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East Coast Mainline

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what rail

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inspection and repairs have been undertaken on the east coast mainline at the speed restricted stretch of line passing Bawtry, South Yorkshire. [149053]

Mr. Hill: 2,112 yards were re-railed on the up-fast line at Bawtry on 15 December. Similarly 2,112 yards were re-railed on the down-fast line at Bawtry on 17 December. 'De-stressing' works, to enable the continuous rail to expand in summer and contract in winter, were completed on 28 January. The temporary speed restriction has now been lifted.

City Challenge

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what steps the Government are taking to improve the outcomes of and to learn from SRB and City Challenge-funded projects which have concluded or are near their conclusion. [149050]

Ms Beverley Hughes: The national evaluation of the Single Regeneration Budget rounds 1 and 2, based on 20 case studies, is due to complete in 2003-04. The evaluation has strong reporting and dissemination requirements to ensure that lessons are fed into policy and practice in a quick and open manner.

We fund the dissemination of good practice and the exchange of information to support SRB and other regeneration partnerships. In 2000-01, these included conferences, exhibition displays and seminars, and the production of complementary topic papers. We produce a quarterly colour newsletter, "Update", and make both local and electronic networking possible, the latter via At the regional level, the Regional Development Agencies undertake a range of activities for disseminating good practice to SRB partnerships. These include relaying key messages from scheme evaluations to partnerships at quarterly network meetings, employing dedicated best practice co-ordinators to develop networks and links between partnerships, and encouraging SRB schemes to transfer to community ownership during their lifetime.

The City Challenge programme ended in 1998 and the final evaluation was published in 2000. It identified the achievements and good practice lessons that are transferable to other urban regeneration initiatives, including the need to involve the community, to spend time getting the right projects and project mix and the importance of the calibre and experience of key individuals on the executive team and board.

Local Government Finance (Doncaster)

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what the value was of the Government's local government financial settlement for Doncaster borough for each year from 1978-79 to 2000-01; and what the percentage increase was on the previous year. [149068]

Ms Beverley Hughes: There have been three systems in operation during the period 1978-79 to 2001-02. These are not comparable, and the data prior to 1990-91 could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. The latest system, using Standard Spending Assessments to assess the Revenue Support Grant entitlements, was introduced in 1990-91. The data for 1990-91 to 2001-02 for Doncaster are given in the table. These data include only

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the figures for Revenue Support Grant and not any additional ring-fenced grant also allocated at the time of the settlement.

Year Revenue Support Grant (£ million)Income from National Non-domestic Rates (£ million)Total (£ million)Percentage increase on the previous year

(2) Prior to 1993-94 the Revenue Support Grant and income from National Non-Domestic Rates were all paid to the billing authority; from 1993-94 onwards these grants are paid to both billing and precepting authorities. For Doncaster this means that the figures between 1992-93 and 1993-94 are not comparable.

(3) These years were subject to Amending Reports. The figures supplied are those relating to the Amending Report.

Local Government Finance

Mr. Michael J. Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many responses to the local government finance Green Paper raised the issue of perverse incentives surrounding the fire service standard spending assessment. [148909]

Ms Beverley Hughes: A full analysis of the responses to the local government finance Green Paper is currently being finalised. It will be published on the DETR website by the beginning of March.

Mr. Michael J. Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when his Department will respond to the recent Green Paper on local government finance. [148890]

Ms Beverley Hughes: We will announce our decisions on the reform of the local government finance system in a White Paper later this year.

Mr. Michael J. Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (1) what financial recognition is given to deprivation in the current Standard Spending Assessment formula, as applied to all local authorities in the west midlands region; [148888]

Ms Beverley Hughes: The Standard Spending Assessment (SSA) methodology is sub-divided into seven blocks. These are Education, Personal Social Services, Fire, Police, Highway Maintenance, Environmental, Protective and Cultural Services (EPCS), and Capital Finance. The first six of these allocate the majority of the SSA on the basis of a 'client group'. For Education the client group is the number of pupils in a given age group; for EPCS it is the relevant population in each authority.

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In addition to the client group allocation, each of the six blocks includes a factor that reflects the higher cost of service provision in London and the South East. This is known as the Area Cost Adjustment.

Lastly, each of the blocks includes factors that provide additional funding to those authorities that are assessed as having a higher need to spend. These additional factors can be loosely termed as 'deprivation' indicators. For example, the Education block includes indicators that show for each authority the proportion of children of lone parents, the proportion of children of Income Support/ income based Jobseeker's Allowance claimants, and an ethnicity indicator. The Education SSA methodology also makes an allowance for population sparsity to reflect higher costs in rural areas.

Full details of all the indicators used in SSAs can be found in 'The Local Government Finance Report (England) 2001-02', a copy of which can be found in the Libraries of the House.

Water (Investment)

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what powers he has to control the way in which the investment in plant and machinery is carried out by the various water companies and water authorities; and if he will make a statement. [149084]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: It is for the water and sewerage companies to invest as and when necessary to meet their obligations. Water and sewerage undertakers must carry out their statutory duties in accordance with the terms of their licences and must comply with quality standards set and enforced by the Environment Agency and the Drinking Water Inspectorate. The economic regulator, Ofwat, has the function of ensuring that undertakers are able to finance their duties.

Severn Trent Water

Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what percentage of water was lost by leakage by Severn Trent Water in each of the last five years. [148974]

Mr. Robert Ainsworth: Leakage is divided between water lost from the company's distribution system and water lost from customers' own supply pipes. Total leakage within the Severn Trent area and for these two components is as follows:


Leakage from:
Year Total leakageCompany's distribution systemCustomers' supply pipes

The percentage figures are calculated using 1999-2000 figure for water put into supply as a constant, to ensure

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that the figures are not distorted by other factors which would influence the percentage figure, such as increased demand from new customers.

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