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Written Answers

Volume 459: debated on Monday 16 April 2007

Written Answers to Questions

Monday 16 April 2007

Leader of the House

Orders and Regulations

To ask the Leader of the House what process is used to decide which statutory instruments are to be debated on the Floor of the House. (131300)

Under Standing Order No. 118, all affirmative statutory instruments (other than those referred to the Scottish or Northern Ireland Grand Committees) automatically stand referred to a delegated legislation Committee. However, notice may be given of a motion in the name of a Minister of the Crown under sub-paragraph (3)(a) that an instrument shall not stand so referred, in which case it is taken on the Floor of the House. Negative instruments may be taken in a delegated legislation Committee under paragraph (4).

Requests from Ministers or from elsewhere in the House for instruments to be taken on the Floor of the House are considered by business managers, including through discussions in the usual channels.

Church Commissioners

Clergy Working Group

21. To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners what recent discussions the Church Commissioners have held with the Department of Trade and Industry on the work of the Clergy Working Group. (131442)

The Clergy Working Group (on which the Church of England was represented) produced a statement of good practice setting out minimum standards for the terms and conditions of service of ministers of religion. The Church of England has committed itself to these principles and General Synod has drafted legislation which has been sent to DTI officials, with whom we regularly communicate.

Sex Discrimination

27. To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners what guidelines the Commissioners have issued on the question of discrimination against employees on the grounds of sexual orientation. (131448)

In November 2003 the Archbishops’ Council issued general advice to dioceses and parishes on the effect of the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 and the Employment Equality (Religion and Belief) Regulations 2003.

Electoral Commission Committee

Electoral Commission

26. To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission what recent discussions the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission has had on the effectiveness of the Electoral Commission. (131447)

The Electoral Commission is an independent public body. The Speaker's Committee has a statutory obligation to ensure that any estimate of the income and expenditure of the Commission and accompanying five-year plan which it lays before the House is consistent with the economical, efficient and effective discharge by the Commission of its functions. The Committee discussed the Commission's Estimate for 2007-08 and its five-year plan for 2007-08 to 2011-12 on 21 March and these will be laid before the House shortly. Outside that framework, there is no specific requirement for the Speaker's Committee to discuss the effectiveness of the Commission.

Deputy Prime Minister

Departments: Postal Services

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister which postal companies handle mail dispatched by his Department. (128254)

My Office is located in a Cabinet Office building and mail for my Office is handled in the same way as the rest of the building.

Departments: Redundancy

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) how many people in his Department and its predecessor participated in (a) involuntary and (b) voluntary staff exit schemes in each year since 1997-98; and if he will make a statement; (131545)

(2) how many people in his Department and its predecessor who participated in (a) involuntary and (b) voluntary staff exit schemes in each year since 1997-98 were paid between (i) £0 to £25,000, (ii) £25,001 to £50,000, (iii) £50,001 to £75,000, (iv) £75,001 to £100,000 and (v) over £100,000; and if he will make a statement.

My Office was formed on 5 May 2006. I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave her on 15 March 2007, Official Report, column 253W.

Labour Party: Conferences

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether civil servants in his Office have been given permission to attend the Labour party conference to carry out official business. (119474)

Special advisers may attend conference as permitted in their terms of appointment. No permanent civil servants in my Office have attended conference in their official capacity or been given permission to do so in 2007.

Post Offices

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on the national access criteria for post offices. (131666)

I meet regularly with ministerial colleagues to discuss a range of issues. As the hon. Member will be aware, I also chair the Cabinet Committee on the Future of the Post Office Network.

Duchy of Lancaster

Civil Servants: Political Impartiality

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster whether there are plans to review the present safeguards of civil servants' impartiality. (130833)

The requirement to maintain civil servants' impartiality is set out in the Civil Service Code, the Ministerial Code and the Code of Conduct for Special Advisers. Copies of these documents are available in the Library for the reference of Members.

Policy Review

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster pursuant to the answer of 20 March 2007, Official Report, column 823W, on the Policy Review, what the cost has been of the IPSOS-MORI contract. (130885)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for North-East Hertfordshire (Mr. Heald) on 26 January 2007, Official Report, column 2127W.

Wales

Council Tax: Valuation

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what the administrative cost has been of (a) valuations, (b) appeals and (c) other costs of the council tax revaluation in Wales. (130573)

Revaluation was undertaken by the Valuation Office Agency and costs were met by the Agency out of the funding it receives from the Welsh Assembly Government. The total costs up to 31 March 2005 of delivering the revaluation were £5.198 million.

It is not possible separately to identify the cost of appeals from the Valuation Office Agency’s other local taxation work except at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether the 2005 council tax revaluation in Wales was revenue-neutral. (130574)

The key aim of council tax revaluation and re-banding was not to increase the yield but to redistribute the council tax more fairly across the population of Wales, on the basis of more up-to-date property values.

The increase in council tax levy at Band D in 2005-06 was 3.8 per cent. This was the lowest increase since the introduction of council tax.

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many and what proportion of properties in Wales moved from bands (a) A, (b) B, (c) C, (d) D, (e) E, (f) F, (g) G and (h) H to each other band in the Welsh Council Tax revaluation. (130575)

The Valuation Office Agency holds the statistics of the properties in Wales that have moved bands following the council tax revaluation.

