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Mr. Howard: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) what estimate he has made of the total potential liabilities to the Exchequer which will arise from underwriting the contingent liabilities of the public-private partnerships for London Underground, as proposed in the letters of comfort and Minute from the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions to the partners in the PPP presented to Parliament on 21 March 2002; and how those liabilities will be treated and presented in the national accounts; 
Mr. Spellar [holding answer 10 April 2002]: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State's Minute to Parliament explained that the proposed comfort letters would cover a wide range of obligations on London Underground under the PPP contracts. In normal circumstances, the letter recognises the annual payments that will be made by London Underground to the infrastructure companies for the successful delivery of the required services, However, it also recognises that, in the unlikely event of an infrastructure company persistently and materially defaulting on its obligations in a way which leads to a termination of the PPP, then any funds put up by shareholders in the infrastructure company would be wholly at risk. In addition, an 'underpinned amount' would become payable to the lenders to the infrastructure
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company concerned. This is capped at the total value of the third party debt and has a floor of 95 per cent. of that amount.
The contingent liability will be to repay some or all of the debt that has already been invested in the improvement of the Tube. The potential size of the payment will therefore depend on the amount of debt that has been invested at the time the underpinned amount becomes payable.
The Department's Resource Accounts are drawn in accordance with the Treasury Resource Accounting Manual, which takes account of all financial reporting standards pronounced by the Accounting Standards Board. The contingent liability arising from any letters of comfort would therefore be recorded as a Note to the Department's Resource Accounts.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has now decided to extend the consultation period for the comfort letters to provide the customary notification period.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) what is the estimated increase in use of diesel trains for rail freight use over the lifetime of the 10-year plan; 
(3) what volume of rail freight traffic is hauled by (a) electric and (b) diesel locomotives. 
Mr. Byers: The Strategic Rail Authority does not keep data on the form of traction used by freight operating companies.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what is the estimated number of journeys made per month by road hauliers (a) to transfer freight onto the rail network and (b) to transfer freight from the rail network to its final destination in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Byers: The information requested is not available on a monthly basis.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what compensation is being given to rail freight operators as a result of disruption to rail freight facilities through the Channel tunnel. [49033R]
Mr. Spellar: The companies affected should, in the first instance, be exploring the remedies available to them under their contracts and under EU law on the free movement of goods.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what estimate he has made of the impact on his ten-year transport plan of the rail freight disruption through the channel tunnel since November 2001; and if he will revise his estimated increase of rail freight. [49026R]
Mr. Jamieson: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave on 26 March 2002, Official Report, column 957W.
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Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what plans he has to encourage the increase of freight by rail within the Greater London area. 
Mr. Jamieson: The Strategic Rail Authority's (SRA's) Freight Strategy proposes a number of initiatives for increasing use of rail freight in Greater London. The SRA is also working with Transport for London and its London Sustainable Distribution Partnership to identify opportunities for sustainable urban distribution.
The SRA will be focusing on London when it produces its regional freight strategy for London and the south-east later this year.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what the estimated environmental benefit is in increasing the volume of rail freight traffic by (a) 10 per cent., (b) 20 per cent., (c) 30 per cent., (d) 40 per cent., (e) 50 per cent. and (f) 60 per cent. by 201011. 
Mr. Byers: The environmental effect will vary depending on how the increase in the volume of rail freight traffic is achieved. An increase in rail freight will, in general, cause an increase in emissions from the rail sector. However, to the extent that this is achieved through modal shift there will be some offsetting benefits, reducing the impact of transport on the environment.
Mr. Collins: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland on how many occasions since 1 May 1997 (a) departmental and (b) non-departmental special advisers have travelled abroad in an official capacity; and if she will list the total cost, including (i) travel, (ii) accommodation and (iii) subsistence allowance, for each occasion. 
Mrs. Liddell [holding answer 27 February 2002]: The Scotland Office was established in its present form on 1 July 1999.
Between 1 April 2000 and 31 March 2001 no special advisers in my Department travelled abroad in an official capacity. Information for the last financial year is not yet available.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if she will list the functions of her Department that have been (a) market tested and (b) outsourced in each of the last five years, specifying the (i) money saving and (ii) percentage saving in each case. 
Mrs. Liddell: The Scotland Office was established in its present form on 1 July 1999. The Department has not market tested or outsourced any function during this period.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what the total external spending by her Department was
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on public-private partnership consultants in each of the last four years; how many full-time equivalent consultants were employed over this period; how many billed consultancy days there were per year; what the implied average cost of each PPP consultant was; how many consultancy firms were used by her Department over this period; and if she will make a statement. 
Mrs. Liddell: The Scotland Office was established in its present form on 1 July 1999. The Department has had no expenditure on public-private partnership consultants.
Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many contracts her Office has with consultants; what level of professional indemnity insurance is standard in contracts with small consultants; whether she can make exceptions to the level of professional indemnity insurance; and what recent discussions she has had with other Government Departments about the level of professional indemnity insurance. 
Mrs. Liddell: My Department currently has no contracts with consultants. On discussions with other Departments, I refer to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 4 February 2002, Official Report, column 689W.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Advocate-General if she will list the functions of her Department that have been (a) market tested and (b) outsourced in each of the last five years, specifying the (i) money saving and (ii) percentage saving in each case. 
The Advocate-General: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given today by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland.
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