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Road Building

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions when he will announce changes to the road building programme. [4115]

Mr. Jamieson: My right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister announced a package of transport measures on 28 March 2001, Official Report, column 639W, which included the addition of eight schemes to the targeted programme of trunk road improvements.

Housing (Lancashire)

Mr. Pope: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what central Government support has been made available to (a) Hyndburn borough council and (b) Rossendale borough council, to tackle private sector housing disrepair in each of the last four years. [4267]

Ms Keeble: There is no longer a separate ring- fenced element for private sector renewal within the support provided for local authorities' housing capital programmes; this was merged into the general support for housing investment from 2001–02 to provide authorities with greater flexibility and reduce administrative burdens. The overall resources allocated to Hyndburn and Rossendale for housing investment in the last four years were as follows:

Hyndburn borough council(2)
of which:
Ring-fenced for private sector renewal769759(4)(4)
Rossendale borough council
of which:
Ring-fenced for private sector renewal483483(4)(4)

(2) In addition, Hyndburn borough council is receiving £646,000 this year through the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund

(3) The 2001–02 allocations include amounts (£2,030 for Hyndburn and £2,410 for Rossendale) ring-fenced for expenditure on council housing through the new Major Repairs Allowance

(4) Not applicable


Ms Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 10 July 2001, Official Report, column 439W, on landlords, in how many cases the original decision was upheld. [4138]

Ms Keeble: I assume that my hon. Friend wishes to know how often, under paragraph 8 of the Schedule to the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985, Leasehold Valuation

18 Jul 2001 : Column: 193W

Tribunals (LVTs) have decided that the insurance available from an insurer was unsatisfactory or that the premiums payable were excessive.

The majority of applications made under these provisions were later withdrawn, were deemed to be outside the jurisdiction of the LVTs, or still await a decision. At the end of May 2001, only 10 cases had been determined. Of these, the insurance arrangements were deemed to be satisfactory in six cases. In the other four cases, the premiums were deemed to be excessive, or the arrangements unsatisfactory in other ways, or both.

Millennium Dome

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what discussions she has had since 15 February with Mr. Robert Bourne or associated parties regarding the future of the Dome. [4152]

Ms Keeble [holding answer 16 July 2001]: None, but my noble and learned Friend the Minister for Housing and Planning met Robert Bourne and his colleagues on 28 February 2001, at Mr. Bourne's request, following the Government's decision to end Legacy plc's preferred bidder status and the existing competition as announced on 15 February 2001.

Shared Ownership (Housing)

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions when he next intends to review the arrangements for supporting shared ownership housing options. [4622]

Ms Keeble: My Department, in conjunction with the National Assembly for Wales, has commissioned a research project to evaluate the current low cost home ownership programmes in England and Wales, and to identify and assess possible measures to improve their effectiveness. The scope of the research includes shared ownership schemes offered by registered social landlords. The study is expected to report in April 2002.

Housing Register

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what percentage of households in each local authority in London was on the housing register in April 2000. [4624]

Ms Keeble: The latest available information is presented in the table:

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Estimated percentage of households on the housing register as at 1 April 2000: London

Barking and Dagenham3.1
City of London26.2
Hammersmith and Fulham6.0
Kensington and Chelsea9.1
Kingston upon Thames4.9
Richmond upon Thames5.8
Tower Hamlets8.8
Waltham Forest8.0


Local authorities have different practices for compiling and managing housing register/waiting lists which mean that simple comparisons between authorities can be misleading.


DETR Housing Investment Programme returns (Housing Register data)

DETR 1999 mid-year household estimates

Bedroom Standard

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will estimate, for each region in England the percentage of households (a) with at least 1.5 rooms per person, (b) occupying properties consistent with the bedroom standard and (c) occupying properties at least one room below the bedroom standard (i) as owner occupiers, (ii) as council tenants and (iii) as RSL tenants. [4625]

Ms Keeble: The information requested is shown in the following table.

