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28 Jun 2010 : Column 362W—continued


Veterinary Services

Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the effect on the provision of veterinary services of the implementation of a tendering process for the procurement of official veterinarian services under the Public Contract Regulations 2006. [3876]

Mr Paice: The Department has reviewed its current contract for official veterinarian services and is initiating the preparation of a procurement strategy and a formal procurement process for the provision of these services
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under the normal procurement rules that relate to this type and level of expenditure. The assessment of veterinary services requirements is included in the preparation of the procurement strategy. We are also planning to consult with the profession and run workshops with interested parties to help them respond to a tender.

Transport

A5-M1

Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues and officials on the effects on house building and economic development of the time taken to build the A5-M1 link. [3900]

Mike Penning [holding answer 23 June 2010]: As part of the spending review we will be considering the benefits of the A5-M1 Link, alongside all other schemes covered by the review, in order to reach decisions on future funding and scheme delivery timetables.

Bus Services: Leeds

Rachel Reeves: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how much his Department has spent on the Quality Bus scheme on the A65 in Leeds; [4107]

(2) whether the work on the Quality Bus scheme on the A65 in Leeds for which his Department is responsible is to be completed; [4108]

(3) what the process of review is for the Quality Bus scheme on the A65 in Leeds. [4110]

Norman Baker [holding answer 24 June 2010]: The Department for Transport has provided £2.12 million to date for the A65 Quality Bus scheme. The Full Approval decision for this scheme was reconfirmed following a review of all spending decisions taken since 1 January. There is no further review planned for this scheme and it is expected that construction of the scheme will be completed in June 2012.

Network Rail: Finance

Chris Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proportion of the proposed reduction to the budget of Network Rail will be made in Wales. [1671]

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 falls to Network Rail to determine how to make those efficiency savings.

Network Rail has now indicated that, subject to the agreement of the Office of Rail Regulation, it will reduce its spending by a further £100 million on interventions which yield relatively lower value for money in comparison to other programmes. The benefit to the taxpayer 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 proposed reduction in expenditure will affect Wales.


28 Jun 2010 : Column 364W

Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions he has had with Network Rail in respect of its planned reduction in expenditure of £100 million in 2010-11; and what the outcome was of those discussions. [2301]

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 falls to Network Rail to determine how to make those efficiency savings.

Network Rail has now indicated that, subject to the agreement of the Office of Rail Regulation, it will reduce its spending by a further £100 million on interventions which yield relatively lower value for money in comparison to other programmes. The benefit to the taxpayer 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.

This reduction in expenditure will include the programme of station enhancements announced in November 2009 and other elements for Network Rail to determine.

Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the likely effect on the number of jobs in the rail industry of the planned £100 million expenditure reductions by Network Rail in 2010-11. [2303]

Mrs Villiers: The Department for Transport has not made any such assessment. 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 falls to Network Rail to determine how to make those efficiency savings.

Network Rail has now indicated that, subject to the agreement of the Office of Rail Regulation, it will reduce its spending by a further £100 million on interventions which yield relatively lower value for money in comparison to other programmes. The benefit to the taxpayer 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 indicated that its planned expenditure reductions will have any impact upon employment levels.

Railways: Construction

Andrea Leadsom: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he plans to take to make provision for property blight after the Exceptional Hardship Scheme ends. [3072]

Mr Philip Hammond: The consultation period for the proposed Exceptional Hardship Scheme closed on 17 June, and no decisions have yet been taken about how such a scheme might operate or for how long it would last. The statutory blight regime would apply to any route confirmed for a new high speed line following public consultation. However, a number of responses to the Exceptional Hardship Scheme consultation have mentioned the desirability of provisions to address wider property blight over and above that covered by the statutory
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blight regime throughout the development period for any new high speed line. This is one of the issues Ministers will look at in identifying how to proceed.

Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of the report by High Speed 2 Ltd on the route for high speed rail. [4164]

Mr Philip Hammond: The work set out in my recent letter to the chairman of High Speed 2 Ltd can be accommodated within the company's agreed budget for 2010-11 of £21.1 million (plus incurred VAT).

Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to receive further recommendations for high speed rail routes from High Speed 2 Ltd. [4167]

Mr Philip Hammond: I have recently written to the chairman of High Speed 2 Ltd to set out the further work that I have asked the company to take forward. My letter to HS2 Ltd can be accessed on the Department for Transport website at:

Railways: Franchises

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consideration he gave to activating the option for companies bidding for the East Coast, Greater Anglia and Essex Thameside rail franchises to apply for longer franchises of up to 22 years. [4174]

Mrs Villiers [holding answer 24 June 2010]: As a step towards implementing the coalition agreement proposals on rail franchising, the Government have decided to hold a consultation on future franchising policy, which will include franchise duration. The consultation will be launched shortly and be considered by the Secretary of State in due course.

