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Freight Transport

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proposals he has for promoting the shift of freight transport from road to rail in the West Midlands to Manchester Midman Transport Corridor. [63160]

Mr. Spellar: The West Midlands to North West Conurbation (MIDMAN) Multi Modal study has considered the shift of freight from road to rail. The Study Final Report was published on 3 May 2002. Both the West Midlands Local Government Association and North West Regional Assembly are currently considering the Report and will make recommendations to the Secretary of State in due course. As with all rail aspects of this study, they will need to take account of the ongoing discussions on the West Coast Main Line.

Channel Tunnel (Rail Freight)

Mr. Joyce: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the outcome of the meeting held on 30 May between the UK Government, French Government and European Commission to discuss the disruption of rail freight services through the Channel Tunnel. [63379]

Mr. Spellar: The Government thanked the Commission for its previous initiatives under the Free Movement of Goods Regulation. At the meeting, the French Government provided a timetable for improved security measures, to be completed in November. The UK Government pressed the French to look carefully at how they could accelerate it.

We have expressed our willingness in principle to help in any way we can. In particular we are willing to provide specialist detection equipment. Close bilateral contacts between UK and France continue.

Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will seek compensation in respect of the cancellation of EWS services through the channel tunnel; and if he will make a statement. [63186]

Mr. Spellar [holding answer 20 June 2002]: It would not be appropriate to seek compensation from the European Union for disruptions to EWS services caused by restrictions imposed by SNCF. Freight operators can seek to enforce EU law on the free movement of goods in the French courts, and this could include a claim for losses caused by the breach of that law.

We continue to press the French Government to consider carefully how the programme of further security improvements at Fréthun, due to be completed in November, might be accelerated.

Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects EWS services to be restarted in the Channel Tunnel. [63187]

Mr. Spellar [holding answer 20 June 2002]: EWS services through the Channel Tunnel have continued to run, albeit at a greatly reduced level. The French authorities have put in hand a programme of further security improvements, which are due to be completed in November. We are pressing the French to consider

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carefully how this might be accelerated. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport has asked the Chairman of the Strategic Rail Authority to discuss urgently with the chairman of SNCF how the earliest possible return to normal train services could be achieved.

Mr. Joyce: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions he has had with the French Government in respect of restoring the free movement of exports by rail through the Channel Tunnel. [63663]

Mr. Spellar: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport and I have written to the new French Transport Minister and Transport Secretary emphasising the need to ensure a rapid restoration of full rail freight services through the Channel Tunnel. I met the French Transport Minister, Gilles de Robien, on 17 June and discussed this issue with him. The French authorities have put in hand a programme of further security improvements, which are due to be completed in November. We are pressing the French to consider carefully how this might be accelerated.

Rural Transport Network

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to improve the rural transport network by providing extra funding. [63530]

Mr. Spellar: The Rural White Paper published in November 2000 announced that #239 million will be specifically made available for rural transport in England for the three year period 2001–02 to 2003–04, a 54 per cent. increase in funding relative to the previous three year period 1998–99 to 2000–01. Funding levels for future years beyond 2003–04 will be decided following the outcome of the 2002 Spending Review.

Railtrack

Mr. Martlew: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects Railtrack to come out of administration; and if he will make a statement. [61155]

Mr. Spellar: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Epsom and Ewell (Mr. Grayling) on 15 May 2002, Official Report, column 678W.

National Insurance

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the cost to (a) the rail industry and (b) the bus industry of the planned one per cent. increase in employers' national insurance contributions. [63767]

Mr. Spellar: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury to the hon. Member for Isle of Wight (Mr. Andrew Turner) on Monday 29 April 2002, Official Report, column 544W.

International Maritime Organisation

Mr. Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress has been made in the discussions since 15 May in the International Maritime Organisation regarding maritime security. [63109]

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Mr. Spellar: The Maritime Safety Committee of the International Maritime Organisation in its meeting from 15 to 24 May defined the draft text of binding amendments to the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention. These provide for a coherent basis of security planning for international ships and ports, for approval and inspection arrangements, and for the installation of ship-tracking equipment. The drafts will be submitted for agreement at the Diplomatic Conference announced for December 2002, for which preparations continue at the international and European level.

The Committee also approved proposals for co-operation between the International Maritime Organisation and other international organisations to progress related improvements in maritime security.

INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

India and Pakistan

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much aid has been given to (a) India and (b) Pakistan in the last 12 months. [62710]

Clare Short [holding answer 19 June 2002]: DFID's bilateral disbursements to India and Pakistan for financial year 2001–02 (the most recent period for which figures are available) totalled #180 million and #43 million respectively. These figures do not include significant UK contributions through multilateral agencies. Comprehensive UK figures will be published in the autumn.

Kashmir

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what food supplies have recently been sent to Kashmir. [62707]

Clare Short [holding answer 19 June 2002]: We continue to closely monitor the situation in Kashmir. State Governments continue to provide food and other assistance to vulnerable groups. To date, there has been no request for assistance to Kashmir, although we stand ready to respond as a need arises.

Debt Cancellation

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on progress towards accelerating the debt cancellation programme under the HIPC process. [62960]

Clare Short: So far, 26 countries have qualified for relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative. Relief of more than US$62 billion will be provided to these countries, reducing their debts by more than two thirds on average. Of the 26 countries, 21 have reached Decision Point and are receiving interim debt relief on their Xflow" of payment, and five have completed the HIPC process, and have received an irrevocable reduction in their stock of debt. We expect Cote d'Ivoire to reach Decision Point soon and hope that more countries will reach their Completion Point this year. The prospects of the remaining 10 countries

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with unsustainable debt are not good. Most of them are in conflict and cannot gain debt relief until they make peace, and the remainder have governance problems.

Air Traffic Control System (Tanzania)

Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether she has received a copy of the International Civil Aviation Organisation's full report on the suitability of the air traffic control system that BAE Systems has sold to the Tanzanian Government; and if she will place a copy in the Library. [63687]

Clare Short: I have seen a copy of the report but it is the property of the Government of Tanzania and thus it is not appropriate for me to copy it to others.


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