|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if the powers of Ofcom as proposed in the White Paper, "A New Future for Communications", will include the provision to ensure that television advertisements are accessible to deaf and hard-of- hearing people through the provision of closed caption subtitles. 
Janet Anderson: It is intended that Ofcom will have the same general powers in respect of the provision of programmes for deaf and hard-of-hearing people that the Independent Television Commission (ITC) currently possesses under section 20 of the Broadcasting Act 1996. There are at present no statutory requirements for advertisements to be subtitled on digital terrestrial television; indeed they are specifically excluded from the definition of "programme" under section 20(14). The ITC does not therefore monitor the level of subtitling in advertisements but has advised my Department that about 50 to 60 per cent. of advertisers currently subtitle advertisements voluntarily.
Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when he expects the Independent Television Commission to commence its review on the feasibility of (a) Channel 3 and (b) Channel 4 increasing beyond 80 per cent. the target for subtitling on digital terrestrial television; and when this review is expected to be completed. 
Janet Anderson: My Department recently published the results of a review of the statutory requirements for the provision of subtitling, sign language and audio description services on digital terrestrial television(DTT), which included our intention to raise the level of subtitling on DTT from 50 per cent. to 80 per cent. The Independent Television Commission, which is responsible under the Broadcasting Act 1990 for setting targets on analogue services, have separately undertaken to review the feasibility of Channel 3 and Channel 4 increasing subtitling beyond 80 per cent. in respect of these services before the end of 2001.
6 Mar 2001 : Column: 206W
Department has given to the organisers of (a) Manchester 2002 and (b) the World Athletics Championships in 2005. 
Kate Hoey: The Government have not given any funding guarantees to the organisers of the 2002 Commonwealth Games or the 2005 IAAF World Athletics Championships. However, the Government are providing £10.5 million towards the costs of the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2002 Commonwealth Games.
(3) if he will set joint targets with the Department for Health for the promotion of physical activity. 
Kate Hoey: My Department is working closely with the Department of Health to encourage physical activity, and we will consider the potential for developing joint targets and joint appointments. We have also been working together with the Department for Education and Employment to develop a number of initiatives to improve opportunities for children to enjoy sport in schools including an intention to offer school children an entitlement to two hours per week of high-quality PE and sporting activity within and around the school day. We are consulting on how best to do this. In addition, DCMS is part of the Inter-Ministerial Group to Improve Children's Diet and Activity which is considering cross-departmental action to promote the health benefits of physical activity and to tackle the increasing levels of obesity.
Kate Hoey: Sport England has commissioned a feasibility report into the operation and funding of a Register of Exercise Professionals. Any decision on funding arrangements for the register will be made after the report has been completed and consideration has been given to its findings.
6 Mar 2001 : Column: 207W
Improvements identified during the process achieved a 25 per cent. saving on the purchase of the Department's printed stationery bill. Further efficiency gains have been achieved from the wider communications improvements put in place following the review.
Marjorie Mowlam: The Cabinet Office purchases timber wherever possible from sustainably managed sources. To quantify the proportion of certified timber that the Department has purchased over the last six months would incur disproportionate cost. The Cabinet Office will take advice from the interdepartmental timber working group on timber procurement monitoring and reporting arrangements, and in line with Government guidance to Departments, the Cabinet Office will report details of its timber purchases through the annual Green Ministers' report.
Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what the total cost was of pension contributions paid by the Government (a) to special advisers and (b) into the pension schemes of special advisers, during the period 1 April 1999 to 30 March 2000. 
Mr. Stringer: I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 7 February 2001, Official Report, column 542W. The aim is a new scheme which better reflects employment costs. The new scheme will have an important part to play in supporting the wider corporate objectives and reward strategies of the civil service reform programme.
6 Mar 2001 : Column: 208W
Employer contributions are set on advice from the Government Actuary. Salary-banded contributions averaging 13.5 per cent. of pensionable pay are paid by employers for staff in the existing defined benefit scheme.
The first strand of the new arrangements is an improved defined benefit scheme. Employer contributions to this will be the same as for the existing defined benefit scheme, with the entire cost of the changes met through an increase in the member contribution rate. The second strand of the new arrangements is a defined contribution plan (delivered through stakeholder pension products). Employers will make contributions to this according to the age of the scheme member. In addition to the age-related contribution, the employer will match employee contributions to a maximum of 3 per cent. of pensionable pay. The Government Actuary has not yet finalised the contribution scale for the defined contribution plan, but the scale will be commensurate with the costs to employers of the new defined benefit option for those expected to be attracted to the defined contribution plan.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many press releases were issued by her Department in the financial years (a) 1996-97, (b) 1997-98, (c) 1998-99 and (d) 1999-2000; how many have been issued in the current financial year; and what her estimate is of the total number for the current financial year. 
Marjorie Mowlam: The total number of press releases issued each financial year by my Department is as follows: (a) 180 in 1996-97; (b) 253 in 1997-98; (c) 264 in 1998-99; and (d) 412 in 1999-2000. In this financial year (up until the end of January) my Department has issued 281 press releases. On a purely statistical basis I estimate that for the current financial year my Department will issue approximately 337 press releases.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|