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4 Feb 2004 : Column 910W—continued

Rural Bus Grant

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he will announce the levels of the rural bus grant to local authorities for 2004–05; and if he will enhance those grants to support authorities in securing the continuation of community transport schemes whose central Government funding has expired. [152860]

Mr. McNulty: The total amount allocated to local transport authorities in Rural Bus Subsidy Grant is due to rise from £48.5 million in the current financial year to £51 million in 2004–05. An announcement will be made shortly on the increases for individual authorities which will depend in part on consideration of newly available population data from the 2001 census. Following that announcement it will be for each authority to decide on what schemes and services the grant should be spent.

Swanwick Air Traffic Control Centre

Mr. Flight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what the cost is of the software upgrade at Swanwick Air Traffic Control Centre to be made by National Air Traffic Services as a result of the near-miss between a Virgin Atlantic and a Delta Airlines aircraft in November 2002; [151781]

Mr. McNulty: Spending on its computer systems is a matter for NATS. The incident in November 2002 has been assessed by the UK Airprox Board—an independent body of experts—as carrying no risk of collision. It was the result of human error and the software has been modified by NATS to preclude a repeat of such human error.

Taxis

Mrs. Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received

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concerning the Office of Fair Trading's report recommending de-restriction of taxis; and if he will make a statement. [152478]

Mr. McNulty [holding answer 3 February 2004]: We have received just over 600 representations about the OFT's report into licensed taxi and private hire vehicle services. We are now considering them carefully so that we can respond to the OFT within 120 days of their report. The representations include the views of key taxi and private hire stakeholders that we sought.

US Ships (Decommissioning)

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the International Maritime Organisation recommendations on changing ballast water mid-ocean were followed in respect of the ships sent from the US for dismantling in Hartlepool. [152701]

Mr. Jamieson [holding answer 3 February 2004]: The vessels were appropriately ballasted for a towed transoceanic passage to the UK. No changes to the ballast water were made on route or after arrival at Hartlepool. If a decision was to be taken to discharge ballast water in Hartlepool then Able UK would need to submit a ballast water management plan for approval by the Environment Agency.

CULTURE, MEDIA AND SPORT

Motor Sport

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on progress with the Department's commitment to investment in British motor sport. [152566]

Mr. Caborn: The Department, along with the Department of Trade and Industry, recently announced a £16 million investment into motorsport, to take forward the recommendations in the Motorsport Competitiveness Panels report. This is the responsibility of the Motorsport Development Board, and my Officials continue to work with the Government Motorsport Unit to take forward the sporting recommendations in the report.

The East Midlands Development Agency also continues to work with Formula One Management, Octagon and the British Racing Drivers' Club about the long-term future of Silverstone.

Tourism

Mr. Beith: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions she has had with One North-East about its responsibilities in relation to tourism. [152488]

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Mr. Caborn: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and I have discussed tourism with the Chairs of all the Regional Development Agencies, in the light of their taking over tourism responsibilities from 1 April 2003, and I met Tim Cantle-Jones, the ONE Board member with specific responsibility for tourism on 13 January 2004 to discuss progress on tourism reform in the North East. Also, officials from the Department and from the Government Office for the North East have been in regular contact with ONE as it has taken on strategic responsibility for tourism in the region, and have also had discussions with the Northumbria Tourist Board. I have asked ONE and the other RDAs to work with their tourist boards and the industry to decide upon the best support structure for the tourism industry in their particular region. I understand that ONE is working towards the introduction of a new structure for the delivery of tourism in the North East. DCMS officials continue to work with the RDAs to help ensure a planned and smooth transition to any new arrangements.

SOLICITOR-GENERAL

Deaths in Custody

Mrs. Lait: To ask the Solicitor-General if she will list those individuals and organisations (a) to whom (i) her Department, (ii) its executive agencies and (iii) the non-departmental public bodies for which her Department is responsible sent a copy of the consultation "Deaths in custody: a review of the role and practices of the Crown Prosecution Service": a consultation paper, and (b) from whom each received a response. [151653]

The Solicitor-General: An initial consultation paper for the "Deaths in Custody: A review of the role and practices of the Crown Prosecution Service" was sent to 151 people at the end of April 2002. 37 Consultees responded.

An all-day seminar was held on 21 May 2002 to discuss the review. 83 people attended that seminar. The report; "Deaths in Custody: a review of the role and practices of the Crown Prosecution Service" was sent out to 217 people. 18 agreed to be named as contributing to the report.

Some MPs were consulted, including those on the Home Affairs Select Committee, Joint Human Rights Committee and the Parliamentary Labour Party and Constitutional Affairs Committee. Also consulted were the judiciary, police, prisons, coroners, overseas DPPs, the legal and medical professions, academics, civil liberties groups, victims and interest groups and members of the general public who expressed an interest.

The 18 people who contacted my office agreeing to their contribution to the report being made known are as follows:

Name
Jonathan LaidlawCounsel
Gerald Butler QCCounsel
Anthony Heaton-ArmstrongFormer Chairman of Review of Coroners
Louise ChristianChristian Khan
Dr. Roy PalmerHM Coroner, Southern District of Greater London
Lindsay PennellVictim Support
Selena LynchCoroner for Inner South District Greater London
Lord Campbell of Alloway QC, ERD
Dr. Margaret StarkAssociation of Forensic Physicians (formerly Association of Police Surgeons)
Dr. Guy NorfolkAssociation of Forensic Physicians
Phil PaveyCRE
Robert JohnsonAnoka County Attorney, US
Win GriffithsMP
Nogah OferHickman & Rose
Daniel MachoverHickman & Rose
Wendy TowersPCA (at that time)
Kathleen LoweLaw Society
Margaret Warren (for her late husband, Peter Warren)Member of the public

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Hutton Report

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Solicitor-General if the Attorney-General will discuss with Lord Hutton the investigation of the source of the leak of Lord Hutton's findings to Mr. Trevor Kavanagh of The Sun, with reference to the witness summons clauses of the Criminal Procedure and Investigation Act 1996. [152519]

The Solicitor-General [holding answer 3 February 2004]: The Attorney-General does not propose to discuss this matter with Lord Hutton. Lord Hutton set out the process for those to receive embargoed copies of his report. The number of advance copies and the associated undertakings of confidentiality were agreed between each of the parties and Lord Hutton.

WALES

Correspondence

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many letters from hon. Members from Wales he answered during (a) June, (b) July, (c) August, (d) September, (e) October and (f) November 2003; and if he will make a statement. [150059]

Mr. Hain: Details of correspondence from hon. Members from Wales answered in June to November 2003 are as follows:

Number
June2
July7
August1
September3
October3
November5

During that period, the Wales Office also answered 238 other letters and dealt with over 2,500 inter-departmental letters.

As the hon. Member is aware, post devolution most of the executive functions of the Secretary of State for Wales now rest with the National Assembly for Wales.

Hon. Members also take greater opportunity to raise matters personally rather than in writing.

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