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Downing Street

Mr. Allen: To ask the Prime Minister how many people are employed at (a) No. 10 Downing street and (b) the Cabinet Office; and how many were employed there on 1 May 1997. [7134]

The Prime Minister: On 1 September, there were 5,284 staff employed by the Cabinet Office, of whom 175 staff were on the payroll of No. 10. Of these Cabinet Office staff, 2,458 worked in the Government Offices for the Regions.

Staff numbers of 1 May 1997 are not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.


Harry Cohen: To ask the Prime Minister what the Government's policy is on the assassination of enemy leaders. [11645]

The Prime Minister: Our policy is to act in accordance with UK and international law. One of our key objectives in the on-going military action in Afghanistan is to bring Osama bin Laden to justice.




Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what changes in implementation date he anticipates for the following projects owing to the change of ownership of Railtrack, (a) west coast main line in Scotland (i) overhead line equipment, (ii) electrical distribution systems, (iii) power supply systems and (iv) supervisory control and date acquisition system, (b) Edinburgh Waverley, (c) Glasgow Central, (d) Scottish Express routes, (e) automatic warning systems on Girvan to Stranraer, (f) Mossend interlocking renewal, (g) signal interlocking renewal at Glasgow Central, (h) service improvements throughout the Edinburgh urban routes, (i) new station at Beauly, (j) train protection on routes currently signalled using RETB in the Highland rural route and (k) Edinburgh Crossrail. [10396]

Mr. Jamieson: Railtrack's administration should not itself affect project implementation. The administrator has taken over Railtrack's contractual commitments and the Government will ensure that he has sufficient funds to maintain the full operation of the network. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State would expect any changes to contracts commitments to be agreed with the parties to the contracts and with the Strategic Rail Authority.

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Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) what assessment his Department has made of the impact of the decision to place Railtrack in administration on the value of local authority pension funds; [12239]

Mr. Byers [holding answer 2 November 2001]: My Department is in regular touch with all the interested parties on the effectiveness of the regulations that govern local authorities' responsibility for the management and investment of their pension funds. The regulations are designed to ensure that pension fund portfolios are adequately diversified and so be able to withstand changes in market conditions.

London Underground

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) at which discount rate used for the sensitivity analyses of the effect of changing discount rates on the relative levels of the public sector comparator and the bids for the London Underground PPPs a switching point or switching points were found; and if he will make a statement; [10464]

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Mr. Jamieson: The Government's plans for a publicly run, privately built tube will deliver around £13 billion of investment to improve the underground's infrastructure over the next 15 years. London Transport has yet to receive final bids on these plans. Consequently, it is too early to say whether changing the discount rate will lead to a switching point.

When final bids are received they will be evaluated for value for money on a variety of financing and discounting scenarios.

Ms Bridget Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many lines on the London Underground were subject to delayed or cancelled services on Tuesday 23 October; what the cause and length of the subsequent delay was for each line; and if more than one line was affected at any one time. [11559]

Mr. Jamieson: This is an operational matter for London Underground, which confirms that 10 lines (Central, Circle, District, East London, Hammersmith & City, Jubilee, Metropolitan, Northern, Piccadilly, Waterloo & City) were affected by delays (of at least 15 minutes) and/or cancellations. They have provided details of delays, their cause and duration as follows:

Incidents, which were a cause of significant train delays and cancellations on Tuesday, 23 October 2001

Time Location Nature of incidentDelay (minutes)
04.24Royal OakLate engineering work. Hammersmith & City Line suspended between Edgware Road to Hammersmith. Circle Line stock was prevented from reaching the service area from Hammersmith depot.59
04.59Rayners LaneNo signalman. Service suspended on the Piccadilly Line between South Harrow to Uxbridge and Metropolitan Line between Harrow-on-the-Hill and Uxbridge.66
05.18BlackfriarsLate engineering work. District Line suspended between South Kensington and Whitechapel.28
06.08WatfordAlleged (subsequently unfounded) signal irregularity. Metropolitan Line suspended between Northwood and Watford.85
08.06Canary WharfJubilee Line suspended between Canary Wharf and Stratford due to security alert (white powder found).65
09.01WhitechapelSecurity alert. Suspensions on the District (Tower Hill to Whitechapel), Hammersmith & City (Plaistow to Liverpool Street) and East London Lines (Shoreditch to Canada Water), due to a suspected World War II bomb (found to be a pipe).75
10.45Mansion HouseFire alert. Westbound service on the Circle and District Lines delayed.20
11.23Gloucester RoadFire alert. Westbound service on the Circle and District and Lines delayed.25
11.48High Street KensingtonFire alert. Service suspended between High Street Kensington and Edgware Road on the Circle and District Lines.47
15.24High Street KensingtonReport of persons on track. District Line suspended between Earls Court and Edgware Road. Circle Line suspended.68
16.50StratfordSignal failure. Eastbound service on Jubilee Line delayed.16
17.23MoorgateSignal failure. Metropolitan, Circle and Hammersmith & City Lines suspended between Edgware Road and Aldgate.45
18.09North GreenwichSignal failure. Jubilee Line suspended between London Bridge and Stratford.203
18.19Ealing BroadwaySecurity alert. Services suspended to North Acton (Central Line) and Turnham Green (District Line).34
22.19London BridgeSecurity alert. Northern Line suspended between Kennington to Camden Town.22
23.31Royal OakObstruction on track. Hammersmith & City Line suspended between Edgware Road and Hammersmith.45

Ms Bridget Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what plans his Department has to replace the current fixed block signalling system on London Underground lines with more modern systems; if the moving block computerised system has been considered as an alternative; and when new systems are likely to be implemented. [11561]

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Mr. Jamieson: This is a matter for London Underground Ltd. to consider.

London Underground has undertaken £84 million of signalling improvements since the Government announced plans for the modernisation of the tube on 20 May 1998. A further £27 million of improvements are being undertaken in this financial year.

The tube modernisation plans will deliver a massive increase in the level of investment across the underground. Examples of signalling improvements to be delivered in the first period of the contracts include new signals on the Northern line to get the full benefit from the new trains; replacement of the Victoria line signals as part of a complete modernisation package; an upgrade of the Jubilee line signalling; a new signalling control centre on the Piccadilly line; improved signal reliability on the Bakerloo line; and greater signal capacity for the Waterloo and City line. In addition, all the signalling on the Circle, District and Metropolitan lines will be renewed in the next 10 years.

The signalling improvements to be delivered are specified in terms of the outputs required; it is for bidders to decide what type of technology will best achieve the necessary results.

Ms Bridget Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how many delays on London Underground were reported to have been caused by problems with (a) track and signalling and (b) rolling stock in the latest year that figures are available; and if he will make a statement. [11560]

Mr. Jamieson: This is an operational matter for London Underground, which defines delays as intervals of 15 minutes or more, which is the threshold for granting refunds to passengers under the customer charter. In 2000–01, the latest complete year for which data on delays are available, delays were attributed as follows: (a) track on 236 occasions, and signals on 662 occasions; (b) rolling stock on 569 occasions.

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