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9 Apr 2003 : Column 260W—continued

Railway Safety

Mr. Collins: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the adequacy of information collected on incidents affecting passenger (a) experiences and (b) perceptions of personal safety when using the railways; and if he will make a statement. [106882]

Mr. Jamieson: The British Transport Police records all reported crime on the railways in accordance with Home Office instructions and standards. The Strategic Rail Authority's twice yearly "National Passenger Survey" includes questions on passengers' perceptions of safety. The survey is carried out to an approved methodology in accordance with Market Research Society's codes of conduct.

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Virgin Trains

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on recent SRA directions to Virgin trains regarding their financial position. [107364]

Mr. Jamieson: The Strategic Rail Authority has determined franchise payments for both Virgin franchises for the year March 2003 to February 2004.

Volatile Organic Compounds

Alan Keen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the volatile organic compounds level is (a) in the south east region of England and (b) in the vicinity of the main airports in the south east region of England. [107010]

Alun Michael: I have been asked to reply.

Volatile organic compounds are monitored at nine sites in the south east region of England. The annual mean data for benzene and 1,3-butadiene are given in tables 1 and 2. Further information for a wider range of other volatile organic compounds is available on the National Air Information Quality Archive ( for two of these sites.

Defra does not undertake any volatile organic compounds measurements at the main airports in the south east region of England. BAA has undertaken measurements of benzene and 1,3-butadiene at Gatwick and Heathrow. These indicated that concentrations of both pollutants are below the levels set in the Air Quality Strategy.

Table 1: Means of measured Benzene concentrations, in micrograms per metre cubed, (Wg/m(5)) at UK hydrocarbon sites

Annual mean
Monitoring Site1999 200020012002
Marylebone Road (4)10.756.294.553.91
Oxford Centre (5)n/an/an/a(6)1.40
Reading (7)n/an/an/a(8)1.43
Southampton Centre (7)n/an/an/a1.63
Portsmouth (7)n/an/an/a(8)1.17
Hove roadside (5)n/an/an/a(6)1.66
London Bloomsbury (7)n/an/an/a(8)1.56
Haringey roadside (5)n/an/an/a(6)2.63


(3) Rural

(4) Kerbside

(5) Roadside

(6) Site began in February 2002

(7) Urban background

(8) Site began in May 2002

Table 2: Means of measured 1,3-Butadiene concentrations in micrograms per metre cubed, (Wg/m(11)) at UK automatic hydrocarbon sites

Annual Mean
Monitoring Site1999200020012002
Marylebone Road(10)1.871.631.120.95


(9) Rural

(10) Kerbside

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National Minimum Wage

Mr. Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will estimate (a) the number of people who would benefit from a rise in the national minimum wage to £6 per hour, (b) how much Government expenditure would be saved by the consequential reduction of means tested benefits and (c) what the economic consequences would be of such a rise, with a statement of how she arrived at her estimate; and if she will make a statement. [105105]

Alan Johnson: The information is as follows:

(a) DTI estimates that around six million people would be directly affected by an increase in the National Minimum Wage (NMW) to £6. The balance between workers who would benefit and those who would not benefit would depend on the extent of employment reductions following such a large increase.

(b) The impact of an increase in the NMW was estimated by the Government and provided in the Low Pay Commission's fourth report (table 6.5, p195). The effect of a 30 pence increase in the adult rate of the NMW in 2003–04 is estimated to provide net savings to the Exchequer of £260 million for a full year. The effect on the Exchequer of a £6 per hour NMW rate for adults cannot be estimated in this way because the assumption of no behavioural change in response to the change in the NMW rates which underlies the estimate would not be plausible.

(c) A 6 NMW would see over one-fifth of the UK workforce receiving wage increases of up to 43 per cent., without any offsetting gains in output. That is likely to sap company profitability, add significantly to price pressures and prompt employers to cut employment levels.

The Government are determined to help the low paid, but not at the cost of damaging the economy or creating increased unemployment for the very people we want to help. Following advice from the Low Pay Commission, we recently announced substantial increases to the minimum wage to take place in October 2003 which will help between 1.3 and 1.6 million low-paid workers, more than ever before.

Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) how many (a) adults and (b) employers were on the adult development rate of the national minimum wage in (i) 2001, (ii) 2002 and (iii) 2003; [106659]

Alan Johnson: Around 60,000 adults were eligible for the older workers' Development Rate in both 2001 and 2002, according to data from the Labour Force Survey (LFS). There are no LFS figures for 2003 available yet.

Use of the older workers' Development Rate remains small. According to a survey of employers in low-paying sectors by the Low Pay Commission, 4 per cent. of

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employers said they used it. This is likely to be an over-estimate of the use of the Development Rate among employers in the economy as a whole. However, the Commission recommended in their recent report that, on balance, they thought the older workers' Development Rate should remain in place for the time being.

Guidelines on the operation of the minimum wage are contained in the booklet, "A Detailed Guide to the National Minimum Wage", which is available from the Inland Revenue's National Minimum Wage helpline 0845–6000–678, and is also available on the Department of Trade and Industry's website at: I will send the hon. Member a copy.

Arms Exports

Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether the measures relating to the use of intranets in the draft Orders under the Export Control Act 2000 require that intranet servers are located in the United Kingdom. [106088]

Nigel Griffiths: The consultation document on the draft secondary legislation sets out how the proposed controls on the electronic transfer of information would operate in respect of the location and use of internet servers.

Whether or not a licence is required depends on where the addressee of an electronic transfer is located, not on where the transfer may be routed in the course of the transfer.

British Summer Time

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has to review the application of (a) British Summer Time and (b) Greenwich Mean Time. [108007]

Alan Johnson: The Government have no plans to alter the present summer time arrangements, but we shall continue to listen to the arguments for and against change.

Civil Space Aid

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to her answer of 11 February, Official Report, column 660W, if she will make a statement on the value for money which has been secured from spending on civil space aid for the period from 1997 to 2003. [107196]

Ms Hewitt [holding answer 8 April 2003]: A comprehensive review by Technopolis Group Ltd. examined the impact and achievements of public support for UK civil space activities and was published by my Department in 2001. It concluded that it has been appropriate for the UK to contribute to the development of a global space infrastructure and the sponsorship of pioneering services. It also recommended that the Partners in the British National Space Centre explore ways in which they might improve the evidence base from which they formulate policies and evaluate opportunities. As a result, in parallel with the preparation of the new draft UK Space Strategy, my Department has commissioned researchers from SQW

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and SPRU (University of Sussex) to assess the extent to which DTI funded business support programmes have generated economic benefits for the UK. The results of this study will be published.

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