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Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many NHS trusts he now expects to achieve EPR level 3 by 2004; how many have already purchased relevant systems; and how many have now submitted outline business cases. 
We are currently reviewing the way EPR level 3 can be assessed in the light of operational experience, which show that national health service trusts choose different routes to EPR based on local priority. It is important that these decisions are made on the basis of local circumstances. We are implementing an on-line performance management arrangement.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of GPs' surgeries were intended to be connected to NHSnet by the target date of March 2001; what proportion were connected; what proportion were connected at the latest date for which figures are available; what proportion of GPs now connected use the system in practice; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Blears [holding answer 22 October 2001]: Our Information Management and Technology strategy for the national health service, "Building the Information CoreImplementing the NHS Plan", published in January 2001 gave the target of 95 per cent. of general practitioners practices in England to be connected to NHSnet by end of March 2001.
At that date 93.6 per cent. of practices in England had an NHSnet line installed. At the latest date for which figures are available 97 per cent. of practices in England have an NHSnet line installed.
Nationally, 77 per cent. of practices in England have completed acceptance tests which include demonstrating that local staff are able to use e-mail over NHSnet. Although usage of NHSnet is monitored centrally, the
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extent to which individual practices use e-mail depends on local work practices and information on usage is not available centrally.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when in the last year key services forming part of NHSnet failed for more than 24 hours consecutively; what the causes of such failures were; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Blears [holding answer 22 October 2001]: Yes. On Saturday 1 September, NHSnet services were temporarily affected by a power surge at a data centre that damaged equipment. Backup systems were brought into use immediately and an operational service was restored within minutes. During the following week, configuration problems were identified that caused network congestion and delay to messages. Immediate corrective action was taken.
Kate Hoey: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many quality marked community legal service providers are able to provide interpreting services for deaf clients; and what plans she has to increase this number. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: There are 1,276 quality marked community legal service providers able to provide interpreting services for deaf clients through a British sign language interpreter or text phone services. Most providers, particularly those providing specialist help, are able to appoint an external expert such as a sign language interpreter. We are working to increase the numbers of providers who offer such services. The Legal Services Commission is working with the London learning and skills council to help support small and ethnic groups achieve the quality mark. A pilot is being run in two London boroughs and includes disability groups. All Community Legal Service Partnerships' needs assessments are identifying where there is a need for improved access to services for the deaf.
Mr. Jamieson: In 199495 and 199596, when Railtrack was still in the public sector, grants of £32 million and £34 million were paid towards the cost of maintaining level crossings. Since its privatisation in
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1996 the company has recovered those costs, and other costs, through access charges paid by passenger train operating companies (TOCs) and freight operating companies (FOCs). So, although no grant was paid direct to the company between 199697 and 200001, the company's profitability in those years was contingent on public money. Some 90 per cent. of its income is paid to it in access charges by TOCs and FOCs, most of which are supported by public money.
In addition, in accordance with the terms of Railtrack's 2 April agreement with Government, Railtrack received £337 million of network grant on 1 October 2001; and the company, or its successor body, will receive £162 million of network grant in 200102 in respect of the (October 2000) final conclusions of the Rail Regulator's periodic review of access charges.
Mr. Jamieson: The Government have committed themselves to provide the railway administrators with sufficient funds to allow them to continue to pay trade creditors as invoices fall due for payment. We have also committed ourselves to provide sufficient funds to pay non-default interest, lease rentals and scheduled repayments to finance creditors for an initial period of 45 days. This will continue for the finance creditors who have signed up to certain standstill arrangements until a transfer scheme is proposed.
We intend to enable a proposal to be made to the railway administrators which would, if accepted, result in the transfer of both the business of the company and the debt of the finance creditors participating in the standstill to a new company limited by guarantee. The new company would be financially sound and have a credit rating of at least BBB and potentially higher. Indebtedness would be transferred on broadly the same economic terms, applicable in the absence of default, as applied immediately before administration. Lenders should not lose any principal or interest.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he has received an undertaking from the Treasury to guarantee finance required by the successor company to Railtrack to invest in the rail network. 
Mr. Jamieson: West LB has written to my Department setting out in broad terms its proposals for a scheme to take Railtrack plc out of administration. It will be for West LB to consider how to develop its proposals and whether or not to submit them to the railway administrator, who is responsible for making proposals on how to move the company out of administration.
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Mr. Norman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions when he first advised (a) Treasury officials and (b) officials in his Department that his preferred option was to put Railtrack into administration. 
Mr. Jamieson [holding answer 22 October 2001]: Having reviewed all the relevant papers and considered all the options, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions decided not to accept Railtrack's proposal for additional funding on 5 October. Officials in my Department and in HM Treasury were subsequently informed of my right hon. Friend's decision and of his intention to petition for a Railway Administration Order.
Mr. Norman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions on what date he first obtained legal advice regarding the possibility of putting Railtrack into administration. 
Mr. Jamieson [holding answer 22 October 2001]: Since the date on which Railtrack made its request for additional funding, my right hon. Friend has taken a wide range of advice, including legal advice, on all the options available to him and their possible consequences.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what meetings his officials held with Ernst and Young to discuss whether Railtrack plc should be put into administration; and when these meetings were held. 
Mr. Jamieson [holding answer 25 October 2001]: My officials had regular meetings with representatives of Ernst and Young after an initial meeting on 23 August and their subsequent engagement as advisers.
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