Column 718will double from four to eight trains per hour, when London Underground Ltd. introduces new timetables in May. LUL has no plans to run Hammersmith and City line services to or from Barking outside peak hours.
Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will give details of the additional bus services planned by the management of the London, Tilbury and Southend line and management between stations on that line and Great Eastern stations ; and how many additional trains will be run at peak hours during that period from either Southend or Shenfield into Liverpool Street station.
Mr. Freeman : Fenchurch Street station will be closed for seven weeks during the summer. London, Tilbury and Southend line management are working closely with local user groups to determine the best use of bus services between LT and S stations and nearby alternatives on the Great Eastern line. They are examining routes between Laindon and Billericay, Basildon and Wickford and the Leigh area to Rayleigh. LT and S management believe that many passengers will make their way to Southend Victoria, Prittlewell and Rayleigh where they will be able to travel to Liverpool Street on the Great Eastern line.
Two trains an hour from Southend Victoria via Shenfield will be strengthened from eight to 12 cars to provide additional capacity. Colchester trains will call additionally at Romford where a short branch line connects the Great Eastern with the LT and S at Upminster.
Owing to limited track and platform capacity it will not be possible to run additional trains into Liverpool Street.
Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what decisions relating to (a) issuing and inspection of tickets, (b) passenger services, (c) signalling and safety and (d) platform allocation will be taken by (i) private commercial management of mainline London railway stations, (ii) the franchisees or (iii) Railtrack.
Mr. Freeman : Station operators will normally be responsible for (a). Franchisees and open access operators will be responsible for (b). Railtrack will have overall responsibility for (c) although all operators will be required to conform with its safety case. Station access agreements will cover (d).
Mr. Spearing : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what activities he will open to the London mainline railway stations under private commercial management that could not have been activated by the British Railways Board.
Mr. Freeman : Private sector management of mainline stations in London and elsewhere will ensure that the commercial potential of such stations is more fully developed than under public sector ownership and management. Private sector management will also help to provide a more attractive environment for passengers and greater responsiveness to customer requirements at such stations.
Mr. Wilson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made as to whether passenger transport authorities making payments to Railtrack from 1 April will have sufficient information about the basis of the charges to meet the statutory criteria required by their auditors ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Freeman : Passenger transport authorities, through the passenger transport executives, will not be making payments direct to Railtrack for the access charges attributable to their rail services, but will be paying the subsidy required by BR to run the trains. BR, in turn, will pay access charges to Railtrack.
I understand Railtrack has been discussing with the passenger transport authorities the composition of the access charges for their services. I have no reason to believe that the passenger transport authorities will have insufficient information to meet the statutory criteria required by their auditors.
Mr. Wilson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will instruct the franchising director to include sleeper services on the Night West Countryman and the Night Riviera in the contract with train operating companies.
Mr. Freeman : The sleeper services on the Night West Countryman and the Night Riviera are included in the existing timetable. The objectives, instructions and guidance issued to the Director of Passenger Rail Franchising on 22 March by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State included an instruction to the effect that, for the initial letting of franchises, the specification of minimum service levels for railway passenger services is to be based on that being provided by British Rail immediately prior to franchising, taking into account the existence of, and justification for, seasonal variations in service schedules.
Mr. Harvey : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of published research into the role of road construction in stimulating economic regeneration in the areas concerned.
Mr. Key : The conclusion to be drawn from published research is that in general there is no clear evidence for specific regeneration effects. The main likely reasons for this are that local or regional economic problems are varied and seldom specifically related to lack of adequate access by road, that road improvements help traffic in both directions, and therefore can help importers to a region as much as exporters from it, and that labour employed on road improvements does not necessarily come from the immediate area. However, road schemes taken forward by the Department of Transport or by local authorities with Department of Transport assistance show healthy economic benefits, principally from time and cost savings to local and through traffic. Their planning takes into account any appropriate regeneration or economic development measures that are proposed for the areas affected.
