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Surplus Land

Mr. Blizzard: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the value of land held by his Department which is surplus to requirements. [82554]

Dr. Moonie: The value of property sold is eventually determined by the market at the time of sale, and is clearly subject to many uncertainties. However, the Ministry of Defence is conducting a review of its estate to determine which are its long term core sites that are to be the focus of future investment. Those sites that are non core will come forward for disposal in the medium to long term. In the meantime, the Department agreed to generate income of £500 million from the disposal of surplus land and property over the next three years.

Swingfire Missiles

Mr. Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how old are the Swingfire missiles that have been lost in the Bristol Channel. [85061]

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Dr. Moonie: The Swingfire warheads which were lost at the St. Thomas's Head Range last March had been removed from the missiles in preparation for disposal. The warheads are 20 to 21-years-old.

Type 45 Destroyer

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on progress on procurement of the Type 45 Destroyer. [84953]

Dr. Moonie: The Type 45 Destroyer project remains on track to meet its planned in-service date. There are six ships on contract and it is currently planned that production will begin in spring 2003 with an in-service date for the first of class of late 2007.

Urban Battlefield Trainer

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the Urban Battlefield Trainer, with particular reference to its use in training soldiers for fighting in built-up areas. [84848]

Dr. Moonie: The Urban Battlefield Trainer (URBAT) is a computer system facilitating procedural training in an urban environment up to company level. It is designed to test and practice procedures through the generation of a battle picture, rather than having to deploy men and equipment physically. In particular, it tests headquarters in the timely issue and dissemination of orders, monitoring the effective flow of information and reaction to the unexpected. The current URBAT is located at Copehill Down training village on Salisbury Plain training area and is the only computer training system able to provide the required level of terrain definition to allow urban operations to be exercised effectively. A new system, known as URBAT 2, is currently being procured and should be in service by the end of July 2003. It will significantly enhance the training benefit by making use of different urban terrain mapping and increasing operator participation.


Entertainment Licences

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent discussions she has had about (a) liquor and (b) public entertainment licensing of village halls. [85158]

Dr. Howells: In addition to the White Paper public consultation on the proposals now contained in the Licensing Bill, Ministers have had numerous discussions and entered into a great amount of correspondence with a variety of different organisations and individuals. As the new regime proposed in the licensing Bill will cover all premises where licensable activities take place, discussions have focused on how the system will work for all types of premises, and of course the impact on village halls has been considered.

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will list (a) the organisations she contacted offering consultation and (b) those who responded, in respect of entertainment licence proposals in the Licensing Bill. [84617]

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Dr. Howells: We sent the White Paper, that was published in April 2000, to 231 organisations in order to gain their responses in respect of our proposals. I am arranging for a list of these organisations to be placed in the Libraries of both Houses. Any organisation or individual was, of course, free to respond to the White Paper, which was published and made freely available on Government websites.

We received 1,215 responses to the consultation of which 656 were from organisations. Copies of these responses were placed in the Libraries of both Houses.


Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will list new (a) companies, (b) work and (c) venues funded by her Department since 1998; and if she will make a statement. [83747]

Dr. Howells: We have contacted the Arts Council of England to request the information required, and my my right hon. and noble Friend the Minister for the Arts will write to the hon. Member as soon as it is available, placing copies of her letter in the Libraries of both Houses.

Sports and Social Clubs

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what representations she has received concerning the level of closures of social and sports clubs; what measures the Government are taking to support social and sports clubs; and if she will make a statement. [85162]

Mr. Caborn: The Government are committed to supporting amateur sports clubs, which play important roles as local social centres. Over the last two years, my Department has worked closely with HM Treasury, Sport England, the Central Council of Physical Recreation and sport's governing bodies on the provision of financial support for such clubs. In the course of that work, my Department has received a large number of formal and informal representations on club numbers from the Council, governing bodies and other interested parties.

Following detailed work with the Charity Commission, amateur sports clubs have had the opportunity to apply for registered charitable status under new guidance announced in April. Clubs who successfully apply will benefit from mandatory 80 per cent. business rate relief, tax exemption for trading income, and Payroll Giving, and tax reliefs for gifts by individuals and companies.

Clubs who do not wish to apply for charitable status can apply for a package of tax reliefs available direct from the Inland Revenue. For the majority of amateur sports clubs these two packages offer an excellent way forward, potentially saving them millions of pounds a year in tax.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many sports and social clubs (a) in England and (b) in York and North Yorkshire there were on 1 May (i) 1997 and (ii) 2000; and how many are there now. [85163]

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Mr. Caborn: The most accurate estimate of the numbers of amateur sports clubs in the UK was obtained by my Department earlier this year following a wide consultation of governing bodies. Based on those discussions, 110,000 departmental guidance leaflets on the benefits of charitable status were sent to individual clubs.

Earlier work by the Central Council of Physical Recreation was based on random sampling and suggested that sports club numbers had fallen slightly over recent years. Neither the Council nor Sport England holds details of the numbers of sports clubs in England, or in York and North Yorkshire, or of numbers of purely social clubs.

Wembley Stadium

Rob Marris: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if the Government will (a) give, (b) loan and (c) underwrite further funding for the building of Wembley Stadium. [85071]

Mr. Caborn: The Government's contribution to the English National Stadium project is Limited to a grant of up to 20 million towards non-stadium infrastructure. The London Development Agency is also granting up to £21 million and the Sports Lottery Fund's grant of £120 million has already been paid and spent by Wembley National Stadium Limited. Full details of the National Stadium project's costs and funding are set out in the final report of the English National Stadium Review led by Patrick Carter, copies of which were placed in the House Library on 16 October and which can be downloaded from my Department's websiteat


Abandoned Vehicles

Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many abandoned vehicles were dealt with under the Pollution Control and Local Government (NI) Order 1978 in each year since 1997; and what the average cost is of dealing with abandoned vehicles under this Order. [84520]

Angela Smith: There are no data available for the numbers and the costs associated with the collection of abandoned vehicles for the years 1997 to 1999. However, at the start of this year the Environment and Heritage Service of the Department of the Environment commissioned a survey to obtain data and information about End of Life Vehicles (ELVs), including abandoned vehicles, in 2000.

In 2000, the number of abandoned vehicles disposed of by district councils was 2,899 and the direct costs associated with collection and disposal of these ranged from £0 to £50. The average cost was £40.67. Additional costs, including the costs of storage and officer time, increased the average cost to £53. The total cost to councils for collecting all abandoned vehicles in 2000 was estimated to be £117,902.

An Executive Summary of the survey will be published in early 2003.

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