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Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with whom he has had meetings in relation to the MV Derbyshire since the International Transport Workers Federation expedition which located the wreckage of the MV Derbyshire.
Mr. Norris: My right hon. Friend is currently considering the chief inspector of marine accident's assessment of the sonar and video material provided by the ITF and whether further action needs to be taken. He has discussed the issue with officials in the Department.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what current (a) building and (b) planning activities are being carried out by him in respect of (i) improvements to the A1 between the Low Fell interchange and the Scottish border and (ii) improvements to the A69 between the A1 west road interchange and the M6; how many of his staff and in which locations are working on such improvements; and when each project is scheduled for conclusion.
The Minister for Railways and Roads, John Watts has asked me to reply to your Parliamentary Question on what current (a) building and (b) planning activities are being carried out by him in respect of (i) improvements to the A1 between the Low Fell Interchange and the Scottish Border and (ii) improvements to the A69 between the A1 West Road Interchange and the M6; how many of his staff and in which locations are working on such improvements; and when each project is scheduled for conclusion.
(a) The schemes under construction are:
A1 North Shotton slip road for completion in April 1995. A69 Route action road safety strategy for completion by March 1995.
(b) The schemes where planning activities are being carried out in respect of the following:-
(i) Improvements to the A1 between Low Fell Interchange and the Scottish Border.
Hitchcroft to Cawledge
Stannington Grade Separation
Low Lyn Marginal Strips
Gateshead Western Bypass (Sign Gantries)
Gateshead Western Bypass Improvement
Morpeth to Lanehead Improvement
Willowburn to Denwick Improvement
(ii) Improvements to the A69 between the A1 West Road Interchange and the M6.
Cleugh Head to Scarrow Hill Improvement
Haltwhistle Bypass DBFO
Warwick Bridge Bypass
A number of other route enhancement schemes are programmed and implemented annually.
It is not possible to give completion dates for schemes in preparation as this depends upon the availability of resources, national priorities and satisfactory completion of statutory procedures.
There are 7 members of staff dedicated full time to national programme construction schemes.
A further 8 staff work on the management of the network which in part includes work on other route enhancement and improvement schemes implemented annually. There are also a number of staff providing administrative support. All staff are in Newcastle.
Mr. Charles Kennedy: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will review the current operations of emergency radio procedures following the circumstances of the Heather Bloan fishing boat being lost at sea; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Norris: A review of emergency radio procedures has been under way for some time and my noble Friend the Minister for Aviation and Shipping is considering a proposal that the Coastguard agency should assume responsibility for the medium frequency radio telephony distress, safety and urgency watch on 2182 kHz. This service is currently provided under contract by British Telecommunications International.
Mr. Norris: The MAIB inquiry obtained evidence, either orally or in the form of written statements, from well over 100 people. In the case of most of the survivors, the statements were those made to the police. It is not normal practice to provide a list of witnesses.
Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what funding his Department provided in respect of Merchant Navy veterans attending (a) the remembrance day ceremony in London and (b) other remembrance day activities throughout the country in 1993 94 and 1994 95.
Mr. Norris: The Department's expenditure under this heading was £1,576.75 in 1993 94 and £1,159.06 in 1994 95. It was incurred in respect of ceremonies in London. No expenditure was incurred in respect of Merchant Navy representation at such ceremonies outside London.
Mr. Spearing: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what changes he has suggested or promoted to amend or repeal hours of work regulations concerning maximum permitted hours of (a) officers and (b) others on ships registered in the United Kingdom or ships in regular passenger services to or from the United Kingdom.
Mr. Norris: In 1993, the Department sent out for consultation draft regulations and a draft merchant shipping notice on hours of work and rest on United Kingdom-registered ships. The drafts are being reviewed in the light of the responses to the consultation documents and of discussions with both sides of industry. We hope to lay the regulations before Parliament early in 1995.
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many personal files of Driving Standards Agency employees contain trade union literature or circulars; and what is the purpose of maintaining such records.
Letter from S. J. Ford to Mrs. Gwyneth Dunwoody, dated 19 December 1994:
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question about the number of personal files on DSA employees containing trade union literature or circulars and the purpose of maintaining such records.
No personal files of staff in this Agency contain trade union literature or circulars.
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many occasions since the establishment of the agency a Driving Standards Agency employee has had trade union literature or circulars removed from his or her file, following complaints by that employee.
Letter from S. J. Ford to Mrs. Gwyneth Dunwoody, dated 19 December 1994:
The Secretary of State for Transport has asked me to reply to your question about the number of occasions since the Driving Standards Agency was established when Agency employees have had trade union literature or circulars removed from their personal file, following complaints by that employee.
There has been only one such occasion, in 1992. After that incident all personal files were checked to ensure that no other such mistakes happened. No other cases were found.
Column 1091reorganisation and privatisation of the British Railways Board and Railtrack.
Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his answer of 5 December, Official Report , columns 35-36 , if he will provide details of European regional development fund funding given over the last 10 years to finance public sector rail projects.
Dr. Mawhinney: The Government recognise that general aviation, and in particular business aviation, can bring economic and wider benefits to national competitiveness as well as to local and regional economies. The existence of aviation facilities can be a factor in business location, especially for international companies. The Government wish these benefits to be fully recognised in the planning system, alongside the environmental impacts.
