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7 Dec 2006 : Column 593W—continued

Departmental Staff

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) marketing officers, (b) communications officers and (c) press officers are employed in his Department; and what the total expenditure on communications for his Department was on (i) Government Information and Communication Service staff and (ii) other (A) press officers, (B) special advisers and (C) staff in the last year for which figures are available. [104358]

Gillian Merron: The full time equivalent staff numbers engaged on communication activities, for which figures are readily available, in 2005-06 is as follows:

DfT Central DfT Agencies

Marketing and Publicity



Press officers



It is not possible to break down communication expenditure by types of communication staff (or special advisers). The GICS has been replaced by the GCN (Government Communication Network) However, Departmental external expenditure on marketing and publicity and press office activities for 2005-06 is as follows:

£ million
DfT Central DfT Agencies

Marketing and Publicity



Press Office



Marketing costs include campaign advertising and wider publicity. Over 80 per cent. of DfT Central’s expenditure was on the THINK! road safety campaign. Two thirds of DfT Agency expenditure was by the DVLA in support of enforcement campaigns and to inform the public of changes in legislation.

DfT Central press office costs include media monitoring, use of Central Office of Information’s Government News Network and all other direct external costs attributed to press office operations.

Press office activities in most agencies are not carried out by staff or units solely dedicated to this purpose.
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Full records of attributable costs are therefore not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Exhaust Emissions: Dartford

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment his Department has made of likely variations in pollution levels resulting from the proposed toll charge-tariff changes for the Dartford-Thurrock crossing; and if he will make a statement. [107518]

Dr. Ladyman [holding answer 5 December 2006]: The proposed change to the tariff is expected to manage demand and slow traffic growth at the Dartford-Thurrock river crossing, with a consequential benefit to air quality, compared with maintaining the current charging regime.

Government Car Fleet

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the cost of the Government Car and Despatch Agency was in each year since 1996-97; and what the estimated budget is for 2006-07. [102723]

Dr. Ladyman: The Government Car and Despatch Agency (GCDA) was established as an executive agency on 1 April 1997. Its operating costs for each year since then can be found in the Agency’s annual report and accounts. Copies have been placed in the House Libraries.

The estimated operating cost for the current year (2006-07) is £17.8 million.


Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to reduce the number of unlicensed minicab drivers. [107008]

Gillian Merron: Individuals who attempt to provide a taxi or minicab service without being properly licensed normally do so by plying for hire (waiting to be approached by passengers) or by touting for business (approaching passengers and asking if they want a cab). Both of these are criminal offences. Responsibility for enforcement falls to local taxi licensing authorities and the police.

There are some minicab drivers who are unlicensed—lawfully so at present—because they provide a service under a contract lasting not less than seven days (“the contract exemption”). Section 53 of the Road Safety Act 2006 repeals the contract exemption. Those unlicensed drivers who currently rely on the contract exemption will in future have to be licensed in order to continue operating lawfully. We are currently asking stakeholders for their views on how long they need to make necessary arrangements before this provision is brought into force.

Private Finance Initiative

Mr. Francois: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the total capital value is of each private finance initiative scheme overseen by his Department
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which has reached financial close; over what period repayments will take place; and what the total cost of repayment will be. [103517]

Gillian Merron: A table with estimated total capital value, contract duration and estimated total unitary charge payments for PFI projects overseen by the Department for Transport that have reached financial close has been placed in the Libraries of the House.

PFI capital values typically refer to the cost of constructing project assets. The cost information in the table is an estimate of these costs. They are estimated costs because it is a feature of PFI contracts that responsibility for construction risk is transferred to the Contractor. The final actual cost is the responsibility of the Contractor. The construction cost is an element of the unitary charge payment.

The total unitary charge is a projection that covers payment for both the construction cost and other costs that arise from delivering the service. These typically include the cost of maintenance, managing the service, operational activities over the duration of the contract. The estimated unitary charge may vary over the duration of a contract as it reflects changes in the indexation of payments, usage related payments, contract deductions and service changes.

Railways: Fares

Mr. Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effect of the recent increase in rail fares by train operators; and if he will make a statement. [104718]

Mr. Tom Harris: Regulated fares—those most used by commuters plus long distance saver return fares—are limited to an average increase of 1 per cent. more than inflation. The South Eastern franchise fares regulation is set at inflation +3 per cent. Other fares are unregulated and may be set at the operators’ own commercial discretion. Information on unregulated fares is not collated by the Department for Transport.

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effects of differentiation between peak and off-peak fares and the effects on lower income users of the rail system; and what plans he has to discuss these issues with the train companies. [104759]

Mr. Tom Harris: The Department has regular discussions with train operators on a range of issues, including fares. Operators may only set regulated fares within prescribed limits. Annual average increases are presently restricted to inflation +1 per cent. except for the South Eastern franchise regulated fares limit of inflation +3 per cent.. Other fares are a commercial matter for operators. Trains compete with other transport modes and so operators have an incentive to price unregulated fares competitively.


Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential impact on pollution of a
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national road pricing scheme which takes account of vehicle efficiency and fuel technology; and if he will make a statement. [107648]

Dr. Ladyman: The Road Pricing Feasibility Study indicated that a well-designed national road pricing scheme has the potential to cut emissions significantly as well as congestion. The modelling for the study factored in anticipated changes in fuel efficiency. No further quantitative assessment has been made of the consequences of varying prices according to environmental impact. The road pricing pilots will help inform our decisions about moving to a national system of road pricing, and how it could take account of issues such as fuel efficiency.

Unpublished Studies

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which studies his Department has commissioned and decided not to publish after completion in each of the last five years. [102693]

Gillian Merron: An answer could only be provided at disproportionate cost, as this information is not collected centrally. However, DfT policy on publications is provided in the departmental publication scheme (accessible at:

Written Questions

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many parliamentary written questions his Department received in each parliamentary session since 2001; and how many of these questions (a) were not answered because of disproportionate cost, (b) were not answered, (c) received answers referring back to a previous answer (i) asked by the hon. Member and (ii) asked by another hon. Member and (d) were grouped together for answer; [107456]

(2) what target his Department has for the maximum acceptable amount of time to answer parliamentary written questions; and what percentage of parliamentary answers met that target in each parliamentary session since 2001. [107457]

Gillian Merron: The Department for Transport was formed on 29 May 2002 since when it has received:

All of the above received an answer.

The remaining information could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

My ministerial colleagues and I aim to ensure that hon. Members receive a substantive response to their named day question on the named day and endeavour to answer ordinary written questions within a working week of being tabled. It is not possible, but the Department for Transport makes every effort to achieve these timescales.

7 Dec 2006 : Column 597W

Culture, Media and Sport


Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the value is of bets that have been placed on sports events excluding horseracing and greyhound racing in each of the last three years; and what proportion of the overall gambling market this represents. [104597]

Mr. Caborn: The Government do not hold information on the total amount bet on sporting events. This is commercially sensitive information kept by betting operators.


Mr. Vaizey: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much funding her Department gave to cathedrals in each year since 1997. [105017]

Mr. Lammy: English Heritage is a sponsored body of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. It operates the ‘Grants for Cathedrals’ programme. The amounts made available under this scheme in each year since 1997 are in the table.

£ million





















The Listed Places of Worship scheme returns as a grant the equivalent of the VAT incurred in making repairs to listed buildings in use for worship. Cathedrals are able to benefit to the extent to which they cannot reclaim VAT due to it being attributable to non-business or exempt activity. The scheme started in 2001. Figures are not available for the totals disbursed to Cathedrals under the scheme.

London Olympics

Hugh Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when she expects to answer questions (a) 104517, (b) 104518 and (c) 104522, on VAT and the Olympics, tabled by the hon. Member for Faversham and Mid Kent on 23 November. [105261]

Mr. Caborn: Question 104518 was answered by the Secretary of State on 29 November 2006, Official Report, column 747W. Question 104522 was answered by the Secretary of State on 5 December 2006, Official Report, column 265W. Question 104517 will be answered as soon as possible.

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what contracts have been awarded for the 2012 Olympics; which companies have been
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awarded such contracts; and what the value is of each contract. [101946]

Mr. Caborn: Since the establishment of the Olympic Delivery Authority in April 2006, the following major contracts have been awarded in respect of delivering the Olympic Park for the 2012 Olympic games.

Purpose Company Estimated value (£)

Olympic Park Design Consultancy

EDAW, ARUP and Atkins Consortium


Delivery Partner

CLM Consortium

Costs reimbursable with performance-related earnings, potential value not yet known

Hugh Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) what steps the Olympic Delivery Authority is taking to ensure that small businesses are able to access Olympic contracts; [104686]

(2) whether the Olympic Delivery Authority has set an indicative target for the number of Olympic contracts to be awarded to firms in (a) London and (b) the UK. [104687]

Mr. Caborn [holding answer 5 December 2006]: Under EU procurement legislation Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) cannot set indicative targets for the number of Olympic contracts to be awarded to London and UK firms. However, the success of the 2012 games will depend on the involvement of thousands of UK businesses of every size and plans are being developed to ensure that the opportunities are realised by all.

The ODA is currently developing its final procurement policy so that the procurement of all work, goods and services is transparent, fair and open to a diverse range of suppliers. It will consider arrangements so that tender requirements are appropriate to the size and scale of the contract being awarded, to facilitate the involvement of small and medium sized enterprises. The policy is expected to be published early 2007. Businesses can register now on the London 2012 website to be alerted to contract opportunities and information.

To ensure UK businesses are best placed to secure procurement opportunities, the DTI, regional development agencies, and the devolved Administrations will tailor existing business support tools, like Business Link, to drive up competitiveness and UK success in tendering for Olympic related contracts.

We are also committed to exploring the potential for operating a Business Opportunities Network to link small and medium sized enterprises with relevant partners to compete successfully for London 2012 contracts.

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport from which budget the VAT costs associated with the London Olympics in 2012 are expected to be paid. [102530]

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