England 1997–98 to 1999–2000

(a)(b) (c)
Tenure and Government office regionAt least 1.5 rooms per personAt bedroom standardAbove bedroom standardAll at or above bedroom standardBelow bedroom standard
(i) Owner occupiers
North East881782991
North West881782982
Yorkshire and the Humber881683991
East Midlands901485991
West Midlands881683982
South East891683991
South West901584991
(ii) Council tenants
North East824453973
North West814848964
Yorkshire and the Humber794551964
East Midlands834751973
West Midlands804749955
South East755639964
South West755243955
(iii) RSL tenants
North East865346991
North West806136973
Yorkshire and the Humber826533982
East Midlands796135964
West Midlands825938964
South East696630964
South West726632982


DTLR Survey of English Housing. Average for financial years 1997–98 to 1999–2000

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London Underground

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what assessment of the relative priority in respect of the London underground he has made of (a) refurbishing stations to incorporate shopping malls and (b) maintenance of rolling stock, track and signals; to what extent Transport for London's chosen priority in this regard will apply and how the infrastructure companies will influence such decisions; and if he will make a statement. [4722]

Mr. Jamieson: The plans for the modernisation of the underground will deliver around £13 billion to improve the underground's infrastructure over the next 15 years. The relative priorities for rolling stock, track, signals and stations have been set by the public sector, not the infrastructure companies. The requirements have been designed to improve the capacity, reliability and quality of the underground as quickly and efficiently as possible, while maintaining high safety standards.

Within this balanced programme, expenditure on stations will account for less than a quarter of the total investment over the next 15 years. The priority at stations will not be to incorporate shopping malls, but to address those other issues passengers consider important: making sure the lifts and escalators work; installing CCTV to improve passenger security; tackling congestion at the busiest stations; providing step-free access; and improving the quality and cleanliness of stations.

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will list penalty clauses and similar liability arrangements in

18 Jul 2001 : Column: 196W

the London Underground contract with the infrastructure companies; by whom they were drawn up; if they and performance relating to them will be published; and if he will make a statement. [4723]

Mr. Jamieson: Contracts for the modernisation of the tube have been developed by London Underground Limited. I understand that London Underground has set the priorities to ensure the private companies provide improved infrastructure so that London Underground can operate a safe and reliable service for passengers. Infrastructure companies will be rewarded for improving the capacity, reliability and quality of the underground infrastructure, and penalised for poor performance. Penalties in the contract will reflect the full impact of any delay or disruption to passengers and not be limited by a cap. I understand that London Underground intends to publish the contracts once negotiations have been completed and will make available information on performance.

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how he expects new investment in the London Underground to be spent. [4721]

Mr. Jamieson: The plans for the modernisation of the tube provide a comprehensive package to renew the whole of the underground's infrastructure and are designed to ensure that the money is spent efficiently, with improvements specified by the public sector delivered on time and on budget. Around £13 billion of investment will be made over the next 15 years, with some £8.7 billion spent on enhancements and £4.3 billion on maintenance—a higher level of sustained investment than ever before.

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As a result of this investment, services will be faster and more frequent with, for example, a 20 per cent. increase in capacity on the Victoria line. Fewer breakdowns and delays will result in a more reliable service. Every train on the underground will be replaced or refurbished over the lifetime of the contracts, and every station will be upgraded in the first seven and a half years.

18 Jul 2001 : Column: 198W

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what the annual number of breakdowns on each line of London Underground involving signal, points and track failures has been since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [4611]

Mr. Jamieson: This is an operational issue for London Underground which has provided the following information:

Service disruptions due to failures in signals/points

Non LT21262041262616
Jubilee and East LL1407979110197338444
Metropolitan and Circle (c and h)180212129131125238407
Metropolitan and Circle (main)247256209266194290522

Service disruptions due to failures in other track

Non LT638261014125
Jubilee and East LL5474453877146136
Metropolitan and Circle (c and h)61787561576298
Metropolitan and Circle (main)88118105738382136

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will publish the financial assessment of the methods of funding future capital investment in the London Underground over a similar period favoured by (a) Her Majesty's Government and (b) Transport for London. [4726]

Mr. Jamieson: We have made clear that our plans for the London Underground will go ahead only if they represent value for money. We will make this judgment guided by the results of the robust public sector comparator that London Underground has constructed. This explicitly allows for the possibility of public sector bond financing, in line with the scheme suggested by Transport for London.

