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Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Prime Minister, pursuant to his answer of 30 April 2002, Official Report, column 658W, if MOD pensioners may continue to draw cash at post offices if they have an account with the Halifax Bank of Scotland, the Royal Bank of Scotland or Clydesdale Bank plc under the revised arrangements introduced from April. 
The Prime Minister: The facility to draw cash at post offices for the 2 per cent. of armed forces pensioners affected by the revised arrangements does not extend currently to the accounts with any of these banks. As I stated in my answer to the hon. Member for North Wiltshire (Mr. Gray) on 30 April 2002, Official Report, column 658W, pensioners may continue to draw cash at post offices subject to having an account with the Alliance and Leicester, Barclays, Cahoot, Lloyds TSB, Smile or the Co-operative bank. This facility also applies to pensioners who have First Direct accounts, although restricted solely to those residing in Scotland.
From April 2003, however, as part of the universal banking services package, all of the main United Kingdom banks, including those listed in the question, have agreed to make their basic accounts, which include the facility to draw cash, available at post offices.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Prime Minister if his Office has a policy of not considering applications for employment by persons over a particular age. 
The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him by my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Cabinet Office, today.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions he has had with the Airline Group about the (a) technical issues at and (b) the financing of NATS. 
Mr. Jamieson: NATS' financial position is regularly discussed by all parties concernedNATS, the Airline Group, the Government as the other main shareholder, the Civil Aviation Authority as regulator and the banks. All are making a contribution to ensuring that NATS has a robust financial structure for the foreseeable future.
Technical issues are operational matters for NATS.
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Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what assessment he has made of the implications for future air traffic volumes if NATS delivers its investment plan; 
Mr. Jamieson: NATS recently announced a £1 billion investment plan, detailing its strategic and operational direction for the next decade. This positions the company for the fundamental changes that are expected to take place in European air traffic management over the next 10 to 15 years and gives it the headroom needed to handle safely a further 1 million flights a year by 2011.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the status is of negotiations to increase investment by other parties in NATS; and what commitments the Government have made in connection with its intention to invest further sums of money in NATS. 
Mr. Jamieson: The competition for a new investor in NATS is being run by the company's chairman on commercially confidential terms.
As a responsible shareholder in NATS, the Government have said that they would be prepared to match appropriate third party investment.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many reports the HSE has issued in connection with the NATS in (a) 2002, (b) 2001, (c) 2000 and (d) 1999. 
Mr. Jamieson: HSE has sent only one report to NATS since the beginning of 1999. That was the one by its expert on display screen equipment on the risks to the health of those operating the air traffic control system at Swanwick following a visit in January 2002.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on how many occasions in (a) 1999, (b) 2000, (c) 2001 and (d) 2002 the HSE has been notified of problems at NATS. 
Mr. Jamieson: NATS is a large organisation operating at many locations throughout the country. Since the beginning of 1999 NATS has notified HSE of 16 reportable accidents nationally. A yearly breakdown follows. In order to protect complainants and because not all may be justified, HSE does not disclose the number of complaints it receives concerning individual employers.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish the reports by the Health and Safety Executive on IT systems in operation at Swanwick and West Drayton. 
Mr. Jamieson: HSE has already sent a copy of its report on the operation of IT systems at Swanwick to the employer, NATS, and to the representatives of the
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relevant employees in accordance with its duty to keep them informed about matters affecting their health and safety. HSE will endeavour to release the report more widely. However there are statutory restrictions on the disclosure of information obtained by HSE in pursuance of its powers and at present they still apply to this report.
I will write to the hon. Member as soon as I am able to give him any further information on this issue.
There is no corresponding report on the operation of the display screen equipment at West Drayton air traffic control centre.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will make a statement on the effects of the IT patterns at the Swanwick air traffic control centre on air traffic volumes; 
(3) what assessment he has made of the likely reliability of IT systems at Swanwick and West Drayton over the summer; 
(4) what assurances he has received from the Airline Group about the reliability of NATS IT systems; 
(5) what steps the Government have taken to assess the reliability of the air traffic control systems at Swanwick. 
Mr. Jamieson: Responsibility for the air traffic control systems at Swanwick and West Drayton rests with NATS. NATS has successfully implemented solutions for the recent problems at these centres and have given assurances that they are doing everything they can to ensure that their systems are resilient. Safety was not compromised in any way.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when Swanwick will assume responsibility for all air traffic services from the centres at Manchester and West Drayton; and what conditions will need to be met before this takes place. 
Mr. Jamieson: This is a matter for NATS. I understand that subject to detail planning, the Manchester and West Drayton air traffic services will be moved to Swanwick by 2008.
Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions he has had with and representations he has received from (a) the Health and Safety Executive, (b) the Health and Safety Commission, (c) the Civil Aviation Authority, (d) National Air Traffic Services and (e) other organisations relating to health and safety issues associated with the operation of air traffic control centre at Swanwick; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jamieson: No such discussions or representations have taken place.
John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what impact the financial position of National Air Traffic Services is having on the building of the new air traffic control centre at Prestwick. 
Mr. Jamieson: I have been asked to reply.
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I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to my hon. Friend the Member for Galloway and Upper Nithsdale (Mr. Duncan) on 23 January 2002, Official Report, columns 86263W.
Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent approaches Manchester Airport plc has made to his Department to alter departure routes from Manchester airport. 
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what assessment the Government have made of (a) the draft EU regulation on establishing common rules in the field of aviation security and (b) the recommendation of the European Parliament that member state Governments should meet an equitable share of the costs of airport security. [60012R]
Mr. Jamieson: I have been asked to reply.
The Government are fully committed to the establishment of common rules for aviation security throughout Europe and regards the agreed measures in European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) Document 30 as the appropriate basis for doing so. It welcomes the EU initiative, which will aid compliance and views many of the amendments proposed by the European Parliament as useful clarification.
However, the UK firmly believes that the financing of aviation security should be for each individual state to determine. It is for aerodromes and airlines to decide how best to comply with the regulation within the context of the UK National Aviation Security Programme, and how associated costs are passed on to the user. This system has been used to good effect in the UK for many years.
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