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Departmental Policies (Ribble Valley)

Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to the constituency, the effects on Ribble Valley of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [157846]

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Ms Beverley Hughes: The principal funding which this Department has provided to Lancashire county council and Ribble Valley district council in 1997-98 to 2000-01 is shown in the table. This includes grants and borrowings approvals for revenue and capital expenditure.

It is not possible to determine how much money has been spent on the Ribble Valley. It is for the local authorities to decide where within their boundaries these resources are applied.

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£ million

Nature of funding1997-981998-991999-20002000-012001-02
Revenue Support Grant(11)
Income from National Non-Domestic Rates(11)
Housing Investment Programme(12)
Capital Receipts Initiative(12)n/a1.01.1n/an/a
Challenge Fund(13)
ERDF Funding(14)
Transport Supplementary Grant3.71.72.900
Transport Annual Capital Guideline2.11.61.500
Transport Block Supplementary Credit Approval(15)

(11) These figures are for Ribble Valley district council. They have not been adjusted to make year on year comparisons possible.

(12) Figures for Lancashire county council

(13) There are two SRB initiatives in the Lancashire area, both of which could impact on the Ribble Valley:

Raising Achievement of Young People in Lancashire--Round 2

A seven year thematic scheme covering the whole of Lancashire targeted at raising the achievement and enhancing the employability of young people who are disenchanted with the system. The aim is to reduce long-term benefit dependency, alienation and anti-social behaviour while enhancing the chances of individual prosperity and quality of life.

Challenge Fund Total: £3.4 million--Scheme Total: £11.6 million

Lancashire Tourism Partnership--Round 3

A seven year scheme to improve the competitiveness of the Lancashire tourism industry and develop Lancashire as a major tourism destination. The schemes primary objectives are economic development aimed at generating income, employment opportunities and investment in the County.

Challenge Fund Total: £7.5 million--Scheme Total: £36.8 million

(14) East Lancashire are eligible to bid for Objective 3 European Social Funding resources of around £240 million for the North West. A second bidding round is now under way, launched on 2 April 2001 with bids to be submitted by 25 May.

(15) 2000-01--This figure is from Lancashire county council's provisional Local Transport Plan settlement.

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Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what conditions attach to the most recent tranche of public finance made over to Railtrack; and if he will make a statement. [158302]

Mr. Hill: The agreement in principle to the re-phasing of grants to Railtrack announced on 2 April 2001, Official Report, columns 8-9W, was subject to a number of conditions. The main points were enshrined in an agreed general Statement of Principles, copies of which have been placed in the House Library.

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In addition to delivering long-term savings to the taxpayer, this agreement provides the basis for a new relationship between the company and Government, including a commitment from Railtrack in consultation with Government--to appoint a non-executive director to its main Board with a remit to provide a powerful public and consumer voice. The Statement of Principles also sets out a new competitive framework for procuring large enhancement projects. This will allow third party finance and project delivery skills to be deployed through public private partnerships to deliver enhancement projects, enabling the company to give more attention to the management of the core rail network.

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Appointments (Age Limit)

Tony Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what age limit is placed on appointments to public bodies in his Department; if this limit is mentioned in advertisements for such posts; and what the basis for this limit is. [158110]

Ms Beverley Hughes: The Government are committed to equality of opportunity and to increasing the diversity of those appointed to public bodies. For this reason, the DETR places no upper or lower age limit on appointments to its public bodies and all appointments are made on merit.

Rural Pubs

Mr. Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will estimate the number of rural pubs that will receive 50 per cent. mandatory rate relief under the new Non-domestic Rating (Public Houses and Petrol Filling Stations) Order 2001. [158905]

Ms Beverley Hughes: These figures are not held centrally. Under the Order, 50 per cent. rate relief is available to the sole pub with a rateable value of less than £9,000 in a designated rural settlement with a population of fewer than 3,000. We estimate that there are about 8,000 public houses with a rateable value of less than £9,000 situated in local authorities whose areas are predominantly rural. However, this figure includes public houses that are located in market towns and in settlements with more than one pub, neither of which would qualify for relief under the Order.

Disability Discrimination Act (Railways)

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what measures he has taken to ensure that the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1994 will be met by the railway industry by the 2004 deadline. [158834]

Mr. Hill: The provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) will require that, from 2004, service providers take reasonable steps to remove physical barriers to access. The Act does not set prescriptive accessibility requirements but the Disability Rights Commission will be publishing a revised Code of Practice which will give guidance on the new duties.

In addition, my Department is producing a guidance document "Inclusive Mobility: A Guide to Best Practice on Access to Pedestrian and Transport Infrastructure", which will be available shortly. It is intended to give guidance to transport operators and local authorities on current best practice to help them in preparing to meet the requirements of the DDA.

When assessing bids for replacement franchises, the Strategic Rail Authority will consider better access to the network, particularly for disabled people. All proposals will be tested for compliance with the SRA's Code of Practice (which was transferred from the Office of the Rail Regulator and is currently being revised).

More generally, our Ten Year Transport Plan "Transport 2010", published in July 2000, demonstrates the Government's continued commitment to improving accessibility. The rate and level of new investment will

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ensure that improvements in the accessibility of transport are brought forward more quickly. The Plan is also clear that building in accessibility for disabled people in all investment is a condition of public money being spent.

Crime Prevention

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the implementation of the commitment in the 1998 White Paper on the future of transport relating to the adoption by public transport operators of crime prevention strategies contained in Guidance on Public Transport-Guidelines for Operators; how many public transport operators have formally adopted this guidance; and if he will instruct the Strategic Rail Authority to make it a condition of future franchise contracts that operators must formally adopt these guidelines. [158835]

Mr. Hill: These Guidelines have been widely distributed to transport operators, local authorities and other interested parties. As the Guidelines are not required to be implemented by the transport operators, we do not keep records on how many operators have adopted the Guidelines; nor do we have plans to make implementation mandatory. However, Local Transport Plans are required to address personal security issues in all modes and across the whole journey, and we will be undertaking a review of Local Transport Plans to see how local authorities have improved personal security.

On rail, there are no plans to include the Guidelines in replacement franchise contracts, although we would expect operators to be aware of them.

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