Stephen Hammond: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what the administrative cost to the Government of running the national concessionary bus fares scheme has been in each year since its introduction. 
Mr. Khan [holding answer 9 November 2009]: Although the statutory minimum concession is funded by central Government, it is administered by local authorities known as travel concession authorities (TCAs). They have the statutory responsibility for issuing passes to those eligible and ensuring that bus operators offer, and are properly reimbursed for, free off-peak local travel anywhere in England.
Mr. Prisk: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how many Christmas functions arranged by his Department and its agencies (a) the then Secretary of State, (b) officials of his Department and (c) officials of its agencies (i) hosted and (ii) attended in 2008; what the cost to the public purse was; and if he will make a statement. 
He hosted Christmas drinks for journalists on 16 December 2008 at a cost of £645.82.
He also attended the Private Office Christmas party on 17 December. There was no cost to the public purse.
No official funds were used for internal departmental Christmas parties/functions attended by officials of the Department in 2008. The information on the number of Christmas functions attend by officials is not held centrally, therefore could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how much (a) his Department and (b) its agencies have spent on Christmas (i) cards, (ii) parties and (iii) decorations in the last 12 months. 
|£ (including VAT)|
|(i) Cards||(it) Parties||(iii) Decorations|
Norman Baker: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what estimate he has made of the change in (a) the average delay time experienced by drivers and (b) levels of carbon emissions resulting from that change as a result of recent changes to the toll payment arrangements at the Dartford Crossing; and if he will take steps to reduce (i) congestion and (ii) carbon emissions on the A282 on the approaches to the Dartford Crossing. 
Chris Mole: Between M25 junction 2 and M25 junction 30, (which includes the Dartford Crossing) the estimated average delay per journey during the period March to August 2009 compared to the same months in 2008 decreased by 0.4 minutes northbound and increased by 0.7 minutes southbound.
In the short term the Highways Agency are in the process of implementing a package of measures, including the introduction of average speed cameras and further traffic management technology, to reduce the number of incidents at the Crossing, which will improve journey times.
Additionally, in April 2009, the Department published its initial analysis of the current and possible future capacity constraints at the Dartford-Thurrock River Crossing. On the basis of the findings and conclusions of the analysis, we announced further work to investigate what can be done in the short to medium term to improve the level of service provided by the existing Crossing.
The study recommended further work on two possible measures, recognising that each had the potential to generate some small benefits by increasing throughput while avoiding impacts on safety. The first set of measures could see changes to the configuration of the toll plaza, signing and promotion of DART-Tags to see whether this would improve traffic flows. The second set of measures could entail one-way tolling with the removal of the southbound plaza to allow a larger improved northbound plaza. This work is being taken forward and is expected to take 12 to 18 months to complete.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what percentage of invoices from suppliers his Department paid within 10 days of receipt in (a) September and (b) October 2009. 
Chris Mole: The Department for Transport has paid 91.01 per cent. of valid invoices received in September 2009 within 10 days measured against the total number of 20,406 valid invoices received; and 92.99 per cent. of valid invoices received in October 2009 within 10 days measured against the total number of 21,306 valid invoices received.
Justine Greening: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how many staff have (a) been dismissed and (b) had their contract terminated by his Department in each of the last five years; what the reason was in each case; and what the severance costs in relation to (i) dismissal and (ii) contract termination were in each such year. 
In addition there have also been seven other discipline (with costs) dismissals during the period 2004-09. However these cases have not been broken down further by category in order to protect the confidentiality of individuals.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what the (a) energy rating and (b) energy band of each building occupied by his Department and its agencies was in each year for which figures are available. 
Mrs. Laing: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport how many staff in his Department were employed on the management of freedom of information requests submitted to his Department in each year since 2005; and how much his Department spent on the management of such requests in each such year. 
Chris Mole: Freedom of information requests are not handled centrally by most parts of the Department of Transport and it is therefore not possible, without incurring disproportionate costs, to say precisely how many staff were employed in the management of those requests, or how much has been spent on such management. The central Department and each of its agencies do however have central teams that advise on the handling of requests, provide guidance and training, and monitor performance etc., and the total number of full-time equivalent (FTE) staff employed in these teams across the Department is as follows:
|Financial year||Number of FTE staff|
An assessment of the cost of freedom of information within Government can be found in Frontier Economics 2006 report "Independent Review of the Freedom of Information Act". A copy of this report is available in the House of Commons Library.
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