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Written Statements

Monday 15 July 2013

Arms Trade Treaty

Statement

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): My Honourable Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Alistair Burt) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement: The campaign for the Arms Trade Treaty has enjoyed the strong support of Members in both Houses for over seven years. From before the first Diplomatic Conference in July, 2012 through to the Final Diplomatic Conference earlier this year, the Arms Trade Treaty has been a top priority for this Government with Ministers lobbying hard for a robust agreement that could achieve the broadest possible support. With the Minister of State for International Development, I attended the Diplomatic Conference in July 2012 and I attended the Diplomatic Conference in March this year to support the efforts of our diplomats and to urge the international community to agree on this important issue. The negotiations were hard fought and compromises were necessary on all sides, but the treaty that emerged is robust, implementable and will make a significant difference to international peace and security.

In April, the treaty was adopted with overwhelming support at the United Nations General Assembly. On 3 June, I was extremely proud to sign the treaty on behalf of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on the day it opened for signature. As one of the seven Co-Authors of the Resolution that first brought this issue to the attention of the United Nations, we have led the international efforts which have resulted in this agreement.

In accordance with the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010 and as part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’s ratification process, the Government has today laid before Parliament the Arms Trade Treaty under Command Paper number CM8680 with an Explanatory Memorandum which sets out the background to the treaty, ministerial responsibility for implementation, and financial implications resulting from ratification.

A properly regulated arms trade will help states to meet their legitimate defence and security needs to protect their citizens. The Arms Trade Treaty will make a difference. It is the first legally-binding, truly global commitment to control exports of conventional arms. By introducing internationally-agreed standards for the arms trade it will reduce human suffering by preventing arms from being used in serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. It will also help to combat terrorism and crime by steadily reducing the unfettered proliferation of weapons.

Since opening for signature on the third of June, over seventy states have signed the treaty and Iceland has become the first to complete ratification. Our commitment to the treaty now is as strong as ever, our

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goal has always been to secure a robust treaty that can be implemented by all. We will only accomplish our aims if the Arms Trade Treaty is rapidly and effectively implemented. Fifty ratifications are required to bring the treaty into force. We will be working hard to encourage states to sign and to ratify, to ensure swift entry into force. Like the negotiations on the treaty itself, this will take time and require the considerable efforts and persistence of a broad coalition of supporters. Universal adherence to the Arms Trade Treaty must be our ultimate goal.

Automotive Industry

Statement

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie): My Rt. Hon Friend, the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (Dr Vince Cable), has today made the following statement;

The Government has today published “Driving success – a strategy for growth and sustainability in the UK automotive sector”, which has been produced in partnership with stakeholders from across the industry through the Automotive Council.

This strategy sets out a shared vision for a UK automotive manufacturing industry that is diverse, dynamic, growing and globally competitive, that makes a large and increasing economic contribution to employment and prosperity in the UK, that plays a decisive role in developing and manufacturing low and ultra-low emission vehicles and technologies, that is supported by a highly skilled workforce and a strong supply chain and that inspires young people to pursue careers in engineering and manufacturing.

This strategy focuses on opportunities from the move to ultra-low emission vehicles to 2040 and beyond, strengthening the domestic supply chain to rise to the challenge from a growing sector and take a £3 billion opportunity that has been identified, ensuring that industry are able to find enough people with the right skills and ensuring that the UK business environment can compete internationally as a location for automotive investment.

Key actions include investing around £1 billion over ten years in a new Advanced Propulsion Centre, improving access to finance through a new tooling finance framework and industry expecting to take on more than 7,600 Apprentices and 1,700 graduates over the next five years.

In addition to wider Automotive Council support for the strategy, the Advanced Propulsion Centre has received specific letters of support from 27 companies: Bentley, BMW Group, Bosch, BP, Castrol Innoventures, Caterpillar, Ford, GKN, High Value Manufacturing Catapult, Intelligent Energy, Jaguar Land Rover, JCB, Lotus, Mahle, McLaren Automotive, Millbrook, MIRA, Morgan, Nissan, Optare, Productiv, RDM Group, Ricardo, SMMT, Tata Motors, Transport Systems Catapult, and West Midlands Manufacturing Consortium.

I will place a copy of the strategy in the libraries of the House.

