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6 Oct 2008 : Column 214W—continued


South East region
£000
Funding stream 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09

Integrated Transport Block

100713

84580

84962

88260

89662

Road Maintenance Block

100533

105008

102315

112552

111568

Major Schemes

27084

25385

54239.5

11664.846

5397.984

Road Safety Grant

0

0

0

17325.755

17330.695

Detrunking

2976.470

3120.913

3198.935

3278.909

3360.882

Rural Bus Subsidy Grant

9704.734

10085.252

10332.628

10580.001

10846.402

Urban Bus Challenge

701.079

488.051

543.094

35.839

276.724

Rural Bus Challenge

2670.641

2132.295

901.099

1136.860

772.720

Kickstart

0

32.509

1205.836

371.857

952.819

Transport Innovation Fund

0

0

0

680

0

Kerbcraft

166.595

122.746

100.027

0

0

Concessionary Fares Additional Special Grant

0

0

0

0

25143


The region has also benefited from substantial investment in rail and strategic roads over the period. The relevant figures are not broken down between individual local authorities, but estimates of total identifiable expenditure by region are included at table A7 of the Department’s annual report.


6 Oct 2008 : Column 215W

The majority of central funding for concessionary fares is provided through formula grant in the environmental protective and cultural services block from the Department for Communities and Local Government. From 1 April 2008, the Department for Transport is paying an additional special grant to local authorities to help fund the cost of the new statutory minimum bus concession, as detailed in the tables.

Since 2003, the Department has made available about £1.75-2 million per year of additional funding to Kent county council and Thurrock borough council. This is to help deliver local transport projects, in recognition of the impact of the Dartford crossing on local residents. Funding for Kent and Thurrock in 2004-05 and 2005-06 has been £1 million and £730,000, respectively. From 2006-07 to 2008-09, a similar amount of funding has been made available through the Integrated Transport Block, although it is not distinguished specifically from the other funding provided to the councils.

Stress

Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what arrangements her Department has in place to assist officials to overcome the effects of stress experienced in the workplace. [222167]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Department for Transport has a stress policy in place and is proactively looking at measures to reduce all sick absence. The Department also believes in early intervention by Occupational Health in response to reported stress absences and all staff have access to counselling services.

The Department is represented at Health and Safety Executive's Stress Management Network. HSE is helping Government Departments to implement the HSE management standards for work-related stress in their organisation.

Transport: ICT

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent steps the Government has taken to encourage technological advance in the transport industry. [221830]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The Department for Transport has regular dialogue with transport industry groups, wider Government and academia (particularly through the research councils) on a broad range of issues, including the role that technology can play in delivering departmental objectives.

An example of this is work that the Department is currently joint funding with the Technology Strategy Board and Engineering and Physical Research Council through the Future Intelligent Transport Systems Programme which is looking into innovative ways to solve transport problems.

We also provide funding and support to research and development work for the provision of bus real time information, journey planning and better traffic management and control systems and techniques. Development in all these areas will help to address departmental objectives to improve passenger journeys and reduce traffic congestion, which will in turn bring environmental benefits.


6 Oct 2008 : Column 216W

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Ballistic Missile Defence

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the (a) financial, (b) political and (c) security benefits and costs to the UK of supporting US plans to deploy missile defence facilities in Europe; and if he will make a statement. [224214]

Caroline Flint [holding answer 17 September 2008]: I refer my hon. Friend to chapter 4, section 4.68 of the recently published National Security Strategy which deals with the UK’s response to the current and emerging security challenges. The UK contributes to ballistic missile early warning through the facilities at RAF Fylingdales and RAF Menwith Hill. The cost of the upgrade at RAF Fylingdales—and the work at RAF Menwith Hill—was funded by the US Government. We do not anticipate the direct running costs incurred by the UK to increase because of the participation of these stations in the US ballistic missile defence system.

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Politics and Government

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the political situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina was on the agenda of the General Affairs and External Relations Council meeting on 15 and 16 September. [224191]

David Miliband: The Western Balkans was on the agenda for the September EU General Affairs and External Relations Council, though discussion focused mainly on Serbia's co-operation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Ahead of the Council. I sent a joint letter with Czech Foreign Minister Schwarzenberg to all EU colleagues highlighting the ongoing challenges in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the need for EU focus and engagement in addressing these challenges. We used the Council to introduce that letter and will be discussing it further with EU colleagues in the coming months.

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the political and security situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina; and if he will make a statement. [224192]

David Miliband: I remain concerned about the political situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Progress on the key reforms detailed in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s European Partnership and on the objectives necessary to allow for closure of the Office of the High Representative has been slow and uncertain. I am also concerned by ethnic nationalist rhetoric, from both Federation and Republika Srpska politicians, which questions the structure of the state as set out in the Dayton Peace Agreement. The Government continue to support High Representative/EU Special Representative Lajcak in upholding the Dayton Peace Agreement and in fulfilling his mandate.

