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London Underground

Ms Bridget Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) how many stations on the London Underground will be refurbished as part of his Department's investment plans for the tube; [15565]

Mr. Jamieson: The Government's modernisation plans for the London Underground will deliver at least £13 billion investment over the next 15 years. Bidders have said that more than 50 stations will be modernised in the first 7½ year period.

School Buses

Mr. Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions which local authorities in England have indicated that they have dropped the three for two rule regarding the seating of pupils under 14 years of age on scheduled bus services. [15798]

Ms Keeble: Seating arrangements on scheduled bus services, other than contract services for a local authority, are a matter for the operator subject to the relevant regulations and not for the local authority.

I have no information on what arrangements are in place for bus services provided and contracted to local education authorities. This is a matter for local authorities and operators.

Planning Reform

Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions when he will publish the Green Paper on planning reform; and whether the Green Paper will consult on a change to the use classes order system of planning regulation. [16019]

Ms Keeble: I expect to publish the Green Paper by the end of the year. A separate consultation document will be issued in the new year relating to the use class order.

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These documents form part of a suite of consultation papers proposing comprehensive reform of the planning system.

Cornish

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions when the Government will complete their assessment of the case for specifying the Cornish language within the European Charter for regional or minority languages. [15861]

Ms Keeble: I can assure the hon. Member that Government's assessment of their position on Cornish in relation to the Charter is being given the most careful consideration. We share his interest in a timely conclusion to this work and have said we will do this as quickly as possible. This remains our aim.

Free Bus Passes (London)

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what his policy is on the provision of free bus passes for pensioners in London. [16173]

Ms Keeble: Under the Transport Act 2000, the statutory minimum requirement for local authority concessionary fare schemes guarantees that pensioners and disabled people are entitled to half fares on local bus services, with a free bus pass. The London boroughs, however, have chosen to provide a more generous free travel scheme with free travel for their resident pensioners and disabled people.

Employment (Blackpool, North and Fleetwood)

Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what funding he has provided (a) to encourage employment opportunities and (b) to regenerate industrial estates in the Blackpool, North and Fleetwood constituency in the last three years. [16058]

Ms Keeble: The constituency of Blackpool, North and Fleetwood has benefited from the award of £20 million funding in round two of the Single Regeneration Budget. The £2 million Business and Technology Park in the Moor Park area of Bispham was part funded by £600,000 from the SRB and has attracted £1.4 million of private sector investment. Its aim is to encourage inward investment and generate permanent jobs.

Rents

Mr. Chris Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 13 November 2001, Official Report, column 616W, on rent levels, what information he has collated on the impact of his proposals on the average level of rents in inner London boroughs. [16197]

Ms Keeble: Initial results from the case study we commissioned in West London suggest that between 2000–01 and 2011–12 the average level of weekly rent will rise in real terms from £61 to £72 for council tenants in LB Hammersmith and Fulham and from £62 to £81 for tenants of Notting Hill Housing Trust.

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Mrs. Anne Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will make a statement on the effect of rent restructuring on constituencies with high housing prices. [13570]

Ms Keeble: We have reviewed our approach to the introduction of the rent reforms on new developments. We have concluded that it could lead to some anomalies between the rents on new and existing stock. We have therefore decided that restructured rents on new developments should be phased in alongside restructuring on the remainder of a landlord's stock.

We recognise that there are potential problems associated with the small number of existing properties which would have very high rents under the reforms and are considering proposals for tackling them.

Older People (Discrimination)

Ms Atherton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what action his Department has taken to tackle discrimination against older people. [16327]

Dr. Whitehead: The Government are determined to tackle discrimination against older people and will continue to act to combat it wherever it is found.

Our long-term integrated transport strategy is helping older people by delivering more accessible public transport, ensuring half price local bus fares for pensioners, and providing support for a wide range of flexible, community transport projects. We are also taking forward the recommendations contained in our audit of older people's transport requirements.

Home Ownership (Buckingham)

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will make a statement on the level of home ownership in the Buckingham constituency in each of the last five years. [16255]

Ms Keeble: The level of home ownership in the Buckingham Constituency (which is the same area as covered by Aylesbury Vale district council) over the last five years is detailed in the table.

Year Total number of dwellings in areaTotal number of private sector dwellings
200164,54554,760
200063,68753,648
199963,22952,885
199862,51652,203
199761,22550,772

Monocular Drivers

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions whether his Department maintains records on the safety record of monocular drivers. [15772]

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Mr. Jamieson [holding answer 19 November 2001]: The Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions does not maintain records on the safety record of monocular drivers.

Employers' Insurance

Mr. Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what statutory provisions govern the rights of employees to information on the employers liability compulsory insurance scheme. [15961]

Dr. Whitehead: There are no statutory provisions governing the rights of employees to information under the Employers' Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 ("the 1969 Act"). So far as the insurance that an employer takes out to comply with the 1969 Act is concerned, regulation 5 of the Employers' Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Regulations 1998 made under the 1969 Act requires the employer to display one or more copies of the certificate of insurance at each place of business at which he employs any relevant employee of the class or description to which the certificate relates.

Mr. Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what statutory provisions govern the commercial confidentiality of information held by companies on employers' insurance liabilities. [15963]

Dr. Whitehead: So far as I am aware, there are no statutory provisions specifically governing the commercial confidentiality of information held by companies on employers' insurance liabilities. Companies must, however, comply with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 in respect of personal and sensitive personal data which may be relevant to insurance liabilities and may be bound by contractual or other duties of confidentiality restricting disclosure.

Mr. Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many companies were prosecuted in the last five years for failing to display an ELCI certificate in the workplace. [15962]

Dr. Whitehead: There are no known cases where a company has been prosecuted for not displaying an ELCI certificate. However, since April 1996 there have been 24 prosecutions by HSE of companies for failure to hold ELCI cover. When such failure occurs, it follows that the company has also failed to display a valid ELCI certificate.

Apart from these cases there has been no known instance where an employer has failed to display an ELCI certificate after an inspector has requested him/her to do so.

There are a further five prosecution cases awaiting court dates.

Mr. Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what statutory provisions govern the duty of employers to display an ELCI certificate in the workplace. [15955]

Dr. Whitehead: Regulation 5 of the Employers' Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Regulations 1998. This requires an employer who has been issued with an ELCI certificate to display one or more copies of it at each place

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of business at which he employs any relevant employee of the class or description to which the certificate relates. Section 4 of the Employers' Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 provides for a person who fails to comply with a requirement to display copies of the certificate of insurance to be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale (currently £1,000).


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