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QUEST

22. Mr. Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps he is taking to ensure value for money and best practice in bodies sponsored by his Department. [66781]

Mr. Chris Smith: I announced in December the establishment of the Quality, Efficiency and Standards Team (QUEST) to provide independent advice on the improvement of performance across all our sectors and to disseminate good practice. This will be in addition to the existing oversight of NDPBs exercised by my Department.

23. Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what areas of responsibility will be covered by QUEST. [66782]

Mr. Chris Smith: QUEST's role will be to improve and sustain quality, standards and performance in all the fields for which my Department is responsible.

Tourism Strategy

24. Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps he is taking to ensure that each region of the UK benefits from the tourism industry. [66783]

Janet Anderson: The new strategy for tourism which we shall publish on 26 February 1999 will help create the right framework in which tourism can flourish. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will have their own strategies, reflecting differing regional priorities.

Within England, as I announced on 14 December 1998, Official Report, column 352, following our Comprehensive Spending Review, there will be a transformed national tourism body and more resources will be used for support of tourism in the regions. The Regional Tourist Boards, working with their commercial members, local authorities and the Regional Development Agencies will together deliver the economic, environmental and social benefits well-managed and appropriately delivered tourism can bring to each region.

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Local Theatres

27. Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans he has to bring forward proposals to change the funding of local theatres through the Art Board. [66786]

Mr. Alan Howarth: The Government believe strongly in delegation. The new Arts Council which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State appointed last year shares that view and has already proposed that a substantial element of the extra resources for the arts that the Government are providing should be delegated to the Regional Arts Boards. It will be for the Regional Arts Boards to take decisions on the funding for specific artforms or organisations within their regions, including theatre.

Wembley Stadium

28. Mr. Pike: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what role his Department will play in the development of the new Wembley stadium and related infrastructure. [66787]

Mr. Banks: I am keeping a very close eye on progress with the development of the new National Stadium, although my Department has no direct role in funding or constructing the stadium and relating infrastructure. The project is central to our plans to bring the major international sporting events to this country.

Millennium Dome (Waste Disposal)

33. Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will make a statement on plans for waste disposal at the dome. [66792]

Janet Anderson: The New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) has implemented a number of procedures for controlling waste during the construction phase of the dome. All contractors are required to specify waste management practices within their tender documentation, and implementation of these practices is assessed by weekly inspections and spot checks.

During the year of the Millennium Experience, NMEC will adopt a waste management strategy based on the concepts of waste reduction, re-use, recycling and efficient removal from the site. NMEC is currently investigating supply strategies that will minimise the quantity of packaging coming onto the site, but will then provide facilities to allow separation of those major waste streams that are generated in order that they can be processed or recycled efficiently.

The final details of the operational strategy will be defined with the assistance of site caterers who are likely to have the greatest impact on waste generation. However, where it is practical to do so, NMEC's catering strategy will encourage use of re-usable cutlery and crockery. Where this is not possible caterers will aim to use cutlery and crockery made from recycled or recyclable materials.

Millennium Dome (Concessionary Fares)

34. Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions he has had with the New Millennium Experience Company with a

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view to developing special concessionary fares and entry/travel packages for families and frequent visitors to the dome. [66793]

Janet Anderson: The New Millennium Experience Company aims to ensure that as many people as possible can, if they wish, visit the dome at Greenwich. In developing the ticket pricing strategy the Company has been concerned to include attractive discounts for a number of groups. The Company has also been in discussion for a number of months with the travel trade and I am confident that these discussions will result in combined travel and dome admission packages from all parts of the UK.

Millennium Dome (Expenditure)

35. Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will make a statement about parliamentary accountability for expenditure on the Millennium Dome. [66795]

Mr. Chris Smith: My noble Friend the Minister of State, Cabinet Office is the sole shareholder of the New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) on behalf of the Government and is therefore accountable to Parliament for the Company's overall performance. I will be answering to this House on all matters relating to my noble Friend's responsibilities in respect of the NMEC.

At official level, the arrangements for parliamentary accountability for expenditure on the dome mirror those which apply to all non-departmental public bodies. The Company's Chief Executive was appointed, by the Permanent Secretary of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, as Accounting Officer for the dome. She is therefore personally responsible to Parliament for use of the company's money.

The New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) is not of course, in receipt of Exchequer funds. It receives Lottery funding from the Millennium Commission. The Director of the Millennium Commission has formal Accounting Officer responsibility for the Commission's use of Lottery money. In addition, the DCMS Permanent Secretary, as Accounting Officer for the National Lottery Development Fund has responsibilities in respect of the overall use of Lottery funds.

Landmark Millennium Projects

36. Mr. Flight: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent discussions he has had with the organisers of the 23 landmark millennium projects about sponsorship money. [66797]

Mr. Chris Smith: The Millennium Commission, which I chair, makes it a condition of grant to capital projects that at least 50 per cent. of the total project cost is raised through partnership funding, and this includes sponsorship in some cases. The Commission works closely with each project and is therefore involved in ongoing discussions about matched funding.

Dance (Scotland)

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions he has held

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with the Scottish Office on the funding of dance following the takeover of responsibility by the Scottish Parliament. [66773]

Mr. Alan Howarth: Support for the arts in Scotland is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland.

Football Task Force

Mr. Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when he expects the football task force to publish its report on the commercial aspects of the game. [66785]

Mr. Banks: I have been told the report will be ready by the end of March 1999.

Millennium Dome (Life-span)

Mr. Prior: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what is the expected life of the millennium dome. [66791]

Mr. Chris Smith: The structural steelwork of the dome has a life-span of at least 60 years; and the roofing material is expected to last at least 25 years before major maintenance is necessary.

English National Stadium Development Company

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) if he will make a statement on the role of the English National Stadium Development Company; [67556]

Mr. Banks [holding answer 25 January 1999]: The English National Stadium Development Company is the FA vehicle charged with creating a national stadium for football, rugby league and athletics, and required to meet the technical requirements for those sports under the Lottery Funding Agreement with the English Sports Council. The current estimate for the total cost of the project is £320m, of which £120m will be funded by the Lottery, the remainder by debt financing by the FA. Membership of the Development Company Board is as follows:














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