14 July 2008 : Column 1W

Written Answers to Questions

Monday 14 July 2008

Wales

Departmental Computers

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what estimate he has made of (a) the number of computer devices left on overnight in his Department when not in use and (b) the cost of leaving computer devices on overnight when not in use in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. [217876]

Mr. Paul Murphy: None, but my Department issued guidance to all staff in June 2006 to switch off their personal computers and networked printers when not in use.

Reminders are sent to all staff periodically.

Departmental Public Expenditure

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much was spent on (a) new furnishings, (b) art and (c) new vehicles by his Department in each of the last three years. [213520]

Mr. Paul Murphy: In the past three years my Department spent nothing on furnishings in 2005, £850 in 2006 on new desks and chairs in the Cardiff Office. In 2007 a refurbishment program was undertaken to Gwydyr House at a cost of £52,900. This involved the replacement of curtains provided for security reasons, worn carpets replaced on health and safety grounds and the replacement of worn and damaged furniture.

All artwork is on loan from the National Museum of Wales or the Government Art Collection.

All vehicles used by the Wales Office are leased through the Government Car and Despatch Agency.

Departmental Sick Leave

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many working days have been lost due to sickness amongst employees for which his Department is responsible in each year since 1997. [218039]

Mr. Paul Murphy: Figures for the level of sickness absence at the Wales Office are available for each financial year since April 2004.

The number of days of sickness absence is as follows:

Days

2004-05

233

2005-06

175.5

2006-07

267

2007-08

(1)505.5

(1) Includes isolated incidents of long-term sickness absence.

14 July 2008 : Column 2W

Fish

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much fish was procured by his Department and at what cost in each of the last five years, broken down by species; and what amount and value of such fish met the Marine Stewardship Council standard in each such year, broken down by species. [217891]

Mr. Paul Murphy: My Department does not have a canteen, or host meals, but fish dishes have occasionally been served at Departmental receptions among other hors d'"uvre. It would not be possible to identify separately any of the details requested from the cost of the reception.

Lost Working Days

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many working days have been lost due to industrial action by employees for which his Department is responsible in each year since 1997. [218054]

Mr. Paul Murphy: Figures for absence due to industrial action are only available since April 2004.

The number of working days lost due to industrial absence by employees at the Wales Office was 16.

This relates to two events in 2007.

Trade

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will discuss increasing Welsh trade representation at the British Embassy in Washington with the Foreign Secretary. [215812]

Mr. Paul Murphy: UK Trade and Investment staff in UK embassies, high commissions, consulates and trade offices represent all parts of the United Kingdom, including Wales.

Additionally International Business Wales, part of the Welsh Assembly Government, has responsibility for supporting companies from Wales in their efforts to trade internationally.

It also has a strong and close relationship with UKTI both at home and overseas. This cohesive approach provides for a robust service to clients and I understand that globally International Business Wales’ intervention in 2007-08 helped facilitate deals of almost £170 million for companies in Wales.

Transport

A14: Kettering

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when she plans to make a decision on proposals to improve the A14 around Kettering. [217035]

Mr. Tom Harris: The Highways Agency has investigated options for improving the A14 in the Kettering area and I expect to receive advice shortly.


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Departmental Official Cars

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 3 July 2008, Official Report, column 1024W, on official cars, for which Minister outside the Cabinet a car manufactured in the UK was purchased. [218123]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Minister of State for Trade Promotion and Investment is provided with an official car that has been manufactured within the UK.

Departmental Official Visits

Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many individual domestic air flights were undertaken within Great Britain by representatives of (a) her Department and (b) its agencies in the most recent year for which figures are available; and at what cost. [215550]

Jim Fitzpatrick: In financial year 2007-08, the Department for Transport (Central) and two of its agencies, HA and VCA, together recorded a total of 2,766 individual domestic flight sectors. These were purchased from central travel contracts at a combined cost of £384,671.75.

In addition, DVLA purchased a further 1,832 domestic flights but the agency does not record the cost of such flights separately from other travel costs, and the information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The Department’s remaining four agencies, DSA, GCDA, MCA and VOSA, do not record this information centrally, and could provide the information only at disproportionate cost.

