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Flooding (Devon)

Mr. Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he will

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respond to the request by Devon county council in respect of the exemption from Council Tax penalties sums given to the Environment Agency for flood defence works in excess of the relevant SSA. [137527]

Ms Beverley Hughes: We will reply to Devon's request of 6 November when we have had time to consider the implications, particularly with regard to the Local Government Finance Settlement. The timetable for the Local Government Finance Settlement is expected to be similar to last year's.

Disability Discrimination Act 1995

Ms Rosie Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he will implement section 37 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 to require licensed taxi drivers to carry guide and hearing dogs in their taxis and to do so without charge. [138052]

Mr. Hill: I am pleased to announce that from 31 March 2001 all licensed taxi drivers in England and Wales will be under a duty to carry guide, hearing and other prescribed assistance dogs in their taxis and to do so without additional charge.

From 1 December 2000 local licensing authorities will be able to consider applications from taxi drivers and to issue certificates of exemption to those applicants who they consider merit a medical exemption.

I have laid before the House the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (Taxis) (Carrying of Guide Dogs etc.) (England and Wales) Regulations 2000. The Regulations prescribe three additional categories of dog to which Section 37 duties will also apply and deals with the notice which must be displayed by taxi drivers who are exempt on medical grounds from Section 37 duties.

Full guidance is being sent to all local licensing authorities and a leaflet to all licensed taxi drivers informing them of these new duties and the arrangements for medical exemption. Copies of these documents will be placed in the House Library.

I understand that the Scottish Executive will be introducing similar requirements for Scotland.

Departmental Expenditure Limits

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans there are to amend his departmental expenditure limits and running costs limit for 2000-01. [138178]

Mr. Prescott: Subject to Parliamentary approval of the necessary Supplementary Estimates for Class III, Votes 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11, the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions' Departmental Expenditure Limits for 2000-01 will change as follows. All references to the take-up of end-year flexibility refer to the Public Expenditure 1999-2000 Provisional outturn White Paper presented to Parliament by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury on 18 July 2000 (Cm 4812).

(a) The DETR Main Programmes Departmental Expenditure Limit will be increased by £253,541,000 from £10,861,342,000 to £11,114,883,000. This increase reflects the net impact of a take-up of end-year flexibility of £142,703,000; net transfers into the DETR Main

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Programmes Departmental Expenditure Limit of £838,000 and a call on the DEL Reserve of £110,000,000. The changes are set out in greater detail as follows:

(i) The changes for Class III, Vote 1 are as follows: take-up of End-Year Flexibility of £80,728,000 is to be distributed between a range of established and new programmes, including: £17,589,000 for the Coalfields Regeneration Trust and £8,477,000 for the Coalfields Enterprise Fund; Housing Corporation (£13,173,000 for the Major Repairs Initiative and £224,000 for the Approved Development Programme); £5,300,000 for Disabled Facilities Grants; £400,000 for housing defects grants; £5,000,000 for regeneration projects facilitated by the Social Exclusion Unit; £1,000,000 for 'Supporting People' (housing projects); £3,772,000 for English Partnerships; £3,800,000 for Housing Action Trusts; £850,000 for Rural Development Commission wind up costs; £40,000 for Nature Conservancy Council pensions; £202,000 for Single Regeneration Budget (mainly Manchester regeneration); £3,825,000 for private housing renovation grants; Regional Development Agencies (£3,000,000 for redundant building grant and £500,000 for restructuring costs); £2,500,000 to support the coal industry (regeneration costs); £2,000,000 for Neighbourhood Wardens; £1,762,000 for the Countryside Agency (including costs of £62,000 relating to Dacre House); £1,372,000 for Urban Development Corporations post-wind up costs; £1,111,000 for housing research; £1,500,000 for the launch of a register of competent and reliable builders and £1,000,000 for other construction-related expenditure (Partners in Innovation and advisory work in connection with the effects of Turkish earthquakes); £587,000 for home improvement agencies and £225,000 for the home improvement agencies' co-ordinating body; £545,000 for home buying and selling; £94,000 for City Challenge; £400,000 for EC spatial planning; £155,000 for grants to voluntary bodies through the Special Grants Programme; £50,000 for Gypsy Sites Grant; £50,000 for local authority funding of pilots for lettings; £20,000 for the Joint National Conservation Committee internet website; and £250,000 to cover planning costs related to the demolition of Sandown Hall.

