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Television Advertising (Children)

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what his policy is regarding television advertising to children; and if he will make a statement. [95924]

Janet Anderson: Under the Broadcasting Act 1990, it is the duty of the Independent Television Commission to draw up and maintain a code covering advertising on television. Appendix 1 of the Commission's Code of Advertising Standards and Practice includes detailed regulations which ensure that television advertisements aimed at children do not mislead or exploit or encourage unsafe or dangerous behaviour. The regulations also prohibit the advertising of certain types of product during childrens' programmes. The Code was revised last year following consultation with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, the television and advertising industries, viewer and listener groups and other bodies.

Trafalgar Square

Mr. Fearn: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many people are estimated to have celebrated the New Year in 1999 in Trafalgar Square; and what the capacity of Trafalgar Square for celebrating the New Millennium will be if proposals to create an ice skating rink there go ahead. [95927]

Mr. Alan Howarth: Approximately 90,000 people attended the New Year's Eve celebration in Trafalgar Square in 1999 and it is anticipated that this number will be exceeded on New Year's Eve this year. The proposed ice rink will be removed from the Square before New Year's Eve for public safety reasons.


Low Fat Diet

Mr. Winnick: To ask the Chairman of the Catering Committee if a low fat diet is to be available in the canteens and restaurants in the House; and what medical advice has been sought on this subject. [94932]

Mr. Dennis Turner [holding answer 25 October 1999]: The House of Commons Refreshment Department is committed to a policy of encouraging "healthy eating" throughout all its cafeterias and dining rooms, ensuring that customers are given a sufficiently wide choice of foods to be able to modify and regulate their own diet. Regular promotions are held in conjunction with the

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House of Commons Occupational Health Service to help educate customers and to assist them in making healthier food choices.

The availability of low fat foods is an important part of this approach to the promotion of a balanced diet, and the Refreshment Department has for several years adapted its recipes and cooking methods to make use of healthier alternatives wherever possible. A "healthy eating" dish is publicised on daily cafeteria and dining room menus, in addition to which fish is offered on most menus and can generally be served without sauce or added fat. Skimmed and semi-skimmed milk is available throughout the Department, as are butterless vegetables, lean meats, un-dressed salads and reduced fat dressings, low fat yoghurts and sandwiches, and a wide range of fruit and vegetables. In addition there is usually a vegetarian option in all outlets which tends to be more healthy and lower in fat.

The Department aims to ensure that adequate choice is available for customers wishing to follow a low fat diet and plans to continue to develop its policy of encouraging a rounded approach to healthy eating and a balanced diet.

In fulfilling this policy, the Refreshment Department liaises closely with the medical and lay staff of the House of Commons Occupational Health Service, as well as with staff of the Gymnasium. Many senior managers and chefs of the Department have received some formal education or training in nutrition and dietetics, but further advice and guidance on specific issues is taken from external dieticians, the Health Education Authority or other professional bodies.


Gender Impact Analysis

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what initiatives and policies have been subjected to a gender impact analysis in his Department. [94497]

Ms Beverley Hughes: As an employer we monitor the impact on women of our recruitment, appraisal and promotion processes. To help women balance the demands of work and home, we have a range of policies including support for childcare, career breaks of up to five years and a policy that all posts (with very few exceptions) are available for part-time working and job-sharing.

We are continuing to make use of consultations, research projects and disaggregated statistics to identify the impact of policy on women. Specific examples of these include the recent consultation of various women's organisations on smoking in taxis and the development of a public transport gender audit. We are also requiring the inclusion of policy appraisal statements in each Ministerial policy submission. Other initiatives include the requirement to promote social inclusion (including meeting the transport needs of women and other social groups) in the Department's assessment of local authorities' provisional Local Transport Plans.

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Our policies are subject to evaluation and will pick up differential impacts on specific groups, particularly where they are disadvantaged. Some policies do have intentional differential gender impacts; for example, the priority afforded to pregnant women and lone parent households (the majority of which are headed by women) in the allocation of council housing.

Equal Opportunities

Jackie Ballard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if an action plan for increasing the representation of women in public life has been (a) prepared by his Department and (b) published since November 1998. [94851]

Ms Beverley Hughes: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Cabinet Office on 25 October 1999, Official Report, column 682.

Railway Vandalism

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what proportion of offenders who committed vandalism causing train accidents in 1998-99 are being prosecuted; and what action he is taking to ensure that train operators and Railtrack provide adequate security. [95172]

Mr. Hill: The Health and Safety Executive reported that in 1997-98 there were 1,098 reported railway accidents caused by malicious action, including 512 incidences of damage to the cab driver's window. The figures provided by the British Transport Police for the same year show that they dealt with 6,419 reported incidences of 'stone throwing' or 'Line of Route' offences, such as obstructing the line, of which 718 were either charged or cautioned, or no crime was found to be committed.

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Train operating companies are expected to follow the crime prevention strategies in our guidance 'Personal Security on Public Transport--Guidelines for Operators', including measures such as CCTV, improved lighting and the availability of trained staff. My Department also encourages train operators to join the 'Secure Station' and 'Secured Car Park' schemes where they apply for accreditation by meeting agreed standards on crime prevention measures.

Federal Express

Mr. MacGregor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what concessions he obtained from the United States Government in return for the rights recently given to Federal Express to deliver freight from Prestwick Airport to third countries. [95331]

Mr. Prescott: In granting fifth freedom rights from Prestwick to US cargo carriers, we have said to the US Government that we would expect it to give favourable consideration to equivalent applications for extra-bilateral rights to UK carriers. Although United Kingdom airlines will not benefit directly from the granting of these rights at Prestwick, there will be significant economic benefits accruing to the region. In the longer run, UK airlines and airports will gain when we have achieved our wider goal, which is the liberalisation of the overall market.

Private Sector Renting

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will publish the numbers of private sector rooms for rent in each standard region for the last five years for which figures are available. [94884]

Mr. Mullin: The term 'private sector rooms' is open to interpretation and so the following table shows estimates from the Survey of English Housing of the number of private tenancies in each Government Office region.

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Private tenancies (excluding rent free) by Government Office region

North East7866817485
North West (including Merseyside)202202250262246
Yorks & Humber169176158201185
East Midlands155150132152138
West Midlands135176149131158
South East350353400320352
South West273222247245232


1. Each private tenancy corresponds to a separate agreement by which a tenant or tenants rent their accommodation from their landlord.

2. Excludes rent free tenancies, but includes those where whole rent is met by Housing Benefit.

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