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24 Jun 2010 : Column 295Wcontinued
Gloria De Piero: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will allocate funding to support the development of additional bus services serving Ashfield constituency. 
Norman Baker: It is for local authorities to decide the best use of resources to fund local bus services. The Department for Transport has no plans to provide specific direct funding for additional bus services in Ashfield.
Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has for future levels of expenditure on the national concessionary bus travel scheme. 
Norman Baker: The level of future funding for concessionary travel will be a matter for the spending review. The Government's commitment to protect free bus travel for older people is set out in the coalition agreement. The right to free bus travel for both older and disabled people is enshrined in primary legislation.
Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which Ministers in his Department have been issued with (a) a BlackBerry, (b) an iPhone, (c) another make of mobile telephone and (d) a personal digital assistant supplied by the Department. 
Norman Baker: The following equipment has been issued to Ministers:
|(1 )On order.|
Neither PDAs nor iPhones have ever been issued to Ministers.
Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what (a) documents and (b) other information for which (i) his Department and (ii) its associated public bodies are responsible are published or provided in the UK in languages other than English; for what reason each such publication is required to be made available in a language or languages other than English; and what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of the translation work so incurred in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Norman Baker: The Department for Transport makes documents and other information available in languages other than English to ensure individuals understand their rights and have access to the Department's services in accordance with human rights and race relations Acts, and to meet the requirements of the Welsh Language Act 1993. Information on individual translated documents and other information for the Department and associated public bodies can be provided only at disproportionate cost. Documents are considered on a case by case basis with regard to their purpose and likely readership and are translated only where necessary.
The estimated cost of translations commissioned by the Department for the most recent financial year available is set out in the following table.
|Translation costs( 1)|
|(1) These figures may include translations into English, but the majority of translations are from English into another language.|
(2) Data for 2009-10 expenditure are provisional and subject to audit-2009-10 resource accounts have yet to be published.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent representations he has received on the future of the East Coast Main Line route. 
Mrs Villiers: The Secretary of State has received a number of representations from Members of this House and others regarding plans for future timetable changes on the East Coast Main Line. He has also received representations regarding the possibility of co-operative organisations bidding for the next Inter City East Coast franchise.
Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he plans to encourage the use of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles; and if he will make a statement. 
Norman Baker: We announced in the coalition agreement that the Government will mandate a national charging infrastructure for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.
Electric and plug-in hybrid vehicle are currently supported through the taxation system: drivers of such vehicles are exempt from paying vehicle excise duty and fuel duty; businesses which purchase electric and low carbon cars can claim enhanced capital allowances and people who use electric cars as their company car pay lower rates of 'benefit in kind' taxation.
In addition to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills' recent announcement of support for Nissan's manufacturing investments, the Department for Transport is currently considering the provision of direct support for purchases of low-carbon vehicles, including electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, and will make a statement as soon as possible.
Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his most recent assessment is of the standard of passenger train services provided by First Capital Connect on the Thameslink franchise. 
Mrs Villiers: The most recent assessment of First Capital Connect's passenger service performance was for the period between 2 and 29 May 2010. Performance has been improving with First Capital Connect achieving a public performance measure figure of 93.5%.
The most recent National Passenger Survey dated spring 2010 assessed First Capital Connect as providing an overall passenger satisfaction rate of 76%.
Chris Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what changes there will be made in the overall budget of London Underground in 2010-11 as a consequence of the spending reductions announced on 24 May 2010. 
Mrs Villiers: The Department for Transport has consulted the Mayor of London on a proposed reduction to Transport for London's grant in 2010-11. London Underground is a subsidiary of Transport for London (TfL) and it is for the Mayor to decide how to accommodate the reduction in TfL's grant.
The in-year reduction in grant funding to TfL is equivalent to just over 1% of TfL's total 2010-11 budget.
Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much he plans to allocate to the (a) extension and (b) future development of the Midland Metro through Dudley to Brierley Hill. 
Norman Baker: Until the spending review has been concluded, the Department for Transport is unable to provide any assurance on its intention to fund any extensions to the existing Midland Metro Line One.
