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6 May 2009 : Column 191W—continued

Budget 2009

10. Mr. Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what assessment he has made of the effect of Budget 2009 on taxpayers in Scotland. [271870]

Mr. Jim Murphy: Taxpayers in Scotland will benefit from over £100 million in Barnett consequentials, and around £400 million from additional Government investment.

Pleural Plaques

11. David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has recently discussed with the First Minister access to compensation for people in Scotland with pleural plaques. [271871]

Ann McKechin: The Secretary of State has regular discussions with the First Minister on a range of issues.


12. Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent discussions he has had with representatives of banks on the future of banking in Scotland; and if he will make a statement. [271872]

Mr. Jim Murphy: I am in regular discussion with bank representatives. The Scottish banking system is now well placed to combat these difficult times, after the significant intervention by this Government to stabilise the market, including the £50 billon recapitalisation of RBS and Lloyds.

Gross Domestic Product

13. Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent trends he has identified in the gross domestic product of Scotland; and if he will make a statement. [271873]

Mr. Jim Murphy: The Scottish economy has not been immune from the global economic difficulties and is now officially in recession. To combat this the UK Government have delivered a £500 million fiscal boost from Budget 2009 measures, a £2 billion boost as part of the 2008 pre-Budget report, all in addition to the substantial interventions to support the Scottish banks.

Broadband Access

14. Sir Robert Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he has had with Ministerial colleagues on the development of next generation broadband access in rural Scotland. [271874]

Ann McKechin: My right hon. Friend has discussions with ministerial colleagues on a range of issues. The Government are very committed to Next Generation Broadband and the opportunities it brings for consumers and businesses alike.

6 May 2009 : Column 192W

The Budget confirmed the Government’s plan to deliver a Universal Service for broadband at up to 2 Mbps by 2012.

The Government will also be carrying out research on broadband ‘Not spots’ under “Delivering Digital Inclusion—An Action Plan for Consultation”. This will aim to inform local communities enabling them to manage the risks and realise the opportunities of Next Generation Access locally and regionally, where they identify a need and want to activate their own solutions. This research will cover the whole of the UK.

Equal Pay

15. John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent discussions he has had with the Minister for Women and Equality on equal pay between men and women in Scotland. [271875]

Ann McKechin: I have had discussions with my right hon. Friend on a range of equal pay issues, including in relation to the provisions in the new Equality Bill. The Bill, which extends to Scotland, includes measures to improve transparency around the gender pay gap.


Aviation: Air Pollution

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many aeroplanes were subject to (a) carbon monoxide, (b) carbon dioxide and (c) ozone gas level monitoring in cabin air in 2008; in how many and what percentage of cases levels of each gas above acceptable levels were detected; and if he will make a statement. [273037]

Jim Fitzpatrick: The presence of gases in aircraft cabin air is not routinely monitored in the UK. Studies such as the European Cabin Air project have shown that normally the levels of chemical and biological contaminants in aircraft are less than in many work environments such as office buildings.

There are however occasional bad smells or “fume events” during flights, which are estimated to occur on approximately 0.05 per cent of flights overall (one in 2000).

The Department for Transport funded research is under way to capture samples of aircraft cabin air during normal conditions and fume events and analyse them to see what substances they contain and in what concentrations.

The research findings will be published as a whole once they are written up and peer reviewed.

Since 2006 the Government have a statutory duty to safeguard the health of persons on aircraft. As far as we know, that is unique to the UK and we take it seriously.

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what factors underlie the decision to allocate the research project on cabin air quality to Cranfield; and for what reasons EU public procurement procedures were not invoked in this instance. [273038]

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Jim Fitzpatrick: The research project was tendered under the single tender procedure and approved in April 2007. Due to the complex logistics and the need for a project manager to develop protocols, this research could not be specified as a normal tender. Following the tender, Cranfield university was chosen by the Department, in consultation with the Department of Health, the Civil Aviation Authority, BALPA (largest pilot trade union) and airlines.

Cycling: Torbay

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what funding his Department is providing to Torbay local authority for the National Cycle Network in 2009-10. [272518]

Paul Clark: The Department for Transport does not provide funding directly to local authorities for specific projects such as the National Cycle Network, although they may choose to spend some of their LTP—local transport plan—funding on this.

In 2009-10 the Department has made available £7 million in grant funding to Sustrans for a Links to School programme to provide children with high quality cycle and walking routes to schools, linked to the National Cycle Network and local cycle networks.

Torbay has not yet applied for any of this although they have until September 2009 to apply to Sustrans for match funding for such links.

Departmental Pay

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 28 April 2009, Official Report, column 1223W, on departmental pay, what the equivalent figures are for each year since his Department was established. [273012]

Mr. Hoon: The number of Civil Servants in DFT to receive a non-consolidated performance payment (NCPP) each year since the Department was established is shown in the following table.

