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Swindon and Wiltshire Structure Plan

Ms Drown: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what steps he is taking to ensure that no parties to the examination in public of amendments to the Swindon and Wiltshire structure plan exert undue influence on the proceedings. [108154]

Ms Beverley Hughes: The panel of the examination in public which was held last year was appointed by the Secretary of State and is independent of any parties interested in the plan. Examinations in public are carried out in accordance with well-known procedures in a strictly impartial and open manner.

It is the responsibility of the relevant local authorities to ensure that the process of preparing structure plans is carried out fairly and is consistent with national Planning Policy Guidance.

Ms Drown: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what representations he has received regarding the extent of influence by developers on the examination in public of the amendments to the Swindon and Wiltshire structure plan.[108155]

Ms Beverley Hughes: None.

Local Bypasses

Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he will respond to the hon. Member for Mid-Worcestershire's

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request for a meeting with the Minister for Transport to discuss the criteria used by his Department to assess bids for local bypasses. [109007]

Mr. Hill: I replied to the hon. Member on 4 February.

National Bus Pensions

Ms Rosie Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the distribution of the National Bus Company Pension Fund settlement. [109056]

Mr. Hill: The Government reached a settlement with the Trustees of the NBC Pension Fund in July last year. Responsibility for deciding on, and implementing, the distribution of the settlement now rests entirely with the NBC pension trustees who are independent of the Government. However, I have written to the Trustees to express my deep concern about the time it is taking to resolve this issue. I understand that the Trustees intend to make initial payments to some 8,000 older pensioners in March and April. They are urgently investigating the feasibility of making an initial payment to other pensioners as soon as possible.

Departmental Expenditure Limit

Ms Bridget Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what proposals he has to amend his Departmental Expenditure Limits and running costs limits for 1999-2000. [109270]

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Mr. Prescott: Subject to Parliamentary approval of the necessary Supplementary Estimates for Class III, Votes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10 and 11, the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions' Departmental Expenditure Limits for 1999-2000 will change as follows. All references to the take-up of end-year flexibility refer to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury's announcement of 27 July 1999, Official Report, column 393W.

(a) The DETR Main Programmes Departmental Expenditure Limit will be increased by £168,685,000 from £10,235,305,000 to £10,403,990,000. This increase reflects the net impact of a take-up of end-year flexibility of £66,168,000; net transfers into the DETR Main Programmes Departmental Expenditure Limit of £27,517,000 and a call on the DEL Reserve of £75,000,000. The changes are set out in greater detail below.

(i) The changes for Class III, Vote 1 are as follows: £304,000 will be transferred to the Housing Corporation from Class XII, Vote 3 (Department of Social Security, administration) for homelessness administration costs previously carried by that department's Resettlement Unit; and the take-up of end-year flexibility of £689,000 for support to local authorities for Estate Renewal Challenge Fund projects. Transfers will be made of £1,500,000 to Class IV, Vote 1 (Home Office administration, police, probation, immigration and other services, England and Wales) for Youth Inclusion Programme spending by the Youth Justice Board; £155,000 to Class II, Vote I (Department of Health, Hospital, community health, family and related services, England) for health authority costs incurred in respect of the Rough Sleepers Unit Victoria pilot project; and £2,000,000 to Class III, Vote 4 (Local government, England) for Audit Commission 'Best Value in Housing' inspection work. There will also be inter-vote transfers of £4,504,000 to Class III, Vote 7 (Other executive agencies) for The Rent Service Executive Agency; £750,000 to Class III, Vote 5 (Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions: administration) out of departmental running costs held on this vote; and transfers from the non-voted element of the DETR Main Programmes Departmental Expenditure Limit of £1,000,000 for capital projects by the Housing Corporation and £300,000 for grant in aid to Regional Development Agencies in respect of Derelict Land Grant.

