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27 Jan 2009 : Column 294Wcontinued
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance her Department provides to registrars on ensuring that lack of out-of-hours registrars service does not prevent prompt burials or cremations required for religious purposes, particularly over periods of closure of services; and if she will make a statement. 
Meg Hillier: The Registrar General has issued guidance to registrars of births and deaths in England and Wales to comply with any reasonable request to deal with urgent registration business outside their advertised hours of attendance. If their office is to remain closed for two or more consecutive days, or if special facilities have to be provided in the area, they must exhibit a notice explaining what arrangements have been made to deal with any urgent matter which might arise. The law and administrative arrangements governing the registration of deaths in Scotland and Northern Ireland are different.
More generally, in accordance with the national Good Practice Guide for the delivery of the registration service, local authorities are encouraged to consult on customer needs and provide an accessible registration service which takes into account the local communitys needs and expectations.
Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department with reference to the answer of 26 November 2008, Official Report, column 1877W, on vetting: fees and charges, whether those people undertaking unpaid voluntary activity which requires them to be monitored are required to pay a registration fee to the Independent Safeguarding Authority. 
Meg Hillier: Individuals in paid employment will pay a fee of £64 when applying for registration with the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA). This fee will not apply to those undertaking unpaid voluntary activity regulated by the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006.
Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many skilled non-EU workers were given leave to remain under the work permit system in (a) each year since 2005 and (b) each of the last four quarters for which figures are available, broken down by occupation. 
Mr. Woolas [holding answer 19 January 2009]: The following table provides information on the number of non-EU nationals who were granted extension of leave to remain as work permit holders for the period 1 January 2005-31 December 2007, including a quarterly breakdown for 2007. The information requested about occupation is not held in the format requested.
|Non-EU nationals granted extension of leave to remainwork permit holders for the period 1 January 2005-31 December 2007|
|Year and quarter||Number of cases|
1. Figures are rounded to nearest five.
2. Because of rounding figures may not add up to totals shown.
3. The figures quoted for 2007 by quarter are not provided under National Statistics protocols and have been derived from local management information and are therefore provisional and subject to change.
The data presented excludes dependents of principal applicants, in-line dependents, EU and Swiss nationals. The UK Border Agency is unable to comply with the request to provide data pertaining to occupation breakdown.
Home Office, Migration Statistics
7. Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to receive the report of the public inquiry into the Humber Bridge tolls. 
Paul Clark: The public inquiry will begin on 3 March 2009. Following the inquiry the inspector will submit a written report to the Secretary of State for Transport, for final decision.
8. Mr. Charles Kennedy: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has for spending on sleeper services between London and Scotland; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: We have no plans for spending on Anglo-Scottish sleeper services. The specification and funding of ScotRail services, including its sleeper trains, is a matter for the Scottish Executive.
9. Mr. Betts: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the statement of 15 January 2009, Official Report, column 356, on transport infrastructure, if he will bring forward proposals to connect Sheffield and other cities in Yorkshire and the East Midlands to a new high speed rail network. 
Mr. Hoon: As I announced to the House on 15 January 2009, Official Report, column 356, a new company, High Speed Two, has been formed to develop the case for high speed services between London and Scotland.
As a first stage, the company is expected to bring forward detailed proposals for Britains second new high speed line, between London and the West Midlands, and to consider the potential for new lines to serve the North of England and Scotland.
10. Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions he has had with the police on improving traffic flow on motorways. 
Paul Clark: Ministers have not had any recent discussions with the police in relation to improving traffic flow on motorways. However, the Highways Agency has regular liaison meetings with police forces and the Association of Chief Police Officers to discuss matters relating to the strategic road network.
11. Mr. Illsley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will bring forward legislative proposals on the maximum number of hours that can be worked by taxi drivers. 
Paul Clark: We have no plans to introduce legislation regulating the hours which taxi drivers can work. We are, however, willing to consider carefully any new representations or evidence put to us on this issue.
12. Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is on the construction of transport infrastructure to serve proposed residential and commercial developments. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The Department for Transport supports the Governments aims of increasing the supply of housing, and promoting national competitiveness and growth. Well-planned, sustainable infrastructure can play a key role in achieving these ambitions. Specific infrastructure development proposals should be consistent with local and regional strategies, and with national planning policy and guidance.
13. Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the effect of a third runway at Heathrow on local levels of nitrogen oxides. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: Our modelling shows that nitrogen oxides in the area are set to fall by 49 per cent. by 2030, compared to 2002, even with a fully utilised third runway; and that EU limits for nitrogen dioxide (the critical pollutant) will be met in 2020 even with a third runway operating at the level we have approved, namely 605,000 annual movements.
The detailed figures can be found in the Heathrow consultation document and associated technical reports on the Department for Transports website.
14. Paddy Tipping: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he will announce the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation target for 2009-10; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: The Government recently consulted on proposals for future obligation levels up to 2013-14 under the renewable transport fuel obligation. The consultation closed on 17 December and the Government are considering the responses received. An announcement on the outcome will be made shortly.
16. Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has commissioned or evaluated research on the effect of commuting times on levels of well-being. 
Paul Clark: Yes. Research into peoples willingness-to-pay for travel time savings suggests that, on average, commuters value travel time at a rate of £5.04 per hour. This value is ordinarily used to aid decision making on infrastructure investments because many of the benefits reflect reduced delays for commuters. However it also provides an indication of the importance that people place on the time taken to commute to work.
17. Andrew Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent representations he has received on the timetable for his Departments rolling stock plan. 
Paul Clark: 423 of the 1,300 additional vehicles announced in the rolling stock plan have already been ordered. The Government have recently announced the accelerated procurement of 200 diesel multiple unit vehicles to speed up the process further. It is currently in discussion with train operators on the deployment of additional vehicles announced in the plan. Announcements will be made only after deeds of amendment to train operators franchise agreements have been concluded.
18. Sir Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent representations he has received on the reliability of services on the West Coast Main Line. 
Paul Clark: The Department for Transport has received a small number of representations over changes to timetables introduced in December 2009. These have related almost entirely to minor aspects of the planned timetable, rather than the reliability of actual services.
19. Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he next expects to meet representatives of local authorities in East Anglia to discuss improvements to trunk roads in that area. 
Paul Clark: We currently have no plans to meet local authorities in East Anglia to discuss trunk road improvements.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many of the additional trains announced in
November 2008 will be available for the Northern franchises Southport to Manchester line to replace class 142 railbus units. 
Paul Clark: The additional trains are to provide extra capacity, rather than replace existing vehicles. The Government are in discussion with train operators on where best to deploy the vehicles to achieve the greatest benefit. Announcements will be made only after deeds of amendment to train operators franchise agreements have been concluded.
Kelvin Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has for the future of the Accessibility and Equalities Directorate; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hoon: The Permanent Secretary is responsible for the effective management of staff and resources to achieve all departmental goals, including the promotion of greater equality of opportunity for all citizens. Various options fort he management of the Department's business, within available budgets, are being considered as part of the current business planning round.
Kelvin Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what functions the company Allen Lane carries out for his Department. 
Mr. Hoon: The Department uses Allen Lane Ltd to provide temporary financial and accountancy staff.
Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with (a) ministerial colleagues, (b) the Welsh Assembly Government and (c) the Scottish Executive on harmonisation of the concessionary bus pass schemes in England, Scotland and Wales. 
Paul Clark: The Secretary of State has not had any discussions with ministerial colleagues, the Welsh Assembly Government or the Scottish Executive on the harmonisation of the concessionary bus pass schemes and nor have I. Discussions are taking place at official level with the devolved Administrations about how reciprocal arrangements for cross-border concessionary travel could work. However we have no immediate plans to introduce such an arrangement at this time.
Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much has been spent on (a) maintaining, (b) decorating and (c) otherwise improving departmental buildings in the last five years; how much has been spent on wallpaper since 2001; and what plans there are for further spending on departmental decoration. 
Mr. Hoon: The requested information, where recorded, has been placed in the Libraries of the House.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his Department's average response time to a letter received from (a) an hon. Member and (b) a member of the public was in each of the last three years. 
Mr. Hoon: The Cabinet Office, on an annual basis, publishes a report to Parliament on the performance of Departments in replying to Members correspondence. The report for 2007 was published on 20 March 2008, Official Report, columns 71-74WS. Information for 2008 is currently being collated and will be published as soon as it is ready. Reports for earlier years are available in the Library of the House.
Information about average response times for replying to correspondence from members of the public cannot be provided within disproportionate costs limits, however, the Department for Transport aims to respond to all written correspondence within 20 working days.
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