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Traffic, London

Mr. Harry Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received about the flow of traffic in London; and if he will make a statement.      [15965]

Mr. Norris: Traffic conditions in London are a frequent theme of discussions and correspondence with a wide range of interested organisations and individuals on topics such as bus priorities, parking management, facilities for cyclists, pedestrian safety, road improvements and investment in public transport. We are currently funding initiatives, including red routes, the London bus priority network, the London cycle network and other improvements on trunk and local roads, to ease the flow of traffic, reduce pollution and improve safety.

Public Information Telephone Service

Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the public information telephone inquiry lines operated by his Department, in each case indicating the costs of establishing, operating, and publicising these lines and the number of calls made to them up until this point; when they were established; and what assessment his Department has made of their effectiveness.      [17450]

Mr. Norris: My Department set up a public inquiry unit in 1990. It has six staff and annual running costs of £105,000. It has received 487,000 calls since it was set up. Robin Verney and Associates have completed a review of the service and improvements will be made when we move to Great Minster house later this year. My Department does not monitor central inquiry services provided by its executive agencies.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise

Mr. Charles Kennedy: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will place in the Library a copy of all representations which he has received from Highlands and Islands Enterprise since autumn 1994 in respect of rail connections to the highlands.      [17750]

Mr. Watts: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him on 27 March 1995, Official Report, column 511 . I have no record of receiving any other representations on rail connections to the highlands from Highlands and Islands Enterprise since autumn 1994.


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Second Severn Crossing

Mr. Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will place in the Library a copy of the comparative cost-benefit analysis of the Portskewett-Severn beach and the Cardiff-Weston alignment for the second Severn crossing.      [17995]

Mr. Watts: The alignment of the second Severn crossing was fully debated during the passage of the Severn Bridges Bill.

Channel Tunnel Rail Link Bill

Sir John Stanley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his answer of 10 February, Official Report, column 454, if he will place in the Library the text of the Court of Appeal judgment in the case of the Secretary of State for Transport v. Colonel Owen and Barbara Owen.      [18077]

Mr. Watts: Yes.

Transport Expenditure

Mr. Hinchliffe: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his answer of 21 March, Official Report, column 153 , what was the (a) total expenditure and (b) percentage of gross domestic product for (i) buses without coaches, (ii) trains and (iii) all public transport, inclusive of grants, subsidies and receipts for 1993 and 1994.      [17856]

Mr. Norris: Total expenditure on various transport modes, including grants and subsidies, in financial year 1993 94, is as follows:


                        |Total expenditure                                    

Mode of transport       |£ billion        |Per cent. of GDP                   

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Buses and coaches<1>    |3.7              |0.7                                

Railways<2>             |4.7              |0.8                                

All public transport<3> |9.9              |1.8                                

All GDP<4>              |554.8            |100                                

<1> For licensing purposes bus operators are not distinguished from coach     

operators.                                                                    

<2> Excludes Tyne and Wear Metro.                                             

<3> Buses, coaches, railways and taxis. The estimate for taxis excludes       

business use.                                                                 

<4> Gross domestic product for public transport contains expenditure on       

personal travel rather than business travel.                                  

A41

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what was the date on which he received the inspector's report on the proposed A41 Aston Clinton by-pass, following the public inquiry held in November 1994; and when he expects to publish that report and his decision.      [18073]

Mr. Watts: The inspector's report was received on 6 January and is being considered by the Secretaries of State for the Environment and for Transport. They will announce their decision and publish the report as soon as possible.

Driving Standards Agency

Sir David Steel: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport who was consulted before the decision to transfer the Driving Standards Agency (Scotland) to Newcastle was taken; what was the level of dissent from


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the final position; what further measures were undertaken to ensure this decision was accountable; and if the transfer decision is open to further negotiation.      [16941]

Mr. Norris: This is a matter for the Driving Standards Agency. I have asked the chief executive to write to the hon. Member. Letter from L. M. Manley to Sir David Steel, dated3 April 1995: The Secretary of State for Transport has asked me to reply to your questions about the transfer of the Driving Standards Agency (Scotland) to Newcastle.