At a revaluation, bands are reviewed according to the physical characteristics of the dwelling when the list comes into effect (1 April 2005 in Wales). Therefore, some of the increases in banding will be as a result of physical changes that could not have been taken into account during the life of the 1993 lists because there had been no change of ownership since their completion.

The information requested is in the following table:

Revised A Bandings

Revised B Bandings

Revised C Bandings

Revised D Bandings

Revised E Bandings

Revised F Bandings

Revised G Bandings

Revised H Bandings

A

172,006

26,765

673

27

5

1

0

0

B

72,088

188,485

23,211

671

32

1

3

2

C

9,523

97,768

155,687

25,300

736

8

3

0

D

1,549

11,056

69,882

106,606

16,713

301

17

0

E

414

1,398

13,532

56,818

88,919

7,060

115

2

F

183

290

1,661

9,689

49,495

38,314

3,646

6

G

59

110

317

1,303

7,668

17,163

22,482

85

H

10

18

28

85

470

1,377

9,258

806

I

3

5

8

18

79

227

2,721

2,487

Constitutional Affairs

Bailiffs: Certification

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what guidance the Department has issued to local authorities in relation to their certification of bailiffs on debt enforcement involving the disabled or vulnerable. (130854)

My Department worked closely with creditors and the enforcement profession to produce and issue the national standards for enforcement agents, available from the DCA website. The standards are a best practice guide intended for use by all enforcement agents, public and private, the enforcement agencies that employ them and the major creditors who use them. The standards have been widely endorsed by the trade associations representing bailiffs and advise that discretion should be used when dealing with those who might be potentially vulnerable, including the elderly, people with a disability and single parent families.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what estimate she has made of the number of (a) certificated bailiffs, (b) uncertificated bailiffs and (c) bailiffs doing work requiring certification who do not hold current certification. (130855)

The regulatory impact assessment for the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Bill published on 30 January 2007 estimates that there are 1,200 uncertificated bailiffs. As at 30 March 2007 the Register of Certificated Bailiffs maintained by HMCS currently lists 1,482 certificated bailiffs. There should be no bailiffs doing work requiring certification who do not hold a current certificate.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what the procedure is for complaining about the activity of (a) an uncertificated and (b) a certificated bailiff. (130857)

Complaints made against bailiffs, be they certificated or non-certificated, can be made by telephone or writing to the firm that the bailiff works for, the organisation who employed the bailiff to act on their behalf or the magistrates court that issued the enforcement order. Complaints against certificated bailiffs can also be made to the court that granted certification to the bailiff and to the Enforcement Officers Association, or the Association of Civil Enforcement Agencies, which are responsible for promoting higher standards within the profession. HMCS leaflet EX345 details the procedure for complaints about bailiffs and recommends seeking legal advice before starting this process.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what fees are charged by bailiffs for debt enforcement; and by whom they are payable. (130858)

Bailiffs’ fees are included in the sum to be paid by the offender or debtor. There is no single statutory fee structure but different fees depending on the type of debt and where responsibility for enforcing that debt lies.

The Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Bill, currently progressing through Parliament, will further regulate the activities of bailiffs and introduce a single simplified fee structure designed to support the principles of transparency, consistency and proportionality.

Coroners: Armed Forces

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what new arrangements she plans to make to fund HM Coroners following her decision to transfer responsibility for coroners inquests from Oxfordshire to the home counties of individual deceased military personnel; and if she will make a statement. (129139)

I will continue to regularly review progress regarding these inquests. I do not plan to make any new funding arrangements where inquests are transferred by the Oxfordshire coroner to coroners nearer to the next of kin.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many inquests into deaths of service personnel killed in (a) Iraq and (b) Afghanistan are still outstanding; and when she expects this backlog to be cleared. (131697)

There are 42 inquests outstanding relating to service personnel killed in Iraq and 45 relating to service personnel killed in Afghanistan The timing of individual inquests is a matter for the coroner concerned to determine but I expect outstanding inquests to be concluded without any unnecessary delay.

Courts

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many cases there were of defendants absconding from courts in each year since 2002. (130479)

HMCS does not routinely collect this information and this could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Courts: Nottingham

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs when she expects to lay the Orders relevant to section 178 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 to enable the community justice court in Nottingham to conduct cases referred to in that section; and if she will make a statement. (130497)

Responsibility for this legislation rests with the Home Office. Powers under section 178 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 to enable the review of a community order have been in operation for almost a year, as a pilot at the community justice initiatives in North Liverpool and Salford. We are now assessing their impact, with a view to extending their use to the new community justice courts announced by the Lord Chancellor on 27 November, including Nottingham. This extension will give us further information about the operation of the powers and their impact on offender behaviour, as well as the resources required by the courts and Probation Service. My officials are therefore working with Home Office officials to ensure the affirmative resolution order to extend the powers is taken forward as soon as this assessment is complete.

Section 178 is one element only of the community justice concept however, and the community court in Nottingham will be able to begin operation, just as Liverpool and Salford did, prior to receiving these powers.