Mr. Harvey : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proposals he has for a second Tamar bridge which also crosses the Tavy ; when he expects to make an announcement about these proposals ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Key : The consultants who undertook a study of the feasibility of a new Tamar crossing advised that a new crossing is likely to be needed by the turn of the century. Their report was published in June 1993 and comments were invited on the four possible routes which had been identified. One of these, the purple route, would cross both the River Tamar and the River Tavy.
I am considering the responses to the consultation before deciding if, when and how the proposal for a new Tamar crossing should be taken forward.
Mr. Key : We will shortly be placing before Parliament updated traffic signs regulations and general directions. These will offer a much wider range of signs than before--and of circumstances in which they can be used--and so reduce the need for traffic authorities to seek special authorisations from my Department, thereby substantially reducing bureaucracy. As a separate exercise we recently invited the views of a wide range of organisations on the procedures currently in place for approving the use of white-on-brown tourist signs. I am now considering how the procedures might be changed in the light of the responses to this consultation.
Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the organisations and individuals who have been asked, since June 1992, to submit names of individuals to be considered for appointments to paid and upaid posts for which a Minister has to approve the person or shortlist for the appointment.
Mr. Norris : Names of candidates for appointments are obtained from the public appointments unit and from a wide range of other sources such as those described in section 4 of the Cabinet Office guide on public appointments procedures, copies of which are available in the Library of the House. Information on which bodies have been invited to submit names for particular appointments is not held centrally and could be assembled in respect of all appointments made by my right hon. Friend only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what information his Department holds or obtains relating to individuals who have been appointed, or may be considered for appointment, to paid or unpaid posts for which a Minister has to approve the person or shortlist for the appointment, in particular relating to active involvement in (a) extreme left-wing organisations, (b) extreme right-wing organisations and (c) involvement in any of the political parties represented in the House of Commons ;
Column 721(2) what procedures his Department has to prevent the possible appointment of individuals with extreme political views to posts for which a Minister has to approve the person or shortlist for the appointment.
Mr. Norris : My right hon. Friend does not seek information on involvement in political activities when considering candidates for public appointments, and no such information is held centrally within the Department. Where the rules on political activities referred to in paragraph 7.2 and annexe 7A of the Cabinet Office guide on public appointments procedures apply, they are drawn to the candidate's attention when the appointment is offered. It is then for the individual to decide whether to accept the appointment on these terms.
Mr. Dowd : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information he has received from London regional Transport, London Buses Ltd or any other organisation on the expected change in bus mileage in the capital following privatisation of London Buses Ltd.
Mr. Norris : After privatisation of London Buses Ltd., London Transport will continue to be responsible for the general level of provision of bus services. It has no plans to make significant changes to its bus network. However, it intends to give bus operators the opportunity to increase service frequencies, if they wish, to make their services more responsive to the needs of their passengers.
Dr. Wright : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what evidence his Department has as to the extra costs imposed upon United Kingdom (a) airlines, (b) ferry operators and (c) train operators by the one hour time difference between the United Kingdom and continental Europe ;
(2) what representations he has received from United Kingdom airlines, ferry operators and train operators regarding the one-hour time difference between the United Kingdom and continental Europe ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Norris : We have received representations from British Rail and British Airways on this issue. Both organisations have drawn attention to the reduced costs and other benefits which would result from harmonisation of United Kingdom and continental European time. I believe that the chamber of shipping takes a similar view. The Council of Ministers has recently adopted a common position on a Commission proposal to harmonise the end- date of summertime throughout the Community from 1996. The case for a move to single-double summertime in the United Kingdom is currently under consideration and I expect a conclusion to be reached shortly.
Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his answer of 21 March, Official Report, column 102, if he will list the reasons why certain offences will no longer be categorised as requiring disciplinary hearings after reorganisation.