As I explained in my letter to you of 17 February, in reply to correspondence you had received from the Chief Executive of the Ettrick and Lauderdale District Council, the office in Edinburgh currently undertakes the booking of driving tests and the management and deployment of driving examiners at test centres in Scotland. However, following the recent market test of the booking of driving tests, and the success of an in-house team, the booking work for the north of England and for Scotland will be based in a single office at Newcastle. In reaching this conclusion the in house team has to address whether this solution was cost effective and whether service delivery could be maintained.

The conclusions reached by the bidders about how they might organise the work are their own and it is implicit that the evaluation of their tendered price is dependant upon acceptance of their proposals. My letter of 17 February also explained that there is no requirement under Market Testing guidance to undertake a consultation exercise during the evaluation of the bids.

In determining where to site the work of management and deployment of driving examiners, the Agency took account of the space and staff remaining available at each of its offices to establish the most cost effective location for the work. Siting the work at the DSA office in Newcastle, where both staff and space was available meant the Agency could relinquish its expensive accommodation in Edinburgh and achieve a saving in property rentals.

I should add that whilst the location of the booking office will change the Agency will retain it's driving test centres across Scotland.

Since the result of the Market Test was announced some 27 items of correspondence have been received opposing the decision. These have, in the main, been from MPs on behalf of constituents who are concerned that the level of service will deteriorate with the move. In these cases I have replied advising that the Agency does not expect the closure to have an adverse effect on the published service standards.

The potential impact on service standards was one of the factors considered by the Agency during the evaluation process. The in house team will be subject to a Service Level Agreement which will specify the service targets they must meet and procedures will be in place to monitor their performance against these standards.

The Agency, together with the In House team are planning the timetable and the tasks required to implement the result of the market test. Until such time as the implementation is put in train DSA will continue to consider views.

Signalling Equipment

Mr. Meacher: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proportion of the signalling equipment in the rail network is now (a) up to 10 years old, (b) 10 to 20 years old, (c) 20 to 30 years old, (d) 30 to 40 years old, (e) 40 to 50 years old and (f) over 50 years old.      [17360]

Mr. Watts: Information is not kept by Railtrack in this form and it would involve a disproportionate cost to provide this information.

A6 Bypass

Sir Peter Fry: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on what date it is expected that work will


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commence on the A6 bypass of Rushden and Higham Ferrers.      [17185]

Mr. Watts: This is an operational matter for the Highways Agency. I have asked the chief executive to write to my hon. Friend. Letter from Lawrie Haynes to Sir Peter Fry, dated3 April 1995: As you know, the Minister for Railways and Roads, Mr. John Watts, has asked me to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking the Secretary of State for Transport, on what date it is expected that work will commence on the A6 Bypass of Rushden and Higham Ferrers. Subject to the satisfactory completion of the remaining statutory procedures the start of construction will be dependent upon the availability of funding.

Registry of Seamen and Shipping

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) on what grounds staff working within the Registry of Seamen and Shipping were asked to volunteer to do maintenance and cleaning work in addition to their normal duties as civil servants;      [16968] (2) on what grounds managers within the Registry of Seamen and Shipping were allowed to issue an official communication to staff requesting them to bring into work building materials with which to repair their new accommodation;      [16967]

(3) for what reasons he allowed the Registry of Seamen and Shipping, following a market test, to move into a building which had no window frames and was in a very poor state of repair.      [16966]

Mr. Norris: The request was in fact a notice issued by local management in a misguided attempt to economise on funding provided for alternative accommodation and to promote team spirit through self help. The notice was subsequently withdrawn. The new accommodation for the registry was initially lit by artificial lighting which fully met health and safety standards. However, additional windows were put into the buildings some three months after staff moved in.

Airmiss

Mr. Redmond: To as the Secretary of State for Transport if he will send the hon. Member for Don Valley a copy of the Civil Aviation Authority's report into the airmiss on 22 March involving four Royal Air Force Tornados and an Air UK Fokker 50, 20 miles east of Ottringham, Humberside when it is published; and if he will make a statement.      [17132]

Mr. Norris: An airmiss has been reported which involved four American F-15s and an Air UK Fokker 50, 20 miles north-east of Ottringham on 21 March. The joint airmiss working group will review this incident at its June meeting. I have asked the Civil Aviation Authority to send a copy of the working group's report on this incident to the hon. Member for Don Valley as soon as it is available.

