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21 Mar 2005 : Column 532W—continued

Traffic Commissioners

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what authority a traffic commissioner has over members of staff in the Traffic Area Network. [223118]

Mr. Jamieson: Staff in the Traffic Area Offices support traffic commissioners to enable them to exercise their responsibilities for operator licensing. Management responsibility for Traffic Area Office staff lies with the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency.

Transport Security Directorate

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport who the Director is of the Transport Security Directorate for (a) Scotland and (b) Wales; and what role the (i) Scottish Executive and (ii) Welsh Assembly Government play in the Transport Security Directorate's operations. [223133]

Charlotte Atkins: As transport security is a reserved matter there is no separate Transport Security Directorate for Scotland and Wales. Relevant transport operations in Scotland and Wales come under the direction of the Department for Transport's Transport Security and Contingencies Directorate (TRANSEC). TRANSEC officials liaise with the devolved Administrations as appropriate.

Trunk Roads

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress he has made with improvements to Non-Motorised User crossings of trunk roads in England; and what plans he has for further progress. [222203]

Mr. Jamieson: By 31 March 2003, the Highways Agency completed surveys of all Non-Motorised User (NMU) crossing points on the trunk road network and drew up a provisional list of improvements, which would offer good value for money.

The Highways Agency has completed approximately 90 discrete NMU related improvement schemes and plans to complete at least a further 14 such schemes in 2005–06. This figure does not include those NMU
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improvement elements that have been incorporated into other larger projects for delivery as part of the Government's Targeted Programme of Improvements. Progress on delivery of NMU crossing improvements will continue to be monitored by the Agency.

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what funding he has allocated to the Highways Agency for Non-Motorised User crossing improvements over the financial years 2005–06 to 2007–08. [222204]

Mr. Jamieson: Non-Motorised User (NMU) crossings are provided where justified as part of major schemes. In addition, small free-standing schemes are funded from the Highways Agency's small schemes budget. Following the recent Spending Review settlement, the Highways Agency is developing its detailed forward programme for small schemes, which include high value-for-money safety schemes, junction improvements, as well as environmental and accessibility improvement measures that include NMU crossings. Within this particular category of funding, the Highways Agency has indicative funding levels of £10 million, £6 million and £7 million respectively for the period 2005–06 to 2007–08 for Accessibility projects.

Janet Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the current status of the A681 former trunk road through Sharneyford, near Bacup, Lancashire; and what weight restrictions are in operation upon it. [222421]

Mr. Jamieson: The A681 at Sharneyford is a principal road and is the responsibility of the local highway authority, Lancashire county council. There are no weight restrictions currently in operation on the route.


Listed Places of Worship Grant

7. Miss McIntosh: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners pursuant to his oral answer of 21 February 2005, Official Report, column 20, what the take-up of the listed placesof worship grant scheme has been in the last 12 months. [222797]

Sir Stuart Bell: 6,907 applications for VAT refunds have been made under this scheme since 1 April 2004 and roughly £6.5 million has been paid out, of which about 90 per cent. relates to Church of England places of worship.

The Church is extremely grateful to the Chancellor of the Exchequer for extending the scheme until 2008 in his Budget.

As the estimated annual spend on repairs and maintenance is nearly £100 million, there may be some parishes failing to claim. A proportion of repairs cover items which do not qualify under the scheme but there is still a strong suggestion that eligible works are being carried out on Church of England listed church buildings and no application is being made for a VAT refund.
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The C of E VAT Group is urging all parishes who have undertaken repair works to listed church buildings costing in excess of £1,000 to make a claim for the VAT refund on completion of the works.


Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners if he will make a statement on the Church Commissioners' policy on the encouragement of tourism. [222794]

Sir Stuart Bell: Cathedrals and churches are a major draw, not just in their own right but also as the part of the wider communities they serve. Making churches open and accessible raises challenges but congregations are responding with increasing professionalism, aided by advice from national and regional initiatives.


Incitement to Racial Hatred

David Winnick: To ask the Solicitor-General if the Attorney-General will refer the article written by Nasser Amin in the current student journal of the School of Oriental and African Studies to the Director of Public Prosecutions as incitement to racial hatred; and if she will make a statement. [222605]

The Solicitor-General: If any person believes that a criminal offence has been committed, than they may report that allegation to the police. The police can then investigate the allegation and, where appropriate, refer the matter to the Crown Prosecution Service for consideration of whether a prosecution should be brought.

Where the Crown Prosecution Service consider that a prosecution should be commenced for an offence of incitement to racial hatred, they seek the consent of the Attorney-General to prosecute.

The Attorney-General has not to date been asked to consider giving consent to prosecute Nasser Amin for an offence of incitement to racial hatred.

Parliamentary Questions

Lynne Jones: To ask the Solicitor-General, pursuant to the answer of 1 March 2005, Official Report, column1075W, on parliamentary questions, whether the former deputy legal adviser in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Elizabeth Wilmhurst, was one of the three officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office referred to. [222382]

The Solicitor-General: No.


Abandoned Vehicles

Mr. Gill: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many motor vehicles have been abandoned in (a) Leicester South, (b) Leicester and (c) England since 1997. [222896]

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Alun Michael: Statistics for abandoned vehicles removed and destroyed were first compiled in the Defra Municipal Waste Management Survey for 2000–01.

Annual results for England and Leicester, as well as the total since the figures were first recorded in 2000–01 are listed in the following table.

Agricultural Employment

Mr. Hurst: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many people were employed (a) full-time and (b) part-time in agriculture in England in each year from 1990 to 2004. [221957]

Alun Michael: The number of people employed in agriculture in England for the years 1990 to 2004 are shown in the table. The figures include family workers but exclude casual workers, farmers, partners, directors and salaried managers.

(a) Full-time(b) Part-time

(1)Shows the results assuming register improvements had not taken place (comparable with June 2000).
(2)Shows the results including register improvements.
1.Part-time is defined as less than 39 hours
2.Due to the introduction of new questions in 1998 figures prior to this year are not directly comparable with earlier years' results.
3.Due to a register improvement exercise in 2001, labour figures prior to this are not directly comparable with later results.
June Agricultural Census

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