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Film Industry

23. Mr. Corbett: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps he is taking to increase inward investment in the UK film industry. [105959]

Janet Anderson: The Government introduced tax breaks in 1997, and a new definition of "British film" last year, which make it more financially attractive for foreign film makers to film in Britain. Government Departments are also working in close co-operation with the British Film Commission to attract foreign film makers to the UK. This has enabled us to set up the British Film Office in Los Angeles. In November I launched a DVD, produced by the Government and British film industry, which provides film makers with an introduction to the first class film making facilities in the UK. We have also set up the Film Council to deliver a coherent strategy for

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the development of a sustainable UK film industry, and we shall continue to be strongly supportive of its work to increase inward investment.

Sport (Television Rights)

24. Mr. Gareth R. Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps he is taking to encourage professional sports bodies to invest income from the sale of television rights in local sports facilities. [105960]

Mr. Chris Smith: Many governing bodies have signed the Central Council for Physical Recreation's Voluntary Code, under which a minimum of 5 per cent. of broadcasting income is invested in grass roots development. The football authorities have recently re-affirmed their commitments to allocating 5 per cent. of future broadcasting revenues in that way. The Government are in detailed discussion with them about how best to ensure that these funds are used to improve the development of grass roots football in England.

Millennium Events

25. Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of how events across the country to mark the new millennium were received. [105961]

Mr. Chris Smith: The Millennium Commission today published a report about the new year celebrations including the major events that took place in 22 cities across the United Kingdom and the Beacon Millennium project. It concludes that overall the celebrations were very well received and extremely successful. Given that many of the cities involved do not have a tradition of large scale public new year events, this is a tremendous achievement. Copies of the report have been placed in the Library of the House.

In addition, the Government have received very positive feedback on the major religious events that took place during the first weekend of 2000: the four Millennium Church Services in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast and the Shared Act of Reflection and Commitment by the faith communities of the UK.

The new year celebrations were just the start of a year long Millennium Festival to mark the new Millennium, funded by the National Lottery. People will be celebrating at many thousand events, both large and small, right across the UK in what is probably the biggest planned programme of celebrations the country has seen.

Dome Sponsors

26. Mr. Fraser: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many dome sponsors have yet to finalise their contractual arrangements. [105962]

Janet Anderson: Boots The Chemist, Mars Confectionary and BskyB: all three sponsors remain committed at Board level and we are confident that contractual arrangements will be finalised in the very near future.

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Sponsored Bodies (Funding)

28. Laura Moffatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what his Department's objectives are in negotiating three-year funding agreements with sponsored bodies. [105964]

Mr. Chris Smith: Funding agreements place a clear responsibility on bodies which receive public money to deliver against demanding output targets, and demonstrate how public money is used in pursuit of Government objectives.


29. Sir Sydney Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will make a statement on the balance of payments relating to earnings from tourism. [105965]

Janet Anderson: The Office for National Statistics has estimated, using data from the International Passenger Survey and other sources, that the direct contribution to the UK balance of payments arising from tourism is as shown in the table:

£ million
Exports: earnings from overseas visitors to UK13,77013,80514,366
Imports: expenditure by UK residents going abroad16,72917,44320,194
Balance of trade in services-2,959-3,638-5,828


The UK Trade in Services (Balance of Payments)--Office for National Statistics 1996, 1997 and 1998

This is not a full account of the balance of payments effects of tourism; such an account would need to include, for example, overseas trade in tourism goods and the international investment flows of tourism companies.

In 1998, UK tourism recorded a deficit--£5,828 million on its balance of payments. For the third quarter of 1999 there was a continued deficit of £2,019 million in the balance of payments for tourism.

The upward trend in tourism by both overseas residents to the UK and by UK residents abroad continued in 1998. Exchange rate movements have had significant effects on both overseas and UK residents' travel.


Ms Rosie Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what action his Department has taken to promote volunteering. [105950]

Mr. Alan Howarth: My Department supports a wide range of cultural and leisure activities which not only provide opportunities for volunteering, but benefit greatly from such participation. Volunteers contribute to the achievement of our key objectives, in particular the promotion of access to cultural and leisure activities for all. My Department already does much to recognise, promote and support volunteering and we are currently reviewing our efforts in this area to identify how we can build on this.

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Films (Children)

Mrs. Betty Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what future steps he is taking to encourage the British film industry to make more films for children. [105952]

Janet Anderson: I have asked the Chairman of the Film Council to consider the recommendation of the Film Education Working Group that production of films for children should be one of the priorities of the Council's Lottery strategy. The availability of a wider range of films for children could lead to both educational and commercial benefits.

TV Licences

Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will amend regulations concerning the need for television licences in houses of multiple occupation, to ensure that in those owned by universities for the use of students each student who has a television receiver is not required to purchase a separate licence. [107232]

Janet Anderson: The Government have no plans to amend the television licensing regulations so as to exempt students in accommodation owned by universities from the normal licensing requirements applicable to people living in accommodation in multiple occupation. To do so would discriminate against students living in other types of accommodation, while extending the concession to all students would inevitably prompt demands for similar concessions for other people living in comparable accommodation.

Seaside Resorts

Dr. Ladyman: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps his Department is taking to encourage the regeneration of British seaside resorts; and if he will make a statement. [105966]

Janet Anderson: Regeneration of our seaside resorts is one of 15 key action points in the Government's tourism strategy document "Tomorrow's Tourism". We have made good progress in many areas that will impact beneficially on resorts, including accommodation schemes and the number of resorts included in the new Objective 2 European funding map.

In line with its funding agreement with my Department, the English Tourism Council is driving action on resorts and has set up a Resorts Task Force, drawing upon expertise from both public and private sectors. The Task Force first met last Wednesday and will develop a programme of action to assist resorts with their regeneration strategies.

Nautical Archaeology

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans he has to increase his Department's support for nautical archaeology. [106035]

Mr. Alan Howarth: Following the Comprehensive Spending Review in 1998, my Department has allocated programme expenditure of £255,000 per annum on underwater archaeology for the three years 1999-2000 to

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2001-02. Allocations for the subsequent two years will be reviewed as part of the Government's current spending review.

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