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The Minister for Security, Counter Terrorism and Police (Mr. Tony McNulty): I am pleased to be able to announce today that a further £25 million of capital is now available for distribution to police authorities for 2007-08. A breakdown of the allocation of this additional money is shown in the table attached.
|Police Capital Allocations 2007-08|
|Force||Allocation as at May 2007 (inc SCE)||Extra Allocation||Total Revised Allocation|
|NB In line with the revenue grant increase in 2006-07, the capital grant announced in early 2006 was calculated as a flat rate reduction for all (the 2005-06 total was 210 million). The £25 million uplifts has been applied similarly.|
Allocations include Supported Capital Expenditure (Revenue). The £25 million grant increases have been applied to police grant (as they would if full allocation had been possible early in 2006) not to Supported Capital Expenditure (Revenue).
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Vernon Coaker): I am pleased to announce that the fifth annual report of the appointed person under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 has been laid before Parliament today. The appointed person is an independent person who scrutinises the use of the search power introduced to support the measures in the Act to seize and forfeit criminal cash.
The report gives the appointed persons opinion as to the circumstances and manner in which the search powers conferred by the Act are being exercised. I am pleased that the appointed person, Andrew Clarke, has expressed satisfaction with the operation of the search power and has found that there is nothing to suggest that the procedures are not being followed in accordance with the Act.
From 1 April 2006 to the end of March 2007 over £47 million in cash was seized by police and HM Revenue and Customs officers under powers in the Act. These sums are subject to forfeiture in the magistrates court. These powers are a valuable tool in the fight against crime and the report shows that the way they are used has been, and will continue to be, closely monitored.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Mr. Tom Harris): On 17 April 2007, Official Report, column 6WS, I informed the House that the Gatwick Express franchise was to be ended and integrated into the existing Southern franchise, as part of the Departments plans to increase capacity. The Department for Transport has now concluded negotiations with Southern on the implementation of these changes and I would like to take this opportunity to inform the House of the progress that has been made.
The Department has now given 12 months notice to National Express, operators of the existing Gatwick Express, and the franchise will end on 22 June 2008. From this date, the Gatwick Express will become part of the Southern franchise operated by Govia.
The House will be aware that the Gatwick Express is a premium-paying franchise, while the Southern franchise is subsidised by the Government. In amalgamating these two franchises, the Department has secured a financial agreement that is at least as favourable to the Government as the current arrangements. The new agreement also secures extra peak capacity into London and a new hourly direct service between Brighton and Southampton, which Southern will introduce in December 2007.
As announced in my previous statement to the House, these changes will include a new-style Gatwick Express service to begin operation in December 2008.
The service will retain the current frequency, branding and non-stop service between Gatwick airport and London Victoria. However, at the busiest times of day the service will extend to Brighton. This will double the number of express trains between Brighton and London Victoria in the high peak.
The combined Southern franchise will now end three months earlier, in September 2009. This will ensure the winner of the franchise competition is in place before implementing major changes to their south London timetable in December 2009. This change will minimise the risk of disruption to passengers.