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Written Ministerial Statements

Wednesday 24 June 2009

Cabinet Office

Report to Parliament on Civil Service Delegations/Authorisations

The Minister of State, Cabinet Office (Angela E. Smith): During 2007 delegations/authorisations were made to the Ministry of Justice, the Welsh Assembly Government and the National School of Government and in 2008, to the Government Equalities Office and the Department for Communities and Local Government.

The delegations/authorisations were made subject to the condition that recipients comply with the provisions of the civil service management code as amended from time to time. Copies of the civil service management code are available in the Library of the House and electronically at: http://beta.civilservice.gov.uk/about/work/codes/csmc/index.aspx

Any delegations/authorisations made in 2009 will be reported in spring 2010.


Financial Services Authority Annual Report

The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury (Sarah McCarthy-Fry): The annual report 2008-09 of the Financial Services Authority (FSA) has today been laid before Parliament. Copies have been deposited in the Libraries of both Houses.

The report forms a key part of the accountability mechanism for the Financial Services Authority under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA), and assesses the performance of the Financial Services Authority over the past 12 months against its statutory objectives.

Culture, Media and Sport

Sports Betting Integrity Panel

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Mr. Gerry Sutcliffe): The Government are determined to ensure that everything possible is done to maintain the integrity and reputation of sport. I am therefore delighted to announce that I am bringing together a new sports betting integrity panel under the chairmanship of Rick Parry. This panel will include representatives of the betting industry; sports governing bodies; players; the Gambling Commission; and the police. The panel’s main focus will be the design and implementation of an integrated strategy to uphold integrity in sports and associated betting.

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The vast majority of sports betting is legal and fair, and enhances the enjoyment of sport for many fans. But betting also provides an opportunity and an incentive for corrupting sport through the use of unfair or illegal betting practices.

The Government are concerned that, although considerable progress has been made in recent years by sports governing bodies, the betting industry and the Gambling Commission, the possible threat to the integrity of sport remains an ever present and complex problem requiring multi-agency solutions.

If the UK is to maintain its reputation as a jurisdiction where fair play is the guiding principle for both sport and betting, it is vital that the risks of corruption arising from all sources are reduced as far as possible.

The sports themselves—governing bodies, clubs and players—the betting industry and enforcement authorities, principally the Gambling Commission and the police, all play important roles. To help co-ordinate the work of those parties, and to facilitate collaboration between them, the panel will bring together key people from the principal organisations involved, under the chairmanship of Rick Parry, to look at these issues and make recommendations on how the various bodies concerned can work together more effectively.

Within six months the panel will recommend to me a practical, effective and proportionate plan of action that has the support of those responsible for delivery.

Mr. Parry is currently chief executive of Liverpool football club and has many years’ experience in professional sport at a senior level. I believe this experience makes him an ideal person to chair the panel and I look forward to working with him.

The members of the panel will include:


Afghanistan Air Support

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Bill Rammell): The statement by my predecessor, the right hon. Member for Coventry, North-East (Bob Ainsworth) on 25 February 2009, Official Report, columns 24-25WS, referred to a delay from spring until summer 2009 of the deployment of Tornado GR4 aircraft to replace a broadly similar force of Harrier GR9 aircraft at Kandahar airfield, Afghanistan.

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I can confirm that necessary supporting infrastructure at Kandahar is now in place and all Tornado GR4 urgent operational requirement enhancements have been delivered. Consequently Tornado GR4 aircraft deployed to Kandahar in mid-June and, after a period of joint operations with the Harrier force, today the Tornado GR4 force has taken over sole responsibility for RAF fast jet support in Afghanistan.

The transition from Harrier to Tornado in theatre has been seamless. During the handover the Tornado force has proved that it is fully capable of fulfilling all the roles required of it in support of coalition ground forces. Those forces will continue to benefit from the flexibility and broad range of capabilities offered by UK fast jet aircraft.

The remaining elements of the Harrier force are preparing to leave Kandahar shortly, with the final Harrier personnel planning to return to their home base at RAF Cottesmore in early July. Joint Force Harrier has made a significant and acclaimed contribution to coalition air operations during its four and a half years service in Afghanistan and the personnel within this force can be proud of all their many achievements in this operational theatre.

Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre Feasibility Study

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Mr. Kevan Jones): I am pleased to announce that a feasibility study will be undertaken to look at the possibility of establishing a Defence and National Rehabilitation Centre in around 10 years’ time, looking at how the whole issue of rehabilitation should be developed in 21st century terms. The study will build on the remarkable achievements of the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC) at Headley Court in Surrey, and exploit what we and others have learnt in recent times about complex injury. It will look at doing so in the context of creating a national centre for civilian as well as military rehabilitation. We shall also look at the inclusion of rehabilitation research, the potential for developing further our world-class para-Olympic athletes and a “train the trainer” capability for rehabilitation in conflict and post-conflict afflicted states. We shall be considering potential sites in the midlands with close links to the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, and estimate that the study will take about a year to complete.

The feasibility study will consult widely across Government, the NHS and the charitable sector. The trades unions will also be consulted fully. An external benefactor has agreed to sponsor this feasibility work. This continues a long and distinguished tradition of charitable involvement in the care of injured service personnel, including in this context the work of the Headley Court Trust, Help for Heroes, SSAFA, BLESMA and Brain Injury and Rehabilitation Trust (BIRT), to name only a few. I stress that this work will scope possible options for creating a Defence and National Centre with the defence capability at its core—there are no foregone conclusions.

The Government are committed to delivering state-of-the-art treatment for our injured service personnel. They deserve nothing but the best. The MOD continues to invest in DMRC at Headley Court to ensure its provision of world-class care. We would only envisage
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leaving Headley Court if there were an assured level of future care that surpassed even that which is offered by DMRC’s current and planned capabilities.

While this work is long term, an immediate issue is attending to the convalescence and recovery of service people, not least those who have been treated at the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine and have subsequently undergone rehabilitation at Headley Court. To that end, a defence-led study is under way to consider how to make the best possible provision in this area, starting with a pathfinder centre near Edinburgh, in conjunction with the charities Erskine Homes and Help for Heroes. The pathfinder will enable us to learn lessons, which will help inform our judgment about how best to provide convalescent care in the future and help prepare wounded, injured and sick personnel to return to duty or transition to civilian life.

People Pay and Pensions Agency

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Mr. Kevan Jones): The key targets that I have set the chief executive of the People, Pay and Pensions Agency are as follows:

Delivering Results

Individual performance targets have been agreed between the agency and the MOD as its principal customer reflecting both business requirements and the need to continue to drive down costs through efficiency improvements.


How We Work


Energy and Climate Change

Offshore Energy Strategic Environmental Assessment

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (Mr. David Kidney): My noble Friend the Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change, Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, today made the following statement:

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