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10 Jan 2011 : Column 31Wcontinued
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much his Department spent on overtime for staff working within his private office in each of the last five years. 
Norman Baker: The expenditure on overtime for staff working in the Secretary of State for Transport's private office is shown in the following table.
This does not include expenditure on overtime for staff working in other Ministers' private offices. The Department for Transport introduced a private office allowance of 20% of salary in February 2009 to replace on-call allowances, the flat rate private secretaries' allowance and most overtime payments.
Hywel Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent estimate he has made of the effect of the increase in the standard rate of value added tax on his Department's annual expenditure. 
Norman Baker: The Department for Transport's forward expenditure plans in the spending review took account of the VAT increase in January 2011-where relevant:
For those supplies where VAT is recoverable, there will be no impact on planned spend. For instance, VAT paid on certain services contracted out by the Highway's Agency is recovered (over £300 million a year; this recovery is consistent powers under section 41 of the Value Added Tax Act 1994);
For those supplies where the VAT is non recoverable, the impact of the VAT rise has been factored into future budgets.
This is a common approach across all Government Departments. As a result, departmental spending review settlements are set on a tax-inclusive basis, including the increase to the standard rate of VAT.
Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what criteria he used in making his decision on the future of the East Coast Main Line franchise; 
(2) what criteria he used in making his decision on the future of the Greater Anglia franchise. 
Mrs Villiers: The timing and length of future franchises was announced on 7 December 2010, Official Report, columns 15-18WS, with a longer 15 year franchise planned to commence in 2012 for East Coast, and 2013 for Greater Anglia. An important criterion for the decisions on commencement dates was the aim to better align incentives between Network Rail and train operators. These reforms are currently under consideration by Sir Roy McNulty, as set out in his interim report published alongside the 7 December announcement. The previously planned retendering schedule for Greater Anglia would not have allowed time for such reforms to be included in the new franchise.
Mr Leech: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department's public consultation on the route for High Speed 2 will invite consideration of the principle that high speed rail links be built; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Philip Hammond [holding answer 29 November 2010]: Yes.
Mrs Grant: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has plans for Maidstone to be linked to the High Speed Network. 
Following the meeting which I had with the hon. Member for Maidstone and The Weald and other hon. Members representing Kent constituencies on 27 July 2010, Department for Transport officials have been working in conjunction with Southeastern to
assess the service provision to stations in Maidstone and analyse where improvements to the level of service provision can be made.
Any options which are considered in this respect will be predicated on the need to be affordable and provide value for money.
Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the value for money of the High Speed Two project. 
Mr Philip Hammond: Assessments of the value for money of High Speed Two Limited's (HS2 Ltd's) proposed high speed rail line from London to the West Midlands and of a number of options for a wider national high speed rail network are set out in Chapters 4 and 6 of HS2 Ltd's report, "High Speed Rail: London to the West Midlands and Beyond". This can be accessed on the Department for Transport website at:
HS2 Ltd is currently reviewing its assessments of the value for money of its proposals in the light of the most recent economic forecasts and updated assessments will be published to inform the forthcoming consultation on the Government's strategy for high speed rail and the route of an initial London-West Midlands line.
Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the pre-project costs incurred by High Speed Two to date. 
Mr Philip Hammond: I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 20 December 2010, Official Report, column 1003W.
Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the sum to accrue to the economy of (a) the West Midlands and (b) the North West from the construction of High Speed Two (i) in cash terms and (ii) as a proportion of gross value added by 2040. 
Mr Philip Hammond: High Speed Two Ltd's assessment of the benefits of a new high speed line did not include any calculation of broader regional economic benefits, such as long-term GVA impacts. I am aware that both Greengauge 21 and the Northern Way have published research on this issue. Their reports are available online at:
It should be noted that these long-term regional economic effects are complex and challenging to predict and some of the methodologies that have been employed to calculate them are comparatively untested. On the basis of the research above, however, it appears reasonable to conclude that they have the potential to be significant.
Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of the exceptional hardship scheme for High Speed Two. 
Mr Philip Hammond: The Department for Transport estimates that around £25 million may be required to fund property purchases under the exceptional hardship scheme in each of the 2010-11 and 2011-12 financial years, although actual expenditure will depend on applications received. The final cost of the scheme to the public purse will also depend on the level of rental and/or sales income derived from any properties purchased under the scheme.
Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much his Department has spent on its departmental website since May 2010. 
Norman Baker [holding answer 15 December 2010]: The Department for Transport (DfT) has spent £264,977 on its departmental website between the period 1 June 2010 and 30 November 2010.
