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22 Jan 2004 : Column 1375W—continued

Car Insurance

Andy Burnham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many road accidents there were in each region of England in each of the last five years involving a driver or drivers who were uninsured; and what

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percentage of those accidents involved (a) third party personal injury and (b) third party property damage. [148739]

Mr. Jamieson [holding answer 21 January 2004]: Information on the insurance status of drivers involved in accidents is not held centrally in my department.

However, the Motor Insurers' Bureau (Mffi) holds figures for accident claims in the United Kingdom involving uninsured or untraced drivers. For the past five years, the MIB paid claims as follows:

£ million

Andy Burnham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the overall cost to public funds in the latest year for which figures are available of driving without adequate insurance cover. [148741]

Mr. Jamieson [holding answer 21 January 2004]: Information on the overall cost to public funds of driving without adequate insurance cover is not held centrally.

The main costs of uninsured driving will be the substantial ones arising from accidents involving uninsured drivers. In the public sector these costs will fall on the emergency services (police, fire, ambulance and hospitals). Costs will also fall on the victims, and (through increased insurance premiums) on the honest, insured motorist. The estimated cost to the honest motorists1 insurance premium is an average of £30.

There will also be a cost to the Courts Service arising from the need to prosecute and to enforce fines and penalties.

Coastguard Service

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many members of the Coastguard Service work in Wales; and how many worked in Wales in 1996. [150012]

Mr. Jamieson: The Maritime and Coastguard Agency currently employs 90 Coastguards in Wales. There are also 476 Auxiliary Coastguards based in Wales.

Due to a change in Human Resource systems, there are no exact figures for 1996. However, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency estimates that there were 60 Coastguards and 500 Auxiliary Coastguards in Wales at that time.

Hemsworth Bypass-A1 Link Road

Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects work to (a) commence and (b) be completed on the link road between the Hemsworth bypass and the A1; how much funding he has made available for this purpose; and if he will make a statement. [149671]

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Mr. Jamieson: This scheme is awaiting the completion of the necessary statutory procedures. We confirmed in the 2004–05 Local Transport Capital Expenditure Settlement, announced last month, that we would provide sufficient resources for completion of the scheme up to a maximum of £11.261 million. However, Wakefield Metropolitan District Council recently notified us of a cost increase of £9.337 million over and above this agreed contribution. I cannot make a decision on the case for additional funding until the statutory procedures have been completed.

Road Network

John Thurso: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what percentage of the (a) motorway and (b) dual carriage network has raised central reservation barriers to eliminate the glare of headlights from oncoming traffic. [149708]

Mr. Jamieson: There are no recorded examples on the English dual carriageway trunk road or motorway network where the central reserve barriers have been raised to eliminate the glare of headlights from oncoming traffic.

A trial of an anti-glare device attached to central reservation barrier has been undertaken on an English motorway but this proved to be ineffective in reducing accidents.

Speed Cameras (Essex)

Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to his answer of 6 January 2004, Official Report, column 215W, how much of the money raised in fines from speed cameras in Essex was spent in Essex on the costs of purchasing and operating speed cameras for each of the five years prior to 2001–02. [149382]

Mr. Jamieson [holding answer 20 January 2004]: Before the safety camera netting off trial began in April 2000 money raised in fines was retained by the Treasury and the cost of placing and maintaining cameras met by local authorities. The money claimed back by the Essex Safety Camera Partnership to meet the cost of operating cameras for the financial year of 2000–01 was £1,846,480.

Vale Link Community Transport Scheme

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take steps to ensure the long-term future of the Thornbury-based Vale Link Community Transport scheme; and if he will make a statement. [150075]

Mr. McNulty: Vale Link Community Transport was awarded funding of £612,000 from the Department's Rural Bus Challenge (RBC) competition in 1998. The long-term future of the scheme is primarily a matter for the local authority and the other local organisations concerned to consider.

We have taken a number of steps to support community transport schemes. From May 2002 many community transport organisations are eligible to receive Bus Service Operators Grant and I understand Vale Link Community Transport is in receipt of this

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grant. We have also extended Rural Bus Subsidy Grant, of which South Gloucestershire has been allocated £285,000 this year, to enable authorities to use it for the further support of schemes that have previously received RBC funding. However, it is essentially for individual authorities to decide which services are most appropriate for support in their respective areas.

