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16 Dec 2002 : Column 526Wcontinued
Dr. Howells: Under the current public entertainment licensing system, local authorities have set charges that can vary by thousands of percent from area to area, even for similar activities carried out at similar premises. It would not be uncommon, for example, for one authority to charge #150 for a licence and another to charge #20,000 or more for the same permission.
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Under the proposed new regime, however, the cost of a premises licence would remain the same whether it solely covered the sale of alcohol or included any number of additional licensable activities, such as the provision of live music. The estimated fees in the Regulatory Impact Assessment published with the Licensing Bill were between #100 and #500 for an application for a premises licence with a subsequent annual charge of between #50 and #150. Fees would be set centrally by the Secretary of State in secondary legislation. The assessment estimates that the hospitality and leisure industry would save #1.97 billion over the first ten years that the new regime is in operation.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the membership is of the (a) Advisory Committee on the Government Art Collection, (b) Advisory Council on Libraries, (c) Architectural Heritage Fund, (d) Arts Council of England, (e) British Film Institute, (f) British Library Board, (g) British Tourist Authority, (h) Crafts Council, (i) the Board of English Heritage, (j) English Tourist Board, (k) the Board of the Horniman Museum, (l) Independent Television Commission, (m) Library and Information Commission, (n) the Board of the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, (o) National Film and Television School, (p) National Lottery Charities Board, (q) National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside, (r) Public Lending Right Advisory Committee, (s) Reviewing Committees on the Export of Works of Art, (t) Radio Authority, (u) Royal National Theatre, (v) S4C and (w) Treasure Valuation Committee. 
Dr. Howells: The membership of bodies for which my Department is responsible is set out in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport Annual Report 2002, a copy of which is available in the Library of the House. The National Lottery Charities Board is now known as the Community Fund and the Library and Information Commission has been replaced by Resource. Additionally, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State is responsible for the membership of half of the board of the Architectural Heritage Fund. The full list of members is as follows:
The Secretary of State is not responsible for the membership of the National Film and Television School, Royal National Theatre and Crafts Council, who make their own appointments. Members of the British Film Institute are appointed by the Film Council. Details of membership of these organisations should be available from the bodies.
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Dr. Howells [holding answer 12 December 2002]: The Heritage Lottery Fund received three letters from interested parties and two letters from hon. Members while the application was being assessed. In addition, 128 hon. Members signed an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons, which was noted during the assessment process. Following the Trustees' decision not to support the project, the Heritage Lottery Fund has to date received 732 emails and letters of support for the project.
Tessa Jowell: The BBC does not broadcast advertisements but it does broadcast information about its public services, including, of course, its digital services. This activity is carried out subject to the provisions of the BBC's commercial policy guidelines.
Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what lottery money has been earmarked for (a) events and (b) causes commemorating the centenary of the first manned flight; and if she will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells [holding answer 12 December 2002]: The Heritage Lottery Fund has not earmarked funds to commemorate the centenary of the first manned flights. However, it would welcome applications for projects which meet its priorities as set out in its application packs.
Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the cost of providing free television licences to those aged over 75 years in Northern Ireland in each of the last three years was. 
Dr. Howells: Free television licences for people aged 75 and over first became available in November 2000. The cost of free licences issued in Northern Ireland was #6.5 million in 200001 and #8.3 million in 200102.
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Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what account the Heritage Lottery Fund takes of correspondence from the public in reaching its decisions; and if she will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells [holding answer 12 December 2002]: The Heritage Lottery Fund looks for evidence that the project is supported by the local community in which it is situated. It will also look at letters of support it receives for the project from the public, or further evidence which applicants are able to give it about the level of public support for their proposals. It also will take into account views of interested parties, particularly those who may be closely affected by a funding decision. However, this does not alter the consideration it must n give to each request for funding against the stated criteria, and against the specific issues outlined in the application pack. Letters of support received after a decision is reached are noted, but cannot affect a decision retrospectively.
Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how often the Heritage Lottery Fund has reversed a decision not to award lottery funding to a cause; what reasons were given; and if she will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells [holding answer 12 December 2002]: The Heritage Lottery Fund has an independent Reviews and Complains Committee Organisations which feel that their application for a grant has not been considered fairly or properly can ask for the Committee to review it. The Committee has reviewed 33 cases over the last five years, and asked the Board (or the Heritage Lottery Fund Committee that took the original decision) to look again at its decision on four occasions. On two occasions a decision was reversed. In the first instance, after careful reflection, the Board concluded that the application comprised a number of unique features of heritage merit which, in combination, warranted support. In the other case, the Committee drew attention to a misunderstanding of project costs and partnership funding which altered the level of grant requested by the applicant. This resulted in the then Committee for the English Regions concluding that the application now offered value for money and awarded a grant.
Tessa Jowell: The BBC has voluntarily committed itself to a 10 per cent. quota for independent production on its network sources. I welcome the following statement in which the BBC re-affirms its commitment to independent producers, and demonstrates that the BBC is giving further consideration to the scope of the services included in the quota, and the arrangements for reporting against it. The Government shall keep the position under review as the radio market develops.
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BBC Radio and Independent Production
In the past our 10 per cent. voluntary commitment has not applied to our national English language analogue radio services for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. We are looking at how we could develop a similar voluntary commitment to that which already exists for our analogue network services. We believe that we would be able to commit publicly to an appropriate level of commissioning from the independent sector across the English language services in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In doing so we must take account of the existing market conditions in order to determine a realistic and sustainable level at which to set such a commitment. We also need to consider how we balance most effectively our ambition to support the development of the independent production sector in the nations in the context of our wider commitment to production in the Nations.
Given current levels of take-up of digital radio across the country we do not yet feel able to extend a commitment for a particular level of independent commissioning for our new digital services. However, it is our hope that as take-up of digital radio grows and these services mature, we will be able to invite independent producers to provide content for these services where appropriate.
We intend to report fully on both the hours we commission from independent producers and our spend on independent production across our analogue radio networks in our annual review.
We hope that these commitments will act to strengthen the positive and constructive relationship with independent producers which we already enjoy."
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