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21 Dec 2004 : Column 1638W—continued

Mr. Andy Hurdle

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office for what reasons Mr. Andy Hurdle moved from his post in 2002 in the Department for Education and Skills into his subsequent posts. [204968]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: I have been asked to reply.

It is not our policy to comment on the position of individual civil servants.

Mr. Jonathan Sedgwick

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office for what reason Mr. Jonathan Sedgwick moved from his post in the Home Secretary's office to his subsequent post. [204966]

Mr. Charles Clarke: I have been asked to reply.

The previous Principal Private Secretary left the Home Secretary's office in October 2004 on promotion to Director of Performance and Planning, Office of Criminal Justice Reform, following a cross Whitehall and external competition.

Ms Denise Maguire

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office for what reasons Ms Denise Maguire moved from her post in the Department for Education and Skills to each of her subsequent posts. [204967]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: I have been asked to reply.

It is not our policy to comment on the position of individual civil servants.

Special Advisers

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office whether Cabinet Office special advisers have made appearances before parliamentary Select Committees in their official capacity since May 1997. [204321]

Mr. Miliband: No Cabinet Office special advisers have appeared before parliamentary Select Committees since 1997.

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many special advisers there are in the Cabinet Office, broken down by Civil Service pay-grade. [206513]

Mr. Miliband: Details on the names and number of special advisers by pay band by department are published on annual basis. For information for the financial year 2003–04, I refer the hon. Member to the statement given by my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, on 22 July 2004, Official Report, column 466W.
 
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Information for 2004–05 will be published as soon as it is ready after the end of the current financial year.

Task Forces

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how much the Cabinet Office spent on taskforces and similar bodies in each year since 1997. [204887]

Mr. Miliband [holding answer 20 December 2004]: Departmental expenditure for the financial years 1997–2002 for the Better Regulation Task Force (BRTF), an advisory non-departmental public body sponsored by the Cabinet Office, is published in the annual publication, 'Public Bodies' which is available in the Library of the House.

The BRTF expenditure for:

Annual expenditure on short-term ad hoc groups, task forces and reviews set up by the Cabinet Office is subsumed within departmental running costs and is not separately identifiable.

TRANSPORT

Airports (South-East)

11. Mr. Lilley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what contingency plans he has prepared for the outcome of the judicial review of the consultation process on airports in the south east. [206100]

Charlotte Atkins: Department for Transport officials and lawyers are evaluating the risks and potential impacts of the Judicial Reviews on the Air Transport White Paper and will provide advice to Ministers following the judgment. We do not expect a judgment until spring 2005.

Parking Charges

12. Mr. Singh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what changes there have been in the total charges for parking raised by local authorities since 1997. [206102]

Charlotte Atkins: In 1997–98 the total parking income raised by local authorities in England was approximately £638 million. The latest figures are for 2002–03 when it was just over £966 million.

South Eastern Trains

13. John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the performance of the South East Trains franchise over the past year. [206104]

Mr. McNulty: South Eastern Trains performance has improved over the last year rising from an annual average of 78.7 per cent. of trains arriving on time at September 2003 to 82.2 per cent. at September 2004.
 
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Railways

14. Mr. MacDougall: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what efficiency savings his Department expects to make in respect of its responsibilities for the railways; and if he will make a statement. [206105]

Mr. Darling: This Government have committed record investment in the railways—some £73 million per week (£3.8 billion per annum). The 2004 Periodic Review by the Rail Regulator ties Network Rail into achieving 31 per cent. efficiency gains by 2009 and we need to make similar efforts in relation to the franchise elements of the railway, and also in the transfer of SRA functions into my own Department.

Gatwick Express

15. Richard Ottaway: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the future of the Gatwick Express. [206106]

Mr. Darling: The Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) has just completed consultation on its Route Utilisation Strategy for the Brighton Main Line including Gatwick Express services. An announcement on the future pattern of services on the line will be made once all the responses have been considered.

Ports

16. Tony Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to encourage the development of small ports. [206107]

Mr. Jamieson: The Government recognise that even small ports have the potential to play a significant role in their local and regional economies. Our ports policy provides a basis for all ports to exploit opportunities for development. Government Office and the Regional Development Agencies have a proven track record in working with ports in their regions.

Mobile Telephone Use

17. Lawrie Quinn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on research he has evaluated on the use of hands-free mobile telephones in moving vehicles. [206109]

Mr. Jamieson: There has been a considerable amount of research looking into the effects of mobile phones on driving. The Department commissioned RoSPA to review the evidence and the report they published in 2002 provides evidence that using any type of mobile phone while driving impairs driving performance and significantly increases the risk of a crash, as highlighted in our publicity campaigns.

A3

Virginia Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the start date is for work on the A3 improvement at Hindhead. [206136]

Mr. Jamieson: The Highways Agency's Press Release 079/04 classifies the A3 Hindhead scheme as a Regional Scheme to be progressed for future construction (beyond March 2008). The main works are programmed to start in the financial year 2008–09 but it would be the
 
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Highways Agency's intention to make a start on advance works in 2007–08 subject to the availability of funds.

Virginia Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will visit the A3 at Hindhead to meet local residents and travellers to hear their concerns. [206137]

Mr. Jamieson: It would not be appropriate for me to visit because the Public Inquiry is still in progress and I will be involved in the decision making process.

Virginia Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he last had discussions with the Highways Agency about the A3 at Hindhead. [206138]

Mr. Jamieson: The Secretary of State recently considered the relative priority of the A3 Hindhead improvement alongside other national and local transport schemes in the South East region. The conclusions from these discussions were set out in the press notice issued on 1 December, which confirmed the progression of the scheme subject to the outcome of the current public inquiry.

Virginia Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he anticipates (a) receiving and (b) making a decision on the Public Inquiry report on the A3 at Hindhead. [206139]

Mr. Jamieson: The Public Inquiry has recently been adjourned to 15 February 2005 although it is hoped that it can be concluded soon after it reconvenes. It is hoped that the Inspector's Report will be received in Spring/Summer 2005 with a joint decision of the First Secretary of State, the Secretary of State for Transport and Secretary of State for Environment Food and Rural Affairs later in 2005.

Virginia Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what public expenditure has been (a) made in the past 10 years and (b) planned for the next three years for the A3 Hindhead Tunnel scheme. [206140]

Mr. Jamieson: No work was undertaken on the scheme between 1994 and 1999. From 1999 to date the cost is approximately £12.3 million. £16.5 million is forecast to be spent in the next three years to get the scheme ready to commence main works in 2008–09.

Virginia Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the traffic volumes on the A3 at Hindhead were in (a) 1984 and (b) the most recent period for which figures are available; and if he will estimate volumes in 10 years time. [206142]

Mr. Jamieson: The forecast traffic flows for the A3 Punchbowl Bend at Hindhead, without the tunnel scheme in place, nearest to the periods requested are:

(a) 12800 AADT (1983 estimated flow)

(b) 27000 AADT (2002)

(c) There are no forecasts calculated for 10 years time. However, forecasts for the A3 without the tunnel scheme in 2009 and 2024 are 31000 AADT and 38000 AADT respectively
 
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