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Fares: Derbyshire

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received from (a) Derbyshire county council and (b) Derbyshire bus operators on the use of the toolkit to determine the cost of concessionary fare schemes; and if he will make a statement. [133157]

Gillian Merron: The toolkit is part of guidance issued by the Department to travel concession authorities to help them calculate concessionary fare reimbursement. It was put together following consultation with the concessionary fares working group, which consists of representatives from local authorities and the bus industry. Derbyshire county council was represented on the group.

As of 23 April 2007, two bus operators have lodged appeals to the Secretary of State for Transport against the Derbyshire county-wide concessionary travel scheme for 2007-08, disputing the level of reimbursement offered by the authority. No representations have been received from Derbyshire county council. However, during the appeals process, the bus operators and the authority will be given opportunities to provide evidence and to respond to each other's submissions. Determinations of the appeals will be made in due course.


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Invalid Vehicles

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he plans to publish his recommendations following the review of class two and class three powered wheelchairs and powered scooters (invalid carriages) published in July 2005; and if he will make a statement. [132655]

Gillian Merron: This research, published by the Department in February 2006, looked at a range of issues, many of which are complex and require careful consideration. An announcement will be made later in the year on the way forward.

Motor Vehicles: Accidents

Jessica Morden: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport in what proportion of the 5 per cent. of motor vehicle accidents resulting in injury where exceeding the speed limit was an identified factor (a) the involvement of stolen vehicles, (b) the involvement of the vehicle in the execution of a crime, (c) the involvement of emergency vehicles, (d) the driver being under the influence of drink or drugs and (e) other factors contributed to the accident. [133246]

Dr. Ladyman: The proportion of reported personal injury road accidents which had ‘exceeding the speed limit’ as a contributory factor, that also had (a) stolen vehicles, (b) vehicle in the course of crime, (c) emergency vehicles on a call, (d) influenced by alcohol or drugs or (e) other major factors as contributory factors is given in the following table.

Other contributory factors reported in personal injury road accidents which had ‘exceeding the speed limit’ as a contributory factor, GB: 2005
Contributory factor Number Percentage

Stolen vehicle

233

3.2

Vehicle in course of crime

112

1.5

Emergency vehicle on a call

30

0.4

Impaired by alcohol

1,090

14.9

Impaired by drugs (illicit or medicinal)

131

1.8

Other factors:

Loss of control

2,361

32.3

Careless, reckless or in a hurry

2,261

30.9

Travelling too fast for conditions

1,616

22.1

Failed to look properly

1,561

21.3

Aggressive driving

1,191

16.3

Failed to judge other person's path or speed

1,151

15.7

Poor turn or manoeuvre

842

11.5

Slippery road (due to weather)

798

10.9

Any other factor(1)

1,394

19.1

Total number of accidents involving ‘exceeding the speed limit’

7,314

100.0

(1) Contributory factors which independently accounted for less than 10 per cent. of accidents which had ‘exceeding the speed limit’ as a contributory factor.

It is important to note that the driver who had ‘exceeding the speed limit’ as a contributory factor in
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an accident may not be the same driver who had ‘stolen vehicle’ (or one of the other contributory factors) as a contributory factor.

Motor Vehicles: Registration

Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to his answer of 27 March 2007, Official Report, column 1381W, on motor vehicles: registration, what steps are being taken to ensure that foreign registered vehicles used in the UK for more than six months in any 12 months are being registered and licensed. [133775]

Dr. Ladyman: The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency is running a pilot scheme to help educate those using foreign registered vehicles in this country about the rules surrounding their use. Those who break these rules risk direct enforcement action involving the wheel clamping and impounding of the vehicle. The pilot has been introduced on a limited basis and at this stage involves vehicles registered in a small number of European member states only. The results will be shared with the EU commission and other member states with the aim of introducing an EU-wide enforcement system.

Pedicabs

Mr. Scott: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment his Department has made of the safety and roadworthiness of pedicabs; and if he will make a statement. [132725]

Gillian Merron: The Department has not made any specific assessment of the safety and roadworthiness of pedicabs. However, as road vehicles, pedicabs must comply with road traffic law including road vehicle lighting regulations, and with the Highway Code.

Bicycles and tricycles with a saddle height of not less than 635 millimetres and every cycle with four or more wheels must comply with the requirements of the Pedal Cycles (Construction and Use) regulations 1983.

Railway Track

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many applications under Section 17 of the Railways Act 1993 for a track access agreement have been made by regional new rail companies; and how many have been (a) rejected and (b) accepted. [133160]

Mr. Tom Harris: Applications for track access agreements under section 17 of the Railways Act 1993 are dealt with by the Office of Rail Regulation. Two prospective new railway companies have made applications under section 17. Grand Central Railway Company Limited has made two applications; one was rejected and one was approved. Wrexham Shropshire and Marylebone Railway Company has made two applications: one was withdrawn and one is currently under consideration.

