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Leader of the House


21. David Taylor: To ask the Leader of the House when she will bring forward plans to modernise further the House of Commons. [146367]

Ms Harman: As I have indicated in my earlier response to the hon. Member for Cardiff, North (Julie Morgan) the Government are considering their response to the Modernisation Committee's recent report on “Revitalising the Chamber”. We hope to bring forward specific proposals for the House's consideration as soon as reasonably possible. I remain open to representations on matters for reform.

Westminster Hall Debates

22. Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Leader of the House if she will consider extending the amount of time allocated to Westminster Hall debates. [146368]

Ms Harman: I have no plans to do so. The present sitting times for Westminster Hall were set in January 2005 to complement the revised sitting hours agreed at the same time for the main Chamber.

Front-Bench Speeches

23. Sir Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Leader of the House what assessment she has made of the effect on debates of the length of Front-Bench speeches. [146369]

Ms Harman: I have made no such specific assessment. As the hon. Member is aware, the issue of Front-Bench speaking times was discussed in the recent report of the Modernisation Committee on “Revitalising the Chamber: the role of the back bench Member”. The Committee recommended the extension to Front-Bench speeches of the power to impose speaking limits, with certain safeguards.

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European Legislation: Scrutiny

24. Mr. Cash: To ask the Leader of the House what steps she is taking to ensure effective scrutiny of European legislation; and if she will make a statement. [146370]

Ms Harman: The Government are considering possible measures for the reform of the scrutiny of European legislation and hopes to bring forward proposals in due course.


Fast Link Trains

Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 25 June to Question 145649, on fast link trains, what the anticipated frequency is of the one hour and 25 minute fast trains from St. Pancras to Ramsgate; and on what date this service is likely to commence. [146654]

Mr. Tom Harris: It is anticipated that the fast services from St. Pancras to Ramsgate will operate on a one train per hour frequency during the main part of the day, seven days a week. These services are scheduled to be introduced from 13 December 2009.

M1: Castle Donington

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will examine the feasibility of bringing the hard shoulder into use as a carriageway on the M1 motorway in the vicinity of junction 24 during large-scale events likely to lead to congestion at Donington Park circuit at Castle Donington; and if she will make a statement. [146725]

Ms Rosie Winterton: There are no plans to introduce hard shoulder running on the M1 motorway in the vicinity of Junction 24 at present.

The Highways Agency is currently evaluating an active traffic management pilot project on a heavily used length of the M42 south east of Birmingham, which includes hard shoulder running. This became fully operational in September 2006 but it is too early to draw definite conclusions at this point.

The Agency expects to produce an evaluation later this year and is continuing a thorough review of the strategic roads network to identify potential locations that might benefit.

The majority of major events at the Donington Park Circuit take place at weekends when traffic flows are lighter. The Highways Agency liaises regularly with the management of Donington Park to plan for events. The Agency has received no reports of any significant traffic problems for this length of the M1 when events are taking place.

M1: Nottingham

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for how long the slip road at junction 25 of the M1 motorway towards Nottingham is likely to remain closed; what the reason is for the closure; and if she will make a statement. [146726]

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Ms Rosie Winterton: The A52 slip road at Junction 25 of the M1 motorway is closed while the A52 Bardill’s improvement scheme is under construction.

Forecasts from traffic flow figures show that if the slip road was left open there was a real risk of traffic forming queues from Bardill’s roundabout back to Junction 25 and onto the M1 motorway. Therefore, for safety reasons, this slip road is to remain closed until the scheme is completed, which is scheduled for 11 August this year.

Motor Vehicles: Safety Measures

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will take steps to require new cars sold in the UK to be fitted with electronic stability control. [146728]

Ms Rosie Winterton: As a member of the European Community we accept all cars constructed/approved to a scheme known as European Community whole vehicle type approval. Currently this does not include electronic stability control (ESC) and the UK could not mandate such fitment unilaterally. However, the Government appreciate the potential benefit of ESC and urges anyone buying a new car to give serious consideration to choosing one with ESC fitted.

It is anticipated that the European Commission will bring forward proposals for mandating ESC for cars, once a technical specification and a test method for ESC systems have been agreed. The UK is contributing to the development of both.

Communities and Local Government

Fire Services: Cambridge

Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when the deadline is for authorities to sign up to the proposed regional fire and rescue control centre to be located in Cambridge. [146651]

Hazel Blears: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 9 May 2007, Official Report, column 205W, to the hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington (John McDonnell).

Ordnance Survey: Copyright

Mr. MacNeil: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the merits of requiring the Ordnance Survey to make licensable or copyright material available to schools and other public educational establishments free of charge; and if she will make a statement. [146016]

Hazel Blears [holding answer 29 June 2007]: In its role as the national mapping agency of Great Britain, Ordnance Survey places great importance on supporting education and learning at all levels, and in responding to its unique position as the only organisation whose products are specifically identified for study within the national curricula.

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In addition to the well publicised “Free Maps for 11-Year-Olds” scheme, Ordnance Survey offers a wide range of other opportunities for schools and other public educational establishments to access its licensable and copyright material, much of it free of charge.

Under the “Free Maps for 11-Year-Olds” initiative Ordnance Survey has provided over 3.8 million OS explorer maps free to primary seven pupils in Scotland and year seven pupils in rest of Great Britain through their schools, with a further distribution planned for autumn 2007. All 11-year-old pupils are eligible regardless of the school they attend.