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Companies: Transparency and Trust

Statement

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie): My Rt. Hon Friend, the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (Dr Vince Cable), has today made the following statement;

Today I am publishing a discussion paper which sets out a range of proposals to enhance the transparency of UK company ownership and increase trust in UK business. These measures will help prevent illegal activity; better enable companies to be held to account; and provide businesses, investors, employees and consumers with confidence that companies are acting fairly. They will support the development of a business environment where companies and individuals can operate and invest with confidence.

The first part of the paper puts forward measures to ensure we know who really owns and controls UK companies, following our G8 commitments on preventing the misuse of companies. The main elements of this section of the paper include:

1. Options for the implementation of a central registry of information on companies’ beneficial ownership, maintained by Companies House. We propose that the registry would hold information on individuals with an interest in more than 25 per cent of the shares or voting rights in a company, or who otherwise control the way the company is run. We consider whether information in the registry should be made public, what information is to be provided and how it is to be updated.

2. A proposal to prohibit the issue of bearer shares. Bearer shares allow the owner of the shares to remain hidden as their name is not disclosed on a company’s register of members. The paper proposes that holders of existing bearer shares should be given a set period of time to convert these shares to ordinary registered shares.

3. Options to enhance transparency around the use of nominee directors, including whether they should be required to disclose their status to Companies House and who they are acting for. While nominees can be used in legitimate commercial scenarios, their use can allow the true owners of a company to remain hidden.

4. A proposal to abolish companies from being appointed as directors (‘corporate directors’). Although rarely used in the UK, these can result in complex corporate ownership structures which hide the beneficial owner’s true identity.

The second half of the paper discusses disqualification rules and tackling directors who break the rules. This is especially important in the light of the corporate failures that took place during the financial crisis. The main elements of this section of the paper include:

1. Considering whether to amend the duties of bank directors so that there is a greater emphasis on the responsibility to promote financial stability (following the recommendation made by the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards).

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2. Extending the factors taken into account by the court in disqualification proceedings. For example, allowing the court to consider the social impact of a director’s actions, breaches of sectoral regulation and previous business failures when coming to a disqualification decision.

3. Proposals to give courts the power to make compensation awards against a director when making a disqualification order; and to allow liquidators to sell or assign fraudulent trading actions.

4. Offering directors education classes or training at the end of their disqualification or a slight reduction in this period if they take up the offer.

5. Extending the time limit for when disqualification action must be taken. Currently standing at two years, the paper proposes a new five year limit to take into account more complex insolvency cases.

6. Changing laws to prevent directors disqualified overseas from being a director of a UK company. The paper also considers allowing disqualification action to be brought against a director convicted of a criminal offence in relation to an overseas company.

The paper invites views from all interested parties by 16th September 2013. It is intended that measures will be implemented through, and at the same time as, transposition of the 4th EU Money Laundering Directive and changes to company law. I will seek to introduce reform by the end of this Parliament.

I remain committed to reducing regulation and burdens on business and will consult on a range of company law deregulatory proposals in the autumn. These proposals will be developed in parallel to measures outlined in this paper to deliver a cohesive package of reform.

I have today also published two further documents. First, the Terms of Reference for a review of pre-pack administrations. The review will specifically look at whether pre-packs encourage growth and employment and provide value for creditors. Defined as an administration where the assets are sold before an administrator is appointed, concerns have been raised in the past that pre-packs are not transparent, that assets may be sold at below value, that there are conflicts of interested and they unfairly affect competitors.

Second, a report on the review of insolvency practitioners fees by the independent reviewer, Emeritus Professor Elaine Kempson of Bristol University. The findings are that where experienced, and usually secured, creditors are in control of proceedings, IP fees are successfully monitored. Where the creditors are unsecured and disparate, controls over fees are not working. The Government will respond to the report later this year.

I have placed copies of the consultations and further details of the appointments in the libraries of the House.

Competition and Markets Authority

Statement

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie): My Rt. Hon Friend, the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (Dr Vince Cable), has today made the following statement;

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I am today announcing that I have launched a consultation on a draft Ministerial statement of strategic priorities for the soon-to-be-created Competition and Markets Authority and a first tranche of draft Statutory Instruments updating the competition regime. This follows the Chancellor’s announcement in the Spending Review last month that the budget of the new Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will be increased by £16 million in 2015-16, to enable it to tackle cartels more effectively and open up markets to new entrants, disruptive technologies and greater investment. These are major steps in our reform of the competition regime, which should deliver significant economic benefits.

