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New Deal

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many employees of his Department and its agencies have been recruited from the New Deal; and what percentage this represents of total staff. [129101]

Ms Beverley Hughes: Since the New Deal programme commenced, the number of people recruited through New Deal DETR (Central) is 14 and its executive agencies is 23. This represents 0.3 per cent. and 0.1 per cent. of the total staff respectively. The number of New Deal staff in DETR (Central) and its executive agencies shown as a percentage of posts at a level recommended for New Deal staff is 1.5 per cent. and 0.5 per cent. respectively.

The Department is actively looking to increase these numbers by further recruitment exercises in the coming months.

Regional Development Agencies

Mr. Cummings: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what has been the cost of consultants employed by each of the regional development agencies to date; and what is the projected expenditure over the next two years. [128899]

Ms Beverley Hughes: In 1999-2000, the first full year of the RDAs' operations, the estimated expenditure on directly-employed consultants was less than 1 per cent. of their total budget, as follows:

One NorthEast910
Northwest Development Agency1,960
Yorkshire Forward1,040
East Midlands Development Agency1,550
Advantage West Midlands950
East of England Development Agency350
South East Development Agency680
South West Development Agency290

Estimates for expenditure on consultants for 2000-01 and 2001-02 are not available.


Mr. Curry: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what estimate he has made of the proportion of the demand for new housing which arises from population migration (a) between the English regions and (b) from London to other parts of the South East. [128866]

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Mr. Raynsford: No explicit estimates are made about the proportion of the demand for new housing that arises from population migration. Trend-based household projects are just one of the considerations taken into account. These are derived from trend-based population projections that contain assumptions about inter-area migration. The migration assumptions are set out in Table 6 of the Office for National Statistics 1996-based Sub-national population projections, England, Series PP3 No. 10, published by TSO.

However, this publication does not include information on migration flows between specific areas. The Office for National Statistics has therefore provided the additional information on projected migration in relation to the South East Planning Region, given in the table.

Annual net migration for SERPLAN

From London105106106108110112
To London686868707170
Net from London373838384041
From other English regions138140142144144143
To other English regions149152155159161161
Net from other English regions-10-12-13-15-17-19
Net migration from London and other English regions272625232323


ONS 1996-based Sub-national population projections

Departmental Vehicles

Mr. Pearson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list for his Department and its agencies the approved list of manufacturers of (a) cars and (b) commercial vehicles; and if he will make a statement on his Department's leasing and purchasing policy. [128987]

Ms Beverley Hughes: The Department's purchasing policy is based on achieving best value for money, taking into account whole life cost and quality. In determining what represents best value for money, the leasing option is considered.

The Department does not have an approved list of manufacturers of cars and commercial vehicles. It uses various supply and leasing contracts awarded by itself and other Government Departments as a result of competitive tender processes appropriate to the value of each contract.

The Department also makes use of the Government Car Service (GCS).

Marine Pollution

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the matters discussed and decided upon at the OSPAR meeting on Control of Marine Pollution in the North East Atlantic, held in Copenhagen on 26 to 30 June; and if he will place in the Library a report of the meeting. [128861]

Mr. Meacher [holding answer 3 July 2000]: At its annual meeting in Copenhagen last week, the OSPAR Commission adopted, by consensus, a programme for

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more detailed work on the implementation of the OSPAR Commission's strategy on radioactive substances. This provides for the adoption of national plans, the submission of detailed forecasts of how the elimination or reduction of radioactive substances from both nuclear and non-nuclear sources will be achieved, in order to meet the OSPAR 2020 goal on radioactive discharges, emissions and losses, and to enable the Commission to develop a collective oversight of progress towards this goal.

The OSPAR Commission finalised a first and essential step in the implementation of its long-term strategy on hazardous substances. As a result, twelve new hazardous substances were added to the OSPAR List of Chemicals for priority action.

The Commission also adopted several measures to control chemicals from both offshore and land-based sources, including the setting of a new international standard for the regulation of the use and discharge of offshore chemicals and drilling fluids.

Under the strategy to combat eutrophication, the OSPAR Commission agreed which areas of the North East Atlantic do not present eutrophication problems, adopted on a trial basis guidelines for evaluating nutrient inputs to the sea, and put in hand work on comprehensive assessments of the areas where there are, or may be, eutrophication problems.

The Commission adopted and launched the Quality Status Report on the whole of the North East Atlantic, the "QSR 2000". This report, together with reports covering the five regions of the OSPAR maritime area, is the first review of the health of the North East Atlantic in such detail.

The OSPAR Commission also finished reviewing its working methods and established a new organisational structure, to keep the effective implementation of its five long-term strategies and the effective follow-up to the QSR 2000.

Twelve OSPAR states adopted a decision requiring a review of nuclear processing in preventing accidental pollution. Although the UK drew attention to its recently published draft national discharge strategy, all the OSPAR states except France supported the decision, and the UK and France abstained.

I am arranging for copies of the Summary Record of the Commission's meeting to be placed in the Library when it becomes available.


Mr. Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what assessment he has made of the impact of the dispute affecting Connex's trains on its ability to meet agreed performance targets. [129305]

Mr. Hill: The Franchising Director is responsible for monitoring the performance of train operating companies. He publishes the results of his monitoring in his "On Track" report, available in the House Library. This shows that the punctuality and reliability of Connex services has been affected by the dispute. The report also explains that incentives are given to operators to handle disruptions in a planned way.

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Local Authority Housing

Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he will provide local authorities with the detailed arrangements for creating arm's-length companies and for raising levels of investment in their housing stock. [129260]

Mr. Raynsford: We outlined in the Housing Green Paper proposals to allow authorities which have set up arm's-length companies to manage their housing stock and demonstrate high standards to invest more of their rental income in their stock. As the Green Paper promised, we will be working with the Local Government Association and others to work up the proposals in greater detail over the coming months. We will consult on our proposals later this year and have guidance in place in the early part of 2001.

Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how long it will take local authorities to invest in their housing stock through the creation of arm's-length companies; what assessment he has made of the contribution this will make in tackling the investment backlog in local authority housing within five years; and if he will make a statement. [129259]

Mr. Raynsford: The additional resources to be made available for authorities which have set up arm's-length companies to manage their housing stock and demonstrate high standards will be announced as part of the Spending Review. We expect that the first year in which the new regime will operate will be 2002-03. In the meantime, authorities considering this option will need to undertake detailed preparation to enable them to meet the demanding criteria which will apply. Our overall aim, set out in the Housing Green Paper, is to ensure that all social housing reaches a decent standard within 10 years.

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