Ordnance Survey provides an educational copyright licence to any school, college or university wishing to copy Ordnance Survey paper mapping or use Ordnance Survey digital map data for educational, research or teaching purposes. The licence is available free to schools for students up to 16-years-old. In addition, individual students may obtain copies of extracts of in-copyright Ordnance Survey mapping from libraries under the terms of exceptions to the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, for their private study, research, criticism or review purposes.

Digital map data are also freely available to LEA-funded schools from their parent local authority under the terms of the Local Authority Mapping Services Agreement. In order to ensure that LEA schools are technically able to access this data, Ordnance Survey has been working closely with the British Education Communications Technology Agency (Becta) to trial an on-line mechanism for the delivery of map data to schools and their suppliers. The 18 month ‘MapPilot’ project will report in summer 2008.

To further support the educational use of geographic information within schools Ordnance Survey operates a specialist on-line service within its web site. ‘MapZone’ is an award-winning free resource for school use, available 24 x 7 for teachers and pupils. It contains all the map reading skills required within the national curricula. The latest mapping is also available free of charge to schools and pupils (and the public) through the Ordnance Survey on-line ‘Get-a-Map’ service from which extracts may be downloaded or printed for a wide range of personal or learning uses.

Ordnance Survey supports teacher training by supplying all tutors of Post Graduate Certificate of Education geography courses across Great Britain with free OS Explorer and OS Landranger maps to aid with training of secondary school teachers. Through sponsorship arrangements with the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) and the teachers’ professional body. The Geography Association (GA), Ordnance Survey also supports the provision of free geography teaching materials and teacher in service training (INSET).

Further and higher education needs are served through a collective purchasing agreement between Ordnance Survey and the Higher Education Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC). A basket of Ordnance Survey digital mapping products is available for use for teaching and non-commercial research use within higher and further education establishments—each establishment pays a single annual subscription for all agreed use by staff and students.

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The value of providing further services for free is continually held under review. The Government published their response to an independent review by Ed Mayo and Tom Steinberg, “The Power of Information” on 25 June 2007. This made clear that Ordnance Survey will look very seriously at launching Open Space, a project which would allow non-commercial experimentation with mapping data.


Community Legal Service: Wales

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what discussions his Department has had with the Welsh Assembly Government on the establishment of a Community Legal Services Strategy for Wales; and if he will make a statement. [147015]

Bridget Prentice: In December 2006, the Legal Services Commission (LSC) and Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) issued a joint consultation paper; Making Rights a Reality in Wales. The consultation closed on 2 March 2007 and the responses have all been analysed. A response to the consultation will be published in late summer.

Departments: European Union

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many officials in his Department are (a) involved in assisting European Council negotiations, (b) involved in assisting and advising the European Commission, (c) seconded to the European Commission, (d) involved in monitoring EU decisions, communications, regulations and directives, (e) involved in enforcing compliance with EU decisions, communications, regulations and directives and (f) involved in other work related to the European Council, Commission or Court of Justice. [146092]

Bridget Prentice: Officials throughout the Ministry of Justice are involved in a full range of EU business. Those working specifically on EU business in the European and International Division total six. A breakdown of the figures as requested would incur disproportionate cost.

Departments: Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Jim Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many and what percentage of (a) his Department’s and (b) courts service staff in Newcastle-upon-Tyne are in each of the five new area related paybands; and how many are at, or above, the top of the new area related payband scales. [146225]

Bridget Prentice: All staff employed by Ministry of Justice from the former DCA (including HMCS and Tribunals Service staff) who are based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne have been allocated to the same pay range (within the five available pay ranges).

302 members of staff are employed by HMCS and the Tribunals Service in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and of these, 13 are currently paid salaries at, or above, the top of the payband relevant to Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Of the 302, 216 members of staff are employed by HMCS,
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of whom four are paid at, or above, the top of the payband relevant to Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

These arrangements do not apply to staff employed by the Home Office or its agencies prior who transferred to the Ministry of Justice on 9 May 2007.

Departments: Pay

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many bonuses were awarded to senior civil servants working at his Department and its agencies in each year between 1997 and 2006; and what the total cost of those bonuses was. [146424]

Bridget Prentice: The Ministry of Justice was created on 9 May 2007. The information provided relates to former DCA Senior Civil Service (SCS). It excludes those staff in the Tribunals Service and who joined former DCA on 1 April 2006 and those who joined the new Ministry from the Home Office for whom information is not currently available. As the SCS bonus scheme only came into being in 2002, information is provided from this point forward.

Staff receiving bonuses Total amount awarded (£)
Senior Civil Service bonuses received for staff on former DCA terms and conditions:
















Electoral Register: Barnet

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment he has made of the measures put in place by Barnet council to ensure the electoral register for Grahame Park, Colindale is properly compiled; and if he will make a statement. [146786]

Bridget Prentice: The Department has not made an assessment of the measures put in place by Barnet council but I understand the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) has been conducting a canvass of properties in Grahame Park, Colindale in an effort to maintain an accurate register and to raise registration levels.

Section 9 of the Electoral Administration Act 2006 sets out the necessary steps that all EROs must take to maintain the register. These include sending the canvass form more than once to any address, conducting house to house enquiries and making contact by such means as appropriate.

It is for the ERO to decide on the best steps to use in conjunction with their local knowledge to ensure that requirements for making contact with persons and maintaining the register are complied with.

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