Departmental website costs for previous years are as follows:
|Financial year||DfT corporate website costs (£)|
The Department is currently working to converge appropriate content to Directgov, Business Link and the corporate site and is committed to a programme of website rationalisation. The Department aims to close 97% of departmental websites listed for closure by end March 2011. The Department is also looking at opportunities to reduce website costs through shared platforms and new and emerging technologies.
Costs provided are those incurred in payment to external suppliers and do not include internal staff costs.
Tracey Crouch: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what his policy is on the European Commission's proposal to restrict all semi-trailers built under whole vehicle tyre approval to four metres in height; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what representations he has received on the proposed restrictions on semi-trailers built under whole vehicle tyre approval to four metres in height. 
The Government's policy is to resist the four metre height limit and other aspects of the Commission's draft proposal that make fundamental changes to existing requirements. Following a request for evidence on the potential impacts of the proposal, the Department for Transport has received replies from trade associations and individual companies. These indicate
that the impact could be significant and the Department will be pressing the Commission and other member states to maintain the status quo.
Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many (a) accidents and (b) fatalities between 2000 and 2010 were recorded as having been caused by freight lorries jack-knifing; 
(2) what recent progress his Department has made on reducing the number of accidents caused by jack-knifed lorries. 
Mike Penning: The following table shows the number of reported personal injury road accidents and consequential fatal casualties in accidents where at least one heavy goods vehicle (3.5 tonnes or over) was reported to have jack-knifed. The latest year for which information is available is 2009. Statistics are not available for accidents where no personal injury occurred.
It is not possible to determine from the data whether the HGV in question caused the accident.
|Reported personal injury road accidents and consequential fatal casualties in accidents involving a jack-knifed heavy goods vehicle (over 3.5 tonnes): Great Britain 2000-09|
In 2002 our national legislation governing the construction, equipment, maintenance and use of road vehicles (The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986) was amended to require anti-lock braking systems (ABS) on certain new heavy commercial vehicles.
Although ABS does not directly prevent jack knifing, it can improve a vehicle's stability under braking and prevent wheel lock-a potential contributory factor in jack knife incidents.
Mrs Grant: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department has had recent discussions with Southeastern on ensuring that commuters are not affected to an unreasonable extent by disruptions caused by snow and ice. 
Mrs Villiers: Throughout the recent disruption due to adverse weather, Department for Transport officials were in daily contact with Southeastern. Southeastern has been fully involved with David Quarmby's audit of the winter preparedness review.
Unfortunately, extreme weather conditions will inevitably disrupt the transport system. However, both train operators and Network Rail must take all reasonable and practical
steps to minimise disruption and mitigate its impacts on passengers, including providing timely and reliable information on which services are running.
Tony Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects work to facilitate the operation of longer trains between Twickenham and Waterloo to commence. 
Mrs Villiers: Discussions between Network Rail, South West Trains and the Department for Transport are ongoing. As these are commercial negotiations it is not possible to give a firm date, but we expect the additional vehicles to be delivered on to the network before 2014.
Jackie Doyle-Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he plans to answer questions 26276 and 26277, on the Dartford Crossing, tabled by the hon. Member for Thurrock on 22 November 2010. 
Mike Penning: I answered these questions on 21 December 2010, Official Report, column 1299W.
Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what criteria he plans to use in decisions on the reform of the relationship between Network Rail and train operating companies across the rail network. 
Mrs Villiers: The Government's key objective is to ensure that incentives across the rail industry are more closely aligned, so that all parties strive to reduce costs, improve service quality and provide value for money for taxpayers and passengers. Achievement of this objective will be a key criterion for making decisions on the reform of the rail sector.
John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent representations he has received on the effect on local authority parking (a) charges and (b) penalties of reductions in central Government funding for local authority transport services. 
Norman Baker [holding answer 29 November 2010]: Parking charges are a matter for the local authority. None of the representations I have received about parking penalty charges has argued for an increase in penalty charges on the grounds of changes to government funding for local authority transport services.
Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what advice his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) received on the compatibility of charges for radio spectrum usage by the aeronautical industry with international commitments affecting that industry; 
(2) what his policy is on charges for the use of the VHF radio spectrum for safety purposes by the aeronautical sector; what (a) recent representations he has received and (b) discussions he has had with (i) Ofcom, (ii) the Civil Aviation Authority and (iii) industry representatives on this matter; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs Villiers: In principle the Government support the use of market mechanisms, including pricing where appropriate, to improve the efficiency of spectrum used by the transport sector, with the provisos that safety considerations must not be compromised, international obligations must be respected and users must be given time to adjust. Departmental officials, in conjunction with the CAA, made these provisos clear to Ofcom as it prepared its new pricing structure for aeronautical spectrum.
I recently met with General Aviation representatives, including the Light Aircraft Association, who outlined their concerns at Ofcom's pricing proposals. In its statement, published on 14 December 2010, Ofcom announced the introduction of a low cost/low coverage licence specifically for aerodromes.