I have also made a decision on the appointments of the first team of Non-Executive Director (NEDs) members to the CMA, and I am delighted to announce the following appointments. Five NED positions will go to Annetje Ottow, William (Bill) Kovacic, Philip Lowe, Carolyn Fairbairn and Alan Giles; and the two Panel NED positions will go to Roger Witcomb and Jill May. I am also appointing Roger Witcomb as the Chairman of the CMA Panel.

All the NED appointees will formally commence their appointments on 1 October 2013 when the CMA is legally established. I have agreed to the ordinary NEDs’ term end dates being staggered from between two and five years in order to avoid recruiting a whole new set of NEDs at the same time.

The skills and backgrounds of appointees have been taken into consideration when offering their end date to mitigate against losing members who share the same area of expertise (e.g. competition law or economics) in the same year. The appointments for both Roger Witcomb and Jill May are on the basis of an initial two year term.

The ordinary NED appointments have been made in accordance with the Commissioner for Public Appointments Code of Practice (April 2012) and the Panel NED appointments were made following the principles of the Code.

I have placed copies of the consultations and further details of the appointments in the libraries of the House.

ECOFIN

Statement

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): My right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer (George Osborne) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

A meeting of the Economic and Financial Affairs Council was held in Brussels on 9 July 2013. The following items were discussed.

Presentation of the Lithuanian Presidency Work Programme

The Presidency outlined its work programme on economic and financial matters for July to December 2013.

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Follow-up to the European Council on 27-28 June 2013

ECOFIN held an exchange of views on the follow-up to the June European Council.

Adoption of the euro by Latvia

ECOFIN adopted the legal acts enabling Latvian accession to the euro in January 2014.

Implementation of the two-pack

Ministers endorsed the Code of Conduct for the euro area Member States on draft budgetary plans and on content and scope of the reporting obligations for euro area Member States subject to an excessive deficit procedure.

Follow-up to G20 Finance Deputies meeting on 6-7 June (St Petersburg) and preparation of G20 Meeting of Finance Ministers and Governors of 19-20 July (Moscow)

Council agreed the EU Terms of Reference for the forthcoming G20 Finance Ministers’ and Central Bank Governors’ meeting. The Presidency and the Commission reported back to Council on the meeting of the G20 Finance Deputies meeting on 6-7 June.

Any other business – Current legislative Proposals

The Presidency updated Council that provisional agreement had been reached with the European Parliament on the Market Abuse Directive/Market Abuse Regulation.

Employment Law

Statement

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie): My Hon Friend, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs (Jo Swinson), has today made the following statement;

The Coalition Government made a commitment to review employment legislation to ensure it provides the flexibility for employers without compromising fairness for employees. We have reported to Parliament at various points during the course of the Employment Law Review and the Employment-related law Red Tape Challenge, the steps we are taking to reform UK employment legislation.

The Government has already taken significant steps in reforming employment law. We are now seeking to further reform employment law to help employers and employees. These are intended to provide greater flexibility, greater certainty at the end of the employment relationship, and greater confidence and consistency in the employment tribunals system. We are also providing employers with important tools to uses settlement agreements confidently. We are also seeking evidence on effectiveness of the whistleblowing rules to establish whether any changes are needed.

Today, we are:

• Publishing the Government’s response to the consultation on reforms to the rules governing the Recruitment Sector

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We intend to proceed with replacing the current legislation with a new regulatory framework which removes some of the burden from business but continues to protect people who are looking for work. Regulation in the agency sector will be minimised and, for the most part, focussed where workers are most at risk of exploitation.

The new legislation will support the outcomes that the Government believes are key to ensuring that workers are protected and that the sector operates fairly and flexibly; that employment agencies and employment businesses are restricted from charging fees to work-seekers, there is clarity on who is responsible for paying temporary workers for the work they have done and that the contracts people have with recruitment firms should not hinder their movement between jobs.

Some responses to the consultation indicated that there may be abuse of upfront fees in the entertainment and modelling sector, so we intend to speak informally to a variety of stakeholders to better understand the issues.

We also intend to change the enforcement strategy in the agency sector by moving to a more focussed and targeted enforcement regime. In future we will focus government resource on helping the most vulnerable workers who need protection, particularly those on the national minimum wage (NMW), by moving resources from the Employment Agency Standards inspectorate within BIS to HM Revenue and Customs’ NMW team. The NMW team will investigate complaints of non-payment but individuals will also be able to enforce their rights informally and through the courts. A small team will remain in BIS to enforce the remaining regulations which apply to agencies.

