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National Lottery

Mr. Pendry: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what plans she has to extend lottery funding to grant aid individual sporting competitors. [2500]

Mr. Sproat: I am keeping the national lottery distribution arrangements under review.

"Raising the Game"

Mr. Pendry: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what is the value of the extra resources that the Government are planning to commit to fulfil the pledges contained within "Raising the Game"; and on which vote the cost will fall. [1555]

Mr. Sproat: The Sports Council will be making available an extra £1 million to enable trainee and serving teachers to obtain coaching qualifications and setting up a £2 million challenge fund to promote formal links between clubs and schools. These additional funds will be made available as a result of savings on administration following the restructuring of the Sports Council. Sportsmatch will also be earmarking £1 million of its funding for schools projects. Most significantly, the national lottery provides sport with an unprecedented opportunity to expand its stock of facilities and equipment and provides the means of fulfilling the Government's aim that, by 2000, all young people will have access to quality facilities, including playing fields.

Departmental Targets

Ms Armstrong: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what is the published recommended response time within which her Department is expected to reply to letters from the public. [3008]

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley: My Department has set a target of 18 working days to reply to letters from the public.

New Palace Yard (Archaeology)

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage if she will make a statement on the archaeology being carried out during the current digging within the confines of New Palace Yard. [3106]

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Mr. Sproat [holding answer 28 November 1995]: An archaeological excavation in New Palace Yard was completed in 1994 as part of those being undertaken in the vicinity of the Houses of Parliament by the Museum of London archaeology service on behalf of London Underground Ltd.'s Jubilee line extension project. The current Jubilee line extension work in New Palace Yard comprises engineering operations only.

Investors in People

Mr. Byers: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what steps her Department is taking to achieve investor in people status; when it started the process; when it expects to achieve investor in people status; and if she will make a statement. [2988]

Mr. Sproat: The Department of National Heritage is currently developing a human resource development strategy based on the four key principles required for investors in people accreditation. A staff development adviser was appointed in August this year and she is working closely with the Central London training and enterprise council and a diagnostic study will be carried out to assess the exact requirements to achieve IIP status. As soon as that diagnostic study has been completed, I will be able to give a target date for achievement of the award.

Under-age Gambling

Mr. Maclennan: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what research her Department has undertaken into the problems of under-age gambling; and if she will make a statement. [1968]

Mr. Sproat: My Department has not undertaken any research into under-age gambling. I welcome yesterday's announcement by the Director General of the National Lottery about tough new action designed to stamp out under-age lottery sales. As part of this action, Oflot and the lottery operator will also commission research on UK and overseas experience in relation to ticket sales to children.

Royal Palaces

Mr. Alan Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what grace and favour accommodation in which occupied royal palace is allocated to (a) the private secretary to Her Majesty the Queen, (b) the Keeper of the Privy Purse, (c) the Master of the Household, (d) the Comptroller, the Lord Chamberlain's Office, (e) the Crown Equerry and (f) the Director of the Royal Collection. [2431]

Mr. Sproat: This information is provided on page 33 of the Committee of Public Accounts minutes of evidence for 24 April 1995, which is available in the Library of the House. None of these officials occupies accommodation on a grace and favour basis as all have abatements to their salaries in recognition of their occupying official accommodation.

Undertakings to Indemnify and Contingent Liabilities

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what was (a) the number of undertakings given by her under section 16 of the

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National Heritage Act 1980 during the six-month period ended 30 September 1995 and (b) the amount of value, expressed in sterling, of any contingent liabilities as at the end of that period in respect of such undertakings given by her under that section at any time as remain outstanding at the end of that period. [3910]

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley: The information my hon. Friend requests is as follows:

In the six-month period ended 30 September 1995 the following undertakings to indemnify were given by the relevant Departments for items on loan to national and non-national institutions.

Department of National Heritage470
Scottish Office Education Department78
Welsh Office Education Department37
Department of Education for Northern Ireland16

The value of contingent liabilities in respect of such undertakings given at any time and outstanding at 30 September 1995 are:

Department of National Heritage1,975,720,233
Scottish Office Education Department137,926,172
Welsh Office Education Department35,201,147
Department of Education for Northern Ireland4,333,303


Mr. Tyler: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage if she will set out the forecast Exchequer grant for the promotion and support of tourism for 1996-97 and 1997-98, at 1979 prices and expressed per head of population, for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. [2166]

Mr. Sproat [holding answer 29 November 1995]: The planned Government grant to the English tourist board and the British Tourist Authority for 1996-97 and 1997-98, expressed in 1979 prices, and per head of population for the countries covered by the boards, is set out in the following table. It is not possible to give figures for other parts of the United Kingdom as I understand that my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Wales and for Scotland and my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland have still to announce the allocation of the overall settlements for their Departments announced by my right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 28 November.