Karl McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the cost to Network Rail of providing free and concessionary rail travel to current and former employees and their families in each of the last five years. 
Mrs Villiers [holding answer 3 December 2010]: The Secretary of State has not made any estimates of the cost to Network Rail of providing free and concessionary rail travel to current and former employees and their families in each of the last five years. This is a matter for Network Rail.
Karl McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) current and (b) former (i) employees and (ii) board members of Network Rail receive concessionary rail travel. 
Mrs Villiers [holding answer 3 December 2010]: This scheme is administered by the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC).
The number of current Network Rail employees who receive concessionary rail travel is 12,146. It is not possible to break down this figure between board members and other employees.
No data for former employees are available from the Department for Transport without incurring disproportionate cost.
Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consultation he is undertaking with passenger groups on proposed increases in rail fares; and if he will make a statement. 
Passenger Focus is the principal body that represents passenger interests. Transport Ministers regularly meet Passenger Focus to discuss matters of concern. No specific discussions have taken place between
Ministers and Passenger Focus on the decision to raise the cap on rail fares for three years from 2012 onwards, although I have had discussions with a number of colleagues on the impact of fare levels in their respective constituencies.
Gavin Shuker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is on ensuring that those with disabilities are not adversely affected by regulated rail fare increases of 3% above the retail price index. 
Mrs Villiers: There are no plans to change the benefits provided by the Disabled Persons Railcard which entitles holders to discounts of a third against most tickets. This railcard also allows an accompanying adult to travel at the discounted level.
Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effects on levels of employment in the railway industry of the proposed restructuring of the operation of the railway network set out in the interim report of Sir Roy McNulty's value for money review. 
Mrs Villiers: The interim report was commissioned to indicate possible savings that might accrue in order to inform the comprehensive spending review process. The interim report emphasised that it was premature to make definitive recommendations at this stage. It is also too early to speculate on what impact any final recommendation might have upon employment levels.
Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the cost to his Department of workshops planned to inform the final report of Sir Roy McNulty's value for money review. 
Mrs Villiers: Sir Roy McNulty's review has included £13,000 in the estimate to cover the cost of workshops between now and completion of the final report. However, no workshops have yet been fixed. Unless there is a good reason to go ahead with workshops, the money will remain unspent.
Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the cost to his Department of workshops undertaken prior to the publication of the interim report of Sir Roy McNulty's value for money review. 
Mrs Villiers: The Sir Roy McNulty value for money review held a workshop on 19 July 2010. The aims of the workshop were to provide further information and clarification of those issues included in the recently published scoping report; and to get input from the 80 senior rail industry attendees. This informed the work being done in order to produce the final report. An earlier workshop was held prior to completion of the scoping report in March. The total cost to the Department for Transport of both workshops was £12,593 plus VAT.
Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he plans to make decisions about rail franchises to be retendered in 2012 and 2013. 
Mrs Villiers: The Secretary of State for Transport made a written statement on 7 December 2010, Official Report, columns 15-18WS, setting out recent decisions on the franchising programme. There are a number of further decisions that remain to be taken about individual competitions and the instructions to potential bidders. These will be announced in the coming months in order to achieve the re-letting dates.
Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what criteria he plans to use to decide the length of franchises for train operating companies across the rail network. 
Mrs Villiers: The Government have recently consulted on what is the appropriate length for rail franchise contracts. We intend to let longer franchise contracts, with the expectation that contracts would normally be for 15 years. However, we also recognise that specific circumstances will require longer or shorter franchises from time to time. For example, the length of the West Coast Franchise is influenced by the expected introduction of High Speed 2 services.
Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the number of rail passengers on journeys of over 20 minutes who had a seat for their journey in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Mrs Villiers: The information is not available in the form requested. The Department for Transport holds passenger counts data collected by train operators. However, information on whether passengers were standing or seated is not collected.
Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effects on the economy of reducing rail congestion in metropolitan areas. 
Mrs Villiers: The effects of transport schemes on the economy are assessed as part of the Department for Transport's appraisal process. The Department for Transport takes account of factors such as reductions in crowding and journey times through an assessment of transport user benefits. Promoters of rail schemes in metropolitan areas are encouraged to use the Department's guidance on estimating the wider economic impacts of the proposal. The Department's appraisal guidance, WebTAG, is available online at
Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he plans to take to reduce the incidence of suicides on the rail network in those areas with a high incidence. 
Mrs Villiers: Action to prevent suicides on the railways is a matter of operational rail safety, which is the responsibility of Network Rail, operators and the independent rail safety regulator. However, when I met with them in August 2010, I was pleased to support the joint Network Rail/Samaritans initiative to reduce suicides on the railways by 20% in five years.
Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with train operating companies on the prevention of suicide on the rail network following the launch of the National Suicide Prevention Strategy; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs Villiers: Suicides on the railways is a matter of operational safety, which is the responsibility of Network Rail, operators and the independent rail safety regulator.
However, during regular meetings with senior representatives from the rail industry, I have discussed the joint initiative between Network Rail and the Samaritans to reduce suicides on the railway by 20% in five years, which I am happy to support.
Guto Bebb: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport by what means Welsh Assembly Government Ministers are able to contribute requirements into the high level output specification for the rail network. 
Mrs Villiers: Department for Transport Ministers and the Deputy First Minister have discussed major rail proposals. Welsh Assembly Government officials are working with the Department on advance planning for the next High Level Output Specification.
Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the change in funding from his Department to local authorities through the Road Safety Grant has been in the financial year 2010-11. 
Mike Penning: The Government have made clear that an urgent priority is to tackle the UK's record deficit in order to restore confidence in our economy and support the recovery. As a contribution to addressing the record deficit, we therefore have reduced the previous plans for local authority funding in 2010-11.
Central Government's financial support grant to local authorities is provided through a variety of mechanisms, such as formula grant (including the revenue support grant), specific grants and specific capital grants.
The Government are clear that local government needs increased flexibility to take decisions locally. It has therefore retained the most flexible funding (formula grant) for 2010-11 at the level approved previously by Parliament (£29 billion). We have also lifted restrictions on how local government spends its money by removing ring-fences.
We expect local authorities to be able to make savings from efficiency measures, eliminating waste and, where necessary, reducing spending in areas that are lower priorities for their communities. The fact that certain grants have been chosen for reduction over others, does
not mean that the Government expect there to be a direct correlation between grant reductions and local authority budget changes. For example, road safety grant was reduced as this grant was spread evenly across all local authorities, not because this was considered an area of lower priority spending.
Therefore the road safety area based revenue funding for 2010-11 has been reduced by about 26.6% from approximately £77.3 million to approximately £56.7 million. The road safety capital grant for 2010-11 is not being paid and had been planned to total about £17.2 million.
Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) road-gritters and (b) snow ploughs local authorities purchased in each year since 2007. 
Norman Baker: Information on how many (a) road-gritters and (b) snow ploughs have been purchased by local authorities in each year since 2007 is not held centrally.
The following table provides figures of gritting vehicles and snow ploughs that have been registered by the Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency in each year since 2007.
|End of year||Gritting vehicle||Snow plough|
Information is not yet available for 2010. In addition, some highway authorities fit snow plough attachments to their salt spreading vehicles.
Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects the first cascaded rail carriages to be operational on routes between Manchester and Liverpool. 
Mrs Villiers [holding answer 2 December 2010]: Electric services on routes between Manchester and Liverpool are expected to commence from December 2013. Completion of the remaining electrification programme for the North West is scheduled to complete by December 2016 allowing commencement of electric services.
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what revenue support payments have been (a) provided to date and (b) allocated to South Eastern Trains under his Department's revenue share and support model; 
(2) what the criteria are for providing revenue support to South Eastern Trains under his Department's revenue share and support model. 
The Department for Transport (DfT) pays revenue support to the Integrated Kent Franchise operated by Southeastern on a periodic basis; however,
this information is commercially sensitive and is provided subject to an express duty of confidence. As such it cannot be disclosed.
The Department does not expressly 'allocate' revenue support under the revenue share and support model. The value of revenue support is determined through the application of criteria and formulae stated in the National Rail Franchising Terms (NRFT), which is available from the DfT Website:
The relevant sections pertaining to revenue support are contained under schedule 8, specifically pages 151 to 154.
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proportion of revenue South Eastern Trains received (a) through his Department's share and support model scheme and (b) from passenger revenue collection in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Mrs Villiers: The Department for Transport is provided with information on passenger and other revenues from each train operating company under the terms of each franchise agreement. This information is commercially sensitive and is provided subject to an express duty of confidence. As such it cannot be disclosed.
Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport by what mechanism the Local Sustainable Transport Fund will enable local authorities to continue to participate in nationally co-ordinated programmes; and if he will make a statement. 
Norman Baker: The Local Sustainable Transport Fund represents a move away from programmes co-ordinated at a national level, and towards local authorities delivering at local level, sustainable transport measures that meet the needs of local communities.
Guidance on the operation of the Fund will be published shortly. This will encourage local authorities to work together and in partnership with external organisations such as sustainable travel groups in identifying the measures that deliver the greatest benefit for communities. If local authorities wish to be part of a scheme which runs over several local authority boundaries, they would be able to submit a joint bid to the Fund, with one authority taking the lead.
I also refer my hon. Friend to the written ministerial statement I made on 13 December 2010, Official Report, columns 82-84WS.