A copy of the full Government response is attached.

• Publish the Government’s response to the consultation on how Early Conciliation will work in practice. This is an important part of implementing the change in the ERR Act which creates an obligation for individuals to approach Acas in the first instance to explore conciliation before being able to submit a claim to an employment tribunal.

This consultation was technical in nature, and sought views on how to administer the scheme in a way that ensures parties engage effectively with Acas, whilst not adding unnecessary delays to the dispute resolution process. Responses on the procedural forms, the Early Conciliation Support Officer model for conciliation, exemptions, limits on Acas attempts to contact parties and respondent lead Early Conciliation have not led to any substantial policy changes. They have helped us sharpen the proposed model however, and BIS will continue to work with Acas and HMCTS towards implementation in early 2014.

A copy of the full Government response is attached.

• Publish a Call for Evidence on the whistleblowing framework. In summary:

The Government believes that the overall framework works well, but changes in the way the labour market functions and ways of working since the introduction of the framework in 1998 mean that the time is right to look at the effectiveness. We would like to establish whether:

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o The categories of disclosure which qualify for protection are still effective in capturing all instances of wrongdoing.o The methods by which the disclosure is made are still relevant and effective.o The list of prescribed individuals/bodies, i.e. to whom the disclosure can be made, captures the individuals and bodies sufficiently to ensure the whistleblower benefits from the protection.o The coverage of the definition of worker is sufficiently broad to capture all those that need to be protected by the framework.

The call for evidence is attached.

Additional changes being made, and which this House has already scrutinised are:

• Bringing into effect Settlement Agreements. These offer a consensual and beneficial end to the employment relationship, avoiding the cost and distress of a tribunal. We are building on the existing system to facilitate their increased use, making it easier to make offers of settlement outside of dispute situations.

- A measure in the ERR Act 2013 makes the offer of a settlement agreement inadmissible as evidence in an unfair dismissal claim. - The legislative change will be accompanied by a new Statutory Code of Practice and substantive guidance, to give employers and employees as much clarity and certainty as possible to negotiate settlement, including template letters and model agreements, and advice on how to negotiate settlement. - The measure and statutory code will come into effect on 29 July.

• Commencement of ERR Act provisions on the Unfair Dismissal Compensation Cap:

- Bringing into force the measure in the ERR Act which caps the compensation element of Unfair Dismissal awards at 12 months’ pay, in addition to the existing overall cap of £74,200 (the lower of which would apply in an individual case).- This cap aims to give employers and employees more realistic expectations about unfair dismissal award levels. - The draft Statutory Instrument which introduces this cap was laid before Parliament on 10 June, and is subject to the affirmative procedure. Subject to completing parliamentary approval process, we would into to bring this measure to come into force on 29 July.

• The new rules coming out of the Fundamental Review of Employment Tribunal Rules by Lord Justice Underhill have been laid in Parliament and will come into force on 29 July (to coincide with the planned introduction of ET fees). These changes will make tribunals easier to understand and more efficient. The rules are already in the public domain, and the announcement would help further signal the changes to users of the ET system and reassure stakeholders that Government is taking action to address weak or vexatious claims. At the same time, Government will also make some small amendments to the way in which interest is charged on Employment Tribunal

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awards, designed to encourage prompt payment. This approach was set out in the Government response to Lord Justice Underhill’s review.

These measures will reduce risks to employers, increase their flexibility to deal with workplace issues, and decrease the costs of resolving disputes. Business will have the support to resolve workplace disputes earlier and, if they proceed to employment tribunal, they will experience a quicker, more efficient process.

I will be placing copies of the documents in the libraries of the House.

Energy: Domestic Renewable Heat

Statement

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma): My right honourable friend the Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Greg Barker MP) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I am pleased to announce today the publication of DECC’s policy document ‘Renewable Heat Incentive: the first step to transforming the way we heat our homes’. This meets the Government commitment, as set out in my statement to the House on 26 March, to publish the framework for providing longer term financial support to households for the installation of renewable heating technologies in summer 2013. We remain committed to opening the scheme for applications in spring 2014. This marks a major milestone in achieving our renewable heat goals; it builds on the successes of the Renewable Heat Premium Payment which has seen more than £20m spent on the installation of 16,000 plus domestic renewable heat systems over the last two years.

