs in December 2012. This investment will for the first time include specific targets around delivering an increase in participation by disabled people.

And Sport England’s sporting legacy programme, Places People Play, includes an £8 million Inclusive Sport Fund. This will invest in innovative, scalable and replicable projects that make it easier and more enjoyable for disabled people to take part in sport and physical activity more often.

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Within the School Games, Project Ability is a bespoke project, delivered by the Youth Sport Trust, and has been designed to help drive and increase opportunities for young disabled people.

Around 5,000 disabled children in 486 schools have benefited from Project Ability in the first year of the programme. Thirty-two sports are working with the programme to create opportunities for children to get involved.

International Development

We will continue funding the International Inspiration programme until at least 2014 and will work with the International Inspiration Foundation in developing options for how programme might continue after 2014, including bringing together the work of International Inspiration and UK Sport’s sport for development charity—International Development through Sport. Since 2007, this groundbreaking sport for development programme has already reached more than 12 million young people in 20 countries around the world.

I will provide quarterly updates to the House on progress with delivery of this plan.