Clive Efford: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he (a) took and (b) plans to take to monitor the performance of (i) Network Rail and (ii) train operating companies during the winter weather of November and December 2010; and if he will make a statement. 
The performance of rail services is monitored throughout the year by the Department for Transport in accordance with the terms of franchise
agreements. Network Rail performance is monitored and regulated by the Office of Rail Regulation.
In addition, I meet regularly with senior representatives of the rail industry to review performance and to discuss action to maintain and improve reliability. Seasonal preparations are an important part of these monitoring meetings.
During the ongoing problems with severe weather, Ministers and officials have kept in regular contact with affected operators and Network Rail including through meetings and phone conferences.
Rail performance during late November and early December has also been audited by David Quarmby whose report was published 21 December 2010.
Mr Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent progress has been made on his Department's trial of tram-trains; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs Villiers: Considerable progress has been made during the last year on the proposed Tram Train Pilot in Sheffield. This includes the development of a feasibility design for the infrastructure changes and new stations, the ongoing development of a model for operating both tramway and main line services and the initial stages of procuring and financing the tram train vehicles. This work will enable the Department for Transport to understand the costs and benefits of this pilot and the potential for future introduction of tram train services elsewhere.
Mr Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the incoming permanent secretary for his Department was selected; who sat on the appointments panel; and what previous experience of transport policy was demonstrated by the successful applicant. 
Norman Baker: The incoming permanent secretary for the Department for Transport (Lin Homer) was selected on 2 December 2010.
The selection panel was made up of Dame Janet Paraskeva (First Civil Service Commissioner), Sir Gus O'Donnell (Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Home Civil Service), Sir Leigh Lewis (permanent secretary, Department for Work and Pensions) and Ed Smith (non-executive director, Department for Transport).
Ms Homer's previous experience of transport policy stems from her local authority days, latterly as chief executive of Birmingham city council, the largest local authority in the UK, where she had responsibility for highways, public transport and airports. Earlier in her career, she acted as legal advisor on transport schemes, including road inquiries, compulsory purchase order work and commercial matters.
Frank Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what contingency plans his Department has made to respond to flooding on the transport network resulting from melting snow. 
Norman Baker: Transport operators and highway authorities have well-established mitigation arrangements and contingency plans in place to cover a range of seasonal weather conditions, including all aspects of flooding. The Department for Transport works with the Met Office and the Environment Agency to pay particular attention to possible impacts on transport networks. The ministerial winter resilience network has regularly reviewed the risk of flooding that might arise from melting snow.
Mr Leech: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) whether decisions to proceed with local authority major transport schemes will be taken using the new appraisal methodology; 
(2) whether local authority major transport schemes included in the development pool will be subject to the new appraisal methodology. 
Norman Baker: Decisions on whether or not to proceed with local authority schemes will be made using a range of criteria and in a way that is consistent with the wider reform of decision making, on which an announcement will be made soon.
As set out in the document "Investment in Local Major Transport Schemes" the criteria to be used for local authority schemes are likely to include:
Value for money
The proportion of overall funding contributions from non-Department for Transport sources
A consideration of modal and regional balance across the programme.
In respect of the value for money element, decisions on which schemes in the Pre-Qualification Pool may join the Development Pool will be based on existing Department for Transport appraisal guidance with some adjustments to reflect the priorities of the new Government, for example on carbon and indirect tax effects. For Development Pool schemes, on which decisions will be made at the end of 2011, value for money will be assessed using new appraisal guidance to be published in April 2011.
Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the potential role of the voluntary sector in delivering active travel programmes sponsored by his Department. 
Norman Baker: The Department for Transport recognises that the voluntary sector has potentially an important role to play in the design and delivery of sustainable travel solutions.
My statement of the 13 December 2010, Official Report, columns 82-84WS, on the Local Sustainable Transport Fund made clear that bids from local transport authorities will be particularly welcomed if they can demonstrate support from, and the involvement of, voluntary and community organisations, and the private sector. Detailed guidance on the operation of the fund will be published shortly.
Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate his Department has made of the number of new carriages required by Virgin Rail Projects Ltd for the West Coast Mainline. 
Mrs Villiers: The Department for Transport has authorised the purchase of an additional 106 new Pendolino carriages, including four new 11-car trains.
Analysis by the Department for Transport indicated that the capacity and future development of the route would be best met by a mix of nine-car and 11-car Pendolino trains supplemented by a fleet of Voyagers.
Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the cost to the public purse of maintenance of Waterloo International terminal has been in each of the last five years for which figures are available. 
Mrs Villiers: The cost of maintenance of the Waterloo International terminal since the transfer of ownership to BRB (Residuary) Limited, which covers the last three years only, is as follows:
The Government are committed to ensuring that the former Eurostar platforms at Waterloo International terminal are brought back into use for domestic passenger services.
Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent estimate he has made of the level of overcrowding of West Coast main line services out of Euston station at peak times ; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs Villiers: The Department for Transport receives passenger counts data from train operators for travel on weekdays during spring and autumn survey periods. The latest data for West Coast Main Line departures from Euston shows that across the spring count period, the average load exceeded the planned capacity on 1.4% of services counted.
Detailed crowding information for the West Coast Main Line may be available directly from the operator at the following address:
FREEPOST BM 6613
PO Box 713
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what (a) discussions he has had and (b) representations he has received on the issue of on-the-runs since 6 May 2010. 
Mr Paterson: The issue of on-the-runs has been raised with me by representatives of various political parties during our regular discussions.
Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he has had with the Scottish Interim Elections Management Board on the Government's proposals for voting by prisoners. 
Michael Moore: The Government set out their position on the voting rights of prisoners in a statement to Parliament on 20 December 2010. The Government will be working closely with the Scottish Government and others before legislation is introduced on the practical implications of the approach.
Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Transport on the proposed closure of coastguard stations in Scotland. 
Michael Moore: On 16 December 2010, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency published a consultation with proposals to modernise the national Coastguard service. These include the establishment of a Maritime Operations Centre in Aberdeen and a sub-centre at either Shetland or Stornoway to replace the existing five Scottish Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centres. I have discussed this issue, and others that affect Scotland, with the Secretary of State for Transport.
Mr Spellar: To ask the Prime Minister what steps are taken before the award of honours to establish whether recipients and their companies pay tax in the UK. 
The Prime Minister: Before candidates for honours are recommended to the Queen, inquiries are made to establish that they are not in breach of national laws.
Mr Alan Campbell: To ask the Prime Minister how many overseas visits he has undertaken since his appointment; and what the (a) duration and (b) purpose of each visit was. 
The Prime Minister: As set out in the Ministerial Code, details of all my overseas travel is published at least quarterly. Details of my overseas travel from May to September 2010 has been published on the No. 10 website at:
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much her Department has spent on the assisted return scheme in each of the last 12 months. 
Damian Green: The total UK Border Agency cost of the assisted voluntary returns scheme for 2009-10 was £16.1 million giving an average monthly cost of £1.3 million.
Costs for the current financial year 2010-11 will be available once the 2010-11 accounts have been audited.
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 15 November 2010, Official Report, column 546W, on asylum: deportation, how many of the 176 asylum seekers who have absconded after receiving deportation notices since May 2010 have subsequently been detained. 
Damian Green: We have assumed 'deportation notices' to mean 'removal notices'.
Between 1 May 2010 and 31 October 2010, 176 failed asylum seekers (main applicants and their dependants) absconded after being served with removal directions. Of these 176 asylum seekers, 42 have subsequently been detained between 1 May 2010 and 10 December 2010, the UK Border Agency is currently in contact with an additional 15, and a further two were removed from the UK without being served removal directions.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many adult asylum seekers had been (a) granted and (b) refused permission to remain in the UK in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Damian Green: The information requested is not available. In order to produce the information the statistics on asylum applications and statistics on settlement would need to be cross referenced at disproportionate cost.
Statistics are published on the number of asylum applications, initial decisions and outcomes of appeal hearings.
Separately, information is published on grants and refusals of leave to remain and settlement (which will include data on both asylum and non- asylum applicants).
These data are published in the Control of Immigration publications available from the Home Office's Research, Development and Statistics website at:
The latest published data on asylum applications and initial decisions are provided in the following tables.
|Applications received for asylum in the United Kingdom, excluding dependents, by location of application, and initial decisions( 1,2) , Q1 2007 to Q3 2010|
|Number of principal applicants|
|Applications received||Initial decisions|
|Cases considered under normal procedures|
|Qtr/ year||Total applications||Applied at port||Applied in country||Total initial decisions||Recognised as a refugee and granted asylum||Recognised as a refugee but granted humanitarian protection||Not recognised as a refugee but granted discretionary leave|
|Number of principal applicants|
|Cases considered under normal procedures|
|Total refused||Refused asylum and exceptional leave after full consideration||Refused on safe third party grounds||Refused on non-compliance grounds||Applications withdrawn||Non-substantiated claims( 3)||Applications outstanding at end of period( 4)|
|n/a = not applicable|
(1) Figures (other than percentages) rounded to the nearest five (- = 0, * = one or two). Applications outstanding rounded to nearest 100. Figures may not sum to the totals shown because of independent rounding.
(2) Initial decisions do not necessarily relate to applications made in the same period and exclude the outcome of appeals or other subsequent decisions.
