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Ministerial Briefings (Sport)

27. Mr. Hawkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans she has to improve the arrangements for the provision of briefing material to Ministers on subjects related to sport. [2449]

Mr. Caborn: Ministers receive briefing materials on sport from the Government's expert advisers in the sports councils and from a variety of other sources, including many governing bodies of sport. I have found the arrangements for briefing to be satisfactory.

Lottery Funding (Rugby League)

28. Mr. Watts: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on national lottery support for rugby league. [2450]

Tessa Jowell: To date, Sport England has made national lottery awards to rugby league of £1,972,347, to support the national governing body's world class programmes, and £7,918,139 in support of 28 capital projects.

British Lions (Broadcasting)

29. Mr. Dhanda: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans she has to extend the provision for British Lions rugby tours to be broadcast on terrestrial television. [2451]

Mr. Caborn: The list of events of major importance to society protected under part IV of the Broadcasting Act 1996 was last reviewed in 1998. Following wide consultation and the recommendations of an advisory group chaired by Lord Gordon of Strathblane, the Secretary of State extended the list to include the most prestigious events in rugby union—the rugby world cup final and the six nations tournament. The Government have no immediate plans to review the list again.

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Lottery Funding (Coalfield Areas)

30. Andy Burnham: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps she is taking to target Lottery money on former coalfield areas. [2452]

Mr. Caborn: My Department and lottery distributors commissioned research into the impact of the lottery on the coalfields and we are working with coalfield groups to take forward the report's recommendations. I shall report on progress later in the year.

Regional Theatres

31. Ms Munn: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on her plans to increase funding for regional theatres. [2453]

Tessa Jowell: This remains a matter for the Arts Council of England and the Regional Arts Boards. The Arts Council has already announced significant additional funding for theatre from 2002–03 including a 91 per cent. increase for Sheffield theatres by 2003–04, the end of the current planning cycle.

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what is the current deficit of regional theatres in receipt of public funds; and if she will make a statement. [74]

Tessa Jowell [holding answer 25 June 2001]: The estimated deficit was £2.3 million as at the end of March 2001.

Summer Play Schemes

32. Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what support her Department gives to summer play schemes. [2454]

Tessa Jowell: DCMS does not fund summer play-schemes; our support for children's play focuses on funding the development of playworker training, research into the provision of children's play and the funding of the national children's play information service. I certainly see enormous potential for enrichment activities for young people to take place during the school holidays and commend the work which many local authorities already do in this area.

Local Authority (Arts and Museums) Funding

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate she has made of the level of local authority funding for (a) the arts and (b) museums in each of the last four years. [68]

Tessa Jowell [holding answer 25 June 2001]: I refer the hon. Member to the local authority expenditure table on page 218 of the Department's annual report 2001, copies of which are available in the Library of the House. The report can also be accessed via the Department's website at www.culture.gov.uk

Expenditure is classified as "museums and galleries" and as "arts activities and facilities (including Theatres)" for

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capital expenditure and "other culture and heritage" for current expenditure. These figures under the headings are:

£ million

CurrentCapital
Museums and galleries
1997–9813831
1998–9912534
1999–200014145
2000–01(3)16950
Arts activities and facilities (including Theatres)
1997–9867
1998–9976
1999–200096
2000–01(3)109
Other culture and heritage
1997–98128
1998–99131
1999–2000148
2000–01(3)178

(3) Estimated


BBC Digital Services

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what measures she has taken to ensure transparency and public accountability in the process of determining approvals for proposed new BBC digital services. [2412]

Tessa Jowell [holding answer 5 July 2001]: The criteria against which I will be considering the BBC's new digital services are set out in the Department's guidelines for assessing BBC public service proposals; these include a requirement for interested parties to be consulted so that their representations can be taken into account. The guidelines were published on 10 January. Copies were placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate she has made of the effect on the level of take up of digital television of proposed new BBC digital services. [2416]

Tessa Jowell [holding answer 5 July 2001]: I am in the process of considering all relevant aspects of the BBC's new digital service proposals and responses to the Government's consultation on these.

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what evidence she has received from the BBC that the Corporation's proposed new digital services will enhance the take up of digital television. [2409]

Tessa Jowell [holding answer 5 July 2001]: The BBC state, in their application and the additional information supplied in May (available on the DCMS website), that their evidence (eg their consultation report) bears out the report submitted to the Licence Fee Review Panel in 1999. This report concluded that licence fee funded digital services have the potential of significantly increasing digital take up.

Mr. Mark Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when she intends to announce her decision on the applications of the BBC to run (a) a new children's television channel and (b) Network Z. [4256]

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Dr. Howells: The consultation period for the new BBC digital services proposals has been extended to 27 July. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State therefore hopes to be able to make an announcement about her decision in late August/early September.

Analogue Television

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to her answer of 2 July 2001, Official Report, column 73W, on analogue television, when she will publish a strategic plan which will lead to the United Kingdom meeting the criteria for the switch off of analogue terrestrial television broadcasts. [2703]

Tessa Jowell [holding answer 9 July 2001]: The White Paper, "Opportunities for All in a World of Change", outlined the Government's commitment to working with key players in the public and private sector to develop a comprehensive action plan to maximise the benefits and public information about those benefits of digital television by December 2001.

Ministerial Travel

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when she last travelled on the London Underground in the course of her official duties. [3670]

Tessa Jowell: I have not travelled on the London Underground in the course of my official duties since my appointment on 8 June.

Public Bodies (Reviews)

Mike Gapes: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans she has to undertake reviews of the public lending right and the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester. [4027]

Tessa Jowell: As part of the Department's programme of quinquennial reviews of its public bodies, my right hon. and noble Friend the Minister for the Arts is today announcing that this summer we will be starting reviews of the Public Lending Right and the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester.

The reviews will include an evaluation of the role and functions of these bodies and how those functions can best be carried out, and a review of the efficiency and effectiveness of the way in which they deliver services to their users. We estimate that the reviews will be completed next spring. A copy of the announcement has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.


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