Courts: Pay

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what steps she plans to take to tackle local court staff application shortages in areas with the lowest band pay under the proposed new pay system for local departmental civil servants. (128609)

Negotiations with the trade unions on the proposed new pay system are continuing. These focus on important issues such as how the pay system will better support effective recruitment of staff into courts across the country. I will write to my right hon. Friend once negotiations have been concluded.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what discussions Ministers in her Department have had with their counterparts at HM Treasury on the proposed new pay system. (128610)

Extensive discussions were held with the Treasury about the new pay system. These began in summer 2006 and concluded in January 2007.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs on what basis the pay bands were allocated to different regions in the proposed new pay system for local court staff. (128611)

Negotiations with the trade unions on the new pay system are continuing. These address crucial issues such as how the pay system will better enable the Department to compete effectively in local labour markets. I will write to my right hon. Friend once the negotiations have been concluded.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what pilot schemes have been carried out to test the proposed new pay scheme for local court staff. (128612)

Custody: Parents

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what steps she is taking to ensure that parents are treated equitably in terms of access to their children following separation or divorce. (130604)

The Government believe that where it is safe and in the child's best interests, children benefit from a continuing relationship and regular contact with both parents, following separation or divorce.

The vast majority of people (90 per cent.) going through a relationship breakdown do not go to court over contact arrangements with their children. This shows that most people are willing and able to come to their own decisions about how best to manage their ongoing relationship with their children.

Where arrangements for contact with children cannot be agreed, any parent can apply to the court for a contact order under the Children Act 1989, enabling them to have contact with their children.

Approximately 10 per cent. of separating families turn to the courts for help in resolving arrangements for contact with their children. The paramount consideration for the court when making an order under the Children Act is the welfare of the child or children concerned. Both parents are equal before the law and the family courts start from that position.

Enforcement Law Reform Group

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs if she will publish the minutes of the Enforcement Law Reform Group meeting held on 16 January 2007. (130853)

My Department is not responsible for the Enforcement Law Reform Group, which is independent of Government. Minutes from the meeting have already been published and can currently be found online on the Credit Collections and Risk magazine website.

Fixed Penalties

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what percentage of (a) fixed penalties and (b) fines imposed by the courts in England and Wales were collected in full in each year between 1997 and 2006. (130817)

Table 1 shows the number of fixed penalties issued and the percentage of those fitted penalties that were paid since 1997. Table 2 shows numbers of penalty notices for disorder issued and the percentage paid since inception of the scheme in 2004.

Table 3 details the fines payment rate for the last seven years. Data are collected on the value of financial penalties (including fines) imposed and outstanding and cannot be separated out to identify the percentage of fines imposed in any year that were collected, be it partially or in full.

Table 1: Fixed penalties1

Calendar year

Total number of fixed penalty notices (FPNs) issued (million)

Percentage of FPNs paid in full

1997

3.4

77

1998

3.4

78

1999

3.2

79

2000

3.1

80

2001

3.0

82

2002

3.1

84

2003

3.6

87

2004

3.4

2

1 Figures supplied by Home Office RDS

2 Data due for publication June 2007

Table 2: Penalty notices for disorder (PNDs)1

Calendar year

Total number of PNDs issued

Percentage of PNDs paid in full

2004

63,639

52

2005

146,481

53

1 Figures supplied by Home Office RDS

Table 3: Fines payment rate1

Financial year

Payment rate—England and Wales (percentage)

1999-2000

62

2000-01

63

2001-02

59

2002-03

55

2003-04

74

2004-05

80

2005-06

83

2006-07 year-to-date (April-January)

91

1 Figures supplied by HMCS.

Note:

Payment Rate = Amount Paid divided by New Net Amount Owed

The primary performance indicator is the payment rate. It is defined as the amount paid into court as a percentage of the new net amount owed. Methods of calculating the new net amounts owed have changed a number of times and are detailed as follows:

September 1999 to March 2003—New Net Amount Owed includes Legally Cancelled amounts, Civil monies and Confiscation Orders,

April 2003 to December 2003—New Net Amount Owed excludes Legally Cancelled amounts, Civil monies and Confiscation Orders,

January 2004 to July 2004—New Net Amount Owed excludes Legally Cancelled amounts, Administratively Cancelled amounts, Civil monies and Confiscation Orders.

July 2004 onwards—New Net Amount Owed excludes Legally Cancelled amounts, Administratively Cancelled amounts, Civil monies and Confiscation Orders, but includes Amounts Written Back.

From April 2003 onwards, confiscation and civil amounts have not been included in any of the enforcement calculations. It is not possible to separate those elements out from the figures before that date. As a result of these revisions, direct year-on-year comparisons cannot be made.

John Smith Memorial Trust

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what (a) financial and (b) other support her Department gave to the John Smith Memorial Trust in each of the last three years. (127921)

My Department has provided funding for the John Smith Memorial Trust's Fellowships for young leaders from the former Soviet Union. In the last three years, funding was as follows:

Amount (£)

2004-05

295,755

2005-06

305,000

2006-07

312,000

My Department also provides short placements for those Fellows with an interest in the Department's areas of work.

Legal Aid

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many solicitors have given notice of their intention to cease to offer (a) criminal and (b) family legal aid services if the proposed reforms of legal aid are implemented. (115637)

The Government are committed to controlling legal aid expenditure. A small number of practitioners have recently informed the LSC that they do not intend to continue doing legal aid work. This is not unusual, as the number of providers in the market has always fluctuated. There will be no effect on the provision of service to clients in any area. These few solicitors have made this assertion without sight of either the proposed new fee levels (crime and family), or the structure of the process for competitive tendering (crime), both of which the LSC are due to consult on shortly.

