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Lottery Funding

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what is the level of lottery funding expected for competitive sport for (a) 2001–02 and (b) 2002–03; and what was the level in 1996–97. [17177]

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Mr. Caborn: My Department's funding for competitive sport is provided through the lottery-funded world class programme, administered by the Sports Councils: UK Sport and Sport England.

The Sports Councils expect to provide funding of over £50 million in 2001–02 to this programme and over £40 million has already been committed for the year 2002–03 with further awards anticipated. There was no lottery expenditure for the world class programme in 1996–97.

Television Licence

James Purnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will announce the television licence fees that will come into force next year; and if she will make a statement. [18435]

Dr. Howells: On 21 February 2000, the Government announced their conclusions on the recommendations of the independent review panel on the future funding of the BBC. In addition to a range of measures designed to improve BBC efficiency and accountability, the Government introduced a new funding formula providing for changes in the licence fee of RPI plus 1.5 per cent. for each year from 2000–01 to 2006–07. This formula will enable the BBC to provide a strong and distinctive schedule of high quality programmes and remain at the forefront of broadcasting technology.

Application of the RPI figure of 1.7 per cent. for the year to September 2001, plus 1.5 per cent., to the current unrounded licence fees produces new rounded totals of £112.00 for a colour licence and £37.50 for a black and white licence. The necessary regulations to bring these fees into force will be laid before the House in due course.

Media Ownership

James Purnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when she will publish her proposals to reform the existing rules on media ownership. [18436]

Tessa Jowell: The consultation paper entitled "Consultation on Media Ownership Rules" will be published on Monday 26 November to help us determine the best way to regulate media ownership. There will be two months formal consultation ending on 25 January 2002. Copies will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament and on Monday and will be available on the Department's website at Having considered the responses, we will publish our proposals in the draft Communications Bill next year. There will then be a further, three-month period of consultation.

Medically Therapeutic Activities

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will list the joint initiatives and funds that are applied to the provision of leisure and sporting activities that are classed as medically therapeutic; and if she will make a statement. [17802]

Mr. Caborn: The Government fully accept that physical activity and sport has a range of benefits including better health and our plan for sport spells out

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our policies and strategy for increasing participation among all sectors of the community, particularly the young.

The young and active report, published in 1998, brought together the views of experts and evidence on health and physical activity and put forward a policy framework on the promotion of physical activity for young people. The report outlined the following beneficial health outcomes of physical activity, including;

The plan for sport sets out the steps which the Government are taking to enhance opportunities and increase participation at school, in the community and at the highest levels of performance. Overall, it offers a comprehensive package of improvements to the sporting experience in this country. This is being achieved through co-operation between all Government Departments and agencies involved with promoting physical activity and health. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is working closely with the Department of Health and other Departments to develop a cross-government approach.

Since lottery funding began, Sport England has allocated £1.25 billion to over 3,350 sports projects.

In addition, major funding has been allocated to improving sports facilities and sporting provision throughout England. This includes:

Sports Action Zone (West Cumbria)

Dr. Jack Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what progress has been made by the sports action zone in West Cumbria; what targets have been reached; what new investment has taken place; what the projects involved are; and if he will make a statement. [16969]

Mr. Caborn: A needs assessment and action plan for the zone was approved by Sport England's lottery panel in October 2001. This provides the framework for action over the next five years and contains 28 tasks/projects to be delivered in year 1 which will improve health, education and employment prospects for communities in the districts of Allerdale, Barrow and Copeland.

In addition sport action zone (SAZ) magnet funding of £99,313 has been awarded by Sport England to employ three "active living" posts in Barrow. These posts aim

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to promote and increase the amount of physical activity accessed by socially excluded groups and ensure that the community has a direct influence over the co-ordination and future planning of sport and activity in Barrow. They will work in partnership with Health Promotion in Barrow, Age Concern and the Barrow Sport Development team. The project will target groups such as young men, young women and middle aged to older adults, aiming to promote better health, preventive measures for chronic health conditions and reduce teenage pregnancies. Further partnership funding of £282,629 has been obtained to develop bids for the magnet fund. A further £282, 629 has been secured from funding organisations including: NW single regeneration budget; Youth Justice Board; Home Office; South Whitehaven single regeneration budget; neighbourhood renewal fund in Barrow; West Cumbria Council for Voluntary Service; sure start; youth works; Cumbria county council; health action zone; West Cumbria local health group; which has enabled an additional £136,813 to be accessed from the magnet fund.

A sport for health manager has also been appointed for West Cumbria to promote the benefits of sport and physical activity on health to organisations such as local health groups and Age Concern. Projects that are being developed in partnership with health related organisations include promotion of the Walking for Health initiative to tourist boards, developing cardiac rehabilitation phase 4 centres and enhancing a GP referral scheme in Copeland.

Other initiatives include the first rural youth works programme for 8 to 25-year-olds aimed at reducing crime in one of Copeland's worst affected areas, the development of a sport and physical activity directory for the zone, and the development of a programme of "speedway" taster sessions to encourage young people to have access to safe places to ride. A successful Home Office funded programme of summer activities for young people in Barrow took place this year involving partnership between Age Concern, the Barrow Youth Inclusion project and Barrow Amateur Swimming Club. A survey is currently taking place in Barrow to ascertain current sport/physical activity participation levels.


Benefits Agency

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much was spent on the services of each recruitment specialist engaged by the Benefits Agency in the last financial year. [15612]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: In the financial year 2000–01, the Benefits Agency spent a total of £34,962 on the services of one firm of recruitment specialists.

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many attacks on Benefits Agency staff have resulted in staff absence of (a) up to a week, (b) up to a month, (c) up to six months and (d) six months or more in each of the last five years. [14228]

Mr. Nicholas Brown [holding answer 12 November]: The information requested is held on individual staff records but is not collated centrally.

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