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11 Oct 2005 : Column 428W—continued


Business Regulation

25. Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will take steps to reduce the level of regulation on business. [16808]

Mr. Hutton: Yes. Our proposals for better regulation were set out in the March 2005 Budget.

These reforms will result in year on year reductions in the administrative burdens faced by business and a more proportionate, targeted and risk-based inspection regime.

Lord Birt

26. Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will make a statement on reports written by Lord Birt since his appointment as an adviser to the Prime Minister. [16809]

Mr. Hutton: Lord Birt is the Prime Minister's unpaid Strategy Adviser. He provides the Prime Minister and other Cabinet Ministers with advice on a range of issues. He has contributed to reports in conjunction with the Strategy Unit on London, crime, health, education, transport and drugs.

Better Regulation Executive

Ms Barlow: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will make a statement on progress in implementing the recommendations of the Better Regulation Executive report, "Less is More". [16640]

Mr. Hutton: The Government published a formal response to the Better Regulation Task Force (BRTF) report "Less is More" on 18 July 2005, copies of which are available in the Library. Implementation of the recommendations in the BRTF report is on track. For example:

In response to the recommendations about making it easier to remove or amend outdated or unnecessary regulation, the Government have already set out their proposals in a consultation document, "A Bill for Better Regulation", published on 20 July 2005.

On 15 September the Cabinet Office launched a major project to measure and then reduce the amount of paperwork and administration costs that Government regulations impose on British businesses
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and charities. This will involve extensive interviews with businesses, charities and voluntary organisations to estimate how much it costs them to comply with Government regulations.

The BRTF also recommended that the Cabinet Office establish "by the end of 2005" a new mechanism for business and other stakeholders to submit regulatory reform proposals to Government. This was launched on 15 September. Details are available at Departments and agencies will have 90 working days to respond to such proposals.

Departmental Websites

Sarah Teather: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will list websites that come under his Department's responsibility; and what the (a) cost and (b) number of visits was for each in the last year for which figures are available. [15769]

Mr. Jim Murphy: A table listing the websites within the Department's responsibility and the costs and number of visits for each, has been placed in the Library.

A website has been determined to be a set of pages under a unique domain name for example, Costs and traffic for sub-domains and areas within a website for example,, are incorporated within the figures for the main site. A certain number of unique domain names, for example, are just automatic redirectors to the relevant section of another site e.g. In such cases, statistics and costs have been included within the main site.

Select Committees

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what changes have been made to the advice for officials attending select committees since 1997. [16806]

Mr. Jim Murphy: Updated guidance for officials attending Select Committees, to take account of changes both in Government and Parliament, was published on 14 July. Copies are available in the Library.


Rail Stations (Disability Legislation)

10. Mr. Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department has undertaken an audit of all rail stations to assess their compliance with disability discrimination legislation. [16819]

Ms Buck: I plan to publish a Strategy for Rail Accessibility later this year. This will set out the process for allocating the £370 million "Access for All" fund to improve access to stations for disabled people over the next 10 years. Our aim is to maximise the potential for disabled people to make rail journeys.
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Train operating companies have already carried out access assessments for the Strategic Rail Authority as part of preparing their Disabled Persons Protection Policies.

Saltaire Roundabout

11. Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to ensure that the traffic problems at the Saltaire roundabout are resolved before the road is detrunked. [16820]

Dr. Ladyman: The Highways Agency is in discussion with City of Bradford metropolitan district council to address concerns over detrunking the A629/A650 route.

One of the issues being considered is the congestion at Saltaire roundabout. A joint study into the issue has been agreed.

Railway Industry (Subsidies)

12. Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans the Government have to change the level of subsidy for the railway industry. [16821]

Mr. Darling: The Government's spending plans for rail until 2008–09 were set out in my statement to Parliament of 10 February.

Rail Services

13. Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to improve integration of rail services between Network Rail and train operating companies. [16822]

Derek Twigg: The changes made by the Railways Act 2005 will ensure that the different parts of the industry work more effectively together—and create the conditions for Network Rail to work more closely with operators. In particular, integrated control offices are being established to improve coordination between Network Rail and operators and ensure trains run more reliably.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will assess capacity on South West trains following the relocation of 30 units by the Strategic Rail Authority to the Northampton line; and if he will make a statement. [16831]

Derek Twigg: Network Rail is currently carrying out a route utilisation strategy (RUS) on the SWT route and will be consulting shortly on their initial findings. The RUS concentrates on maximising the passenger and rolling stock capacity of the route to the available infrastructure. The RUS will feed into and help form the timetable for the re-franchising of South West Trains, targeted for 14 months time in February 2007. The franchise specification will also include the efficient deployment of rolling stock to meet capacity requirements.

19. Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the future of the Penzance to Paddington rail sleeper service. [16828]

Derek Twigg: Bidders are required to include provision for a Paddington to Penzance sleeper in their bids for the new Greater Western franchise. To ensure
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value for money, however, bidders have also been asked to cost the service and propose alternative ways of serving the overnight market. A decision on the future of the sleeper will be taken in the light of the bids received.

Transport Costs

14. Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the percentage change in real terms of the costs of travelling by (a) private car, (b) bus and (c) train has been since 1997. [16823]

Mr. Darling: Between 1997 and 2004 the real cost of motoring declined by 7 per cent., bus and coach fares increased by 11 per cent. and rail fares increased by 4 per cent.

Roads Network (South-east)

15. Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on investment in the roads network in the south-east. [16824]

Dr. Ladyman: We announced in December 2004 that the south-east region will receive over £950 million over the next three years for investment in transport schemes of local and regional importance, including roads. This funding is in addition to our funding for road schemes of national importance, such as widening the M25.

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