Waterborne Freight

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to increase the percentage of waterborne freight on UK flagged ships. [149445]

Mr. Jamieson: Freight Facilities Grants are available to encourage the carriage of freight by inland waterways, coastal and short sea shipping. Freight Facilities Grants are non-flag specific.


Child Care

23. Laura Moffatt: To ask the Minister for Women what representations she has received on the barriers to women working due to the lack of high-quality child care provision. [149754]

Ms Hewitt: My postbag leaves me in no doubt about how much high quality childcare provision gives real choices to women. This is why I welcome the announcements by the Chancellor in his Pre- Budget Report on record spending on childcare.

Government Departments (Gender Balance)

24. Tom Brake: To ask the Minister for Women what recent discussions she has had with ministerial colleagues about gender balance within Government Departments. [149756]

Jacqui Smith: My right hon. Friend the Minister for Women is holding a series of meetings with ministerial colleagues to review progress on gender balance in Government Departments.

Women Entrepreneurs

Siobhain McDonagh: To ask Minister for Women what action she is taking to help women entrepreneurs. [149758]

Ms Hewitt: The Government are now actively implementing the Strategic Framework for Women's Enterprise which was launched in May last year, to provide a co-ordinated and long-term approach to the development of women's enterprise.

We are now working with many partners nationally and in the regions to take forward the recommendations of the Framework. And we continue to work productively with women's enterprise organisations such as PROWESS and Everywoman.

We are encouraged by the findings on women's enterprise of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor's most recent report which finds levels of total female entrepreneurship in the UK having risen from

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3.3 per cent. in 2002 to 3.8 per cent. in 2003 and female attitudes to start-up having become far more positive during the last year.

Early reports from the regions suggest levels of women's enterprise are rising; although it is still early days, it encouraging to hear of real progress being made in the north east, East Midlands and the south east.


Manufacturing Industry

12. Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on manufacturing industry in England. [149742]

Jacqui Smith: Having put in place the first Government manufacturing strategy for 30 years with the active support of industry and unions, we are making good progress in addressing the key factors for manufacturing success identified in that strategy-promoting investment, applying science and innovation, best practice and skills to achieving more high value manufacturing.

Post Office

13. Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much of the sum allocated for improvements to urban post offices under the urban reinvention programme has been applied for. [149743]

Mr. Timms: To date, my Department has paid £5,448,897 to Post Office Ltd. under the urban reinvention programme for investment grant funding. This includes an element of pre-funding to the company to facilitate prompt payments to sub-postmasters. I understand from Post Office Ltd. that the total number of applications submitted by sub-postmasters so far is 485, with further cases under discussion with individual sub-postmasters. Of these applications, 98 grants, totalling £506,934, had been paid in full as at 20 January 2004.

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many sub-postmasters of (a) rural and (b) urban post offices in each constituency have applied for compensation to close their business; how many have been successful in their application; and how much has been paid to them to date. [147066]

Mr. Timms [holding answer 12 January 2004]: Decisions on compensation to sub-postmasters are an operational matter for Post Office Ltd. and I have asked the Chief Executive to reply direct to the hon. Member.

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry pursuant to her answer of 14 January 2004, Official Report, column 796W, on benefit payments (pensioners), if she will publish the figures used by the Post Office to justify the proposed closure of (a) Belgrave Branch, 326 Wilnecote Lane, Belgrave, Tamworth, (b) Dosthill Branch, 49 High Street, Dosthill, Tamworth, (c) Kerria Road Branch, Kerria Centre, 34 Kerria Road, Tamworth, (d) Hockley Branch, 158 Hockley Road, Wilnecote, Tamworth, (e) Kettlebrook Branch, 134 Kettlebrook Road, Tamworth, (f) Silver Link Branch, 66 Caledonian, Tamworth, (g) Two Gates

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Branch, 1 Springfield Road, Two Gates, Tamworth and (i) Wilnecote Branch, 80 Watling Street, Wilnecote, Tamworth. [149492]

Mr. Timms: Decisions on proposed closures of post offices are an operational matter for Post Office Ltd. (POL). I understand that the figures used by POL in proposing the closure of a post office are commercially confidential.

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