Roads: Thornton

Bill Esterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has for the Thornton to Switch Island relief road project. [4612]

Norman Baker: In his written ministerial statement to the House on 10 June 2010, Official Report, column 35WS, regarding local authority major schemes the Secretary of State for Transport made it clear that the Department will not be able to identify those major investments that can be supported until the conclusion of the Government's spending review in the autumn.

Therefore at this time I cannot provide any assurances on funding for the Thornton to Switch Island Link scheme.

Thameslink Railway Line

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has made a decision on proposals by Network Rail to terminate all Thameslink Wimbledon Loop services at London Blackfriars from 2015. [3808]


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Mrs Villiers: No decision has been made on the way in which Wimbledon loop services will operate after the completion of the Thameslink Programme.

I announced a consultation on a review of franchise policy in the House on 17 June, and this will inform the Government's decisions on how rail services are specified in the future, with a view to improving outcomes for passengers and facilitating private sector investment in the railways.

Defence

Ammunition

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what tests have been carried out on the non-lethal ammunition to be issued to the armed forces. [4115]

Peter Luff: Environmental and safety testing, and medical trials are carried out to ensure that the rounds are safe and suitable for service, safe to be fired through the approved weapon, and that potential risks to the human target are mitigated by design or restrictions on use.

Defence Equipment

Mr Carswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the estimated cost to the public purse is of all equipment programmes being managed by Defence Equipment and Support. [4352]

Peter Luff: The estimated cost to the public purse in financial year 2010-11 of equipment programmes managed by Defence Equipment and Support is approximately £16.54 billion. This is made up of approximately £13.88 billion for the core Ministry of Defence programme and £2.66 billion in support of current operations.

Mr Carswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many equipment programmes run by Defence Equipment and Support have been subject to review since the general election. [4353]

Peter Luff: As part of the exercise initiated by the Treasury to reconsider approvals granted since 1 January 2010, 57 equipment programmes have been subject to review, the majority of which are run by Defence Equipment and Support. The results of this process were announced by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury on 17 June 2010, Official Report, column 1040. In addition, the Strategic Defence and Security Review will review all major equipment and support contracts and this work is ongoing.

Departmental Public Expenditure

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what (a) reductions in civilian staff and (b) other efficiency savings were achieved in his Department in the last five years. [2779]

Mr Robathan [holding answer 17 June 2010]: The net variations-based on total intake less total outflow figures-are shown in the following table. The headcount figures, which include net changes in numbers of Royal Fleet Auxiliary personnel, are rounded to the nearest 10:


28 Jun 2010 : Column 367W
Headcount

2005-06

-3,800

2006-07

-4,720

2007-08

-5,700

2008-09

-2,230

2009-10

-380


Although figures of equivalent detail are not held centrally on the MOD's overseas workforce, available data shows that locally employed civilian numbers have varied over the same period as follows:

Headcount

2005-06

+630

2006-07

-1,000

2007-08

-2,200

2008-09

-810

2009-10

-810


Efficiency or value for money targets were set out in Spending Review 2004 and Comprehensive Spending Review 2007. The way in which savings were measured has varied between the two periods and so direct comparisons between the spending reviews are not possible. These savings have been reported annually in the Department's Annual Report and Accounts and the overall annual savings have been reproduced below; these include savings through reductions in civilian staff.

Savings throughout the two periods were either used to relieve cost pressures or to allow more to be spent on Defence priorities.

Spending Review 2004 for the period 2005-06 to 2007-08: "Gershon" Efficiency Programme
£ million
2005-06 2006-07 2007-08

Cumulative annual savings against April 2004 baseline

1,485

2,376

3,045


Comprehensive Spending Review 2007 for the period 2008-09 to 2009-10: Value for Money programme
£ million
2008-09 2009-10

Annual savings against April 2008 baseline

650

1,800


The National Audit Office is auditing the savings under the current Spending Review period.

Further information on all these savings, including details on how they were measured, can be found in the MOD's Annual Report and Accounts, which can be found at the following link:

European Fighter Aircraft

Diana R. Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his policy is on continuing the remaining tranches of the Typhoon fighter project. [4029]

Peter Luff: All our fast jet capabilities, including Typhoon, are being reviewed as part of the Strategic Defence and Security Review to ensure the programme is coherent with the future defence needs of the United Kingdom.


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