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Adult X Channel

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when he intends to issue a proscription order against the Adult X Channel, as recommended by the Independent Television Commission. [134616]

Janet Anderson: The proscription of the Adult X Channel is a matter on which we are currently carrying out necessary consultations.

Spending Data (Visitors)

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how his Department calculates average spending by visitors to (a) England, (b) Scotland, (c) Wales and (d) Northern Ireland. [134478]

Janet Anderson: My Department calculates the average spending by visitors to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland using statistical data provided by the UK tourism survey and the International Passenger Survey. Figures for the last full year for which information is available are as shown.

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Average spending by visitors 1999

Overseas residents UK residents
Visits to the UK (Thousand)Spending (£ million)Average spend per visit (£) Visits within the UK (Thousand) Spending (£ million)Average spend per visit (£)
United Kingdom25,39412,370487145.915,925109
Northern Ireland2941093701.2210175


The International Passenger Survey and The UK Tourist Key: Key Trends 1990-99

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The IPS interviews a random sample of passengers as they enter or leave the UK by the principal air, sea and tunnel routes. The UKTS is based on interviews with a random sample of UK adult residents for every survey. The results from the interviews are weighed, taking into account of a number of factors, to produce national estimates. The national estimates are then used to calculate average spend per tourist trip.

BBC1 Evening News

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) if he intends to hold a six-month review of the performance of BBC1 evening news programmes in order to ensure compliance with the Royal Charter and Agreement; and if he will make a statement; [134622]

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Janet Anderson: It is not for the Government to review the performance of the BBC 10 o'clock news and we have not asked for or received a commitment from the Board of Governors that they will do so. The Governors are, however, committed to reviewing annually all of the BBC's public services against the criteria published in this year's Annual Report and Accounts. This will include the whole of the new BBC1 schedule. The results of these reviews will be published in next year's Annual Reports and Accounts.

Regional Orchestras

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the current deficit is of regional orchestras in receipt of public funds; and if he will make a statement. [134598]

Mr. Chris Smith: The projected figure for the nine orchestras for 1999-2000, quoted by ACE at the launch of its orchestral review last year, was £9,546,525. I understand actual figures to March 2000 have been collected and will be available soon.

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Royal Opera House

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what revisions have been made to the budget of the Royal Opera House in the last six months; and if he will make a statement. [134489]

Mr. Alan Howarth: The budget of the Royal Opera House is a matter for the Board and Management of the House. I understand, however, that there have been no revisions to the budget in the last six months.

The Royal Opera House companies continue to attract a large and varied audience for their work. The House achieved over 90 per cent. capacity for performances of opera and ballet in the main auditorium in the first season after re-opening, and ticket prices have been reduced in many areas. A broad and innovative programme of education work has involved over 100,000 school children, as well as young people and adults from all backgrounds. I applaud the artists, board and management of the House for their commitment to producing excellent work for the widest possible audience.


Criminal Justice Review

Mr. McWalter: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the outcome of the consultation on the report of the Review of the Criminal Justice System in Northern Ireland. [135507]

Mr. Mandelson: The report of the Review of the Criminal Justice System was published in March, taking forward an important element of the Good Friday Agreement. The Review undertook a fundamental examination of the justice system in Northern Ireland, and the report cogently addresses a wide range of issues, backed up with extensive research. It emphasises the centrality of human rights, the need to safeguard and entrench the legal system's independence, and the importance of joined-up delivery and enhanced co-operation between the justice agencies and the wider community.

I welcomed the report and initiated a consultation process on its recommendations. The period of consultation ended on 29 September, and I am grateful to all those who submitted their views.

Overall, the consultation elicited a wide and positive range of responses. Inevitably with such a comprehensive report reservations on some of the proposals have been expressed, and we will wish to consider further the particular recommendations on which comments have been made. But there has been a wide measure of agreement on the overall shape of the proposed reforms, and a consensus among most respondents that the report represents the broad way forward.

The Government fully endorse the general approach taken in the report. Informed by the consultation exercise, we have now put in hand the detailed work needed to prepare legislation and an implementation plan. As the Prime Minister has said, these will both be published next April.

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The report envisages that responsibility for the justice system should be transferred to the Assembly. The Government intend and are willing to devolve responsibility for policing and justice functions, as set out in the Good Friday Agreement. We need first to pave the way by completing the implementation of the policing reforms and giving practical effect to the decisions made on the Criminal Justice Review. Thereafter, devolution will follow as soon as practicable.

I will make a further statement in due course as the detailed work progresses.


Election of Speaker

Mr. Baker: To ask the President of the Council if she will bring forward proposals to change the method of election of Speakers. [134662]

Mrs. Beckett: This is a matter which falls within the remit of either the Procedure Committee or the Select Committee on Modernisation of the House of Commons, or perhaps both. If such a Committee or Committees comes forward with proposals, they can then be put before the House.


Appointments Commission

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the President of the Council if the minutes of meetings of the Appointments Commission are to be made public. [133716]

Mrs. Beckett: I understand that the Commission does not plan to make its minutes public since much of its work will consist of discussion of individuals. There is already a considerable amount of material about the Commission's working methods on its website


General Fisheries Commission

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement on his policy towards the establishment of a general fisheries commission for the Mediterranean; if Her Majesty's Government will be represented; if the Government of Gibraltar will be represented; what voting arrangements will apply; what costs are involved; what manner of external donations towards running costs are permitted; and what is the nature of European Commission involvement. [134207]

Mr. Morley: The Government support the establishment of appropriate Regional Fisheries Organisations (RFOs) and encourages their application of the principles in the United Nations Fisheries Agreement.

Although the UK has no fishing interests in the Mediterranean it will be involved in the usual way in the preparation and co-ordination of an EU position in relation to the activities of the General Fisheries

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Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM). As with other RFOs, it will then be for the Commission to negotiate on behalf of the EU.

Gibraltar is not represented in the GFCM as it does not have a domestic fleet which would be affected by the work of the Commission which concerns stocks in international waters in the Mediterranean.

Each member of the GFCM has one vote. The EU Commission is entitled to use the number of votes equal to the number of member states entitled to vote. The GFCM is currently funded by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN. Agreement has been reached on the need to establish an autonomous budget for the Commission.

Discussions continues on how contributions should be determined. Once the autonomous budget has been ratified the GFCM will be able to accept voluntary contributions offered either for the general run of its activities or for specific projects.

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