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Concessionary Television Licence

Mr. Winnick: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what representations he has received calling for an extension to the concessionary television licence; and what would be the annual cost if it were extended to those aged (a) 65 to 69 and (b) 70 to 74 years. [147532]

Janet Anderson [holding answer 26 January 2001]: We have received a number of representations from hon. Members and from members of the public suggesting extensions to the current concession. The estimated additional cost of extending free television licences to people aged 70 to 74 is £185 million a year with a further £185 million a year for people aged 65 to 69.

Television Licences

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what his latest estimate is of the (a) number and (b) percentage of households in (i) Northern Ireland, (ii) Wales, (iii) Scotland and (iv) England that are evading payment of the television licence fee. [147825]

Janet Anderson [holding answer 29 January 2001]: The BBC, as Licensing Authority, estimates evasion principally on a United Kingdom-wide basis and estimates of evasion by country cannot be produced on the same basis or to the same level of accuracy. All estimates relate to licensable premises rather than households. As at 31 March 2001, the latest date for which figures are available in the form requested, the estimated evasion figures were:

(a) Estimated evasion (number of licensable premises)(23) (b) Estimated evasion (percentage)
Northern Ireland112,00018.2

(23) Estimates calculated by applying the estimated percentage evasion rate to the estimated number of licensable premises

The statistical model used to estimate the evasion rate for the UK as a whole is currently under review and the Government aim to adopt the revised model in the near future.

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Millennium Dome

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) when he first was informed of Mr. Robert Bourne's interest in acquiring the Millennium Dome; [147720]

Mr. Chris Smith [holding answer 29 January 2001]: The competition for the sale of the Dome was launched on 4 March 1999 with an initial deadline of 26 March 1999 for submitting expressions of interest. On 18 March 1999 I met Robert Bourne and he outlined his initial ideas for the future use of the Dome. On 31 March 1999, I and other Ministers were informed by officials of the names of those 54 organisations, including Legacy plc, who had expressed an interest in bidding for the future use of the Dome. I met Robert Bourne again on 14 June 1999 but the meeting was entirely about the future of theatre in London, and the Dome was not discussed.

Millennium Commission

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much money is owed to the Millennium Commission out of the sale proceeds of the millennium dome; and if interest will be paid on this sum. [147777]

Janet Anderson: Under the terms of the revised Grant Memorandum, which came into effect on 30 November 2000, issued by the Millennium Commission to the New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC)

Any amount repayable under this grant condition will be calculated following the completion of all that is necessary to achieve the solvent liquidation of NMEC. Additionally, under the terms of the agreement between NMEC and English Partnerships, details of which were reported to the House by my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for Local Government and the Regions on 17 January 2001, Official Report, column 258W,

Interest will not be paid as the Commission will receive all of any surplus funds available and the moneys received from the Commission have been grants, not loans.


Local Elections

Mr. William Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what action he has taken to ensure that the local council elections in Northern Ireland are able to take place on 16 May. [148032]

Mr. George Howarth: There is a statutory requirement, as set down in my answer of 25 January 2001, Official Report, column 679W, for local council elections to take place in Northern Ireland on 16 May.

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Mr. William Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he has requested (a) the chief executive of any district council in Northern Ireland and (b) the Chief Electoral Officer of Northern Ireland to make provision for local elections to be held on 16 May. [148033]

Mr. George Howarth: I refer the hon. Member to my reply of 25 January 2001, Official Report, column 679W, which set down the statutory provision for the timing of local government elections in Northern Ireland. It is the responsibility of the Chief Electoral Officer for Northern Ireland to set in hand provisions to meet those statutory requirements.

James Alfred Cornhill

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what was the outcome of the investigation into the shooting of James Alfred Cornhill on 19 April; and what views were expressed by the Independent Commission for Police Complaints. [142332]

Mr. Ingram: The police inquiries are now complete and a full investigation file will be submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions during January 2001. The investigation was supervised by the Independent Commission for Police Complaints until the Commission was superseded by the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland, whose views will not be available until some time after the investigation file is submitted.

David McCombe and Padraig McCracken

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the outcome was of complaints filed against the RUC concerning the arrest of David McCombe and Padraig McCracken in the Glen Road area in December 2000; what action has been taken against the officers concerned; and what guidance is given to the police for the handling of minors. [146772]

Mr. Ingram: The Police Ombudsman's Office is investigating a complaint lodged on 9 January on behalf of David McCombe and Padraig McCracken. The investigation is at an early stage.

Police have at their disposal a number of regulations and forms of guidance when dealing with minors, but the exact form used would depend upon the pertaining circumstances.


Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, pursuant to his answer of 9 January 2001, Official Report, column 519W, by what means the police in each district keep records of individuals who have been warned that their personal details, as compiled by security forces, have been found in possession of persons suspected of having been engaged in the preparation, instigation or commission of acts of terrorism; and what statistical information he collates on the number of individuals who are, and who have been, put at risk. [146516]

Mr. Ingram: The police keep manual records at sub-divisional level on each occasion when an individual is informed that he/she is considered to be the subject of a threat regardless of the origins of the information. A

30 Jan 2001 : Column: 136W

nominal record is created for each person and subsequent threats recorded. Following notification of the individual and the updating of local records, details are passed to RUC Headquarters to be collated centrally. This is a manual system based on the individual. Statistics are not maintained and to create such statistics would incur a disproportionate cost.

Police Duties

Mr. Maginnis: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many police officers are specifically trained and exclusively employed for (a) motorway patrol duties and for (b) anti-racketeering duties in Northern Ireland. [144686]

Mr. Ingram: The Royal Ulster Constabulary does not have a dedicated motorway patrol unit, however, there are currently 184 constables within RUC Traffic Branch who are trained to perform these duties.

There is no dedicated RUC Anti-Racketeering Unit although there are a number of officers and civilian support staff from a number of branches including the Economic Crime Bureau and the Analysis Centre whose duties include investigating racketeering. Personnel from the Regional Crime Squads, CID and local uniform police also provide support as necessary.

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