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BBC News

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what representations he has received regarding the decision of the BBC to move its main evening news from 9 pm to 10 pm; and what discussions he has had with the director-general of the BBC on the subject. [136403]

Janet Anderson: We have received 45 representations on the BBC's decision to reschedule the nine o'clock news. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State

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expressed his misgivings about the BBC's decision when he met the chairman and director-general of the BBC to discuss a range of topics on 6 October.

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. [136398]

Kate Hoey: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 30 October 2000, Official Report, column 325W.

Marine Archaeology

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what progress has been made since his meeting in May with the hon. Members for Knowsley, South (Mr. O'Hara) and Linlithgow (Mr. Dalyell) on the protection of sites of marine archaeological interest. [135329]

Mr. Alan Howarth: The Government remain fully committed to securing, at the earliest opportunity, the necessary legislation to provide English Heritage with powers below the mean low water mark. This will place underwater archaeology on the same footing as land based archaeology, allowing access to English Heritage grant funds and support which are currently not available to underwater archaeological work.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is working on placing, during the current financial year, a number of wreck marker buoys and information signs at or near to sites which are designated under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973. We are continuing to support, through the Heritage Grant Fund, a maritime archaeological project undertaken by the Hampshire and Wight Trust and the archaeological diving training programme provided by the Nautical Archaeological Society.

Playing Fields

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many new (a) public playing fields and (b) school playing fields have been funded by the National Lottery. [136769]

Kate Hoey: Specific information on lottery funding directed to both new public and school playing fields is not available. However, the Sports Lottery Fund has made 35 awards totalling nearly £17.6 million for projects creating both new and upgrading existing public playing fields, so they may be brought back into use. The Sports Lottery Fund has also made 15 awards totalling nearly £14 million for creating both new, and upgrading school playing fields.

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what progress has been made in the development of a national register of playing fields. [136755]

Kate Hoey: The proposals for a national register of recreational land were originally put forward during the preparation of the Playing Pitch Strategy by the GB Sports Council, the National Playing Fields Association and the

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Central Council for Physical Recreation in 1989. The objectives of the register from the outset were; to monitor change in the recreational land resource; to assist in policy development at the local and national level; to provide information to the public. This proved to be an extensive task, surveying over 70,000 individual pitches on more than 23,000 sites across England. An independent evaluation of the register in 1994 found a number of shortcomings with the data. These shortcomings were due to a number of factors including the voluntary nature of the project, with owner and managers of sites under no obligation to provide data, and many refusing to co-operate.

A review of the effectiveness of the register in 1998 indicated that the likelihood of achieving and maintaining a comprehensive, accurate, up-to-date national inventory of playing pitches was remote. Sport England, with the support of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the National Playing Fields Association, and the Central Council of Physical Recreation, is currently working with the Local Government Association on a suitable model of the register which can be used by local authorities to undertake assessments of playing field need and provision in their area.

National Lottery Commission

Mr. Jack: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many newsagents have made representation to his Department expressing concern about recent actions of the National Lottery Commission. [135335]

Mr. Chris Smith: I have received a range of representations about the award of the next National Lottery licence, including a few from newsagents. I have given Lord Burns, with the other Commissioners, a clear remit to bring the current process to a timely and fair conclusion and I have every confidence in their ability to do so.


Public Service Agreements

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Prime Minister which Cabinet committees monitor public service agreements; and if he will make a statement. [134832]

The Prime Minister: The Committee on Public Services and Public Expenditure (PSX) has its terms of reference

Environmental Policies

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list the meetings (1) he has held with environmental non-governmental groups in 2000 to discuss the future of environment policy; [135434]

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The Prime Minister: I have meetings with a wide range of organisations and individuals. As with previous Administrations, it is not my practice to provide details of all such meetings.

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Prime Minister what account he took of comments posted on the No. 10 web site, at your say/environment in preparation of his speech to the Joint Green Alliance/CBI partnership meeting on environmental policies on 24 October. [135539]

The Prime Minister: I am well aware of the range of opinion on these issues, which I reflected in my speech.


Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Prime Minister what procedures exist in his Department for a civil servant to report actions which (a) are illegal, improper, or unethical, (b) are in breach of constitutional convention or a professional code, (c) may involve possible maladministration and (d) are otherwise inconsistent with the Civil Service Code. [135492]

The Prime Minister: Civil servants in my Department are encouraged to report such actions to their line manager in the first instance. If for any reason an individual feels unable to do this or if the matter cannot be resolved in the management line, he/she may report such actions to one of two Designated Officers. Alternatively, he/she may report the matter to the independent Civil Service Commissioners, either directly or through the Permanent Secretary.

Scottish Civil Service

Mr. Grieve: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on his responsibilities for the Scottish Civil Service and its adherence to the Civil Service Code. [135946]

The Prime Minister [holding answer 31 October 2000]: Under the terms of the Scotland Act 1998, civil servants working in the Scottish Executive are members of the Home Civil Service and subject to the requirements of the Civil Service Code.

Mr. Grieve: To ask the Prime Minister if he will refer to the Cabinet Secretary the proposals of the First Minister, the hon. Member for Central Fife (Mr. McLeish) in relation to privileged access for Labour MSPs to civil servants of the Scottish Executive and compliance with the Civil Service Code. [135945]

The Prime Minister [holding answer 31 October 2000]: The First Minister, my hon. Friend the Member for Central Fife (Mr. McLeish) has made his position clear in the following terms:

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I see no reason for referring the matter to the Secretary of the Cabinet.

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