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Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what arrangements for conducting tests and keeping proper records have to be in place before he will grant his approval to the appointment of delegated examiners. 
Dr. Ladyman: Before an organisation is approved to use delegated examiners it is visited by the local Supervising Driving Examiner. This is to confirm that all the necessary arrangements are in place to ensure that driving tests are conducted fairly and properly and under similar conditions to those conducted by DSAs own examiners.
Delegated examiners are required to submit monthly returns to DSA including pass and fail statistics and the number of pass certificates and driving test reports issued. They are also required to notify the Agency if they have not conducted any tests during the month.
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the Driver Standards Agency has a dedicated team of people who supervise the operations of Passenger Carrying Vehicle delegated examiners. 
Dr. Ladyman: The Driving Standards Agency's (DSA) sector managers are responsible for supervising delegated examiners. All sector managers are supervising driving examiners who undertake this quality assurance work as part of their general standards maintenance duties. DSA has 38 sector managers in post.
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many staff in the Driver Standards Agency work solely on conducting supervised Passenger Carrying Vehicle delegated examiner check tests. 
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether research has been undertaken by his Department into the effectiveness and safety of Passenger Carrying Vehicle delegated examiners conducting tests. 
Dr. Ladyman: Delegated examiners for the passenger carrying transport industry were introduced by a predecessor to the Department for Transport at least 30 years ago. Responsibility for the scheme passed to the Driving Standards Agency when the Agency was established in September 1990.
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what fee is charged by the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) to train a passenger carrying vehicle (PCV) delegated examiner; and what income DSA has earned from training PCV delegated examiners in each of the last three financial years. 
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many actual supervised (check) driving tests the Driving Standards Agency undertook on passenger carrying vehicle delegated examiners in each the last three financial years; and how many tests were cancelled in each year. 
Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the number of drivers aged (a) 18 to 21 and (b) over 60 years in (i) 1980, (ii) 1990 and (iii) 2005 expressed (A) as a number and (B) as a proportion of the driving population. 
Dr. Ladyman: The following table gives the number of people aged 18 to 21 and over 60 who hold a full driving licence and the proportion of the total number of licence holders in these age groups in 1985-86, 1989-91 and 2004, based on data from the National Travel Survey.
|Number of full driving licence holders and proportion of total licence holders aged 18 to 21 years and over 60 years|
Dr. Ladyman: The second EC Directive on driving licences, 91/439/EEC, which was implemented in Great Britain on 1 January 1997, covers a very wide range of subjects relating to driving licensing matters. The Department for Transport receives many enquiries and representations on matters relating to the provisions of this directive.
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport why there was no competitive tender for the contract for the Driving Safety Forward agenda; and how EU procurement rules were complied with in this instance. 
Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what (a) consultants and (b) contractors have been employed by the Driving Standards Agency in each of the last three financial years; what type of work each carried out; and how much was spent on each in each year. 
Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the average waiting time for a driving test was (a) in England and (b) broken down by (i) region and (ii) test centre in each of the last five years. 
|Number of weeks|
Figures broken down by DSA region in 2001-02 are not available. Such figures, average waiting times for England as a whole, and for individual test centres, could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, sets of tables showing waiting times at each centre during the same week in late March of each of the last five years have been placed in the Library.
Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many full-time equivalent staff are working on implementing and administering EU directives, regulations and policies in his Department; 
Dr. Ladyman: Implementation and administration of EU directives, regulations and policies is an important part of the work of the Department for Transport and we seek to do this in a timely and efficient way consistent with the principles of better regulation. Implementation and administration of EU policy is generally carried out by staff as part of their wider work and activity is not broken down in this way. The information requested could therefore be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he was first informed of the plans of First Capital Connect to prevent use of cheap day return tickets on former Thameslink services serving Hertfordshire; what representations he made to First Capital Connect about these plans; and whether he took these plans into account in his decision to award the relevant franchise to First Capital Connect. 
Derek Twigg: The First Capital Connect bid included a proposal to restrict the use of day return fares during the evening peak on certain routes. Day returns are fares that are not regulated and it is for operators to decide whether to offer them, at what price and with what restrictions.
Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to ensure that there are adequate controls on issuing certificates of equivalent competency for foreign officers serving on UK ships. 
Dr. Ladyman: I have asked the Chief Executive of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to establish a working group, including representatives from the shipping industry and trade unions, to examine these issues.
Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much funding the Government are providing to West Lancashire district council to provide free bus travel for (a) older and (b) disabled persons; and whether it plans to use all of this funding to provide free travel. 
Gillian Merron: The funding for concessionary fares is provided through revenue support grant which is unhypothecated; therefore the funding for concessionary fares is not separately identified. It is for local authorities to deicide on their overall funding priorities based on their judgment of local need and circumstances.
Pensioners and disabled people in England have had an entitlement to free off-peak local bus travel, from April 2006, which will be extended in April 2008 to free off-peak bus travel across the country.
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