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Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 6 June 2007

Leader of the House

Political Parties: Donations

Mrs. May: To ask the Leader of the House what rules govern public sector bodies' donations to political parties. [139259]

Mr. Straw: Part 4 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (PPERA) regulates the giving of donations to registered political parties and their members. Section 54 of PPERA sets out clearly that only 'permissible donors’ may make donations to political parties and what constitutes a ‘permissable donor’.

The Act does not set out specifically whether different types .of public sector body may be classed as permissible donors, although it does make provision in section 55 for payments to parties from public funds to be treated as permissible donations. There may also be some public bodies which fall into the various categories of permissible donor in section 54. In those cases it would be the responsibility of the political party to decide whether a public sector body that wished to make a donation is indeed a permissible donor. Any such donation would be subject to the regime laid out in PPERA governing the reporting of all donations to political parties and penalties for accepting a donation from a body that was not a permissible donor.

In addition to the political party ensuring that the public sector body, in question is a permissible donor, anyone acting for such a body would need to consider whether it had sufficient legal authority to make a donation to a political party under the legislation (or other instrument) by which is was constituted.


Cycling: Highway Code

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 10 May 2007, Official Report, column 452W, on cycling: Highway Code, for what reasons the wording was changed from “where practicable" to "where possible”. [137694]

Dr. Ladyman: The consultation draft of the Highway Code issued in February 2006 included the following wording for the rule on use of cycle facilities:

Many responses to the consultation objected to the use of the words “where they are provided” and so
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these words were removed from the version of rule 61 laid before Parliament on 28 March 2007, which read:

As well as removing “where they are provided”, the qualification on the use of facilities was moved towards the end of the sentence to make clear that it applies to all the types of facility mentioned in the rule and not just cycle routes. This was intended to avoid any false misapprehension that there is any degree of compulsion in the use of such facilities. As the introduction to the Highway Code makes clear, only rules that include the words “Must” or “Must Not” are mandatory.

The wording of that qualification was been changed from “when practicable” to “wherever possible” in the interests of clarity and the use of plain English. This change does not in any way affect the substance or status of the advice.

Rule 63 of the version of the proposed revised Highway Code laid before Parliament also included the words “wherever possible”. This rule was unchanged from rule 49 of the current version of the Highway Code first published in 1999.

However, cyclists remained concerned by the new wording. Following discussions with CTC, the cyclists' organisation, we have now proposed further changes to both rules 61 and 63, as follows:

We are currently seeking views from road safety, cycling and walking representative groups on these proposals. Subject to considering their views, we intend to include these revised versions of rules 61 and 63 in the new edition of the Highway Code, which we now expect to issue in September.

Galileo Project

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the total cost is to British public funds of the British contribution to Galileo in each year since 1997, broken down by Department. [139852]

Dr. Ladyman: The information about the UK's contribution to the programme is not available in the form requested. The total UK contribution to the European Space Agency (ESA) element of the programme since 1997 is €142 million.

The European Union (EU) and the member states of ESA jointly fund the design and development programme for Galileo on a 50/50 basis. DTI and DfT co-fund the UK element of the ESA subscription.

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UK subscriptions already paid and future commitments to the ESA element of the programme total €142 million, of which DfT is contributing £22.45 million (approximately €31 million).

Programme subscriptions to ESA are subject to inflationary increases and can vary from predicted profiles. UK contributions to the different phases of the programme are as follows:

The EU's contribution to the design and development programme is made from the EC budget and is estimated by the Commission to be €790 million. The United Kingdom makes its contributions to the EC Budget as a whole and not to individual spending programmes within it. There is not therefore a specific United Kingdom contribution to the design and development programme.

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how much the Government plans to contribute to Galileo in the next five years, broken down by Department; [139853]

(2) when he expects Galileo to be fully deployed and functioning; [139854]

(3) what the Government’s policy is on the European Commission’s proposal for national governments of member states to fund the deployment phase of Galileo. [140209]

Dr. Ladyman: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Crewe and Nantwich (Mrs. Dunwoody) on 23 May 2007, Official Report, columns 1353-4W.

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he plans to levy charge on operators or users of existing satellite based positioning systems in order to fund the Galileo project. [140207]

Dr. Ladyman: No.

Great Western Trains: Standards

Mrs. James: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent assessment his Department has made of the performance of First Great Western train services; and if he will place in the Library the most recent performance statistics available. [140817]

Mr. Tom Harris: Improving rail performance is a key objective for the Department for Transport. Joint action plans are in place between Network Rail and FGW to address performance issues. Additionally, FGW has implemented a 40-point Recovery Plan. These are monitored monthly.

In the year to 31 March 2007 FGW achieved an average punctuality of 83.2 per cent. across the franchise as a whole and 85.6 per cent. during the preceding four week period.

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Armed Forces: Dental Services

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions there have been at meetings of the Joint Ministry of Defence and Department of Health Partnership Board on the provision of dental care to service families; and if he will make a statement. [139619]

Derek Twigg [holding answer 4 June 2007]: The provision of dental care to service dependents was discussed at Joint Ministry of Defence and Department of Health Partnership boards during 2006.

At the time, we were advised of initiatives being implemented by the UK Health Departments that are intended to improve access to NHS dental care throughout England, Scotland and Wales. The MOD is continuing to monitor the progress of these plans.

Departments: Advertising

Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much was spent on advertising by (a) the Department and (b) its agencies in each of the last five years. [139522]

Derek Twigg: The only advertising undertaken by the Ministry of Defence is recruitment related. Details of armed forces advertising expenditure for the five years requested is not held centrally, and can be provided only at disproportionate cost. Sums spent on recruitment related advertising for the three years ending 2005-06 is available:

£ million
FY 2003-04 FY 2004-05 FY 2005-06

Naval service












All services




Civilian staffs are recruited locally and the information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Ex-servicemen: Military Decorations

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many veterans’ badges have been issued in each region of the UK in each year since they have been available. [140142]

Derek Twigg: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, a total of 453,544 badges have been issued since May 2004.

This can be broken down as follows:

Badges issued

May 2004 to December 2005


January 2006 to December 2006


January 2007 to 25 May 2007


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University Officer Training Corps

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answers of 16 May 2007, Official Report, column 1292W, on the University Officer Training Corps, which universities have University Officer Training Corps; what the approved strength is of each; and how many trainees are enrolled at each. [140492]

Mr. Ingram: Historically, many of the University Officer Training Corps (UOTCs) were affiliated to single universities. With the rise in the number of tertiary education establishments, this has changed. Although many UOTCs are situated in, and take their title from a particular city, they have a substantial footprint covering over 130 universities and colleges. For example, Wales UOTC, based in Cardiff, covers the entire Principality and London UOTC serves 51 tertiary education establishments within the capital and the home counties.

The locations, respective establishments and current strengths of the UOTCs are as follows:

UOTC locations Established strengths Enrolled number of officer cadets (as at 31 March 2007)


























































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