Week ahead

The first debates on two key bills to promote growth and cut public service pensions will dominate week's parliamentary action - but a series of cabinet ministers also face what may prove to be dicey encounters with various select committees. And over in the Lords, there are a couple of detailed issues which could trip ministers...

On Monday, the Commons convenes at 2.30pm for Education Questions. MPs then move on to the second reading debate on the Public Service Pensions Bill - which implements the proposals of the Hutton Report to "reform public service pensions to balance the concerns of taxpayers about the present and future cost of pension commitments in the public service and to ensure decent levels of retirement income for public service workers".

The highlight on the committee corridor is the Public Accounts hearing (at 3.15pm). First, they return to their investigation of the contracting out of Ministry of Justice language services - which produced a startling and embarrassing evidence session last week Before them will be Andy Parker, the joint Chief Operating Officer of Capita and Sunna Van Loo, Public Service Director, Applied Language Solutions, the firm which won the contract.

Then they move on to quiz Bob Kerslake, the head of the home Civil Service, and Sir Nicholas Macpherson, the Permanent Secretary at the Treasury on managing budgeting in government. . Recently the government spending watchdog, the National Audit Office said the government's ability to show that its spending.

Over in the Lords, question time ranges across alcohol-related illness among the over-65s and nuclear waste disposal. Then peers begin their detailed committee stage debate of the Electoral Registration and Administration Bill - see separate blogpost.

And look out for some fun around a rather unpromising-looking agenda item: the draft Police and Crime Commissioner Elections (Welsh Forms) Order. This authorises Welsh language ballot papers for those elections - but it needs to clear parliament pretty rapidly because it has to come into effect on or before 31 October 2012 so that the issue of postal ballots can begin at 5pm on 31 October; that in turn is necessary to allow voters time to receive, complete and return their ballot before close of poll on 15 November.

All manner of chaos will ensue if that does not happen because Welsh language legislation requires that in Wales the Welsh language is treated no less favourably than the English language. It is important that voters in Wales are able to participate in elections in the Welsh language if they choose to do so. If this order is not made the ballot papers used in Wales will only be available to voters in English.

On Tuesday, the Commons sits at 11.30am. MPs begin with Foreign Office questions, and then there's a ten minute rule bill from Labour's Graeme Morrice, which would create a specific criminal offence of assaulting people whose work brings them into face to face contact with the public. After that, the House turns to the second reading debate on the Growth and Infrastructure Bill - which is intended to promote investment in infrastructure projects.

Committee highlights include Vince Cable's appearance before the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee (at 11am). He will be asked about his department's annual report and accounts - which means the committee can ask him about practically anything. There's a Treasury Committee session (at 10am) with the top figures in the Financial Ombudsman Service, and the Home Affairs Committee investigates localised grooming and e-crime (at 2.45pm).

In the Lords (from 2.30pm), question time includes the Bishop of Wakefield asking about the use of private military and security companies and its effect upon the UK's reputation; and another query on reducing the number of people sleeping on the streets of London The peers turn to their seventh day of detailed committee stage debate on the Crime and Courts Bill.

On Wednesday, the Commons meets at 11.30am. The first business is International Development questions and prime minister's questions follows at noon. Backbench Conservative eurosceptic Stewart Jackson then has a ten minute rule bill on dis-applying the European Union Free Movement Directive 2004, which would limit the right of EU citizens to move to Britain. Mr Jackson says his Peterborough constituency is one of the "pinch points" for the directive, and huge strain is being put on schools and hospitals by the number of people arriving from EU countries to work there.

The main law-making business of the day is consideration of Lords' amendments to the Local Government Finance Bill - the measure which restores some control over business rates to individual local authorities and makes other changes to council finances.

Quite a few cabinet ministers are on parade on the committee corridor. The Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, is before the Transport Committee (at 2.45pm) as it continues its investigation into the fiasco over the West Coast Main Line rail franchise. The committee is certain to press for the names of the ministers and officials responsible, but it is also concerned about the implications for the government's new policy of awarding franchises for longer terms, after it emerged that one of the key reasons for the failure was that there are huge problems in projecting the likely demand for rail travel, far into the future.

