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30. Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions how much has been set aside for debt write-off connected to large scale transfers of council housing stock (a) in respect of properties already transferred and (b) to cover planned transfers. 
31. Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what his assessment is of the impact Terminal 5's extra passengers will have on M4 traffic to the west of Heathrow; and how he intends to improve public transport to Heathrow from the west. 
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Mr. Jamieson: Public transport access and impact on the road network were considered at length during the Terminal 5 inquiry. In approving Terminal 5, the Secretary of State decided that questions about widening the M4 in the Heathrow area and improving Junctions 3 and 4 should be referred to the London to Reading Multi-Modal Study. The Strategic Rail Authority is actively working with BAA to develop proposals for rail service improvements including the possibility of new and improved rail links to the west.
Last month my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions announced that we are inviting nine areas to work with the Government in developing pathfinders to tackle low demand and abandoned housing.
Last Thursday my right hon. Friend announced that £25 million was being made available from the Capital Modernisation Fund for investment in the nine pathfinder areas. This will enable each pathfinder to start early the process of preparing a strategic plan and inform future investment.
Dr. Whitehead: The Electoral Commission began its evaluation of the pilot schemes on 3 May and will report to the Secretary of State by 2 August 2002. The evaluation will provide a detailed assessment of the impact of new voting methods on election turnout and voting.
Dr. Whitehead: In our White Paper "Strong Local LeadershipQuality Public Services", published last December, we set out our plans for the council tax. These include first revaluation in 2007 with 10-yearly revaluations thereafter; giving local authorities discretion on discounts and exemptions; and not using the reserve capping powers for high performing authorities.
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Ms Keeble: We are introducing a range of regulatory measures to deal with disruption to road users caused by works on the street. In particular, last April we introduced powers allowing highway authorities to levy charges on utility works which are not completed to deadline. We are also piloting powers allowing authorities to levy "lane rental" on utilities for the whole duration of their works.
As to maintenance work carried out on trunk roads, the Highways Agency aims to keep to a minimum disruption caused by such works; for example, wherever possible routine maintenance is undertaken outside peak hours.
Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what assumptions underlie the capital value of the London Underground public-private partnership capital value as stated in table C18 of Financial Statement and Budget report 2002 (HC592); and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jamieson: The Financial Statement and Budget report 2002 as a whole is of course a matter for HM Treasury. Table C18 of the report refers to the £16 billion of investment and maintenance in the tube that the London Underground public-private partnerships are expected to deliver over the next 15 years. This estimate, which is in April 2002 prices, is consistent with the preferred bids for the PPP contracts. The figure is also consistent with the guidance for reporting the information in table C18 as set out in Treasury Taskforce Policy Statement (Number 5).
Dr. Naysmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) if he will make a statement on progress made on the review of political restrictions on local government officers; 
Dr. Whitehead: We will shortly be starting the review process looking at political restrictions on local government officers and intend to publish a consultation paper containing proposals later this year.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, (1) pursuant to his answer of 30 April 2002, Official Report, column 675W, on infrastructure charging research, if he will publish figures for the cost of research commissioned by his Department, or the DETR, in each year since 1997; if he will publish the estimated cost for the forthcoming year; and if he will publish a summary of the work so far on (a) user acceptance, (b) social-spatial inclusion and
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exclusion, (c) trade-off between practical and optimal cordon congestion charging and (d) economic geography of congestion charging; 
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(3) if he will make a statement on the assessment he has made of the effect of congestion charging on social-spatial inclusion and exclusion. 
|Actual annual spend||Forecast spend|
|Demonstration of Interoperable Charging and Telematics Systems||||||||||2,600||7,000||9,000||3,400||22,000||December 2004|
|Dynamic Freight Analysis||||||||||11||32||12||||55||April 2004|
|Economic Geography of Congestion Charging||||||12||13||16||4||||||45||December 2003|
|Trade-off between practical and optimal cordon congestion charging||||||||6||5||6||||||17||December 2003|
|Charging Appraisal Frameworks||||||7||10||19||14||7||||57||December 2004|
|Scheme Design and User Acceptance||||||8||16||10||18||||||52||December 2002|
|Measuring the impacts of road user charging and the workplace parking levy on social-spatial inclusion and exclusion||||||||4||9||116||||||129||March 2003|
The research seeks to help local authorities select the most appropriate form of road user charging scheme for an urban area, taking into account local economic, social and environmental circumstances. To do this an "options decision matrix" has been developed; its practical validity will be assessed by applying it to a number of case study areas.
This work looks at the effects of road user charging and the work place parking levy on social inclusion and social exclusion, both generally and in terms of gender, ethnicity, and age. It includes contracts with the universities of Oxford and Lancaster worth a total of £116,000. The aim of the research is to provide material and advice which will assist local authorities in assessing the possible social impact of particular congestion charging scheme options.
The research examines the balance between congestion reduction and public acceptance of cordon charging schemes. It partly involves formulating a mathematical representation of an urban charging cordon. However, it seeks to ensure that the model has practical relevance by incorporating the results of a survey of six UK local authorities. This survey looks at the design of charging cordons and their objectives and effects, and public response to them. The overall aim is to assist local authorities in the design of such schemes.
The project is examining the possible links between congestion charging and the long-term use and development of land. It is assessing the effects on a case study area of various different assumptions about charging, the use of the charging revenues, and other forms of traffic restraint. Here too, the aim is to help local authorities assess the implications of possible congestion charging schemes.
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