A note outlining the methodology used to develop the comparator was placed in the Libraries of the House in March 2000. The results of the comparator will also be published once negotiations with bidders have been completed. To release the comparator any earlier would risk undermining London Underground's negotiating position and jeopardise its ability to achieve value for money for the taxpayer.

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what are the principal reasons for the cost overrun for the extension of the Jubilee Line from Green Park to Stratford; what his estimate of the total of that cost overrun is; what percentage of the original estimate that represents; what is the estimated cost; which parties overran in each case; what circumstances were responsible for the cost overrun; how much was paid to consultants in relation to the line extension; what assessment has been made of how inaccurate cost assessments contributed to cost overruns; what contractual mistakes were made and extra cost incurred from them; and if he will make a statement. [4728]

Mr. Jamieson: The Jubilee Line Extension (JLE) was a vast and complex undertaking, managed by London Transport/London Underground Limited. It was one of the largest engineering projects in this country for many years. This Government inherited a project already under way, and poorly planned. Various studies of the JLE have been carried out and others are still under way. The current forecast total cost is £3.5 billion, including commissioning costs. Actual final cost will not be known until all contracts and claims are settled. When it was given the go-ahead, the JLE was expected to cost £2.1 billion (at 1993 cash prices, excluding commissioning costs).

The causes of JLE cost overruns included the omission from the original figure of estimates for commissioning the line and turning it into a working railway; amendments to the programme and opening strategy

18 Jul 2001 : Column: 199W

which had associated acceleration and prolongation costs; changes to specifications such as the addition of CCTV, not originally specified but later required in line with improvements elsewhere on the Tube; 'descoping' of systems such as signalling and communications; and other factors entirely outside the control of the project or its contractors, such as the new Austrian tunnelling method collapse on the Heathrow Express Project which caused all NATM JLE tunnelling to be suspended causing delays of around six months. Industrial action and vandalism contributed to increased costs.

I will write to my hon. Friend about expenditure on consultants.

Various studies of the JLE have been undertaken. Some have already produced outcomes; others are still under way. The end of commission report by the Secretary of State's Agent, Ove Arup, made recommendations, and following the review of this report by Peter Gershon of the Office of Government Commerce, specific OGC recommendations on the whole process of major project approval and management are being implemented.

It is clear that project management and contractual arrangements contributed significantly to JLE overruns: this indicates the need for better measures for the future. Improved arrangements have been included in the contracts offered to bidders who will be London Underground's partners in the programme for the modernisation of the Tube. In particular, the private contractors will bear responsibility for projects that come in over time and beyond budget.

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many alternatives for the future funding of the London Underground were put to (a) him and (b) Transport for London; and if he will make a statement. [4727]

Mr. Jamieson: The Government ruled out privatisation of the Underground, but carefully considered all other options for modernising the Underground, including the use of bond financing, a public trust, joint ventures, vertically integrated business and the status quo. We firmly believe that our plans are the best way to achieve a 21st Century Tube, and to ensure safety and value for money. The Underground will remain publicly owned and run, and the massive programme of investment will be carried out in partnership with the private sector as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Transport for London submitted to the Mayor its outline of a programme for the rehabilitation and management of the Underground in December 2000 and a Proposed Management Plan for the London Underground in April 2001. It is a matter for Transport for London whether they considered any alternatives to the ideas put forward in those reports.

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how much (a) public capital investment and (b) private sector investment is proposed to be made in each of the next 15 years into the London Underground; what will be the return on capital for the private sector investors; who will pay it; and if he will make a statement. [4725]

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Mr. Jamieson: The plans for the modernisation of the Underground will deliver around £13 billion of investment to improve the underground's infrastructure over the next 15 years. It is estimated that some 20 per cent. of finance for these plans will be provided by the private sector, with the remainder coming from London Underground fares and Government grant.

The rate of the return for the private sector will be determined by the outcome of London Underground's negotiations with bidders. The agreed rate of return will be achieved only if the private companies meet their obligations to provide track, trains, signals and stations with increased capacity, better reliability and higher quality.

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