(3) Where an applicant fails to attend an initial interview and therefore fails to substantiate their claim, their claim is treated as withdrawn. Data not available prior to April 2008.
(4) Figures rounded to the nearest 100. The series on asylum cases awaiting an initial decision is based on a combination of different sources of information, including a manual count at the end of August 2001, which may have led to discrepancies over time. See the 'Introduction' section of the Control of Immigration: statistical summary, Q3 2010 for details on planned developments for this series.
(5) Provisional figures.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many unaccompanied children aged (a) under five years, (b) between six and 11 and (c) between 12 and 16 years are awaiting a decision on an application for asylum. 
Damian Green: As of 21 December 2010, the numbers of Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC) awaiting a decision on an application for asylum were:
(a) four children under five years old.
(b) 12 children between six and 11 years old.
(c) 276 children between 12 and 16 years old.
The length of time an applicant has been awaiting an asylum decision will vary depending upon the applicant's age when they entered the UK.
All figures quoted are internal management information only and are subject to change. This information has not been quality assured under National Statistics protocols.
More information regarding asylum claims for unaccompanied children can be found in the Control of Immigration: Quarterly Statistical Summary: United Kingdom-Third Quarter 2010, Supplementary Excel Tables 2c, 2d and 2e. This is available on the Home Office website at:
Sir Paul Beresford: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the Government plans to ratify the Council of Europe Convention on the protection of children against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. 
James Brokenshire [holding answer 13 December 2010]: The United Kingdom Government take the sexual exploitation and abuse of children very seriously. We are currently in the process of assessing compliance with the Articles of the Convention.
Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many cyber attacks against targets in the UK have been recorded since 2000; what the nature was of each such attack; and from what (a) IP address and (b) country each such attack originated. 
James Brokenshire: The Government take the issue of cyber security very seriously and have recently announced additional funding of £650 million to protect the United Kingdom (UK) from threats from cyberspace. This work is managed by the Office of Cyber Security and Information Assurance (OCSIA), and they lead the work of all relevant Government Departments and agencies to ensure that the UK response is co-ordinated to deal with these threats. It would not be in the interests of the UK's national security to provide further details of cyber attacks against Government ICT systems. Such disclosure could undermine the integrity and security of departmental systems and thereby expose them to potential threats.
Mr Russell Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent discussions she has had with her EU counterparts on tackling cyber attacks. 
Nick Herbert: The UK Government continues to work closely with counterparts within the European Commission, representatives of European member states and the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) to increase levels of network security and resilience against cyber attacks.
David Tredinnick: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if she will discuss with Westminster city council its estimate of the time it will take to repair the pavement area around the grass in Parliament square; 
(2) if she will discuss with the Mayor of London his estimate of the time it will take to restore Parliament square to its condition before the encampment of demonstrators. 
James Brokenshire: The Home Office has regular discussions with the Greater London authority and Westminster city council about the condition of Parliament square to ensure that this historic site can be used and enjoyed by everyone.
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many agency workers her Department and its agencies employ at each pay grade. 
Nick Herbert: The data in the following table represents the number of agency workers currently employed by Home Office Headquarters, UK Border Agency, Identity Passport Service, and Criminal Records Bureau. The total number of full-time equivalent staff working in the Department and its agencies is 30,043.7. Grade
Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many staff employed by her Department were not paid at a rate equivalent to or above the London living wage in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Nick Herbert: There were no employees paid at a rate less than the London living wage in November 2010.
Hywel Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent estimate she has made of the effect of the increase in the standard rate of value added tax on her Department's annual expenditure. 
Nick Herbert: It is not possible to provide an estimate of the increase in VAT on Home Office expenditure without incurring disproportionate cost.
Departmental spending review settlements are set on a tax-inclusive basis, including the increase to the standard rate of VAT.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many children aged (a) under five, (b) six to 11 and (c) 12 to 16 years are being held in each immigration detention centre. 
Damian Green: The latest published figures show that of the five children (figure rounded to the nearest five) detained in Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre as at 30 September 2010, fewer than three children were held in each of the (a) under five, (b) six to 11 and (c) 12 to 16 age groups. Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre was the only centre that held children aged 16 or under as at 30 September 2010.
The Home Office publishes statistics on the number of persons detained solely under Immigration Act powers on a quarterly and annual basis, which are available from the Library of the House and from the Home Office's Research, Development and Statistics website at:
I refer the hon. Member to my written ministerial statement of 16 December 2010, Official Report, columns 125-127WS, which included the announcement of the immediate closure of Yarl's Wood to children. This Government are committed to ending the detention of children for immigration purposes.
Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the effects of the control of mephedrone on levels of use of (a) mephedrone and (b) cocaine and amphetamines. 