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what recent representations she has received on the new system of legal aid provision. (131707)

I meet frequently with legal aid practitioners and other interested parties to discuss aspects of the legal aid reform programme. I also receive correspondence from MPs, representative bodies, practitioner groups and individual practitioners.

Legal Aid: Northamptonshire

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs what effect she expects her reforms of the legal aid system to have on legal aid provision in Northamptonshire. (131659)

The Government's proposals, set out in “Legal Aid Reform: the Way Ahead”, will ensure that legal aid continues to be available for those people who require legal assistance. The reforms will ensure that legal aid spending can be placed on a sustainable footing and spending rebalanced between civil, family and criminal legal aid. As part of these reforms, the Legal Services Commission (LSC) will be introducing a new civil help fee scheme from October 2007, under which 68 per cent. of providers in the LSC region, which includes Northamptonshire, will see their fees increase.

Legal Aid: Wales

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how much was spent on legal aid in Wales in each year since 1992; and if she will make a statement. (130586)

Legal aid expenditure in Wales earlier than 1999-2000 pre-dates the current management information systems and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Legal aid funding is administered centrally and is not granted to specific geographical areas.

An individual based in one area can receive legal help and representation from a legal service provider based in another. The following table shows the amounts paid to legal service providers based in Wales across all areas of legal aid.

Figures for the Crown court are based on the bills paid for proceedings in Crown court locations based in Wales and Chester.

£ million

Legal aid paid for licensed work in civil matters—including representation where available

Legal aid paid for controlled work in civil matters limited to legal advice and assistance

Legal aid paid for legal advice given in criminal matters and also representation in criminal proceedings in the magistrates' courts

Legal aid paid under individual case contracts in lengthy and complex criminal cases (VHCCs)

Legal aid paid by the Crown court locations in Wales and Chester

1999-2000

37.3

(1)

(1)

(1)

(1)

2000-01

27.0

7.2

(1)

(1)

(1)

2001-02

30.8

9. 1

26.4

0.2

22.9

2002-03

26.8

11. 1

29.9

0.2

28.3

2003-04

32.2

11. 7

29.8

0.1

29.7

2004-05

31.0

11. 2

28.8

0.9

26.5

2005-06

34.8

11. 5

28.3

1.5

25.8

(1) Data not available

Legal Aid: Wellingborough

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many firms provide legal aid services in Wellingborough; and what the average number of such firms is per constituency. (131664)

The Legal Services Commission (LSC) does not hold data based on constituency boundaries. However, in the Wellingborough area there are currently eight contracted legal aid providers. The local need for legal aid provision will vary due to a number of factors, such as population and affluence, and a crude average is unlikely to reflect the true need of the local area. As at 31 March 2006, there were 4,101 legal aid providers in England and Wales.

Prisoners

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many and what percentage of prisoners (a) began and (b) completed a course resulting in a (i) educational and (ii) professional qualification whilst in prison in each of the last five years. (129913)

I have been asked to reply.

Data were not previously collected in a format that would enable the information requested to be provided. However, since the introduction of the Offender Learning and Skills Service (OLASS) across England with effect from 31 July 2006, the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) is collecting information about offender learners and their achievements. The following data relate to full qualifications, or units towards full qualifications, achieved by offenders in custody over the age of 16 since that date.

Month

Total number of learners at start of month

New learners (included in column 1)

Full/part qualifications achieved

Full/part qualifications achieved as a percentage of total learners1

August 2006

21,175

9,915

14,036

66.3

September 2006

22,326

10,115

12,338

55.2

October 2006

23,795

10,954

11,970

50.3

November 2006

22,514

10,088

11,496

51.0

December 2006

24,466

7,401

10,730

43.8

January 2007

23,503

10,348

12,566

53.4

Total

137,779

58,821

73,136

53.0

1 Individual learners may achieve more than one full/part qualification

Unpaid Fines

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many liability orders for unpaid (a) council tax, (b) business rates, (c) parking charge notices and (d) child support and unexecuted magistrates court warrants for unpaid fines were issued in (i) London and (ii) elsewhere in England in the last period for which figures are available. (130856)

My Department does not collect management information on numbers of liability orders issued by magistrates courts.

Culture, Media and Sport

Museum Collections

12. To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking to encourage museums to share their collections and take them into schools in West Lancashire. (131518)

As a result of our investment in the Renaissance in the regions programme, we have seen a 50 per cent. increase in engagement between school-aged children and museums since 2003. This has come about through more school visits and a seven-fold increase in participation in learning outreach activities.

Freeview

13. To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what representations she has received on the allocation of sufficient spectrum to Freeview to ensure its ability to offer higher definition television. (131519)

We have received a number of representations about the digital dividend review including some on high definition.

However, issues about spectrum use are the responsibility of Ofcom. We will continue to consider stakeholders' and Ofcom’s views.

Racism in Sport

14. To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what funding her Department provides towards campaigns to prevent racism in sport; and if she will make a statement. (131520)

Sport England provides an annual grant of approximately £300,000 to Sporting Equals, which champions race equality in sport.

Also through Sport England, the Government provide funding to the Football Foundation, the UK's largest sports charity, which supports anti-racism campaigns in football like ‘Kick it Out' and ‘Show Racism the Red Card'.

Culture: Huddersfield

15. To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what support her Department has provided for cultural activity in Huddersfield in the last 10 years. (131521)

The programmes provided by my Department and its non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs) over the last decade have made a significant contribution to the provision of culture in Huddersfield.

