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Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many times he has met staff of the Mayor of London to discuss the performance of London Underground. 
Mr. Hill: I and other Ministers have frequent meetings with the Mayor on a range of matters including London Underground. There have been occasions when the Mayor's staff have also been present at these meetings.
Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what steps he is taking to improve the traffic flow on the London Underground in peak hours on Mondays to Fridays. 
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Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) what the longest period is that an escalator has been out of commission on the London Underground in the last five years; 
Mr. Hill: This is an operational matter for London Underground. However, I understand from them that at 9 am on Tuesday 12 December 2000, 31 escalators out of 403 were unavailable for customer service. Of these, 14 were part of planned maintenance or refurbishment programmes.
In most cases where an escalator is out of order there will be a parallel escalator which is in operation to minimise passenger inconvenience and disruption. This generally enables stations to remain open while the works are in progress and at all times safety is the priority.
Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many dislocations in service have been recorded by London Underground in each of the past five years. 
LUL keep a range of records of incidents on the London Underground system. They do not use the term "dislocations in service" as such, but the most appropriate measure to refer to is the record LUL have of train delays of 15 minutes or over.
(2) 1 April-16 September
Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how long he estimates that Moorgate underground station will be closed to Northern Line passengers between 8 to 10 am and 4 to 6 pm 
Mr. Hill: This is an operational matter for London Underground who inform me that it is estimated that the escalator works at Moorgate underground station will continue until February 2001. London Underground and Her Majesty's Railway Inspectorate deem the current
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arrangements at Moorgate station to be the most sensible way to avoid dangerous overcrowding while the escalator is being repaired.
There are two escalators serving the Victoria Line at King's Cross St. Pancras station, nos. 7 and 9. Escalator no. 7 was taken out of service in September 1999 for major refurbishment and returned to service in September 2000. Escalator no. 9 was initially run in the up direction to maintain an up escalator service from the Victoria Line while no. 7 was out of service. However, no. 9 then also had to be taken out of service in February 2000 because of a problem with the drive shaft. From that date, until September 2000 when escalator no.7 returned to service, there was no up escalator from the Victoria Line.
Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many contractors are available to London Underground when it tenders for the repair and maintenance of escalators. 
Mr. Hill: This is an operational matter for London Underground. However, I understand that London Underground escalator contracts are put to open tender, thus the number of tendering contractors varies each time. London Underground and its subsidiaries presently have maintenance agreements with four contractors (one of whom is internal).
Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he expects to receive the final report of the inquiry into the Fifth Terminal at Heathrow Airport. 
Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what proportion of current delays on (a) London Underground and (b) commuter rail services into London are due to shortages of (i) drivers and (ii) other staff. 
Mr. Hill: These are operational matters for London Underground (LUL) and Railtrack. LUL records the number of trains cancelled in the morning and evening peaks periods due to the driver being unavailable, for whatever reason. For the last quarter (20 August to 11 November 2000) 1.55 per cent. of scheduled peak
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services were cancelled due to no driver being available. It is not possible for LUL to provide figures on delays caused by other staff as the data are not available in this format.
Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what recent studies have been undertaken by his Department into the reopening of railway lines; and if he will list the lines in Wales which have been considered for reopening. 
Mr. Hill: DETR has not undertaken any recent studies, but the shadow Strategic Rail Authority has received bids to reopen railway lines under the Rail Passenger Partnership (RPP) scheme. Cardiff Railways are expected to forward a formal bid for RPP funding to reopen the Vale of Glamorgan line. The shadow SRA assesses bids received against the Franchising Director's Planning Criteria, and against value for money in the delivery of the scheme and in comparison with other projects.
Mr. Mullin: The number of households accepted by local authorities in England under the homelessness provisions of the 1985 and 1996 Housing Acts as being eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need is as follows:
DETR PIE Quarterly returns from local authorities.
Figures since January 1997 include households accepted under both the 1985 and 1996 Acts.
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