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21 Nov 2002 : Column 270Wcontinued
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what research has (a) been conducted and (b) is planned by his Department; and what research has been assessed by his Department on the steps needed to reduce the cost of starting up new home to school transport. 
Mr. Jamieson: My Department has recently commissioned independent consultants to evaluate the American-style yellow school bus pilots which First is running and other innovative school bus schemes. The objectives of the evaluation include comparing the daily cost per capita to local authorities of running a First pilot vehicle to that of running a traditional school contract vehicle. The study is expected to report in August 2003 and we expect to issue a statement on the interim findings next month.
Mr. Don Foster : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what research (a) has been conducted and (b) is planned by his Department on the implications on (i) road safety, (ii) congestion and (iii) pollution of changes in home to school transport which (A) have taken place, and (B) could arise from additional improvements in home to school transport. 
Mr. Jamieson: In March 2001 the then DTLR commissioned W. S. Atkins to assess what the effects would be of increasing the current provision of home-to-school transport. The study, which reported at the end of 2001, identified considerable interest in using home-to-school transport among households that were currently not entitled to free home to school transport. It concluded that relaxing the eligibility criteria would have a noticeable impact on car use. Copies of the report XAssessment of parental attitudes to and the potential take-up of additional home to school transport" are available in the Libraries of the House.
My Department has recently commissioned independent consultants to evaluate the American style yellow school bus pilots that First are running. The objectives of the evaluation include assessing how successful the pilots have been in reducing the number of journeys to school by car, comparing the safety
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record of the First pilot vehicles with that of the vehicles traditionally used for school bus services and assessing their impact on other accident rates in the area. The study is expected to report in August 2003 and we expect to issue a statement on the interim findings next month.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State (1) for Transport what funding mechanisms are available directly from his Department to (a) local authorities and (b) other education bodies for improving school transport in order to (i) improve road safety, (ii) tackle congestion and (iii) tackle pollution; 
Mr. Jamieson: My Department does not provide specific funding for school transport. Responsibility for the provision of statutory home to school transport lies with the Department for Education and Skills.
However, as part of their Local Transport Plan strategies, whose objectives must include the improvement of safety, the promotion of accessibility and the protection of the environment, local authorities in England can propose strategies to provide support for and improve school transport provision. They may also take advantage of the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) funding route. An example of the latter is Surrey County Council's (Pegasus) School Bus Scheme for which my Department announced 16 million in PFI credits, which will be paid through supporting special grant, in December 2002.
Local authorities are able to fund bus services that would not otherwise be provided from their Revenue Support Grant; in some cases these will be on routes that serve schools. They may also bid for funding for innovative road passenger transport schemes, which may include school transport services, under the Rural and Urban Bus Challenge schemes.
Mr. Jamieson: Legislation is already in place that allows local authorities to introduce 20 mph zones and 20 mph speed limits. Traffic calmed 20 mph zones have been particularly successful as they ensure compliance with the speed limit thereby substantially reducing the risk of accidents.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport to whom the (a) Chairman and Chief Executive of the Strategic Rail Authority, (b) Directors of the Strategic Rail Authority and (c) Organisation of the Strategic Rail Authority are accountable; what
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actions are required in each case to report on their delivery and performance; what requirements are placed on each by his Department in terms of delivery and performance; and what actions his Department can take where delivery and performance targets are not being met. 
They are required to operate within the bounds of statute and in accordance with any directions and guidance from the Secretary of State issued under sections 206(3) and 207(5) of the Transport Act 2000. The authority must also comply with a statutory financial framework and its management statement. Copies of these documents are available in the House Library.
The management of the authority, within this framework, is a matter for the chair, chief executive and members. The authority reports on its performance in its annual report, which is laid before the House in accordance with section 75 of the Railways Act 1993.
Assistant Director of Traffic Technology Services
TfL Street Management
4250 Victoria Street
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make a statement on the reasons for the difference between the Budget projections of 200102 and the projection based on actual receipts in 200203 to 30 September 2002 for (a) income and capital gains taxes, (b) corporation tax and (c) stamp duties. 
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Ms Atherton: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the use of fuel-efficient company cars following changes to the taxation of company cars introduced on 1 April; what steps have been taken to encourage employers to consult employees on company policy following the changes; and what evidence he has reviewed of the change in the number of vehicles of commercial vehicle status purchased by companies since 1 April. 
John Healey: The Inland Revenue has begun an extensive evaluation programme to look at the effects of the company car tax reforms introduced in April this year. Results of the evaluation are not yet available.
Mr. Donaldson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what action is being taken by the Financial Services Authority to address the problems caused by the collapse of the professional indemnity insurance market for independent financial advisers in the United Kingdom. 
Ruth Kelly: This is a matter for the FSA. I understand that in a press statement on 29 October 2002, the FSA announced technical changes to its rulebook regarding professional indemnity insurance. The FSA has explained that it introduced these new, temporary measures to increase capacity in the market for professional indemnity insurance.
Mr. Flight: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions his Department has had with the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister regarding funding sources for a possible increase in firefighters' pay. 
Ruth Kelly: Deployment of the departmental expenditure limit (DEL) of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is a matter for the Deputy Prime Minister. The Treasury is in regular contact with the office on a range of financial issues.
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