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Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if local authorities are obliged to adhere to a minimum standard of service provision with regard to providing interpretation services for deaf residents. 
Dr. Whitehead: Part three of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 applies to services to the public provided by local authorities. Where access to a service is impossible or unreasonably difficult for a disabled person, a local authority will be under a duty to make a reasonable adjustment to the way the service is provided. This might involve providing British Sign Language interpretation for a deaf person.
We would expect local authorities to consult deaf people as necessary over the provision of all services as part of best value reviews. Statutory guidance emphasises the need to consult all groups: these will include those who are deaf and their representative bodies.
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Dr. Whitehead: There are no current plans to implement a London-wide translation service for deaf residents. The provision of services is a matter for the London boroughs in the light of local needs. We are actively encouraging authorities jointly to review services under best value, and there is nothing to prevent a review being carried out London-wide, perhaps co-ordinated through the GLA or the LGA. However, this is ultimately a matter for the boroughs.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how much funding is necessary to provide the signalling and safety equipment suggested by the Cullen Inquiry into the Ladbroke Grove accident; and over what period he expects this funding to be delivered. 
Mrs. Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how much investment has been made in the (a) east coast main line and (b) west coast main line in each of the last 15 years. 
Mr. Jamieson: Figures for infrastructure expenditure on the east coast main line and west coast main line are only readily available since 1998, when Railtrack first published its Network Management Statement (NMS).
Dr. Whitehead: In the Green Paper "Modernising Local Government Finance" (September 2000) we said that in addition to extending local authorities' power to charge for services they provide at their discretion, we would, in the longer term, review the policy on charges for mandatory services.
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Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what proposals he has to allow local authorities to borrow against the value of their housing stock; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Whitehead: We announced on 21 March 2001, Official Report, column 250W, our intention to abolish the present system of local authority capital controls. This will be replaced by a system under which local authorities would be free to borrow without obtaining Government approval; the new arrangements will apply to borrowing for housing expenditure. Legislation will be introduced as soon as parliamentary time allows.
The amount of borrowing that an authority can undertake will depend on the resources available to service debt and be subject to a Prudential Code which is currently being developed. The impact of the new freedom will, therefore, depend on what revenue resources an authority can make available for this purpose while meeting other liabilities.
There is no proposal to remove the present prohibition on the mortgaging of local authority capital assets. Loans by authorities are secured on all the revenues of the authority and that will remain the position.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what meetings were held by officials of his Department to discuss (a) Project Ariel and (b) not-for-profit public interest trusts; and when these were held. 
Mr. Jamieson [holding answer 25 October 2001]: Under paragraph 2 of Part 11 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information, it is not the practice to disclose details of internal communications.
Peter Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will publish a chronology of (a) research undertaken by and (b) proposals for pedestrian protection standards for cars for the Transport Research Laboratory. 
Mr. Jamieson: A major programme of research into pedestrian protection was carried out by TRL between 1992 and 1999 under project S220C/VF. This project covered TRL's input into the work of EEVC Committees WG10 and WG17 including the development of test tools, an early cost-benefit analysis, and some work on the additional problems caused by pull bars. The completion of this work coincided with the presentation of the final report of WG17 to the European Commission, covering recommendations for test tools and procedures for assessing the pedestrian protection offered by cars.
A copy of the final report of this work, "Pedestrian protection test procedures and design: Final report (April 1992 to March 1999)TRL report 480", which gives full chronological details is being placed in the Library.
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Civic and a preliminary comparative benefit analysis of phase 1 of the ACEA proposals. This work will be incorporated in the final project report in late 2002. The following interim reports are being placed in the Library:
Peter Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what parliamentary procedure he will adopt for (a) the proposed mandatory test standards for vehicles protection for pedestrians and (b) the voluntary proposals; and what procedure will be adopted by the European Parliament. 
Mr. Jamieson: There is no formal proposal from the European Commission for the introduction of mandatory pedestrian protection test standards for vehicles. The proposal for a negotiated agreement with manufacturers is subject to full parliamentary scrutiny, and an Explanatory Memorandum was submitted on 10 October. The proposal is also currently being considered by the European Parliament.
Peter Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions when COREPER will discuss pedestrian protection standards for vehicles; what the UK objectives are at COREPER on this issue; when Ministers will next meet in the European Council to discuss it; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jamieson: COREPER plan to discuss pedestrian protection on either 7 or 9 November. Our objective at COREPER is to bring about improvements in pedestrian protection in Europe. The issue will next be discussed by Ministers at the Internal Market, Consumer Affairs and Tourism Council on 26 November.
Peter Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will make it his policy to adopt the highest proposed standard for pedestrian protection standards for vehicles. 
Mr. Jamieson: Our policy is to bring about the introduction of effective European measures to make car fronts safer for the benefit of pedestrians. In practical terms this means finding a reasonable balance between the technical standards proposed in the initial stages and ensuring early implementation.
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