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Suicides (Railways)

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) suicides and (b) attempted suicides on railways there were in each of the last five years, broken down by region; and if he will make a statement. [198528]

Mr. McNulty [holding answer 17 November 2004]: The information requested is as follows:

(a) The number of suicides and attempted suicides on Network Rail's controlled infrastructure is given in the following table. The data are taken from the Health and Safety Executive's annual reports on rail safety, copies of which are in the House Library. Fatality data are
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based on HM Coroners' reports. The HSE "attempted suicide" data are based on information supplied by railway companies to HSE and is defined as those taken to hospital following attempted suicide incidents. The HSE reports do not break the figures down by region.
SuicidesAttempted suicides

(b) In addition the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) produces separate data on suicides and suspected suicides, broken down by Network Rail region. The following table is extracted from the RSSB annual safety performance report for 2003 which is not published in hard copy but is on the RSSB website at: The RSSB data record suicides and suspected suicides as a single figure and are for calendar years not financial years.
Number of suicides and suspected suicides

East Anglia1724182517
Great Western3033312820
London NE2725312736
North Western3931212631

Traffic Management Act

Mr. Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how he will measure the impact on congestion of the congestion-reducing measures in the Traffic Management Act 2004. [196388]

Charlotte Atkins: The Department is working with local traffic authorities and local stakeholders to develop indicators of delays to journey time and journey time reliability which will help measure changes in congestion.

The Highways Agency already has measures in place for monitoring congestion on the motorway network. These will include indicators such as the response times of the HA traffic officers to incidents, clearance of the carriageway and the number of times traffic is stopped or redirected.

Vehicle Licensing

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many vehicles are licensed; and what the total licence revenue was for each emission rating band in the private and light goods vehicle licensing category in the last year for which figures are available. [199251]

Mr. Jamieson: The information requested, for 2003–04, is as follows.
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Emission bandNumber of vehiclesLicence revenue (£)
AAA (up to 100g/km)36826,093
AA (101to120g/km)159,77713,369,527
A (121 to 150g/km)2,159,268237,544,419
B (151 to 165g/km)1,815,274234,366,251
C (166 to 185g/km)1,650,206244,833,163
D (over 185g/km)2,306,518375,021,734

Virgin Trains

Brian White: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the passenger numbers on trains operated by Virgin Trains into London Euston were during (a) peak hours and (b) off-peak hours in each month from May 2003 to October 2004. [199211]

Mr. McNulty: This information is not held centrally and could not be readily obtained. However, I have asked Virgin Trains to write to my hon. Friend with the information.


Automated Payments

Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the impact of transferring all benefits and credits to bank automated credit systems on (a) the time taken for payments to be made to clients, (b) numbers of staff required within his Department and (c) the cost of payments to (i) the post office, (ii) banks and (iii) other organisations for administering BACS. [199158]

Mr. Pond: At the outset of the Payment Modernisation Programme, 43 per cent. of DWP customers were already being paid by Direct Payment into an account. The current proportion of DWP customers being paid some or all of their benefits by Direct Payment into an account is 77 per cent. This is a positive step towards meeting the Public Service Agreement target of 85 per cent. of customers being paid directly into an account by 2005.

The increase in the number of customers who are now paid by Direct Payment has not affected the frequency of payments made to customers, and customers continue to receive their payment by the due date. If the customer has chosen Direct Payment into an account, the overall time scale to process payments through the BACS system is three working days.

During the course of the conversion process the Department has deployed a Customer Conversion Centre to ease the burden on its front line operations. It is normal business practice for the Department to manage this sort of large-scale but temporary operation in this way. The cost of payments to organisations including banks and the post office for administering BACS, is commercial in confidence. Throughout the planning and migration process detailed consultation has been undertaken with BACS Ltd. (now named Voca Ltd.).
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Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what advice the Government has given to claimants about the transfer of benefits and credits to claimants to bank automated credit systems. [199159]

Mr. Pond: Direct Payment increases choice, reduces fraud and assures a safe, convenient, more modern and efficient way of paying benefits.

The Department's Direct Payment information campaign provides customers with factual information on all account options, including information on the Post Office card account. It will be up to customers themselves to decide which type of account they wish to have their money paid into.

Independent research for DWP has shown that nearly all customers found the information that they had received to be at least fairly clear with two thirds considering it to be very clear.

Basic State Pension

Sir Archy Kirkwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average amount of (a) basic state pension and (b) SERPS received by (i) men and (ii) women in (A) the Scottish Borders, (B) Scotland and (C) the UK was in the last period for which figures are available. [198193]

Malcolm Wicks: The available information is in the tables.
(a) Weekly average amounts of basic state pension

Scottish Borders76.3262.88
Great Britain75.8261.96

(b) Weekly average amounts of additional state pension

Scottish Borders18.298.03
Great Britain19.368.11

1. Figures are taken from a 5 per cent. sample and are subject to a high degree of sampling variation.
2. Basic state pension is made up of Category A pensions and pensions derived from spouses' contributions.
3. Additional state pension is made up of SERPS and state second pension.
4. Local authorities are assigned by matching postcodes against the relevant Office for National Statistics postcode directory.
IAD Information Centre, 5 per cent. sample as at 31 March 2004.

Benefit Entitlement (Newcastle-under-Lyme)

Paul Farrelly: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many people are being paid disability living allowance in Newcastle-under- Lyme; [198579]
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(2) how many pensioners have received the attendance allowance in Newcastle-under-Lyme in each year since 1997; [198604]

(3) what the cost of administering the carer's allowance was in each of the last three years. [198715]

Maria Eagle: The administration of the Disability and Carers Service is a matter for the Chief Executive, Mr. Terry Moran. He will write to the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Terry Moran to Mr. Paul Farrelly, dated 17 November 2004:



Paul Farrelly: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioners receive assistance from the Warm Front Scheme in Newcastle-under-Lyme. [198603]

Mr. Morley: I have been asked to reply.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

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