Previous Section Index Home Page

Volvo Bus, Irvine

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what grants were given to Volvo Bus Corporation at the time of its relocation to Irvine; what assistance was received from the New Towns Commission; and if she will make a statement on its proposed relocation to Poland. [47737]

Mr. Wilson: I have been asked to reply.

Volvo's operations at Irvine commenced in 1974 when the company acquired the facility from Ailsa Trucks Limited. No records are available on the financial assistance, if any, offered to Volvo at that time.

We are obviously disappointed that the company's restructuring of its European industrial operations is likely to lead to job losses at Irvine in the medium term. However, inward investors are subject to exactly the same pressures as indigenous companies in today's global economy and occasional setbacks are unfortunately inevitable as competition intensifies and markets evolve.

It is important to stress that Volvo will remain an important contributor to the Ayrshire economy and my officials are in close contact with the company to discuss how the impact of the restructuring plans on the Irvine plant can be minimised.


Housing Association Audits

39. Mr. David Heath: To ask the Chairman of the Public Accounts Commission what discussions he has had with the Comptroller and Auditor General concerning the audit of housing associations. [46355]

Mr. Sheldon: I meet regularly with the Comptroller and Auditor General to discuss a wide range of issues affecting the work of the National Audit Office. The Comptroller and Auditor General does not have the power to provide systematic assurance to Parliament that some £1.2 billion of public money spent annually by the social housing sector has been spent with due regard for issues of regularity, propriety, and value for money.

29 Jun 1998 : Column: 55

The fact that the National Audit Office has no rights of access to the records of housing associations represents a serious gap in accountability for public funds. One straightforward solution would be to require the Comptroller and Auditor General's access to be a condition of all grants to voluntary housing bodies.


Public Registers

Mr. Cohen: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners, if he will list the public registers which the Commissioners have responsibility for. [47361]

Mr. Stuart Bell: None.


2006 World Cup

12. Mr. Burgon: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the prospects for England hosting the 2006 world cup finals. [46324]

Mr. Banks: I believe that the FA's bid to stage the 2006 World Cup is an excellent one and stands a very good chance of success.

National Lottery (Community Projects)

13. Mr. Bill O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans he has to meet community groups to discuss national lottery funding for local community projects; and if he will make a statement. [46325]

Mr. Chris Smith: I and my fellow Ministers have regular contact with community groups. The National Lottery Bill, which will soon be an Act, will help to ensure that more Lottery money goes to small scale projects in local communities.

English Tourist Board

14. Mr. Fearn: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will change the level of Government funding for the English tourist board to bring it in line with the average per capita allocations provided to (a) Scottish, (b) Welsh and (c) Northern Ireland tourist boards. [46326]

Mr. Tom Clarke: The Comprehensive Spending Review means that we are looking critically at how to make the best possible use of public money, by the Department and by its sponsored bodies. No final decisions about future funding have yet been made.

Film Industry

16. Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what progress has been made on promoting film production at a European level. [46328]

29 Jun 1998 : Column: 56

Mr. Tom Clarke: During the UK Presidency of the European Union, the Government successfully hosted a major European Audiovisual Conference whose recommendations for promoting the European film industry are now being taken forward by the Commission and the Council. My department also promotes European film production through co-production agreements and through the £2 million European Co-production Fund.

Mr. Hanson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what proposals he has to promote the British film industry. [46327]

Mr. Tom Clarke: I refer my hon. Friend to "A Bigger Picture", the report of the Film Policy Review Committee issued on 25 March, which sets out a comprehensive action plan for an industry-Government partnership to promote the British film industry.


17. Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what representations he has received from the tourism and hospitality industry on the Government's policies towards the industry. [46329]

Mr. Chris Smith: I receive a wide range of representations from the tourism industry. Many of them come from members of the Tourism Forum and its working groups, with whom we are developing a strategy to maximise the benefits to the nation which tourism can bring.


18. Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will make a statement on the ways in which National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts will help young inventors. [46330]

Mr. Chris Smith: The means by which NESTA is to achieve its objects are set out in the National Lottery Bill currently before Parliament. NESTA will help talented people in the fields of science, technology and the arts achieve their full potential; it will help people turn inventions and ideas into products or services which can be exploited in the market place, and NESTA will contribute to public knowledge of science, technology and the arts. Programmes under all these headings could help young inventors but it will be for NESTA's Chair and Trustees to decide which particular programmes to run.

Creative Arts (Liverpool)

19. Mrs. Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps he is taking to support the creative arts in Liverpool. [46331]

Mr. Chris Smith: Central Government funding for the arts is channelled through the Arts Council and the Regional Arts Boards. Liverpool received 27 per cent. of North West Arts funds for 1997/98, some £2.5 million. Organisations based in Liverpool also received around £1.5 million directly from the Arts Council for this period. The city has received £16.2 million in Lottery awards to the arts to date.

29 Jun 1998 : Column: 57

EU Audiovisual Conference

20. Mr. Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will make a statement on the outcome of the recent EU audiovisual conference in Birmingham. [46332]

Mr. Chris Smith: This conference was my Department's major EU Presidency initiative. It has been widely welcomed by the various sectors of the European audiovisual industry. A number of constructive and innovative ideas were identified in areas ranging from future employment, copyright and regulatory regimes, to European support for the audiovisual industries. These should help position the industry to take advantage of the opportunities opening up with the development of digital technology, and inform future thinking in Member States and the European Commission. Copies of the final conference report, when available, will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

New Opportunities Fund

21. Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when the board of the New Opportunities Fund will begin work. [46333]

Mr. Banks: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State expects to announce some appointments, including Chair, to the Board of the New Opportunities Fund when the National Lottery Bill receives Royal Assent on 2 July. I expect the Board to start work soon after.

National Lottery (Unclaimed Prizes)

22. Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what is the total sum of unclaimed prizes in the national lottery; and what is the largest individual sum. [46334]

Mr. Banks: To date, just over £223 million in prize money has been unclaimed. The largest single unclaimed prize was just over £2 million. After 180 days prizes still unclaimed are paid to the good causes.

Independent Television Franchises

23. Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans he has to change the basis for determining the amounts paid for independent television franchises. [46335]

Mr. Chris Smith: The Government have no plans to change the current arrangements for Exchequer payments made by Channel 3 and Channel 5 licensees under the Broadcasting Act 1990.

Next Section Index Home Page