Events such as the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival have undoubtedly played an important role in improving the quality of life in the town. In early 2007 the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival was awarded £389,500 from Arts Council England; this investment will help to secure the long-term future of one of Europe's leading international new music festivals.

Football Governance

16. To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, when she last met the football authorities to discuss governance of football. (131522)

I have met representatives of the Football Association to discuss governance of football on a number of occasions, most recently on 7 March 2007.

The proposals outlined by Lord Burns in his review of the FA were passed in October, when the FA Council voted to implement every single reform.

However, The FA shareholders must also approve them and I understand they are due to meet on 29 May.

School Sports

17. To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, if she will make a statement on Government support for competitive sport in schools. (131523)

Through the national school sport strategy the Government are revitalising competitive school sport

The 2005-06 school sport survey showed that:

97 per cent. of schools held a competitive sports day,

71 per cent. of pupils were involved in intra-school competition, and

37 per cent. of pupils from years 4-11 were involved in inter-school competition, up 12 per cent. on 2004.

We are developing a network of competition managers across school sport partnerships to continue to improve the quality and quantity of competitive school sport. In addition, we have established the UK school games.

Arts: Hartlepool

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much Government funding local artists in (a) Hartlepool constituency and (b) Tees Valley sub-region received in each of the last 10 years. (130888)

The tables show the Arts Council’s funding commitments to local artists in Hartlepool and Tees Valley in the last 10 years. Local artists are defined as individual artists living in Hartlepool or Tees Valley. Grant in aid figures exclude grants given to regularly funded organisations.

(a) Local artists in the Hartlepool constituency

£

Grant in aid

Lottery

1997-98

1,284

0

1998-99

2,628

0

1999-2000

3,127

0

2000-01

709

0

2001-02

3,867

0

2002-03

6,476

0

2003-04

0

0

2004-05

0

5,000

2005-06

0

0

2006-07

1,500

0

Total

19,590

5,000

(b) Local artists in the Tees valley sub-region

£

Grant in aid

Lottery

1997-98

15,509

0

1998-99

18,771

0

1999-2000

24,513

20,900

2000-01

4,950

26,550

2001-02

17,859

0

2002-03

52,355

0

2003-04

91,862

0

2004-05

46,102

0

2005-06

53,313

0

2006-07

104,954

0

Total

430,188

47,450

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much public money was spent on arts projects in (a) Hartlepool constituency and (b) Tees Valley sub-region in each of the last 10 years. (130889)

The tables show the Arts Council’s funding commitments to arts projects in Hartlepool and Tees Valley in the last 10 years. Grant in aid figures exclude grants given to regularly funded organisations.

(a) Arts projects in the Hartlepool constituency

£

Grant in aid

Lottery

1997-98

76,485

517,568

1998-99

75,533

75,757

1999-2000

154,866

0

2000-01

162,209

7,850

2001-02

114,841

48,000

2002-03

36,922

0

2003-04

17,879

28,578

2004-05

29,055

2,650

2005-06

97,721

0

2006-07

86,363

11,850

Total

851,875

692,253

(b) Arts projects in the Tees valley sub-region

£

Grant in aid

Lottery

1997-98

610,563

816,961

1998-99

685,460

357,243

1999-2000

966,873

63,000

2000-01

1,043,282

250,287

2001-02

844,498

426,078

2002-03

216,985

478,215

2003-04

245,714

4,930,246

2004-05

533,721

357,693

2005-06

786,917

628,336

2006-07

897,551

432,343

Total

6,831,564

8,740,402

Departments: Freedom of Information

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what criteria she applies when deciding the information to be included in response to (a) written parliamentary questions and (b) Freedom of Information requests; and if she will undertake an assessment (i) of the volume of information given in response to each category of inquiry and (ii) the reasons for any discrepancies in the volume of information supplied. (129357)

The Cabinet Office guidance on answering parliamentary questions provides advice to officials on answering parliamentary questions. The guidance covers situations where similar information has been requested in a parliamentary question and in a Freedom of Information request. Copies of the guidance are available in the Library. Freedom of Information requests are considered in accordance with the legislation.

Departments: Public Appointments

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will list the former hon. Members who left Parliament in 2005 who have since been appointed to public bodies by her Department, broken down by party; and who was responsible for making each appointment. (130145)

None of the former hon. Members who left Parliament in 2005 have been appointed to a public body by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Departments: Redundancy

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) how many people in her Department participated in (a) involuntary and (b) voluntary staff exit schemes in each year since 1997-98; and if she will make a statement; (131539)

(2) how many people in her Department who participated in (a) involuntary and (b) voluntary staff exit schemes in each year since 1997-98 were paid between (i) £0 to £25,000, (ii) £25,001 to £50,000, (iii) £50,001 to £75,000, (iv) £75,001 to £100,000 and (v) over £100,000; and if she will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to her by the Under-Secretary of State, the Minister for Culture, Media and Sport, my hon. Friend the Member for Tottenham (Mr. Lammy), on 28 February 2007, Official Report, column 1401W.

Digital Switchover

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the Answer of 3 July 2006, Official Report, column 501W, on digital switchover, what progress has been made on ensuring that additional energy costs of set-top boxes are reduced; and if she will provide details of the special codes that she intends to introduce. (129117)

I have been asked to reply.