The domestic RHI will pay owners of solar thermal panels, biomass boilers and heat pumps for heat generated at the following levels: 7.3p/kWh for air source heat pumps; 12.2p/kWh for biomass boilers; 18.8p/kWh for ground source heat pumps and at least 19.21 p/kWh for solar thermal.

Alongside the policy statement, DECC is publishing the ‘Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive: Government response to the September 2012 consultation proposals for a domestic RHI’ which explains in greater detail the rationale for the final Government position, stakeholder views and comments on original proposals outlined in the consultation document. We received over 400 responses to that consultation, and I would like to thank all those that submitted a formal response.

Government also consulted on proposals for expanding the existing non-domestic RHI scheme at the same time as we consulted on our proposals for domestic support. DECC is currently finalising the details of the expansion of the non-domestic RHI scheme and we will confirm the way forward in the autumn alongside the outcome of the tariff review. Our aim to introduce support through these changes from spring 2014 remains unchanged.

The Policy Statement, Government response and further supporting documentation can be found on gov.uk.

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1 This tariff is capped by reference to an assessment of the marginal cost of renewable energy. The tariff will be at least 19.2p, but may be higher depending on the outcome of further work. The announcement on the final tariff will be made in the autumn.

EU: Agriculture and Fisheries Council

Statement

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley): My Right Hon Friend the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Owen Paterson) has today made the following statement.

The next Agriculture and Fisheries Council is on Monday 15 July in Brussels. I will be representing the UK. Paul Wheelhouse MSP, Alun Davies AM and Michelle O’Neill MLA may also attend.

On fisheries business the Commission will give a presentation on the consultation on fishing opportunities for 2014. The Presidency will also seek agreement to a General Approach on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).

Agriculture business will focus on the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform package. At present there are six Any Other Business items;

• Neonicotinoids • Labelling of meat from animals slaughtered without stunning • Economic consequences to the Cyprus poultry sector due to the occurrence of Newcastle disease• Food loss and waste• Mislabelling of beef product is a presentation from the Commission• North East Atlantic mackerel

EU: Health Council

Statement

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): My hon Friend the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department of Health (Anna Soubry) has made the following written ministerial statement.

EU Health Ministers met in Vilnius, in Lithuania, on 8 and 9 July. I represented the UK. The agenda included discussions on sustainability of health systems, mental health and well-being of older people, and of smoking prevention in youth.

The meeting began with a discussion on sustainable health systems, with emphasis placed by the Presidency on the need to reduce health inequalities. There was broad agreement that innovation in technology is an important tool in making healthcare more efficient and affordable.

For the UK, I stressed that whilst the EU can add value to member states work on the three major life choices of smoking, obesity, and alcohol, it is important that the principle of subsidiarity is respected. I noted the important recent progress on the tobacco products

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directive, which crucially allows member states to go beyond the requirements of the directive where this is essential for public health.

Many member states highlighted the importance of member states collaborating to learn from each other.

There was also a discussion on the mental health and well-being of older populations, during which I stressed the equal importance of mental and physical health, and the UK work on dementia.

The second day included discussions on smoking prevention in youth, focussing on nicotine containing products and on the marketing of tobacco.

The meeting concluded with an AOB item on differential pricing of medicines in member states. A variety of different views were expressed but the UK and a number of other Member States opposed the launching of any new EU initiative on the pricing of medicines as this is a matter of member state competence, whilst recognising the common issues faced by member states, particularly in relation to rare diseases.

Health: Learning Disabilities

Statement

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): My hon Friend the Minister of State, Department of Health (Norman Lamb) has made the following written ministerial statement.

I have today published the Department of Health's second progress report in response to the recommendations of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman and the Local Government Ombudsman in their March 2009 report "Six lives: the provision of public services to people with learning disabilities". At the same time, I am also publishing the Government’s response to the recent Confidential Inquiry into the Premature Deaths of People with Learning Disabilities.

Six Lives: Progress report on healthcare for people with learning disabilities provides an assessment of the progress made since the previous progress report published on 14 October 2010 in health and social care services to fulfil the Ombudsmen’s recommendations and improve health care and treatment for people with learning disabilities.

