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Government Annual Report

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Prime Minister for what reasons the Government have chosen to stop publishing its annual report. [3483]

The Prime Minister: The Government will continue to report to Parliament and the public on their performance through a variety of means such as reports, statistical bulletins, ministerial statements and parliamentary questions. The information in the annual report was in any event a collation of existing, publicly available material.

Echelon Communications Group

Paul Flynn: To ask the Prime Minister if the United Kingdom is a member of the Echelon communications group. [3472]

The Prime Minister: It is long-standing Government policy not to comment on these matters.


Matthew Taylor: To ask the Prime Minister on what dates he visited the United States of America in an official capacity since 1 January 2000; and on which of these occasions he met the President of the United States of America. [3401]

The Prime Minister: I have visited the United States on two occasions since 1 January 2000. I attended the UN Millennium Summit in New York from 5 to 7 September 2000. On that occasion I met President Clinton for bilateral talks on 6 to 7 September 2000.

I also visited the United States from 22 to 24 February this year and met President Bush for bilateral talks at Camp David during that time.


"Mein Kampf"

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will review the availability of "Mein Kampf" in public libraries; and if she will make a statement. [58]

Tessa Jowell: I have responsibility under the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964 to ensure that library authorities in England meet their statutory duty to provide a "comprehensive and efficient" public library service, but the day-to-day management of public library services remains for library authorities, who must make their own decisions about the detailed nature of the library service they provide, based on local resources and priorities. Decisions on book selection are, therefore, entirely for each library authority, provided that their selections keep within the law.

Foot and Mouth

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what representations she has

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received regarding an independent public inquiry into the impact of foot and mouth disease on the tourism industry; and if she will make a statement. [2414]

Tessa Jowell [holding answer 5 July 2001]: I have received no representations specifically regarding an independent public inquiry into the impact of foot and mouth disease on the tourism industry. The Prime Minister has said there will be a proper inquiry into the outbreak once it is over. I am sure this will consider the implications for tourism.

William Roberts

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what measures she is taking to safeguard the contents of the house of the late William Roberts R.A. for public display. [2413]

Tessa Jowell [holding answer 5 July 2001]: Since John Roberts' death in 1995 the works of art of the late William Roberts R.A. have been stored free of charge by the Tate, a national gallery funded by my Department. The William Roberts Society is negotiating to purchase William Roberts' house from Treasury Solicitors, the administrators of the estate, with a view to establishing a museum to display his art. The Tate Gallery also has indicated its interest in acquiring some of the works of art. The Treasury Solicitors Department have given both these parties first refusal on purchasing the house and works of art respectively with a deadline set for proposals to be submitted. My right hon. and noble Friend the Minister for the Arts has urged the William Roberts Society to obtain professional advice to help them with their proposal to turn the house into a museum.

National Museums and Galleries

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many overseas visitors there were to each of the national museums and galleries in the last year for which figures are available; and what proportion this represented of visitors in each case. [2693]

Tessa Jowell [holding answer 9 July 2001]: The estimated numbers and proportions of overseas visitors to each of the national museums and galleries sponsored by my Department in 1999–2000 are contained in the table.

Estimate of overseas visitors to national museums and galleries sponsored by DCMS 1999–2000

Museum/GalleryOverseas visitor numbers (thousands)As a percentage of total visitors
British Museum4,20477
Natural History Museum63838
Imperial War Museum52639
National Gallery2,50050
National Maritime Museum39146
National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside416
National Portrait Gallery11011
National Museum of Science and Industry40014
Tate Gallery85034
Victoria and Albert Museum61148
Wallace Collection7340
Royal Armouries115


These figures are based on visitor surveys.

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Swimming Pools

Mr. Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) what recent representations her Department has received about the state of repair of swimming pools; [3484]

Mr. Caborn: Since my appointment, the Department has received nine representations regarding the provision of swimming pools, although none of these has concerned their current state of repair. The Amateur Swimming Association and the Amateur Swimming Federation of Great Britain have, in conjunction with Sport England, produced a National Facilities Strategy which is due to be published shortly. The aim of this strategy will be to increase participation in swimming through the provision of swimming pools that meets the needs of the population, and will address the need for a network of teaching pools throughout the country.

The Department for Education and Skills has established a Swimming Advisory Group, involving representatives from my Department, the swimming associations, Ofsted and the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority to discuss what more can be done to create even more opportunities for children to swim. Proposals will be announced by the end of the year.


Royal Sign Manual Procedure

Laura Moffatt: To ask the Solicitor-General if she will make a statement on the cancer research rota used in deciding how to distribute funds under the Royal Sign manual procedure. [4241]

The Solicitor-General: The Royal Sign manual procedure is used where a testator makes a bequest in his or her will to charity but the charity is unnamed or unclear. In the circumstances, the Attorney-General, on behalf of the Queen, exercises the Royal Prerogative to direct that the bequest be made to a specific charity, which most nearly represents the testator's intention. A common bequest is for the purposes of "cancer research" but there are several charities which carry out this object. In the absence of any indications of the particular charity, the Treasury Solicitor's Department who administer the scheme has established a rota so that each one of our chosen cancer research charities receive approximately the same amount in any given year. This rota has now been running for almost 20 years, and the Attorney- General and I are seeking the views of the public on its composition. I have today placed a paper describing the issues in detail in the Library. It will be sent to all the registered cancer research and relief charities for their observations and comments.

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Business Regulations

Chris Grayling: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what measures he is taking to simplify and reduce the number and cost of regulations on business. [2069]

Mr. Leslie: The Government are taking a number of measures to control the regulatory burden.

A Regulatory Impact Assessment is required for each new proposal for regulation affecting business to ensure it is necessary and not cumbersome. The Panel for Regulatory Accountability, now given Cabinet Committee status, meets monthly to discuss regulatory performance with departmental Ministers.

At European level we are working closely with other member states and the Commission to build on the real progress my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister reported to the House on 26 March following the Stockholm European Council.

The Regulatory Reform Act 2001 now provides a new and powerful tool for reforming over-burdensome, over- complex and outdated primary legislation. We have identified over 50 examples of reforms that could be delivered by the order-making power in the Act and already issued seven consultation documents on prospective RROs, with more to follow shortly.

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