Government and Digital UK, the independent, non-profit organisation leading the process of digital TV switchover in the UK, are working to encourage the reduction of energy consumption for digital TV equipment as far as possible:

We are promoting to consumers the use of digital TVs and set- top boxes with low levels of energy consumption. These can be identified by the “Energy Saving Recommended” logo;

Manufacturers are being encouraged to reduce both the “on” and the “stand-by” power consumption of household appliances through the adoption of design improvements and adherence to maximum power consumption levels set out in the voluntary European Code of Conduct on Energy Efficiency of Digital TV Service Systems;

We are continuing to work with retailers on the development of a voluntary scheme to encourage the purchase of energy efficient consumer electronics, as announced in Budget 2006;

Government are committed to using their own purchasing power to bring forward more sustainable products. For example, set-top boxes provided through the Digital Switchover Help Scheme will be expected to meet the European Code of Conduct on Energy Efficiency of Digital TV Service Systems.

Elgin Marbles

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent discussions her Department has had with the British Museum on the future of the Elgin Marbles. (129853)

My Department is in regular contact with the British Museum on issues relating to the Parthenon Sculptures. Decisions on the future of the sculptures are a matter for the British Museum trustees.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent discussions her Department has had with the Government of Greece on the Elgin Marbles; what her policy is on (a) ownership and (b) loan to Greece of the Marbles; and if she will make a statement. (129854)

My Department has had no discussions with the Greek Government on the Parthenon Sculptures since December 2004. Items in the collection of the British Museum are vested in the care of the trustees under the British Museum Act 1963. Issues relating to the ownership or loan of the Parthenon Sculptures are matters for the trustees and Government do not intervene.

Energy: Conservation

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what requirement there is for the inclusion of energy saving and energy producing features in the Government’s Better Public Building initiative. (131187)

As part of its aim of achieving excellent design for all new public buildings, the Better Public Building initiative promotes the Government’s common minimum standards for the procurement of built environments in the public sector. These apply across the public building programme. Energy performance is included within the sustainability section of these standards.

Football: World Cup

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment she has made of the likely benefits which will result from bidding to host the 2018 Football World cup. (131119)

No assessment of the likely benefits that will result from bidding to host the 2018 Football World cup has been made by the Government. The Government feasibility study “Hosting the World Cup” acknowledges both the potential for wider economic benefits and intangible benefits arising from hosting such a major sporting event. The study also advises that, should the Football Association bid to host the event, they should commission an independent study into the wider economic benefits of hosting the competition to be published alongside the bid document.

Licensed Premises: East Sussex

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many licensed premises there are in (a) Eastbourne and (b) East Sussex; and how many of these are (i) public houses, (ii) clubs, (iii) supermarkets and (iv) off-licences. (130964)

This information is not held centrally. The Licensing Act 2003 devolved the administration of the licensing regime to individual licensing authorities, who may hold information about licensed premises in their area.

National Lottery: Hampshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what total amount was paid in Lottery grants in each Hampshire local and unitary authority for (a) community, (b) leisure, (c) environment, (d) housing, (e) social inclusion and (f) other purposes in each of the last five financial years. (131243)

We are not able to provide the information in the form requested because Lottery grants are not categorised under these headings.

The value of new Lottery grants awarded in each of the good cause areas in each of the last five completed financial years is given in the following tables. This information is derived from the Department's Lottery Grants Database, which uses information supplied by the Lottery distributors and can be searched at:

www.lottery.culture.gov.uk

Basingstoke and Deane

£000 (rounded to nearest £1,000)

Arts

Heritage

Sport

Charitable Expenditure

Health, Education and Environment

2002-03

60

0

0

3

480

2003-04

36

78

0

163

313

2004-05

64

0

918

151

126

2005-06

46

44

0

389

21

2006-07

281

0

0

604

0

East Hants

£000 (rounded to nearest £1,000)

Arts

Heritage

Sport

Charitable Expenditure

Health, Education and Environment

2002-03

10

48

39

507

92

2003-04

14

0

365

216

0

2004-05

22

96

94

183

22

2005-06

10

50

0

876

33

2006-07

0

90

0

143

0

Eastleigh

£1,000 (rounded to nearest £1,000)

Arts

Heritage

Sport

Charitable Expenditure

Health, Education and Environment

2002-03

153

0

267

290

548

2003-04

140

135

1,263

60

1,337

2004-05

64

0

6,090

58

109

2005-06

131

15

5,811

379

130

2006-07

23

0

0

96

0

Fareham

£000 (rounded to nearest £1,000)

Arts

Heritage

Sport

Charitable Expenditure

Health, Education and Environment

2002-03

9

0

110

33

1,154

2003-04

0

0

0

69

1,388

2004-05

15

17

0

23

220

2005-06

11

0

0

106

137

2006-07

0

0

0

92

10

Gosport

£000 (rounded to nearest £1,000)

Arts

Heritage

Sport

Charitable Expenditure

Health, Education and Environment

2002-03

0

2,151

0

166

76

2003-04

4

38

751

56

0

2004-05

0

0

1,484

26

275

2005-06

68

0

0

236

15

2006-07

0

25

0

35

0

Hart

£000 (rounded to nearest £1,000)

Arts

Heritage

Sport

Charitable Expenditure

Health, Education and Environment

2002-03

0

0

0

275

0

2003-04

22

462

0

133

0

2004-05

11

0

0

27

114

2005-06

3

0

0

31

15

2006-07

1

45

0

51

0

Havant

£000 (rounded to nearest £1,000)

