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Road Deaths

Mr. Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many people were killed on the roads in the week beginning Sunday 10 September and in the same week of September 1999. [135094]

Mr. Hill: No information is yet available regarding 2000 accident data. The figures for the days September 10-16 for 1998 and 1999 are as shown:



Mr. Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many people were killed on the roads in each of the last three years for which figures are available in the area of the Essex Police Authority. [135101]

Mr. Hill: The number of people killed on the roads in the area of the Essex Police authority in each of the last three years for which figures are available are as follows:




Mr. Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many people were killed on the road in each of the last three years for which figures are available. [135099]

Mr. Hill: The number of people killed on the roads in each of the last three years for which figures are available are as follows:




Housing Stock Transfers

Dr. Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) if he will list (a) the three most senior members of staff employed by registered social landlords that have taken over former local authority housing stock and (b) their previous employers; [134732]

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Mr. Mullin: A list of the chairs and two most senior members of staff of registered social landlords (RSLs) which have taken over former local authority housing stock has been placed in the Libraries of the House.

Information on the previous employers of senior staff in these RSLs, the third most senior member of staff, and the current occupation and relevant interests of the chairs of these RSLs is not held centrally.

Disabled Drivers

Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on progress on reviewing the definition of very exceptional cases in the context of the application of the second EC Directive on the driving licence relating to the renewal of licences for drivers suffering from diabetes mellitus and requiring insulin treatment; and what account is being taken of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 in this review. [134572]

Mr. Hill: At their meeting on 4 October, the Secretary of State's Honorary Medical Advisory Panel on Driving and Diabetes agreed that the term "exceptional case" should be redefined to mean applicants for C1 entitlement (vehicles of between 3.5 to 7.5 tonnes) with good diabetic control and no significant complications. The panel will meet again on 8 November to finalise the new definition, after which public consultation will begin with a view to having the legislative changes in place by spring 2001.

There is no question of conflict with the Disability Discrimination Act.

Railways (Public Investment)

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how much public money has been paid to (a) the railway operating companies and (b) Railtrack in each year since privatisation; and what annual payments are to be made in future years. [135432]

Mr. Hill: Since privatisation, Support for Passenger Rail Services (SPRS) has been paid by the Franchising Director to passenger train operating companies (TOCs). Also, certain TOCs receive income from Passenger Transport Executives (PTEs) for rail passenger services in major conurbations. In addition, freight operating companies (FOCs) receive freight grant payments from my Department.

The table provides details, for each year since the TOCs and FOCs were created, of SPRS and PTE payments to the TOCs, and freight grant payments to the FOCs. The figures for 2000-01 are estimated outturns.

Cash prices £ million

Payments
SPRSPTEFreight grant
1994-951,783346--
1995-961,669362--
1996-971,80929112
1997-981,42937521
1998-991,19633719
1999-20001,03331217
2000-0191328016

Since privatisation, no public money has been paid direct to Railtrack, but the company's profitability is contingent on public money. Some 90 per cent. of Railtrack's income is paid to the company by TOCs and FOCs in access charges, a substantial proportion of which are supported by public money.


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The precise size of annual payments in future years will depend on negotiations which the Franchising Director has not yet completed with TOCs and others. Under existing franchises, total subsidy to TOCs is set to fall from some £1.2 billion this year to less than £900 million by 2002-03. Also, the Franchising Director has approved a number of projects under the Rail Passenger Partnership (RPP) scheme, involving commitments to pay some £12 million to TOCs. He is currently considering 23 other possible RPP projects, with potential to generate payments of an additional £53 million. The Ten-Year Plan for Transport provides for substantial extra Government funding to halt the decline in revenue subsidy and for direct payments of renewals capital grant to Railtrack for both passengers and freight. In addition, the Plan provides for a Rail Modernisation Fund of £7 billion to support enhancements of the rail network.

Road Haulage

Mr. Win Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement about the principal elements in the costs of a typical road haulage business in (a) 1970, (b) 1980, (c) 1990 and (d) the latest date for which figures are available, indicating in each year the percentage of turnover accounted for by those costs. [135408]

Mr. Hill: The Government do not routinely collect information on the operating costs of road hauliers.

Planning Officers

Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what action he plans to take with regard to planning officers who take employment with (a) developers and (b) applicants with whom they have dealt. [135663]

Ms Beverley Hughes: The Government have no powers to intervene in these issues. Local authorities are independent employers and the terms and conditions of their staff, including future employment, are determined in their contracts.

Council Tax Benefit

Ms Oona King: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has to help tenants in social housing whose homes have been designated Band F, G or H and who are thereby ineligible for Council Tax Benefit. [135828]

Ms Armstrong: People on low incomes (whether social tenants or otherwise) who occupy dwellings in Bands F, G and H are eligible to claim Council Tax Benefit. Those who received Council Tax Benefit on or before 31 March 1998 and continue to meet the continuity requirements are entitled to have up to 100 per cent. of their council tax liability met through benefit regardless

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of the valuation band of their home. New claimants after that date who live in dwellings in Bands F, G and H can receive benefit up to the maximum amount payable for Band E dwellings. We have no plans to alter this arrangement, which was introduced to ensure that taxpayers do not fully subsidise the costs of people living in the highest value properties. This is consistent with our policy of not supporting such properties on Income Support where help for mortgage interest in new cases is also restricted. However, we are aware of the concerns that remain with this measure and are continuing to monitor the effects of the restriction.

Home Energy Efficiency Scheme

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how much funding has been allocated for the Home Energy Efficiency Scheme for 2000-01. [135883]

Mr. Meacher: The budget for the Home Energy Efficiency Scheme for 2000-01 is £121,857,000.

Soil Protection Strategy

Mrs. Brinton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he plans to publish for public consultation the Soil Protection Strategy recommended by the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution in its 1996 report, 'Sustainable Use of Soil'. [136011]

Mr. Meacher: Soon.


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