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Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions when he expects to publish the conclusions of the review of the local government pension scheme announced in Local Government Pensions Committee Circular No. 106. 
Dr. Whitehead: The conclusions of the stock-take exercise on the local government pension scheme are being considered. An announcement about the next steps will be made shortly. I can confirm that no regulatory changes are envisaged to the scheme benefit package.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what requirements there are on councils with regard to the wording of council tax bills in respect of precepts by town and parish councils. 
Dr. Whitehead: Council tax bills must show the billing authority's council tax and percentage change from last year for the dwelling in question, inclusive of any local precept for the area in which the dwelling is situated. The demand notice must also show separately either the total of any local precept or the per dwelling amount of any local precept, and the name of the local precepting authority. These requirements are set out in Schedule 1 to the Council Tax and Non-Domestic Rating (Demand Notices) (England) Regulations 1993 (S.I. 1993191).
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what estimate he has made of the total savings of the Private Finance Initiative contract for the (a) M1/A1 Link Road, (b) A1(M), (c) A30/35, (d)M40, (e) A417/419, (f) A19, (g) A50, (h) A69 and (i) second Severn Crossing by comparison with a non-Private Finance Initiative alternative. 
Mr. Jamieson: The following figures show the savings estimated at the time of contract award.
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Figures are net present values calculated at an 8 per cent. real discount rate. This was the rate used for assessing road projects at the time of contract award.
I understand that the publicly and privately financed options for the second Severn Crossing were evenly matched.
Mr. Jack: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what his Department's definition is of (a) a trunk road and (b) a strategic route. 
Mr. Spellar: The trunk road network is the national system of routes for through traffic. The Highways Agency manages this network in England on behalf of the Secretary of State. There is no definition of a strategic route but we identified a core network of nationally important trunk routes in "A New Deal for Trunk Roads in England" published in July 1998.
Mr. Jack: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will make a statement on the reasons why the A683 link to the M6 is designated a strategic routeway; and if he will list the factors which determined the designation of the M6 Link Road Scheme to Heysham a proposal of regional significance. 
Mr. Spellar: The designation of the A683 as a strategic routeway and the M6 to Heysham Link as a route of regional significance was made by the North West Regional Assembly in its role as the Regional Planning Body.
The designation process of roads as routes of Regional significance by the NWRA considered a number of factors, most specifically, the function of a particular route in terms of its strategic importance, status and type of traffic carried.
Mr. Jack: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will list the reasons for and provide an analysis of the factors which led to the proposal to detrunk the A585. 
Mr. Spellar: My noble Friend the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty)
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confirmed the routes in the core trunk road network in April 1999. The routes were identified following public consultation and taking the following factors into account:
accessing major ports, airports and rail intermodal terminals;
joining the peripheral regions to the centre;
providing key cross-border links to Scotland and Wales;
classification as part of the UK Trans-European Road Network.
Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what the timetable is for improving the road safety of the A14 crossroads at Rookery. 
Mr. Jamieson: Draft Orders for the A14 Rookery Crossroads improvement scheme were published on 21 March 2002. Depending on the number and nature of any objections received in response to the publication of the draft Orders, a public inquiry may be necessary. Subject to the completion of the necessary statutory procedures work on the scheme is expected to start in 200405 and be completed in 200506.
Mr. Ivan Henderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what recent discussions the Government have had with the transport industry on concessionary travel for those under 18 who are (a) in full time education and (b) unemployed. 
Ms Keeble: In recent months officials from both the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions and the Social Exclusion Unit have participated in discussions held by the Commission for Integrated Transport involving the transport industry. These discussions have covered a number of issues including concessionary fares for those under 18. Both the SEU and CfIT will report later this year.
Free travel is provided under the education acts for school children living more than the statutory walking distances from school. Separately, school age children are often allowed half-fare travel, either funded by local authorities or by transport operators on a commercial basisusually on all journeys they make, not just to and from school or college. Many transport operators offer discounted fares to "Jobseekers". In addition, the Department for Education and Skills is developing the Connexions Card which will offer a range of commercial discounts for all 1619 year olds. The card will be capable of carrying existing travel concessions and is expected to be available nationally from autumn 2002.
Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions when he last had discussions with the Scottish Executive regarding the industrial dispute by employees of Scotrail; and what the outcome of these discussions was. 
Mr. Jamieson: Ministers have regular discussions with the Scottish Executive on rail related issues.
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Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will make a statement on progress towards upgrading the South Central network; and in what timeframe work will be completed. 
Mr. Jamieson: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, to the hon. Member for Maidenhead (Theresa May) on Thursday 18 April 2002, Official Report, columns 1103W-1104W. I expect the Strategic Rail Authority to be able to sign a new franchise agreement with GoVia later this year.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Epsom and Ewell (Chris Grayling), of 26 March 2001, Official Report, column 959W, on rail performance measures, when he intends to publish the benchmarks to which he refers; if he will list the benchmarks published to date; and by whom and how these benchmarks will be measured. 
Mr. Jamieson: The benchmarks are the figures published on 18 February 2002 (reliability & punctuality, and safety) and 18 March (quality), the sources for which were specified at the time.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, pursuant to his reply of 25 March 2002, Official Report, column 664W, on the Strategic Rail Authority, if he will list the (a) processes and (b) outcomes to which he refers. 
Mr. Jamieson: Each Multi Modal Study will have a separate set of outcomes, and processes, which may involve the Strategic Rail Authority, some of which they will be required to implement.
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