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Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many participants on the New Deal 50 plus programme left the scheme for sustainable employment in each month since the programme was created. [136981]

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Mr. Jim Murphy: A measure of employment sustainability is not available for people who have found work through the New Deal 50 plus programme.

New Deal Schemes: Lone Parents

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many lone parents on the new deal (a) are in work-based training and (b) he expects to be placed in (i) full-time and (ii) part-time work. [134430]

Mr. Jim Murphy: Lone parents on the new deal for lone parents (NDLP) programme can access work-based training through new deal for young people or new deal 25 plus contracts. They can also be referred to training through other contracted and non-contracted provision. Information on the number of lone parents on work-based training is not available.

Since the programme started in October 1998, new deal for lone parents has been successful in helping more than 482,000 lone parents into work. Information is not available on whether these lone parents have entered full or part-time work and projections are not made on whether lone parents entering work through the programme will enter full or part-time work.

Occupational Pensions

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the written statement of 28 March 2007, Official Report, columns 113-4WS, on occupational pensions, what the evidential basis is for his estimate that providing benefits of 80 per cent. of core pension rights to members of affected pension schemes will cost £8 billion in cash terms and £1.9 billion in net present value terms. [135116]

James Purnell: In order to determine the likely cost of the Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS), data were collected on the numbers and characteristics of 380 affected pension schemes and specific data were collected on some 1,300 members of a smaller number of these schemes expected to be representative of the overall eligible membership. These sample data have then been fed into an actuarial model developed by the Government Actuary’s Department to generate detailed time profiles of costs.

The actuarial model calculates the amount of pension that would be paid in each year to each individual in the sample, reflecting the design of the FAS. The key pieces of information used to calculate these costs are: age, retirement age, accrued pension, percentage of pension lost and the likely longevity of eligible members and any survivors. The results, in terms of likely cash flow in each year, are scaled up to the level of the total assumed numbers of affected scheme members.

The main assumptions used in the calculations, based on the best available evidence are as follows:

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Railways for All Accessibility Strategy

12. Dr. Blackman-Woods: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the Railways for All Accessibility Strategy. [136914]

Mr. Tom Harris: The strategy was launched in March 2006. It provides £370 million of funding to improve accessibility at stations up to 2015 and around £6 million a year from a small schemes fund for train operators and others to bid for on a match fund basis.

Rail Services

13. Mr. Fraser: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the future of rural and branch railway lines. [136915]

Mr. Tom Harris: The Government recognise the importance of local railway lines to the communities they serve and seek to support their development, primarily through the implementation of the Community Rail Development Strategy. The Department has recently published a review of progress we have made in implementing this strategy.

15. Mr. Devine: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the growth of railway usage has been in the UK compared to other EU countries in the last five years; and if he will make a statement. [136917]

Mr. Tom Harris: Over the last five years, passenger kilometres have increased by 13 per cent. in Great Britain. This compares with a decline of 1 per cent. in Germany and Italy, and an increase of 7 per cent. in France. Together these four countries accounted for close to 70 per cent. of the total rail volume across the 25 pre-2007 EU states.

Regional Air Services

14. Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he plans to apply public service obligations to UK regional air services following the EU-US agreement on transatlantic air travel. [136916]

Gillian Merron: The Government's guidance on the protection of regional air access to London published in December 2005 sets out how we will interpret the criteria for imposing public service obligations set out in European Regulations. It is for Devolved Administrations or regional bodies to apply for and make the economic case for a PSO.

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16. Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the capacity of junction 16 on the M4 per day; and what change he expects there to be to future capacity. [136918]

Dr. Ladyman: A specific study would be required to determine the absolute capacity of junction 16. However, existing peak hour congestion problems indicate that it is running at or above capacity at certain times.

Junction 16 is being improved to increase capacity to cater for the additional traffic expected to be generated by the Wichelstowe development.

Landing Slots: Airports

17. Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the economic and environmental impact of the system of allocating landing slots at airports and alternatives to it. [136919]

Gillian Merron: The Government commissioned a study in 2006 on alternative ways of allocating landing slots from new capacity at airports. The report of the study is available on the Department's website.

East Coast Main Line

18. Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make a statement on the procedures for awarding franchises on the east coast main line. [R] [136920]

Mr. Tom Harris: Bids are evaluated in accordance with the European Foundation for Quality Management principles and consider the evidence contained in the bid and that available more widely to the Department.