(ii) The changes for Class III, Vote 2 are as follows: a transfer of £113,000 to Class XIV, Vote 1 (Welsh Office, Office of the Secretary of State for Wales and payments to the National Assembly for Wales) for a travel awareness campaign; an increase of £1,830,000 in respect of the re-classification as expenditure within the DETR Main Programmes Departmental Expenditure Limit of Licence fee refunds to goods vehicle and public service vehicle operators and drivers; and a net increase of £1,000 for revised forecasts of expenditure and receipts associated with the Statistics, censuses and surveys programme. There will also be an inter-vote transfer of £500,000 to Class III, Vote 6 (Transport industries) for the start-up costs of London minicab licensing.

(iii) The changes for Class III Vote 3 are as follows: the take-up of end-year flexibility of £2,441,000 for the Energy Saving Trust's work on the Powershift Project (£300,000); for costs incurred on sustainable goods and services initiatives following the wind-up of the UK Ecolabelling Board (£118,000); to meet additional obligations under international environmental treaties (£333,000); for grant

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in aid payments to British Waterways (£340,000); for the Home Energy Efficiency Scheme (£1,350,000); a transfer of £335,000 to Class XIII, Vote 1 (Scotland and transfers to the Scottish Consolidated Fund) and of £150,000 to Class XIV, Vote 1 (Welsh Office, Office of the Secretary of State for Wales and payments to the National Assembly for Wales) for environmental publicity work. In addition there are increases of grant in aid to the Environment Agency of £2,303,000 funded by a transfer from the non-Voted element of DETR Main Programmes Departmental Expenditure Limit; and a transfer of £1,655,000 from the non-Voted element of DETR Main Programmes Departmental Expenditure Limit and a transfer from the DETR Departmental Unallocated Provision of £900,000 for the Home Energy Efficiency Scheme.

(iv) The changes for Class III, Vote 5 are as follows: take-up of £1,000,000 gross running cost and £3,500,000 other current provision from end-year flexibility entitlement for the Health and Safety Commission grant in aid; a transfer to Class XI, Vote 1 (Department for Culture, Media and Sport: programme expenditure and administration) of £592,000 gross running cost provision for the management and maintenance costs of Marlborough House; a transfer to Class XIV, Vote 1 (Welsh Office, Office of the Secretary of State for Wales and payments to the National Assembly for Wales) of £50,000 gross running cost provision in respect of publicity costs for energy conservation; a transfer to Class II, Vote 2 (Department of Health administration, miscellaneous health and personal social services, England) of £60,000 gross running cost provision towards the cost of the Teenage Pregnancy Unit; a transfer to Class X, Vote 2 (Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food) of £107,000 for minor occupier costs; and a transfer to Class III, Vote 4 (Local government, England) on the DETR Local Government Departmental Expenditure Limit of provision from gross running costs of £100,000 and other current of £350,000 for mapping costs. There will also be inter-vote transfers within the DETR gross running cost limit of provision from Class III, Vote 1 (Housing, construction, regeneration, regional policy, and countryside and wildlife, England) of £750,000, Class III, Vote 7 (Other executive agencies) of £8,500,000, and from Class III, Vote 8 (Highways Agency) of £3,500,000; and a transfer to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency on Class III, Vote 7 (Other executive agencies) of £44,000 gross running cost provision towards the salary and travel costs of an agency employee. Gross running cost provision and appropriations in aid provision have also both been increased; by £3,250,000 for increased expenditure and the subsequent recovery of VAT on contracted out services; and by £700,000 for the rent and other associated costs paid by the Greater London Authority Implementation Team in respect of Romney House.