Fuels: Prices

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the effect of rising petrol prices on the usage of cars in England and Wales. [218414]

Ms Rosie Winterton: In its work for the Eddington transport study, the Department for Transport assesses the effect of sustained high oil prices on car usage. We compare the traffic growth assuming two different long-term oil prices, one using the ‘central' Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform oil price projections at the time of the Study, the other using a significantly higher projection.

Traffic is forecast in England to grow by just under a third between 2003 and 2025 in the central case. This assumes oil prices are $35 in 2025 (2004 prices). When Brent crude per barrel prices are assumed to be $100, traffic growth is still increasing in the period, but lowered by 6 per cent. relative to the central forecast growth.

Official Cars: Fuels

Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much the Government Car Service spent on fuel in each of the last six months for which records are available. [217239]


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Jim Fitzpatrick: The Government Car and Despatch Agency spent a total of £161,600 on fuel for its Government Car Service as follows:

£

December 2007

22,400

January 2008

31,800

February 2008

26,600

March 2008

24,100

April 2008

27,800

May 2008

28,900


Official Cars: Ministers

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether there are any circumstances in which a Minister’s request to be provided with a British-built car would not be met by the Government Car and Despatch Agency. [218608]

Jim Fitzpatrick: I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 26 June 2008, Official Report, column 427W.

Olympic Games 2012: Transport

Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many meetings (a) she and (b) Ministerial colleagues have had with (i) the Olympic Delivery Authority, (ii) Transport for London, (iii) the London Development Agency, (iv) the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, (v) train operating companies and (vi) the Minister for the Olympics to discuss transport plans for the 2012 Olympics in each of the last three years. [218426]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Secretary of State and her ministerial colleagues have had several meetings over the past three years with the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), Transport for London, train operating companies and the Minister for the Olympics, together with officials from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. There have been no ministerial meetings with the London Development Agency to discuss transport for the 2012 games to date. A more detailed breakdown could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Railways: Bridges

Mrs. Villiers: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much the Office of Rail Regulation has assumed Network Rail will receive in payments from third parties who wish to build a bridge across a railway in (a) 2004 to 2009 and (b) 2009 to 2014. [215969]

Mr. Tom Harris: No specific allowance has been assumed by the Office of Rail Regulation in respect of payments received by Network Rail from third parties who wish to build a bridge across the railway in (a) 2004 to 2009 and (b) 2009 to 2014.


14 July 2008 : Column 5W

Railways: Licensing

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what her policy is on EU proposals to harmonise (a) training and (b) licences for train operators. [217980]

Mr. Tom Harris: The Train Driver Licensing Directive (2007/59/EC) was adopted on 23 October 2007 as part of the Third Railway Package. The directive aims to harmonise the licensing and certification of train drivers and other train crew with a safety related role. Although it specifies the minimum requirements that need to be met by a train driver, the directive does not include measures to harmonise training requirements.

The directive must be transposed by 3 December 2009. In transposing the directive for the UK the Government will work closely with all stakeholders to achieve a balanced and workable implementation in line with the principles of better regulation.

Road Traffic

Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what change there has been in levels of traffic congestion in the 10 largest urban areas of England in the last three years. [214030]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The following tables show morning peak period speeds across the 10 largest urban areas in England in 2004 and 2006, based on surveys conducted by the Department and Transport for London:


14 July 2008 : Column 6W
Miles per hour

2000-03 2003-06 2006-09

London( 1)

Central

9.9

10.6

9.3

Inner

11.6

11.7

11.2

Outer

16.9

16.3

(1) Surveys are run over three years for the three areas of London, beginning with the central area and ending with the outer area.

Miles per hour

2002 2004 2006

West Midlands

21.1

20.5

18.9

Greater Manchester

23.2

21.0

18.5

Leeds/Bradford

20.1

20.4

20.8

Tyneside

27.8

24.7

25.5

Merseyside

23.7

19.8

18.7

Sheffield

18.8

18.6

19.0

Bristol

23.2

19.0

20.2

Nottingham

15.9

16.4

16.5

Leicester

15.6

14.7

15.8


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