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2 July 2008 : Column 916W—continued


Passports: Postal Services

Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what consultations she held before taking the decision to end postal passport services at the regional Identity and Passport Service Office in Glasgow. [212399]

Meg Hillier: The decision has not yet been made. The Identity and Passport Service is in consultation with the PCS (trade union) at this time. A decision is not expected until after the end of the period of consultation. All services currently available to Scottish customers in passport services will remain available.

Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions she had with the (a) Secretary of State for Scotland and (b) Scottish Executive on access to passport services in Scotland before the decision to end postal passport services at the regional Identity and Passport Service Office in Glasgow. [212400]

Meg Hillier: The decision has not yet been made. The Identity and Passport Service is in consultation with the PCS (trade union) on the proposal at this time. A decision is not expected until after the period of consultation. No specific consultation has been planned with the Secretary of State for Scotland, or the Scottish Executive at this time, since service delivery to the customer will be unaffected by the change.

Theft: Fuels

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what steps she plans to take to prevent the theft of (a) red diesel and (b) household fuel from rural areas; [214306]

(2) how many thefts of (a) red diesel and (b) household fuel there were from rural areas in each of the last five years for which figures are available; [214307]

(3) what representations she has received on thefts of (a) red diesel and (b) household fuel from rural areas; and if she will make a statement; [214309]

(4) what assessment she has made of the role of neighbourhood policing in preventing theft of (a) red diesel and (b) household fuel from rural areas. [214310]

Mr. Coaker: The Secretary of State has not received any representations on thefts of either red diesel or household fuel from rural areas.

Statistics on the theft of red diesel and household fuel are not collected centrally. Such offences would be recorded within the Home Office offence classifications of ‘theft from a vehicle’, ‘other theft’ or ‘other fraud’ depending on the circumstances of the offence. Such offences cannot be separately identified from the other offences included in those classifications.

The Government's commitment that there will be a Neighbourhood Policing Team in every area by 2008 has been met. This marks three years of hard work from forces to roll-out Neighbourhood Policing. Neighbourhood Policing teams engage in proactive or preventative work to tackle low level crime and anti social behaviour which may be a persistent issue or concern that exists in the local community. In rural areas, this may include working together with local agencies to provide advice to the community on preventing fuel theft. Such advice would include restricting access where possible and the use of appropriate fencing locks. No formal assessment of the role of neighbourhood policing in preventing theft of red diesel and household fuel in rural areas, has been made.

Crime has reduced by a third over the last 10 years. The Government's Crime Strategy builds upon the achievements of the last ten years but moves away from centrally imposed targets toward making local agencies accountable and responsive to the needs and priorities of the local community. This means that local areas can focus greatest effort on reducing those crimes that matter most to people locally, whatever the crime. Where the theft of red diesel and household fuel emerges as a pressing local issue, whether in a rural or urban area, we would encourage local police forces to devote resources to tackling this crime.

United Kingdom Human Trafficking Centre

Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the budget of the UK Human Trafficking Centre was in the financial years (a) 2006-07 and (b) 2007-08; what it is in 2008-09; and what it will be in 2009-10. [214536]

Mr. Coaker: Details of the budget for the UKHTC are as follows:

£

2006-07(1)

591,000

2007

834,084

2008

1,712,000

2009

1,602,000

(1) Part year.

The budget in 2008-09 is greater than in the following year to allow for a one off purchase of a necessary IT system.

Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many full-time equivalent staff there were at the UK Human Trafficking Centre in (a) 2006-07 and (b) 2007-08; how many there are in 2008-09; and how many she expects there to be in 2009-10. [214537]


2 July 2008 : Column 917W

Mr. Coaker: In 2006-07 there were initially 12 staff rising to 23 in 2007-08. This will rise to 39 within the current financial year with plans for a maximum of 42 staff within 2009-10.

As a multi agency police led centre the staffing levels include staff embedded with the UKHTC from other agencies and the Poppy Project.

Written Questions: Government Responses

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she plans to answer question (a) 199977 and (b) 199979 on the Identity and Passport Service tabled by the hon. Member for Perth and North Perthshire on 3 April 2008. [211549]

Meg Hillier: I replied to the hon. Member on 26 June 2008, Official Report, columns 443-44W.

Transport

Aviation: Exhaust Emissions

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 17 June 2008, Official Report, column 790, on aviation exhaust emissions, if she will (a) list the titles of the research projects being undertaken at Manchester Metropolitan University and (b) place in the Library copies of reports arising from these projects. [215027]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The 2008-10 contract with Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) requires quarterly reports to include research output material for publication on the Department for Transport (DFT) website. Current research tasks address: Contrail and cirrus cloud modelling, climate models of aviation impacts for the EUs QUANTIFY Project, Identification of polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) markers, research of EU emissions and climate stabilisation under the European ETS and ICAO’s Committee on Aviation and Environmental Protection (CAEP) emissions modelling. Scientific reports of this work will be available via the MMU and DFT websites. In addition to this research MMU provide the Department with technical advice and expertise in a range of international technical expert groups.

