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The Key Targets for the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency are:

Secretary of State Targets (target measures are italicised)

To maintain or improve overall customer satisfaction on 07-08 levels of 87%

Increase the range of electronic services available to citizens and businesses—4 new electronic services available by 31 March 09.

Book and pay for bulk annual tests online.

Receive updates on changes to legislation and standards.

Start application process for technical tests with forms available online.

Where requested, be reminded of private vehicle MOT test date by e-channels.

Improve the quality and availability of commercial vehicle tests

85% of tests at test station of choice within one working day of requested date, for tests booked at least 10 days in advance.

Improve road safety through better targeting of non-compliant operators, vehicles and drivers

Deliver a programme of increased enforcement activities at hotspots on the strategic road network, contributing to a 15% increase in the number of dangerous vehicles and drivers being taken off the road compared with 07/08.

Improve the quality and consistency of vehicle testing

4% reduction in vehicles with a wrong MOT test result compared to 07/08

10% improvement in consistency of commercial vehicle tests compared to 07/08 national average

Implement a revised headlamp aim test.

Reduce the administrative burden of commercial operation.

Deliver DfT plan for graduated fixed penalties and deposits

Implement simplified fees structure for licensing and annual roadworthiness testing in readiness for implementation in April 2009.

Deliver 1st year of the 3 year CSR07 plan.

Reduce the cost base, excluding depreciation, by £4 million.

Reduce the average number of days lost per employee through sickness absence to 9.5 days (and 7.5 days by 2010/11)

Increase the take-up of existing electronic services available to customers to 32%.

Secretary of State Targets (target measures are italicised)

The Key Targets for the Government Car and Despatch Agency are:

Maintain a Customer Satisfaction index (CSI) score of at least 87

To maintain accreditation for ISO 9001

The quality of service is measured by means of ISO 9001, the internationally recognised standard for quality Management Systems

To maintain accreditation for ISO 14001.

Measured by means of ISO 14001, the internationally recognised standard for environmental Management Systems.

By March 2009 to reduce average CO2 tailpipe emissions of our fleet by at least 5% compared with March 2008 levels

To break even on an accruals basis.

As a not-for-profit organisation GCDA aims to recover costs. In delivering this target we will seek to ensure that our administration is as effective as possible, delivering excellent value for money to our customers

To reduce sickness absence rates to 8 days per employee per annum

To commission an online payment system for customers

Local Transport Bill

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Ms Rosie Winterton): The Local Transport Bill will empower local authorities to deliver bus services that better meet the needs of their local communities. Among other things, it will enable quality partnership schemes to make more of a difference, by allowing them to cover frequencies, timings and maximum fares where there are no “admissible objections” from “relevant operators”.

The Quality Partnership Scheme model was introduced by the Transport Act 2000 as a means by which a local authority agreed to invest in improved facilities at specific locations along bus routes (for example, bus stops or bus lanes) and operators who wish to use those facilities agree to provide services of a particular standard (for example, new buses, or driver training standards).

The Bill includes a power for the Secretary of State (and the Welsh Ministers) to make regulations defining the terms “admissible objections” and “relevant operators”.
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To assist the Public Bill Committee’s consideration of the Bill, the Government will shortly be publishing a pre-consultation draft of these regulations, along with an updated draft of the supporting guidance which was first published in December 2007. The draft regulations and guidance relate to England only.

The draft regulations and guidance will be made available on the Department for Transport website, and copies will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Biofuels and Tallow

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Jim Fitzpatrick): During the debate on the draft Renewable Transport Fuel Obligations Order in the House of Commons Seventh Delegated Legislation Committee on 23 October 2007, I agreed to commission a review of the likely impacts of the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) on the other UK industries which use tallow as a feedstock. I said that in the light of the review’s findings, the Government would consider whether changes needed to, and could, be made to the design of the RTFO.

The Government are keen to publish the review prior to the start of the RTFO on 15 April. The review will therefore need to be published during recess, and I will arrange for copies to be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

The Government will take the findings of the review into account in EU negotiations on the renewable energy directive as well as in policy decisions on the future design of the RTFO. The Government will also ensure that the review’s findings are fed into the review of the wider, “displacement” impacts of biofuels which was announced by Ruth Kelly on 21 February, and which will be reporting in June.

Work and Pensions

Disability Benefits (European Court of Justice)

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Mrs. Anne McGuire): I notified the House on 13 December that following the European Court of Justice decision of 18 October 2007 I would publish details of the eligibility criteria for payment of the disability benefits (Disability Living Allowance (care component), Attendance Allowance and Carer’s Allowance) within the European Economic area and Switzerland (EEA). I have now arranged for information to be placed on the Directgov ( and the Department for Work and Pensions ( websites. This sets out which categories of customers in receipt of the benefits may continue to be paid if they move to another EEA state.

The interpretation of the judgment is particularly complex as these disability benefits are different in some respects to the other benefits covered by the European Regulations. My officials are continuing their discussions with the European Commission on the eligibility of people already living in another EEA state who wish to claim from abroad. I will place further information on the websites once these discussions are complete.

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A specialist section has been set up in the Pension, Disability and Carers Service to deal with queries. Customers who would like more information about the effects of the judgment should contact the address below:

We anticipate that first payments will start to be made to eligible claimants from later this month.

Lone Parents

The Minister for Employment and Welfare Reform (Mr. Stephen Timms): The Government are committed to continuing their work to eradicate child poverty and help all individuals reach their full potential by moving from unemployment and welfare dependency to paid work.

We announced in the command paper “Ready for Work: Full Employment in our Generation” our intention to require lone parents with older children who can work to look for work. This means that lone parents will no longer be entitled to income support solely on the grounds of being a lone parent. Instead, those who are able to look for paid work will make a claim for jobseeker’s allowance and be required to seek suitable employment actively.

We announced our expectation that this change would be introduced from October 2008 for lone parents with a youngest child aged 12 or over, and then from October 2009 and October 2010 when the youngest child turns 10 and 7 respectively.

I now intend that the arrangements for new and repeat lone parent customers with a youngest child of 12 or over will take affect a month later, in November 2008, to allow time to consider some additional flexibilities to jobseeker’s allowance. The Government have been working closely with a range of groups who represent the interests of lone parents and has had early advice from the Social Security Advisory Committee. Additional flexibilities to jobseeker’s allowance have been suggested to meet the specific needs of lone parents.

The Government intend to take forward a number of these suggestions in connection with proposals for regulations that I will provide to the Social Security Advisory Committee. I believe that the proposals will strike the right balance to ensure that jobseeker’s allowance remains focused on helping people look for paid work while accommodating the varied and individual circumstances that lone parents will face.

As has been discussed with lone parent stakeholder groups, we intend that existing lone parent recipients of income support with a youngest child aged 12 or over will be progressively moved from income support from early 2009.

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