Total number of staff who received one or more NCPP Percentage of staff receiving NCPP Total NCCP paid (£)





















(1) These figures exclude SCS and DVLA which are not available.
(2) These figures exclude DVLA which are not available.

M18: Lorries

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 9 February 2009, Official Report, column 1603W, on M42: lorries, if he will consider the merits of prohibiting heavy goods vehicles from travelling in the outside lane on those stretches of the M18 where there are only two lanes. [272982]

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Paul Clark: There are currently no plans to implement a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) overtaking lane on the M18.

M25: Road Traffic

Mr. Goodwill: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will request the Highways Agency to conduct a preliminary study of (a) the construction of slip roads at junction 5 of the M25 and (b) the effect this would have on the alleviation of heavy lorry congestion from cross-channel routes. [272948]

Paul Clark: Following consideration of the recommendations of the ORBIT multi-modal study, the then Secretary of State in his response, asked the Highways Agency to carry out further work on possible improvements to junction 5 of the M25.

The objectives of this work were to consider the technical feasibility of building slips roads to connect the M26 to the A21 south of the M25. An initial assessment was completed in 2004 and concluded that although improvements were feasible, further work was necessary to determine whether such options would provide value for money. This work is being progressed by the Highways Agency and its findings will be considered alongside our exercise to establish spending priorities for transport across modes after 2014.

In light of that, the Government do not consider it necessary at this stage to commission further additional work on improvements to junction 5 of the M25.

Railways: Fares

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department is taking to reduce rail fares. [272590]

Paul Clark: We have made it clear that were RPI to be negative this year, this could lead to a reduction in fares next year.

The Government do not intend to change the policy capping regulated fare increases at a maximum of RPI+1 per cent. The policy reflects the need to balance protection for passengers with a move away from very heavy demands on the taxpayer.

It is our intention that from January 2010 this cap will also generally apply to individual regulated fares, as opposed to being an average over the whole fares basket.

Unregulated fares are a commercial matter for train operators who are free to set them on a commercial basis.

Helen Southworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take steps to promote the availability of the Rover range of rail tickets. [272850]

Paul Clark: The Minister of State has recently completed an intensive UK wide rail tour using an All Line Rail Rover which has improved the visibility of this excellent value product to the market. The promotion and advertising of this range of tickets is undertaken by train operators.

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Railways: Job Creation

Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the number of jobs likely to be created by planned work on (a) electrification of parts of the rail network, (b) construction of high speed rail routes and (c) re-opening of disused railway lines. [272395]

Paul Clark: The Department for Transport is working with the rail industry to explore the case for further electrification, in particular of the First Great Western and Midland main lines. However, until a decision has been made on whether to take forward such schemes, the extent of the planned electrification and the timescale for doing the work, it is not possible to estimate the number of jobs that might be created.

High speed two has been formed to develop the case for high speed services between London and Scotland. As a first stage it will report by the end of the year with a proposed route from London to the west midlands, setting out any necessary options. Until a decision is made regarding the construction of a new line or lines, it is not possible to say how many jobs might be created.

The Government's priority is to maintain and enhance the existing network. Local authorities may put forward proposals to reopen disused lines if they believe this is the best way to meet local transport needs. Construction and manpower for such proposals are a matter for the authority in question.

Railways: Torbay

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make an assessment of the reliability of direct train services between Paignton and London Paddington. [272524]

Paul Clark: Department of Transport officials meet First Great Western every four weeks to discuss franchise performance. The Public Performance Measure of each train operator is published by Network Rail on its website at:

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions Ministers in his Department have had with First Great Western on rail services between Exeter and Paignton in the last 12 months; and what the results of such discussions were. [272525]

Paul Clark: The then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport, my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, South (Mr. Harris) met First Great Western on 12 May 2008. First Great Western said it was looking for the Department for Transport’s support for solutions for train services west of Exeter following the withdrawal of South West Trains services on those routes in December 2009. Paignton is one of the destinations served by the South West Trains services.

The Department for Transport subsequently asked First Great Western to make proposals to it for covering the withdrawn South West Trains services west of Exeter. These proposals have been received and are currently under consideration by the Department.

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Transport: Standards

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take steps to ensure that his Department provides timely assistance and advice to local transport bodies seeking to introduce quality control measures. [273096]

Paul Clark: The Department for Transport (DfT) provides a range of Guidance to local transport authorities and other bodies. For example, the Department has recently consulted on draft Guidance to inform the next local transport plans, which are due in April 2011. This draft guidance sets out the importance of effective programme, project and risk management, and DfT aims to produce further detailed advice on this subject in due course.

The Department has also issued detailed guidance in respect of some of the measures included in the Local Transport Act 2008, for example in relation to Quality Partnership schemes that a local authority may make to improve their bus services. There will be further consultation and guidance during 2009 on quality contracts. officials are supporting that through ongoing engagement with regional and local authorities and bus operators.

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