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Safety Camera Partnerships

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport to which elected bodies the Safety Camera Partnerships are accountable in two-tier local government areas. [47896]

Dr. Ladyman: Safety Camera Partnerships are comprised of representatives from local authorities, the police, the Highways Agency and the magistrates courts and optional representatives from the Crown Prosecution Service, national health service trusts and the health authority.

Safety Camera Partnerships are not however a legal entity, and they complement, not replace, existing local authority and police statutory responsibilities in respect of road safety. Safety Camera Partnerships are not therefore directly accountable to any elected bodies. However each member of the partnership does remain locally accountable to its parent body.

Schools (Road Safety)

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department has allocated funding to local authorities for road safety initiatives outside schools since May 2002. [44670]

Ms Buck: The Department is funding a number of local authority initiatives which will improve road safety for children, including the Kerbcraft" child pedestrian training programme and travelling to school" project which we support jointly with DfES. Mainstream funding for all transport improvements, including road safety schemes, is allocated to local authorities through the Local Transport Plan system.

Senior Citizen Rail Travel

Mrs. James: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent representations he has received in support of free senior citizen rail travel; and what his response was. [44213]

Derek Twigg: The Department for Transport ensures that all train operators participate in the Senior Railcard scheme which gives discounts on train travel for people over 60. Additional concessions for senior citizens may be proposed and funded by local authorities, such as the Greater London Freedom pass scheme funded by the Greater London Authority. The Department has received no recent representations proposing free travel for senior citizens.

Thameslink 2000

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the timetable is for taking decisions on the selection of stations to be improved through platform extensions on the Midland branch of the Thameslink 2000 line. [46908]

Derek Twigg: The various applications which Network Rail have made in respect of the Thameslink 2000 project include their proposals to extend a number of platforms at stations along the Midland branch of the proposed Thameslink route to accommodate trains of 12 car length.

The public inquiry into the Thameslink 2000 project was re-opened between 6 September and 7 December 2005, following the submission of fresh applications by Network Rail to address deficiencies in the scheme identified by the original inquiry.

The inspector is currently preparing his report on the re-opened inquiry for submission to the Secretary of State for Transport and the Deputy Prime Minister, .who are jointly and severally responsible for determining the various consent applications required to implement the project. We expect to receive the inspector's report in March.

We will consider on a case by case basis the merits of extending the platforms to accommodate trains of 12 car length at other stations along the Midland branch that were not included in the submitted applications.

Tram Systems

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the tram systems (a) operating and (b) being developed. [48122]

Derek Twigg: The following light rail systems are currently operating:


 
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I refer the hon. Member to my answer on 24 January 2006, Official Report, columns 1992–1993W, concerning those which are being developed.

Transport (Scotland)

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what responsibilities he has for the provision of transport in Scotland. [44667]

Mr. Darling: I continue to have responsibility for the following reserved matters in the field of transport in Scotland:

In the case of railways, the provision of services is a reserved matter but the Scottish Ministers exercise certain devolved executive functions.

The UK Government continues to lead on EU and international negotiations since international relations are reserved.

WORK AND PENSIONS

Benefits

Mr. Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what criteria an individual from another EU country must meet to be entitled to (a) jobseeker's allowance and (b) housing benefit. [45323]

Mr. Plaskitt: In order to receive income-related benefits a claimant must both have a right to reside in, and be habitually resident in the Common Travel Area. The benefits affected by the Habitual Residence Test are: income support; jobseeker's allowance (income based); pension credit; housing benefit; and council tax benefit. The Common Travel Area comprises the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

The Habitual Residence Test applies to all claimants, including British citizens, who have lived in this country for two years or less. Claimants who do not satisfy the Habitual Residence Test are classed as people from abroad and are not eligible for these benefits.

Some groups of people who have the right to reside in UK are automatically treated as habitually resident in the UK. These include European Economic Area nationals who are classed as workers under European Community law.
 
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Housing Benefit

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the cost of abolishing the two highest rates of non-dependent deduction on housing benefit. [38103]

Mr. Plaskitt: The estimated cost of abolishing the highest two rates for non-dependant deductions is approximately £10 million a year.

Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the cost of raising the standard rate of housing benefit and council tax benefit earned income disregards from £5 per week to £10 per week. [38104]

Mr. Plaskitt: The estimated cost of raising the standard rate of earnings disregard in housing benefit and council tax benefit from £5 to £10 is £20 million a year.

Lone Parents

Mr. Rooney: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many lone parents whose youngest child is aged between 11 and 16 years are caring for a child who is sick or disabled. [48300]

Mr. Plaskitt: The information is not available in the format requested. Figures are only available for those receiving income support.

As at August 2005, there were 15,000 lone parents in receipt of income support, whose youngest child was aged between 11 and 16 years, and whose benefit included a disabled child premium.

Women Pensioners

Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many women in the City of Newcastle were aged over 60 years in (a) 1995, (b) 2000 and (c) 2005; and how many women were receiving (i) a full basic state pension, (ii) a part basic state pension of 50 per cent. of the full pension and (iii) a part basic state pension of less than 50 per cent. of the full pension in each year. [38293]

Mr. Timms [holding answer 19 December 2005]: Information that is available is in the following table.
20002005
(see note 6)
Women aged over 60 years in City of Newcastle31,20030,500
Number of women receiving a full basic state pension in City of Newcastle17,60015,500
Number of women receiving more than 50 per cent. but less than 99 per cent. of the full basic state pension in City of Newcastle11,80011,500
Number of women receiving less than 50 per cent. of the full basic state pension in City of Newcastle1,500800



Notes:
1. Detailed geographical information on the state pension is not available for 1995.
2. Data is taken from 5 per cent. extract of PSCS as at 31 March 2000 and 2005, therefore figures are subject to a degree of sampling variation. They are also adjusted to be consistent with the overall February caseload from the WPLS.
3. Figures are rounded to the nearest hundred.
4. A full basic state pension as at 31 March 2005 was £79.60.
5. A full basic state pension as at 31 March 2000 was £66.75.
6. The latest available population figures from ONS are mid year 2004.
7. The figures supplied are based on entitlements to all categories of state pension. A full basic state pension is paid to those who fully satisfy the contribution conditions either in their own right or where applicable, on the basis of their late or former spouse's contributions.
Source:
State Pension data: Information Directorate 5 per cent. sample.
Mid year population estimates: ONS, Population Estimates Unit



 
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