Column 722to be called in addition to public inquiry by a traffic commissioner ; offences involving more than six penalty points have, however, hitherto been referred routinely to the traffic commissioners, who have had discretion to call drivers to inquiry and, especially in cases involving disqualification, often did so. Under the new guidelines, traffic commissioners are recommended not to call to inquiry drivers who have received first-time disqualifications of 12 months or less, but to deal with such cases by warning letter. In addition, drivers who have received only very short disqualifications or penalty points short of a disqualification will no longer be routinely referred to the traffic commissioners for possible action unless the penalty points result from alcohol or drug-related offences.
Mrs. Dunwoody : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his answer of 21 March, Official Report, column 102, if he will list the categories of offences of the driver disciplinary hearings held in the last 12 months, giving details.
Mr. Key : During the last 12 months there have been approximately 9,000 individual disciplinary hearings for vocational drivers. Information on the category of offences on each of these hearings could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Wilson : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to ensure that the statutory requirements on the railway industry of operating with due regard to economy, efficiency and safety continue to be fulfilled in the light of redundancies and early retirements which have taken place since January 1993.
Mr. Key : Along with all trunk road schemes in the national roads programme, the future of the Leicester eastern bypass is under review. The outcome of the review should be known shortly but until then it is not possible to comment on the status of any individual scheme.
Mr. Amess : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish tables covering the last three years showing the number of accidents to 17 and 18-year-olds who had passed their driving test within one and two years before an accident.
Ms Armstrong : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list for each civil service grade in his Department the number of (a) male and (b) female, (i) full-time and (ii) part-time employees.
Mr. Austin-Walker : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of whether he has discharged his responsibilities under section 52 of the Land Compensation Act 1973 in respect of a Woolwich constituent, Department of Transport, Ref. N/PSO/21676/93 ; what progress he can report subsequent to his letter to the hon. Member for Woolwich of 24 November 1993 ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Norris [holding answer 28 March 1994] : The Secretary of State has considered his responsibilities under section 52 of the Land Compensation Act 1973 in respect of the hon. Member's constituent and he is satisfied they have been discharged. Agreement has been reached with the hon. Member's constituent for all the outstanding mortgages to be discharged. Officials will shortly seek agreement with the mortgagees of the hon. Member's constituent to complete this process.
Mr. Viggers : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is his estimate of the administrative cost of disallowing income support for one day in the case of applicants who absent themselves from the United Kingdom for one day.
Mr. Burt : The information is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. It is not possible to give an accurate estimate as such costs are wholly dependent on the circumstances of each individual case.
Mrs. Mahon : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what is the maximum number of taught hours an unemployed adult can undertake without affecting his entitlement to family income support ;
Column 724(2) what assessment he has made of the move of the Further Education Funding Council to mode 3 learning ; to what extent the concept of full-time or part-time course or student still applies ; and if he will make it his policy that that concept should not be used by his Department in determining eligibility for benefit.
Mr. Hague : People aged 19 or over but under pension age who are attending a full-time course at an educational establishment are not entitled to income support other than in a limited number of circumstances.
People attending a part-time course may under certain circumstances continue to receive IS but only if the course is not more than 21 hours.
The Further Education Funding Council's new funding methodology is concerned solely with the distribution of recurrent funding to colleges in the FE sector. It will not affect entitlement to social security benefits.
Mr. Vaz : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what percentage of public appointments made by his Department in 1993 were of (a) Asians and (b) black people ; and if he will list their names.
Mr. Hague : For those executive and advisory bodies listed in "Public Bodies 1993", 4 per cent. of new appointments last year were from an ethnic minority. Ethnic origin details are given in confidence and names cannot be divulged.
The information requested is not readily available for the independent tribunal service and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Dr. Wright : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security in what circumstances a medical question in respect of a claim for industrial disablement benefit should be determined by more than one adjudicating medical practitioner ; what standing instructions there are to officers acting on his behalf on when and how to apply regulation 29(1) (d) of the Social Security (Adjudication) Regulations 1986 ; and if he will place a copy of those instructions in the Library.
(a) any question arising on an application for the review of a decision on the grounds that :
(i) the decision was given in ignorance of, or based on a mistake as to, a material fact ; or
(ii) there has been an error of law ;
(b) any other case which, in the opinion of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, should be determined by more than one adjudicating medical practitioner.
