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11 Oct 2010 : Column 32W—continued


Potatoes: Diseases

Mr Meacher: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many outbreaks of the potato disease Dickeya solani have been detected in England in (a) 2009 and (b) 2010 to date; what the origin is of this infection; and what steps her Department is taking to ensure that the outbreak is contained. [16019]

Mr Paice: Dickeya solani is a bacterium (not yet officially named) of the Dickeya genus which affects potatoes. It is already present in Europe and is spreading on seed potatoes of Dutch origin. In consultation with industry representatives, it has been confirmed that quarantine status (i.e. exclusion and control through the EU Plant Health Directive (2000/29/EC)) would not be appropriate for D.solani due to its distribution in the EU. It is controlled; like every blackleg (bacterial disease of potatoes), through visual inspections during seed potato classification. Laboratory analysis is necessary to differentiate the D. solani strain from other blackleg causing strains (Pectobactehum atrosepticum and Dickeya dianthicola). The Seed Potato Classification Scheme (SPCS) includes tolerances for blackleg, including D. solani where these are exceeded the crop involved is downgraded or failed.

In 2009 there were 16 positive cases of D.solani in England and Wales from seed and ware potato crop samples submitted to the Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera) by growers or Plant Health and Seeds Inspectors (PHSI), who operate the SPCS in England and Wales. The origin of the seed stocks involved was the Netherlands.

A survey of seed potato crops conducted by Fera during seed potato classification in 2010 has shown that there were 18 (7%) cases of D.solani in England and Wales from 256 seed potato crops showing symptoms of blackleg. In 15 of the 18 cases the seed potatoes involved originated from the Netherlands. In the other three cases the seed potatoes had been multiplied in England,
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but the original source of the seed was not traced. Other blackleg causing organisms were responsible for the remaining 238 (93%) of cases in seed potatoes from UK and overseas sources.

There were also 24 cases, of D. solani in samples of seed and ware potatoes submitted to Fera by growers or Fera PHSI. The origin of the seed stocks in these cases, where disclosed, was the Netherlands.

In addition to the visual inspections already undertaken in the SPCS for blackleg and the specific survey for D. solani referred to above, Fera is collaborating with the Scottish Executive and the Scottish Crop Research Institute to conduct research on D. solani. This includes a newly proposed three year project funded by the Potato Council and Scottish Executive which incorporates a survey of seed potato crops in England and Wales to further explore the distribution of D. solani within the SPCS. This work will help to determine whether any changes to the SPCS requirements are needed.

Racehorses: Deaths

Mr Raab: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what information her Department holds on the number of racehorses which (a) died or (b) were put down as a result of racing injuries in each year since 2005. [16365]

Mr Paice: The Government do not collect these figures. The British Horseracing Authority (BHA), which is responsible for the governance and regulation of horseracing in this country, records and monitors all racehorse falls and injuries sustained on racecourses, and analyses information relating to fatal injuries to determine if those accidents can be prevented. This allows the BHA to take action if necessary, including implementing long-term strategies and veterinary research programmes to help reduce the risk of injury and death in racehorses. The BHA publishes annual injury and fatality data on its website.

Horses are protected by the Animal Welfare Act 2006 throughout their lives, which means that their owner, and the person responsible for their care, has a duty to protect their welfare at all times.

Women and Equalities

Employment: Discrimination

Philip Davies: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities pursuant to the answer of 8 September 2010, Official Report, column 592W, on the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, in how many of the 25 discrimination cases compensation was paid; how much was paid in each case; and how many of them were settled out of court. [16078]

Lynne Featherstone: The Equality and Human Rights Commission is independent and manages its own affairs; the following is based on information it has provided.

Of the 25 discrimination cases:


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Equal Pay and Equal Opportunities

Mr Bain: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities what steps she plans to take to reduce (a) the gender pay gap and (b) sex discrimination in the workplace. [13243]

Lynne Featherstone: We are committed to promoting equal pay and will take a range of measures to end discrimination in the workplace. We have already announced plans to make pay secrecy clauses unenforceable, allowing women to shed light on discriminatory pay practices.

We will extend the right to request flexible working to all employees, consulting with business on how best to do so and we are committed to promoting a new system of flexible parental leave and will consult on this at the first opportunity.

We are also looking at how to promote gender equality on company boards and have asked Lord Davies of Abersoch to develop a business strategy to increase the number of women on the boards of listed companies in the UK.

We will continue to consider what further action is most appropriate to reduce discrimination and will announce our decisions in due course.

Equality: Budget June 2010

Sandra Osborne: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities if she will make an assessment of the effect on (a) men and (b) women in Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock constituency of the measures in the June 2010 Budget. [12366]

Lynne Featherstone: My right hon. Friend the Minister for Women and Equalities and I take this issue very seriously. To support Departments in taking account of equality considerations when assessing policy options in the context of identifying departmental savings, Government Equalities Office officials have held a series of advisory meetings with other Government Departments and organised training seminars, one of which was attended by the Regulator, the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

There are no plans to commission separate work on how the provisions in the Budget will affect men and women for the constituency of Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock.

Females: Low Incomes

Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities pursuant to the contribution of the Minister for Equalities of 6 September 2010, Official Report, column 153, in the Adjournment debate on public expenditure reductions (women), what the evidential basis is for the statement that the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) was inaccurate in what it said; and what assumptions made by the IFS are unreliable or invalid. [15228]

Lynne Featherstone: In its August analysis of the June Budget the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) sought to include some previously un-modelled reforms. In order to do this, it made some strong assumptions, for example around disability living allowance, housing benefit, and in-year tax credit changes. It is therefore
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necessary to treat the results of their modelling with appropriate caution, given that the choice of assumptions will have a clear impact on the conclusions reached. The model also omits a number of key policy measures that are difficult to assign to households, but which are likely to impact on incomes and/or employment-for instance, changes to corporation tax and capital gains tax. For these reasons we cannot treat the IFS results as definitive.

UN Convention on Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women

David Miliband: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities how many officials at the Government Equalities Office are working on preparation of the UK's Periodic Report to the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women. [14227]

Lynne Featherstone: The Government are strongly committed to fulfilling their international obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which it views as an essential tool to progress gender equality domestically and internationally. The Government are on track to submit the UK 7th CEDAW periodic report to the UN in May 2011, as scheduled. To ensure the widest possible contribution and input to this report, the Government Equalities Office (GEO) has and will continue to engage with other Government Departments, the devolved Administrations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) throughout the drafting process:

Throughout the compilation/clearance of the periodic report GEO officials will use all these forums to contribute to the drafting of the report throughout the process.

Communities and Local Government

Accelerated Development Zones

Mr Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what progress has been made on the establishment of accelerated development zones in respect of each local authority which expressed an interest in such zones in June 2009. [16399]

Robert Neill: On 20 September, the Deputy Prime Minister announced that the Government would allow local authorities to borrow using tax increment financing.

Further details will be published later this year in a White Paper on local economic growth, which will consider the most appropriate framework of incentives for local authorities to support growth, including exploring options for business rate incentives, which would allow local authorities to reinvest the benefits of growth into local communities.


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Building Regulations

David Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many notifications were made under Part P of Building Regulations in England and Wales in each year since 2005; and how many notifications there were under the scheme relating to the fitting of a new consumer unit in domestic properties in each such year, excluding those fitted in newly-built properties. [15898]

Andrew Stunell: Notifications under Part P (Electrical safety) of the Building Regulations may be made either directly to a building control body (local authorities and approved inspectors) or by registered installers through an authorised Part P competent person self-certification scheme. There are no figures available for those installations notified directly to a building control body as the Department does not hold such information. The following table sets out those notifications made through competent person schemes since 2005:

Part P notifications through competent person schemes

April 2005 to March 2006

938,890

April 2006 to March 2007

1,142,046

April 2007 to March 2008

1,210,748

April 2008 to March 2009

1,239,951

April 2009 to March 2010

1,214,917


Separate information on the number of new consumer units installed in existing domestic properties has not been collected.

