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Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will place in the Library the figures for population growth in St. Albans and the surrounding area that the Government are using to assess the need to fund the Thameslink programme; and if he will make a statement. 
Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans other than the Thameslink programme his Department is considering to increase rail capacity from St. Albans to London during morning and evening peak hours. 
Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the roles of (a) Network Rail, (b) train operators and (c) his Department are in determining the frequency and stopping patterns of train services operating on (i) the present and (ii) a future Thameslink route. 
Mr. Tom Harris: The frequency and stopping pattern that operates on the current Thameslink route was specified by DfT, and was detailed in the franchise competition for this route which took place in 2005-06. The franchise was awarded to First Capital Connect, who took over the operation of the service in April 2006.
Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the powers granted to Network Rail for the Thameslink programme would enable any part of the scheme to proceed without the assurance from Government that the necessary funding will be in place for the full scheme to be completed. 
Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 30 January 2007, Official Report, column 75, on Thameslink, in which year the decision will be made in the context of the high level output specification. 
Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much was spent on the analysis by consultants of the impact of tolls on the traffic flow at the Dartford River Crossing; what assumptions were used in the analysis; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Ladyman: Two reports have considered the implications of tolls on safety and traffic levels. In 2001 Brown and Root Consulting prepared a report on the Short Term Study of Extension of Dartford Tolls. In 2004 Jacobs Babtie produced a report on Getting the Most out of the Dartford Crossing. Both reports are available in the House Library and on the DfT website. Information about the costs of the studies is not available.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans his officials have to meet (a) Opportunity Peterborough, (b) East of England Development Agency and (c) Peterborough city council to discuss future transport infrastructure in the Greater Peterborough area; and if he will make a statement. 
Gillian Merron [holding answer 5 February 2007]: No meetings are planned between Department for Transport officials and the three named organisations specifically or solely to discuss future transport infrastructure in the Greater Peterborough area. Dialogue takes place routinely and regularly with these bodies on a range of transport and development topics, generally through or involving the Government Office for the East of England. Officials from GO East will be meeting those of Peterborough city council on 12 February to discuss the local transport settlement announced in December 2006 and the accompanying assessments of the authority's second local transport plan and delivery report.
Mr. Grogan: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales which public affairs firms have been given contracts by (a) his Department and (b) public bodies sponsored by his Department in the last five years; and what the purpose was of each contract. 
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether any of the potential locations for the final disposal of radioactive waste being screened by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority are in Wales. 
Mr. Hain: I am advised that there is no consideration or screening of potential sites under way at the present time. The Government will be consulting on both the technical aspects of designing and developing a geological disposal facility and the process and criteria for identifying the siting of that facility later this year.
Mr. Pope: To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, (1) what the (a) salary scale and (b) term of appointment is for a local government boundary commissioner for England; 
Peter Viggers: There is no specific office of local government boundary commissioner for England. The functions of the Local Government Commission for England (LGCE) were transferred to the Boundary Committee for England (BCE), a statutory committee of the Electoral Commission, on 1 April 2002.
The Electoral Commission appoints the members of BCE, which may comprise only electoral commissioners and deputy electoral commissioners, with an electoral commissioner appointed as chairman. The current membership consists of the electoral commissioner who chairs it, and four deputy electoral commissioners.
The chair of BCE has served in that capacity since its establishment, and was most recently reappointed as an electoral commissioner in January 2007. She also served on LGCE for four years. Her current rate of remuneration as a part-time electoral commissioner is £337 per day, plus reimbursement of reasonable travel and subsistence incurred on Commission business.
Deputy electoral commissioners, whose functions are limited to serving on boundary committees, are appointed by the Electoral Commission. I am asking the Commission to write to the hon. Member setting out details of the person specification used in their original recruitment, and of the terms for which the current deputy commissioners are appointed, and to place a copy of the letter in the Library of the House. The Commission informs me that it is currently reviewing the person specification in anticipation of the need to recruit new deputy electoral commissioners in the near future to replace existing appointees whose terms are coming to an end. Remuneration of deputy electoral commissioners is fixed by the Electoral Commission, and it informs me that the current rate is £296 per day, plus reimbursement of reasonable travel and subsistence incurred on BCE business.
Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on what occasions (a) she and (b) departmental Ministers have been requested to appear before committees of (i) devolved institutions and (ii) the European Parliament since 2004; on what topic in each case; how many and what proportion of such requests were accepted; and if she will make a statement. 
Angela E. Smith: Since 2004, there has been one such request. In December 2005 the Deputy Prime Minister was requested to update the Urban and Housing Intergroup of the European Parliament, about the EU Ministerial Informal on Sustainable Communities, which had been held in Bristol earlier that month. The Minister delegated the request to a senior official who addressed the meeting.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether she plans to ask Communities England to implement the recommendations of the Affordable Rural Housing Commission. 
Yvette Cooper: Communities England is broadly expected to assume the existing responsibilities currently carried out by the Housing Corporation. We are using a range of channels and mechanisms to respond to the report of the Affordable Rural Housing Commission, including the forthcoming Spending Review. We are separately considering the regulation of social housing in the independent review under Professor Martin Cave.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 7 December 2006, Official Report, column 698W, on consultants, if she will place in the Library the report produced for her Department by McKinsey and Co. on communications. 
Mr. Newmark: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much was spent by her Department on buying, operating and supporting (a) all commercial software products and (b) software products produced by Microsoft in each of the last three years. 
The following figures in respect of expenditure on software licences and maintenance for the last three complete financial years are for the Departments predecessor, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.
|Corporate IT services|
|Financial year||Total software (including Microsoft)||Identifiable as Microsoft|
|(1) These figures include the cost of licences, maintenance and upgrade protection and exclude VAT|
|Financial year||Total software licences (£000)( 1)|
|(1) Excluding VAT|
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many targets set by her Department were met by Coventry city council in the last year for which figures are available. 
£8.751 million efficiency gains by the end of 2005-06, which compares to their target of £8.183 million.
The annual data produced by the Housing Corporation confirm that as at April 2006, 80 per cent. of Coventrys 21,000 social housing dwellings were decent. Coventry is currently judged to be on track to achieve the 100 per cent. Decent Homes target by 2010.
The baseline in relation to the number of vulnerable households in the private sector that live in a decent home is currently being established. Progress on this target will be measured against this baseline.
Coventry exceeded the three targets for timely handling of major, minor and other applications in the year to September 2006.
The Local Strategic Partnership of which Coventry is a partner is in the process of agreeing with CLG the performance management assessment against their delivery of the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund floor targets for 2005-06.
Coventry also has targets that are agreed through its local area agreement (LAA). These are three-year agreements, based on local community strategies, which set out the priorities for a local area. LAA outcomes and indicators are currently drawn from the outcomes framework in the LAA guidance. The guidance can be found at http://www.communities. gov.uk/index.asp?id=1164930
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Meriden (Mrs. Spelman) on 18 December 2006, Official Report, column 1613W, on departmental travel, if she will collect data recording the destination and purpose of all overseas travel by officials. 
Angela E. Smith: Data on the destination of all overseas travel by officials are already collected centrally and enhancements to our HR management information system will mean that the purpose of all trips will be recorded centrally from 1 April 2007.
Margaret Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps she is taking to monitor compliance with the gender equality duty in respect of domestic violence. 
Meg Munn: The Equal Opportunities Commission (until October 2007) and the Commission for Equality and Human Rights (after October 2007) will be responsible for monitoring public authorities compliance with the gender equality duty from April 2007.
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