DEFENCE

Advertising

Mrs. Ann Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list each non-departmental public body


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and agency for which he has responsibility and, for each, list separate figures for the spending by that body or agency on (a) television advertising, (b) radio advertising, (c) newspaper advertising, (d) other promotional materials and activities, (e) the totals in each year of (a) to (d) and (f) the proportion of (e) that was spent on recruitment advertising for each year since 1979 80 or for each year of its existence if it has been created since then; and what are his latest estimates of (a) to (f) for the years 1994 95 and 1995 96.      [17618]

Mr. Soames: I refer the hon. Member to "Public Bodies 1994" issued by the Cabinet Office, Office of Public Service and Science, pages 7 and 8 of which detail MOD non-departmental public bodies and "Next Steps Agencies in Government-Review 1994" (Cmd 2750), which details MOD's agencies.

The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Procurement and Industrial Policy

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the joint inquiry into aspects of United Kingdom defence procurement and industrial policy will be completed; and if this inquiry will look specifically at areas which have been affected by a decline in defence spending; what was the cost of previous inquiries into this area in the last five years; and what is the projected cost of the current inquiry.      [17376]

Mr. Freeman: I assume the hon. Member is referring to the recent joint inquiry set up by the House of Commons Defence Select Committee and the Trade and Industry Select Committee into aspects of defence procurement and industrial policy. The timing, scope and costs of such inquiries are matters for the Committees.

Research and Development

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of investment in defence research and development in each of the last five years; and what proposals he has to increase defence research and development expenditure.      [17378]

Mr. Freeman: The trend in expenditure on defence research and development is set out in the annual publications "Defence Statistics" and "Forward Look of Government-funded Science, Engineering and Technology". As the 1993 White Paper "Realising Our Potential" noted, direct expenditure on defence research and development is planned to fall somewhat over the remainder of the decade, though this will be offset to a considerable extent by efficiencies arising out of "Front Line First", including through the formation of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency on 1 April.

Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the total amount spent by his Department on research and development in each of the last 10 years at today's prices.      [17542]

Mr. Freeman: The figures, based on table 1.4 of "Defence Statistics 1994" are as follows:


Year         |Total amount             

             |(£ million)              

---------------------------------------

1983-84      |3,293.5                  

1984-85      |3,452.3                  

1985-86      |3,521.6                  

1986-87      |3,297.8                  

1987-88      |3,088.1                  

1988-89      |2,850.1                  

1989-90      |2,888.7                  

1990-91      |2,715.0                  

1991-92      |2,795.0                  

1992-93<1>   |2,142.4                  

1993-94<2>   |2,317.4                  

All figures £ million, VAT inclusive   

and are at 1994-95 prices.             

<1> Figures from 1992-93 onward        

subject to revision to accord with     

Frascati definitions. Futher details   

in Table 1.4 of "Defence Statistics    

1994".                                 

<2> Provisional estimate only.         

Dr David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is his Department's policy towards defence research and development collaboration with European partners; and if the percentage of this collaboration will increase over the next 10 years.      [17544]

Mr. Freeman: My Department participates in a large number of international research collaboration programmes both bilateral and multilateral. The primary objective of IRC is to obtain value for money by sharing the costs of necessary research programmes and facilities with allied nations. The overall strategy is to maintain a balance between our involvement with Europe and the US. While every endeavour will be made to increase the amount of defence research undertaken on a collaborative basis, there is no policy intention to change this balance. We have had considerable experience of collaborative development and in the future expect that the opportunities for collaboration of reducing cost will be further exploited.

Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of defence research and development was spent on collaboration with (a) the United States of America and (b) European Union members in each of the last 10 years.      [17543]

Mr. Freeman: The primary objective of international research collaboration is to obtain value for money by sharing the costs of necessary research programmes and facilities with allied nations. The information requested concerning the proportion of defence research that was carried out collaboratively over the last 10 years, is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. However, for financial year 1991 92 and 1992 93 the figures for collaborative research joint programmes are 5.5 per cent. and 6 per cent. respectively, and I anticipate this ratio continuing to rise in the future.

