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Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which of his Department's Public Service Agreements relate to fuel poverty reduction and what progress has been made to date in achieving them 
Malcolm Wicks: The Department for Work and Pensions has no Public Service Agreement relating to a reduction in fuel poverty. Departments that do have Public Service Agreements on fuel poverty will report on progress against the targets in the Autumn Performance Reports, which will be published shortly.
Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress has been made in developing improvements to the Fuel Direct scheme; what the purpose of an improved scheme will be; and by what date a revised scheme is likely to be in place. 
Malcolm Wicks: The Fuel Direct scheme is designed to protect the fuel supplies of people receiving income-related benefitsparticularly familieswho have run up arrears, by making payments direct from their benefit to the supplier until the debt is cleared. The scheme works well and there are no plans for a radical overhaul.
As part of the Government's Fuel Poverty Strategy the Department has been working with the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) to make a number of operational improvements to the scheme for the benefit of both customers and suppliers. The first stage of these improvements was introduced in March 2001 and work is underway to further modernise the scheme.
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will increase the basic state pension increments paid to pensioners who retired before April 2002 so that they maintain their original proportionate value as outlined in Benefits Agency literature. 
Mr. McCartney: The legal requirement, as set out in our literature, is that where people defer taking their pensions and, as a result, earn increments, then for every six days of deferral (excluding Sundays and days for which certain Nl benefits are received) the amount of the increments will increase by about 1 / 7 for each #1.00 of the weekly rate payable at the time the person becomes entitled to the state pension. We are also obliged to increase all parts of state pension by at least the rate of RPI on an annual basis. We have met these legal requirements.
Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) if he will issue advice to British nationals residing in the islands of (a) Martinique, (b) Guadeloupe and (c) Reunion on the rationale of paying winter fuel payments to them; 
(3) if he will make a statement on his policy for paying the winter fuel payment to British residents in (a) French Guiana and (b) Guyana; and if he will make a statement on how to determine the location of the British nationals who reside for part of the year in each country. 
Mr. McCartney: The Government, after careful consideration of its legal obligations under EC Regulation 1408/71 and discussions with the European Commission, concluded that certain people living in the EEA (or from winter 20023, Switzerland) could continue to get Winter Fuel Payments. I refer the hon. Member to the written answer I gave to my hon. Friend the member for Caephilly on 19 July 2002, Official Report, column 599w.
The EC regulation applies to member states, French overseas departments (Martinique, Guadeloupe, French Guiana and Reunion), the Azores, Madeira and the Canary Islands. It also applies to Switzerland from 1 June 2002.
Eligible people, generally EEA nationals (which includes UK nationals) who qualified for a payment in Great Britain before moving to another EEA country will be able to continue receiving Winter Fuel Payments whilst they are ordinarily resident in another EEA country or Switzerland, provided that they continue to satisfy the eligibility criteria.
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The basic State Pension is currently #75.50 for single pensioners. In the short-term we have given the guarantee that the basic State Pension will be increased by at least #100 a year for single pensioners and #160 a year for couples in 200304. In future years, the basic State Pension will be increased by 2.5 per cent. or the increase in the September Retail Prices Index, whichever is the higher.
Mr. McCartney: UK citizens who are entitled to Winter Fuel Payments will continue to receive the payments if they move to another European Economic Area country or Switzerland, provided that they continue to meet the eligibility criteria.
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the 48 hour average working week restriction will apply to drivers of large freight vehicles; if operators can require drivers to work more than
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48 hours without having to sign an opt-out agreement to EU Regulation 3820/85; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Spellar: Directive 2002/15/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the organisation of the working time of persons performing mobile road transport activities was adopted on 11 March 2002 and must be transposed into national law not later than 23 March 2005. This directive, which matches the scope of Regulation (EEC) 3820/85 on drivers' hours, requires member states to ensure that the average weekly working time may not exceed 48 hours over a reference period of 4 months which may, in certain circumstances, be extended to 6 months. Neither directive 2002/15/EC nor Regulation 3820/85 provides for an opt out.
Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, (1) if he will list the sub-contracts entered into as part of the London Underground Public Private Partnership by (a) Bechtel, (b) Jarvis, (c) Amey, (d) Balfour Beatty, (e) W. S. Atkins, (f) Bombadier Transportation, (g) Thames Water, (h) Seeboard, indicating the (i) value and (ii) purpose of these sub-contracts; how many of these sub-contracts are with the above companies and connected businesses and how much these contracts are worth; 
(3) if he will list each contract agreed in the London Underground Public Private Partnership with (a) Bechtel, (b) Jarvis, (c) Amey, (d) Balfour Beatty, (e) W. S. Atkins, (f) Bombadier transportation, (g) Thames Water and (h) Seeboard, indicating in each case the (i) value and (ii) purpose of the contract; 
(4) what the estimated value to the London Underground is of investment via the Public Private Partnership by (a) Bechtel, (b) Jarvis, (c) Amey, (d) Balfour Beatty, (e) W. S. Atkins, (f) Bombadier Transportation, (g) Thames Water and (h) Seeboard over (i) 70 years and (ii) 30 years of the contracts they are involved in; whether this estimated value includes the profit element from these contracts to these companies; and if he will set out how this estimated value is calculated; 
(5) what assessment he has made of the levels of profits likely to be achieved from contracts and sub-contracts associated with the London Underground Public Private Partnership in (a) seven and a half years and (b) 30 years by (i) Bechtel, (ii) Jarvis, (iii) Amey, (iv) Balfour Beatty, (v) WS Atkins, (vi) Bombadier Transportation, (vii) Thames Water and (viii) Seeboard. 
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Mr. Jamieson: London Underground Limited is conducting a procurement exercise for each of the three contracts to modernise the London Underground's infrastructure. The preferred bidder for the JNP contract is Tube Lines Group. The preferred bidder for the BCV and SSL contracts is Metronet. London Underground is proposing to enter into contracts with these consortia, not the individual companies listed.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he expects to transfer responsibility for the London Underground Public Private Partnership to the Mayor of London and Transport for London; whether he expects to set conditions on the transfer; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jamieson: The Government will retain responsibility for London Underground until the competitions for the PPP contracts have been completed, as envisaged by the GLA Act 1999. The Mayor and Transport for London will inherit the PPP contracts when London Underground Limited is transferred in due course.
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what representations his Department has made to the Mayor of London in relation to his plans to appeal about the PFI on London Underground to the European Courts. 
Mr. Spellar: The Mayor's plans are a matter for him. A third legal challenge to the proposed PPP arrangements would simply delay further the investment the Underground system needs. There have already been two such delays, at significant cost to taxpayers in London.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what (a) financial and (b) other information (i) his Department and (ii) London Underground Limited collate on (A) Bechtel, (B) Jarvis, (C) Amey, (D) Balfour Beatty, (E) W.S. Atkins, (F) Bombadier Transportation, (G) Thames Water and (H) Seeboard in respect of the London Underground Public Private Partnership; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Jamieson: The competitions for the PPP contracts to modernise the London Underground's infrastructure are the responsibility of London Underground Limited. The preferred bidders are Metronet and Tube Lines Group, each of which is a consortium. Assessment by London Underground, with its advisers, of the capacity of the preferred bidders to carry out their obligations under the contracts is an important part of the competitions. It is for London Underground, and not for the Government, to satisfy itself in relation to the bidding consortia.
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