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Special Purpose Vehicle

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) what plans he has for the creation of a special purpose vehicle to undertake work in connection with the South Coast upgrade; if he will place them in the Library; and what the (a) status of, (b) start date of and (c) expected completion date for such works is; [42836]

19 Mar 2002 : Column 234W

19 Mar 2002 : Column 235W

Mr. Byers [holding answer 12 March 2002]: I refer the hon. Member to answers given by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Mr. Jamieson) to the hon. Member for Epsom and Ewell (Chris Grayling) on 4 February 2002, Official Report, columns 728–29W. Special purpose vehicles are a potential option for taking forward projects involving new or enhanced rail infrastructure. Their use will be a matter for commercial negotiation between interested parties.

Wembley Park Underground

Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how he plans to respond to the London Development Agency/ London Underground report on the options for increasing capacity at Wembley Park underground station. [43231]

19 Mar 2002 : Column 236W

Mr. Byers: I welcome this report, copies of which have been placed in the Library of the House. It demonstrates that it should be possible to make real improvements to capacity and access—particularly for disabled people—without the need to rebuild Wembley Park Station.

While the report's proposals are significantly less expensive than rebuilding the station, they cannot be accommodated within the £20 million which the Government have already agreed to make available for infrastructure improvements. In the light of this new evidence, I have now decided that if the stadium development proceeds, I should make available additionally up to £7 million from my transport provision. This would make it easier for people travelling to the new stadium, as well as those living and working in the area. I understand that the Mayor of London has also agreed to make available a similar sum.

Houses in Multiple Occupation

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will make a statement on the reason for the delay in the drafting of legislation for the regulation of HMOs. [42229]

Mr. Byers: The Government are committed to introducing a national licensing scheme for houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) and we consulted on our proposals in 1999. We remain committed to legislating for this at the earliest possible opportunity.

The Government are also currently supporting the Home Energy Conservation Bill promoted by my hon. Friend the Member for Brighton, Kemptown (Dr. Turner). This Bill would introduce reforms to the current discretionary HMO registration regime, most notably by making it mandatory and providing for a revised definition of an HMO.

Public-Private Partnerships

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 4 March 2002, ref. 37622, on reputational externalities, what is the size of the adjustment made for reputational externalities in the calculations underlying the final assessment report; and if he will make a statement. [41396]

Mr. Jamieson: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 4 March 2002, Official Report, column 83W.

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