Connaught Partnerships

Bill Esterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will take steps to assist housing associations and local authorities to bring in-house contracts which had been let to Connaught Partnerships. [16220]

Grant Shapps: We do not intend to assist housing associations or local authorities to bring in-house contracts previously let to Connaught Partnerships. This is a matter for those landlords affected.

Since Connaught entered administration large parts of their business have already been bought out by other contractors; Morgan Sindall (who have taken over the majority of the social housing arm) and Centrica (who have bought the electric and gas compliance part of the business). This has safeguarded the majority of jobs at risk following Connaught's collapse.

Bill Esterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether he plans to review his Department's policy on the maintenance of housing association propeties to take account of the entry into administration of Connaught Partnerships. [16221]

Grant Shapps: No, the Government see no reason and have no plans to revise their policies on the maintenance of housing association properties.

Since Connaught entered administration large parts of their business have already been bought out by other contractors; Morgan Sindall (who have taken over the
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majority of the social housing arm) and Centrica (who have bought the electric and gas compliance part of the business). This has safeguarded the majority of jobs at risk following Connaught's collapse.

Councillors: Age

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) whether he has made a recent estimate of the number and proportion of councillors under the age of 35 years old in local authorities (a) in London and (b) outside London; [16034]

(2) whether he has made a recent estimate of the number of local authorities with no councillors aged under 35 years of age; [16035]

(3) whether he has made an estimate of the number and proportion of councillors elected in May 2010 who were (a) under 25, (b) under 30, (c) under 35, (d) under 40, (e) under 50, (f) over 60, (g) over 65, (h) over 70, (i) over 80 and (j) over 90 years old. [16040]

Robert Neill: We have made no such estimates. Data on the age profile of councillors are collected by the Local Government and Improvement Development body (previously known as IDeA) as part of its National Census of Local Authority Councillors in England, the last of which was carried out in 2008.

Departmental Billing

Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the average cost to his Department was of processing the payment of an invoice in the latest period for which figures are available; and what proportion of invoices settled in that period his Department paid (a) electronically and (b) by cheque. [16159]

Robert Neill: The average cost to Communities and Local Government for processing the payment of an invoice in the current financial year 2010-11 is £1.81. Of the invoices settled over that period, 97.93% have been paid electronically and the remaining 2.07% paid by cheque.

Departmental Contracts

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the monetary value is of contracts his Department has awarded to each (a) management consultancy and (b) IT company since 7 May 2010. [16191]

Robert Neill: Details of the Department's expenditure for the first quarter of financial year 2010-11 have been published on its website:

Departmental Empty Property

Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the estimated monetary value is of each vacant (a) building and (b) parcel of land owned by his Department in each region. [16254]


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Robert Neill: No freehold property owned by Communities and Local Government is vacant.

CLG currently has vacant space within two existing leasehold properties, but due to the nature of the tenancy agreement the value of this asset is nil to the Department. I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for West Suffolk (Matthew Hancock) on 6 September, Official Report, column 20W.

Departmental Press: Subscriptions

Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much his Department and its predecessors spent on newspapers, periodicals and trade profession magazines in each year since 2001. [16235]

Robert Neill: The Department has spent the following on newspapers, periodicals and trade profession magazines with its preferred suppliers since 2003. Figures for earlier years could be extracted only at disproportionate cost.

Financial year Amount (£)

2003-04

180,408

2004-05

139,106

2005-06

159,369

2006-07

129,370

2007-08

86,834

2008-09

136,892

2009-10

113,308

Total

945,287


Departmental Public Expenditure

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if his Department will take steps to assess the effects on (a) equality of incomes, (b) equality of assets and (c) equality of access to services of measures relating to its expenditure under consideration in the Spending Review. [16357]

Grant Shapps: CLG will ensure the relevant equality considerations are taken in to account in the context of expenditure under consideration in the spending review, in compliance with our obligations under the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, the Race Relations Act 1976, and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.

Departmental Redundancy Pay

Matthew Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what severance payments have been paid to (a) Ministers and (b) special advisers in his Department who left office after the last general election. [15404]

Robert Neill: 1 refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire (Pete Wishart) on 5 July 2010, Official Report, column 55W.

Departmental Secondment

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many staff his Department has appointed on secondment since
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7 May 2010; and from what organisation each such member of staff has been seconded. [16273]

Robert Neill: The Department has appointed fewer than five secondees since 7 May 2010. Further details are withheld on grounds of confidentiality.

Empty Dwelling Management Orders

Graham Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will review the operation of interim empty dwelling management orders. [15993]

Andrew Stunell: The coalition agreement commits to exploring a range of measures to bring empty homes back into use. Ministers are currently looking at the nature of the problem and potential solutions including the operation of interim empty dwelling management orders and the civil liberty implications. We expect to make a further announcement shortly.

Fire Services: West Midlands

Karen Lumley: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will take steps to ensure that Hereford and Worcester fire and rescue service is funded on a basis equivalent to that of West Midlands fire service. [16140]

Robert Neill: Formula grant is distributed in the same way to all local authorities, as appropriate to the services that they provide.

We have consulted publicly on options for distribution of formula grant from 2011-12 and will take decisions in due course.

Government Departments: Public Consultation

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what progress has been made in establishing the panel of representative young people to provide advice to Government on topical issues of interest to young citizens referred to in the Government's response to the recommendations of the Youth Citizenship Commission. [16039]

Andrew Stunell: The Youth Citizenship Commission report was commissioned by the previous Administration. New Ministers are currently considering developing proposals for the future of youth services and on new approaches to giving young people a voice and strengthening youth scrutiny over national and local policy. Officials from my Department, with colleagues from the Department for Education, are working to assess the impact of current approaches to youth empowerment and democratic engagement and are drawing on the mechanisms and experience of youth organisations to involve young people directly in this work. Both Departments are also working with the Office for Civil Society to support the National Citizen Service (NCS) programme. Young people were involved in the work that led to the creation of NCS, and their direct contribution to its continuing development is an essential part of future plans for the programme.


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Government Offices for the Regions

Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 22 July 2010, Official Report, columns 27-8WS, on regional government, what assessment he made of the merits of holding a consultation on the proposed closure of the Government Office Network. [16418]

Greg Clark: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Liverpool, Riverside (Mrs Ellman) and the hon. Member for North Ayrshire and Arran (Katy Clark) on 27 July, Official Report, columns 1037-38W.

Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether he met unions representing staff at the Government Office Network before taking his decision to close that network. [16419]

Greg Clark: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne North (Catherine McKinnell) on 9 September 2010, Official Report, column 605W.

Housing Ombudsman Service: Public Relations

Andrew Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to his Department's press release of 5 August 2010, if he will place in the Library a copy of the contract and project brief for work undertaken by APCO Worldwide for the Housing Ombudsman; what the cost was of the contract; and if he will place in the Library a copy of the (a) Communications and Engagement Strategy, (b) Communications and Engagement Programme and (c) Stakeholder Perception Survey. [15046]

Grant Shapps: The contract referred to in the Secretary of State's press release of 5 August between the Housing Ombudsman and APCO Worldwide was to undertake a stakeholder perception survey. This survey was completed in June 2010 and is available on the Independent Housing Ombudsman Ltd (IHOL) website at the following address

I will place a copy of the contract and the project brief in the House Library.

