Previous Section Index Home Page


Mr. Ernie Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he last reviewed the working of legislation on gaming; what plans he has for further reviews; and if he will make a statement. [101427]

Mr. Straw: Much of the law on gambling is more than 30 years old. Social attitudes have changed markedly in these three decades and the law is fast being overtaken by technological developments.

The Gaming Board for Great Britain and the Deregulation Committees of the House of Commons and the House of Lords have recommended reform.

There is therefore a good case for a wide-ranging review to design a new structure of regulation for the gambling industry and to test public perception.

This will not be a simple task. The main controls are laid down in three major Acts of Parliament--the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act 1963, the Gaming Act 1968 and the Lotteries and Amusement Act 1976, together with associated secondary legislation. Reform will raise important issues. The social and economic impact of any change will have to be carefully assessed.

I intend to set up an independent review body next year, bringing together a wide range of relevant expertise. It will be asked to report to me within 12 months on proposals for reform.

The Government will not be asking the review body to consider changes to the National Lottery, although the review will clearly need to address the impact on the Lottery of changes proposed for the regulation of gambling generally.

We will announce the full terms of reference shortly.

8 Dec 1999 : Column: 535W


Prison Service

Mr. Gareth R. Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when the Quinquennial Review of the Northern Ireland Prison Service will be launched; and if he will make a statement. [102155]

Mr. Ingram: The Northern Ireland Prison Service will have completed five years of operation as an executive agency on 31 March 2000 and, therefore, is subject, like other agencies, to a Quinquennial Review. I am announcing the review today and intend that it should be brought to completion by July 2000.

The review will be directed by a Steering Group under the Chairmanship of the Prison Service Fraser Figure and inclusive of an independent element.

The Steering Group will be supported by a Project Team led by a member of the Senior Civil Service from outside the Northern Ireland Prison Service. The leader of the Project Team will report to the Steering Group on a regular basis.

The review process will provide extensive opportunities for consultation with internal and external stakeholders and will follow the procedures recommended in the Guidance on the review of Agencies and Non- Departmental Public Bodies published by the Cabinet Office.

Robert Hamill

Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what progress has been made in the inquiry by the Independent Commission for Police Complaints into the circumstances of the death of Robert Hamill; when he expects the Commission to complete its investigation; and if he will make a statement. [101855]

Mr. Ingram: The Independent Commission for Police Complaints (ICPC) have advised that on 16 January 1998 they issued a Statement expressing their view that the criminal investigation into a complaint, that police had witnessed the attack on the late Robert Hamill but had failed to intervene as promptly as possible, had been conducted to its satisfaction. This investigation was conducted under the close supervision of the ICPC by a senior CID officer of the RUC who had no connection with the Portadown district. The Northern Ireland Director of Public Prosecutions subsequently directed no criminal prosecution against any police officer involved. The ICPC is currently supervising the police investigation into the disciplinary issues relating to the complaint made and this process is at an advanced stage.


Museums and Galleries

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps he will take to increase the ability of museums and galleries to make acquisitions. [101851]

8 Dec 1999 : Column: 536W

Mr. Chris Smith [holding answer 7 December 1999]: There are already several methods by which the Government enable museums and galleries to make acquisitions. Acceptance in Lieu and Private Treaty Sale schemes continue to provide owners with an incentive to offer outstanding works of art to the nation in lieu of inheritance tax. Through the Museums and Galleries Commission, the Department provides funds for the PRISM Fund (71 grants worth £292,567 in 1998-99) and the V&A Purchase Grant Fund (227 grants worth £1 million) thus assisting regional museums to acquire objects for their collections. In addition, the Heritage Lottery Fund has doubled its acquisition budget from £5 million to £10 million. It has recently supported the acquisition of Botticelli's The Virgin adoring the Christ child (£7.69 million) and has helped regional museums and galleries to acquire objects which will significantly enhance their collections, provide educational benefits, and encourage local support and interest. Under this Government, grant-in-aid to the national museums and galleries has been increased: it is for Trustees to decide their spending priorities.

School Sports

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what measures he has taken to promote participation in cricket in schools within the last year. [101350]

Kate Hoey [holding answer 6 December 1999]: We have been working in partnership with the England and Wales Cricket Board's Development Department and Sport England to promote participation in cricket at schools and clubs for all young people. Cricket is supported by Sport England's Active Schools initiatives, which include the Youth Sports Trust, TOP sports, the Activemark and Sportsmark award schemes, and Coaching for Teachers. In addition, Sport England provides support to governing bodies' junior development initiatives, including Kwik Cricket in primary schools. Kwik Cricket has helped boost the number of primary school pupils playing the game and, working with initiatives for older school children, has helped the number of young people playing cricket in schools and clubs, according to ECB figures, grow to 2.4 million last year. To continue to take this forward, the ECB are in consultation to help design a game specifically for secondary schools, "Intercricket", which will be launched next year. I have attended a number of cricket matches aimed at widening the support for cricket in schools.

Mr. Dobbin: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans he has to increase involvement in (a) rugby, (b) football, (c) cricket and (d) hockey in schools. [101429]

Kate Hoey: Sport in schools provides the foundation for our sporting future, and contributes to the education and health of young people. All four of these sports are already supported by Sport England's Active Schools initiatives, which includes the Youth Sports Trust TOP sports, the Activemark and Sportsmark award schemes, and Coaching for Teachers. The first School Sports Co-ordinators will be appointed in September 2000, and will provide a real boost for coaching and competition in a wide range of sports, including team games. In addition, Sport England provides support to governing bodies'

8 Dec 1999 : Column: 537W

junior development initiatives, including Rugby Football Union Development Officers and Kwik Cricket in primary schools.

WTO (Seattle)

Mr. Dafis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport which Ministers and officials from his Department were represented at the World Trade Organisation meeting in Seattle. [101679]

Mr. Alan Howarth: None. However, in preparing the European Union's negotiating position for the WTO Ministerial Conference, my Department was fully involved, at both Government and Community level, to ensure that the UK's audiovisual interests were taken into account.

Carn Brea Leisure Centre

Ms Atherton: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement regarding the proposed closure of Carn Brea Leisure Centre in Cornwall. [100230]

Kate Hoey: I want to ensure that all communities have access to quality sports facilities and the opportunities to participate in sporting activities. The Government place great importance on community sports facilities such as Carn Brea, and I am therefore very concerned about its proposed closure.

The Government also place great importance on the teaching of young people to swim, and swimming remains a statutory element of the primary National Curriculum. It is vital, therefore, that the local council do everything it can to keep the facilities at Carn Brea open to the many thousands that benefit from their use.

The Chairman of Sport England and I have both written to the Chairman of Kerrier District Council making clear our concerns and urging the Council to maintain Carn Brea.

Departmental Research Contracts

Dr. Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many research contracts have been let by his Department since May 1997; what is the value of each contract; and in each case whether the contract included (a) a departmental veto over publication of the research results, (b) departmental control over the date of publication of the research results and (c) a requirement that the final research results incorporate departmental amendments. [100147]

Mr. Chris Smith [holding answer 6 December 1999]: There have been 20 Contracts let between 1 May 1997 and 30 November 1999 which contain an element of research. Details are given in the table.

Research contractsValue (5) (£)(a)(b)(c)

(5) Value has been interpreted to mean the price of the contract

8 Dec 1999 : Column: 538W

Next Section Index Home Page