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Dr. Howells: The provision of broadcasting services potentially falls within the ambit of the Competition Act 1998 and Fair Trading Acts. Responsibility for considering complaints, and for enforcing the law if necessary, rests with the Office of Fair Trading. In addition, the BBC's commercial activities are subject to its own fair trading commitment, which reflects and in some respects goes beyond the statutory requirements. This is set out in the BBC's published commercial policy guidelines and is monitored by the Board of Governors. An independent review by Professor Richard Whish, published in May 2001, concluded that the fair trading commitment and the guidelines are appropriate to ensure that the BBC does not distort competition in commercial markets and recommended no changes.
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Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether a Scottish Executive Minister will be a member of the United Kingdom's delegation to the Culture/Audiovisual European Union Council of Ministers meeting on 23 May; and what information is being provided by her Department to assist pre-council scrutiny by the European Committee of the Scottish Parliament. 
Dr. Howells [holding answer 21 May 2002]: No Minister from the Scottish Executive was present at the EU Council of Ministers meeting on cultural and audiovisual matters on 23 May 2002. Ministers from the devolved Administrations have attended Council meetings in the past and are welcome to do so in future. My officials have consulted their counterparts in the devolved Administrations on a number of agenda items and have provided copies of relevant papers.
Mr. Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what representations she has made to the Department of Trade and Industry about the support regional development agencies should give to capital infrastructure projects which benefit tourism. 
Dr. Howells: The announcement on 13 May about the structural reform of English tourism represents a radical change and made clear that regional development agencies will in future play a stronger part in the strategic leadership of tourism. We have been in close discussion with the Department of Trade and Industry about these proposals.
The Government will continue to encourage RDAs to take account of the huge importance of tourism to their regions, both its direct and indirect impacts, when they take decisions about allocating the funds over which they have direct and indirect control.
Mr. Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to her answer of 10 May 2002, Official Report, column 385W, what her latest assessment is of the wage costs of the tourism industry. 
Dr. Howells: It is not possible to estimate the current wage costs of the tourism industry since the sector is formed of parts of a diverse set of industries whose businesses serve both tourists and non-tourists.
The Office for National Statistics publishes estimates of the cost of compensation for employees by standard industry sub-sectors (eg hotels and restaurants) in its publication UK Input-Output Analyses 2001 edition, copies of which are available in the Library of the House.
Dr. Howells: Local authorities spend over £90 million a year promoting and developing tourism in their areas and are key partners in ensuring the success of the Government's modernisation and reform agenda.
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The announcement on 13 May about the structural reform of English tourism represents a radical change and I am involving local government representatives closely in preparing to implement that change.
Mr. Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what bilateral discussions she has had with Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions on the importance of improving transport links between London and the regions of England to help make London the gateway to the regions for tourism. 
Dr. Howells: Although my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has not had a meeting specifically with the then Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions dedicated to this issue prior to 29 May 2002, we covered tourism transport issues on 5 March 2002 at the third annual tourism summit of pan-Government Ministers and key players in the tourism industry.
Mr. Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans she has to assist organisations investing in tourism infrastructure projects to secure funding from the European Union. 
Dr. Howells: My Department will continue to champion the importance of tourism for regeneration so that the tourism industry continues to benefit from EU funding. In 1999, the British Tourist Authority published guidance on support for tourism in the current structural funding period 'Making the Most of Tourism's Contribution to Regional Economic Development'. The English Tourism Council gives updated information on EU funding opportunities through its profunding web- site www. fundinginformation.org/tourism. Government offices have been supportive of projects meeting the objectives of regional development strategies.
Dr. Howells: The draft Communications Bill and associated documents (Cm 5508, published on 7 May) set out a proposed framework for the regulation of communications, which is intended to broaden choice of and access to modern communications technologies, and to make markets work better, in Scotland a well as in the rest of the United Kingdom.
David Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what key tasks she has set for her Department for improving access to digital television; and if she will make a statement. 
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Dr. Howells: The Digital Television Action Plan, posted on www.digitaltelevision.gov.uk and agreed by stakeholders, sets out a framework of actions to be taken by Government and industry, in partnership, to enable the take-up of digital television and achieve the tests of accessibility, availability and affordability, first announced in September 1999.
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Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment she has made of the contribution made by the Commission for Architecture in the Built Environment to (a) reducing school truancy, (b) reducing traffic congestion and (c) improving patient dignity. 
Dr. Howells: The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) helps promote better design for the cultural, social and economic benefits this brings to society. CABE is working closely with the Department for Education and Skills on the design of new education buildings; achieving a high-quality learning environment is key to reducing truancy rates. CABE is working with central and local government and with developers to promote the provision of public transport in all new developments, and thereby reduce traffic congestion. CABE is also working with NHS Estates and individual NHS trusts to ensure that health care services are delivered in well-designed environments.
Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what proportion of projects (a) approved and (b) rejected by the Commission for Architecture in the Built Environment involved the external use of vernacular materials. 
Dr. Howells: Of the projects that CABE sees, most are likely to contain a degree of vernacular or locally available materials. Using local materials supports CABE's aim to promote a sustainable use of resources and is a contributory factor in CABE's assessment of any building project.
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