|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans he has to amend the provisions of the National Lottery Act 1998 concerning the process of awarding the licence to operate the National Lottery; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Chris Smith: I welcome the fact that the National Lottery Commission has reached a decision on the award of the new Lottery licence. In the light of the experience of awarding the new licence, I intend to review the process to see if there is scope for improving the present system. Any such review will not be instituted until all the arrangements for the new licence are completed; as a result, the scope and nature of the review still have to be decided but I envisage that it will have an independent element, and changes to the legislation have not been ruled out.
Mr. Chris Smith: The Regional Cultural Consortiums are independent advisory bodies providing a focus for each region's many and varied cultural and creative interests. They are currently developing cultural strategies to be published in the next few months. Each strategy will identify the priorities for that region's cultural development over the next few years and include an action plan for implementing them.
All the Consortiums have published draft strategies or undertaken consultation on them. Some have also undertaken surveys of public attitudes to culture and audits of cultural provision in their region. In developing their strategies they are consulting a wide range of individuals and organisations, both in writing and in meetings and seminars. Most are also developing their own websites.
15 Jan 2001 : Column: 26W
creative industries. They are also working with other regional partners to ensure that the energy and enthusiasm of cultural and sporting interests make a significant contribution to economic development, regeneration and social inclusion in their region.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions he has had with the Film Council regarding the publication of actuarial reports on the film franchises. 
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what representations he has received from trustees and directors of national museums regarding his proposals to alter the method of appointing trustees. 
Mr. Chris Smith: Last year I consulted the trustees and directors of national museums on a number of proposals to improve the process of public appointments to the museums and galleries sponsored by DCMS. These proposals were generally well received. Seven out of 10 who commented supported the proposal that those trustee appointments made currently by the Prime Minister should in future be made by the Secretary of State, as many are already. Seven out of eight supported proposals to allow numbers of trustees to be varied and upper and lower limits to numbers set out to allow more flexibility. Nine out of 14 who commented supported the proposal that Boards should have the freedom to appoint at least 25 per cent. of their trustees.
I also consulted on the handling of Chairmen appointments. Five of these are already made by the Secretary of State and two by the Prime Minister. Despite this there was much opposition to the proposal that nine others should be appointed by the Prime Minister and this proposal was accordingly dropped. By contrast there was little opposition at that stage to the alternative proposal that there should be consultation with the Secretary of State and the Prime Minister before Chairmen are elected, a process which in a number of cases happens informally already. However, there have also been subsequent representations on this point, and we are considering these carefully.
15 Jan 2001 : Column: 27W
Ann Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the UK Government are taking to ensure civil society groups are involved in discussions on the search for peace in Colombia. 
Mr. Battle: The UK has played a leading role in encouraging the Colombian Government to ensure that NGOs and civil society groups are fully involved. NGO and civil society organisations made a valuable contribution to meetings in Costa Rica on 17 October and in Bogota on 24 October 2000. We will continue to encourage this dialogue.
We have fully involved NGOs and civil society groups in our own consultations on Colombia. On 19 June 2000 we hosted an international meeting in London to help prepare the ground for a successful conference on Colombia in Madrid in July 2000. NGO representatives participated in both meetings. My right hon. Friend the Member for Redcar (Marjorie Mowlam) and I also met a wide range of NGOs, church and trade union leaders during our visit to Colombia in September last year. We value all these contacts.
Mr. Battle: We fully support the work of the various UN agencies in Colombia. The British Embassy in Bogota works very closely with the UN Human Rights office in Bogota and Embassy officials have visited UN field offices on both Putumayo and Uraba. The UK has been a major contributor to the UN Human Rights office's activities over recent years, most recently contributing £108,000 in March.
Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the present legal position of Mrs. Titina Loizidou and the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg in the case of Loizidou against Turkey. 
Mr. Vaz: Mrs. Loizidou awaits settlement of the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in her case against Turkey in which she was awarded financial compensation for the loss of access to her property. The Government will continue to play their part in the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers, which is responsible for supervising the implementation of judgments and for taking the necessary measures to ensure that they are implemented.
Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had recently with foreign ministers of European countries on Cyprus's application for membership of the European Union; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Vaz: The Foreign Secretary and I have frequent discussions with our EU counterparts on Cyprus's and all the other EU candidates' membership applications. Our most recent substantive discussions were at the General Affairs Council meetings on 20 November and
15 Jan 2001 : Column: 28W
4 December 2000. Cyprus has made considerable progress in its accession negotiations. We look forward to further progress under the Swedish Presidency which will take forward the recommendations made in the European Commission's Enlargement Strategy paper of November 2000.
Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has recently had with the Turkish Government on the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Loizidou against Turkey; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hain: Complementing the collective responsibility of the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers to ensure that judgments of the European Court of Human Rights are implemented, the Government have taken regular opportunities in bilateral discussions to urge Turkey to comply with the judgment.
Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many chapters of the European Union's application for the membership of the Republic of Cyprus have been successfully negotiated; how many remain to be approved; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Vaz: Cyprus has opened 29, and provisionally closed 17, of the 31 chapters of the EU's "acquis communautaire" (the body of EU legislation and practice). We expect significant further progress in the accession negotiations during the Swedish Presidency.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|