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Ms Oona King: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, pursuant to the answer of 25 March 2002, Official Report, column 667W, how many grants were made by and what the total value of grants was in each local authority in London running a cash incentive scheme in (a) 1997–98, (b) 1998–99, (c) 1999–2000 and (d) 2000–01. [48715]

Ms Keeble: The information requested is set out in the table.

Cash incentive scheme grants made by London boroughs, 1997–98 to 2000–01

Number of grants made Total value of grants (£ thousand)
Barking and Dagenham00000000
City of London127001508200
Hammersmith and Fulham50120082015500
Kensington and Chelsea299316302176625
Kingston upon Thames29271814594520387283
Tower Hamlets1178446361,258855489500
Waltham Forest533923211,028863647846

23 Apr 2002 : Column 181W


Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what constraints exist on the development of (a) new and (b) improved rail links to Heathrow from the West. [49470]

Mr. Byers: The overriding constraint for new or improved rail services is the heavy traffic already using the Great Western and South West Trains lines around Heathrow. The Strategic Rail Authority is considering how a package of service changes could assist in serving Heathrow from the West.

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) what assessment he has made as to the future demand for rail links to and from Heathrow from and through Berkshire; [49469]

Mr. Byers: The Strategic Rail Authority is actively working with BAA on developing proposals for rail service improvements to Heathrow, including the possibility of new and improved links to the west. The SRA is sponsoring the train service demand forecasting phase of this work, which will include services from Heathrow to the west.

23 Apr 2002 : Column 182W

Rail Use

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what is the estimated increase in use of (a) diesel trains and (b) electric trains, for passenger journeys over the lifetime of the 10-year plan. [49717]

Mr. Byers: The Government are committed to seeing a 50 per cent. increase in passengers over the next decade. No estimate has been made of a split between diesel and electric train usage.


Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what requirements must be satisfied by diesel rolling stock with regards to levels of (a) nitrogen oxide, (b) carbon dioxide and (c) noise emissions, for use on the UK rail network. [49708]

Mr. Byers: Railways are covered by the following:

23 Apr 2002 : Column 183W

Better Quality Services Initiative

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions which of the services of his Department have not been reviewed under the Better Quality Services Initiative; and when they will be reviewed. [50313]

Dr. Whitehead: The Better Quality Services (BQS) programme was launched in 1998 and adopted by the Cabinet Office in the Modernising Government White Paper of 1999 as a means of delivering continuous improvements in the quality and effectiveness of Government activities and services. It requires all Government Departments to review every activity and service over a five-year period starting in October 1999. The scheme covers all activities in Departments, agencies and executive non-departmental public bodies, and is similar in remit to the Best Value programme in local government.

The review of the Department's activities and services under the scheme started in 1999. The central Department has completed 12 reviews to date and others are on-going. There are still 53 activities and services to review. Our agencies and executive non-departmental public bodies have their own programmes of performance review.

Following an evaluation of the BQS scheme in September 2001, the management of the scheme by the Cabinet Office ceased. However, experience has shown that BQS is a useful management tool, particularly in examining central corporate management functions. Departments have therefore been encouraged not to discontinue its use simply as a result of central co-ordination ceasing, but to consider its use alongside other management tools, as appropriate.

Council Tax Arrears

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 4 March 2000, Official Report, column 84W, regarding rent and council tax arrears in England and Wales, for what reason his Department does not provide information on council tax arrears by local authority in England. [50329]

Dr. Whitehead: The Department does not at present collect information from local authorities on the level of council tax arrears, and so individual figures are not available. National estimates of the level of council tax arrears are derived from the results of a voluntary survey that is carried out each year by the Institute of Public Finance. These estimates were given in my answer of 4 March.

The Department is giving active consideration to collecting this information for future years.

23 Apr 2002 : Column 184W


Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what the cost in 2001–02 was of the pay increase to staff in his Department, agencies and the non-departmental public bodies for which he is responsible; and what the cost of the forthcoming increase will be in 2002–03. [50407]

Dr. Whitehead: The estimated cost in 2001–02 of the pay increase to staff in the Departments agencies and the non-departmental public bodies is given in the table.

Central Department5,000,000
Driving Standards Agency1,240,000
Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency5,600,000
Fire Service College140,000
Highways Agency1,300,000
Maritime and Coastguard Agency1,000,000
Planning Inspectorate780,000
Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre40,000
Rent Service(14)180,000
Vehicle Inspectorate1,930,000
Vehicle Certification Agency75,000
Non-departmental public bodies
Audit Commission(15) 3,000,000
English Partnerships(16)164,000
Health and Safety Executive4,000,000
Housing Action Trusts201,000
Housing Corporation740,000
Local Government Commission(17)63,000
Northern Lighthouse Board347,000
Parliamentary Boundary Commission for England and Wales12,000
Strategic Rail Authority278,000
Trinity House Lighthouse Service735,000

(14) For the Rent Service the cost cannot be given in full as the 2001–02 pay increase for two of the agency's three pay bargaining units have not yet been agreed. The cost was £180,000 for the pay increase for the pay bargaining unit which has been agreed (covering administrative staff who transferred to the agency from local authorities in 1999).

(15) The Audit Commission's financial year ends on 31 October.

(16) English Partnerships is a national body for regeneration and development bringing together the Urban Regeneration Agency and the Commission for the New Towns for which details of the cost of the pay increase is provided.

(17) The Local Government Commission's responsibilities were transferred to the Electoral Commission on 1 April.


The Standards Board for England (a new NDPB) was created on 1 February and will seek the first pay increase for its staff during 2002–03.

The Department is unable to provide these costs for 2002–03 as the pay increases for that year have not yet been agreed.

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