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Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) which non-accounting and non-information technology external organisations have won new contracts with (a) his Department and (b) executive agencies in each year of the past five years; 
(2) which non-accounting and non-information technology external organisations which previously held contracts with his Department (a) won new contracts at the culmination of the existing contracts and (b) won new contracts after a period of inactivity with his Department in each of the past five years; 
(3) if he will list the 30 largest contracts awarded by his Department from (a) May 1997 to April 1998, (b) May 1998 to April 1999, (c) May 1999 to April 2000, (d) May 2000 to April 2001 and (e) May 2001 to the latest date, indicating in each case the values of the contracts and the companies with which the contracts were placed. 
Angela Eagle [holding answer 28 February 2002]: The Home Department is unable to provide the level of detailed information sought on contracts and contract costs. Records are not held centrally and to collate and maintain a central register of contracts awarded across the Home Office and its Agencies would incur disproportionate costs.
Mr. Ivan Henderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will list the statutory regulations that are in place to ensure that a minor cannot purchase a vehicle at a car auction; and what plans he has to review these regulations. 
Motor vehicles may be driven on private property by minors. Any vehicle driven on the road must be done so by the holder of an appropriate driving licence. The minimum age to drive a motor car is 17 years. Sixteen year olds are permitted to drive mopeds.
In addition, legislation requires a vehicle to be properly licensed and registered. The annual licensing process incorporates a documentary check of a person's insurance cover and, where appropriate, the roadworthiness certificate also.
Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will list the (a) title, (b) date of award, (c) length of contract, (d) cost, and (e) terms of reference of technical support framework agreements and research or other contracts awarded since (i) 1 May 1997 and (ii) 1 January 2001 by the Health and Safety Executive
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relating to support of the work of the HMRI on (A) railway safety cases and (B) rail accident investigation. 
Mr. Jamieson: Information provided by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on their technical support and research contracts relating to railway safety cases and rail accident investigation has been placed in the Libraries of the House.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions for what reason (a) his Department and (b) the Strategic Rail Authority do not (i) hold centrally, (ii) collate, (iii) make publicly available and (iv) place in the Library the total weekly rail delays, in minutes, caused by (A) Railtrack and (B) train operating companies as held by Railtrack. 
Mr. Jamieson: Information on train delays, week by week, is collected and managed by Railtrack and currently shared, as a commercial and operational matter, with the train operating companies. The SRA publishes the Public Performance Measure (PPM) which directly reports on the punctuality and reliability of trains.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) if he will investigate the rail franchise situation in the South West and Wessex in order to seek to clarify the operating strategy; 
Mr. Jamieson: As part of its revised franchising programme, the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) announced that it would be looking at the longer term benefits of combining franchises, in particular where two or more operators share access to a London terminal. Accordingly, it is considering combining the Great Western and Thames franchises in 2006. The SRA launched a consultation on its proposals, and the future of the Wessex franchise, on 12 March.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) which train operating companies have failed to fulfil their contractual commitments related to action plans; and what steps the Strategic Rail Authority has taken as a consequence; 
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Mr. Jamieson: Failure to meet contractual commitments is a potential breach of the train operator's franchise agreement. All breaches of franchise agreements, and the remedial action taken, are listed in the Strategic Rail Authority's Annual Reports, copies of which are in the Libraries of the House.
Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many new train sets have been ordered by train operating companies in England and Wales in (a) the last year and (b) the last three months. 
Mr. Spellar: Between 1 March 2001 and 28 February 2002, orders were placed for 1,267 new vehicles for entry into revenue passenger services across the National Rail network. 143 of these have been ordered since 1 December 2001.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many new rolling stock vehicles (a) were ordered and (b) entered service on Britain's railways between 25 February 1999 and 31 December 2001; and if he will state the proportion of rolling stock that were new or refurbished as of (i) 25 February 1999, (ii) 31 December 2001 and (iii) the latest available date. 
Mr. Jamieson: 1,352 new vehicles were ordered between 25 February 1999 and 31 December 2001. 1,045 new vehicles entered service between 1 January 1999 and 31 December 2001. Information on rolling stock refurbishments is not held centrally.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if the SRA reviews the delivery by train operating companies and other industry bodies of the commitments agreed to at the 1999 National Rail Summit. 
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 25 February 2002, Official Report, column 814W, on driver training, how many of those new drivers that have been recruited, but are not being trained, are (a) working in the industry and (b) due to begin training; and how many drivers have subsequently left the industry over the same period. 
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Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what independent assessment he has carried out into the assumptions made by London Underground for the PPP business case. 
Mr. Jamieson: The Great Western Main Line is not excluded from the Plan. Proposed incremental improvements are set out on page 67. The SRA's approach to major infrastructure improvements, including relative priorities, is set out in section 5 of the Plan.
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