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has for the future of the Office of the high representative in Bosnia-Herzegovina and its status beyond the end of 2008; and if he will make a statement. [224193]


6 Oct 2008 : Column 217W

David Miliband: The Government remain committed to increased ownership and responsibility for Bosnia and Herzegovina's political leaders and therefore to closure of the Office of the high representative. However, this can only happen when the time is right. In February 2008, the Peace Implementation Council Steering Board agreed to link closure of the Office of the high representative to the fulfilment of five objectives and two conditions. Key among these is the need for a stable political and security situation, based on full compliance with Dayton. The Peace Implementation Council Steering Board will meet from 20-21 November to discuss the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and progress on these objectives and conditions.

British Council: Marketing

Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much the British Council has spent on rebranding in the last 24 months. [222985]

Mr. Jim Murphy: The British Council has not spent any resources on rebranding in the last 24 months.

Brunei: Foreign Relations

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) when he last visited Brunei; what recent steps he has taken to strengthen United Kingdom economic, commercial, cultural and educational links with Brunei; and if he will make a statement; [222244]

(2) what recent assessment he has made of relations with Brunei; and if he will make a statement. [222245]

Meg Munn: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has not visited Brunei Darussalam but the UK continues to engage with Brunei at the highest levels. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister met His Majesty the Sultan of Brunei Darussalam in London on 24 June. They discussed a range of issues, including the global economic outlook, Brunei’s support for deployments of our Brunei Garrison to Afghanistan and Brunei’s initiative on preserving the Borneo rainforest. His Majesty the Sultan of Brunei Darussalam also pledged to sign the Call to Action Plan on the UN Millennium Development Goals. I also met Brunei’s Second Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Pehin Lim, in London on 18 March.

The UK and Brunei have a long-standing and strong bilateral relationship, particularly on defence co-operation, trade and education. We are grateful for His Majesty the Sultan of Brunei Darussalam’s continued support for the battalion of Gurkhas based at Brunei. The UK continues to play a strong role in developing Brunei’s oil and gas sector, and the Brunei Investment Agency is a significant investor in the UK, with their largest overseas operations in the City of London. The UK remains the destination of choice for Bruneian students, with about 1,220 of them enrolled in higher education in the UK in 2006-07. Our high commission has also organised cultural events in Brunei with particular focus on links with the Islamic world.


6 Oct 2008 : Column 218W

China: Human Rights

Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how the Government plans to engage with China on human rights over the next three years. [222300]

Meg Munn: Engaging with China on human rights is a Government priority and requires a sustained commitment. We will maintain a multi-layered approach, based around advocacy, dialogue and project work. We engage in regular high-level lobbying to encourage political progress, and project work to deliver concrete assistance on the ground. We are firmly committed to the UK-China and EU-China Human Rights Dialogues, which allow us to discuss human rights in greater depth with the Chinese government. We believe these dialogues contribute to incremental progress on human rights in China. .They continue to provide a direct channel of communication with the Chinese government, allowing us to discuss difficult and complex issues in detail. We regularly review our approach, including through stakeholder consultation. We fund and work closely with the Great Britain-China Centre, which carries out projects related to human rights and rule of law in China.

China: Politics and Government

Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what projects the Government funds in China to encourage (a) development of a legal system, (b) good governance, (c) respect of human rights and (d) labour and structural reform. [222298]

Meg Munn: The Government fund projects in China through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Human Rights and Democracy Strategic Project Fund (SPF), through the Ministry of Justice judicial training scheme and through British Council work to support social enterprise. The SPF is currently funding six projects in China on criminal justice reform (for instance, introducing monitoring of detention centres and providing capacity building for defence lawyers) and progress towards abolition of the death penalty. We are developing further projects in these areas and on freedom of expression and the development of civil society. The Ministry of Justice judicial training scheme, which is now in its eleventh year, supports legal development by bringing Chinese judges to the UK for a year long study programme. Later this year the British Council will launch a social enterprise programme to support individuals in launching community-based governance projects. Some of these projects are delivered for the Government by the Great Britain-China Centre, which itself receives a grant-in-aid from the FCO.

Departmental Buildings

James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the location is of each office occupied by (a) his Department and (b) each of its agencies which has been (i) newly occupied and (ii) refurbished in the last 24 months; and what the floor area in square metres is of each. [222095]


6 Oct 2008 : Column 219W

Mr. Jim Murphy: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at a disproportionate cost.

Departmental Homeworking

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 2 July 2008, Official Report, column 1003W, on departmental home working, if he will make it his policy to collate and maintain central records of home working by his Department's staff. [222469]

Meg Munn: Our policy is to encourage flexible working for those staff who would like to take advantage of it. We encourage managers to respond positively to requests for flexible working wherever they can. We have anecdotal evidence of a significant rise in the number of staff working, at least part of the time, from home. But we do not intend to monitor or measure specifically how many staff work from home nor for how many hours/days per week as collating this information would involve disproportionate cost and manual effort.


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