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Area Museums Councils

Mr. Faber: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage when she plans to announce the membership of the group which will consider the area museums councils. [5668]

Mr. Sproat: A working party has been appointed to review the AMCs and will include the following members:

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I have asked for the consultation report by Monday 7 April 1997. Arrangements for the chairman/secretary will be announced in the new year.

This review will involve wide consultations, both with the AMCs themselves and with the broad range of bodies which use the AMCs' services.

National Reading Initiative

Mr. Mark Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage if she will list the membership of the committee which will advise the Government on the national reading initiative under the chairmanship of Mrs. Ian Curteis. [3998]

Mr. Sproat: The membership of the panel for the national reading initiative under the chairmanship of Mrs. Ian Curteis (Joanna Trollope) is:

The panel will take evidence widely, and produce its conclusions in spring next year.

The panel wishes to encourage any individual or body that wishes to give evidence to be in touch with Mrs. Ian Curteis through DNH.

Departmental Buildings (Electricity)

Mr. Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what capacity of electricity used in her Department's buildings is generated in a combined heat and power plant; and what plans she has to increase that capacity. [9966]

Mr. Sproat: So far as my Department and its agencies are concerned there is no electricity generated in a combined heat and power plant CAP. However, one of the royal palaces--the Banqueting house--is connected to the Whitehall district heating scheme which will connect to a new CAP from next autumn, the overall capacity being 4,500 KW.

In respect of other buildings, opportunities for CAP are limited but would be considered as part of the evaluation process for energy efficiency, particularly when replacing plant.

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Museums and Galleries

Sir Timothy Sainsbury: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what assessment she has made of the current proportion of visitors to the museums and galleries supported by her Department who come from overseas. [8927]

Mr. Sproat: On the basis of recent surveys carried out by the museums and galleries sponsored by my Department, I estimate that one third of visits are made by overseas visitors.

National Lottery

Ms Lynne: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what consultation was carried out (a) with individual football clubs and organisations representing football clubs and (b) with other bodies before the decision was taken to give approval to a second weekly national lottery. [10150]

Mr. Sproat: None.

Ms Lynne: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what plans she has to monitor the impact of the introduction of the mid-week national lottery draw on the future income (a) generated by football clubs' own lotteries and (b) raised by the Football Trust from pool betting duty and spot the ball competitions. [10149]

Mr. Sproat: I shall be meeting the Football Trust to discuss its funding position and related matters further, in the light of its survey of essential remaining safety work at league football clubs, when this is complete.

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what plans she has to introduce new outlets for the lottery, with the introduction of a mid-week lottery; and if she will make a statement. [9789]

Mr. Sproat: This is an operational matter for Camelot Group plc. I have therefore asked the Director General of the National Lottery, who is responsible for regulating the operation of the lottery, to write to the hon. Member and to place copies of his response in the Libraries of the House.

Information Technology (Euro)

Mrs. Anne Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what tenders her Department has put out to convert its information technology systems to be euro compliant; what are the cost and person hours required to convert the systems to handle the euro; and when she expects her department's systems to be fully economic and monetary union compliant. [9452]

Mr. Sproat: The Department of National Heritage and its agencies will need to assess the impact that a single currency, assumed to be starting on 1 January 1999, would have on their information systems, whether or not the United Kingdom decides to participate in the third stage of economic and monetary union.

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Millennium Exhibition

Mr. Bendall: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage if she will make a statement on the millennium exhibition. [10477]

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley: At its meeting on 11 December, the Millennium Commission confirmed its decision to proceed with the national exhibition at Greenwich in the year 2000. The commission is now finalising the means by which the exhibition will be delivered within an acceptable budget.

Good progress has also been made on a number of other fronts: the planning application was submitted to the London borough of Greenwich as planned on 31 October and a decision is expected by the end of January. The Highways Agency announced on 15 November that the last two contracts for the M11-A12 link road have been awarded: the road will be completed in 1999 and will enable optimum use of the park-and-ride facilities planned for the exhibition. Work on the Jubilee line extension, which will provide easy access by underground from central London into the centre of the exhibition site, is progressing well, with the new line scheduled to open in 1998. On 22 November, English Partnerships announced that it had agreed terms with British Gas to acquire the Greenwich peninsula. Meanwhile, statutory decontamination works by British Gas are well under way.


Solicitors' Charges

Mr. Parry: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many complaints have been made to the Law Society concerning solicitors' charges to clients between 1993 and 1996; and if he will make a statement. [9769]

Mr. Streeter: This is a matter for the Law Society.

Legal Aid

Mr. Milburn: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many recipients of legal aid there have been; and how many applications have been refused in Darlington in each year since 1990. [9740]

Mr. Streeter: The total number of acts of assistance granted for civil and criminal legal aid was as follows:

It is not possible to identify separately applications for legal aid received from Darlington; these applications are dealt with by the Legal Aid Board area office in Newcastle, which covers the country from North Yorkshire to Northumberland and parts of Cumbria.

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Figures for the total number of applications received and refused for civil legal aid by the Newcastle area office are available since 1992-93 only. These were as follows:

YearTotal applicationsApplications refused

Applications for criminal legal aid are dealt with by the courts. Equivalent figures for applications made prior to 1992-93 and for criminal legal aid are not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.


Mr. Hain: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many (a) permanent and (b) non-permanent staff there have been in (i) his Department and (ii) executive agencies of his Department in each year since 1992. [9626]

Mr. Streeter: The tables give details of the information requested for staff employed in the Lord Chancellor's Department headquarters and associated offices, and in the executive agencies for which the Lord Chancellor is accountable to Parliament.

LCD Headquarters and Associated Offices(1)
Public Trust Office
Court Service(2)
Public Record Office(3)
Land Registry
19968,5391 Northern Ireland Court Service

(1) All the figures given for non-permanent staff in LCD Headquarters and the Associated Offices include staff on renewable and unrenewable fixed term contracts. No central record of casual staff in this area was kept prior to 1996.

(2) No central record of the number of non-permanent staff for the Court Service was kept prior to 1996.

(3) Permanent figures for the Public Record Office include a small proportion--not exceeding 8 per cent.--of fixed-term jobs. Separate figures are not kept and the information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

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