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Departmental Productivity

Mr. Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what action he is taking to increase the productivity and reduce the running costs of his Department. [103845]

Mr. Chris Smith: The Comprehensive Spending Review last year resulted in a number of structural changes within the public bodies sponsored by DCMS, which will result in increased efficiency. At the same time, the Department took on a new, strategic role in its sectors, and a much higher profile in the regions, with dedicated staff in all Government regional offices. This was against the background of a running cost allocation which was flat over the three years of the financial settlement. Among specific initiatives designed to increase efficiency and effectiveness, we are rationalising our estate so that a greater proportion of staff are in one building; co-locating divisions to increase the capacity for sharing support services; and undertaking a number of reviews of our services as part of the Modernising Government agenda. We have established the Quality, Efficiency and Standards Team (Quest) in order to identify and spread good practice in administration across the Department's NDPBs.

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Resorts Task Force

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what is the remit of the Resorts Task Force; who will serve on it; and how they will be appointed. [104277]

Janet Anderson: The English Tourism Council (ETC) is establishing a Resorts Task Force to tackle the problems facing resorts. It will include people with experience in tourism and, in particular, resorts, local government, planning, investment, design and economic development. Peter Moore, ETC board member and Managing Director of Center Parcs is chairing the Task Force and is currently assembling the team.

Civil Servants (Subsequent Employment)

Mr. Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he has made a ruling on whether an official whose name has been given to him has contravened the Civil Service rules relating to subsequent employment. [104037]

Mr. Chris Smith: No; my Department is in correspondence with the former official concerned.

Departmental Employees (Ethnic Minorities)

Mr. Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what percentage of the total workforce in his Department is of ethnic minority origin; and what steps he is taking to encourage the employment of people from the ethnic minorities in his Department. [102738]

Mr. Chris Smith: My right hon. Friend the Minister for the Cabinet Office set out in her reply of 16 December, Official Report, column 264W, the corporate action that the Civil Service is taking to encourage the employment of people from ethnic minorities. My Department currently does only a limited amount of direct recruitment, but makes use of welcoming statements to encourage applications from under-represented groups. As part of the Department's commitment to provide a workplace free from discrimination, all staff receive equal opportunities awareness training and are encouraged to treat others with courtesy and respect. On 1 April 1999, 8 per cent. of the department's workforce declared themselves as being from an ethnic minority background. We will now be working closely with the Cabinet Office to widen the pool of potential recruits and increase interchange opportunities in order to increase the representation of ethnic minorities in DCMS.

International Sporting Events

(Select Committee Report)

Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) what further response he plans to make to the report of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, "Staging Professional Sporting Events", HC (1998-99) 124; [103589]

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Kate Hoey [holding answer 20 December 1999]: The Government welcomed the extensive report of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee into Staging International Sporting Events, and our response of 8 September stressed our full commitment to bringing major international sporting events to this country and to ensuring they are staged successfully. A key response to the recommendations directed at the Government was the appointment of the Minister of State, Cabinet Office, my right hon. Friend the Member for Makerfield (Mr. McCartney), to a coordinating role across different Departments for the Government's interests in the successful delivery of the 2002 Commonwealth Games and associated activities. Also in hand are assessments of the impact of major events on participation in sport; assessment of the economic impact of major events; and improving the quality and contribution of British postholders in international governing bodies. Through UK Sport's major events strategy, we are continuing to work with all stakeholders to make Government support for events more effective.


Sexual Offences

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what action he took before July in response to the report of the Scottish Office Central Research Unit in 1992 on sexual history and sexual character evidence in Scottish sexual offence trials. [103740]

Dr. Reid: The crimes of clandestine injury to women and incest were added in section 28 of the Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 1995 to the categories of sexual offences in respect of which evidence of sexual character or sexual history would be inadmissible without the consent of the court. These were two crimes which the research report suggested should be within the scope of the legislation.

European Convention on Human Rights

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he has had with the First Minister about additional training for (a) the police and (b) the Prison Service in Scotland since the incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights into United Kingdom domestic legislation. [103611]

Dr. Reid: Training of the police and Prison Service in Scotland is devolved and I have not discussed this issue with the First Minister.

Hughes Report (Dunblane)

Mr. John M. Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the availability of Inspector Hughes's report to the Cullen Inquiry into the Dunblane tragedy. [104011]

Dr. Reid: Sergeant Hughes's report was made available to the Cullen Inquiry as a production. The report contains sensitive information about children (not the children of Dunblane) who attended a summer camp run by Thomas Hamilton in 1991 and alleged offences against them. For these reasons it was considered appropriate that

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the production should remain closed for 100 years with the Crown Office dealing with any requests for special access meantime.


Regional Selective Assistance

Mr. Ashton: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry for what reason the application from Axgro Foods of West Butterwick, near Gainsborough for regional selective assistance which was referred to him by the DTI, reference RSA/99/0116, for relocating their factory to Misterton Bassetlaw was rejected; for what reason the firm was informed at 4 p.m. on 20 December that they had to submit evidence by 22 December; and if he will make a statement. [104175]

Mr. Caborn: Axgro Foods Limited applied for a Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) grant on 25 November 1999. All RSA applications are considered against published criteria, which include conditions that grant can be made available only to projects that contribute positive benefits to both the regional and national economy. The European Community restricts assistance to some industries in which there is over-capacity. These restrictions apply to some fishery and agricultural products.

On 20 December the Government Office for the East Midlands, responsible for the appraisal of this case, contacted the company to advise that the application may be subject to EC restrictions. It asked the company to provide additional supporting information, which was received on 22 December.

An indicative offer of RSA was made to Axgro Foods Limited on 23 December, which is subject to a full appraisal and clarification on the issue of possible EC restrictions.

Assisted Areas (Food Production)

Mr. Ashton: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assistance his Department provides for firms involved in food production who wish to relocate to constituencies which have assisted area status. [104174]

Mr. Caborn: Regional Selective Assistance is my Department's main instrument for offering direct financial assistance to companies investing in the Assisted Areas. It covers most manufacturing and some service industries, but some sectors including agricultural food production are subject to EU restrictions.


Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on his Department's role in negotiations on the Internet caching aspects of the draft EU Directive on Copyright in the Information Society. [104081]

Dr. Howells: My Department's role is to consider the views of all interested parties on the mandatory exception to reproduction rights proposed in the draft Directive which is relevant to some kinds of caching, and to seek solutions in the negotiations on the Directive which are as fair as possible to all concerned. We wish to ensure both that the activities of service providers such as

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caching are not impeded, and also that owners of copyright and related rights are properly protected in the on-line environment.

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