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13 Jan 2003 : Column 397W—continued

Public Private Partnerships

Mr. Salmond : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many departmental minutes issued by his Department were outstanding on 30 November, that referred to public private partnerships as included in Table B14 of the Consolidated Fund and National Loans Fund Accounts; and what their value was. [89421]

Mr. Jamieson: The Department for Transport had no departmental minutes outstanding on 30 November referring to public private partnerships as included in Table B14 of the Consolidated Fund and National Loans Fund Accounts.

Railway Investment

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the proposals received by the Strategic Rail Authority for investment in signalling, track improvement and platform lengthening in the areas served by (a) South-West Trains and (b) Island Line; and which are included in forthcoming investment programmes. [89567]

Mr. Jamieson: The Strategic Rail Authority announced a new approach to the South West Trains franchise on 6 November 2002. This involves a one-year extension to February 2004 and agreement of key principles with Stagecoach Holdings plc for a new franchise extending beyond then to 2007. The extension ensures the introduction of new trains and extra services but does not include infrastructure enhancements, which the Authority will develop separately. On 12 November 2002, the Authority announced that it had reached agreement with Stagecoach for the continued operation of the existing level of services on the Island Line until 2007. The Authority's Strategic Plan, the

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second edition of which is to be published shortly, will list investment priorities for the short and medium terms, as well as long-term goals for the network.

Shoreham Harbour

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with Shoreham Port Authority about levying charges on fishing cargoes landed at Shoreham Harbour; what the standard levy rate is for fish cargoes landed at trust ports; and which trust ports levy cargo dues on fish landed at their wharfs in addition to charges levied against the vessels themselves. [90026]

Mr. Jamieson: Fish landing dues are set by the harbour authority and are not a matter in which the Department has any locus. Therefore we hold no information about the level of dues set by individual authorities and have had no discussions with the Shoreham Port Authority regarding this matter.

Statutory Instruments

Mrs. Calton : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many Statutory Instruments subject to negative procedure made by his Department (a) came into force and (b) were considered by a delegated legislation committee in each of the last three sessions. [88030]

Mr. Jamieson: The Department for Transport was formed on 29 May 2002. Since then 22 statutory instruments subject to the negative resolution procedure for which that Department is responsible have come into force. In the same period five statutory instruments for which the Department is responsible have been the subject of a debate in standing committee on delegated legislation.

Vehicles (Pedestrians)

Paul Flynn : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to require the fronts of vehicles to be more pedestrian-friendly. [90248]

Mr. Jamieson: We supported a proposal by the European Commission in 2001 for a negotiated agreement with the motor industry to design car fronts to reduce the injury to pedestrians in the event of an impact, beginning with new models in 2005. We are now awaiting a further proposal early this year from the Commission to provide a legislative framework for this agreement.


Servicemen (Pension Rights)

Joyce Quin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what his Department's estimate is of the cost of extending service pension rights to the second spouses of deceased servicemen who completed their period of service prior to 1976; [88954]

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Dr. Moonie: Post-retirement widow and widower pensions (PRWP) were introduced as a requirement of the Social Security Pensions Act 1975. Provision was made in the Armed Forces Pension Scheme (AFPS) for the payment of pensions to widow(er)s of service pensioners who married (or remarried) after retirement, but this change benefited only the widows of those giving service on or after 6 April 1978, and the widowers of those giving service on or after 6 April 1989. Only service on or after those dates was taken into account when calculating the level of pension. Against this background, it would cost in the order of #50 million to extend PRWP's to all current and deferred AFPS pensioners. This would be a one-off cost.

It has been the long-standing policy of successive Governments that discretionary changes to improve the benefits from public service pensions schemes should be implemented from a current date for future service only. There is no distinction between servicemen and public sector employees with regard to the fact that the PRWP only applies to those with service on or after 6 April 1978, or 6 April 1989. To extend the post-retirement marriage concession to survivors of members of all public service occupational schemes would cost between #300 million and #500 million.

There is no requirement for the Ministry of Defence to hold data on the number of representations it has received on this issue and the information could be provided only at disproportionate cost. The assessment of the costs of making the 1978 and 1989 changes retrospective was a broad actuarial estimate, carried out by the Government Actuary's Department. The assumptions used in making this assessment were derived from general UK population mortality statistics, supplemented by mortality experience analysis within the AFPS and other pension schemes. Detailed calculations have not been carried out due to the lack of readily available data. Full calculations could be carried out only at disproportionate cost.

Aircraft Carriers (Deployment)

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the development of RN/RAF co-operation in joint deployments on UK aircraft carriers. [89887]

Mr. Ingram: The three United Kingdom Invincible class aircraft carriers are capable of supporting and operating a range of RN and RAF aircraft, both fixed wing and rotary wing. In addition, RAF Chinook helicopters, based on either HMS Ocean or any of the Invincible class aircraft carriers in the LPH role, have been provided by the Joint Helicopter Command to provide essential heavy-lift capability to amphibious operations.

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The concepts of operations covering the employment of these aircraft from sea are firmly established and have been proven during both exercises and real operations. Already long-standing, the strong co-operation and resolute interoperability between the RN and the RAF continues to develop as defence strategies evolve.

Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment


Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Public Record Office a copy of the report produced in 1961 by the chemical and biological defence establishment entitled, XThe change of size-spectrum of zinc cadmium sulphide particles with increasing distance of travel" (Porton Note 218). [89463]

Dr. Moonie: A copy of Porton Note No. 218, entitled XThe change of size spectrum of zinc cadmium sulphide particles with increasing distance of travel", has already been placed in the Public Record Office and can be found at WO 189/2388.

Colchester Garrison

Bob Russell : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many weapons have been reported as missing from the Colchester Garrison in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available. [90352]

Dr. Moonie: In the last ten years a total of two complete weapons and part of another weapon have been reported missing or stolen from Colchester Garrison. In 1999 the Birkhampstead Cadet Force reported an SA80 Assault weapon missing. In 2001 part of a bolt for an SA80 Assault Rifle and a deactivated Lee Enfield rifle were reported missing.

Departmental Properties (Scotland)

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which of his Department's properties in Scotland are awaiting disposal; and if he will make a statement. [86389]

Dr. Moonie: There are currently 26 separate Ministry of Defence properties awaiting disposal as at 7 January 2003:

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