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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): My right honourable friend the Minister of State for Policing and Criminal Justice (Damian Green) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
The consultation looked at the need for a new offence for possession of illegal firearms with intent to supply and whether the penalty for illegal importation and exportation of firearms should be increased. Today I am announcing the Government's response to that consultation.
Gun crime and drugs offences cause considerable harm to our communities and are linked to organised crime and so we believe that the law for importing and supplying firearms should be no less serious than importing class A drugs.
Subsequently we will bring forward the necessary legislation as soon as the parliamentary schedule allows. A copy of the summary of consultation responses and the related impact assessment will be placed in the House Library.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Lord Marland): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (Dr Vince Cable) has today made the following Statement.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills wishes to recruit a chief executive officer (CEO) for the proposed Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) before Royal Assent has been received for the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill which will create the CMA.
The CMA CEO will play a critical role in leading the organisational design of the CMA and reform of its competition processes ensuring that greater speed and rigour of decision-making is delivered, in line
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Parliamentary approval for resource cover for this new service will be sought in a Supplementary Estimate for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Pending that approval, urgent expenditure estimated at up to £220,000 will be met by repayable cash advances from the contingencies fund.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): My honourable friend the Minister for Disabled People (Esther McVey) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
Later today I will launch a review of Equality 2025 advisory non-departmental public body. As part of the Government's continuing drive for efficiency and effectiveness all departments are required to review their arm's-length bodies at least once every three years. The review will be carried out by the Office for Disability Issues within the Department for Work and Pensions. The review will be looking at:whether the purposes for which Equality 2025 were established are still necessary;whether the services currently undertaken by Equality 2025 to deliver these purposes are still appropriate, adequate and effective; andwhether these services are best carried out by an advisory non-departmental public body; and, if so, how might Equality 2025's performance be enhanced and improved?
Ireland completed the seventh quarterly review of its International Monetary Fund and European Union programme of financial assistance on 13 September 2012, following which, the utilisation period for the fifth instalment of the UK bilateral loan began.
The interest rate charged on the loan is calculated as set out in the loan agreement as the UK's cost of funds plus a service fee of 0.18 basis points per annum, creating an effective per annum interest rate on this tranche of the loan of 2.372%. The UK more than covers its cost of funds.
The Treasury will provide a further report to Parliament in relation to the bilateral loan as required under the Loans to Ireland Act 2010 as soon as is practicable following the end of the next reporting period, which ends on 31 March 2013.
The Government believe that it is in our national interest that the Irish economy is successful and its banking system is stable. The Government continue to support Ireland's efforts to improve its economic situation.
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