Landlords: Protection

Mr Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will bring forward proposals to strengthen protection for landlords. [15974]

Andrew Stunell: We have no proposals to strengthen protection for landlords. The current legislative framework delivers the right balance of rights and responsibilities between landlords and tenants and we have no plans to change it.

Local Government Finance

Claire Perry: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what progress he has made on implementing proposed changes to the rating system to enable local authorities to retain a greater proportion of revenue; and by what date he expects the changes to have been implemented. [16325]


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Robert Neill: As announced in the June Budget, the Government will publish a White Paper later in the year which will consider the most appropriate framework of incentives for local authorities to support growth, including exploring options for business rate incentives, which would allow local authorities to reinvest the benefits of growth into local communities.

Mr Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans he has for the future of the area-based grant; and if he will make a statement. [16401]

Robert Neill: Area-based grant is being considered alongside all other grant funding for local authorities in the context of the current spending review which will set the spending plans for 2011-12 to 2014-15. The outcome of the spending review will be announced on 20 October.

In June, we removed ring-fencing from £1.2 billion of grants, confirming the Government's commitment to increasing local authorities' flexibility to use their funding to meet locally identified priorities.

Local Government: Pay

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will discuss with Local Government Employers and unions means of reaching agreement on pay claims for 2011-12 and 2012-13 for local government employees. [15975]

Robert Neill: The pay of local government employees is determined by the relevant National Joint Council or Joint Negotiating Committee governing that work force. Central Government play no role in the pay negotiation machinery involving the employer's side and the trade union side.

Local Government: Public Consultation

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which local authorities offer opportunities for young citizens to take a decision-making role in respect of budgets funding activities for young people. [16030]

Andrew Stunell: The Department for Education has previously provided discrete funding, through the Youth Opportunity Fund, for young people to control and decide how it should be spent in their local area. These funds helped all local authorities to develop new approaches to strategic investment in youth activities and facilities. Local authorities continue to receive this funding until March 2011 and in the context of the current fiscal climate, the ring fence has been removed to provide local authorities with greater flexibility to reshape services according to local need.

A number of local authorities have also implemented Participatory Budgeting in their area (giving people a direct say over spending parts of local budgets), including giving young people a say in spending decisions on activities for young people. Examples include Newcastle, Tower Hamlets and Stockton on Tees.

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which local
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authorities have (a) youth councils and (b) other schemes to promote the involvement of young people in local government. [16041]

Andrew Stunell: This information is not held centrally. However, the British Youth Council reports that there are currently over 620 youth councils active across the UK. They work with all levels of local government including parish and community councils as well as unitary authorities, borough and county councils. Members of the UK Youth Parliament (MYPs) combine with or are linked to 84% of youth councils. In 2009-10, 92% of local authorities signed up to supporting the UK Youth Parliament. Other schemes include the Youth4U Young Inspectors programme which, between April 2009 and March 2011, is involving 30 local authorities in examining how marginalised young people can engage in their communities through the scrutiny of local services.

London Thames Gateway Development Corporation

Andrew Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to his Department's press release of 5 August 2010, if he will place in the Library a copy of the contract and project brief for work undertaken for the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation by Connect Public Affairs; and how much was spent on the contract. [15028]

Robert Neill [holding answer 13 September 2010]: A copy of the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation's contract with Connect Public Affairs has been placed in the Library of the House. In the last 12 months the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation has paid £8,002.56 to Connect Public Affairs as a contribution to the secretariat services provided by them to the All Party Thames Gateway Parliamentary Group.

This contract has now been cancelled.

Non-domestic Rates: Social Enterprises

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance his Department provides to local authorities on use of the business rates system to encourage social enterprises in their area. [16285]

Robert Neill: Some social enterprises may potentially qualify for mandatory charity relief or discretionary not-for-profit relief. Charity relief provides an 80% discount on business rates bills which may be topped up to 100% by the relevant local authority. Not-for-profit relief is payable at the discretion of the relevant local authority and provides up to 100% relief. Decisions on whether a particular social enterprise satisfies the relevant eligibility criteria are a matter for individual local authorities.

Planning Permission

Dr Whitehead: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will publish (a) the minutes of each meeting and (b) the responses to questionnaires conducted in respect of the proposals set out in the Town and Country Planning (General
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Permitted Development) (Amendment) No (i) 2 and (ii) 3 (England) Regulations 2010. [15957]

Grant Shapps: I have placed a summary of the representations received on this matter in the Library of the House. My officials met with key partners who had been invited to comment on the proposals-these meetings were not minuted.

Nicky Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what representations he received before making the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Amendment) (No. 2) (England) Order 2010; and if he will publish them. [16048]

Grant Shapps: We sought the views of key partners representing the different interests in this matter prior to bringing forward these legislative changes. A number of other organisations. mainly individual local authorities, also took the opportunity to comment on the proposed changes. I have placed a summary of responses, which includes details of those who responded, in the Library of the House.

Politics: Young People

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will bring forward proposals to encourage young people to participate in politics. [16037]

Andrew Stunell: The Government are keen to promote opportunities for young people to participate in politics. Ministers, MPs and officials provide opportunities for young people to shadow them and learn more about politics. Local government also provides opportunities, including youth councils who work with all levels of local government and give young people a voice in their local area. The British Youth Council reports that there are currently over 620 youth councils active across the UK. Other opportunities for young people to participate in politics include the UK Youth Parliament (UKYP) elections, the UKYP debate in the House of Commons and departmental advisory groups. We will continue to encourage these activities where we can.

Postcodes: Databases

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many (a) letters and (b) e-mails his Department has received (i) against and (ii) in favour of deleting county names from the Postcode Address File in the last six months. [15751]

Robert Neill: We have no record of having received correspondence on this issue in the last six months.

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether he has had recent discussions with the Association of Traditional Counties on the deletion of county names from the Postcode Address File. [15753]


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Robert Neill: While we recognise the significance of county names for the traditions of our counties, my right hon. Friend has had no such discussions.

Rented Housing: Hyndburn

Graham Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many one-room (a) social sector and (b) private rented sector properties are for rent at (i) under and (ii) over £46 per week in Hyndburn and Haslingden. [15997]

Andrew Stunell: The information requested is not collected centrally.

Rights of Way

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the provision to members of the public of copies of definitive footpath maps proposed by local authorities is within the scope of the Public Sector Mapping Agreement; and if he will make a statement. [15792]

Robert Neill: Members of the public are able to access copies of local authority definitive maps, which depict public rights of way including footpaths, for the purposes of inspection and scrutiny. This will continue to be the case under the Public Sector Mapping Agreement, where these maps are based on Ordnance Survey mapping.

Ordnance Survey has not been made aware of any proposals by local authorities to alter the way in which members of the public are provided with access to copies of definitive maps.

Shared Ownership Schemes: Construction

Richard Harrington: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many shared ownership housing units were constructed in each of the last five years; and what estimate he has made of the number of such units which will be completed in each of the next five years. [15801]

Andrew Stunell: New Build HomeBuy homes encompass all shared ownership homes constructed. Figures for New Build HomeBuy homes are provided in the following table.

Information up to and including 2008-09 is also published in Live Table 1010 on the Communities and Local Government website:

which will be updated for 2009-10 with the publication of the Department's Affordable Housing Statistical Release and Live Tables on 28 October 2010. Information in the table for 2009-10 is taken from the Homes and Communities Agency's statistics released on 15 June 2010.