Additional calls on the DEL Reserve are required for Housing Corporation capital projects (£50,000,000) and for Regional Development Agencies (£60,000,000). A further net increase of £1,332,000 arises from the following inter-vote transfers; transfers into Class III, Vote 1 of £400,000 from Class VII, Vote 3 (Department of Social Security, administration) to the Housing Corporation in respect of resettlement funding; £1,166,000 from Class IX, Vote 1 (Department of Trade and Industry: programmes and administration) for Regional Development Agencies' administration costs (including £70,000 specifically for the London Development Agency); £492,000 from Class IV, Vote 1 (Home Office administration, police, probation, immigration and other services, England and Wales) for Rough Sleepers Unit administered private sector grants; and transfers out of Class III, Vote 1 of £426,000 to Class III, Vote 3 for the Energy Saving Trust, and £300,000 to Class III, Vote 2 for minicab licensing.

(ii) The changes for Class III, Vote 2 are as follows: The take-up of end-year flexibility of: £53,824,000 for British Rail Grant (£18,000,000), civil aviation services

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(£15,000,000); multi modal studies (£3,000,000); Railtrack's Docklands Light Railway Royal Mint street claim (£14,500,000); London new year's eve celebration costs (£3,000,000); the transport statistics programme (£224,000); and the Mobility Unit (£100,000). A further net increase of £292,313,000 from the following inter-vote transfers: £278,325,000 from Class III, Vote 11 in respect of the Strategic Rail Authority; £14,390,000 from Class III, Vote 7 for multi modal studies (£10,000,000), road user charging (£1,500,000) and costs associated with London programmes which have transferred to Transport for London (£2,890,000). £300,000 from Class III, Vote 1 for the start up costs of minicab licensing; £150,000 from Class II Vote 1 (Department of Health) for Mobility Centres; £9,000 from Class IX, Vote 1 (Department of Trade and Industry) for VAT associated with the Framework 5 Helpline project; £784,000 to Class III, Vote 3 for various Environmental projects; £56,000 to Class IX, Vote 1 for the Framework 5 Helpline project; £6,000 to Class XII Vote 1 (Department of Social Security) for the National Listening Event for older people and £15,000 to the Class XIII, Vote 1 (Scottish Executive) for Scottish ports. An additional increase of £6,367,000 from non voted credit approvals for grant funding of the Sunderland Metro Main Extension (£5,417,000), World Squares (£650,000) and Mobility Centres (£300,000) partially offset by a transfer of £3,500,000 to non voted provision for Ports supplementary credit approvals.

(iii) The changes for Class III Vote 3 are as follows: The take- up of end-year flexibility of £6,936,000 for the implementation of the Climate Change Levy (£1,750,000), the Mersey Basin Campaign (£136,000), for the computer upgrade work for pollution emergency response services (£200,000), for costs arising from the implementation of the European Groundwater Directive (£2,000,000), clearance of the navigation backlog (£1,000,000), the Financial Management and Policy Review efficiency study (£100,000), for the British Waterways for the effective launch of The Waterways Trust (£500,000) and for an out of court settlement of a personal injury case (£1,250,000). A further net increase of £1,310,000 arises from the following transfers into the vote: transfers from Class III. Vote 2 for research work undertaken on the Environmental Efficiency Best Practice Programme (£647,000) and on the Environmental Protection research and monitoring (£137,000), transfer from Class III, Vote 1 for work to be undertaken by the Energy Saving Trust (£426,000) and a transfer from non-voted contaminated land Supplementary Credit Approvals for training work (£100,000). There is also a transfer provision to Class VIII, Vote 1 for contribution to Environmental Know How Fund (£2,000,000).

(iv) The changes to Class III, Vote 7 are as follows: A transfer of £14,390,000 to Class III Vote 2 made up of £10,000,000 for Multi-Modal Studies, £1,500,000 for Road User Charging Research and £2,890,000 settlement with the Greater London Authority. Draw down of £368,000 from the Civil Service Modernisation Fund, of which £348,000 is an increase in running costs provision and take-up of £200,000 of running costs end-year flexibility.

(v) The changes in Class III, Vote 8 are as follows: An increase of £630,000 which comprises: £303,000 transfer from Class IV, Vote 1 (Home Office Crime Reduction

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Programme) to support DVLA's vehicle crime reduction initiatives, an allocation of £385,000 from the Civil Service Reform Modernisation Fund and an increase in Appropriations in Aid of £58,000 offset by a reduction in CFERS to reflect the reclassification of sale of anonymised data receipts.

(vi) As a consequence of the changes to Class III, Vote 7 and 8, the DETR gross running cost limit has been increased by £1,226,000 from £700,928,000 to £702,154,000.