Railways: Bicycles

Robert Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the additional 1,000 railway
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carriages recently announced will be constructed to carry bicycles. [133169]

Mr. Tom Harris: It is too early to comment on the design of the additional rolling stock. Regrettably, there will always be constraints on the ability to accommodate non-folding bicycles at peak times, with the competing pressures on space from increasing passenger numbers.

Road Traffic Offences: Foreigners

Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what account his Department has taken of the enforcement of civil traffic penalties against foreign registered vehicles in (a) plans for a national road user charging scheme and (b) the forthcoming road transport Bill; [132940]

(2) what account has been taken within his Department’s road pricing feasibility studies of the enforcement of civil penalties against the keepers of foreign registered vehicles. [132944]

Dr. Ladyman: No decisions have been taken on a national road pricing scheme. The 2004 feasibility study considered enforcement issues but not specifically in relation to foreign registered vehicles. The need to provide an effective civil enforcement system is being addressed by the Department and those local authorities developing local road pricing schemes. The first priority though is to design schemes that are as easy as possible to use and understand—and which will ensure high levels of compliance by domestic and foreign vehicles. We will be publishing a draft Bill for consultation later in the spring and will welcome a debate on its provisions then.

Rolling Stock

Robert Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how the additional 1,000 new railway carriages recently announced will be allocated to operating companies; and if he will make a statement. [133170]

Mr. Tom Harris: It is too early to say where precisely the additional rolling stock will be used. The deployment of new rolling stock will be agreed with the industry following the publication of the high level output specification and the long term rail strategy this summer, in accordance with the periodic review timetable set out in the Office of Rail Regulation’s advice to Ministers published in February 2007.

Mark Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the extra 1,000 train carriages announced on 14 March 2007 are expected to be in use. [133300]

Mr. Tom Harris: I anticipate that orders for additional carriages will be placed between now and 2010, with a view to delivery between 2009 and 2013. The precise phasing of the orders will reflect where crowding relief is most urgently needed; Network Rail’s timetable for any platform-lengthening or increase in
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power supply which is required to accommodate longer trains; and the capacity of the suppliers of rolling stock.

West Coast Mainline: Rolling Stock

Mr. Jamie Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many of the 1,000 new carriages that will come into use between 2009 and 2014 will be assigned to the West Coast main line. [133481]

Mr. Tom Harris: It is too early to say where precisely the additional rolling stock will be used. The deployment of the new rolling stock will be agreed with the industry following the publication of the high level output specification and the long term rail strategy this summer, in accordance with the periodic review timetable set out in the Office of Rail Regulation’s advice to Ministers published in February 2007.

Wales

Departments: Official Hospitality

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much was spent on hospitality by his Department in the financial year 2006-07. [133261]

Mr. Hain: The Wales Office spent £14,279.62 on hospitality in 2006-07.

Olympic Games: Greater London

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what representations he has made within Government in the last 12 months about securing benefits to Wales from the 2012 Olympics. [133619]

Mr. Hain: I have regular discussions with Cabinet colleagues about matters affecting Wales including the 2012 Olympics.

Wales has an important contribution to make, both to the Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Cultural Olympiad. Both will present superb opportunities to raise Wales’ international profile as a visitor destination and to promote new economic development opportunities and trading partnerships at home and abroad.

Work and Pensions

Benefit Fraud

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the savings to his Department from detected benefit fraud were in each year since 1997, broken down by benefit. [116593]

Mr. Plaskitt: The information requested is not available by individual benefit and comparable information is only available since 1999-2000. The available information is set out in the following tables. The figures in the tables represent the amount of fraud
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actually detected by the Department’s officials, and reflect the monetary value of adjustment (MVA).

The MVA is the difference between the weekly amount of benefit that would have been paid or would have continued to be paid, and the benefit actually paid following the decision maker’s decision on the information gathered. It includes both increases and decreases. The MVA scheme was introduced from 1 April 1999.

Instrument of payment fraud

Due to the increase in the number of customers who are paid by direct payment (around 98 per cent. of our customers are now paid in this way, compared to around 34 per cent. in 1999), there has been a very large reduction in the amount of instrument of payment fraud, as shown in the following table:

Instrument of Payment MVA (£)

1999-2000

20,470,863

2000-01

15,302,840

2001-02

9,322,117

2002-03

9,217,555

2003-04

7,916,299

2004-05

4,474,984

2005-06

2,824,939


General matching service

DWP can data match information from across a number of sources, to check:

Data matching enables the Department to find inconsistencies in information and therefore identify where people are committing fraud (in addition to identifying customer and official error). For example, if someone was paying national insurance contributions on earned income at a time when their benefit claim showed that they had no earnings, clearly something is wrong.

The MVA in respect of the Department’s general matching service is as follows, and shows the increased success of various data matching exercises in detecting fraud:

General Matching Service MVA (£)

1999-2000

951,885

2000-01

1,034,865

2001-02

1,340,080

2002-03

1,672,893

2003-04

1,577,042

2004-05

1,056,966

2005-06

1,324,906


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