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12 Dec 2005 : Column 1622W—continued

Trunk Road Schemes

Paul Rowen: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many trunk road schemes are experiencing cost overruns; what action he is taking to tackle such overruns; and if he will make a statement. [34710]

Dr. Ladyman: Of the 29 conventionally funded schemes formerly in the targeted programme of improvements (TPI), that have opened over the last four years, 16 are forecast to cost more than provided for, and 13 are forecast to cost less. The total cost of those schemes is estimated at £888 million, some £12 million less than programmed.

When faced with potential cost overruns, the Agency's approach is to work with the supply chain to drive down costs of construction.

Where that is not possible, cost increases are met from a Strategic Reserve contained within the risk allowance for the TPI. Where cost savings are made, these are fed back into the Strategic Reserve.

UK Air Passengers

John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what average number of flights was taken by UK passengers (a) in 1997 and (b) in the latest year forwhich figures are available, broken down by social class. [35238]

Ms Buck: The results by socio-economic classification for 2003 are given as follows. Respondents in managerial/professional occupations had a higher mean number of air trips than those in lower occupational categories.

This data was not collected in 1997.
How many air trips in last year?

Mean no flights (based on all)Base numberMean (among those who had flown in
last year)
Base number
(all those who had flown in last year)
Managerial and professional occupations(6)3.64175.3277
Intermediate occupations1.62122.8109
Routine and manual occupations1.64913.2214
Never worked/long-term unemployed(7)33(7)7

(6)Figures are significantly different to the national average at the 5 per cent. level.
(7)Sample size too small for reliable estimates.
2003 British Social Attitudes Survey

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Vehicle Certification Agency

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what bonuses the Chief Executive of the Vehicle Certification Agency has received since his appointment; and for what reasons in each case. [35828]

Ms Buck: The Chief Executive of the Vehicle Certification Agency has received one bonus since his appointment. It was performance related and part of his 2005 pay award as a senior civil servant.

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for what reasons the Vehicle Certification Agency is involved in the work of the management systems certification. [35829]

Dr. Ladyman: VCA, as the UK vehicle type approval authority, has the responsibility to test and certify vehicles and components to a range of EU Directives and ECE regulations. Part of that certification requires that VCA verifies the conformity of production" arrangements of the manufacturer to ensure production vehicles and components continue to meet the standards. This is done through an audit of the manufacturer's quality management systems. With the introduction of ISO 9000—quality management systems—manufacturers requested VCA to extend the auditing service to include the issue of certificates. Therefore VCA became accredited by UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) to enable it to issue recognised certificates and be able to offer automotive related organisations management systems certification services on a commercial basis.


Commercial Ventures

Martin Horwood: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission if the House of Commons Commission will expand the number of commercial ventures in the House of Commons part of the parliamentary estate to include (a) a newsagent, (b) a bookshop, (c) a bank, (d) a laundrette and dry cleaners, (e) a pharmacy, (f) a stationers and (g) an Indian restaurant; and if the Commission will make an assessment of the contribution to public funds such services might make. [36330]

Nick Harvey: The House carries out a number of activities which have a commercial element, but which are predominantly aimed at providing services to Members and others on the parliamentary estate rather than having an outright profit objective. These include a wide range of catering venues and services including one which offers a curry each day; souvenirs; Post Office counters; a hairdresser; a florist; the parliamentary bookshop; a business travel agency; and the Westminster gymnasium. There are also smaller installations including ATMs and various vending machines. In addition, the House leases out external parts of the estate for specific retail activities; these include a retail chemist and pharmacy, a food retailer, a cafe, a dry cleaners and a public house. The House gets a normal market return on these leases. Newspapers are available for Members to read at a number of locations on the estate, and books, periodicals and videos are available from the Library.
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There are no current plans to extend the House's commercial activities.

Telephone Lines

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission how many telephone lines are installed in each building in the House of Commons estate; how many of those lines are live; which companies the live lines are with; what the call charges are under the current contract; when the contract is up for renewal; and if he will make a statement. [36465]

Nick Harvey: Telephony on the parliamentary estate is provided by the Parliamentary Communications Directorate using a network of seven linked switches. There are currently 5,714 live lines on the 020 7219 xxxx range installed throughout the House of Commons as shown in the table:
BuildingExtensions in use
1 Derby Gate232
1 Canon Row182
1 Parliament Street295
2 Abbey Gardens45
4 and 7 Millbank1,007
Norman Shaw North622
Norman Shaw South272
Portcullis House1,031
Palace of Westminster (Commons)2,028
Total Commons5,714

There are also 50 BT direct exchange lines at various locations throughout the estate and a further 208 mobile extension lines are allocated to House staff.

All incoming calls come via BT. Circuits installed with four suppliers BT, Cable & Wireless, Colt and O2 take outgoing calls depending on the destination of the call, the time of day and the tariffs available. These services are supplied under rolling contracts and the tariffs are regularly reviewed. The routing was adjusted earlier this year to take advantage of reduced tariffs.


Asian Tsunami

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much money the Government allocated to assist the victims of the tsunami in south east Asia; and how much of that money has been disbursed, broken down by recipient country. [33017]

Mr. Thomas: When the tsunami struck last December, the Government immediately allocated £75 million for relief and recovery needs. Nearly £67 million of this has been programmed through United Nations agencies, the Red Cross Movement and non-governmental organisations and DFID direct action. Of this figure, all but approximately £800,000 has been disbursed and this is earmarked to cover costs already incurred, and ongoing costs such as secondments of experts to United Nations agencies. Up to £7.5 million has been earmarked for disaster risk reduction initiatives in affected countries. This
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allocation will be disbursed, against agreed programme activities into 2006. It is now likely that the remaining £500,000 of the £75 million allocated is not required for relief and recovery activities.

DFID has allocated £65 million to meet reconstruction needs in tsunami-affected areas. A total of £41 million of this has been committed. In Indonesia, we have so far programmed £34.3 million, including two contributions to the Multi Donor Trust Fund of £5.6 million and £20 million. A further £5 million has been committed for technical assistance to help ensure timely, accountable and equitable provision of reconstruction assistance and rebuilding of livelihoods. A total of £2.8 million has been committed to Sri Lanka, and to date £1.5 million of this has been programmed to support the capacity of the North East Provincial Council (NEPC) to plan and implement programmes and services. A total of £3 million has been committed to India to support the United Nations Recovery Framework for Post Tsunami Rehabilitation and Reconstruction. The remaining £24 million of the £65 million allocation for reconstruction has not yet been committed.

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