(vii) The change to Class III, Vote 11 is a transfer of £278,325,000 to Class III, Vote 2 for the establishment of the Strategic Rail Authority.

(viii) Provision within the non-Voted element of the DETR Main Programmes Departmental Expenditure Limit will be decreased by £2,252,000 from £2,652,400,000 to £2,650,148,000. This reflects: £615,000 transfer to Class III Vote 3 for contaminated land work by the Environment Agency (£100,000), transfer of £500,000 from the Local Government DEL for Isles of Scilly water credit approvals, take-up of £215,000 end-year flexibility for air quality SCAs and £2,867,000 from Class III Vote 2 comprising a transfer of £3,500,000 for Ports supplementary credit approvals and transfers to Class III Vote 2 of £6,367,000 for grant funding of the Sunderland Metro Main extension (£5,417,000), World squares (£650,000), Mobility Centres (£300,000). Also a take-up of £800,000 end-year flexibility transferred to DfEE for credit approvals issued to Derby City council.

(ix) The net increase in the DETR Main Programmes Departmental Expenditure Limit will be offset by transfers to; the Department of Trade and Industry Departmental Expenditure Limit, Department of Social Security Departmental Expenditure Limit, Scotland Departmental Expenditure Limit, Department for International Development Departmental Expenditure Limit; from the DETR Local Government Departmental Expenditure Limit, Department of Social Security Departmental Expenditure Limit, Department of Trade and Industry Departmental Expenditure Limit, Home Office Departmental Expenditure Limit, Department of Health Departmental Expenditure Limit 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 £8,430,000 from £35,352,718,000 to £35,361,148,000. This increase is the net effect of a take-up of end-year flexibility of £8,630,000, and a transfer of £500,000 to the DETR Main Programmes Departmental Expenditure Limit, partially offset by transfers from DCMS of £300,000. The changes are set out in greater detail as follows:

(i) The changes for Class III, Vote 4 are as follows: increased provision for the Local Government Commission (Section B) by £340,000 in respect of mapping costs and for Best Value Intervention by £1,410,000 (offset by a reduction in payments to the Audit commission for work in connection with Best Value Inspection and by drawing on the end-year flexibility entitlement for DETR's Local Government Departmental Expenditure Limit in Cm 4812); increased provision for Local Government Research and Publicity (Section C) by £1,280,000, comprising publicity costs in relation to Best

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Value and grant distribution, offset by savings on Valuation services (Section A), Best Value Inspection (Section B) and an increase of £180,000 in Appropriations in Aid; increased provision for London governance by £4,400,000 (Section D) to reflect revised estimates for the costs of preparing for the Greater London Authority and associated bodies offset by drawing on the end-year flexibility entitlement for DETR's Local Government Departmental Expenditure Limit announced in Cm 4812 and by £300,000 transferred from Department of Culture, Media and Sport; provision of £494,000 for emergency financial assistance to local authorities in connection with flooding emergencies (Section H) offset by saving on Section A and by drawing on the end-year flexibility for DETR's Local Government Departmental Expenditure Limit announced in Cm 4812; reclassification of certain direct current expenditure in Section B as direct capital expenditure and certain capital expenditure in Section C as current grants and transfers.

(ii) Provision within the non-Voted element of the Local Government Departmental Expenditure Limit will be increased by £3,135,000 from £135,952,000 to £138,087,000. This reflects a take-up of end-year flexibility of £3,635,000 and the transfer of £500,000 to DETR's Main Programme DEL.

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

(c) The Office of Water Services Departmental Expenditure Limit will increase by £611,000 from -£45,000 to £567,000 and it's running cost limit will be reduced by £1,214,000 from £12,391,000 to £11,177,000.

(i) This change for Class III, Vote 10 will be partly effected by the take-up £485,000 of end-year flexibility comprising £40,000 for capital and £445,000 for running costs etc. The supplementary also includes a claim on the Departmental Expenditure Limit Reserve of £126,000 in respect of part of the pension costs of the former Director General of the Office of Water Services.

The increase in the Office of Water Services Departmental Expenditure Limit will be offset by a charge on the Departmental Expenditure Limit Reserve and will therefore not add to the planned total of public expenditure.

(d) The Office of the Rail Regulator Departmental Expenditure Limit will increase by £78,000 from £1,000 to £79,000 and its running cost limit will be increased by £78,000 from £13,690,000 to £13,768,000.

(i) This change for Class III, Vote 9 will be effected by the take-up of £78,000 running costs end-year flexibility to meet increased requirements associated with the Competition Act and Ladbroke Grove inquiry.

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


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