British tourist authority English tourist board
GIA £ million (1979 prices) £ Per head population GIA £ million (1979 prices) £ Per head population

Source: Population Estimates Unit (OPCS) 1979-1994, Government Actuaries Department 1995 (1992--based projection).

The British Tourist Authority is responsible for marketing Great Britain overseas. The grant per capita for BTA has therefore been calculated using the total population of England, Wales and Scotland.

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Greenwich Park

Mr. Deva: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage if she will make a statement on the recommendations made by the Royal Parks review group in its report on Greenwich park. [3909]

Mr. Sproat: I have now considered the group's report in detail. As with the two previous reviews--on Hyde park and Kensington gardens, and on St. James's, Green and Regent's parks--the review group, chaired by Dame Jennifer Jenkins, examined a wide range of issues relating to the role and management of the park, consulting widely with individuals and interested organisations. The conclusions were discussed at a one-day conference, and were well received. The conference delegates supported the majority of the recommendations, but made a few alternative suggestions.

The group's recommendations focus on the opportunities to provide for changing demands and pressures without losing sight of the park's prime function of providing a green open space, close to the heart of the city, where local residents and tourists alike can enjoy themselves in the open air, amidst examples of London's finest built heritage. We have been looking positively at the group's proposals, and I confirm that I can accept them in principle. I set out the action we have taken, and my proposals for taking matters forward, including the necessary consultations which will have to be carried out before some recommendations can be implemented. The availability of financial resources will of course determine the timing of some.

The principle recommendations of the group are to nominate a world heritage site at Greenwich, and to open up the great axis, leading from the Isle of Dogs across the Thames to the Royal Naval college and the Queen's house, up the park's escarpment to the Wolfe monument, and on to the spire of All Saints church in Blackheath.

I endorse the world heritage site proposal. I have sought preliminary advice from English Heritage, and my Department is pursuing discussions with the London borough of Greenwich, and other interested parties. If all goes well, I hope to put Greenwich forward by the end of this year for inclusion in the United Kingdom's tentative list of world heritage sites, with a view to making a formal nomination by July 1996.

I endorse the proposal to open up the great axis, and my Department will be taking this forward in respect of the Royal Naval college site, in consultation with the relevant parties. The document, inviting expressions of interest in the future use of the Royal Naval college buildings, confirms the Government's wish to see greater public access to this site. The proposal concerning the axis, as it unfolds through the area leading from the Queen's house, up through the park, and as to how a less divisive boundary between the National Maritime museum and park can be achieved, will be the subject of detailed discussion between the two organisations. The Royal Parks agency will commission its landscape architects, in co-operation with the museum, to look at the

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landscaping issues in detail, including the escarpment, and will put forward recommendations. Consultations will then take place with all concerned.

As in earlier reports, the Jenkins group considered that there was a need to curb traffic and parking, to improve the safety of pedestrians and the atmosphere of the park. They recommended that this could be achieved by banning through traffic, and closing St. Mary's gate, at the north end of the park, and redesigning the layout of Blackheath avenue to create more space for pedestrians. The closure of St. Mary's gate will require discussion with the London borough of Greenwich, the Minister for Transport in London, the Traffic Director for London, and local interested groups. Discussions are in hand, and subject to the outcome, we are thinking of introducing a six month trial ban next year. The Royal Parks Agency will also commission a design study of Blackheath avenue in due course as funds permit.

On the group's recommendations to bring into the park additional areas, from which the public are now excluded, the agency has begun discussions with the London borough of Greenwich about the Old Orchard, and with Thames Water about the reservoir. The agency has commissioned a feasibility study of how best to use the former nursery site, with a view to retaining two glasshouses and the contractor's yard, and incorporating the remainder into the deer enclosure. Any programme of works resulting from the study would not begin until full consultations had taken place. The works would be phased over a number of years, and would be dependant on available financial resources.

The group made a number of other recommendations to improve the ambience of the park, including improvements in planting and pruning, banning dogs from sports areas, and continuing with the current sports provision. These have already been implemented. Work is about to begin on improving surfaces in the children's playground, and costs will be met from existing budgets. The costs of other recommendations, to improve paths and upgrade benches, will be met from current and future maintenance budgets of the Royal Parks Agency. For proposals such as the provision of shelters and cycle tracks, the agency will be seeking sponsorship and private finance.

The report also refers to the prime meridian in the context of the millennium. I accept the recommendation that there should be no new millennium building in the

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park, but welcome the suggestion of marking the meridian line in some way. The Royal Parks Agency will be inviting proposals of how this might be achieved.

The full cost of implementing the recommendations is not yet known, as further studies are required in many instances. It will also be necessary to consider the royal parks requirements alongside other demands on my Department's budget.

I am most grateful for the contribution and time Dame Jennifer and her group have given to the review, and for their comprehensive report and constructive recommendations. I look forward to their final report on the remaining royal parks--Richmond and Bushy.

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