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Schools Private Finance Initiative Projects

Paul Farrelly: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what new schools private finance initiative projects she will support for signature in 2003–04; and if she will make a statement. [46932]

John Healey: Fifty-three Local Education Authorities have recently submitted proposals to the Department, seeking funding support through PFI credits for school based projects aiming to sign in 2003–04. These proposals represent a PFI credit requirement of over #3 billion. Following a rigorous appraisal of the bids by the Department's officials, we are today announcing that 21 projects, representing more than #900 million PFI credits in total, have been

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approved in principle and will be invited to prepare outline business cases for further consideration. Proposals representing around #750 million are expected to sign in 2003–04, and the remainder in 2004–05.

This is a very substantial package of investment. It will support the Government's drive to improve the learning environments in schools, and will also help to further raise standards for children, the school workforce and the wider community.

Details of the projects to be supported are being published today in a Departmental Press Notice and I have arranged for copies to be placed in the Libraries of the House.

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Public Service Agreements

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) if the public service agreement target for the transfer of responsibility for underwater archaeology was achieved on time; [46093]

Dr. Howells: The transfer of responsibilities in respect of underwater archaeology to English Heritage is dependent on legislation to extend English Heritage's remit out to the limit of the territorial waters of the UK adjacent to England. Provision for this was included in the Government's Culture and Recreation Bill which fell before the last election, thus preventing us meeting this element of the PSA target. Similar provisions are included in Baroness Anelay's National Heritage Bill which is currently before Parliament and is receiving Government support. We are hopeful that the transfer will take place in the near future.

Information about progress on PSA targets will be published in the Department's 2002 Departmental Report.

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if the PSA target that 80 per cent. of public libraries should have Internet connections by 2002 will be met on time. [46095]

Dr. Howells: The #100 million lottery funded programme to connect all public libraries to the Internet is proceeding well with 71 per cent. of libraries in England now online and is expected to meet the year end deadline by which time all libraries will be online.

British Tourist Authority

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on the recent activities of the British Tourist Authority in attracting foreign visitors to Scotland. [44794]

Dr. Howells: The British Tourist Authority's recent activities to attract visitors to Britain have all featured Scotland prominently, for example, the new Britain's Royal Heritage map features Scottish locations such as Glamis and The Queen's View. The Hidden Britain campaign, launched last year, highlights 14 routes through less well-known parts of Britain, including Blair Atholl and Pitlochry. In addition, the BTA's Bollywood Movie Map identifies locations throughout Britain, including Scone Palace and Brechin, which have been used in over 20 Indian films.

Items in Lieu of Tax

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the cost was of (a) the storage and (b) the upkeep and maintenance of items accepted in lieu of tax by the Inland Revenue in the last 12 months; and which Department is responsible for these costs. [45219]

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Dr. Howells: Items which are accepted in lieu of tax by the Inland Revenue are allocated to nominated institutions which will display them to the public. Therefore any costs for their storage, upkeep and maintenance are borne by these institutions in the same way that they will bear the costs of any other item kept by them.

Tourism Statistics

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans she has to change the collection of tourism statistics; and if she will publish these statistics on the departmental website. [45218]

Dr. Howells: We are currently examining what cost efficient changes to the current system of collection of tourism statistics might be made.

Tourism statistics are already available on the STAR UK website ( which was established jointly by the National Tourist Boards and DCMS.

Odsal Stadium

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions her Department has had with interested parties on the redevelopment of Odsal Stadium, Bradford. [45578]

Mr. Caborn: My Department has had no such discussions with the interested parties involved in the redevelopment of the Odsal Stadium, but my officials are aware of the proposed scheme. I visited Odsal Stadium on one of my regional visits.

Pub Opening Hours

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) what measures she has taken to allow pubs to open at later hours; [45481]

Dr. Howells: The White Paper XTime for Reform: Proposals for the Modernisation of Our Licensing Laws (Cm 4696)", published on 10 April 2000, set out our views on the problem of binge drinking and our plans for reforming the alcohol and public entertainment licensing laws in England and Wales, including the hours during which alcohol may be sold or supplied to the public at public houses and other premises. The existing law establishes permitted licensing hours outside of which licensed premises may not sell or serve alcohol without the special permission of licensing justices; and their consent may only be granted in particular circumstances.

The existing fixed closing times are artificially early. They actively contribute to binge drinking at the end of normal opening time, and result in significant numbers of intoxicated people on our streets simultaneously. This in turn leads to peaks of disorder around closing times. To counter and minimise public disorder resulting from fixed closing times, we intend to introduce flexible opening hours as a condition of the

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licences of each venue, with the potential for some to operate up to 24 hour opening on each day of the week, subject to consideration of the impact on local residents. These changes require the amendment of primary legislation and we intend to introduce a Bill to that end as soon as Parliamentary time permits.

Free Television Licences

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many pensioners in Portsmouth have benefited from free television licences; and if she will make a statement. [46441]

Dr. Howells: TV Licensing, which administers the free television licence scheme for the BBC as Licensing Authority, is not able to provide geographical breakdowns of the number of free licences issued. However, estimates based on the 1991 Census indicate that there were approximately 14,600 people aged 75 or over in the Portsmouth, North and Portsmouth, South constituencies.

Educational and Sports Facilities

Laura Moffatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement regarding her assessment of the benefits of combining community sports facilities with educational facilities on a single site. [46460]

Mr. Caborn: Enhancing facilities is an integral part of the Government's PE and school sport strategy, being delivered jointly by the Department for Education and Skills and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The Space for Sport and Arts programme is providing #130 million, and the New Opportunities #541 million within England alone, to ensure schools have the facilities they need to deliver PE and school sport whilst also opening up schools so the wider community can also benefit from the new facilities.

Gambling Review Body

Mr. Ivan Henderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when she will publish her conclusions on the report of the Gambling Review Body. [46680]

Tessa Jowell: We have today laid before both Houses a document setting out the Government's detailed response to the report of the Gambling Review Body. This paper, A Safe Bet for Success, sets out the Government's vision for a modern system of regulation for gambling in Great Britain. We shall bring forward a Bill to give effect to our proposals when Parliamentary time permits.

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