(v) The changes for Class III, Vote 6 are as follows: an agreed claim on the Reserve of £75,000,000 for London Transport; a transfer of £35,000,000 from Class XIII, Vote 1 (Scotland and transfers to the Scottish Consolidated Fund) in respect of Bus Fuel Duty rebates; a transfer of £6,000,000 from the non-Voted element of the DETR Local Government Departmental Expenditure Limit in respect of the Docklands Light Railway; a transfer of £2,600,000 to the Office of the Rail Regulator Departmental Expenditure Limit (Class III, Vote 11); and the take-up of £17,600,000 end-year flexibility by Docklands Light Railway (£12,000,000), Civil Aviation Services (£3,000,000) and London Transport (£2,600,000). There will also be

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inter-vote transfers of: £500,000 from Class III, Vote 2 (Planning, roads, local transport and vehicle safety) in respect of Minicab licensing start-up costs; £59,000 to Class III, Vote 7 (Other executive agencies). In addition to these changes Voted DEL provision for London Transport and British Rail will increase by £1,050,000 and £19,600,000 respectively, offset by equivalent decreases in the non-Voted DETR Main Programmes Departmental Expenditure Limit associated with Vote 6.

(vi) The changes to Class III, Vote 7 are as follows: a transfer of £93,000 from Class X, Vote 2 (Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food); to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency for engine testing on fishing vessels and the take-up of end-year flexibility of £10,061,000 for: the Maritime and Coastguard Agency for stationing an additional emergency towing vessel in the Fair Isle (£561,000); to offset a shortfall arising as a consequence of the revaluation of the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre Trading Fund Executive Agency (£8,500,000); a loan to the Vehicle Inspectorate to enable them to cover investment costs arising from revised rules relating to single vehicle approvals (£1,000,000); There will also be inter-vote transfers of: £44,000 from Class III, Vote 5 (Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions: administration) to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to cover half of the salary and travel costs of a shared employee who works primarily at the International Maritime Organisation; £59,000 from Class III, Vote 6 (Transport industries) to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to cover expenditure for Formal Safety Assessment for Bulk Carriers; £4,504,000 from Class III, Vote 1 (Housing, construction, regeneration, regional policy, and countryside and wildlife, England) to the Rent Service Executive Agency for the development of new IT systems; £8,500,000 gross running cost provision to Class III, Vote 5 (Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions: administration); and £1,500,000 from the DETR Departmental Unallocated Provision to the Planning Inspectorate to cover a receipts shortfall.

(vii) The change for Class III, Vote 8 is a reduction of £3,500,000 to reflect a transfer of running costs provision to Class III, Vote 5 (Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions: administration).

(viii) The change for Class III Vote 9 is the take-up of £14,520,000 end-year flexibility to cover the cost of introducing Graduated VED.

(ix) The change for Class III, Vote 10 is a token increase of £1,000 to allow an increase in gross expenditure, to be offset by the Appropriation in Aid of additional receipts, to reflect the performance of the Train Operating Companies.

(x) As a consequence of the changes to Class III, Votes 1,5,7,8 and 9 the DETR gross running cost limit has been increased by £21,874,000 from £649,195,000 to £671,069,000. These changes total; £750,000 reduction for Rent Assessment Panels (Class III, Vote 1): £9,969,000 increase for Central Administration, £1,209,000 increase for Government Offices in the Regions and £726,000 increase for PSA Services (all Class III, Vote 5); £353,000 increase for the Marine Coastguard Executive Agency, £250,000 reduction for the Planning Inspectorate Executive Agency and £8,500,000 reduction for the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre (all Class III, Vote 7); £3,500,000 reduction for the Highways Executive Agency (Class III, Vote 8); and £22,617,000 increase for the Driver Vehicle

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Licensing Executive Agency (Class III, Vote 9). The Health and Safety Executive gross running cost limit has been increased by £1,000,000 from £169,898,000 to £170,898,000.