There are no standing instructions on the application of regulation 29(1) (d) , but guidance is issued to adjudicating medical authorities.
Ms Corston : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to his answer of 14 March, Official Report, column 782, if he will publish the reasons for the low level of take-up of the disability working allowance before the completion of the research, commissioned by his Department, in October 1996.
Mr. Hague : The formula applied for taking account of capital above £3,000 in the income-related benefits was introduced in April 1988. In housing benefit and council tax benefit, however, the effect of the tapers which apply to those benefits means that housing benefit is reduced by only 65p and council tax benefit by only 20p for each £1 above a set level.
Mr. Parry : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what representations he has received expressing concern at the Government's new residence test ; and if he will make a statement ; (2) if he will list the points raised by the Irish in Britain's representation group concerning the economic effects of the new residence test proposals on immigrant Irish youth ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Burt : Proposals for the introduction of a habitual residence test into income support, housing benefit and the council tax benefit are before the Social Security Advisory Committee. Representations are currently being considered by the committee, and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will receive their report in due course.
Mr. David Martin : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what plans he has to change the way in which assumed amounts of national insurance contributions are calculated in determining the net amount of estimated earnings and bonus and commission payments in the assessment of family credit and disability working allowance entitlement.
Mr. Burt : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State laid before Parliament on 10 March 1994 amendments to the family credit and disability working allowance regulations on the calculation of these assumed amounts. Because of the difficulty of ascertaining the actual rate of contribution for which the person would be liable, it has been the practice to make all the calculations at the rate applicable to a person who is not contracted out of the state earnings-related pension scheme. This was considered to be within the terms of regulations 20, 20A and 26 of the Family Credit (General) Regulations 1987, and regulations 22, 23 and 29 of the Disability Working Allowance (General) Regulations 1991, but recent legal advice is that they do not permit this. In consequence, overpayments have occurred since the introduction of the schemes, in April 1988 and April 1992 respectively, amounting to a total of about £725,000. The cost of the administrative arrangements which would be required to prevent the overpayments would be well in excess of the amounts overpaid. The regulations are therefore being amended urgently to regularise the situation and, in the meantime, the additional payments are continuing to be made on an ex-gratia basis. A note will be included in the relevant appropriation account.
Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many appeals there were against invalidity benefit being removed in the Doncaster area in the last 12 months ; and what was the figure for the previous 12 months.
Letter from M. Bichard to Mr. Martin Redmond, dated 28 March 1994 :
The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about appeals against removal of Invalidity Benefit (IVB) in Doncaster.
The information is not available in the exact format requested. This is because Benefit Agency District boundaries do not correspond with county or borough boundaries. Part of the Doncaster postal area falls within that covered by the Mexborough Branch Office of the Agency's Rother and Dearne District.
The Agency's Doncaster District, comprising Doncaster West District Office and Doncaster East Branch Office deals with the remainder of the Doncaster postal area.
Statistics are maintained to show the number of appeals received at each office. Within these figures it is possible to identify the number of appeals against removal of IVB.
The number of appeals received at each office against removal of IVB received for people in the Doncaster area were as follows :
|Number -------------------------------------------------- Doncaster West District Office from 1 April 1992 to 31 March 1993 |34 Doncaster East Branch Office from 1 August 1992 to 31 March 1993 |41 Mexborough Branch Office from 23 March 1992 to 22 March 1993 |24
Information is required to be kept for 18 months and is not available for Doncaster East Branch Office between 1 April 1992 and 31 July 1992.
|Number -------------------------------------------------- Doncaster West District Office from 1 April 1993 to 22 March 1994 |172 Doncaster East Branch Office from 1 April 1993 to 22 March 1994 |167 Mexborough Branch Office from 23 March 1993 to 22 March 1994 |68
The information for Mexborough only includes those people resident in the Doncaster postal district.
I hope you find this reply helpful.