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Departmental Transport

Dr. Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much his Department has spent on Ministerial transport in each of the last two years. [98700]

Mr. Chris Smith: The total cost of providing the Government Car Service for my Department was £318,807 in 1997-98 and £351,875 in 1998-99.

Digital Television

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many representations he has received (a) in favour of and (b) against the suggested supplement to the licence fee for digital television purposes. [99322]

Janet Anderson [holding answer 24 November 1999]: To date we have received 543 representations on the independent review panel's recommendation for a digital licence supplement. Of those (a) 14 were in favour and (b) 529 were against the proposal.

BBC World Service Television

Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) what recent representations he has received concerning the BBC's decision to remove current affairs and analysis programmes from the schedules of the BBC World Service Television; and if he will make a statement; [101361]

Janet Anderson: We have received three representations from hon. Members and their constituents. I have no present plans to meet the Chairman of the BBC to discuss BBC World, as it is a long standing principle that the Government do not intervene in the BBC's programming and editorial issues.

BBC Funding

Mr. Dafis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the resolution of the National Assembly for Wales of 16 November concerning the future funding of the BBC; and what response he plans to make. [101646]

Janet Anderson: We are currently considering the recommendations of the independent review panel on the future funding of the BBC in the light of the responses to the public consultation and will take the National Assembly for Wales' resolution into account as part of that process. We expect to announce our final decisions in January.

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) if Pannell Kerr Forster will accept external submissions to their review of the future funding of the BBC; [102418]

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Mr. Chris Smith: Pannell Kerr Forster are carrying out a tightly focused but detailed study of the BBC's finances to give us the information we need to reach a decision on the appropriate level of funding for the BBC up to 2006. It is not part of Pannell Kerr Forster's terms of reference to take account of views submitted in response to the public consultation or to accept external submissions. We will, of course, be taking account of the views of the commercial broadcasting sector, and everyone else who responded to the public consultation, in reaching our conclusions.

World Cup 2006

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will make a statement on the current situation in respect of England's bid for the 2006 World Cup. [101349]

Kate Hoey [holding answer 6 December 1999]: The Government are providing the fullest diplomatic and promotional support for the Football Association's bid to stage the 2006 World Cup. For example, my hon. Friend the Member for West Ham (Mr. Banks), in his capacity as the Government's Special Envoy on 2006, was in New Zealand, Thailand and Korea recently with a Football Association delegation to promote the bid. We will continue to do so between now and the decision by the FIFA Executive Committee next July. It is an excellent bid.

In late October, my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister, the Home Secretary, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury, my hon. Friend the Member for West Ham, and myself, met a FIFA Inspection Group. The FIFA delegates, who visited England to inspect the facilities, described England's bid and its stadiums as "outstanding".

Tourism (North-West)

Mr. Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimates he has made of the value of the tourism industry to (a) the North West, (b) Greater Manchester and (c) Bolton in each of the last three years. [101666]

Janet Anderson: Tourism expenditure in (a) the North West and (b) Greater Manchester by visitors who stayed at least one night is as follows for each of the last three years:

£ million

199619971998
North West1,8501,9191,790
Greater Manchester413444405

Source:

UK Tourism Survey, International Passenger Survey.


Official sources do not provide reliable estimates of tourism expenditure in Bolton or any other sub-county local authority areas.

It is likely that the inclusion of the spending during tourism day visits would at least double these amounts.

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James Bond Film

Mr. Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what location fee was paid to the New Millennium Experience Company by the producers of the film, "The World is not Enough". [101647]

Janet Anderson: A commercial rate was paid to NMEC by the makers of the film. The contractual arrangements reflect normal practice in the commercial sector and are subject to confidentiality requirements applicable to both parties.

Duty Free

Mr. Fearn: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what representations his Department has received from international tourism organisations on travellers' understanding of the new duty free system. [101629]

Janet Anderson: Since the abolition of duty-free sales to intra-EU travellers on 30 June 1999, my Department has received no representations from international tourism organisations about passengers' understanding of the new successor regime for ships and aircraft. I am advised that Customs and Excise are working very closely with the trade to ease the transition and make sure that accounting arrangements are made as simple as possible.

Religious Organisations (Broadcasting Licences)

Mr. Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will make a statement on his plans to review the law prohibiting religious organisations from holding national radio broadcasting licences. [102215]

Janet Anderson: We are considering the introduction of early broadcasting and communications legislation to ensure that a regulatory framework is in place which recognises the developments across those industries. The ownership of radio licences for religious broadcasting will be one of the issues for consideration in that context.

SOLICITOR-GENERAL

Nuclear Deterrence Policy

Mr. Tony Benn: To ask the Solicitor-General what advice he has sought on the legality of British nuclear deterrence policy. [102132]

The Solicitor-General: As a matter of convention (observed by successive Governments) neither the substance of the Law Officers' advice on a question, nor the fact that they have been consulted, is disclosed outside Government, other than in exceptional circumstances. I can however confirm that legal considerations are always taken fully into account in the formulation and application of defence policy. The Government are confident that Britain's nuclear policy and posture, as set out most recently in the Strategic Defence Review, are entirely compatible with our obligations under international law.

Mr. Tony Benn: To ask the Solicitor-General what representations he has received about permission for a private prosecution of those responsible within

13 Dec 1999 : Column: 40W

Government for infringements of international humanitarian law based on the Government's nuclear deterrence policy. [102131]

The Solicitor-General: My office receives letters from the public from time to time on the Government's nuclear deterrence policy. A request for permission for a private prosecution under the Geneva Conventions Act 1957 was received last year. However, the Law Officers take the view that the application of the Government's nuclear deterrence policy does not involve an infringement of either domestic or international law, and accordingly permission was not given.


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