Previous Section Index Home Page


National Rail Model

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will place a copy of the specification issued to interested parties for the contract to develop a national rail model in the Library. [27325]

Mr. Byers [holding answer 15 January 2002]: Yes, I have done so today.

PFI Contracts

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what estimate he has made of the proportion of PFI contracts made by his Department where an amount in excess of 90 per cent. of the capital value of the asset is recouped by the lessor out of the capital element of lease payments over the lifetime of the contract concerned; and if he will make a statement. [27698]

Dr. Whitehead: No such estimate has been made. PFI contracts are for the provision of a service in return for a unitary payment to cover the costs of the assets, their maintenance and operation. The unitary payment is not broken down into constituent parts. The Highways Agency's contract for the new Traffic Control Centre is the only PFI contract let by DTLR which allows the contractor to generate additional revenues to the income it will receive through the unitary payment.

South Central Franchise

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will make a statement on the present position in respect of the South Central franchise. [27542]

Mr. Spellar [holding answer 16 January 2002]: The Strategic Rail Authority is currently negotiating a new franchise agreement with GoVia in line with the heads of terms that have already been signed.

Market Research

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what expenditure has been incurred by his (a) Department, (b) agencies and (c) non-departmental public bodies in each of the last four years on (i) opinion polling, (ii) focus groups and (iii) other forms of market research; and if he will list the surveys commissioned and the purpose of each. [27943]

Dr. Whitehead: This information could be supplied only at disproportionate cost.

Braer

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will make a statement on the seaworthiness of the tanker the Braer when she left the Norwegian port of Mongstad on 3 January 1993. [27340]

17 Jan 2002 : Column 440W

Mr. Spellar: In its investigation into the engine failure and subsequent grounding of the Braer on 5 January 1993, the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) concluded that the vessel was seaworthy when she left Mongstad on 3 January. No evidence has emerged since to contradict this finding.

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will make a statement on the opportunity the captain of the Braer was given of commenting on the Marine Accidents Investigation Board inquiry report prior to its publication. [27339]

Mr. Spellar: The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) sent a copy of the draft report to the Braer's captain on 25 August 1993. It was sent to the address in Greece he had given to the MAIB inspectors. It was returned unopened and with no comment as to whether the captain lived there, had moved or that the address was wrong.

The MAIB then contacted the managers of Braer who gave two telephone numbers through which they had contacted him. MAIB tried both numbers during the period 21 to 22 September 1993 but received no reply.

Accident Inquiries

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will make it his policy to publish the technical evidence along with the inspector's findings in future accident inquiries. [27341]

Mr. Spellar: The Merchant Shipping (Accident Reporting and Investigation) Regulations 1999 require the reports of all investigations conducted by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) to be made publicly available. Such reports refer, where applicable, to the technical evidence. The regulations do not require such evidence to be published and some categories, such as declarations made by witnesses, are specifically excluded.

Director of Government and Political Relations

Mr. Collins: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions when he last met the Director of Government and Political Relations; and what was discussed. [28279]

Dr. Whitehead: My right hon. Friend meets a wide range of colleagues on a regular basis.

Gas Safety

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many prosecutions were initiated by the Health and Safety Executive under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 in 1999–2000. [28053]

Dr. Whitehead: The Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1998 replaced the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations 1994. Both regulations are applicable, as some offences would have been committed before the 1998 regulations came into force.

17 Jan 2002 : Column 441W

Each information laid relates to a breach of an individual legal requirement and a duty holder may be prosecuted for more than one of these breaches. Figures quoted relate to the whole of the United Kingdom.

The number of informations laid under both sets of regulations in 1999–2000 was 210.

Physical Agents (Vibration) Directive

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what recent discussions he has had with industry regarding the physical agents (vibration) directive. [25559]

Dr. Whitehead: Since the summer the Health and Safety Executive has had discussions on the European Parliament second reading amendments to the proposed physical agents (vibration) directive with a number of industry organisations and employers including the Confederation of British Industry, the National Farmers Union, the Road Haulage Association, the Construction Products Association, the Quarry Products Association, the Construction Equipment Association, the British Cement Association, the Society of Motor Manufactures and Traders, the Engineering Employers Federation and RMC Group plc.

Uniform Business Rates

Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many businesses paid uniform business rates in the Uxbridge constituency in each of the last five years. [28477]

Dr. Whitehead: The information requested is collected only at local authority level, so figures for the Uxbridge constituency are not available. Information for the London borough of Hillingdon, covering the Uxbridge constituency, is given in the table:

Number of hereditaments as at 31 December(5)
19977,236
19987,269
19997,202
20007,274
20017,418

(5) The number of hereditaments for the years 1997 to 2000 are taken from the National Non-Domestic Rates Provisional Contribution to the Pool Return. The number of hereditaments for 2001 is based on information provided by the Valuation Office Agency. In addition to businesses, these include properties that are liable to non-domestic rates, such as schools and advertising hoardings.


EDUCATION AND SKILLS

Youth Parliament

Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when the Government will respond to the UK Youth Parliament's Manifesto. [24058]

Mr. Denham: I shall be responding shortly.

Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when she will respond to the UK Youth Parliament Manifesto; and if she will make a statement. [23324]

17 Jan 2002 : Column 442W

Mr. Denham: I shall be responding shortly.

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much money has been allocated to the UK Youth Parliament in (a) 1999–2000, (b) 2000–01 and (c) 2001–02; and what grant aid is planned for future years. [26096]

Mr. Denham: There has been no grant aid to the UK Youth Parliament. The Department for Education and Skills has supported UK Youth Parliament to develop itself as a voice for young people by funding consultancy advice; by providing support for the first sitting of UK Youth Parliament in February 2001; and by funding the secondment of a Departmental official to the UK Youth Parliament. In addition the Home Office made a grant in 2000–01 to fund a part-time Parliament co-ordinator. In 2001–02 the Connexions Service has commercial contracts with UKYP for work to conduct consultations with young people.

The total value of Government support to the UK Youth Parliament is as follows:

£
1999–200012,000
2000–01264,000
2001–0269,000

The possibility of any future funding is still under consideration.


Next Section Index Home Page