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Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 15 May 2002


National Stadium

Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) what the cost will be of the athletics platform referred to in the Sport England report on athletics in Wembley stadium; and how long it will take to build and install; [55595]

Tessa Jowell: Sport England published the study on Wembley stadium athletics prepared by Sports Concepts and Citex on 8 May. I placed a copy in the Library of the House on the same day. The full council of Sport England considered the conclusions of the report at its meeting on 7 May. The report concludes that the athletics platform will take a total of 11 weeks to build and install and a further six weeks to remove at a total cost of £12.2 million.

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when (a) her Department's officials and (b) she received Sport England's report on the technical evaluation of athletics proposals for the national stadium project; and if she will make a statement. [55749]

Tessa Jowell: My officials received Sport England's athletics report on 3 May and briefed me on its contents on 7 May ahead of my statement to the House that day. I did not receive a copy of the report until 8 May, immediately prior to its publication. I placed copies in the House Libraries on the same day.


Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport for what reasons the proposed contents board was not included in the original Bill to set up the Office of Communications; what the composition of the contents board will be; and what the remit of the contents board will be in relation to radio. [56031]

Dr. Howells: The Government published a draft of the Communications Bill on 7 May for consultation. This draft Bill includes a proposal to require Ofcom to establish a 'Content Board' which will have the principal function of ensuring that the public interest in the nature and quality of television and radio programmes is sufficiently represented within Ofcom's overall structure.

The OFCOM Act 2002, which established Ofcom earlier this year, dealt with the basic framework of Ofcom at the main board level and was intended to allow the process of establishing Ofcom as a body to get under way while the substantive Communications Bill, which will give it regulatory responsibilities, is debated. The structure and remit of the content board are best seen in

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conjunction with Ofcom's functions, in particular the detailed broadcasting functions which are set out in the draft Communications Bill and particularly in relation to broadcast content including radio.

The structure of the content board is set out clearly in the draft Bill. It will consist of a chairman, who will be a non-executive member of Ofcom (but not the chairman of Ofcom), and as many other members appointed by Ofcom as Ofcom shall think fit. Ofcom is specifically required to ensure that there is a different member of the content board capable of representing the interests and opinions of persons living in each of the nations of the United Kingdom.

Queen's Jubilee Medal

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if the Queen's Jubilee medal will be issued to the Royal Parks Constabulary in time for the Jubilee weekend; and if she will make a statement. [55800]

Tessa Jowell: In view of the number of medals required for the emergency services—an estimated 185,000—responsible Government Departments have agreed a phased delivery over 12 months in line with the Royal Mint's production capacity. Under current plans, medals for the Royal Parks Constabulary will be delivered in October 2002.

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when the Queen's Jubilee medal will be issued to the qualifying groups that will receive it. [55799]

Tessa Jowell: Distribution to the armed forces and to the holders of the Victoria Cross or the George Cross is due to be completed by the end of 2002. Under current plans, members of the emergency services will receive their medals by 2 June 2003.

Golden Jubilee

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will seek a financial contribution to public funds from Her Majesty the Queen towards the costs of Jubilee celebrations. [55827]

Tessa Jowell [holding answer 13 May 2002]: No. The Golden Jubilee is an occasion for national celebration of 50 years' service by the Queen.

Landmark Projects

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the answers of 25 March 2002, Official Report, column 576W, on landmark projects, when she will write to the hon. Member for Portsmouth, South; and if she will make a statement. [56653]

Tessa Jowell: I wrote to the hon. Member on 10 April 2002 in my capacity as chair of the Millennium Commission and placed copies of my letter in the Libraries of both Houses. I am today sending the hon. Member another copy of my letter.

Digital Television (Audio Description)

Mr. Syms: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what measures the Government are undertaking to enable the reception of audio description digital terrestrial television programmes. [56641]

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Dr. Howells: The Government's role is to set the legislative framework within which audio description and other services for people with sensory impairments can be provided and proposals were included in the recently published draft Communications Bill (Cm 5508–1). We are aware of the current difficulties with the production and distribution of the module necessary to receive audio description services on digital terrestrial television. On 30 April I chaired a constructive meeting with the interested parties which identified a number of ways to help them resolve these issues.


Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment her Department has made of the losses suffered in each of the past five years by the British film, music, retail and rental industries as a result of internet piracy and the production and distribution of illegal copies of film and music; and if she will make a statement. [53440]

Miss Melanie Johnson: I have been asked to reply.

Accurate figures for losses due to internet piracy are difficult to gather and distinguish from other misuse of copyright material on the internet. However, a survey carried out by the industry body, the Alliance Against Counterfeiting and Piracy, which broadly represents British interests, estimated losses of £180 million to cinema and home entertainment and £20 million to the music industry in 2000 as a result of piracy generally. We are not aware of any music piracy figures yet for 2001, but industry figures show a 5 per cent. increase in legitimate recorded music sales in the UK in that year. The industry estimates for the years 1997 to 1999 are as follows:

£ million



Prefabricated Buildings

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Chairman of the Accommodation and Works Committee when the prefabricated buildings to the north of the House of Commons adjacent to Bridge street will be removed; and if he will make a statement. [56639]

Derek Conway: The temporary buildings on Speaker's green were erected originally for use by the project teams responsible for the new Westminster station and Portcullis house and by the Refreshment Department while their accommodation was being refurbished. Subsequently they have been used by contractors engaged on major projects in the Palace during the summer recesses. They will be used in this way again this summer, after which they will be demolished and the green restored to its former condition.

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Gulf War Veterans (Illness)

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Gulf War veterans (a) are suffering and (b) have suffered from renal cancers. [50538]

Dr. Moonie: Comprehensive data provided by the Office for National Statistics' NHS central register (NHSCR) on cancer registrations in England and Wales are only currently available up to 31 December 1998 and currently up to 31 December 2001 for registrations in Scotland. These data show that up to 31 December 1998 for England and Wales and up to 31 December 2001 for Scotland that seven Gulf veterans have been diagnosed as suffering from renal cancer or malignant neoplasm of the kidney as classified by International Classification of Disease (ICD) 9th Revision code 189.0 and ICD 10th Revision code C64. The Ministry of Defence's Gulf veterans' medical assessment programme had seen a further two veterans with renal cancer as at 13 May 2002. One veteran has, sadly, died. The current health status of the remaining eight veterans is not known to the MOD. The MOD is conducting an analysis of the incidence of all cancers in Gulf veterans with the aim of making the findings available later this year.

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Gulf War veterans (a) are suffering and (b) have suffered from scarring to the (i) kidneys and (ii) liver. [50539]

Dr. Moonie: The total number of Gulf veterans who have kidney and or liver scarring could only be established if all Gulf veterans were to undergo medical examination. It is the practice of the Ministry of Defence to examine only those veterans who wish to be examined and are referred by their GP or service medical officer to the Ministry of Defence's Gulf veterans' medical assessment programme (GVMAP). All patients seen at the GVMAP receive abdominal ultrasound examination which can detect kidney and liver scarring. In the absence of other indicators of kidney or liver damage, such scarring is of no clinical significance. Neither is described either in standard medical textbooks or classified by the World Health Organisation's International Classification of Diseases 9th and 10th Revisions. Kidney and liver scarring is therefore an incidental finding, does not cause any suffering and in itself is of no clinical significance in respect of suggestion of a link between ill health and the Gulf conflict. For these reasons, no centralised records are kept of such scarring. However, in a randomly selected anonymised sample of 1,000 patients examined at the GVMAP, one patient had a kidney scar and none had liver scarring. The GVMAP physicians do record kidney and livery damage where the damage is of clinical significance.

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