Arts

Heritage

Sport

Charitable Expenditure

Health, Education and Environment

2002-03

17

0

909

142

156

2003-04

82

38

0

245

215

2004-05

106

0

0

139

389

2005-06

67

0

0

383

38

2006-07

2

0

0

101

0

New Forest

£000 (rounded to nearest £1,000)

Arts

Heritage

Sport

Charitable Expenditure

Health, Education and Environment

2002-03

50

66

0

373

1,294

2003-04

49

899

1,225

528

1,419

2004-05

314

1,000

62

572

569

2005-06

69

0

0

426

126

2006-07

42

44

0

438

0

Portsmouth

£000 (rounded to nearest £1,000)

Arts

Heritage

Sport

Charitable Expenditure

Health, Education and Environment

2002-03

90

4,218

702

496

1,157

2003-04

83

79

552

1,640

1,487

2004-05

995

951

5,714

651

763

2005-06

302

0

80

1,148

408

2006-07

141

175

0

485

0

Rushmoor

£000 (rounded to nearest £1,000)

Arts

Heritage

Sport

Charitable Expenditure

Health, Education and Environment

2002-03

0

0

389

220

54

2003-04

1

48

343

31

1,190

2004-05

0

14

0

41

125

2005-06

11

50

0

295

20

2006-07

0

0

0

26

9

Southampton

£000 (rounded to nearest £1,000)

Arts

Heritage

Sport

Charitable Expenditure

Health, Education and Environment

2002-03

253

7

7,234

627

446

2003-04

72

753

0

1,092

1,257

2004-05

279

1,116

927

439

1,956

2005-06

295

454

17

433

403

2006-07

35

494

0

778

9

Test Valley

£000 (rounded to nearest £1,000)

Arts

Heritage

Sport

Charitable Expenditure

Health, Education and Environment

2002-03

50

8

0

194

32

2003-04

13

457

452

128

1,603

2004-05

17

0

60

328

109

2005-06

89

23

0

418

149

2006-07

5

0

0

108

0

Winchester

£000 (rounded to nearest £1,000)

Arts

Heritage

Sport

Charitable Expenditure

Health, Education and Environment

2002-03

264

422

246

429

1,292

2003-04

635

93

12

341

664

2004-05

366

721

2,995

419

142

2005-06

526

2,622

34

1,241

66

2006-07

276

73

78

862

0

Olympic Games

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to her Oral Statement of 15 March 2007, Official Report, columns 450-52, on the 2012 Olympics, if she will list the regeneration projects to be financed by the £1.7 billion she announced in her statement last Thursday which are not necessary to stage the London 2012 Olympics. (129381)

[holding answer 23 March 2007]: The regeneration projects include enabling works (such as site remediation and demolition), utilities, the power lines undergrounding, roads, bridges, tunnels and other structures, landscaping, and legacy conversion.

These are an integral part of our programme to stage the greatest sporting event in our country and act as a catalyst for the most ambitious regeneration programme in recent memory.

Olympic Games: Greater London

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent discussions she has had with colleagues in other Departments on the impact on their budgets of the increased cost of the Olympics. (124603)

We have been engaged in a rigorous review of costs since London was awarded the games in July 2005. Following the conclusion of discussions within Government, I announced on 15 March 2007, Official Report, column 450, a budget for the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) and on a number of issues including wider security, tax and contingency provision.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how the £738 million of private sector funding itemised as part of the public sector funding package for the 2012 Olympics will be raised. (126210)

[holding answer 8 March 2007]: Private sector funding has never been part of the public sector funding package, but at the time of the bid, we were pursuing options for private sector funding. The bid reflected this potential, but in light of further work and advice after the bid, it seemed incompatible to achieve funding with the sort of time scale that was going to be necessary.

As I said when replying to the hon. Member’s questions on 15 March after making my statement to the House

“We have now allowed for a private sector contribution in the budget, but on a pessimistic basis against the full expectation of what might be raised ... Negotiations are underway ... with different private sector partners so it is possible, but not certain that that may change.—[Official Report, 15 March 2007; vol. 458, col. 455]”

This excludes the Olympic village where the major share of funding will come from the private sector.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will break down by main budget heading the Olympic Delivery Authority’s planned expenditure for each year until 2012; and if she will make a statement. (128403)

I am not yet in a position to be able to provide this breakdown. This will be detailed in the Olympic Delivery Authority’s Corporate Plan which it is currently developing and plans to publish by the end of the summer.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when construction will begin on the Olympic sites at (a) Horseguards’ Parade for volleyball, (b) the Royal Artillery Barracks for indoor shooting, (c) the four arenas at the Excel exhibition centre, (d) the temporary Greenwich arena for badminton and gymnastics, (e) Greenwich Park for equestrian events and pentathlon arenas, (f) Hyde Park for the triathlon, (g) All England Lawn Tennis Club at Wimbledon, (h) the Millennium Dome for artistic gymnastics and basketball and (i) Lord’s cricket ground; and if she will make a statement. (128404)

The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) is responsible for construction at the Royal Artillery Barracks and the temporary Greenwich arena. The ODA is currently working with the London Organising Committee for the 2012 Olympic games and Paralympic games (LOCOG) to finalise each venue’s requirements for the games, which will inform the construction programme.

