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Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will ensure that the National Heritage Memorial Fund publishes a breakdown of the funds that have been allocated, indicating (a) to whom the funds have been allocated, (b) how long the allocation has been in place and (c) reasons for significant delays in the release of funds to the beneficiaries. 
Dr. Howells: The National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) publishes information on grants in its annual report. Funds remain allocated until the grantee draws them down or NHMF is informed that the funds will not
2 May 2002 : Column 918W
be needed. There are no delays in the release of funds by NHMF, with payment taking on average just 13 working days from the date on which grantees apply to draw on moneys awarded to them. However, delays could occur as a result of changes in the grant recipients' own project timetable which may mean they delay drawing down funds.
Mr. David Marshall: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on her policy on the United Kingdom joining the World Tourism Organisation. 
Dr. Howells: The Government do not believe that there would be value for money in joining the World Tourism Organisation, membership of which would cost an estimated £200,000 a year. However, DCMS does takes an interest in the work of the WTO and offers co-operation in areas such as statistics and best practice in environmentally sustainable development.
Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will list the written questions asked of her between (a) 1 to 30 June 2001, (b) 1 to 31 July 2001, (c) 1 to 30 September 2001, (d) 1 to 31 October 2001, (e) 1 to 30 November 2001, (f) 1 to 31 December 2001, (g) 1 to 31 January 2002, (h) 1 to 28 February 2002, (i) 1 to 31 March 2002 and (j) 1 to 30 April 2002 that had not received a substantive answer by 30 April; and if she will state (i) the name of the hon. Member asking the question and (ii) the reasons the question had not received a substantive answer. 
Dr. Howells: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the President of the Council today.
Ministers make every attempt to answer questions within the agreed time scales but delays may occur when we are required to obtain information from external sources such as our sponsored bodies. The number of questions still awaiting a reply from the Department at the end of April is shown in the table.
|Period||Total tabled||Number outstanding||UIN||Date tabled||Hon. Member for . . .|
|1 to 30 June 2001||139||0|||||||
|1 to 31 July 2001||160||0|||||||
|1 to 30 September 2001||7||0|||||||
|1 to 31 October 2001||162||0|||||||
|1 to 30 November 2001||256||0|||||||
|1 to 31 December 2001||184||0|||||||
|1 to 31 January 2002||210||0|||||||
|1 to 28 February 2002||246||0|||||||
|1 to 31 March 2002||47255||25 March 2002||Buckingham|
|1 to 31 March 2002||281||3||485335||26 March 2002||South Suffolk|
|1 to 31 March 2002||48377||26 March 2002||South Suffolk|
|1 to 30 April 2002||52069||18 April 2002||Isle of Wight|
|1 to 30 April 2002||51760||17 April 2002||North Devon|
|1 to 30 April 2002||52420||22 April 2002||New Forest, East|
|1 to 30 April 2002||52471||23 April 2002||Crosby|
|1 to 30 April 2002||52506||23 April 2002||Milton Keynes, South-West|
|1 to 30 April 2002||142||11||52815||23 April 2002||South Suffolk|
|1 to 30 April 2002||52851||23 April 2002||South Suffolk|
|1 to 30 April 2002||52816||23 April 2002||South Suffolk|
|1 to 30 April 2002||52757||23 April 2002||Ryedale|
|1 to 30 April 2002||52758||23 April 2002||Ryedale|
|1 to 30 April 2002||52759||23 April 2002||Ryedale|
2 May 2002 : Column 919W
In addition, there are a further 30 questions which were tabled to us at the end of April with answers due in May.
13. Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the effect the measures announced in the Budget will have on enterprise in the small business sector. 
Nigel Griffiths: The Budget will benefit the small business sector through a new zero starting rate and a reduced small company rate for corporation tax; VAT and payroll simplification measures; a new Community Investment Tax Credit, and a range of other measures which are making Britain the best place to start and grow a business.
14. Mr. David: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on how the Lisbon agenda is being pursued following the Barcelona summit. 
Ms Hewitt: The conclusions agreed at Barcelona registered solid progress on the economic reform agenda.
I will be ensuring that the Department delivers on the Government's Lisbon commitments.
15. Mr. Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps she is taking to assist the roll-out of broadband infrastructure in Monmouthshire. 
Mr. Alexander: The UK online annual report in November 2001 set out the Government's strategy for making the broadband market more extensive and competitive.
Last month BT announced its intention to enable a further 100 telephone exchanges, including in Monmouth, to deliver ADSL services.
27. Mr. Bacon: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on progress towards the Government's target for broadband access. 
Mr. Alexander: The UK online annual report (November 2001) assessed the UK's progress in developing an extensive and competitive broadband market.
Since then, take-up has risen to above 500,000 customers, while coverage has increased with 100 further telephone exchanges now due to be enabled to provide broadband services.
John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many homes and businesses have a broadband connection. 
2 May 2002 : Column 920W
Mr. Alexander: The UK now has over half a million broadband connections. This represents a 54 per cent. increase since the beginning of 2002.
BT's commitment to broadband and their recent price reductions, together with the successful broadband programmes of the cable companies, pave the way for further advances on broadband during 2002.
18. Mark Tami: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what she is doing to promote among all companies the common characteristics shared by what she considers the best managed workplaces in the UK. 
Alan Johnson: We recognise the importance of good people strategies as key drivers of productivity improvement.
That is why my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State recently announced a £20 million package of support to champion best practice in work organisation, which will:
extend the reach of the Industry Forum activity
enhance the Fit for the Future Best Practice Campaign
support the "100 best companies to work for" list.
20. Peter Bradley: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assistance her Department provides to rural communities wishing to secure connections to the principal utilities. 
Mr. Alexander: Gas, electricity and telephone connections are a contractual matter between consumers and companies within the individual industries, and are not subsidised by the DTI. Companies providing connections are subject to the relevant provisions of primary and secondary legislation, which are designed to encourage connections.
Universal telecoms providers are required to provide a connection to anyone who reasonably requests it. Electricity distribution networks are required to provide and maintain a connection to any customer requiring electricity within their area. Gas transporters are required to connect all properties within 23 metres of an existing main.
21. Dr. Francis: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the operation of European safeguards introduced to protect the British steel industry. 
2 May 2002 : Column 921W
Ms Hewitt: The Government will stand by our steel industry and communities in combating the unjustified and deeply regrettable action by the United States. We pressed for and welcome the introduction from 29 March of provisional safeguard measures to protect the UK and EU industry against diversion of trade from the US. We also fully support the action taken by the European Commission in initiating World Trade Organisation action against the US.
Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent consultations she has had with the steel industry. 
Ms Hewitt: I have had a number of consultations with steel companies and key organisations representing the steel industry recently. These discussions have focused on US actions to restrict steel imports.
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