The franchise will be awarded to the bidder that provides best operational and financial deliverability and value for money to the taxpayer.

Rail Services: North-West

Mr. Jack: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department is taking to increase spending on railways in the north-west; and if he will make a statement. [136921]

Mr. Tom Harris: Rail services in the north-west have improved substantially as a result of investment in the west coast main line upgrade and the new high-speed trains which now operate on the route. Future rail investment in this and other regions will be the subject of the high-level output specification for rail which the Government will publish in July.

British Transport Police

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has for the disposition of the British Transport Police. [136651]

Mr. Tom Harris: Following the Department’s review of the British Transport Police (BTP) last year, the
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Secretary of State decided that BTP should remain as a national, specialist police force for the railways.

Departments: Internet

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for which Government websites he is responsible; how many visitors each received in the latest period for which figures are available; and what the cost (a) was of establishing and (b) has been of maintaining each site. [135731]

Gillian Merron: The Department for Transport maintains 62 public-facing websites, including those run by the Executive agencies. 43 of these sites have been identified for rationalisation or closure as part of the website rationalisation programme under the Transformational Government Agenda.

Tables have been placed in the Libraries of the House showing unique visitor numbers, costs of establishing each site and maintenance costs for the Department for Transport websites.

Unique visitor data are not provided for all sites as the statistical software used on those sites does not produce this level of detail, only providing page requests rather than visitor data.

Where setup costs are not available this is because the site was established several years ago and the information is no longer available without incurring disproportionate costs.

Where annual maintenance costs are not available this is due to a number of reasons; either the site has only recently been available and maintenance costs are only applicable for the current financial year; the costs are part of a much larger contract and cannot be itemised; or the costs cannot be calculated without incurring disproportionate costs.

Departments: Olympic Games

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his Department's first estimate was of the total contribution to be made from the departmental budget towards the costs of hosting the Olympic games; and what his Department's current estimate is of that cost. [133292]

Gillian Merron: The key transport projects integral to the Olympic bid and supported by the Department stand on their own merits and had been approved prior to the bid's submission. Following the announcement of a full budget for the delivery of the Olympics in March, my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer is considering how that budget should be delivered in the context of the 2007 comprehensive spending review.

Departments: Sick Leave

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many people took sick leave for stress in his Department in the last 12 months; and what percentage of the total staff number this represents. [135464]

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Gillian Merron: The number of individuals who took sick leave for stress in the Department for Transport and its agencies during the calendar year 2006 is 1,061. This represents 5.3 per cent. of the total staff.

Some agencies have also included, in the figures, absences due to anxiety, nervous debility, neurosis and emotional upset.

Driving Tests: Accidents

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many accidents occurred involving drivers taking the Driving Standards Authority driving test when they were (a) reversing around a corner, (b) performing a three-point turn, (c) parallel parking and (d) performing an emergency stop in the last period for which figures are available. [137014]

Dr. Ladyman: During the financial year 2006-07, the Driving Standards Agency recorded:

Driving Tests: Fraud

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many instances of people found to be impersonating candidates in driving tests there were in each of the last five years. [134798]

Dr. Ladyman: Since records began in 2004, there have been 70 convictions for offences arising from driving test impersonations and a further 79 individuals received cautions. These figures are broken down as follows:

Convictions secured Cautions accepted Ongoing investigations( 1) Total investigations


























(1) Number of investigations from each year still ongoing as at 27 April 2007.

Because of the time required to bring cases to court a further 96 court cases are currently pending and 502 investigations are ongoing. The typical time taken to pursue a case from the initial allegation to a conviction and sentence is about two years.

Since 2004, some 293 people have been arrested for 729 offences arising from driving test impersonations.

Driving Tests: Standards

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps would need to be taken to amend the requirements of the Driving Standards Authority driving test. [137015]

Dr. Ladyman: As announced in February in our review of the Government’s “Road Safety Strategy”, I have asked the Driving Standards Agency to undertake a fundamental review of the way people learn to drive as part of our efforts to reduce road traffic casualties. This will include ensuring that the driving test provides
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an effective and efficient coverage of the syllabus and demonstrates that a candidate has the required level of competence.

In Great Britain the requirements for the driving test, both the theory and practical elements, are set out in the Motor Vehicles (Driving Licences) Regulations 1999 (as amended). Any proposed changes will be subject to public consultation before decisions are reached and amending regulations laid in Parliament.

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