The Department does not forecast levels of future house building and delivery will be determined by local housing plans.


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Additional New Build HomeBuy homes provided in England

Number

2005-06

8,700

2006-07

10,960

2007-08

14,450

2008-09

11,820

2009-10

9,110

Note:
Data are rounded to nearest 10 homes.
Source:
Homes and Communities Agency

Third Sector: Public Consultation

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what discussions he has had with third sector organisations on ensuring that young citizens in community and voluntary groups are informed of opportunities to take up civic roles. [16032]

Andrew Stunell: Ministers for the Department of Communities and Local Government have undertaken a number of discussions with voluntary and community sector organisations. This includes meetings with the Young Advisors Charity and British Youth Council to discuss the roles of young people in the big society and ministerial attendance at a panel discussion on politicians' engagement with young people run by the New Statesman magazine and the Prince's Trust, and attended by young people from a wide variety of organisations.

Transport

Airlines: Radar

Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch on the installation of TCAS II equipment in planes flying in the London area. [15388]

Mrs Villiers: The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) has not made any representations to the Secretary of State in respect of TCAS II.

However the AAIB has made the following Safety Recommendation to the Civil Aviation Authority (AAIB Recommendation 2010/060).

This recommendation followed the investigation into a serious incident near London City airport on 27 July 2009 reported in the AAIB September 2010 Bulletin.

Aviation

Sir Alan Haselhurst: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will discuss with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government the inclusion in the scope of the proposed Airport Economic Regulation Bill of provisions to address matters of blight, compensation and compulsory purchase orders in respect of airport expansion schemes. [15213]


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Mrs Villiers: We announced in the Queen's Speech in May 2010, the Government's intention to reform the framework for the economic regulation of airports to benefit passengers and to drive investment in better airport services. Government are looking to introduce legislation as soon as parliamentary time allows.

We have no plans to include in the Bill measures relating to blight, compensation and compulsory purchase orders in respect of airport development schemes.

Aviation: Security

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent representations he has received on the use of advanced imaging technology in airports; and if he will make a statement. [15581]

Mrs Villiers: A consultation on the use of security scanners in UK airports was undertaken, closing on 19 July 2010. Over 6,000 responses were received and these are currently being analysed. The Government plan to make an announcement on the way forward soon.

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he plans to continue with the trial of the use of full-body security scanners at UK airports; and what assessment he has made of the implications for the UK of the proposals in the Commission Communication to the European Parliament and the Council on the use of security scanners at EU airports, 10865/10. [15976]

Mrs Villiers: The deployment of security scanners continues while the Government consider the responses to a public consultation on an interim code of practice for their use at UK airports.

Given the nature of the continuing terrorist threat to civil aviation, we welcome the European Commission's communication of 15 June 2010. The Government believe that we now need to move quickly to amend existing European implementing legislation to give airports the flexibility to deploy security scanners more effectively and efficiently than at present.

Bury-Rawtenstall Railway Line

Graham Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take steps to ensure that the development of the Bury to Rawtenstall rail extension proceeds. [15998]

Mrs Villiers: I would be happy to work with Rossendale borough council, Lancashire county council and Greater Manchester Passengers Transport Executive on the Bury to Rawtenstall rail extension scheme should studies that they are currently undertaking confirm that a new rail service is the best way to meet the transport needs of the corridor between Bury and Rawtenstall. However, all programmes will be subject to affordability and constraints of the outcome of the autumn Spending Review.

Bus Services: Concessions

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the cost to his Department was of the national concessionary bus travel scheme (a) in total and (b) per recipient in each year since its introduction; and what estimate he has made of the projected cost of the scheme in each year from 2011-12 to 2014-15. [16417]


11 Oct 2010 : Column 47W

Norman Baker: Following the extension of the statutory minimum bus concession in April 2008, to provide free off-peak local bus travel anywhere in England to eligible older and disabled people, the Department for Transport has provided special grant funding to local authorities of £212 million in 2008-09, £217 million in 2009-10 and £223 million in 2010-11. This is in addition to the funding that the Department for Communities and Local Government provides each year for concessionary travel through the formula grant process. Local authorities spent £1.025 billion on concessionary travel (including their own discretionary enhancements) in 2008-09. Figures for 2009-10 have not yet been published.

The average cost per concessionary pass issued is estimated to be around £100 per annum.

The projected future cost of the concessionary travel scheme is as follows:

£ million

2011-12

1,089

2012-13

1,108

2013-14

1,132

2014-15

1,157


The above forecast is for expenditure by travel concession authorities on concessionary travel for older and disabled people. This includes spend on both the statutory minimum scheme and discretionary concessions and assumes eligible age for the scheme rises in line with the rising female pension age, as has already been committed.

As part of the spending review the Government are exploring how savings can be made in how the scheme is operated-in particular whether savings can be made through a more efficient method by which travel concession authorities reimburse bus operators. These savings have not been included in the forecast.

Bus Services: Finance

Grahame M. Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what criteria his Department plans to use in its review of the Bus Services Operators Grant; what consultations his Department is undertaking as part of the review; and if he will make a statement. [13414]

Norman Baker: The Government are considering Bus Service Operators Grant as part of the spending review. Decisions will be made, and announced, in due course.

A public consultation on options for Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) reform was held in 2008. Since then, the Department has been talking to representatives from the bus industry and local authorities and has received a number of letters from MPs, interest groups and members of the public.

Cars: Accidents

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the number of staged car accidents in the latest period for which figures are available; and what estimate has been made of the effects of such accidents on (a) car insurance premiums and (b) other costs to motorists. [10317]


11 Oct 2010 : Column 48W

Mike Penning: The Department for Transport has made no estimate of the number of staged car accidents, or the effect of such accidents on motor insurance premiums and other costs to motorists. This is because insurance claims are made directly to insurance companies by either the policyholder, the other party or the other party's insurer.

The industry set up the Insurance Fraud Bureau to co-ordinate intelligence on insurance fraud. Insurers take insurance fraud very seriously and have set measures in place to deal with it. Where there is sufficient evidence of fraud the police will be informed but it is unlikely that the industry would contact the Department before doing so.

Dartford-Thurrock Crossing: Road Traffic

Mr Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to help improve traffic flow at the Dartford Crossing. [15982]

Mike Penning: The Highways Agency are currently implementing a package of measures, including better information to road users and further traffic management technology to reduce congestion.

We are currently examining options for addressing traffic flow issues at the Dartford Crossing and will make an announcement in due course.

Departmental Billing

Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the average cost to his Department was of processing the payment of an invoice in the latest period for which figures are available; and what proportion of invoices settled in that period his Department paid (a) electronically and (b) by cheque. [16171]

Norman Baker: The average cost of processing the payment of an invoice for the Department is £4.99.

In determining the average cost of processing an invoice, the cost is calculated by taking the staff costs for those staff who are solely involved in invoice processing and dividing it by the total number of invoices paid. The calculation does not take into account accommodation and IT/equipment costs.

The average proportion of invoices settled electronically and by cheque for the Department is:

Departmental Chief Scientific Advisers

Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on how many occasions each Minister in his Department has met his Department's Chief Scientific Officer since 6 May 2010. [15350]

Norman Baker: The Secretary of State has met with the Government chief scientific adviser on one occasion. He plans to meet with both his departmental chief scientific adviser and chief scientific adviser on 3 November.


11 Oct 2010 : Column 49W

Departmental Driving

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many and what proportion of his Department's staff whose duties include driving have passed the advanced driving test. [14771]

Norman Baker: This information is not held centrally, however, as of 31 December 2009 the percentage of Government Car and Despatch Agency staff whose duties include driving, who have passed the Institute of Advanced Motorists course, was 45.8%.


