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ES Job Bank

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many vacancies are on the ES Job Bank; and how many people access the learning and work website each day. [160217]

Ms Jowell [holding answer 3 May 2001]: Responsibility for the subject of the question has been delegated to the Employment Service agency under its Chief Executive. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from Mark Neale to Mr. David Willetts, dated 8 May 2001:

Youth Cards

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what progress has been made on the introduction of youth cards. [159816]

Mr. Wicks [holding answer 1 May 2001]: Following an extensive procurement exercise conducted under the European Union Procurement Directive's Negotiated Procedure, the Government have selected CAPITA as their preferred bidder to develop and deliver the Connexions Card.

The Connexions Card is an exciting and innovative development, which will provide a powerful incentive to young people to stay in learning.

The Connexions Card will be rolled out initially in one region from autumn of this year and then progressively so that it will be available across England from autumn 2002.


Concessionary Television Licences

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if residential homes are entitled to a free television licence for televisions that are watched both by residents over the age of 75 years and other people. [155412]

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Janet Anderson: The Government have received a number of representations from hon. Members and members of the public on this subject. We are continuing to consider the matter.

Departmental Policies

(Shrewsbury and Atcham)

Mr. Paul Marsden: 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 the Shrewsbury and Atcham constituency, the effect on Shrewsbury and Atcham of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [158433]

Mr. Chris Smith: Since May 1997 my Department has introduced and developed a variety of initiatives which will impact on my hon. Friend's constituency 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 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 by 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 online learning centres; and a further £50 million to stimulate development of content to support the Network.

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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 on "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-made, 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.

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

Shrewsbury and Atcham

According to the information supplied to us by the distributing bodies for the national lottery awards database, there have been 157 national lottery awards to Shrewsbury and Atcham since May 1997, totalling £10,155,404. This includes an award from the Millennium Festival of £30,000.

Thirty-four Millennium Award Winners have been identified from Shrewsbury and Atcham and between them they have received grants totalling £89,185.

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 6,500 people aged 75 or over living in the Shrewsbury and Atcham constituency.

Shropshire Library Authority, which covers the Shrewsbury and Atcham constituency, received awards from the DCMS/Wolfson Public Libraries Challenge Fund of £99,494 in 1997-98, £85,932 and, as a member of a consortium of authorities, £324,439 in 1999-2000, and £23,775 in 2000-01. All the awards were for public library ICT projects, except for the 2000-01 award which was for a reader development project with the county's homeless community. It is not possible to say what proportion of the overall funding benefited the Shrewsbury and Atcham constituency, but the 1997-98 award was for a project wholly based in Shrewsbury library.

School Sport Co-ordinators will be based in families of schools, in areas of greatest need, linked wherever possible through local education authorities to Specialist Sports Colleges. They will provide opportunities for young people to compete regularly for their school and

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take part in a wide range of sports. By 2004, there will be about 250 families established with 1,000 secondary schools and up to 6,000 primary schools benefiting directly from this programme. There is one school sport co-ordinator in Shrewsbury and Atcham attached to Wolverhampton MBC.

English Heritage have awarded the following grants:

There are of course other initiatives in the wider context of the region which may have an effect on the Shrewsbury and Atcham constituency. These include the receipt by the West Midlands Arts Board of £10,378,000 in 2000-01 from the Arts Council to support arts and cultural activity across its region. In 2001-02 this will increase to £11,361,686 or by 9.5 per cent.

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