Departmental Buildings

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how frequently her Department restates the asset values of its building estate. [213408]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The valuation of property is carried out in accordance with strict rules laid down by the Accounting Standards Board (ASB), Royal Institute for Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and in the financial reporting manual (FReM).

The valuation policy for the Department and its Executive Agencies is set out in Note 1 to the departmental and executive agency resource accounts, as follows:

Department for Transport

Freehold land and buildings are restated to current value using professional valuations, in accordance with FRS 15. Such valuations are undertaken every five
2 July 2008 : Column 918W
years. In intervening years, values are adjusted using appropriate methods, including indices, except the freehold land on which the Channel Tunnel Rail Link has been constructed, which has been leased to the operator for 90 years. Reflecting this usage, the land has been valued at the net present value of the lease income, since the land is not unencumbered and the Department's rights are, to that extent, constrained. The reversionary interest of the land and the Link constructed upon it are valued at nil.

Assets held for resale (dwellings), being land and property released from road schemes, are valued at open market value, less provision for selling costs.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)

Land and Buildings are revalued every five years on an existing use valuation by appointed Chartered Surveyors—the last occasion being March 2005. In the intervening years a desktop or index linked revaluation (using Treasury indices) is performed.

Driving Standards Agency (DSA)

Over a five year rolling programme the whole of the DSA property assets are re-valued. This means that 20 per cent. of DSA's estate is re-valued each year with additions flowing from new additions within that year. The DSA values its property in accordance with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors valuation standards 6(th) edition and the current HM Treasury accounting guidance.

Government Car and Despatch Agency (GCDA)

The Government Car and Despatch Agency restates its asset value on an annual basis.

Highways Agency (HA)

External professional surveyors undertake a full valuation of:

The land and buildings assets were last fully valued as follows:

A full valuation of the whole estate is carried out every five years. In addition a sample of properties are revalued each year so that, for example, significant new builds are accurately valued in the accounts.

Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA)

The Vehicle Certification Agency restates its asset value on an annual basis.

Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA)

The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency restates its asset value on an annual basis.


2 July 2008 : Column 919W

Departmental Home Working

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many staff in her Department are authorised to work from home. [212515]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Department for Transport does not record centrally the number of staff who work from home. Staff may work from home with line manager agreement and subject to business needs.

As a result of business needs, the Vehicle Certification Agency employs seven staff members who are contractually authorised to work from home, while the Highways Agency have 45 employees with the necessary equipment to work from home.

Further information can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Official Hospitality

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 27 November 2007, Official Report, column 288W, on departmental official hospitality, when she expects the list of hospitality received in 2007 by members of her Department's management board to be published. [215250]

Jim Fitzpatrick: I refer the hon. Member to the answer the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster gave him on 7 May 2008, Official Report, column 885W.

Departmental Pay

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many and what proportion of staff in her Department received bonus payments in each of the last five years; what the total amount of bonuses paid has been; what the largest single payment was in each year; and if she will make a statement. [213291]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Department of Transport comprises a central Department plus seven executive agencies each with its own pay and reward system. Information regarding bonus payments has been collected from the central Department and all seven agencies and collated into one set of figures.

Proportion of staff to receive bonus payment (percentage) Total amount of bonuses paid (£) Largest single payment in yea r (£)

2003-04

47

2,020,828

10,944

2004-05

59

1,881,308

11,191

2005-06

71

8,212,780

20,900

2006-07

77

10,147,137

23,575

2007-08

68

3,844,107

22,894

Note:
The figures exclude:
SCS bonuses for 2003-04 and SCS FTA’s for 2004-05;
DVLA data for 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2007-08;
VOSA data for 2007-08.

The excluded data could be produced only at disproportionate costs.


2 July 2008 : Column 920W

Bonuses are paid in respect of overall performance or exceptional performance on a specific task or at a specific time.

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will review salary negotiations for public sector employees in organisations within her Department's responsibility to reflect the rise in the consumer price index to a point above three per cent. [214556]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Government's pay policy is guided by the following principles. Public sector pay settlements should be consistent with maintaining the necessary levels of recruitment, retention and staff engagement needed to support service delivery; ensuring that total pay bills represent value for money and are affordable within departments' overall expenditure plans; and consistent with the achievement of the inflation target. Timing of pay decisions for a particular workforce depends on pay-setting arrangements for that workforce.


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