The report demonstrates that more people with learning disabilities than ever before have taken up the opportunity of an annual health check which will help improve their health and enable preventive interventions to stop potential health crises. The report also sets out priority areas for further progress including:

- giving greater voice and power to people with learning disabilities and their local communities to develop services for everyone, including those in vulnerable or marginalised groups;- supporting the spread of personal health budgets for people with learning disability with greater integration across health and social care;- ensuring that Health and Wellbeing Boards have information to support them in understanding the complex needs of people with behaviour that challenges; and

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- working with NHS England to make sure that the system continues to monitor and improve the health and care outcomes of people with learning disabilities.

The Department of Health worked with Mencap and the British Institute of Learning Disabilities (BILD) to engage with and listen to people with learning disabilities and family carers about their views and experiences of healthcare to find out more about where progress had been made and where more work needs to happen. Alongside the second progress report, we are publishing a summary of the outputs from that engagement event, including the results of a questionnaire about whether healthcare is getting better for people with a learning disability.

Government response to the Confidential Inquiry into premature deaths of people with learning disabilities addresses all the Inquiry’s recommendations, taking account of the changes to the health and care system which have been set in train since the Confidential Inquiry was established. The Department of Health, NHS England and other delivery partners will have an important role to play in leading change to improve access, experience and outcomes for people with learning disabilities and family carers. Specific changes include:

- using the Government’s information strategy for health and care to drive improvements in the way in which we identify people with learning disabilities so that we can better respond to their needs;- linking data about cause of death with other data such as the GP practice learning disability registers to better understand and respond to premature mortality among people with learning disabilities;- using local mortality data on people with learning disabilities to inform Joint Strategic Needs Assessment and Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategies;- using the NHS Standard Contracts to better take account of and respond to people’s needs;- aiming to have a known contact for people with multiple long-term conditions to coordinate their care, communicate with different professionals and be involved in care planning with the individual;- looking at introducing patient-held records for all people with learning disabilities who have several health conditions; - looking at the Mental Capacity Act guidance, advice and training for professionals, that is available to inform decisions about people’s care; and- assessing with NHS England, Public Health England and other partners the costs and benefits of establishing a National Learning Disability Mortality Review Body.

For both the Six Lives progress report and the response to the Confidential Inquiry, we want to see a fundamental culture change so that people with learning disabilities, autism and those people with complex needs and behaviour that challenges and their family carers have the same rights as anyone else to accessing the best possible quality care and support. We expect this in turn to lead to better outcomes and fewer premature and avoidable deaths.

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The Government is determined to work across the system to improve standards of care. Following events at Winterbourne View and Mid-Staffordshire hospitals, we have conducted thorough investigations and delivered strong responses to enable the system change and shift in attitudes needed to support people with learning disabilities and their families.

I want to put a stop to bad practice. Good practice must be our everyday expectation and services must strive for excellence. Everyone involved in the provision of services needs greater awareness of the personal impact they can make on the health and quality of life of people with learning disabilities so that poor practice and unacceptable health inequalities can be tackled head on.

Both the report and the response have been placed in the Library. Copies are available to hon. Members from the Vote Office and to noble Lords from the Printed Paper Office. The documents are also available at:

www.gov.uk/government/publications? departments[]=department-of-health

Hong Kong

Statement

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): My Right Honourable Friend, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (William Hague) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

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.gov.uk/government/organisations/foreign-commonwealth-office). The Report covers the period from 1 January to 30 June 2013. I commend the Report to the House.

National Forest Company

Statement

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley): My Hon Friend the Minister of State for Agriculture and Food (David Heath) has today made the following statement.

Today I am announcing a Triennial Review of the National Forest Company. The National Forest Company was set up in 1995 to oversee the creation of The National Forest – a multi-purpose forest across 200 square miles of the Midlands.

Triennial Reviews of Non-Departmental Public Bodies are part of the Government’s commitment to ensuring accountability in public life.

This Review will be conducted in accordance with Government guidance for reviewing Non-Departmental Public Bodies. The Review will be carried out in an open and transparent way and interested stakeholders

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will be given the opportunity to feed in their views. I will announce the findings of the Review later in the year.

Further information on the Review is available on the Government website.

NHS: Liverpool Care Pathway

Statement

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): My hon Friend the Minister of State, Department of Health (Norman Lamb) has made the following written ministerial statement.

The Independent Review of the Liverpool Care Pathway has been published today. I commissioned this review in January 2013 in response to concerns raised by patients, families, carers and a number of clinicians. The review was undertaken by an independent panel chaired by the noble lady, Baroness Neuberger.

