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Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will list the compulsory retirement ages which apply to employees of her Department and of executive agencies and other public sector bodies for which it is responsible, broken down by grade or job title. 
Dr. Howells: The normal retirement age for all staff in my Department is 60. In the Royal Parks Agency (the Department's only Executive Agency), the normal retirement age is also 60, but staff may be allowed to stay beyond 60 where
Roger Casale: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment she has made of the likely impact of the proposed Network Z radio services on existing commercial provision. 
Dr. Howells: In accordance with the guidelines published by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, advice was sought from the Department's legal advisers, finance advisers and economists, and others within and outside the Department, including the Office of Fair Trading. This advice, along with the BBC's
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application and information contained in the consultation responses, was taken into account by the Secretary of State in making her assessment.
Mr. Dhanda: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what information the BBC furnished her, in its application to establish Network Z, about the views of (a) the BBC's legal, finance and policy advisers, (b) the Executive Committee and (c) the Board of Governors; and on what dates they were given. 
Dr. Howells: In its application to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport requesting approval to launch new digital services, dated 9 January 2001, the BBC confirmed that the proposals had received the approval of the BBC's legal, regulatory, and policy advisers and were approved by the Executive Committee on 5 December 2000 and by the Board of Governors on 14 December 2000. The BBC Chairman wrote to my right hon. Friend the Member for Islington, South and Finsbury (Mr. Smith) on 4 April 2001 reiterating the views of the BBC governors. This letter, together with other correspondence between the Department and the BBC, was placed in the Libraries of both Houses in July.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on the Government's plans to ensure that Premier Christian Radio is able to apply for a new licence. 
Dr. Howells: The Radio Authority has recently readvertised the analogue licence which Premier Christian Radio hold until June 2003. It is for Premier Christian Radio to decide if it wishes to reapply.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make it her policy to make funds available to organisations representing the rural tourist industry to publicise the lifting of restrictions caused by the foot and mouth crisis. 
Dr. Howells: Although no specific funds were given to organisations representing the rural tourist industry, of the £3.8 million provided to the English Tourism Council (ETC) on 6 April for advertising and promotion, £2 million was given directly to the English Regional Tourist Boards (RTBs). This is in addition to the ETC's annual grant-in-aid allocation of £9.6 million, approximately half of which is allocated to the regions, including the RTBs. The RTBs also gained access to £50 million made available through the rural recovery fund.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the value of financial assistance from Government to the tourist industry in England has been since the start of the foot and mouth crisis. 
Dr. Howells: Since the start of the outbreak, the Government have provided additional funds of £3.8 million to the English Tourism Council and £14.2 million to the British Tourist Authority for marketing and promotion.
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In total, the Government have allocated in excess of £300 million in aid to small rural businesses, mainly in the tourism sector. This includes £50 million for the business recovery fund, £22 million for hardship rate relief, £120 million in loans available under the Small Firms Loan Guarantee Scheme and £4 million to help authorities re-open pathways. Many towns hit by foot and mouth are also included in a £100 million market town regeneration scheme. All these measures bring enormous benefits to the rural tourism industry.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate she has made of the loss in revenue to the tourist industry in England as a result of foot and mouth since the start of the outbreak. 
Dr. Howells: Our best estimate to date is that the loss of revenue in 20012002 by the English tourism industry is likely to be about £3.3 billion in "value added" terms over the 8-month period under consideration (March to October). We will continue to revise the model on which this estimate is based in the light of the latest available data.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much expenditure was incurred by her Department in (a) publicising the closure of rural tourism areas during the foot and mouth crisis and (b) publicising the subsequent lifting of restrictions. 
Dr. Howells: No specific funding was provided by the DCMS for publicising the closure and subsequent lifting of restrictions in the countryside. However, the ETC and BTA have used additional funding to provide information on what attractions are open to prospective visitors through websites and information centres, as part of their overall marketing strategies.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what measures her Department is taking to reverse the impression that tourist areas formally restricted because of foot and mouth, and now re-opened, are still closed. 
Dr. Howells: At the regional, national and international level, new tourist websites and visitor hotlines have provided reassurance and a clear picture that Britain is open. Leaflet information has also proved successful. Much of the £18 million in additional funding provided by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to the British Tourist Authority (BTA) and English Tourist Council (ETC) has been used in strategic advertising and marketing campaigns to motivate potential customers and provide information on what is open. Furthermore, DCMS Ministers attended a number of high-profile domestic events to increase rural tourism's exposure and counter myth.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if her Department was consulted by the then Department for Education and Employment on the implications for the tourism industry of proposed changes in the duration and number of school terms. 
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Dr. Howells: This Department has not been consulted by the Department for Education and Employment, or its successor, on the implications for the tourism industry of proposed changes in the duration and number of school terms. Last year the Local Government Association established the Independent Commission on the Organisation of the School Year, whose report "Rhythms of Schooling" was published in September 2000. The Commission's remit was to consider the wide-ranging effects of current arrangements and it made various recommendations, including about the duration and number of school terms. It has since received feedback from an extensive consultation and published its response earlier this month. Tourism bodies have been involved throughout the process and were included among the consultees, as was the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Decisions about the number, length and dates of school terms and holidays are taken by each local education authority and not by central Government, and we have no plans to change this. The Government will look carefully at the LGA's final recommendations (expected in December). However, we would need to be convinced that there was widely based support for a change before considering legislating to impose a new uniform format.
Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on her policy towards the maintenance of regional theatres in England. 
Dr. Howells: This remains a matter for the Arts Council of England and the Regional Arts Boards. The Arts Council announced significant additional funding for the wider theatre sector in March and by 200204 the amount spent on theatre by the funding system in England will increase to £70 million. 65 per cent. of the additional funding will go to regional producing theatres.
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