§ Mr. Eggar
asked the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his answer of 6 February, Official Report, column 569, why no charge is made for publication of results of research at the Transport and Road Research Laboratory nor for the control and routeing of abnormal indivisible loads; and what is the extent of the shortfall in cost recovery for each of the services listed in part (b) of his answer.
§ Mr. Ridley
My answer given on 6 February, at columns 560–62, to my hon. Friend related to 1983–84. Since 1 January 1985, charges have been made for the publication of the results of research at the Transport and Road Research Laboratory, set so as to recover the marginal cost of making the information available. The control and routeing of vehicles carrying abnormal indivisible loads forms part of the Department's regulatory control of the construction and use of vehicles of all classes. Departmental costs, along with those of the police and local authorities, are counted as part of the road track costs covered by general vehicle taxation.
My Department's total income from all fees and charges in 1983–84 was just over £80 million which represented a surplus of £2.5 million over costs of the services covered. For some of the services for which costs were not fully recovered in 1983–84 fee increases already 531W introduced will lead to full cost recovery in 1985–86. These, with figures for the shortfall of the income compared to total costs in 1983–84, are as follows:
£000 As percentage of total costs Public Service Vehicle type and initial fitness testing 290 75 Public Service Vehicle driver testing 40 12 Supervision of Approved Training Bodies for motorcycle Part 1 test 117 22 Register of Approved Driving Instructors 287 22
For other services, fee increases which will provide full recovery of costs are under consideration:
£000 As percentage of total costs Public Service Vehicle driver licensing 516 74 Heavy Goods Vehicle driver licensing 408 20
In the majority of the remaining services charges are set to recover full costs and the shortfalls arose because of variances from forecasts or adjustments between years:
£000 As percentage of total costs International Civil Aviation organisation Air Navigation Services (North Atlantic) 109 15 Commonwealth Air Transport Council 4 3 Marine surveys 71 3 Examination and certification of seamen 14 1 Vehicle and component approvals 61 3
For two services charges have been deliberately set below full cost recovery to mitigate the impact on the industry or the public:
£000 As percentage of total costs Fishing vessel surveys 550 83 Motorcycle Part 1 rider testing by the Department 286 58
One service will be significantly affected by provisions in the Transport Bill currently being considered by Parliament, and I have therefore postponed further considerations of the fee:
£000 As percentage of total costs Road service licences 785 75
In one case a public inquiry has been held and I shall be announcing a decision on charges shortly:
£000 As percentage of total costs Severn Bridge tolled crossing (1982–83 figures) 4,486 61
The standby costs of marine pollution services are borne by public funds, but the aim is to recover the total costs of responding to incidents from insurance claims. In 532W 1983–84 total costs of the service were £2,105,000 and recoveries from claims £886,000. Delays in settling claims mean that there is no direct link between costs and income in and individual financial year.