Mr Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for what reason the Driving Standards Agency cancelled the motorcycle trainer workshops due to be held in (a) Twickenham on 26 January 2010 and (b) Leeds on 29 January 2010. 
Mike Penning: The Driving Standards Agency (DSA) planned these motorcycle trainer workshops with the expectation that at least 250 trainers would attend each event. By mid January fewer than 30 trainers had registered for each event. DSA therefore decided to cancel as to continue with the much smaller numbers would not have represented good value for money.
DSA is considering whether these events are the most effective way to engage and communicate with motorcycle trainers in the longer term. Given the current fiscal climate, there are no plans to reinstate these events during the current financial year.
Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department made an assessment of the merits of providing a station stop at Brixton on the East London Line London Overground extension. 
The case for a new station at Brixton High Level was assessed in 2007 by Network Rail as part of the South London Route Utilisation Strategy. Because of its elevated position the new station was
estimated to cost around £25 million. A decision was therefore made, by Network Rail, that it could not be proceeded with at this time because of the cost involved.
A decision to implement the new station is ultimately a matter for the Mayor and Network Rail.
Mrs Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what work has been commissioned in relation to the electrification of the (a) Liverpool-Manchester line and (b) London-Swansea line; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs Villiers [holding answer 21 June 2010]: On both routes, Network Rail have carried out survey and early design work. Network Rail expect the projects to reach the "GRIP 2" stage later this summer, which means that the scope and costs will have been developed in sufficient detail to support progress to the next stage of the development process.
The Government support rail electrification as it helps to reduce carbon emissions and cut running costs. However, our priority is tackling the fiscal deficit and Ministers will consider the full range of proposed transport projects in parallel with the spending review process to ascertain what is affordable.
Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the likely effect of cost savings by Network Rail on rail services in the North East in the next 12 months; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs Villiers: Network Rail is required by the independent Office of Rail Regulation's five-year periodic review settlement to deliver efficiency savings of 24% by the end of March 2014. It is for Network Rail to determine how to make those efficiency savings.
Network Rail has now indicated that, subject to the consent of the Office of Rail Regulation, it will reduce its spending by a further £100 million on interventions which yield lower value for money relative to other programmes. The benefit to Government will be realised this financial year but the reduction in expenditure will be implemented over the remainder of the five-year Control Period 4 to the end of March 2014.
Network Rail has not given any indication of what portion of this reduction in expenditure will expect the North East of England. We do not expect this reduction to affect rail services.
Angela Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department (1) has (a) established a timetable and (b) allocated funding for the implementation of the Northern Hub project; 
(2) what assessment his Department has made of the implications for the rail network of the proposed Northern Hub project; 
(3) whether he plans to undertake a review of the Northern Hub project; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs Villiers: The Department for Transport has worked closely with Network Rail during the Northern Hub Rail Study. Network Rail is currently carrying out further development work on the Northern Hub, which includes a detailed review of each element of the project. The Department notes Network Rail's assessment of the implications for the rail network and is aware of the benefits to the northern economy that investment in the Hub and rail services would bring. No funding has yet been allocated for the implementation of the Northern Hub. The scope for future rail infrastructure investment will depend on decisions that will be made in the comprehensive spending review in the autumn.
Mr Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will assess the merits of allowing the private sponsorship of road signs; and if he will make a statement. 
Norman Baker: The private sponsorship of roadside infrastructure is a matter for local highway authorities. However, it is not the lawful function of traffic signs to serve as advertisements and the Government have no plans to assess the merits of allowing advertising on traffic signs. The information displayed on traffic signs and the number of signs provided must be kept to a minimum to avoid unnecessary driver distraction.
Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he plans to remove the link between the allocation of local authority highways funding and the requirement to observe national priorities. 
Norman Baker: No such explicit link exists, though in general terms, the coalition Government have made plain their intention to allow greater freedom to local authorities.
No specific decisions will be taken on future funding for local authority highways until after the spending review.
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