People who use health and care services have the right to be treated with respect, dignity and compassion by staff with the skills and time to care for them properly. We all want our own and our loved ones’ final days and hours to be pain-free and dignified, with individual needs prioritised and respected, and with families and carers fully involved.

I recognise and value the high quality of much of end of life care across the country. On behalf of the Government, I would like to convey my continued support and appreciation for the work that so many doctors, nurses and others do on a daily basis to care for the dying. Whilst most patients certainly are receiving high quality care and many families and carers are being properly involved, we need to make sure that this is the case for everyone.

The Liverpool Care Pathway was introduced to improve end of life care by setting out principles for how the dying should be treated, whether they are in hospital, at home, in a care home or in a hospice. The review heard that when the Liverpool Care Pathway is operated by well-trained, well-resourced and sensitive clinical teams, it works well. However, it also heard too many examples of poor practice and poor quality care, with families and carers not being properly involved and supported. This has to change.

The review made a number of recommendations to Government and other health and care organisations. The Government will consider fully the recommendations of the review and over the coming months will be working with these organisations, stakeholders and charities to inform a full system-wide response to the review’s recommendations in the autumn. However, I can announce at this point our intention for the Liverpool Care Pathway to be phased out over the next 6-12 months. Instead, an individual approach to end of life care for each patient will be introduced, with a personalised care plan backed up by condition-specific good practice guidance and a named senior clinician responsible for its implementation.

In addition, the Care Quality Commission will be undertaking thematic work on end of life care, and the three new Chief Inspectors – of Hospitals, Social Care and General Practice – will consider end of life care

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issues as they develop their new approach to inspections. To support these improvements to end of life care, I am also writing to the General Medical Council and the Nursing and Midwifery Council to highlight both the need for effective guidance on supporting nutrition, hydration and sedation for the dying, but also to stress the importance of the professional regulation issues raised by the report.

However, it is clear that we need to take action immediately. I can therefore announce:

- to ensure immediate action for patients, families and carers, I have written to all NHS hospitals asking them to undertake a clinical review, led by a senior clinician, of each patient who is currently being cared for using the Liverpool Care Pathway or similar plans for the final days and hours of life to ensure that the care they are receiving is appropriate. I have also asked them to ensure that arrangements are put in place to provide assurance that every dying patient now and in the future has a named senior clinician responsible for their care. I will be writing in similar terms to those responsible for dying patients being cared for outside of hospital;- it is equally important that the concerns about care are properly investigated and resolved. I will ensure that people who have a complaint about the care given to a dying patient on the Liverpool Care Pathway or similar plans have access to an independent assessment of their case should they want it. I have also asked all NHS hospitals to appoint a board member with responsibility for overseeing any complaints about end of life care and for reviewing how end of life care is provided; and - the review also recommends that incentives paid to hospitals to promote a certain type of care for the dying should cease. In response, I am asking NHS England to work with Clinical Commissioning Groups to implement this immediately.

I would like to thank Baroness Neuberger, the review panel and their support team for their hard work and commitment. Finally, I would also like to thank all the contributors to the review, and in particular the families and carers of patients.

More care, less pathway: A review of the Liverpool care Pathway has been placed in the Library. Copies are available to hon Members from the Vote Office and to noble Lords from the Printed Paper Office.

Northern Rock (Asset Management) plc

Statement

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): My honourable friend the Economic Secretary to the Treasury (Sajid Javid) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

On 11 December 2012, I informed Parliament via a Written Ministerial Statement that UK Asset Resolution (UKAR) had identified a pool of unsecured loans in the Northern Rock Asset Management (NRAM) portfolio where the loan documentation was not compliant with Consumer Credit Act requirements.

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As a result, UKAR’s Board commissioned Deloitte to conduct an enquiry into the specific circumstances of the issue, and any implications for UKAR’s broader internal procedures and controls. Deloitte has concluded that the defects in CCA regulated loan letters and statements were created in 2008, before UKAR was established. The summary of the report, along with the recommendations on strengthening risk functions, is being published on UKAR’s website today. UKAR’s Board has accepted all of Deloitte’s recommendations and has tasked senior management to develop an implementation plan, which the UKAR Board will hold senior management to account on delivering.

The link to the report can be found here: http://www.ukar.co.uk/media-centre/press-releases/2013.

