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Sexual Services (Advertising)

Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) what discussions he has had with the radio and television regulatory bodies regarding the use of radio and television to advertise sexual services; [133635]

Janet Anderson: I wrote to my hon. Friend on 9 August and placed a copy of my letter in the Libraries of the House.

Table Tennis

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what powers he has to curtail Sport England's funding of table tennis. [134099]

Mr. Chris Smith: The way in which it allocates its grant-in-aid is primarily a matter for Sport England, subject to the terms and conditions of its Royal Charter and its Financial Memorandum, agreed with my Department. The Financial Memorandum provides that grant-in-aid is to be used by Sport England for the furtherance of its objects and the exercise of its powers within the terms of the Royal Charter, the Memorandum and of any other guidance or conditions, general statements on policy or directions issued by me.

Subject to these general constraints, the Financial Memorandum states that Sport England may determine how it spends its grant-in-aid without my prior approval, except in certain defined exceptional circumstances. The allocation of Lottery funding by Sport England is subject to general directions issued by me and specified types of funding may be prohibited by order.

UK Sports Institute

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when the error on pages 46 and 47 of the Government's annual report regarding the UK Sports Institute was first brought to his attention. [134100]

Mr. Chris Smith: The passage referred to in the Government's annual report could have been misleading, and certainly did not give a full picture of progress in the development of the UK Sports Institute.

To date, over £50 million of Lottery funding has been committed by Sport England to facilities for the English network of the UK Sports Institute. In May/June 2000, the water-based hockey pitches in Birmingham and Cannock were among the first completed new projects. Detailed designs and project development work have been

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undertaken for the network sites at Sheffield, Manchester, Bath and Loughborough. The Stage Two Lottery application for athletics, judo, netball, table tennis, and general facilities at Sheffield has already been approved. Many more projects are well advanced and it is expected that the majority of the remaining Lottery applications, representing over £60 million of further investment in network facilities in England, will be made in the next six months.

In addition, the UKSI--Scottish Institute of Sport, funded by Sport Scotland, has been established and operating for 18 months and the Sports Council for Wales has been operating and developing UKSI Cymru for some time. Both have been providing a range of services direct to athletes including technical training and support, conditioning guidance and supervision, preventive and reactive sports medical support and sports science.

Across the UK as a whole, the Athlete Career and Education programme (ACE UK) is up and running, providing personal development courses to athletes to meet their individual needs, as well as a high performance coaching programme introduced to provide a range of sport and coach specific personalised programmes in IT skills through to specific training sessions.

I am arranging for copies of the UKSI Quarterly Update report for August 2000--produced by UK Sport--to be placed in the Libraries of both Houses to provide further information on progress of the UK Sports Institute.


Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport who is responsible for appointing the chairman of the Independent Football Commission; and what discussions he had in this regard with (a) football governing bodies, (b) football supporters groups and (c) the right hon. Member for Copeland, (Dr. Cunningham). [134123]

Mr. Chris Smith: As I announced on Friday 20 October, I have agreed to appoint the Chairman of the Independent Football Commission for his or her first term and I am now seeking applications for this post. I will select the preferred candidate on the advice of an appointments panel chaired by one of my officials as would be the case with a public appointment.

I have held a wide number of discussions about the recommendations of the Football Task Force with football governing bodies, football supporters groups and other interested parties including my right hon. Friend, the Member for Copeland, (Dr. Cunningham).

Millennium Dome

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on what date (a) the Millennium Commission and (b) the New Millennium Experience Company were advised that agreement had been reached with Dome Europe for the sale of the Millennium Dome. [134124]

Janet Anderson: The New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) was informed of the Government's decision to make Dome Europe preferred bidder on 26 July. The Millennium Commission was informed at its meeting on 27 July.

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Philharmonic Hall (Liverpool)

Mrs. Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what funding is being made available to Liverpool City Council in respect of the Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool. [133881]

Mr. Alan Howarth: I am aware of negotiations currently between Liverpool City Council and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Society over the future running of the Philharmonic Hall. I am not aware that final conclusions have been reached. The question of whether additional funding would be available to the City Council is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions.

Free Television Licences

Ms Southworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many pensioners will benefit from free television licences in Warrington, South this year. [133753]

Janet Anderson: Everyone aged 75 or over will be entitled to benefit from a free television licence from 1 November this year, but television licences cover households rather than individuals. Exact figures on the number of households which will benefit from the concession are not available. However, the 1991 Census New Parliamentary Constituency Monitor, published by the Office for National Statistics, shows the population of the Warrington, South constituency as 88,040, of which 2.2 per cent. were men aged 75 and over and 4.3 per cent. were women aged 75 and over.

Playing Fields

Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many acres of (a) public and (b) school playing fields have been sold off in each year since 1997. [133989]

Kate Hoey: Information on the acreage of public playing fields sold since 1997 is not available. Sport England does however, monitor the number of planning applications concerning playing fields in its role as statutory consultee.

The Amendment to Section 77 of the School Standards and Framework Act in October 1998, which was brought in to halt the previous Administration's policy of forcing schools to sell off playing fields, has introduced powers that require all state schools to seek consent for the sale of playing fields from my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Employment. In making his decision my right hon. Friend will take into account a number of criteria including consultation with the community and user groups, whether the proceeds will be used for education or used to enhance or improve sports provision, and whether the remaining playing fields fully meet the needs of local schools and the community.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Employment gave approval for the sale of 26.4 acres of school playing fields in England in 1998; 111.2 acres in 1999, and 60.9 acres in 2000.

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Asylum Seekers

Mr. Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what provision he has made to meet the needs of asylum seekers who have been victims of torture before arriving in the UK. [133823]

Mrs. Roche: All asylum seekers and their dependants are entitled to register with a doctor to receive medical treatment. Doctors can refer asylum seekers who have, or who it is believed may have, been tortured to specialist medical practitioners to enable them to receive appropriate treatment. The National Asylum Support Service (NASS) may consider meeting the travel costs of asylum seekers supported by it who need to travel to the Medical Foundation for an initial assessment in connection with their application for asylum. NASS will also consider meeting the travel costs of an asylum seeker it is supporting in dispersed accommodation and who needs to travel to the Medical Foundation for specialist treatment following referral by their General Practitioner.

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