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Crime Report

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he intends to publish Lord Birt's report on crime. [25973]

Mr. Blunkett: Lord Birt provides private advice to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on a number of issues. In relation to crime and the criminal justice system, Lord Birt's advice is reflected in the Government's strategy document, "Criminal Justice: The Way Ahead" (Cm 5074), which was published on 26 February 2001.

Zimbabwean Asylum Seekers

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Zimbabwean citizens seeking asylum in Britain have been deported since June 2000. [26620]

Angela Eagle: The latest available information relates to the period April to June 2001, during which an estimated 40 principal asylum applicants (to the nearest five) of Zimbabwean nationality are recorded as having

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been removed from the United Kingdom. This includes persons departing 'voluntarily' after enforcement action had been initiated against them and may include some persons leaving under the Voluntary Assisted Returns Programme, but excludes dependants of those asylum seekers who departed at the same time, for whom nationality information is not available.

Information on the destination of asylum seekers removed from the United Kingdom is not recorded centrally and could be obtained by examining individual case files only at disproportionate cost. Therefore it is not possible to determine how many of these persons were returned to Zimbabwe.

I regret that a nationality breakdown of asylum seekers removed between June 2000 and March 2001 is not available due to data recording problems.

Information on the nationality of principal asylum applicants removed in the period July to September 2001 will be published on 28 February 2002 on the Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate website at immigration1.htm


Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the change in the availability of heroin on Britain's streets if the Government bought the stockpiles and new production of heroin in (a) Afghanistan, (b) Burma and (c) Pakistan. [28117]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: None.


Television Licences (Prosecutions)

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many defendants were proceeded against at magistrates courts in England and Wales for offences under the Wireless and Telegraphy Acts in each of the last four years; how many were convicted; and what was (a) the total of fines imposed and (b) the average fine. [27690]

Mr. Alexander: I have been asked to reply.

The information requested in respect of prosecutions under the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949 is as follows. All prosecutions resulted in convictions.

Number prosecutedTotal fines imposed (£)Average (£)

(9) To 30 September 2001

Millennium Dome

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the cost of the millennium dome

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is, broken down by category of expenditure, from conception to the date for which the most recent figures are available for each financial year; and what future finances have been committed from (a) public finances, (b) lottery funding and (c) other sources. [20190]

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Dr. Howells [holding answer 3 December 2001]: The New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) has advised that the total cost of the Millennium Experience, broken down by expenditure heading, by its financial year is as follows:

£ million

1 April 1997 to 31 March 19981 April 1998 to 31 March 19991 April 1999 to 31 December 19991 January 2000 to 31 December 20001 January 2001 to 18 December 2001Total project
Dome structure and associated infrastructure74128770-4275
Dome exhibits and attractions426149630242
Dome operating costs004261-1102
Commercial communications and marketing3101612041
Set-up costs, staff accommodation IT, legal and corporate services862912-253
National programme191723050
Decommissioning and corporate wind down00062531
Grand total9017933017718794

The cost of the Millennium Experience includes the National Programme of events and activities. Also included is the London Riverside new year's eve celebrations of 31 December 1999. Negative figures shown in the table against 2001 result from rebates and savings on costs provided for in previous years' account.In addition, from 1 July 2001, when the lease of NMEC ended, English Partnerships, the Government's urban regeneration agency, has incurred £1.5 million on care and maintenance related costs, £6.4 million on decommissioning the Dome contents in preparation for a future use and about £2.2 million in relation to the current sale process, up to 31 December 2001. The cost of the previous competition to find a long-term use for the Dome, which began in March 1999 and ended at the beginning of 2001, was £6.7 million. All these costs will be met from within English Partnerships' normal budget, and recovered from eventual sale proceeds.

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much has been spent on fees for advisers to the (a) Government and (b) New Millennium Experience Company for the Dome project. [22693]

Dr. Howells: The New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) paid £82,000 to consultants for specific advisory work in connection with the potential sale of the Millennium Dome. In terms of supplying details of all other advice for all aspects of the project, an accurate figure could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

English Partnerships, the Government's regeneration agency, responsible for managing the Dome sale process on behalf of the Government, is expected to incur costs in the order of £2.2 million for the current sale process up to 31 December 2001. This largely relates to consultants' costs for the market testing and other matters associated with the on-going sale process. The cost of the previous competition for the sale of the Dome, which began in March 1999 and ended at the beginning of 2001, was £6.7 million. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport incurred costs of £68,495 for legal advice relating to the sale process during this period.

An estimated (still to be finalised) £17,600 is likely to be incurred by DCMS for advice received in relation to the appointment of liquidators to NMEC in December 2001.

Departmental Sickness Absence

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will commission and publish an independent report on the reasons for the level of sickness absence in her Department. [26977]

Dr. Howells: The Cabinet Office already commissions and publishes an independent annual report "Analysis of Sickness in the Civil Service". This report includes details of the causes of absenteeism. The report for the year 2000 will be published shortly.

DCMS is committed to managing sickness absence effectively and reducing sickness absence.

Ministerial Transport

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when she last used the railway service in connection with her official duties; what station she left from and what was the destination; and whether it is her intention to make greater use of the railways in future. [28098]

Tessa Jowell: I last travelled by train during the course of my official duties on 12 December 2001. I travelled to Leicester from St. Pancras in order to break the ground at the Bharat Football Club in Leicester.

All travel by Ministers in this Department is made in line with the guidance set out in Chapter 7 of the Ministerial Code and the accompanying guidance document "Travel by Ministers", using the most efficient and cost effective mode of transport and bearing in mind security considerations. We will continue to do so.

Sports Clubs

Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans she has to instruct local

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authorities to reduce rates and rental on sports clubs occupying sites in the ownership of their local authority. [27869]

Mr. Caborn: Local authorities are responsible for rents charged to sports clubs which are located on their property, and the Government have no scope to dictate the amounts charged.

Local authorities can already grant discretionary rate relief of up to 100 per cent. to sports clubs, and the majority do so. However, sport's governing and representative bodies have asked the Government to provide greater certainty for local clubs. I therefore welcome the Charity Commission's announcement of 30 November 2001 that community amateur sports clubs may now apply for registered charitable status. Eligible clubs which successfully apply to become charities will enjoy a range of financial benefits including mandatory rate relief of 80 per cent. (which may be topped-up to 100 per cent. at the discretion of local authorities).

Mr. Swire: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans she has to direct local authorities not to take into account improvements made to sports clubs occupying sites in the ownership of their local authority when agreeing a new lease. [27868]

Mr. Caborn: This is a matter for local authorities, which are responsible for setting the terms of leases of their property. However, the Government expect local authorities to take account of the special characteristics and needs of sports clubs when doing so.

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