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6. Mr. Philip Hammond (Runnymede and Weybridge): What representations she has received from the existing regulators with regard to the shadow Ofcom. [43147]

The Minister for Tourism, Film and Broadcasting (Dr. Kim Howells): All the existing regulators have welcomed the proposal to establish the Office of Communications and have been working closely with my Department and the Department for Trade and Industry on setting up the new body.

Mr. Hammond: I am sure that the Minister would agree with me that part of the point of setting up Ofcom is to have a genuinely new body that is focused on the converged world and is a product of that converged world. Does he share any of my concerns about the fact that the communications Bill is being developed with a large input from the existing regulators' staff, who are uncertain of their status and even of whether they will still be employed under the new regime? Is he entirely confident that that level of input from the old regime is the best way to develop a regulatory regime for the future?

Dr. Howells: I hope that the hon. Gentleman will take it from me that we are not being overly influenced by existing regulators or by any influence that they care to bring to bear on the debate. We have tried to consult as widely as possible, and once we have published the Bill there will be a period of about three months for further consultation. I very much hope that everyone—existing regulators as well as everyone else involved in the industry—will contribute to that consultation, and I am

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very confident that they will. We have very few opportunities in a generation to make a good job of regulation, as I am confident we will under the Bill.

Ms Debra Shipley (Stourbridge): Will my hon. Friend take it from me that when the chief executive of the regulatory body for the Independent Television Commission appeared before the Culture, Media and Sport Committee on which I serve, she was extremely weak? Very disappointingly, she knew very little about children and advertising—a subject on which more than 120 Members have supported a ban for the under-fives. Furthermore, does he accept that there is a clash between what the Department of Health is promoting for children and health, and what the Department for Culture, Media and Sport is allowing in terms of advertising aimed at children? As we have seriously obese children in this country, that is a very serious topic.

Dr. Howells: I have read my hon. Friend's early-day motion on the subject. I understand that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State met her to discuss the matter.

National Lottery

7. Sir Teddy Taylor (Rochford and Southend, East): What the total sum of unclaimed lottery prizes was at the most recent date for which figures are available; and what is the largest single unclaimed amount. [43148]

The Minister for Sport (Mr. Richard Caborn): The total of unclaimed national lottery prizes was £455.6 million as at 19 March, and the largest single unclaimed amount was just over £3 million.

Sir Teddy Taylor: While we should all be grateful to the national lottery for raising about £3 million every day for worthy causes over the past eight years, do not the Government and Camelot think that an inquiry should be made into why so many people do not claim their lottery prizes? Is there a case for putting a public notice at the place where tickets are sold if there is an unclaimed prize of £1,000 or more? Does the Minister accept that his figures are startling and that we should do something about the matter?

Mr. Caborn: The hon. Gentleman has a point, and I will raise it with Camelot. No one wants to see prizes unclaimed. When I saw the figures, I thought that they were staggering. There is nearly £500 million of unclaimed prize money. However, the rules are in place. If the ticket is lost or has been stolen, a claim can be made within 30 days. A claim can be made within 180 days if the claimant has the ticket. There is accommodation for late claiming. If a ticket has been lost or burnt in a fire, for example, that is catered for by the rules.

I take the hon. Gentleman's point and I will ask Camelot whether it can put notices in shops—

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Mr. Chris Bryant (Rhondda): Has the hon. Member for Rochford and Southend, East (Sir Teddy Taylor) lost his ticket?

Mr. Caborn: No, I do not think so, but I will raise that with Camelot.

Andy Burnham (Leigh): If there is unclaimed lottery money, amateur rugby league clubs—Leigh has some of the best in the country—would gladly take it off my right hon. Friend's hands and make use of it. To date, rugby league at the grass roots has received only £12 million from the £1 billion or more in the sports lottery fund—less than a third of the money given to rugby union. Does he agree that rugby league is owed more from the lottery? Does he further agree that giving money to amateur rugby league clubs would be one of the best ways of fulfilling the Government's objective—

Mr. Speaker: Order. The question is about prizes, not distribution.