Elsewhere, the Scottish Secretary, Michael Moore, briefs the Scottish Affairs Committee on progress on towards the independence referendum and the Northern Ireland Secretary, Theresa Villiers, debuts before the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee (at 2.30pm) in a general session; and the Home Secretary, Theresa May, is before the special committee scrutinising the Draft Communications Data Bill, to give her view on the extent of the powers the government should have to access electronic communications.

The Education Committee (at 9.30am) launches its new inquiry into careers guidance for young people. There's a new requirement that schools provide independent and impartial careers guidance for their pupils - and the committee will hear from David Pollard, of the Federation of Small Businesses, and an assortment of other witnesses from schools and local authorities.

At 3pm, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee continues its examination of Dog Control and Welfare, with the aptly-named Defra minister, Lord de Mauley. And the Home Affairs Committee (at 3.45pm) continues its investigation into drugs policy with a look at the money-laundering issues, with evidence from Lord Turner and Tracey McDermott of the Financial Services Authority.

Meanwhile, in Westminster Hall there will be a series of debates led by backbenchers - among them the long-standing abortion campaigner, Nadine Dorries, who has a debate on the upper legal limit for induced abortion; and the former Home Office Minister Fiona Mactaggart, who focuses on the social responsibility of internet-based media companies.

The Lords sits at 3pm where question time includes a query about increasing the number of allotments. Then peers return to the committee stage of the Electoral Registration and Administration Bill. There is also a short debate on the challenges faced by the Welsh economy - led by the Lib Dem peer and former Deputy First Minister Lord German.

On Thursday, the Commons opens for business at 9.30am. MPs begin with Energy and Climate Change questions, and then the Leader of the House, Andrew Lansley, delivers the weekly statement on future business in the chamber. Then it's on to debates chosen by the Backbench Business Committee. First, a motion relating on the beer duty escalator proposed by the Conservative Andrew Griffiths and the Lib Dem, Greg Mulholland - this is another debate prompted by an e-petition which has received over 100,000 signatures. The second debate is on air passenger duty - led by Conservatives Priti Patel and Henry Smith.

Finally the Conservative Eleanor Laing has an adjournment debate on the death of Rhiya Malin - a two year old girl who died while playing in a wendy house at a nursery.

In Westminster Hall (at 1.30pm), MPs have a chance to discuss the findings of two Transport Committee reports, on Air Travel Organisers' Licensing (ATOL) Reform and on Flight Time Limitations.

The committee corridor is quiet, save for the Political and Constitutional Reform Committee's continuing inquiry into the need for a constitutional convention for the UK (at 2pm). The witnesses are from Northern Ireland.

The Lords convene at 11am when the first order of business is the introduction of Paul Deighton, the chief executive of the Olympic organising committee who has been made a peer and appointed to a ministerial job, Commercial Secretary to the Treasury.

Subjects at question time include preventing the spread of the Schmallenberg virus (a disease affecting sheep, cattle and goats, which can cause fever, diarrhoea and loss of milk production in adult cattle). And Baroness Henig, the former chair of the Association of Police Authorities, has a question on the future of the police service in light of the new elected commissioners.

That is followed by the usual Thursday backbench debates. Labour's Lord Filkin leads a discussion of ways to make better use of the skills and experience of peers in performing core functions of the House. And the Conservative Lord Freeman has a debate on the future role of the Reserve Forces.

On Friday (at 9.30am) the Commons devotes a day to private members' bills. First up, Neil Carmichael's Antarctic Bill, which puts an international protocol on environmental protection into law. That's followed by the Presumption of Death Bill, proposed by John Glen, which seeks to simplify the complicated legal procedures faced by people whose relatives are missing, presumed dead. Third in the list - if it is reached - is the Smoke-free Private Vehicles Bill, which would ban smoking in private vehicles where there are children. This is a private members' bill taken through the House of Lords by the Conservative, Lord Ribeiro, and picked up in the Commons by Labour's Alex Cunningham.

The Lords are not sitting.

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