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4 Jul 2005 : Column 14W—continued


Rent Officers

Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many local authority rent officers have been employed (a) in England and (b) by each local authority on average in each year since 1997. [5442]

Mr. Plaskitt: I have been asked to reply.

The administration of The Rent Service is a matter for the Chief Executive, Charlotte Copeland. She will write to the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Charlotte Copeland to Mr. Paul Goodman:

Average number of rent officers in England

South East384346353534
South West454736323234
West Midlands282930272727
East Midlands192419201920
North West626658605259
North East182118191517

The figures for 1999–2000 cover the period from 1 October 1999 (ie the date The Rent Service was established) to 31 March 2000 only. All other figures are the average for the financial year 1 April to 31 March.

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Standards Board

Mrs. May: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the average length of time taken to complete an investigation by the Standards Board for England has been since it was set up. [9135]

Mr. Woolas: Over the whole life of the Standards Board for England, the average time taken by officers of the Board to complete investigations into allegations that the code of conduct for local authority members has been breached is seven months.

Mrs. May: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many cases the Standards Board for England has investigated since its establishment relating to (a) county councils, (b) district councils, (c) metropolitan borough councils, (d) unitary authorities, (e) parish councils and (f) town councils. [9136]

Mr. Woolas: The information requested is as follows:

Authority to which the
allegation refers
Number of allegations investigated by officers of the Standards Board
County council86
District council832
Metropolitan borough council172
Unitary authority264
Parish and town council(3)1,858

(3)Statistics in respect of parish and town councils are grouped together.


A21 Upgrade

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the issuing of draft orders on the proposed upgrade of the A21. [9311]

Dr. Ladyman: All the schemes for the upgrading the A21 have been referred to the regions for their advice on priorities. On receipt of this advice a programme for the delivery of the schemes will be produced. Draft orders for each of the schemes will be published to meet this programme.

Air Travellers (Financial Protection)

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)'s estimate of the number of UK leisure passengers who flew without financial protection in 2004; and if he will bring forward legislation to ensure that affected UK passengers can be repatriated by the CAA in the event of a major airline failure. [9359]

Ms Buck: The Department is aware of the trend for consumers to make their own travel arrangements, rather than buy package holidays that are protected by the ATOL scheme. The Civil Aviation Authority has provided advice to the Government on a range of options, including an extension of the scope of financial protection to cover passengers on all flights. We are currently considering that advice and will then decide whether to bring forward appropriate legislation.
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Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 27 June 2005, Official Report, column 1259W, on air travellers (financial protection), what the timetable is for formal consultation on his proposals; and if he will make a statement. [9077]

Ms Buck: The Government have not yet reached a decision in relation to the scope of air passenger financial protection.

Aviation Ministers

Mr. Mullin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list aviation Ministers since May 1997, indicating the dates between which they held office. [6696]

Ms Buck: There is no post designated as aviation Minister". My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has had responsibility for all forms of transport, including aviation, since the formation of the Department on 29 May 2002. He has been supported by other members of his ministerial team.

Civil Aviation (Missile Defence)

Mr. Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of microwave technologies for deflecting shoulder-fired missiles in the civil aviation sector. [8746]

Ms Buck: There are a number of technologies capable of defeating shoulder-fired missiles of which microwave-based is one. The Government are considering whether such systems could be realistically applied to civil aviation.

Classic Aircraft (Insurance Costs)

Mr. Letwin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effect of regulations on the costs of insurance for classic aircraft. [9167]

Ms Buck: The coming into force earlier this year of EU Regulation 785/2004 obliged almost all UK operators of non-commercial aircraft to meet minimum requirements for passenger and third party insurance. In some cases aircraft operators have had to raise their level of cover, which has resulted in an increase in premium. We are aware of only one case where this has caused difficulty in relation to classic aircraft, but through the efforts of the' insurance industry and a commercial sponsor, this problem has been resolved. The European Commission is aware of the difficulties faced by some owners of classic aircraft and has agreed to consider an amendment to the Regulation.

Community Transport

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what financial support his Department has given to community transport schemes in each year since 1997. [8437]

Ms Buck: The Department for Transport values the role that community transport plays in delivering transport services to communities and individuals who would otherwise be socially excluded. We support their activities in a wide variety of ways.
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The Department funds the information and advice service provided by the Community Transport Association. The CTA provides an extensive service to community transport operators and local authorities on a range of legal and operational issues. The following is the funding given by the Department to the Community Transport Association from 1997–98 financial year onwards.
Financial yearGrant
Total to date835

The Department also publishes guidance on the type of services that can be run and the legal framework for them.

A substantial proportion of the total of 400 projects awarded funding since 1998 under the Rural and Urban Bus Challenge competitions involve support for community transport services. Prior to this there was no specific bus funding in support of community transport schemes.

Over 800 community transport schemes have been granted eligibility to claim Bus Service Operators Grant since the broadening of the scheme in 2002 to include these schemes. Amounts of grant claimed under this scheme by community transport operators are as follows.
Grant claimed (£ million)

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