11 Oct 2010 : Column 50W

Departmental Motor Vehicles

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the annual expenditure on vehicles of (a) his Department and (b) each (i) non-departmental public body and (ii) executive agency for which he is responsible in each English region was in the last three financial years; and what the planned expenditure is in each case for 2010-11. [12443]

Norman Baker: The requested information is provided in the table.

Information on non-departmental public bodies and a regional breakdown of spend is available only at disproportionate cost.

£
DfT organisational unit Notes 2010-11 planned expenditure 2009-10 spend 2008-09 spend 2007-08 spend

DfT Central-London HQ

1

-

-

-

-

DfT Central-Air Accidents Investigation Branch

2

37,803

36,430

36,430

30,367

DfT Central-Marine Accident Investigation Branch

2

6,800

7,279

4,849

4,418

DfT Central-Rail Accident Investigation Branch

-

27,316

28,270

18,428

18,435

Driving Standards Agency

3

625,286

1,121,804

264,788

305,311

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency

4

694,000

431,000

670,000

640,000

Government Car and Despatch Agency

5

1.4 million

2.0 million

2.5 million

1.3 million

Highways Agency

6

15.7 million

27.1 million

22.0 million

2.3 million

Maritime and Coastguard Agency

7

173,332

236,576

459,775

672,798

Vehicle and Operator Services Agency

8

1.2 million

2,011,169

1,965,890

463,723

Vehicle Certification Agency

9

-

5,574

4,138

7,186

Notes: 1. Included within GCDA. 2. Relates to leased vehicles. 3. Relates to (a) purchase and (b) maintenance costs. 4. Relates to the total cost for (a) leased cars, (b) car hire, (c) vehicle running costs, (d) minor repairs and (e) car maintenance (the DVLA does not own any vehicles). These figures also represent the total for Great Britain (as the agency does not hold such information by individual region) and to perform such an exercise would incur disproportionate costs. The increased forecast costs are due to: leasing contracts due for renewal at increased costs, introduction of new tasks, business adviser trainers numbers reduced resulting in more travelling to cover a wider geographical area, setting up of new Central Processing Unit resulting in initial additional travel costs regarding training etc. Additionally the Central Processing Unit (set up in March 2010) will result in increased travel costs of senior managers covering Swansea and Manchester Central Processing Units. The departments Corporate Assurance Services will be carrying out significantly increased numbers of External Data User Visits to ensure security. The forecast also includes leases for vehicles to replace trucks that were owned. This cost is new to 2010-11. 5. Relates to (a) purchase, (b) leasing, (c) service, maintenance and repair and (d) fuel. The table represents the expenditure for the GCDA fleet which is located in London. Included in these figures are 16 vehicles that operate out of Cardiff and Bradford, these are rotated among the fleet to level out mileage. The cost relating to these could be separated out only at a disproportionate cost." 6. Relates to expenditure on the Traffic Officer Vehicles and Winter Maintenance Fleet (except 2007-08 which relates to Traffic Officer Fleet only). The Traffic Officer Vehicle figures do not include fuel and consumables. Traffic Officer Vehicles are provided on a lease basis and the Highways Agency is charged a combined monthly fee that includes lease and maintenance. The Highways Agency is forecasting to spend £12.5 million on the purchase of new winter service vehicles this financial year, with £5 million spent to date, over the period April to June 2010. The vehicle supply contract for the new winter fleet was not awarded until January 2008 and as such, costs were not incurred under the contract until later in 2008-09 being year 1 of the supply contract. Before this Highways Agency used the old fleet which was purchased a number of years previously. 7. Relates to (a) purchase, (b) maintenance and (c) fuel in England. Further regional breakdown is available only at disproportionate cost. 8. Figures calculated include: fuel service maintenance and repair insurance premium-we have commercial fully comprehensive insurance GCDA fleet management fees capital purchases, including conversion work all vehicles have been included, e.g. Powers to Stop (PtS), High Risk Traffic Initiative (HRTI) PtS, Roadside Check vans (mobile office) pool cars
2007-08-fuel cost has been calculated pro rata using five months recorded data due to a change in how the data were captured. To calculate actuals would incur disproportionate costs. 2008-09 and 2009-10 had major capital investment for HRTI project and replacement Roadside Check vans. 9. Data for 2010-11 are not available.

Departmental Operating Costs

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he has taken to reduce the running costs of his Department since his appointment. [9818]

Mr Philip Hammond: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to the right hon. Member for Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough (Mr Blunkett) on 13 July 2010, Official Report, column 625W, in which I set out how the Department for Transport is making £683 million of savings in 2010-11, as part of the £6 billion of cross-Government cuts announced by the Government in May.

My Department is continuing to make further efficiencies through the spending review, which is due to report on 20 October 2010, in line with the Government's requirement to reduce departmental administration spend by a third by 2014-15.

Departmental Press: Subscriptions

Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much his Department spent on newspapers, periodicals and trade profession magazines in each year since 2002. [16237]


11 Oct 2010 : Column 51W

Norman Baker: Expenditure by the Department for Transport, Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, Vehicle Operator Standards Agency, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the Government Car and Despatch Agency, on newspapers, periodicals and trade profession magazines in the most recent years is as follows:

Due to changes in accounting systems, expenditure for years prior to 2008-09 cannot be provided on a comparable basis without incurring disproportionate costs.

In the last year, the Department and its agencies have taken significant steps to reduce discretionary spending. This is reflected in the comparatively low anticipated final figure 2010-11.

Departmental Public Expenditure

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if his Department will take steps to assess the effects on (a) equality of incomes, (b) equality of assets and (c) equality of access to services of measures relating to its expenditure under consideration in the Spending Review. [16355]

Mr Philip Hammond: The Department for Transport will ensure the relevant equality considerations are taken in to account in the context of expenditure under consideration in the spending review, in compliance with our obligations under the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, the Race Relations Act 1976, and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.

Departmental Speeches

Angela Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which (a) (i) civil servants and (ii) special advisers in his Department and (b) other individuals are employed to write speeches for each Minister in his Department. [7393]

Norman Baker: The Department for Transport currently employs two civil servants to write speeches and articles for four Departments for Transport Ministers. Policy officials may sometimes contribute by drafting parliamentary speeches. The Department's two special advisers may also contribute to speeches when required.

Departmental Training

Graham Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much his (a) Department and its predecessors and (b) its agencies and non-departmental public bodies spent on employee training in each year since 1997. [7644]

Norman Baker: The Department for Transport was formed in 2002, and is made up of a central Department and seven Executive agencies. This response covers both the central Department and our seven agencies.

I regret that the information requested can be provided only at disproportionate cost for the following:


11 Oct 2010 : Column 52W

A partial response is possible for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), the Government Car and the Despatch Agency (GCDA), the Driving Standards Agency (DSA), and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) for data held centrally since 2007.

Please note the following table provides data held for the agencies who commenced recording their training data centrally from 2007.

Training c ourses and a ids
£
Financial years

2007-08 2008-09 2009-10

MCA

423,833

567,253

82,265.37

GCDA

138,262

63,712

90,697

DSA

847,464

806,639

625,449

DVLA

1,876,000

1,548,000

1,265,000

Note: The data contained in this table is shown as recorded by our executive agencies. The data relates to formal training that has been logged and recorded centrally; it may not include training which has been booked and paid for locally.

