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Sponsorship Sports

Mr. Hawkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to his answer of 14 December 1998, Official Report, columns 350-51, how many times his expert group on tobacco sponsorship and alternative sponsorship has met; who its members are; how many times he expects it to meet in 1999; when he expects to receive its conclusions; and when he expects to report his response to its conclusions to the House.[R] [67138]

Mr. Banks [holding answer 25 January 1999]: The group of experts met twice last year and members are now holding individual meetings with the seven sports which have sought our assistance to find alternative sponsors. To date these meetings have been very constructive. The meetings will be completed by the end of this month, after which the group will meet again to receive a report and to consider the nature and timing of help needed to replace existing contracts, many of which have several years to run. We will also consider the frequency of further meetings this year. I will keep the House advised of all significant developments.

The terms of reference of the Task Force are:

    assessing the needs of each sport;

    offering advice on best practice in establishing commercial relationships with sponsors; and,

    assisting the sports in making links with potential new sponsors.

    Membership is:

    Tony Banks (Chairman)--Minister for Sport

    Gordon McCallum--Virgin Group

    Jon Smith--First Artist Corporation

    Maurice Lindsay--Central Council for Physical Recreation

    Mike Reynolds--Institute of Sports Sponsorship

    Derek Etherington--DCMS Sports Sponsorship Consultant

New Opportunities Fund (ICT Training)

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport who prepared the specification of the skills training for the use by schools for information and communications technology funded by New Opportunities Fund moneys; and which bodies were consulted on the specification. [67390]

Mr. Banks [holding answer 25 January 1999]: A set of expected outcomes for the training have been developed that focus on the information and communication technology (ICT) knowledge, understanding and skills that teachers need to support their teaching. The outcomes are based on the new Initial Teacher Training National Curriculum, which was developed by the Teacher Training Agency. The outcomes also reflect national guidelines and in-service training in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The expected outcomes include an understanding of how to use ICT in teaching the whole class; planning, including the use of ICT for lesson preparation; and assessing pupils' work when ICT has been used.

Arts Guide (Millennium Year)

Mr. Berry: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if his Department will ensure the

1 Feb 1999 : Column: 459

production of a guide on access for disabled people to arts, entertainment and leisure venues for the millennium year. [67139]

Mr. Alan Howarth [holding answer 25 January 1999]: Increasing access to the arts is a key aim for my Department. Our commitment to access and equality of opportunity for disabled people is strong and my Department is keen to ensure that there is adequate information for disabled people on all the activities which we support and fund.

There are already a number of useful guides for people with disabilities, some of which are published by Government Departments. The Department of Health has recently updated "A Practical Guide for Disabled People", which includes details of organisations which can offer advice on access to arts and leisure facilities, tourist accommodation and sports facilities. The Arts Council's publication "Arts and Disability" includes a chapter on access and details of useful contacts, including regional Access Committees, Trusts and voluntary organisations. Regional and voluntary organisations such as "Artsline" in London also offer invaluable advice.

My Department will keep under review the availability of appropriate advice for disabled people in relation to our sectors, taking into account the implications of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and of our new policy initiatives.


Charlotte Atkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what funding the Government gave to promoting and running chess for (a) young people and (b) adults in each of the last five years. [67058]

Mr. Banks [holding answer 26 January 1999]: Since my Department took over responsibility for funding chess in 1996-97, the Government has invested £49,000 each year to help the British Chess Federation (BCF) promote the development of Chess. Expenditure by the BCF on junior chess and other initiatives, from the funding provided by my Department, is as follows:

Junior chess development14,54216,18013,870
Other initiatives34,45832,82035,130

An analysis for earlier years is not available. Whilst I am pleased that funding from my Department has been able to support initiatives specifically related to junior chess development, it has also been able to contribute to and benefit all age groups.

Royal Society of Literature

Mrs. Virginia Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when he plans to reply to the question tabled by the right hon. Member for South-West Surrey on 11 January, concerning the Royal Society of Literature. [68311]

Mr. Alan Howarth: I replied to the right hon. Member on 27 January 1999, Official Report, column 264.

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English Sports Council

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when he expects to announce the appointment of a new chairman for the English Sports Council. [68115]

Mr. Chris Smith [holding answer 28 January 1999]: We advertised for a new Chair for the English Sports Council last September. We received an excellent response, and have been carefully considering the candidates in accordance with the procedures laid down by the Commissioner for Public Appointments. We will announce who is to be appointed as soon as we have finished the selection process.

Tourism (Devon)

Sir Peter Emery: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps his Department will take to ensure that the tourist industry in Devon is supported by the RDA for the West Country. [68081]

Janet Anderson [holding answer 28 January 1999]: As our strategy for tourism will set out, the Regional Development Agencies (RDAs), Regional Tourist Boards, local authorities and other tourism partners will together deliver the economic, environmental and social benefits that well-managed and appropriately developed tourism can bring to each region.

Because of the significant economic importance of tourism there is representation of tourism specialists on the RDA boards, including that of the South West RDA.

UK Sports Institute

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions he has held with the British Olympic Committee about the UK Sports Institute. [68114]

Mr. Chris Smith [holding answer 28 January 1999]: My hon. Friend the Minister for Sport regularly has meetings with Craig Reedie, Chairman of the British Olympic Association, to discuss a wide range of issues including the UK Sports Institute.

The BOA have a significant role to play in the development and success of the UK Sports Institute. Mr. Reedie is also deputy chairman of the UK Sports Council which is responsible for giving strategic direction to the UK Sports Institute. He is also a member of the newly formed UK Sports Institute Implementation Committee charged with the task of overseeing the development of the UK Sports Institute Headquarters.

Staff of the BOA are closely involved with UK Sports Institute Development Groups, UK and Home County Sports Council staff, and Governing Bodies of sport, in developing the services that the UK Sports Institute will deliver to elite performers.

Television Licences

Mrs. Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the cost of proposals to abolish the payment of television licence fees by old age pensioners; and if he will make a statement. [67928]

1 Feb 1999 : Column: 461

Janet Anderson [holding answer 28 January 1999]: The estimated cost of providing free television licences for all pensioner only households would be £489 million a year. There are no plans at present for such a concession. The current review of the future of the BBC licence fee after 2002 will include a consideration of the current structure of the concessionary licence scheme and whether a suitable alternative structure could be available.

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