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10 Jun 2003 : Column 742W—continued

Travel Costs

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the relative changes in the cost of travel by rail, bus and car over the last 20 years; and what estimate he has made of the future changes under the 10 year plan. [118102]

Mr. Jamieson: Real changes in the cost of different transport modes between 1974 and 1999 was shown in Graph 3c on page 22 of "Transport 2010: The Ten Year Plan" available in the Libraries of the House.

The Department's latest forecasts for 2010 use a set of assumptions about the costs of travel in 2010, including future oil prices, fuel efficiency, and rail and bus fares. These assumptions are set out in "Modelling and Forecasting using the National Transport Model" (paragraphs 14 and 15). This document is available at These assumptions will be reviewed and updated as necessary as part of the review of the 10 Year Plan.

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Trust Ports

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what trust ports are classified as public corporations. [118593]

Mr. Jamieson: I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 5 March 2003, Official Report, columns 1034–35W.

Uninsured Drivers

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the overall cost of uninsured driving was in Britain in the latest year for which figures are available; and what assessment he has made of the average consequent increase upon a motorist's insurance premium. [117852]

Mr. Jamieson: Estimates from the insurance industry show that, in 2002, the cost of uninsured driving was £316 million. This is a running figure, which includes cases arising from accidents that happened (and were settled) during 2002 and also accidents occurring in previous years but only settled in 2002.

The resulting increase in each motorist's insurance premiums is estimated at between £15 and £30.


Capita Contracts

Norman Baker: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what analysis has been carried out by Government to establish, in respect of government contracts awarded to Capita, whether they have been delivered (a) on time, (b) within budget and (c) in accordance with the terms specified; and if he will make a statement. [117616]

Mr. Boateng: The Office of Government Commerce, with the support of Government Departments, has identified a number of key suppliers to Government and has been working over the last year to improve our knowledge and strategic management of those suppliers, including Capita. The performance of Capita in respect of individual contracts is the responsibility of Departments who have entered into those contracts. Information about those contracts is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Euro (Northern Ireland)

David Burnside: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the impact on the agricultural sector in Northern Ireland if the UK joins the euro at the present exchange rate. [118443]

John Healey: I refer the hon. Member to the Treasury's assessment of the five economic tests that was published on 9 June 2003 following the Chancellor's statement to the House of Commons (Cm 5776).

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River Swimming Accidents

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many children in each year since 1997 have died in swimming accidents in rivers. [117580]

John Healey: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician. I have asked him to reply.

Letter from Len Cook to Mr. Paul Marsden, dated 10 June 2003:

Number of deaths by accidental drowning and submersion(6), children(7), England and Wales, 1997 to 2001(8)

Accidental drowning and submersion
Calendar yearAllSwimming accidents in rivers

(6) The cause of death was defined using the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (1CD-9)

codes for the years 1997 to 2000, and, for the year 2001, the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) codes. The codes used were as follows:

All accidental drowning and submersion—ICD-9 E91O, ICD-10 W65-W74;

Swimming accidents occurring in rivers—ICD-9 E910.2-E910.3, ICD-10 W69.8 and W74.8, where 'river' and 'swimming' were mentioned on the text of the death certificate.

(7) Children were classified as deaths occurring to persons aged 10 to 15.

(8) Figures are for deaths occurring in each calendar year.

Alternative Fuels

Ms Atherton: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to lower the duty rate on alternative fuels. [118425]

John Healey: The Chancellor considers all relevant economic, social and environmental factors when deciding taxation policy. Any changes are announced by the Chancellor in the context of his Budget statement.


Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the actions his Department, its agencies and non-departmental public bodies are taking to comply with the requirements of the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002; whether he has made an estimate of the cost of compliance; and if he will make a statement. [117706]

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John Healey: The Departments for which the Chancellor is responsible have set up arrangements to achieve compliance with the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002 through contracts with private contractors or landlords as appropriate. Separate estimates of the costs of compliance are only available in some cases. The position in the different Departments is as follows:

Customs & Excise, Inland Revenue and the Valuation Office seek to achieve compliance with contractors or landlords through detailed contractual arrangements. These include a requirement for asbestos surveys and the maintenance of accurate records.

The Treasury has engaged the services of an asbestos consultant to verify the absence of asbestos.

The Government Actuary's Department assure compliance through their landlord and are about to relocate to a new building.

The Office for National Statistics, through their contractor, is about to commence a detailed Asbestos Survey estimated to cost approximately £80,000. National Savings, through their landlord, have surveyed sites to ensure compliance with the new regulations. Remedial work has commenced and costs are estimated at less than £1 million. The Royal Mint, through consultancy, are in the process of reviewing compliance via audit at a cost of no more than £1,500.

The Debt Management Office ensures compliance through agreement with its Managing Agents.

The Office of Government Commerce has carried out surveys of some of its properties, and will carry out surveys of the remainder in the next three months. The cost of the surveys and inspections will be approximately £28,000. The cost of remedial work commissioned to date is £213,000.

Benefit Take-up

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what action he has taken to ensure that individuals who are entitled to receive working families tax credit, child tax credit and minimum income guarantee or pensioners tax credit apply for these benefits. [116288]

Dawn Primarolo: For Working Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the Member for Northavon (Mr. Webb) on 10 February 2003, Official Report, column 604W. Since that date further publicity has included television, press, radio and online advertising as well as direct mail to existing recipients.

In respect of the minimum income guarantee I understand from my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions that his Department have continued to build on the success of the national MIG take up campaign by introducing a shortened claim form, a new information leaflet and identifying potential entitlement following key life events such as reaching certain age points and new awards of other benefits.

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For Pension Credit I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Minister for Pensions to my hon. Friend the Member for Knowsley, South (Mr. O'Hara) on 24 March 2003, Official Report, column 108W. Since that date The Pension Service have completed writing to around 1.8 million pensioners who currently receive the minimum income guarantee to advise them that they need to do nothing and that they will be automatically transferred to Pension Credit.

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