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Olympic Games Stadium

Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) what (a) guidelines and (b) criteria the International Olympic Committee has notified him of regarding the minimum number of seats required for a stadium to host an Olympic Athletics competition; [104331]

Kate Hoey [holding answer 10 January 2000]: The International Olympic Committee has not notified the Department directly of guidelines or criteria for the minimum number of seats required for a stadium to host an Olympic athletics competition. The BOA have indicated that a viable UK bid would require an 80,000 seat stadium.

Sports Tourism Strategy

Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will make a statement on the arrangements for ticket sales for sporting events in the United Kingdom following the launch of the British Tourist Authority sports tourism strategy. [105059]

Kate Hoey: The BTA's sports tourism strategy seeks to build on the capacity of these events to attract foreign visitors. The Sports Tourism Forum--established as part of the BTA strategy--will be examining the issue of ticket availability for tourists.

24 Jan 2000 : Column: 89W

Swimming Pools

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps his Department is taking to ensure an equal geographical distribution of Olympic-size swimming pools in the United Kingdom. [105085]

Kate Hoey [holding answer 17 January 2000]: Sport England have proposed a facilities plan for the provision of Olympic sized swimming pools, in association with the Amateur Swimming Association. In which the assessment of the most appropriate location and geographical coverage are central to decisions being made on final location. Sport England ensure that the key factors needed to sustain a pool of Olympic size are taken into account, including: a critical mass of population to sustain its use; whether the configuration of the pool to Olympic scale best meets the needs for the local population; and the location and needs of high performance swimmers.

There are currently 11 50m pools in England (including two under construction). Sport England have given in principal Lottery support to proposals for a new 50m pool in Loughborough. Sport England's facilities plan identifies the need for new 50m pools in the North East, Merseyside, Birmingham, Portsmouth, London and Leeds. The demand for a high performance swimming centre at Sheffield is also under consideration.

Departmental Smoking Policy

Mr. Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what action he is taking to reduce smoking in his Department. [105806]

Mr. Chris Smith: My Department actively encourages a reduction in smoking by operating a policy which permits smoking in only three designated smoking rooms. Ventilation in these rooms is designed to avoid the recirculation of smoke to non-smoking areas. In order to raise general awareness of health issues, my Department has introduced a computerised health checkpoint. This is accessible to all staff and includes information and advice on the risks associated with smoking. Staff have access to an on-site fitness centre and are given a full fitness assessment and advice on healthy living prior to joining. DCMS has also actively encouraged staff to participate in National No Smoking Day and will be doing so again this year.

Post Offices

Mr. Jack: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what proposals are being considered by his Department to help sustain and develop the viability of rural and urban sub post offices. [105853]

Mr. Chris Smith: I refer the right hon. Member to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on 20 January 2000, Official Report, column 520W.

Departmental Properties

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will list those properties held by his Department and agencies responsible to him which are (a) wholly and (b) mainly unoccupied at present, giving locations and when they became so unoccupied in each case. [105303]

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Mr. Alan Howarth [holding answer 19 January 2000]: My Department has the following properties unoccupied at present:

Address of PropertyWholly or partly unoccupiedDate vacated
Core Department
2nd Floor, 179a Tottenham Court Road, W1(22)PartlyJanuary 2000
Basement, 7 St. James's Square, SW1(23)PartlyJanuary 2000
Royal Parks Agency
Brew House Bushey ParkWholly©1998
New Lodge Bushey ParkWhollyDecember 1999
White Lodge, Bushey Park(24)Wholly©1980
Vanburgh Gate Lodge, Greenwich ParkWhollyJanuary 2000

(22) Area became vacant following closure of Y2K contingency office. Being actively marketed.

(23) Area became vacant following Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) reducing their occupation prior to finding alternative premises.

(24) Requires the completion of significant restoration before re-occupation is feasible.


The remainder of the Royal Parks properties are available for re-occupation at any time.

Television Subtitles

Miss Kirkbride: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) what arrangements he has made for public consultation regarding his Department's review of digital television subtitling targets; [105985]

Janet Anderson: The Government's review of the statutory targets on the subtitling, signing and audio description of programmes on digital terrestrial television will begin in early summer this year. We will be consulting the Independent Television Commission, the broadcasters, those who provide subtitling, signing and audio description services and consumer groups representing viewers with sensory disabilities. Once the review is completed in November 2000, we will publish the results.

The review will not include analogue television to which different arrangements apply. The Broadcasting Act 1990 set a target of 50 per cent. of subtitling of programmes by 1998 (for Channel 3) and by the fifth anniversary of its launch (for Channel 5). Thereafter it is for the Independent Television Commission (ITC) to set targets which are reasonably practicable. The Commission has set a target of 80 per cent. of subtitling of programmes by 2004 for Channel 3 and it will review this target in 2001.

24 Jan 2000 : Column: 91W

National Lottery

Mr. Wilshire: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will list in descending order of value (a) the number and type of National Lottery grants awarded to organisations in each constituency and (b) the total value of all National Lottery grants made to organisations in each constituency. [105898]

Kate Hoey [holding answer 20 January 2000]: I have placed the following tables in the Libraries of the House: (a) the total number of Lottery awards to each constituency broken down by good cause and (b) the total value of grants awarded to each constituency broken down by good cause, both shown in descending order.

The data have been taken from the National Lottery Awards Database which has been compiled using information on National Lottery awards supplied by the Distributing Bodies. The tables exclude Lottery awards not attributed by the Distributing Bodies to a particular constituency. The constituency information relates to the address to which the Lottery Award was sent.

Television Licences (Pensioners)

Mr. Opik: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) when the Government plan to introduce free television licences for pensioners over the age of 75 years; [106551]

Janet Anderson: My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in his pre-Budget statement on 9 November 1999, Official Report, columns 883-91, that people aged 75 or over will receive their television licence free of charge from this autumn. The Government intend to announce shortly the precise starting date and details of how the scheme will operate. We anticipate that the scheme will incorporate arrangements for refunds in respect of unexpired licences.

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