James Brokenshire: There has been no assessment of the effects on the level of use of mephedrone, cocaine and amphetamines following the control of mephedrone under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
New questions on mephedrone were included in the British crime survey in April 2010. The results will be available in 2011. Seizure data on mephedrone, cocaine and amphetamines for 2010-11 will also be available in the autumn of 2011.
Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications for a firearms licence were refused in each of the last five years in (a) Newcastle upon Tyne and (b) the UK. 
[holding answer 20 December 2010]: Data on refused firearm certificates are available for England and Wales and can be broken down only by police force area. The available data therefore relate to
refused new and renewal firearm certificates in England and Wales and Northumbria police force and are given in the following table. These are taken from the most recent Home Office Statistical Bulletin on firearm certificates, which is available at:
Due to the transition from in-force data collection systems to the National Firearms Licensing Management System (NFLMS) in 2006, firearm certificates data for 2006-07 are not available centrally. Data for 2009-10 are scheduled for publication in March 2010.
|New and renewal firearm certificate applications refused in Northumbria police force and England and Wales, 2004-05 to 2008-09|
|(1) Figures up to 2005-06 are rounded; since 2007-08 figures are unrounded. (2) Figures are not available due to the transition from in-force data collection systems to the National Firearms Licensing Management System (NFLMS) in 2006.|
Mr Offord: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) shotgun and (b) firearm certificate applications were refused in (i) Cumbria, (ii) Cornwall and (iii) Berkshire in the last 12 months. 
James Brokenshire: The Home Office collects data on the number of applications for shotgun and firearms certificates which were refused at police force area level. As such, data are provided in Tables A and B for (i) Cumbria, (ii) Devon and Cornwall and (iii) Thames Valley. Data are provided for 2008-09 as these are the latest data currently available. Further information can be found in 'Firearm Certificates in England and Wales 2008/09' on the Home Office website at:
|Table A: Shotgun certificates-applications for grant and renewal, 2008-09, Cumbria, Devon and Cornwall and Thames Valley|
|New applications||Renewal applications|
|Police force area||Granted||Refused||Granted||Refused|
|Table B: Firearm certificates- applications for grant, renewal and variation, 2008/09, Cumbria, Devon and Cornwall and Thames Valley|
|New applications||Renewal applications||Variation of certificate|
|Police force area||Granted||Refused||Granted||Refused||Granted||Refused|
Data for 2009-10 are scheduled for publication in March 2011.
Mr Offord: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) shotgun and (b) firearm certificate applications were refused in the (i) Metropolitan Police Service area, (ii) West Midlands Police Service area and (iii) Greater Manchester police service area in the last 12 months. 
James Brokenshire: Data are provided at police force area level in Tables A and B for (i) Metropolitan police, (ii) west midlands and (iii) Greater Manchester. Data are provided for 2008-09 as these are the latest data currently available. Further information can be found in 'Firearm Certificates in England and Wales 2008/09' on the Home Office website at:
|Table A: Shotgun certificates-applications for grant and renewal, 2008-09, Metropolitan police, west midlands, Greater Manchester|
|New applications||Renewal applications|
|Police force area||Granted||Refused||Granted||Refused|
|Table B: Firearm certificates-applications for grant, renewal and variation, 2008-09, Metropolitan police, west midlands and Greater Manchester|
|New applications||Renewal applications||Variation of certificate|
|Police force area||Granted||Refused||Granted||Refused||Granted||Refused|
Data for 2009-10 are scheduled for publication in March 2011.
Justin Tomlinson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will meet Unseen (UK) to discuss the Government's proposed new policy on combating human trafficking. 
Damian Green: The voluntary sector plays a key role in the identification of, and provision of support to, victims of human trafficking. We are strongly supportive of this role and will continue to work in partnership with voluntary organisations to reduce the incidence of human trafficking.
Home Office officials will shortly be contacting non-governmental organisations to discuss development of the forthcoming strategy on human trafficking.
Mrs Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent discussions she has had with representatives of non-governmental organisations on her Department's strategy on combating human trafficking. 
Damian Green [holding answer 20 December 2010]: Home Office officials will shortly be contacting non-governmental organisations to discuss development of the forthcoming strategy on human trafficking.
The voluntary sector plays a key role in the identification of, and provision of support to, victims of human trafficking. We are strongly supportive of this role and will continue to work in partnership with voluntary organisations to reduce the incidence of human trafficking.
Justin Tomlinson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps she is taking to encourage information sharing between police forces in respect of human trafficking offences. 
Damian Green: The sharing of such information is an operational matter for chief constables.
The UK established the UK Human Trafficking Centre (UKHTC) in 2006 as the repository of information on human trafficking and a centre of co-ordination for law enforcement efforts in combating human trafficking, including the provision of tactical advice through its 24-hour helpline.
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