The remaining venues or sites are covered by LOCOG as part of their programme to deliver temporary additional facilities and services (e.g. temporary seating, platforms, signage) required to support all elements of operations during the games. Commencement of the delivery of these facilities is scheduled for early 2012.

There will also be some earlier work to provide for test events in 2011.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assumptions were made of the total level of private investment in the Olympic Village in the (a) Arup report, (b) Olympic bid document, (c) PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Olympic Games Impact Study, (d) Faithful and Gould analysis of costs and (e) her evidence to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee on 21 November 2006; and if she will make a statement. (128410)

The Faithful and Gould report was not commissioned by DCMS and we are not aware of any estimates they may have made. All the other reports assumed that the level of private investment in the Olympic Village would be 100 per cent.

After bid win, I instituted a thorough cost review. As a result, it was clear that we would need to compensate private developers for the additional costs incurred in meeting the Olympic specifications and timing. In my evidence to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee on 21 November 2006, I therefore said that we expected the majority of the financing for the development of the Olympic Village would come from the private sector, but the specific arrangements for this had yet to be finalised.

The Olympic Delivery Authority have since announced that they are in talks with Lend Lease for the development of the Olympic Village.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will break down the £1.275 billion of contingency funding for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games reported in the Regulatory Impact Assessment for the Horserace Betting and Olympic Lottery Act 2004 according to (a) overall programme contingency funding, (b) individual venue contingencies in (i) total and (ii) as a percentage of that venue’s budget and (c) other; and if she will make a statement. (128411)

The £1.275 billion reported in the regulatory impact assessment for the Horserace Betting and Olympic Lottery Act 2004 was not broken down in this degree of detail at that stage.

Following London winning the bid I have instituted a thorough review of costs and provisions, as I made clear I would, to the House of Commons on 15 May 2003. I made a statement on funding provision for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games on 15 March.

As a result the ODA will be given a budget to cover the construction costs as a whole of £5.3 billion up to 2012 comprising:

£3.1 billion for the building of Olympic Park and venues—the core Olympic costs;

£1.7 billion for the Olympic infrastructure and regeneration, linking the park to the rest of the Lower Lea Valley and;

£500 million for programme contingency.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) whether her revised Olympic budget of 15 March contains an estimate for the potential amount of planning gain supplement tax that may be incurred; (129288)

(2) whether she has received any advice from the Treasury on the likely impact of the proposed planning gain supplement tax on the Olympic Games budget.

[holding answer 22 March 2007]: The Government are now carefully considering the responses to the consultations on the planning gain supplement (PGS) which closed recently. If, after further consideration, the Government decide to proceed with PGS then it would be introduced no earlier than 2009.

The Government announced at the 2006 pre-Budget report that transitional arrangements would aim to ensure that developments already formally in the planning process would not be subject to PGS.

The Government propose that for development where planning permission was granted before an appropriate appointed day in the future, including for outline planning permissions, PGS would not apply.

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the answer of 14 March 2007, Official Report, column 324W, on the Olympic Games: Greater London, what (a) discussions she has held and (b) correspondence she has received from (i) the Great Britain Target Shooting Federation, (ii) the Clay Pigeon Shooting Association, (iii) the British International Clay Target Shooting Federation and (iv) other shooting organisations on the siting of the Olympic shooting competition at Woolwich; what their views were on the decision; and if she will make a statement. (131356)

DCMS Ministers have not held discussions with shooting organisations on the siting of the Olympic shooting events. Ministers have received correspondence from the National Rifle Association, the British International Clay Target Shooting Federation and Southern Counties Shooting Ltd. over the selection of venue for the Olympic shooting events, and suggesting several alternative venues. I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 14 March 2007, Official Report, column 324W, on the selection of the location for the Olympic shooting events.

Radio Frequencies: Licensing

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment she has made of the likely impact on the production of live and recorded entertainment of proposals to sell the radio spectrum. (130804)

Ofcom has assessed the impact of its proposals to auction spectrum released by switchover. They have recognised that there is a risk of business disruption for the above sectors. To address this issue, Ofcom has proposed that spectrum access be guaranteed up until 2012, for professional PMSE uses. After that period, the regulator proposes to ensure that interleaved spectrum is auctioned so as to include packages that will be suitable for PMSE use—though other uses will not be excluded.

Ofcom will publish a further discussion paper specifically on PMSE, in May.

Sports: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what support her Department provides for sports at the grass-roots level. (131514)

Since 1997, the Government and national lottery distributing bodies have committed over £3 billion to grass-roots sport which includes over 4,000 new or refurbished facilities, 3,000 community sports coaches and tax relief to over 4,000 amateur sports clubs.

Tourism

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment she has made of the outcomes of the recent British Tourism Week; and if she will make a statement. (131517)

I congratulate VisitBritain, UKInbound, and the other organisations which were involved in making British Tourism Week such a success in raising the profile of the sector.

VisitBritain is evaluating the benefits of the programme of events to the industry with a view to making this an annual event.

Tourism: Smoking

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment she has made of the likely effect of the ban on smoking in public places in the Health Act 2006 on tourism to the UK from the middle east. (131755)

None. Evidence from the Republic of Ireland, provided by Tourism Ireland to VisitBritain shows that the smoking ban introduced in April 2004 has not produced any general adverse effect on inbound tourism numbers. VisitBritain’s overseas offices are providing information about the smoking bans in force in Scotland and Wales, and to be introduced in England, to potential visitors from the middle east.