Driving under Influence: Accidents

Tessa Munt: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate his Department has made of the number of people in each age group who died in road traffic accident deaths where alcohol was a causal factor in each year since 1999; and if he will make a statement. [15301]

Mike Penning: The estimated number of fatalities in drink drive accidents by age group for each year since 1999 is shown in the following table:

Estimated number of fatalities in drink drive accidents by age group, 1999 to 2008
Number of fatalities

0-15 16-24 25-59 60+ Total( 1)

1999

10

150

260

30

460

2000

10

170

310

30

530

2001

10

190

310

30

530

2002

10

190

320

30

550

2003

10

210

330

30

580

2004

20

210

330

30

580

2005

10

190

330

30

550

2006

10

200

320

30

560

2007

0

150

230

30

410

2008

10

140

220

30

400

(1) Includes age not recorded.
Note:
Estimates are rounded to the nearest 10 and therefore the rows may not add up to the total.

A reported drink drive accident is defined as being a collision on a public road reported to police in which someone is killed or injured and where one or more of the motor vehicle drivers or riders involved either refused to give a breath test specimen when requested to do so by the police (other than when incapable of doing so for medical reasons), or one of the following:


11 Oct 2010 : Column 53W

Alcohol was not necessarily a causal factor in all of these accidents and there may have been fatalities in other accidents in which alcohol was a causal factor but no drivers/riders involved exceeded the legal drink drive limit. Estimates for drink drive casualties by age group in 2009 will be available in summer 2011.

The previous Government commissioned Sir Peter North to head an independent review of measures available to combat drink and drug driving. Sir Peter's report covers a wide range of issues and makes 51 detailed recommendations, which we are considering carefully with other Government Departments. We hope to publish a response to the report at the end of the year.

Driving: Information

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much the Highways Agency has spent on driver information programmes in the last 12 months. [12134]

Mike Penning: In the last 12 months (August 2009 to August 2010) the Highways Agency has spent £211,358.91 on the development of driver information programmes for road safety educational purposes, including support to various partnership initiatives.

The driver information programmes are developed and created with advice and support from experts in the industry (Police, Fire and Rescue, Department for Transport, Road Safety Great Britain). The cost quoted is for the development of the master copies. The costs of reproduction (mass copying the resources) is included in the Highways Agency's road safety initiative budget, which covers a wide range of safety interventions. Much road safety educational work has been developed in-house and with key partners at no cost.

East Coast Railway Line: Rolling Stock

Mr Tom Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans there are for use of Pendolino rolling stock for service on the east coast main line; and what assumptions were made about the availability of rolling stock when the east coast main line 2011 timetable was being prepared. [13421]

Mrs Villiers: We are aware of discussions that Directly Operated Railways have had about the use of a new Pendolino set on the east coast main line. This is an operational matter for Directly Operated Railways.

Additional rolling stock is not required for the operation of the May 2011 east coast timetable, which has been developed on the assumption that it will be operated using the existing east coast fleet.

EU Law

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will estimate the cost to his Department of compliance with regulations arising from EU obligations in the last 12 months. [6871]

Mrs Villiers: The information requested is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.


11 Oct 2010 : Column 54W

Fuels: Excise Duties

Grahame M. Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much his Department paid in fuel duty rebate to (a) bus operators, (b) train operators, (c) air operators and (d) ferry operators in each year since 2005; what proportion of the fuel duty incurred by each was accounted for by each such rebate in each such year; whether his Department plans to review such rebates as part of the Spending Review; and if he will make a statement. [13413]

Norman Baker: The Department for Transport no longer pays fuel duty rebate to bus operators. In recent years, we have paid grant to bus operators in the form of Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG). This is calculated on the amount of fuel used but is no longer linked to fuel duty rates.

Since 2008, BSOG has been paid at a rate of 43.21p per litre. Operators can receive higher rates for achieving specific outcomes, such as operating smartcard systems or Automatic Vehicle Location systems, and increasing fuel efficiency. An additional BSOG payment is made to operators of low carbon buses.

Since 2005, total spend on BSOG in England has been as follows:

£ million

2005-06

357

2006-07

367

2007-08

398

2008-09

423

2009-10

430


The Government are considering Bus Service Operators Grant as part of the spending review. Decisions will be made, and announced, in due course.

The Government have no comparable scheme for trains, boats and planes. However, international airline fuel is not dutiable and diesel fuel for use by train and ferry operators is taxed at the rebated rate of £10.99 per litre. Tax relief is available for ferry operators. Additionally, kerosene is exempt from tax, except where it is for private use.

Heathrow Airport: Noise

Mary Macleod: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent assessment he has made of noise levels of aircraft approaching and departing Heathrow airport. [16122]

Mrs Villiers: The Department for Transport publishes annual aircraft noise contour maps for Heathrow which provides information on the size of the contours as well as the population within them.

This information is available on the Department's website at:

M25: Road Traffic

Jackie Doyle-Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to reduce congestion at junction 30 of the M25; and if he will make a statement. [15864]


11 Oct 2010 : Column 55W

Mike Penning: All national and regional road improvement schemes with an estimated cost of greater than £10 million that are not yet in construction will be considered as part of the Government's Spending Review.

Motor Vehicles: Safety

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with (a) the European Commission and (b) his EU counterparts on harmonising EU requirements on road safety standards for child passengers in motor vehicles. [16382]

Mike Penning: I have had no such recent discussions. There are European Commission Directives aimed at establishing minimum common practice throughout the EU on the use of seat belts and child seats, which the UK implemented in 2006. These do not prevent other member states introducing further rules in their territory on top of those prescribed in the Directives, should it so wish. That is a matter for the country concerned and is not something that the Government could or would seek to influence.

Northern Rail and Transpennine: Rolling Stock

Mr Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the adequacy of railway carriage provision for passengers leaving stations in Greater Manchester on (a) Northern Rail and (b) Transpennine services; and if he will make a statement. [16304]

Mrs Villiers: The Government's proposals for providing extra capacity on rail services in Greater Manchester, formulated under the previous Administration, are being reviewed as part of the spending review. They are being tested for affordability and an announcement will be made shortly after the conclusion of the spending review.

The Office for Rail Regulation (ORR) publishes statistics on passengers in excess of capacity in National Rail Trends (NRT). These figures were updated in July 2010 for London commuter services, and will be published for other regional centres when this information is available.

More detailed crowding information on the requested services may be available directly from the operators at the following addresses:

Parking: Fines

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will bring forward legislative proposals to enable local authorities to have access to overseas driver and vehicle registration data to enforce parking fines. [13269]

Mike Penning: In order for legislation on matters relating to cross-border co-operation to be effective, it should be co-ordinated by the European Union. I understand that it is the Belgian presidency's intention to discuss this issue at the Council of Transport Ministers in December.


11 Oct 2010 : Column 56W

Foreign drivers are subject to the same rules as drivers from the UK. Local authorities have a range of enforcement options to target the vehicle of any motorist who consistently breaks parking laws and does not pay penalty charges to ensure that payment is secured.

Public Transport: Disability

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he plans to take to improve the provision of public transport travel advice and information for disabled individuals. [15797]

Norman Baker: The Department for Transport recognises the importance of travel advice and information to enable disabled people to plan their journeys on public transport confidently and independently.

We are currently working to improve the accessibility information available to the public through the Transport Direct journey planner, to enable disabled people and people of reduced mobility to plan their journeys during the Olympic Games. This should have an ongoing legacy.

On buses, audio visual equipment is a useful addition to bus services and is especially useful to those with visual impairments. The Department has commissioned a project to research the costs and benefits of audio visuals on buses, and consider ways of increasing uptake of these systems. The project is due to report shortly.