Television Drama (Impartiality)

8. Dr. Julian Lewis (New Forest, East): If she will make a statement on the requirement of broadcasting legislation that television drama based on recent historical events should be treated with due impartiality. [43149]

The Minister for Tourism, Film and Broadcasting (Dr. Kim Howells): The BBC, under the BBC charter and agreement, and other broadcasters under the Broadcasting Act 1996, are required to preserve due impartiality as respects matters of political or industrial controversy or those relating to current public policy. Those general requirements would apply, if relevant, to drama based on recent historical events.

Dr. Lewis: I thank the Minister for that excellent reply, which is absolutely right. Will he join me in giving a pat on the back to the BBC for its decision, at last, to broadcast "The Falklands Play" by the distinguished playwright, Ian Curteis, on the 20th anniversary of the Falklands crisis, both on BBC Radio 4 and on the new BBC 4 digital television channel?

Does the hon. Gentleman recall the contrast when 15 years ago the same play was shelved by the bosses at the BBC because it presented the then Prime Minister in what they regarded as too favourable a light? Does he agree that when the play is broadcast on the new digital channel, and if it is well received, it would make amends if it were at last to be broadcast on BBC 1?

Dr. Howells: I believe that the right authorities for deciding what should be shown on television are the television companies and the owners. The House would be a very poor place in which to make decisions on what should or should not be on television.

I am glad that the play is to be shown. I understand that a radio version is to be broadcast. I hope that there will be a good and fulsome debate on the play, which will provoke further discussion on that type of controversial drama. I am entirely in favour of it.

Miss Anne Begg (Aberdeen, South): I am glad that the Minister said that it is not the role of Government to

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interfere in the creative process. They should be cautious about increasing any type of regulation, because it smacks of censorship. It must be up to the broadcasters to decide what is broadcast. It is important that we allow our playwrights to dramatise events that may have occurred in the recent past. We often get a greater understanding of motivations and events through dramatisation, which may be slightly fictionalised.

Dr. Howells: I agree entirely with my hon. Friend.

Music Industry

10. Mike Gapes (Ilford, South): If she will make a statement on her Department's support for the British music industry. [43151]

The Minister for Tourism, Film and Broadcasting (Dr. Kim Howells): We can be rightly proud of the quality of music produced in this country, and I fully recognise the enormous cultural and economic value that the industry represents. We are working closely with the industry to ensure its continued success at home and abroad.

Mike Gapes: I am grateful for that reply. Does my hon. Friend agree that there is enormous diversity in music in this country, from folk music to jazz, from classical music to garage—[Laughter.] I had to mention garage for my daughter. Does he agree that it is important that we take account not only of the producers and publishers of music but of the interests of those that distribute music, including companies such as Britannia in my constituency, which plays a vital role in distributing every day the largest range of music as widely as possible, both in this country and abroad through exports?

Dr. Howells: Britannia does an excellent job in distributing music. The music industry faces a great problem with distribution. A great part of society has a strange attitude towards what amounts to the stealing of intellectual property rights from musicians, composers, orchestras and so on through the internet. Napster was a classic example. It is important that we try to change those attitudes and that culture. The distributors have an important part to play in that. They must not only go about the business of distributing and selling music—and indeed of commissioning and promoting it—but move beyond that to try to convince young people that if we cut off its creative roots, music will not be available to buy in future.

Pete Wishart (North Tayside): It will not have escaped the Minister's attention that EMI faces difficulties: it is to shed some 1,800 jobs. That seems symptomatic of the music business, whose situation can only be described as patchy. May I press the Minister further on what he and his Department intend to do about the vexed issue of music piracy? As he knows, the music industry has identified it as a very real and damaging issue.

Dr. Howells: Over the past few years, we have worked to try to pull together all the enforcement agencies, from trading standards officers to the special police forces that the owners of intellectual property rights, especially the big recording companies, have set up, to try to track down the thieves who are rather romantically called pirates.

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They are thieves. They are taking away the only source of revenue of one of our most important industries: it is worth perhaps £4.5 billion to this country and employs a lot of people. It is important that we do not lose impetus in taking these thieves on, tracking them down, punishing them and stopping their activities wherever they happen. That means that we must move across borders and continents.

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