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28 Nov 2005 : Column 154W—continued

Roads (East Sussex)

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to announce funding for the Bexhill to Hastings link road in East Sussex. [32148]

Dr. Ladyman: We are currently considering a request from East Sussex county council for a funding contribution towards the preparatory costs for the Bexhill to Hastings link road. We will be informing thecouncil of our decision in due course.

Special Advisers

John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the special advisers in post in his Department, broken down by pay band; and what the total budgeted cost to his Department of special advisers is for 2005–06. [29420]

Ms Buck: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary for the Cabinet Office on 16 November 2005, Official Report, column 1257W. Information relating to costs for 2005–06 will be published after the end of the current financial year.


Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many trains were overcrowded in each region of the United Kingdom in each year between 1994 and 2004, broken down by train operating company; and what the average percentage of passengers in excess of capacity (PIXC Factor) was for each month in each case. [29033]

Derek Twigg: The Department does not hold information on how many trains were overcrowded by region in the UK.

Passengers in Excess of Capacity (PIXC) applies to weekday commuter trains arriving in London between 7.00 am and 9.59 am and those departing between 4.00pm and 6.59 pm. The measure is derived from the number of passengers travelling in excess of capacity on
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all services divided by the total number of people travelling, expressed as a percentage. PIXC counts are carried out once a year, on a typical week day during the autumn. I have placed the appropriate tables in the Library.

Transport for London

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the Government plan to reintroduce legislation to transfer responsibility for train services coming into Greater London to Transport for London. [29712]

Ms Buck: The Secretary of State for Transport is currently considering plans to consult on the possibility of extending the London Mayor's powers to include services to some stations just outside the Greater London Authority boundary. There are no plans to reintroduce legislation to transfer responsibility for train services coming into Greater London to Transport for London.

Transport Spending

Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his Department's per capita spending is on (a) all transport, (b) light rail and tram schemes and (c) bus subsidies for each local authority area in England. [25624]

Ms Buck: The information requested is as follows.

(a) The Department does not hold information on all of its transport spend at local authority area level in England.

It does however allocate capital funding to local authorities 1 in England outside London. The per capita allocations 2 for 2004–05 as made in December 2003 are shown in table 1, which has been placed in the House Libraries. Some of the allocations relate to individual major projects, so for some authorities per capita allocations vary substantially between years.

(b) For light rail in 2004–05, the Department provided:

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The Department does not directly fund light rail in London and so it is not possible to calculate the per capita spending on light rail schemes in London.

(c) Most of the public funding support for bus services outside London is provided either to operators or through the revenue support grant, administered by ODPM, and is not identifiable at local authority level. The Department does provide some grants directly to local authorities for bus services and the per capita distribution of these in 2004–05 is shown in table 2, which has also been placed in the Libraries of the House.


Chagos Islands

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to expedite a visit of Chagos Islanders to the Chagos Islands. [32185]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, via the British high commission in Port Louis is currently exploring with the Government of Mauritius the possibility of chartering a Mauritian vessel for a humanitarian visit by members of the Chagossian community to the Chagos Islands in the first half of 2006. The high commission remains in regular contact with the leader of Chagos Refugee Group, Olivier Bancoult, over the logistics for the visit.

Civil Service Relocation (Scotland)

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many departmental civil service jobs have been relocated to Scotland in each year since 2001. [32258]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: While the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has not relocated any civil service jobs to Scotland since 2001, UK Trade and Investment will be re-locating some 12 posts from London to Glasgow during 2006. UK Trade and Investment is the lead Government organization that supports companies in the UK trading internationally and overseas companies seeking to locate in the UK. It is a joint FCO and the Department of Trade and Industry organisation and draws its staff from both Departments.

Departmental Websites

Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will take steps to ensure the Department's websites attain the W3C AAA standard of accessibility for people with visual and other disabilities; and if he will set a target date for this standard to be achieved by. [30966]

Ian Pearson: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) follows Government policy on publication on the web which means following the guidelines for UK Government websites and compliance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Version 1. Neither these guidelines, e-Accessibility communications from
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the European Union or advice from the RNIB have ever suggested that Government websites should attain and maintain Level AAA.

The FCO websites have been designed to be as accessible as possible in line Government guidelines, which currently indicate that websites should meet LevelA of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines that is the Priority One Checkpoints. They also identify a significant number of the Priority Two and Priority Three Checkpoints, from the Level AAA requirement, that have been deemed to be best practice. For example FCO websites use access-keys (P3 Checkpoint 9.5), provide a site map (P3 Checkpoint 13.3) and search facilities (P3 Checkpoint 13.7).

EU Budget

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on progress of European Union budget discussions. [31425]

Mr. Douglas Alexander: The UK presidency has completed formal bilateral consultations on the EU budget for 2007–13 with all member states, as well as Romania and Bulgaria. EU Foreign Ministers have also now had substantive discussions on this issue at the General Affairs and External Relations Councils on 7 November and 21 November. On the basis of those discussions, the UK presidency will table comprehensive proposals in early December, and work towards agreement at the European Council on 15–16 December. As my right hon. Friend, the Foreign Secretary told the European Parliament on 16 November, significant changes will be needed to the proposals tabled in June if we are to reach agreement.

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