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30 Nov 2005 : Column 555W—continued

Pre-school Education

Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what representations she has received about the funding of three-year-old children for 33 weeks of pre-school education; and if she will make a statement. [32544]

Beverley Hughes: The Secretary of State does receive, from time to time, representation from a range of stakeholders, including local authorities, early years providers and national associations about funding for the free entitlement for early education for three and four-year-olds. From April 2006, the minimum entitlement will be increased from 33 weeks to 38 weeks a year.

All local authorities receive, through the under-fives sub-block of the education formula spending share (EFSS), sufficient funding to enable them to meet their statutory responsibilities to provide a free early education place for all three and four-year-olds. Local authorities are responsible for determining the specific level of funding to providers in their area taking account of local needs and circumstances.

Special Educational Needs

James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the Academies Special Educational Needs Dispute Resolution Service. [32659]


 
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Maria Eagle [holding answer 29 November 2005]: Academies are fully inclusive schools and are required by law to cater for children of all abilities. They cannot cherry pick their intake, but must have regard to the SEN code of practice and statutory guidance on inclusion. An Academies independent status, does not affect parents rights to appeal to the SEN and Disability Tribunal.

The Department launched an independent, free and entirely voluntary SEN Dispute Resolution Service for Academies in January 2005. The service was made available to support good and timely local decision making with regards the admission of pupils with SEN to Academies. The service has been well used by Academies and well received by both Academies and local authorities.

On average Academies admit more pupils with SEN (both with and without statements) than other schools in England. They also, on average, admit more SEN pupils (both with and without statements) than their predecessor schools.

TRANSPORT

Airports (Security Costs)

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list airports that (a) pay for and (b) do not contribute towards their security and policing costs; and if he will make a statement. [32676]


 
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Ms Buck: Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Birmingham, Manchester, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Prestwick are designated airports under section 25 of the Aviation Security Act 1982 and as such the aerodrome manager must pay such policing costs as he and the relevant police authority may agree. Non-designated airports are not obliged to contribute in the same way. All UK airports contribute to the costs of security.

The Secretary of State made a statement on 21 November announcing a review of policing at airports.

Departmental Staff

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) consultants and (b) special advisers were employed by his Department in each year since 1997; what the cost of each was in each year; and if he will make a statement. [27414]


 
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Ms Buck: The Department for Transport only came into existence on 29 May 2002. The number of consultants employed by the Department in the years since 29 May 2002 is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

In relation to special advisers, I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Cabinet Office on 16 November 2005, Official Report, column 1257W.

Arriva Buses

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many complaints about Arriva Buses have been received by the Traffic Commissioners in (a) England, (b) the North East Government Office and (c) the boroughs of the Tees Valley sub-region in each of the last 10 years. [32671]

Dr. Ladyman: Complaints about Arriva Buses received by the Traffic Commissioners, for the years that records are available, are shown in the following table:
200020012002200320042005
NETA262026242624
Tees Valley0571121
England465346624142
Total727879877967

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many complaints against Arriva Buses made to the Traffic Commissioners have resulted in that company being forced to amend operating practices in (a) England, (b) the North East Government Office area and (c) the boroughs of the Tees Valley sub-region in each of the last 10 years. [32672]

Dr. Ladyman: It is not possible to determine the number of complaints against Arriva Buses that have resulted in Arriva Being forced to amend its operating practices.

Arriva has been directed to amend its practices on the number of occasions shown in the following table:
200020012002200320042005
NETA000301
Tees Valley000000
England000000
Total000301

Such action will only be taken when a series of complaints has been made, where the operator has failed to address problems, rather than as a result of a single complaint.

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how much revenue was obtained by Arriva Buses from local authorities and passenger transport executives in each year in respect of concessionary fares in (a) England, (b) the North East Government Office Region and (c) the boroughs of the Tees Valley sub-region since 1995; [32812]

(2) how much revenue was obtained by Arriva Buses for running subsidised services on behalf of local authorities and passenger transport executives in (a) England, (b) the North East Government Office area and (c) the boroughs of the Tees Valley sub-region in each year since 1995. [32813]

Ms Buck: It is not possible to answer this question from the information available to the Department. Such information as we do have from Arriva Buses on its revenue from subsidised bus contracts and concessionary fares reimbursement has been supplied for aggregate statistical purposes and is commercially restricted under the terms of the Statistics of Trade Act 1947.

Concessionary Travel (South Gloucestershire)

Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 8 November 2005, Official Report, column 284W, on concessionary travel (South Gloucestershire), what he estimates to be the current cost to each local authority of the existing half-fare scheme. [32013]

Ms Buck: The cost of concessionary fare reimbursement to bus operators is reported to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister by each local authority. Aggregate data is published in the DfT's 'Public Transport Statistics Bulletin GB: 2005 Edition Supplement' copies of which are placed in the Libraries of the House.
 
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A table showing estimates of total spending on all concessionary bus travel reimbursement in 2004–05 by individual authority including discretionary spending on enhanced schemes, for example, providing cross-border travel or county-wide schemes, entitlement to travel in peak hours and concessionary travel for children has been placed in the Libraries of the House. It is not possible to disaggregate the cost of providing a statutory half-fare scheme for older and disabled people.

Departmental Staff

Mr. Geoffrey Robinson: To ask the Secretary of Statefor Transport how often on average civil servantsmoved posts within his Department in the last 10 years. [27968]

Ms Buck: The average length of time in each post for civil servants since the Department was created in 2002 was 2.95 years for staff in the centre and 2.27 years for staff in the Driving Standards Agency. The data for the other Executive Agencies is not available.


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