|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many public transport operators have undertaken gender audits in line with the Department's document, Women and Public Transport: the checklist; what plans he has to ensure that more operators undertake gender audits; and if he will instruct the Strategic Rail Authority to ensure that gender audits are a requirement of future franchise contracts. 
Mr. Hill: The Checklist has been widely distributed to transport operators, local authorities and interested parties. As the Checklist is not required to be implemented by transport operators, we do not keep records on how many operators have undertaken gender audits; nor do we have plans to make implementation mandatory. However, the Checklist is highlighted in 'Guidance on Full Local Transport Plans' as a useful tool to promote social inclusion, and we will be undertaking a review of Local Transport Plans to see how many local authorities have used the Checklist (and other departmental guidance) in their work to promote social inclusion.
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions how many stations have received secure station accreditations; and if he will instruct the Strategic Rail Authority to make it a
30 Apr 2001 : Column: 463W
condition of future franchise contracts that all appropriate stations should be brought up to secure station accreditation standard within a given timescale. 
Mr. Hill: There are currently 97 stations accredited under the Secure Stations Scheme. The Secure Stations Scheme, which was launched in April 1998, is designed to improve and standardise good security practices at all overground and underground stations. To become an accredited Secure Station, each station operator needs to work with their local British Transport Police Crime Reduction Officer to ensure that their station meets the national standards on design and management to cut down crime. The standards relate to such measures as staff training, Help Points, CCTV, lighting and information. Operators also have to conduct an independent passenger survey to see whether passengers feel safe at the station and provide evidence that crime rates are low.
We are aware that a number of stations are currently working towards accreditation and we will continue to work with the rail industry to encourage further accreditations. The Strategic Rail Authority is seeking to include Secure Stations and Secured Car Park accreditation at all appropriate locations as part of the franchise replacement process.
Ms Beverley Hughes: The Local Government Act 1972 contains no provision for the abolition of parish councils. However, this legislation provides for the dissolution of parish councils where the population of a parish falls below 150. Dissolution in such circumstances is carried out by order of the district council. We have no record of any dissolution orders.
The Local Government Act 1992 made provision for the abolition of parishes by the Secretary of State following a recommendation by the Local Government Commission. No parishes were abolished as a consequence of the structural review of local Government during 1992-97.
|Year||Number of parishes created|
30 Apr 2001 : Column: 464W
Mr. Robert Ainsworth: Since May 1997 my Department has put in place the following initiatives/ measures to help women who are fleeing from domestic violence, and who in many cases are threatened with homelessness as a result.
This new programme, to be implemented from April 2003, provides housing-related support services for vulnerable people, including survivors of domestic violence. The framework document "policy into practice" (January 2001), sets out how services will be planned and delivered. We are appointing two specialist co-ordinators and publishing further guidance to help local Supporting People partnerships develop their strategies for addressing domestic violence within the Supporting People programme.
This provides £120 million of capital and £17 million of revenue funding over three years, to be administered by the Housing Corporation (match-funding to be provided by local authorities) for housing and support services for a range of people, including women and children fleeing domestic violence.
Since 1997 we have continued to support Women's Aid Federation of England through the Department's special grants programme, to develop a range of projects addressing the needs of survivors of domestic violence.
We will shortly be consulting on a proposal to extend the categories of people who have a priority need for accommodation under the homelessness legislation to include applicants who are vulnerable as a result of fleeing domestic violence or other violence.
Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what public funding has been paid to rural businesses under the schemes announced by the Minister to help them during the foot and mouth crisis, up to Friday 20 April. 
Mr. Meacher [holding answer 26 April 2001]: The measures we have adopted in the last few weeks to help severely affected rural businesses respond to the impact of foot and mouth disease are expected to benefit business by around £230 million at the latest estimate, but clearly many depend on take up and application by affected businesses. It is not yet possible to estimate expenditure to date by all the agencies and local partners involved.
30 Apr 2001 : Column: 465W
Ms Beverley Hughes: There are no specific reductions for residents who live on unadopted roads in the same way that there are no reductions for people who do not have children at school. This is because the council tax is essentially a means of contributing towards the cost of providing a range of services throughout a local area rather than a charge for specific services used or enjoyed directly by individual households. However, when assigning a dwelling to a valuation band any factor which might affect the value of a dwelling, such as its being on an unadopted road, is taken into account.
Mr. Hill: The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions carried out a public consultation exercise in 1998 and concluded that there was insufficient justification for amending current legislation to require all new bicycles to be sold with lights attached, as many pedal cycles are never used after dark.
Furthermore, there is already a requirement under the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989 that front and rear position lamps, meeting a prescribed standard, must be fitted and must be lit on pedal cycles when ridden at night.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|