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Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on the methods employed by her Department to calculate the take up of (a) digital terrestrial, (b) digital satellite and (c) digital cable in the United Kingdom. 
Dr. Howells [holding answer Wednesday 10 April 2002]: My Department mainly uses information on subscriber figures from platform operators to give an indication of the take up figures of digital pay television for different platforms.
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The Office for National Statistics' omnibus survey has recently included a question which asks how households in Great Britain access digital television, which will enable us to assess take-up across individual platforms. We expect that this will give a more accurate figure in the light of increasing numbers of non-subscription digital viewers.
Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on the means by which the British Broadcasting Corporation is accountable to Parliament. 
Dr. Howells [holding answer Wednesday 10 April 2002]: The BBC's accountability to Parliament is reflected primarily through the Royal Charter and Agreement. The Royal Charter is debated by Parliament before it comes into force and the Agreement is subject to formal approval by this House. In addition, the BBC's Annual Report and Accounts are laid in Parliament and Members have the opportunity to ask the BBC Chairman and Governors questions at an open event on the day of publication. The BBC is also subject to inquiry by the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, which in recent years has held hearings on the BBC's Annual Report, and the Secretary of State is often required to answer questions in this House concerning the BBC. Under the 1991 transfer of responsibilities agreement between the BBC and the Home Office, when the Corporation assumed responsibility for administering the television licensing system, the BBC is accountable to the National Audit Office and the Public Accounts Committee for the value for money of the collection and enforcement arrangements.
Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) if she will list the dates on which (a) she, (b) Ministers, and (c) officials of her Department have met (i) the Director General and (ii) other members of the Executive Committee of the British Broadcasting Corporation in the last 12 months; 
Dr. Howells [holding answer Wednesday 10 April 2002]: I, Ministers and officials have met members of the Board of Governors and the Executive Committee regularly in the course of business both at formal meetings or at other functions.
Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the conclusions of his Performance and Innovation Unit on the existing structure of institutions involved in United Kingdom energy policy-making and delivery. 
The Prime Minister: The PIU's conclusions on the
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existing structure of institutions involved in United Kingdom energy policy-making and delivery are set out in Chapter 8 of the Energy Review. For the status of these conclusions and future government action, I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave the hon. Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Mann) on Thursday 14 February, Official Report, column 613W.
Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Prime Minister when the Performance and Innovation Unit will publish its report on privacy and data-sharing. 
The Prime Minister: The Performance and Innovation Unit's report "Privacy and Data-Sharing: The Way Forward for Public Services" is being published today. The report is important in the continuing development of customer-focused public services and sets out a strategy for improving the use of personal data in the public sector, while still safeguarding individual's privacy, including:
Copies of the report have been placed in the Vote Office and the Libraries.
Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if a decision has been made on a funding agreement between her Department and the proposed South Middlesbrough Academy. 
Mr. Timms: My Department has been supporting the development of plans for a City Academy in South Middlesbrough. I welcome the commitment of the sponsors and Middlesbrough Council to establish an Academy which will raise standards in the area and meet the needs of local pupils and the wider community. I expect soon to be in a position to consider whether to enter into a funding agreement with the Academy.
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Mr. Yeo: To ask the President of the Council if he will list the number of subscriptions to (a) digital terrestrial, (b) digital satellite and (c) digital cable television held by his Department for services in any departmental building from which Ministers work, stating for each subscription its (i) cost and (ii) purpose. 
Robin Cook: My Department does not subscribe to (a) digital terrestrial, (b) digital satellite or (c) digital cable television. However, my Department does own a number of Sky Digiboxes to receive free-to-air digital channels.
Mr. Burns: To ask the President of the Council how many times special advisers have accompanied Ministers on overseas visits in each of the last five years; which countries were visited; and what the total cost of each individual visit was. 
Robin Cook: The information requested is as follows:
|Year||Country||No. of special advisers||Overall cost of trip £|
|September 2000||Switzerland and Germany||1||6,697.21|
1 The office of the Leader of the House was then responsible for the Business Co-ordination Unit which has since been transferred to the Cabinet Office.
The cost of these visits attributed to Special Advisers is not available.
Mr. Burns: To ask the President of the Council how many times Ministers in his Department have travelled abroad at taxpayers' expense since March 2001; what countries they visited; and what the total cost of each visit was. 
Mr. Bercow: To ask President of the Council if he will take steps to improve the response time to parliamentary questions. 
Robin Cook: In its response to the Public Administration Select Committee's Second Report of Session 200001 on Ministerial Accountability and parliamentary questions, the Government made clear its commitment to providing prompt and accurate answers to parliamentary questions. This continues to be the Government's position.
My Department will continue to improve on its performance. Arrangements are being made for additional training to be given to officials in my Department who provide draft replies.
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Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions he has had with the First Secretary of the Welsh Assembly on expenditure levels in (a) Wales and (b) England on measures to alleviate FMD problems in 2001. 
Mr. Murphy [holding answer given on 11 February 2002]: I have met the First Minister and the Rural Affairs Minister of the National Assembly for Wales regularly throughout 2001 and subsequently. A wide range of issues connected to FMD were discussed, including measures to alleviate FMD problems through compensation to farming businesses and measures to assist businesses (including tourism) affected by FMD.
Additionally, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State was a member of the Rural Task Force set up to examine and alleviate the effects of FMD on rural areas and rural businesses. The National Assembly for Wales was also a member of this group.
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