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Mr. Caborn: The new opportunities school sport initiative is one of 13 programmes operated by the fund in the areas of health, education and the environment. The estimated direct costs for this programme to 31 March 2002 are £767,600 of which £97,600 represents start-up costs. Over the lifetime of its programmes, the new opportunities fund aims to keep its running costs within 5 per cent. of its lottery income.
Mr. Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans she has to merge the New Opportunities Fund for Sport organisation with Sport England; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Caborn: The new opportunities fund is the body designated in the National Lottery Act 1998 to distribute lottery funds to initiatives concerned with health, education and the environment, one of which is the new opportunities for PE and school sport initiative. I have no plans to merge the new opportunities fund with Sport England.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to his answer of 1 November 2001, Official Report, column 802W, on departmental assets, if he will estimate the value of the Government art collection; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: It is not possible to give an accurate estimate of the value of the Government art collection, which, as a non-operational heritage asset, has no current market valuation. The current monetary value of a work of art can be accurately assessed only at the time of its purchase or sale or by professional valuation. The collection is not actively traded, and it would not be a justifiable expenditure of public funds to have the whole collection valued professionally.
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that the purchase price provides a reliable basis for capitalisation. This accounting policy will apply to national museums and galleries and other collections from 1 April 2001. The value of purchased additions to the Government art collection as at 31 March 2001 is £124,000.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if the Rough Sleepers Unit will compile information about the number of hotel places in major centres of population. 
Ms Keeble: The Rough Sleepers Unit already compiles information on the hostel bedspaces that it funds. In addition, local authorities around the country hold information on hostel bedspaces in their area.
The RSU required local authorities with significant numbers of rough sleepers to assess the provision of hostel accommodation in their areas in order to develop local rough sleeping strategies. This information is held and reviewed locally but has not been compiled centrally by the RSU.
However, the RSU is now considering its future beyond April 2002 and information on hostel provision will be an important feature of any future work. Therefore such information will be compiled in the new year.
Under the provisions of the Homelessness Bill, local housing authorities would be expected to review the resources available to the authority and its partners in their periodic homelessness reviews: this should include reviews of hostel and other accommodation available to homeless people.
Mr. Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions on how many occasions in (a) 2001, (b) 2000 and (c) 1999 services on the west coast main line have been disrupted owing to collapse or other failure of the overhead power cables; and what average length of delay has been caused to passenger services as a result. 
Mr. Jamieson: The following table from Railtrack shows the disruption to passenger and freight trains on the west coast main line caused by incidents involving overhead lines in 1999, 2000 and 2001. I understand that data are not separately available for passenger services only.
|Total minutes delay
|Number of incidents
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Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he has asked the National Audit Office to evaluate the PPP bids for the London Underground once the final bids have been prepared; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jamieson: The National Audit Office produced a report into the financial analysis of the London Underground PPPs in December 2000. The NAO has examined the further work London Underground and its advisers are undertaking on the financial analysis of the PPPs, and found that London Underground intends to take the issues raised by the NAO in its earlier report on board. I understand that, while the NAO will continue to monitor the situation, it does not believe that a further report at this stage would be useful.
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) what assumptions regarding the cost to the public sector of cost overruns he is planning to include in the guidance for the public sector comparator for assessing the public-private partnership bids for London Underground; 
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. The Secretary of State has made clear that he will only be prepared for these plans to go ahead if he is content that they represent value for money.
London Underground is carrying out a thorough evaluation of the value for money of bids, guided by the results of a public sector comparator. The detailed assumptions made in this comparator, including those on cost overruns, have been developed by London Underground, assisted by its engineering advisers Ove Arup and its financial advisers PricewaterhouseCoopers. I understand that London Underground, again assisted by its advisers, is currently reviewing the comparator to ensure that it represents a level-playing-field test for evaluating final bids.
The value for money evaluation of the London Underground PPPs will be made publicly available, but not until London Underground has concluded its negotiations with bidders. To publish the value for money evaluation any earlier would reveal London Underground's negotiating position and so undermine its ability to achieve best value.
Mr. Jamieson: This is a matter for the British Transport Police (BTP). The BTP collate all data in relation to incidences of crime on London Underground. They publish annual crime statistics for London Underground, using Home Office guidelines, within their annual report. A Crime and Disorder audit is carried out annually for underground stations and this is also
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Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what representations have been made by the police in the past five years in respect of raising the maximum speed limit on motorways in the UK to 80 mph. 
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) what external validation (a) will be and (b) has been applied to the use of New Earnings Survey statistical data used for distribution of the area cost adjustment for 200203; 
(3) what criteria he uses to assess the acceptability of statistical confidence limits for data used for distribution of the area cost adjustment for 200203; 
(4) what discussions his Department has had with the Office for National Statistics about the use of the New Earnings Survey in the calculation of the area cost adjustment for 200203. 
Dr. Whitehead: The use of New Earnings Survey (NES) data for the purposes of calculating the area cost adjustment have been the same in every local government finance settlement since 199394. Ministers at the time, after extensive discussion with local government, decided that the current methodology was the most appropriate use of the data for distributing grant to local government. When the methodology was developed, there was consideration of sample sizes and whether to base the area cost adjustment on one or two years of NES data.
We announced on 20 July that we do not intend to change this long established methodology for 200203, while we review the grant distribution formulae as a whole in time for 200304. We have made careful checks that we are using the NES data in the usual way for 200203. This includes confirming that the NES data supplied to us by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) are correct, and validating the area cost adjustment calculations by ensuring that at least two members of our grant distribution team independently derive the same results. External validation by those outside Government is not possible because of the need to ensure the confidentiality of those included in the survey.
We have also been party to discussions between the ONS and the Association of London Government (ALG), who asked the ONS for an explanation of the movements in the data since last year. The ONS reply to the ALG confirms that the data that underpin the area cost adjustment for 200203 are correct. The reply is also a helpful contribution to our formula grant review. For example, it has a bearing on whether we should address possible volatility around small samples by using an
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average of two or three years of NES data for the area cost adjustment. Smoothing the area cost adjustment in this way is one of the options we are currently discussing with local government.