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London and Continental Railways

The Secretary of State for Transport (Mr. Alistair Darling): With construction of the link nearing completion, my Department has been considering its future relationship with the project and with London and Continental Railways, who are responsible for the construction and operation of the Rail Link. A number of options have been considered, touching on future financial arrangements, the current structure of controls in light of current best practice in such projects and the structure of LCR and its subsidiary companies. Officials have for some time held discussions with LCR about the best long term commercial structure. Separately, my Department has recently been approached by a third party, asking about the Department's attitude to their discussing with LCR's shareholders the potential acquisition of their current holdings, and about the issues of finance, structure and control mentioned above. My Department has made clear that any changes to LCR's ownership, corporate structure or controls structure will be considered against the primary objective of ensuring continuing value for taxpayers' money.

Silverlink Metro

The Secretary of State for Transport (Mr. Alistair Darling): From 11 November 2007, responsibility for Silverlink Metro services will be transferred to Transport for London (TfL).

Silverlink Metro consists of train services between Richmond and North Woolwich, Gospel Oak: and Barking, Clapham Junction to Willesden Junction and between Watford and Euston.

The transfer is in line with the Department for Transport's White Paper commitment to examine mechanisms for giving the London Mayor more control over rail services within London.

After the date of transfer, TfL will have complete responsibility for services levels on Silverlink Metro. TfL will now begin the process of procuring a concession to operate services after the transfer.
 
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WORK AND PENSIONS

Spring Supplementary Estimate

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Mr. John Hutton): Subject to Parliamentary approval of the necessary Supplementary Estimate, the Department for Work and Pensions DEL will be increased by £120,787,000 from £8,827,404,000 to £8,948,191,000 and the administration budget will be reduced by £30,335,000 from £6,059,262,000 to £6,028,927,000. Within the DEL change, the impact on resources and capital are as set out in the following table:
£000'sNew DEL £000's
ChangeVotedNon-votedTotal
Resource58,1587,409,6901,178,9208,588,610
Capital62,000458,4149,928468,342
Depreciation (1)629-107,999-762-108,761
Total120,7877,760,1051,188,0868,948,191

Note:

1. Depreciation, which forms part of resource DEL, is excluded from the total DEL since capital DEL includes capital spending and to include depreciation of those assets would lead to double counting.

The change in the resource element of the DEL arises from:

RfRl i.

an increase in provision of £4,000,000 (other current) due to increased spending by the Child Support Agency (take up of end of year flexibility);

RfR2

ii. an increase in provision of £37,000,000 (grants) due to increased spending on Employment Programmes (take up of end of year flexibility);

iii. an increase in provision of £74,000,000 (other current/grants) due to increased spending by Jobcentre Plus (£50,688,000), Health and Safety Executive (£8,763,000) and Housing Benefit Administration (£14,549,000) (take up of end of year flexibility);

iv. a reduction in provision of £229,000 (other current) due to a transfer to the Department of Trade and Industry for the transition costs of the Commission for Equality and Human Rights;

v. a reduction in provision of £62,000,000 (other current) due to a switch of funding into capital to reflect revised spending plans;

RfR4

vi. an increase in provision of £3,000,000 (other current) due to increased spending by the Pensions Service (take up of end of year flexibility);
 
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RfR4

vii. an increase in provision of £2,000,000 (other current) due to increased spending by the Disability and Carers Service (take up of end of year flexibility);

RfR5

viii. an increase in provision of £387,000 (administration) due to a transfer of funding from the Cabinet Office for the transfer of the functions of the Parliamentary Counsel Office.

Capital

The change in the capital element of the DEL arises from:

RfR2

ix. an increase in provision of £62,000,000 due to a transfer from other current to better reflect spending plans.

Administration Costs

The movement in the Administration Cost limit arises from:

RfR2

x. a transfer of provision of £30,000,000 within Job Centre Plus from administration to other current to more accurately reflect spending plans;

RfR4

xi. a transfer of provision of £722,000 from Disability Client Group (administration) to Disability Rights Commission (other current);

RfR5

xii. an increase in provision of £387,000 (administration) due to a transfer of funding from the Cabinet Office for the transfer of the functions of the Parliamentary Counsel Office.

Movements from non-voted expenditure

Additionally there are the following drawdowns that are neutral in overall DEL terms:

Welfare Modernisation Fund

xiii. £64,564,000 into RfRl for Child Support Reform;

xiv. £70,000,000 into RfR2 for Jobcentre Plus modernisation;

xv. £26,000,000 into RfR3 for the Pensions Transformation Project;

xvi. £18,000,000 into RfR4 for Disability and Carers Service modernisation;

Employment Development Fund

xvii. £285,000,000 into RfR2 for Jobcentre Plus roll out.

Financial Assistance Scheme

xviii. £17,000,000 into RfR 3 to reflect spending plans.