(xi) Provision within the non-Voted element of the DETR Main Programmes Departmental Expenditure Limit will be decreased by £19,551,000 from £1,716,805,000 to £1,697,254,000. This reflects a transfer of: £1,300,000 to Class III, Vote 1 (Housing, construction, regeneration, regional policy, and countryside and wildlife, England) for capital projects by the Housing Corporation and grant in aid to Regional Development Agencies; £3,958,000 to Class III Vote 3 (Environmental protection and water) for the Home Energy Efficiency Scheme and grant in aid to the Environment Agency; £20,650,000 to Class III, Vote 6 (Transport industries) for London Transport and British Rail. It also includes transfers from the DETR Departmental Unallocated Provision of £900,000 to Class III, Vote 3 (Environmental protection and water) for the Home Energy Efficiency Scheme; £1,500,000 to Class III, Vote 7 (Other executive agencies) for the Planning Inspectorate; and £7,600,000 to Class III Vote 4 (Local government, England) on the DETR Local Government Departmental Expenditure Limit for preparation costs of the Greater London Authority and associated bodies. Non-voted provision will be increased by the take-up of end-year flexibility of £15,848,000 for National Air Traffic Services and £509,000 for the Civil Aviation Authority to fund capital investment.

The net increase in the DETR Main Programmes Departmental Expenditure Limit will be offset by transfers to the DETR Local Government Departmental Expenditure Limit, Office of the Rail Regulator Departmental Expenditure Limit, Home Office Departmental Expenditure Limit, Department of Health Departmental Expenditure Limit, Wales Departmental Expenditure Limit, Scotland Departmental Expenditure Limit, Department of Culture, Media and Sport Departmental Expenditure Limit; from the DETR Local Government Departmental Expenditure Limit, Scotland Departmental Expenditure Limit and Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Departmental Expenditure; and by a charge on the DEL Reserve and will not therefore add to the planned total of public expenditure.

(b) The DETR Local Government Departmental Expenditure Limit will be increased by £7,170,000 from £34,211,567,000 to £34,218,737,000. This increase is the net effect of a take-up of end-year flexibility of £3,120,000, transfers from the DETR Main Programmes Departmental Expenditure Limit of £10,050,000, and a transfer of £6,000,000 to the DETR Main Programmes Departmental Expenditure Limit. The changes are set out in greater detail below.

(i) The changes for Class III, Vote 4 are as follows: transfers of £2,000,000 from Class III, Vote 1 (Housing, construction, regeneration, regional policy, and countryside and wildlife, England) for Audit Commission 'Best Value in Housing' inspection work and £450,000 from Class III, Vote 5 (Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions: administration) for mapping costs arising from periodic electoral reviews by the Local Government Commission; a transfer of £7,600,000 from the DETR Main Programmes Departmental Expenditure Limit Departmental Unallocated Provision for preparation costs of the Greater London Authority and associated

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bodies, including publicity; and a transfer of £7,800,000 to a new non-Voted programme, within the Local Government Departmental Expenditure Limit, for returning officers' expenses in the London elections of May 2000.

(ii) Provision within the non-Voted element of the Local Government Departmental Expenditure Limit will be increased by £4,920,000 from £366,986,000 to £371,906,000. This reflects a take-up of end-year flexibility of £3,120,000 for the Local Authority Capital Challenge programme; a transfer of £7,800,000 from Class III, Vote 4 for returning officers' expenses in the London elections of May 2000; and a transfer of £6,000,000 to the DETR Main Programmes Departmental Expenditure Limit for the Docklands Light Railway.

The net increase in the DETR Local Government Departmental Expenditure Limit will be offset by transfers from the DETR Main Programmes Departmental Expenditure Limit and by a charge on the DEL Reserve and will not therefore add to the planned total of public expenditure.

(c) The Office of the Rail Regulator Departmental Expenditure Limit will increase by £2,634,000 from £1,134,000 to £3,768,000. This increase for Class III, Vote 11 will be partly effected by the take-up of £34,000 of end-year flexibility. The remainder of the increase is the result of a transfer of £2,600,000 from Class III, Vote 6 (Transport industries) on the DETR Main Programmes Departmental Expenditure Limit. The running cost limit for ORR will be increased by £2,208,000 from £10,033,000 to £12,241,000.

The increase in the Office of the Rail Regulator Departmental Expenditure Limit will be offset by a transfer from the DETR Main Programmes Departmental Expenditure Limit and a charge on the Departmental Expenditure Limit Reserve and will therefore not add to the planned total of public expenditure.


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