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Synchronised Swimming

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the training facilities available for synchronised swimming. [134705]

Kate Hoey: The Amateur Swimming Federation of Great Britain and the Amateur Swimming Association have produced a National Facilities Strategy for Swimming which is in final draft form and should be published by the end of the year. The National Strategy considers the needs of various swimming disciplines and includes identification of the requirements for synchronised swimming.

The £120 million Lottery investment in the English Institute of Sport (part of the United Kingdom Sports Institute) includes over £10 million on swimming and diving projects, to add to previous investment of over £20 million in 50 metre pools at the Manchester Aquatics Centre and the University of Bath.

A number of swimming pools which are being developed as part of the Institute will be suitable for synchronised swimming training at the elite level, but there will also be refurbished or new community facilities suitable for synchronised swimming use by the wider community.

National Lottery Commission

Mr. Fearn: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans his Department has to change the role of the National Lottery Commission. [135401]

Kate Hoey: None.

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Athletics Facilities

Mr. Faber: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many of the seats at the proposed Lee Valley Stadium would be provided on a temporary basis for the World Athletics Championships in 2005. [134845]

Kate Hoey [holding answer 26 October 2000]: According to the current design concept developed by Drivers Jonas as part of the feasibility study for the Lee Valley Stadium, between 15,000 and 20,000 of the 40,000-45,000 seats available for the World Championships will not be included in the long-term legacy stadium.

Mr. Faber: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment he has received from the British Olympic Association of the suitability of the proposed Lee Valley Stadium as a venue for track and field athletics and the opening and closing ceremonies of a London Olympic Games; and if he will make a statement. [134841]

Kate Hoey [holding answer 26 October 2000]: I have received no such assessment. The British Olympic Association are involved in discussions about the possible future uses of the stadium and attend meetings of the Lee Valley Stadium Forum.

Mr. Faber: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if it is his policy that the proposed Lee Valley Stadium should be capable of being upgraded to act as the venue for track and field athletics and the opening and closing ceremonies of a London Olympic Games. [134839]

Kate Hoey [holding answer 26 October 2000]: The main priority for the project partners involved with the development of the new National Athletics Stadium is to provide a world class facility capable of hosting the World Athletics Championships in 2005 which is also capable of ensuring that athletics have a national centre for the future development of the sport. No decisions have been taken which would rule out the possibility of the stadium being used as a venue for a future Olympic Games.

Mr. Faber: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will make a statement about the meeting of the Lee Valley Stadium Forum on 2 October. [134836]

Kate Hoey [holding answer 26 October 2000]: The Lee Valley Forum meeting on 2 October 2000 discussed a number of matters including the emerging conclusions of the business and technical feasibility studies commissioned by the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority and UK Athletics, an update on the plans for staging the 2005 World Championships and a progress report on the provision of accommodation for competitors.

Mr. Faber: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions (a) he and (b) the Minister for Sport have had with (i) members and (ii) representatives of the International Amateur Athletics Federation about the development of a venue for the 2005 World Athletic Championships since the award of those championships to London; and if he will make a statement. [134838]

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Kate Hoey [holding answer 26 October 2000]: No formal discussions have been held with the International Amateur Athletic Federation to discuss the successful London bid for the 2005 World Championships, since the award of the Championships in April. UK Athletics are required to give the IAAF a progress report on the staging arrangements, including the development of the venue, by the middle of next year.

Mr. Faber: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what his assessment is of the impact of the proposed development of a national athletics stadium at Picketts Lock on the long term viability of athletics facilities in (a) Gateshead, (b) Birmingham, (c) Sheffield and (d) Edinburgh. [134840]

Kate Hoey [holding answer 26 October 2000]: The new national athletics stadium will provide a new, world class venue for athletics which will enhance the profile of the sport across the United Kingdom. UK Athletics are currently looking at the impact of the new stadium on athletics but have made it clear that any effects on large scale events currently staged outside London should be minimised.

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what advice he has received from Sport England regarding the suitability of Picketts Lock as the site of an athletics facility; and if he will make a statement. [134602]

Mr. Chris Smith [holding answer 26 October 2000]: UK Athletics selected Picketts Lock as the site on which to base their bid for the 2005 World Athletics Championships following extensive discussions with Sport England, UK Sport, the Government Office for London, a number of local authorities and with my Department. Since the success of the bid, the Lee Valley Stadium project team comprising the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority and UK Athletics have commissioned consultants to advise on the optimum design for the stadium and on business planning options.

Sports Stands

Mr. Faber: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if it is his policy that all new sports stands or seating funded from the National Lottery should be covered. [134837]

Kate Hoey [holding answer 26 October 2000]: No, neither my Department nor Sport England have a specific policy on whether stands funded by the Sports Lottery Fund should be covered.

Wembley Stadium

Mr. Faber: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport which representatives from his Department were present at the most recent meeting of the Wembley Task Force. [134833]

Kate Hoey [holding answer 26 October 2000]: The Department sends an observer to meetings of the Wembley Task Force. The official who attended the most recent meeting held on 25 October 2000 was Ian O'Neill of the Sport and Recreation Division.

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport by what date he expects Sport England to have received the repayment of

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£20 million of National Lottery money due as a result of the decision to exclude athletics from the redeveloped Wembley Stadium. [135701]

Mr. Chris Smith: The Football Association and Wembley National Stadium Ltd. have now applied to Sport England to vary the lottery funding agreement for Wembley Stadium, and the final agreement on the terms of the return of the £20 million will be concluded shortly.

Spoliation Advisory Panel

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will make a statement on progress of the work of the Spoliation Panel. [135386]

Mr. Alan Howarth: I expect the Spoliation Advisory Panel to offer its advice early in November.

Visitor Attractions

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what representations he has received from members of the visitor attraction industry concerning the impact on their businesses of Lottery- funded competitors. [134490]

Mr. Chris Smith [holding answer 26 October 2000]: My Department has received a number of representations from members of the visitor attraction industry concerning this issue. The National Lottery Act 1998 requires distributors to submit strategic plans; this helps to ensure that Lottery funding responds to need and that recipients complement existing attractions rather than compete with them.

National Lottery

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will list the public statements issued by his Department since 1 July on the award of the next licence to operate the National Lottery. [134600]

Mr. Chris Smith [holding answer 26 October 2000]: My Department issued press releases on 23 August 2000 (on the National Lottery Commission's announcement of its decisions about the new licence); on 5 October 2000 (on the resignation of Dame Helena Shovelton from the National Lottery Commission); and on 12 October 2000 (about the appointment of Lord Burns to the Commission).

In addition, I and colleagues answered a number of parliamentary questions and have given a number of interviews to the media on this subject.

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate he has made of the cost to National Lottery funds of extending the licence of the existing operators for (a) two months, (b) six months and (c) one year. [135699]

Mr. Chris Smith: Decisions on a possible interim licence are a matter for agreement between the National Lottery Commission and the current operator.

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