Ordnance Survey: Performance Targets

Statement

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie): My Rt. Hon Friend, the Minister of State for Business and Enterprise (Michael Fallon), has today made the following statement.

I am today announcing that performance targets have been agreed for Ordnance Survey for the period 2013-14. Ordnance Survey will report externally against these targets as is required of all Executives agencies in Government. The targets are:

• To achieve an operating profit before exceptional items, interest and dividends of £28.2 million for the financial year 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2014.• To achieve a free cash flow before exceptional items of £15.8 million for the financial year 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2014.• Some 99.6% of significant real-world features greater than six months old are represented in the database.• To continue to reduce the underlying cost base of the core business by 5% per annum measured against a baseline of 2008-09 adjusted running costs.• To achieve a customer index score of at least 80%.• To achieve an innovation index score of at least 80.

These targets reflect Ordnance Survey’s continuing commitment to customers, to continuing sustained achievement against the business strategy that has been in place and developed over previous years, to maintaining and delivering intelligent geographic information to all users, and to offering improved value for money for all, as well as a commitment to Government policies.

Powers of Entry

Statement

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): The Protection of Freedoms Act (POFA) 2012 requires Ministers across Government to undertake a review of powers of entry

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over a two year period due to conclude in early 2014. The Act requires Ministers who are members of the Cabinet with responsibility for powers of entry to examine their powers and to consider whether they are still necessary, proportionate and contain sufficient safeguards.

Ministers are required to report on outcomes of the review to Parliament by 1 May 2014.

During the passage of the Act, Ministers agreed to provide an update of progress of the review and I have today placed copies of the second six month progress report in the Library of the House.

Smoking: Tobacco Products

Statement

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): My Rt hon Friend the Secretary of State for Health (Jeremy Hunt) has made the following written ministerial statement.

The Government has today published Consultation on the standardised packaging of tobacco products: summary report. The consultation was undertaken, with the agreement of the Devolved Administrations, on a UK-wide basis and the summary report has been prepared and published by the Department of Health.

Reducing the health harms caused by smoking tobacco in England is a public health priority for the Government and the United Kingdom is recognised across the world for having comprehensive, evidence-based tobacco control strategies.

Standardised packaging of tobacco products refers to measures that may be taken to restrict or end the use of logos, colours, brand images or promotional information on packaging other than brand names and product names that are displayed in a standard colour and typeface.

The consultation sought views on whether standardised tobacco packaging would:

- reduce the appeal of tobacco products to consumers;- increase the effectiveness of health warnings on the packaging of tobacco products;- reduce the ability of tobacco packaging to mislead consumers about the harmful effects of smoking; and- have a positive effect on smoking-related attitudes, beliefs, intentions and behaviours, particularly among children and young people.

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Many thousands of responses to the consultation were received, and the views expressed were highly polarised, with strong views put forward on both sides of the debate and a range of organisations generating campaigns and petitions. Of those who provided detailed feedback, some 53% were in favour of standardised packaging while 43% thought the Government should do nothing about tobacco packaging.

Having carefully considered these differing views, the Government has decided to wait until the emerging impact of the decision in Australia can be measured before we make a final decision on this policy in England.

Currently, only Australia has introduced standardised packaging, although the Governments of New Zealand and the Republic of Ireland have committed to introduce similar policies. Standardised packaging, therefore, remains a policy under consideration.

In the meantime, the Government in England will continue to work to reduce smoking rates through ending the display of tobacco in all shops, running national behaviour change campaigns to encourage smokers to quit and through supporting local authorities to provide effective stop smoking services. Our strategy is working – we are recognised as the leading country in Europe for tobacco control and for the first time since records began, adult smoking rates are under 20%.

Consultation on the standardised packaging of tobacco products: summary report has been placed in the Library. Copies are available to hon. Members from the Vote Office and noble Lords from the Printed Paper Office. The document is also available from

www.gov.uk/government/consultations/standardised-packaging-of-tobacco-products

The consultation exercise fulfilled our commitment in Healthy Lives, Healthy People: A Tobacco Control Plan for England which sets out our comprehensive, evidence-based, programme of tobacco control for England.

Supply and Appropriation (Main Estimates) Bill

Statement

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): I have made a statement under Section 19(1)(a) of the Human Rights Act 1998 that, in my view, the provisions of the Supply and Appropriation (Main Estimate) Bill are compatible with the convention rights. A copy of the statement has been placed in the Library of the House.