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26 Jan 2006 : Column 2271W—continued


Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act

Norman Baker: To ask the Prime Minister whether he plans to (a) review and (b) reform the Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act 1925. [45974]

The Prime Minister: No.


Mr. Clegg: To ask the Prime Minister when he was first informed of the United States policy on international rendition. [45343]

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the answers I gave the right hon. Member for Ross, Skye and Lochaber (Mr. Kennedy) at Prime Minister's Questions on 7 December 2005, Official Report, columns 862–63.


A46 (Nottinghamshire)

Mr. Kenneth Clarke: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the cost to public funds has been to date of the promotion of, preparation for, design of and public consultation on the proposed improvements to the A46 between Widmerpool and Newark-on-Trent in Nottinghamshire. [45935]

Dr. Ladyman: The A46 Newark to Widmerpool Improvement scheme was added to the National Roads programme in May 1989 and was withdrawn in 1997. There are no records of historic costs for this period. Since its re-introduction and entry into the Targeted Programme of Improvements the cost to public funds for the development of the scheme has been £10.2 million (exc. VAT).

Audible Fire Alarms

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proportion of the premises occupied by his Department is fitted with audible fire alarms. [42870]

Ms Buck: 100 per cent. of departmental premises that require audible fire alarms, as determined by the departments risk assessment of the premises, are fitted with audible fire alarms.

However the Department does have a number of small, regional operational sites, such as vehicle test stations and coastguard sites, for which information is not collected in the form required and an audit of the departmental estate could only be conducted at disproportionate cost. The Department is committed to ensuring compliance with fire safety law in premises it occupies. That includes provision of fire detection and warning systems that are appropriate to the circumstances of the case.
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Aylesbury North (Railway Station)

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is on the proposed construction of an Aylesbury North railway station. [43298]

Derek Twigg: On 15 January, the Department received proposals, including a business case, from Chiltern Railways for a new station at Aylesbury Vale Parkway. We will be considering these submissions during 2006.

C2C Rail Line (Benfleet)

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will assess the need for additional rolling stock on the c2c rail line to Benfleet; and if he will make a statement. [43311]

Derek Twigg: I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 8 December 2005, Official Report, column 1464W. The two remaining units referred to in my answer due to return to c2c by the end of December 2005 have now been returned, increasing capacity on the route.

It is for the operator to ensure that sufficient rolling stock is available to deliver the train service specified in the franchise agreement.

Concessionary Travel

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he plans to make of the number of (a) people aged 60 and over and (b) disabled people obtaining bus passes under the Government's concessionary fare schemes; and what funding is being made available by central Government to provide free travel outside district and unitary authority boundaries. [44701]

Ms Buck: The percentage of people 60 and over holding a bus pass will be estimated using data from the National Travel Survey, a continuous household survey. The Department will be surveying local authorities on their concessionary fares schemes, and will be asking for the number of bus passes issued to disabled people.

The Government are providing an extra £350 million for 2007–08 which will be sufficient to fund the cost to local authorities of introducing free local off-peak bus travel. As now, there will be no specific central Government funding for cross-boundary travel. Local authorities will have discretion to work together to provide travel outside their area, as they do at present, based on their judgment of local needs and their overall financial priorities.

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many pensioners in (a) the Tees Valley and (b) Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland will qualify for free off-peak bus travel from April. [45105]

Ms Buck: The number of residents aged 60 or older who will qualify for free off-peak bus travel in (a) the five unitary authorities which comprise the Tees Valley,
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is 137,200. This is from mid-2004 population estimates from the Office for National Statistics. In (b) the Parliamentary Constituency of Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, over 17,100 people were of retirement age; that is men aged 65 or older and women aged 60 or older, at the time of the 2001 census.

Consultancy Contracts

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the total amount spent by (a) his Department and (b) the Highways Agency on consultancy contracts was in each of the past five years. [43596]

Ms Buck: I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 9 January 2006, Official Report, column 13W, to the hon. Member for Angus (Mr. Weir).


Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his estimate is of the final construction cost of Crossrail. [43600]

Derek Twigg: The estimate of expense submitted with the Crossrail hybrid Bill in February 2005 estimates the cost of Crossrail as £10.292 billion in first quarter 2002 prices.


Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what budget he has made available for improvements to facilities for cycling in each of the past five years. [43599]

Derek Twigg: The Department provides funding for cycling through the local transport plan settlement and English local highway authorities outside London have informed the Department that their investment in cycle facilities for each of the last five years is as follows:
£ million


London boroughs also receive funding from the Department via a block settlement through Transport for London and TfL estimate they have invested a further £50 million over this period from this source.

To supplement this spend, the Department has provided an additional budget for cycling programmes and initiatives. A further £4.37 million was allocated in 2002–03 and 2003–04 and £10.56 million in 2004–05. The Department has also awarded Cycling England a budget of £5 million for 2005–06 to fund their work plan aimed at encouraging an increase in cycling of which £3.15 million has been allocated for cycle facilities.
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Departmental Consultants

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many civil servants in each grade have left his Department in each of the last three years to join consultancy firms; and which firm each joined. [37366]

Ms Buck: Under the business appointment rules, staff are required to submit an application for approval to accept an outside appointment following resignation or retirement from Crown service. All senior civil servants must seek formal approval for any outside appointments within two years of leaving the Department. There have been two members of staff below the senior civil service and three senior civil servants who have left the civil service and taken up appointment with a consultancy within the past three years.

Identifying individual firms might lead to individual's identities being revealed.

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