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Mr. Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many people over 60 years (a) have had work carried out and (b) he estimates will have had work carried out by 31 March 2001 under the new home energy efficiency plus scheme. 
Mr. Meacher: The table identifies the number of people over 60 years of age who have (a) received HEES and HEES Plus measures up to 30 November 2000; and (b) are projected to do so up to 31 March 2001:
18 Dec 2000 : Column: 5W
|Financial year 2000-01||HEES||HEES plus|
|Completed jobs as of 30 November||10,430||35,363|
|Completed jobs projected from 1 December to 31 March 2001||25,028||85,478|
The new Home Energy Efficiency Scheme (HEES) for England was launched on 1 June 2000. It replaced the more limited scheme that operated since 1991. HEES provides packages of insulation and heating measures, linked to the condition of the property and the circumstances of the householder. The grant maximum has been increased from £315 to £2,000. The scheme is broken down as follows:
|Financial year||Value of grants||Average value of grants|
The new Home Energy Efficiency Scheme (HEES) for England was launched on 1 June 2000. It replaced the more limited scheme that operated since 1991. HEES provides packages of insulation and heating measures, linked to the condition of the property and the circumstances of the householder. The grant maximum has been increased from £315 up to £2,000. As a consequence, the average value of work per household will substantially increase in the current financial year.
Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what recent discussions has he had with the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police on ways in which to increase the speed of flow of traffic in the London metropolitan area. 
18 Dec 2000 : Column: 6W
Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he next plans to meet leaders of the transport industry to discuss ways in which HGV vehicles can be discouraged from using roads in central London. 
Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) how many times in the last year he has met staff of the Mayor of London to discuss (a) the average speed of road traffic in London and (b) the ways in which the flow of traffic on London roads can be improved; 
Mr. Hill: Neither my right hon. Friend nor I have had any such meetings. However, before 3 July 2000, officials of the Government Office for London, the Highways Agency and the Traffic Director for London had regular meetings with the Metropolitan police at operational level. On that date the Mayor of London and Transport for London became responsible for strategic transport matters in the capital.
Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) when he last met representatives of the London Hackney Carriage Trade to discuss the activities of unlicensed private hire vehicles in central London; 
(3) what steps he is taking to curb the activity of unlicensed private hire vehicles in the centre of London; 
(4) what recent discussions he has had with minicab companies in central London concerning the (a) safety of vehicles and (b) training of drivers. 
Mr. Hill: A system of licensing London's private hire operators, drivers and vehicles is being introduced in three stages through the implementation of the Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998. From 22 January next year, Transport for London will start licensing London minicab operators; from 22 October it will be an offence to operate minicabs without the appropriate licence. Transport for London will take forward the second and third phases of implementation. I understand that they are having discussions with the taxi and private hire trades. It is already an offence to tout for minicab services; enforcement is a matter for the police.
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Mr. Hill: Railtrack says that as at 15 December there is currently one 40mph emergency speed restriction on the down line at Ladbroke Grove, imposed following the Hatfield derailment. Railtrack is working to remove this emergency speed restriction as soon as possible.
Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what recent discussions he has held with transport safety organisations to discuss the level of (a) cyclist and (b) pedestrian casualties in metropolitan London. 
Mr. Hill: DETR Officials have met officers of Transport for London and the Road Safety Officers of the Boroughs on a number of occasions to discuss these issues, particularly in the context of the Mayor's Transport Strategy.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what financial assistance the Government have provided to (a) Railtrack and (b) rail operating companies in each of last three years. 
Mr. Hill: Government subsidies are paid to train operating companies (TOCs) in the form of Support for Passenger Rail Services (SPRS) paid by the Franchising Director and grants paid by Passenger Transport Executives (PTEs). The table provides details, for 1997-98, 1998-99 and 1999-2000, of SPRS and PTE payments to TOCs.
|£ million cash prices|
|Total Government subsidies to TOCs||1,804||1,533||1,343|
Since privatisation, no Government subsidies have been paid direct to Railtrack, but the company's profitability is contingent on public money. Some 85 per cent. of Railtrack's income is paid to the company by TOCs in access charges, a substantial proportion of which are supported by Government subsidies.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 13 December 2000, Official Report, column 160W, concerning the rail network, if he will provide the same information for the period 1992 to 1997. 
Mr. Hill: Due to the implementation of a new database by the Health and Safety Executive, the information requested by the hon. Member is not currently available. I will write with the information in January and a copy will be placed in the Library of the House.
18 Dec 2000 : Column: 8W
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