No equivalent figures are held relating to development expenditure.

Military Assistance

Mr. Byers: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much was spent by his Department on military assistance for non-NATO countries in each of the last five years.      [17341]

Mr. Soames: The primary responsibility for funding military assistance lies with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. On occasion, however, and where the aims serve defence interests, the MOD agrees to waive the costs of training provided to foreign Governments.


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The total of these waivers for non-NATO countries in the last five years for which records are available is as follows:


Year      |£                  

------------------------------

1993-94   |4,900,000          

1992-93   |5,600,000          

1991-92   |4,000,000          

1990-91   |4,200,000          

1989-90   |5,800,000          

In addition, some £70,000 was spent in 1993 94 in support of the United Kingdom's programme of bilateral defence contact with central and eastern Europe.

Details of the assistance provided are confidential between Governments.

Attack Aircraft

Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many of the RAF's front-line attack aircraft possess a precision capability; and how many will have this capability by 2000.      [17538]

Mr. Freeman: All front-line attack aircraft--Tornado GR1, Harrier, Jaguar--are capable of delivering precision weapons. We have in hand a series of programmes which will substantially improve our precision capabilities by the turn of the century. We plan to extend the provision of TIALD--thermal imaging airborne laser designator--pods and a contract has been placed for the supply of a new low level laser-guided bomb. We have issued an invitation to tender for conventially-armed stand-off-missile. This weapon is planned to come into service by the end of the century.

Armoured Vehicle Programme

Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to consider joining the Franco-German armoured vehicle programme; and if he will make a statement.      [17540]

Mr. Freeman: We have made clear our interest in participating in a collaborative programme for armoured utility vehicles as one of the projects in a new European armaments structure. We are pursuing this with France and Germany.

Property Management

Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement about his Department's policy for the continuation of construction and property management work on sites proposed for closure under the defence costs study.      [17989]

Mr. Soames: My Department's policy is that property management work, which may involve construction, on sites proposed for closure will continue as appropriate depending on the needs of the occupants up to the date of closure. Any subsequent maintenance work to make buildings wind and weather proof as appropriate and to satisfy health and safety obligations will be carried out up to the date of disposal.

Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what is the financial cost of (a) construction and property management work done and (b) any other expenditure on each site since 1994 owned by his


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Department and proposed for closure under the defence costs study;      [17990]

(2) what is the financial value of contracts for construction work on bases proposed for closure under the defence costs study which have been awarded in each of the months since July 1993.      [17991]

Mr. Soames:

The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Procurement

Mr. Hutton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was the average time taken by his Department to assess procurement tenders and decide on contract awards in each of the last five years.      [17551]

Mr. Freeman: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Mr. Thurnham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what undertakings he is seeking from United States manufacturers for offset work in the United Kingdom, in relation to orders placed with United States manufacturers of defence equipment.      [18074]

Mr. Freeman: It is our policy to seek offset work in the United Kingdom whenever we make a major procurement--over £10 million--from the United States. Letters of agreement, underpinning the offset commitment, are concluded between ourselves and the contractor and form the basis for monitoring progress in meeting the offset obligations.

Arms Sales

Mr. Alton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is his policy towards the receiving of commission payments by (a) civil servants, (b) members of the government, (c) hon. Members and (d) relatives of hon. Members involved in the sale of arms to overseas governments; and if he will make a statement.      [17548]

Mr. Freeman: MOD civil servants are bound by departmental instructions which forbid them to make use of their official position to further their private interests or lay themselves open to suspicion of dishonesty. Furthermore the acceptance of a gift or other consideration by a Crown servant as an inducement or reward can be a criminal offence.

Members of the Government are bound by "Questions of Procedure for Ministers" which states that no Minister or member of a Minister's family should accept gifts which might place him or her under an obligation.

I cannot answer for other Members of the House or their relatives.

