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Departmental Policies

(Plymouth Unitary Authority)

Mrs. Gilroy: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to (a) Plymouth, Sutton constituency, (b) Plymouth, Devonport constituency and (c) South-West Devon constituency, the effects on the Plymouth Unitary Authority area of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [158025]

Mr. Chris Smith [holding answer 23 April 2001]: Since May 1997 my Department has introduced and developed a variety of initiatives which will impact on the Plymouth Unitary Authority area which promote our objectives of access, excellence, education, and creativity and employment. We have published strategies to take this forward including "Tomorrows Tourism" and "A Sporting Future for All", which was recently followed up by "The Government's Plan for Sport". We have tackled the issue of social inclusion taking forward the recommendations of Policy Action Team 10 on Arts and

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Sport and developing social inclusion policies across all our areas which is recognised within the most recent progress report "Building on PAT10".

We have given more support to the cultural and sporting infrastructure. The Spending Review 2000 secured a doubling of the budget for sport and the largest ever increase for the arts: an increase of 80 per cent. from £186 million in 1997-98 to £336 million in 2003-04. In taking forward our aim to develop the educational potential of culture and sport £40 million has been allocated to developing Creative Partnerships; we have established through lottery funding, the £30 million National Foundation for Youth Music; and secured an additional £130 million for primary schools sports and arts facilities through the Space for Sport and the Arts programme. With £120 million of central Government and lottery funding we will be providing a school sports co-ordinator in one in four secondary schools to work with local primary and special schools to improve sporting provision and physical education for children in the most deprived areas. We have delivered free access to national museums for children and the over 60's and additional money will be provided to allow this to be extended to everyone in December 2001. We have commissioned a taskforce which is currently considering the issues facing non-national museums in the regions.

We have made improvements in the way the lottery is spent to ensure a fairer distribution. The introduction of the New Opportunities Fund for spending on health, education and the environment has made a real difference to communities everywhere. For instance it has invested £120 million to support the People's Network, which will enable all 4,300 public libraries to offer free public internet access through UK on-line centres; and a further £50 million to stimulate development of content to support the Network.

We have set up a Regional Cultural Consortium in each of the English regions outside London to champion culture and creativity, including heritage, sport and tourism, and to draw up regional cultural strategies identifying regional objectives and priorities.

We have published a Green Paper "Culture and Creativity: The Next Ten Years", setting out how individual creative talent can be given the support it needs from childhood to flourish; how artists and cultural institutions can be freed from bureaucratic controls; and how the freedom to explore and enjoy creativity and culture can be made available to all.

Through their commitment to public service broadcasting, the Government have helped to foster an environment in which a creative, commercially successful broadcasting industry provides a wide range of UK-make, high quality, original programmes catering for all viewers and listeners. We have ensured a secure funding base for the BBC and S4C, while giving them the freedom to develop commercial operations which complement and support their public service remit. We have made clear in the Communications White Paper that public service broadcasting will continue to have a key role to play in the digital future. The Government have introduced free television licences for people aged 75 or over from 1 November last year.

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In delivering these initiatives we aim to make cultural and sporting activities inclusive ones, boosting participation and improving the quality of life for all.

Plymouth Unitary Authority area

According to the information supplied to us by the distributing bodies for the national lottery awards database, there have been:

In addition, there were two larger travelling festival events which covered all three constituencies with total grant of £150,000; plus a grant of £75,000 for Plymouth new years eve celebrations 2000--A Festival of Light.

Information on the number of beneficiaries of free television licences by constituency is not available, but estimates based on the 1991 Census indicate that there were approximately:

The National Foundation For Youth Music have awarded Estover Percussion Project £58,500. This project will be run through a structure of taster, extended and advanced workshops in the skills of Djing, scratching and sampling using the latest developments in computer generated technology. The Consortium is made up of E-A-Z, Music Zone, Plymouth Youth Service and the Racial Equality Service and Estover Percussion Project.

English Heritage have made the following awards:

There are of course other initiatives in the wider context of the region which may have an effect on the Plymouth Unitary Authority area. These are:

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National Lottery (Test Purchasing)

Mrs. Gilroy: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what his Department's policy is on the use of children of compulsory school age in undertaking test purchasing of National Lottery tickets during school hours; and if he will make a statement. [158490]

Kate Hoey: It is an offence to sell a National Lottery ticket to a child under 16 years of age and my Department, and the National Lottery regulator, the National Lottery Commission, are concerned to prevent such sales. The National Lottery operator, Camelot Group plc, makes test purchases using 16-year-olds who appear younger, but cannot make test sales using children under 16. Trading standards officers are able to make test purchases using children under 16. Advice to them on the use of children to make test purchases was included in Home Office Circular 17/1992. A copy of this Circular is in the Libraries of the House.

After-school Learning and Child Care

Mr. Linton: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what is the amount of money allocated in Wandsworth from the New Opportunities Fund for out-of-school hours learning and child care; and if he will list the schemes available for pupils in Battersea from these allocations. [158555]

Kate Hoey: I understand the New Opportunities Fund has written directly to my hon. Friend with the information he requires. I am arranging for a copy of the letter to be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

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