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Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 17 January 2001



Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what progress has been made in implementing a sickness management policy for the RUC and the RUC Reserve; what quality controls are in place; and what have been the results on levels of absence owing to sickness in the RUC. [144386]

Mr. Ingram: A sickness management policy was approved by the Chief Constable's Policy Group in December 2000 subject to minor amendments which have now been implemented. The policy is being introduced during January 2001 with management of it devolved to supervisors supported by advice from the Personnel Department. It is not yet possible to determine the effect on absence due to sickness but this will be closely monitored.

Mr. William Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many police officers in Northern Ireland there are in each rank; and how many posts there are in each rank. [141940]

Mr. Ingram: The following table shows the established and actual strengths of the Royal Ulster Constabulary as at 3 January 2001:

Chief Constable11--
Deputy Chief Constable21--
Assistant Chief Constable97--
Superintendent ranks1611636
Chief Inspector1681692
Full-time Reserve3,2022,554--
Part-time Reserve1,7651,097--

(1) Not included in actual figures

Special Branch

Mr. Maginnis: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent discussions he has had with the Chief Constable of the RUC about plans to reduce the establishment of Special Branch; to what extent his plans are based on (a) political considerations and (b) research into the potential for both terrorist and organised crime; and if he will make a statement. [144682]

Mr. Ingram: The Secretary of State discusses a broad range of policing issues with the Chief Constable on a regular basis. Changes will be implemented in the light of assessments of the security situation.

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Police Ombudsman

Rev. Ian Paisley: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland has declared a personal interest in the (a) Hamill Inquiry and (b) the Rosemary Nelson Inquiry. [144679]

Mr. Ingram: The Police Ombudsman has declared no personal interest in either the Hamill or Rosemary Nelson Inquiries.


Millennium Dome

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what information he received from (a) Mr. Pierre-Yves Gerbeau, (b) Mr. David James and (c) related parties concerning an offer to buy the site of the Millennium Dome. [144711]

Janet Anderson [holding answer 11 January 2001]: The Government are currently in negotiation with Legacy plc, the second placed bidder in the competition for the future use of the Dome. If all goes well we hope to be in a position to exchange contracts in February. No offer has been received from Mr. Pierre-Yves Gerbeau, Mr. David James or any other related party to buy the site of the Dome. The Government have received an expression of interest from Mr. Gerbeau, but the rules of the competition do not allow the Government to treat with third parties while Legacy plc continue to have preferred bidder status.

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will list the ownership of each of the Millennium Dome's zones, together with his plans for their disposal, listing the beneficiaries of any sale proceeds in each case. [144715]

Janet Anderson [holding answer 11 January 2001]: All except two of the Millennium Dome's zones are owned by the New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC). The two not in NMEC's ownership are 'Journey' and 'Talk' which are owned by Ford and BT respectively. The content of the zones is a mixture of items owned outright by NMEC and items hired from third parties. The latter are being returned to their owners as the first priority of decommissioning. A range of NMEC assets are subject to private treaty sale and public auctions which are currently intended to be held between 27 February 2001 to 2 March 2001 at the Dome. The aim is that zone structures and assets not sold by private treaty or auction will be dismantled and disposed of during March, subject to the negotiations with Legacy plc proceeding to timetable and plan. The beneficiary of income from the asset disposals owned by NMEC will be NMEC. Any surplus achieved by NMEC, having regard to its assets and liabilities as a whole, will be passed to the Millennium Commission as repayment of Lottery grant.

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many visitors to the Millennium Dome (a) paid full prices, (b) paid a reduced price and (c) entered free in (i) November and (ii) December. [144709]

Janet Anderson [holding answer 11 January 2001]: The New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) has advised that it will be publishing full visitor attendance

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numbers later in the year once the final accounts for the operational year and all the associated data have been audited. At this stage the NMEC has provided the following statistics, but the hon. Member will wish to note the caveats which have been set out in the footnotes.

November 2000December 2000
Total free(2)54,446145,749
Total discounted(3)250,312371,614
Total sponsors from discounted (4)16,28417,540
Full price tickets (5)82,358219,681
Total attendance(6)387,117737,044

(2) Includes free school visits, carers for disabled people, sponsor ticket allocation, accompanying teachers on paying school visits, coach drivers, Greenwich residents, NMEC guests and VIPs. November Free Schools=22,500, December Free Schools=89,500.

(3) This reflects a range of promotions and offers which are normal for the visitor attraction business and which are factored into the company's business strategy. For example, NMEC ran a number of offers and promotions with its sponsors for their customers and also ran a special ticket price for entry after 4.00pm. Key promotions with M&S, Boots, Tesco and BT have been undertaken. The Tesco half price promotion was redeemed in October, BT was redeemed in November and December.

(4) Sponsor tickets were purchased and allocated per each individual sponsorship contract.

(5) This number is an approximation and as such should be used for review purposes only. There is insufficient accuracy for them to be regarded as audited or validated information.

(6) Total attendance does not take into account non-attendance by ticket purchasers. It represents visitor footfall via the admission system and not total tickets sold.


NMEC operated two different systems, one for Ticket Sales (Enta) and one for Admissions (ACS). The admissions system recorded total attendance, but did not show details of the attendance, i.e. purchase source of admission or monetary value of admission. Consequently figures for Free and Discounted tickets are derived from the ticketing system, whereas Total attendance is derived from the admission system.

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what independent valuations of the site of the Millennium Dome have been initiated by his Department. [145412]

Janet Anderson [holding answer 16 January 2001]: My Department has undertaken no independent valuations of the Millennium Dome site. A pre-sale valuation of the Dome site has been undertaken in the context of the competition to identify a sustainable long term use for the Dome. This exercise has been led by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions. The Government estimate of the financial value of the site is commercially confidential while the process to secure a buyer continues.

Unlicensed Televisions

Mr. Fearn: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many prosecutions for the use of TV equipment without a licence there were in (a) 1998, (b) 1999 and (c) 2000; and what the monthly trend is. [144939]

Janet Anderson: The number of prosecutions for the use of television receiving equipment without a licence was 104,000 in 1998, 78,000 in 1999 and 144,000 in the year 2000. The BBC, which has responsibility for the administration and enforcement of the television licensing system, has indicated that there is no underlying monthly

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trend and that prosecution rates tend to be fairly even across the year, except following specific enforcement initiatives.

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