Public Information Telephone Service

Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the public information telephone inquiry lines operated by his Department, in each case indicating the costs of establishing, operating, and publicising these lines and the number of calls made to them up until this point; when they were established; and what assessment his Department has made of their effectiveness.      [17455]


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Mr. Soames: My Department's public inquiry office was established many years ago. Calls are routed to it either via the main switchboard or as a result of inclusion of the contact numbers in various commercial publications. Since 1988, the earliest date for which records are available, an annual average of 41,000 calls have been handled. Although the cost breakdown requested would not be available without disproportionate cost, the staff costs involved are less than £50,000 a year. No recent assessment of the effectiveness of this office has been undertaken.

RAF Finningley

Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what equipment at present at RAF Finningley is required by the RAF; and what equipment is surplus to the RAF's future needs.      [17863]

Mr. Soames: Following the announcement of the closure of RAF Finningley, the RAF's requirement for the equipment based at the station will be reviewed. At present, no equipment has been declared surplus to the RAF's requirements.

Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the uses to which RAF Finningley can be put by (a) the Ministry of Defence and (b) other Government Departments.      [17862]

Mr. Soames: The decision to close RAF Finningley has only recently been taken, and no detailed assessment of alternative uses has yet been made. If no alternative defence use is identified, however, the site will be disposed of in accordance with our normal procedures. These would include detailed discussions with the local planning authority and an assessment of alternative uses. Other Government Departments will have an opportunity to express any interest they may have.

Government Contracts

Mr. Butler: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the report by the review board for Government contracts on its 1995 annual review of the profit formula for non-competitive Government contracts.      [17547]

Mr. Freeman: The Government have accepted the overall target rate of return on capital employed as recommended by the review board in its report. The new rate will be 18.5 per cent. compared with the current rate of 18.2 per cent., both on the basis of historic costs. It will be effective from 1 April this year. There are other points arising from this report and from the board's report on the seventh general review in 1993 which officials will be discussing with the CBI as part of our continuing drive to secure maximum value for money from our defence contracts. The report has been printed and copies have been placed in the Library.

Mine Clearance

Mr. Alton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the British companies, which manufacture or have manufactured mines, which have received finance from Her Majesty's Government or the United Nations to clear minefields, together with the number of occasions on


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which each company has received such funding.      [16822]

Mr. Douglas Hogg: I have been asked to reply.

No British mine-manufacturing companies have received finance for mine clearance from us. The UN on one occasion financed Royal Ordnance, a company which has in the past manufactured mines, to undertake a mine clearance project. I understand that Royal Ordnance has not manufactured mines for the past 10 years.

WALES

Drug Misuse

Mr. Barry Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) what initiatives he will take to assist professionals engaged in combating drug abuse inWales;      [16835]

(2) what progress is being made concerning drug abuse in Wales.      [16833]

Mr. Richards: We are preparing a Welsh drug and alcohol strategy which I hope to issue for consultation in April.

Class Sizes

Mr. Alan W. Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what was the average class size (a) in primary schools and (b) in secondary schools in Dyfed in each year from 1979 to the present.      [16864]

Mr. Richards: Data for 1979 in respect of primary schools are not readily available and can be provided only at disproportionate cost. For secondary schools, comparable information is not available before September 1987.

Special Educational Needs

Mr. Alan W. Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, pursuant to his answer of 17 March, Official Report , column 766 , if he will give a breakdown according to age of the children in Dyfed who received statements of special educational needs for the first time, for each year since 1987.      [16863]

Mr. Richards: The number of children by age, for whom statements of special educational needs were made for the first time, for each calendar year since 1991, are shown in the following table. Data were not collected by age before 1991.


        |Under 5|5-16   |Over 16|Total          

------------------------------------------------

1991    |21     |251    |0      |272            

1992    |21     |374    |2      |397            

1993    |32     |403    |2      |437            

Dental Problems

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many Welsh school children had serious dental problems in each year since 1991; and if he will make a statement.      [16778]

Mr. Richards: The information requested is not available centrally. However, two publications


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concerning, in part, child dental health in Wales have recently been issued by Office of Population Censuses and Surveys:

(i) The National Diet and Nutrition Survey: Children aged one-and -half to four-and-half years. ISBN 0-11-691612-5

(ii) Children's Dental Health in the United Kingdom 1993. ISBN 0-11-691607- 9

In addition, directors of dental public health produce annual reports which include epidemiological data relating to the dental health of children in their districts. These are available from district health authorities.


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