As demand for commercial air transport grows, general aviation is likely to find access to larger airports increasingly restricted. The Government consider that strategic and local planning guidance will need to recognise the role that smaller airfields and landing strips play, and the difficulty of reopening or providing substitute facilities for airfields that have closed. The Government believe that, where there are proposals to develop an existing airfield, a flying option should be retained where demand clearly exists, or is expected in the longer term. But the Government are not willing to subsidise use of general aviation facilities.
There are particular pressures on business aviation in the south-east, especially in the sector to the west and south of London. Business aviation can expect to find it increasingly difficult to operate from Heathrow and Gatwick. Farnborough has the runway length to accommodate larger business aircraft, but its future as an airfield has been uncertain for some time, because it is surplus to MOD requirements. Disposal options are being studied and the Government wish these to take full account of the benefits of continued aviation activity. In the longer term, there is likely to be considerable demand for business aviation of the right type and in the right location in the London area.
The Government therefore believe it important to retain capacity for business aviation at Farnborough. The Government expect this view to be fully reflected in the local planning system.
Column 1092I expect shortly to be making a statement about civil use at RAF Northolt.
Mr. Norris: The review of the traffic area network will include an efficiency scrutiny. It will be undertaken by Mr. Stephen Curtis, currently chief executive of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, and will begin early in the new year. The review is expected to last some four to five months. It will look at the organisation and work of the traffic area offices and will examine the scope for improving effectiveness and efficiency. A copy of the full terms of reference have been placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Norris [holding answer 14 December 1994]: Although the Department understands there was a leak, it has no documentary evidence. In these circumstances, it is not appropriate to identify the parties involved.
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the numbers and grades of civil servants in his Department concerned with channel tunnel rail safety (a) in 1994 and (b) 1995.
At 1 April 1994:
At 1 April 1995:
From time to time other officials in the Department contribute in varying measure to consideration of tunnel rail safety.
Mr. Watts: The Anglo-French Channel Tunnel Intergovernmental Commission authorises Eurotunnel to operate services in the channel tunnel. No application to carry special vehicles and coaches on the shuttles has yet been received, but an application from Eurotunnel is expected early next year.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is his estimate of the total number of hours worked per week by the working population in October this year and in October 1989, October 1979 and October 1973.
Mr. Oppenheim: Latest estimates from the labour force survey show that in Great Britain in summer 1994 employees and self-employed worked an average of 813 million hours per week, seasonally adjusted. The available figures for earlier years refer to the spring each year: 885 million hours per week in 1989 and 867 million hours per week in 1979, not seasonally adjusted. No comparable information is available for 1973.
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment how many workers were excluded for the 1994 new earnings survey; what were the main reasons for such exclusion; and how many were excluded for each reason.
Mr. Oppenheim: The new earnings survey sampling fraction is nominally 1 per cent. of employees in employment. The following table presents the actual sampling fractions of the 1994 NES, based on employees in employment at March 1994.
Number of employees |Employees in |NES |Sampling fraction |employment |(per cent.) |(a) |(b) |(b)/(a) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Full-time |14,961,000 |120,219 |.80 Part-time |5,876,000 |35,159 |.60 All employees |20,837,000 |155,378 |.75
The main reasons for the exclusion of full-time workers are: they were no longer working for the employer recorded on the Inland Revenue file of names and addresses used to distribute the questionnaires, in some cases, because the employer had gone out of business; because the worker was in a category--for example, occupational pensioner, non-salaried director, working for spouse, working outside the United Kingdom--not covered by the survey; and because there were unresolved inconsistencies in the data provided by employers.
In addition to these reasons, part-time workers are excluded if they are not on the Inland Revenue file. This will happen if their gross weekly earnings are below the threshold for PAYE.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what was the percentage change between April 1979 to April 1994 in real earnings of blue collar workers in manufacturing relative to white collar workers in the private sector together with his estimate of the corresponding increase in output per head.
Mr. Oppenheim: Information from the new earnings survey at April, shows that the earnings of full-time manual employees in manufacturing increased by 17.6 per cent. between 1979 and 1994 when adjusted for the increase in the retail prices index at April. The corresponding increase for private sector full-time non-manual employees was 56.3 per cent.
The information requested for output per head is not available.
Mr. Geoffrey Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will give the proportions of (a) part-time female manual workers, (b) part-time female non-manual workers and (c) all female part-time workers with earnings excluding overtime less than £5.53 per hour in (i) Great Britain, (ii) west midlands region, (iii) West Midlands metropolitan county, (iv) Hereford and Worcester, (v) Shropshire, (vi) Staffordshire and (vii) Warwickshire for 1994.
Hourly earnings excluding overtime of part-time women on adult rates-pay unaffected by absence Proportion earning below £5.53: April 1994 |Per cent. ------------------------------------------- Manual women West Midlands Region |92.5 West Midlands MC |90.5 Hereford and Worcester |97.7 Shropshire |90.7 Staffordshire |97.9 Warwickshire |<1>- Great Britain |90.7 Non-manual women West Midlands Region |66.6 West Midlands MC |62.0 Hereford and Worcester |71.9 Shropshire |<1>- Staffordshire |69.5 Warwickshire |70.5 Great Britain |64.6 All women West Midlands Region |76.4 West Midlands MC |73.5 Hereford and Worcester |80.3 Shropshire |78.0 Staffordshire |81.7 Warwickshire |74.3 Great Britain |73.6 Source: New earnings survey. Note: <1> Denotes sample too small and/or standard error too large for reliable estimate.