7 Jul 2000 : Column: 309W
Figures exclude VAT
Mr. Hill: The Government have introduced a number of measures to promote the wider use of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) in recognition of the fuel's environmental benefits. The Energy Saving Trust's Powershift programme, which is funded by my Department, provides grants towards the additional cost of vehicles fuelled by LPG. Funding for this programme was increased to £10 million following the last Budget. LPG and other road gas fuels also benefit from a relatively low rate of fuel duty compared to petrol and diesel. From 1 March 2001, Vehicle Excise Duty for new cars will be graduated on the basis of CO 2 emissions. Under the new scheme, LPG cars will benefit both from a modest discount and from generally having lower CO 2 emissions than equivalent petrol cars. The Government are currently consulting on further tax discounts under the new company car tax regime, which comes into effect from 6 April 2002, for gas and electric cars.
7 Jul 2000 : Column: 310W
Mrs. Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what progress he has made in recovering the regeneration grant awarded to the Walton Group in respect of Exchange Flags Liverpool; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Beverley Hughes: Under section 175 of the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993, the Secretary of State appointed the Urban Regeneration Agency ("English Partnerships") to act as his agent in respect of the agreement to pay a City Grant to the Walton Group for the refurbishment of the Exchange Flags building, Liverpool. In that capacity English Partnerships carried out a review of the project and are pressing for repayment of the grant.
Mr. Raynsford: Local housing authorities in England make quarterly and annual returns to the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions of data concerning their activities under the homelessness legislation. They also provide annually an estimate of the number of people sleeping rough in their area on any one night in June. The extent of the rough sleeping problem in England is monitored through single-night street counts, co-ordinated by local authorities and carried out in partnership with the local voluntary sector and volunteers. We are satisfied that these arrangements provide an effective means of monitoring homelessness in England. The Government currently have no plans to introduce common arrangements for monitoring homelessness throughout the UK.
Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the arrangements for reviewing homelessness decisions made by local authorities under sections 202 and 203 of the Housing Act 1996; and if he will make a statement; 
Mr. Raynsford: We will consider the effectiveness of the current arrangements for local housing authorities' review of homelessness decisions when we take forward the proposals for reform of the homelessness legislation set out in the Housing Green Paper, "Quality and Choice: A decent home for all". Information about the number of reviews undertaken by local authorities is not held centrally.
7 Jul 2000 : Column: 311W
Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has to seek amendments to the provisions of Part VII of the Housing Act 1996 relating to intentional homelessness; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Raynsford: The Housing Green Paper, "Quality and Choice: A decent home for all", sets out the Governments proposals for introducing more choice for existing and prospective tenants of social housing and for strengthening the protection available to homeless people. The Paper suggests that it may be possible to modify the rules of intentional homelessness if these proposals were adopted. The Government will consider responses to the Green Paper before deciding whether to take this forward, and would wish to discuss any proposals with representatives of local government, Shelter and others before introducing amending legislation.
Mr. Norman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) what proportion of the potential growth areas and long-term potential growth areas in the draft regional planning guidance for the south-east are at risk or likely to be at risk in the future from potential flooding; 
(3) what proportion of brownfield land available for development in the south-east planning area is at risk or likely to be at risk in the future from flooding. 
Mr. Raynsford: Information about areas at risk from fluvial and other tidal or coastal flooding is based on best estimates and information about recorded events. It is provided in the form of maps held by the Environment Agency regional offices and supplied to local authorities.
Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) on how many occasions since May 1997 Ministers in his Department have made a declaration of interest to their colleagues under circumstances envisaged in Paragraph 110 of the Ministerial Code; 
Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make improved timekeeping and extended boarding times on the Euston to Liverpool Lime Street line a condition for renewal of the West Coast main line franchise. 
7 Jul 2000 : Column: 312W
Mr. Hill: The present franchise for the West Coast main line is not due to be replaced until 9 March 2012. When replacing franchises, the Franchising Director will be seeking to improve services to passengers and improvements in performance. Boarding times at stations are an operational matter for Train Operating Companies and it is not envisaged that they will be the subject of specific franchise requirements.
Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what representations he has received about making the level of on-board service a condition of franchise renewal for the West Coast main line. 
Mr. Hill: The Secretary of State has not received any representations about making the level of on-board service a condition of franchise renewal for the West Coast Main Line. The present franchise for the West Coast Main Line is not due to be replaced until 9 March 2012. This franchise, in common with all the other passenger rail franchises, does not contain any provisions stipulating which on-board services must be provided. It is not envisaged that there will be any such provisions in any of the replacement franchises.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|