On rail, the Department has been working closely with the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) to improve the information available to disabled passengers via the National Rail Enquiry Service (NRES). During 2008-10, £500,000 was contributed to a programme of access audits for every station in the country and a detailed new station journey planner, 'Stations Made Easy', which is available on the NRES website.

Since then, the Department has continued to work with ATOC on plans to improve the Assisted Passenger Reservation Service, which disabled people can use to enquire about facilities and book journey assistance. A further £250,000 has been offered to support this project which is currently in progress.

For those who are not confident using public transport, the Department will champion increased levels of travel training by local authorities, produce a website of good practice by the end of 2010, and use the Olympic Games to raise the profile of these schemes.

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he plans to take to improve access for disabled individuals to bus services serving (a) Coventry and (b) other cities. [15799]

Norman Baker: The Government believe that local bus services are vital for many people and, where possible, should be accessible to all. The Public Service Vehicles Accessibility Regulations 2000 came into force in 2000 and apply to any public service vehicle with a capacity exceeding 22 passengers used to provide a local or scheduled service in Britain. The requirements include making provision for a wheelchair space as well as fitting features on the bus to assist disabled people. The regulations require all buses and coaches, both old and new, to comply from the year 2015 (through to 2017) for buses and from 2020 for coaches.


11 Oct 2010 : Column 57W

Furthermore, the Government's commitment to protect key benefits for older and disabled people, such as free bus travel, is set out in the Coalition Agreement and the right to free bus travel for both older and disabled people is enshrined in Primary Legislation.

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is on the provision of travel information in multiple formats; and what steps he plans to take to implement this policy in the next 12 months. [15800]

Norman Baker: The Department for Transport has led the agenda for the provision of joined-up travel information in standardised formats. In addition to the existing legislation covering the provision of information (primarily the Railways Act of 1993 and the Local Government Act of 2000) the Government's Transparency Agenda promotes the freeing up of public information to the developer community to facilitate the creation of new, innovative information services.

The Department has already released over 120 datasets on data.gov.uk, including NaPTAN (all public transport access points) and NPTDR (an annual snapshot of public transport services) and we will work with colleagues in local government and the transport industry to make more data available over the next 12 months. We believe that this will encourage new, innovative and personalised services to be launched, notably in new media such as smart phone apps, social networking and mobile internet, which will complement the existing internet, telephone and paper-based information services.

Railways: Construction

Dan Byles: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment (a) his Department and (b) High Speed Two have made of the potential of utilising and upgrading existing rail infrastructure as an alternative to the construction of a new high speed rail network. [12939]

Mr Philip Hammond: The Department for Transport's considerations can be found in the "Road and Rail Alternatives Study" published in March 2010, available at:

HS2 Ltd's remit required that it look only at creating a new alignment.

This Government believe that a high speed rail network will increase connectivity and capacity on the railway. Separately, Sir Roy McNulty's review of value for money is looking at options for ensuring public investment in existing rail infrastructure is delivered as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Railways: Fares

Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has for the future of the retail price index plus 1% cap on regulated-fare rail ticket prices. [14442]

Mrs Villiers: The Government are committed to fairness on rail fares. However, some tough decisions will have to be made in the spending review which concludes this
11 Oct 2010 : Column 58W
autumn. The Secretary of State has made clear that a priority for the Government will be protecting investment in the railway and therefore it would be inappropriate to rule out a review of the fare formula ahead of the Spending Review announcement. Further announcements on rail fares will be made in due course.

Mr Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received from Southeastern Railway on changes to rail fares on the Integrated Kent Franchise from January 2011. [15576]

Mrs Villiers: Southeastern approached the Secretary of State to seek his approval to enter into discussions with Transport for London to add Dartford to the Oyster Pay as You Go (PAYG) system. This consent was granted. There have been no other representations on changes to rail fares on the Integrated Kent Franchise from January 2011.

Railways: Franchises

Guto Bebb: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will extend the franchise period for future train operating company franchises; and if he will make a statement. [16146]

Mrs Villiers: The Government believe that longer rail franchises will deliver enhanced private sector investment in the network and the facilities passengers want. Specific proposals for longer contracts are set out in the consultation "Reforming Rail Franchising", found on the Department for Transport website at:

and which closes on 18 October.

Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department took into account the past payment record of National Express in its decision to extend the East Anglia rail franchise. [16222]

Mrs Villiers: The Department for Transport's recent decision to exercise its right to a contractual extension of the East Anglia franchise was taken in the context of ongoing work on the following:

The contractual extension agreed will better enable the conclusions of the above two initiatives to inform decisions on re-letting the franchise.

Railways: Greater London

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions he has had with Network Rail on Government funding for work to upgrade railway lines in the London region owned by Network Rail. [14100]

Mrs Villiers: The Secretary of State has met Network Rail and talked, at a high level, about Network Rail's plans for upgrading the network. Department for Transport officials meet Network Rail regularly to discuss progress on their enhancement projects in the London area.


11 Oct 2010 : Column 59W

Capital enhancements are set on a five year control period - the current one being 2009-14. A number of enhancements are to be delivered over this period in London and further upgrades are planned for control period five.

Railways: Overcrowding

Greg Mulholland: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what methodology his Department uses to measure congestion on trains; and what his most recent estimate is of the level of congestion on trains serving Leeds. [12768]

Mrs Villiers: Available capacity is deemed to be the number of standard class seats on the train for journeys of more than 20 minutes; for journeys of 20 minutes or less, an allowance for standing room is also made. The allowance for standing varies with the type of rolling stock but, for modern sliding door stock, is typically approximately 35% of the number of seats.

Train operators have a responsibility to allocate their available rolling stock resources to cater for patterns of passenger demand, minimising any congestion by ensuring that any crowding is not disproportionately targeted on any one service or group of services. The Department for Transport monitors train plans submitted by train operators, to verify that they are exercising best endeavours in this regard.

The Secretary of State has not made a recent estimate on the level of congestion on trains serving Leeds.

Roads: Cornwall

George Eustice: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much the Highways Agency spent on maintaining the sections of the A30 and A38 trunk roads in Cornwall in 2009. [15876]

Mike Penning: In 2009, approximately £9.1 million was spent by the Highways Agency on maintaining the strategic trunk roads in Cornwall-£3.6 million on the A38 and £5.5 million on the A30.

These figures include all maintenance expenditure on roads, verges and structures, including the design and delivery of associated infrastructure renewal schemes. Additionally it includes items such as Saltash Tunnel maintenance, Incident Support Unit provision and winter services.

Roads: Repairs and Maintenance

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the projected funding requirement for motorway and trunk road maintenance in each year from 2011-12 to 2014-15. [16301]

Mike Penning: The projected funding requirements for motorway and trunk road maintenance are subject to the outcome of the Spending Review.

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much the Highways Agency spent on motorway and trunk road maintenance in each year since 2007. [16393]


11 Oct 2010 : Column 60W

Mike Penning: The Highways Agency spent the following annually on motorway and trunk road maintenance in each year since 2007:

£ million

2006-07

850

2007-08

878

2008-09

914

2009-10

1,307


Roads: Safety

Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has for the future of the specific road safety grant; and if he will make a statement. [15467]

Mike Penning: The larger resource element of the specific road safety grant was absorbed into the general area based grant from April 2008 allowing local authorities to set their own priorities. The future of this funding after 2010-11 is being considered in the comprehensive spending review.

Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to publish the national road safety strategy. [15468]

Mike Penning: Britain's roads are among the safest in the world. The Secretary of State for Transport is considering what further action should be taken to make them safer still and expects to decide whether there is a role for a further national road safety strategy, before the current one expires at the end of this year.

Sheffield Station

Paul Blomfield: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what (a) guidance and (b) instructions his Department has issued to East Midlands Trains on arrangements for the inspection of tickets at Sheffield station as part of their responsibilities for revenue protection in their franchise agreement. [16069]

Mrs Villiers: The East Midlands Trains (EMT) Franchise Agreement includes a conditional obligation to install automatic ticket gates at Sheffield station. If gates are not installed, the franchisee is required to undertake revenue protection by way of manual ticket checks.

Stansted Airport

Sir Alan Haselhurst: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take steps to encourage BAA to dispose of the properties in the vicinity of Stansted Airport which were purchased with a view to airport expansion. [15215]

Mrs Villiers: BAA purchased properties in the vicinity of Stansted airport as part of their non-statutory Home Owners Support Scheme to protect eligible home owners from the effects of blight and allow them to opt to sell their homes to BAA and move away in advance of any potential planning consent for a second runway.

The coalition Government have made absolutely clear that they do not support a second runway at Stansted.
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However, the arrangements to which my right hon. Friend refers were private ones, entered into voluntarily between home owners and BAA. Any disposal of these properties is a matter for the airport operator.

Tourism: British Nationals Abroad

Henry Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many UK citizens were stranded abroad following failures of tour operators and airlines in 2010; and how many of them were not covered by the ATOL protection scheme. [16129]

Mrs Villiers: Information is not available in the form requested.

For the year 1 April 2009 to 31 March 2010, 2,445 passengers were repatriated under the ATOL protection scheme after the collapse of their travel operators. Since April 2010 the CAA estimates that 43,000 passengers have been repatriated under ATOL.

Trade Unions

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what meetings Ministers in his Department and its predecessors had with representatives of trade unions in each month since May 1997; which unions Ministers met on each occasion; what discussions took place; and if he will make a statement. [15736]

Norman Baker: I regret that this information can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Health

Aortic Aneurysm: Screening

David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health by what date he expects the NHS abdominal aortic aneurysm screening programme to have been fully rolled out; and if he will make a statement. [16114]

Mr Simon Burns: It is expected that full national roll out of the NHS abdominal aortic aneurysm screening programme will be completed by the end of 2012-13.

Asthma

Stephen McPartland: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he plans to refer asthma to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence as a topic for the development of a quality standard. [15862]

Paul Burstow: The National Quality Board advises the Secretary of State on topics for National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence Quality Standard development. Asthma is one of the topics that is being considered as part of the topic selection process.

National Quality Board papers and minutes, which include information on the Board's consideration of potential Quality Standard topics are published on the Department's website at:


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Stephen McPartland: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to work together with the devolved administrations on extending the forthcoming National Audit of Asthma Deaths across the UK. [15871]

Paul Burstow: The Asthma Deaths Audit is a year-long audit of asthma deaths in England, which is due to commence in 2011. The primary intention is to understand the circumstances surrounding asthma deaths in order that any avoidable factors are identified and ways to avoid such factors are understood and addressed by those designing and providing services for people with asthma in future. These 'lessons' will be communicated to the respiratory community so that practice can change accordingly, and used to inform future policy.

This study will be undertaken in the tradition of 'confidential inquiries' which have enabled the examination of the circumstances surrounding deaths to be explored in order that changes can be made to future care. In this study, it will not only be the medical care the patient received that will be investigated, but also factors such as awareness in schools and the workplace-where appropriate, environmental conditions prevailing at the time of death, the patient's understanding of their condition and ability to self-manage, and the views of the close family of the person who has died. All these perspectives will help us to understand the circumstances surrounding the deaths, and enable the learning to feed into future policy and services for people with asthma.

We are in discussions with the devolved Administrations about whether they would like to be involved in the Asthma Deaths Audit and are actively exploring the possibility of making the audit cover the whole of the United Kingdom.

Back Pain: Health Services

James Wharton: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what proportion of NHS hospitals have a spinal surgery unit (a) able to treat and diagnose lower back pain and (b) with rehabilitation expertise; [15628]

(2) how many specialist spinal surgery units within the NHS are (a) able to treat and diagnose lower back pain and (b) have rehabilitation expertise. [15629]

Paul Burstow: Information is not held centrally on the number of units within the national health service carrying out spinal surgery. All such units would be expected to have the expertise to identify patients with lower back pain who could benefit from surgical intervention, to carry out such treatments, and to have arrangements for provision of appropriate rehabilitation. Many other clinicians in the NHS are involved in the diagnosis of lower back pain, including clinicians in primary care and in specialist pain management services.

Balance North East

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether (a) he and (b) officials of his Department have discussed with NHS North East the (i) establishment and (ii) funding of Balance North East. [15566]

Anne Milton: Balance was established in 2008 by a wide range of organisations involved in people's alcohol use, including health services, police, voluntary agencies
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and local authorities. Balance is funded by the primary care trusts in the north-east as well as local police forces to tackle alcohol-related issues in a cross-cutting way. There have been no discussions with departmental Ministers. However, there were discussions with officials at that time and these have continued.

The Department has provided funding to each region to support the reduction of harm from alcohol at a local level. In the north-east, Balance has been commissioned, to undertake this role.

Benzodiazepines: Prescriptions

Jonathan Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the cost of prescriptions for (a) diazepam and (b) other benzodiazepine medications issued on NHS prescription in each of the last 10 years. [16088]

Mr Simon Burns: The net ingredient cost of prescription items dispensed in the community in England for diazepam and other benzodiazepine drugs in the period 2000 to 2009 is shown in the table.

Net ingredient cost (£000)

Diazepam Other benzodiazepine( 1) drugs

2000

5,210.1

18,778.7

2001

4,519.3

17,279.3

2002

4,476.1

16,733.0

2003

4,369.4

16,351.3

2004

4,298.1

15,792.6

2005

6,154.2

18,479.1

2006

8,249.9

25,118.0

2007

8,670.1

37,887.2

2008

6,104.8

46,734.5

2009

7,629.2

47,371.7

(1) Benzodiazepine drugs are classified in the following British National Formulary sections; 4.1.1 Hypnotics , 4.1.2 Anxiolytics, 4.8.1 Control of epilepsy, 4.8.2 Drugs used in status epileptics and 15.1.4 Sedative and analgesic peri-operative drugs.
Source:
Prescription Cost Analysis (PCA) system

Bone Cancer: Children

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department plans to take to improve survival rates of children with osteosarcoma; and if he will make a statement. [15794]

Paul Burstow: We want to improve survival outcomes for all cancer patients, including children. It is now generally agreed that the most important reasons for lower survival rates in England compared with other European countries are low public awareness of the signs and symptoms of cancer, delays in people presenting to their doctors, and patients having more advanced disease at diagnosis.

We have asked National Cancer Director, Professor Sir Mike Richards, to lead a review of the 'Cancer Reform Strategy' (CRS). The review will align the cancer strategy with the White Paper, 'Equity and excellence: Liberating the NHS' which was published on 12 July 2010; set the direction for the next five years, taking account of progress since the CRS was published in December 2007; and show how outcomes can be improved.


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Key areas for consideration will be how to increase public awareness of signs and symptoms of cancer to ensure that people are more likely to go to their general practitioner if they experience persistent symptoms, and how we can support primary health care professionals to diagnose cancer earlier.

The review will consult and utilise the experience of various CRS initiatives, existing advisory groups, cancer charities, industry and professional groups. The children and young people's cancer advisory group, co-chaired by both Mike Richards (National Cancer Director) and Sheila Shribman (National Clinical Director for Children, Young People and Maternity Services), will be contributing to the review. We aim to publish an updated strategy in the winter.


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