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10 Mar 2003 : Column 12W—continued

Renewable Energy

Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the operation of

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the renewables obligation certificate trading system; and if she will calculate the effect of every certificate holder being able to realise the full value by having the right to cash out. [101286]

Mr. Wilson: The renewables obligation certificate trading system is working smoothly and well. The obligation is a market based mechanism and the value of certificates is established in contracts between generators and suppliers or third party traders. The terms of these contracts are a matter for the parties concerned. renewables obligation certificates are trading at a high value at present reflecting the shortage of renewables electricity in the early years of the obligation.


Mr. Roy: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many UK companies are operating in the oil sector in Sudan. [101585]

Mr. Wilson: As the Department is not active in promoting trade with or investment in Sudan, our information on the number of UK companies operating in the oil sector in the country is limited. To our knowledge, no UK companies have any direct investment in the upstream oil sector in Sudan.



26. Mr. Swayne: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners what financial provision is being made for an expansion in the number of ordinands. [101632]

Mr. Bell: The Church of England has always made financial provision for all those who have been recommended for ordination training. In 2003 this will cost in the region of £9 million.

Clergy Pensions

28. Mr. Jack: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners if he will make a statement on the ability of the Church of England pension fund to meet its future liabilities. [101634]

Mr. Bell: Clergy pensions earned on service before 1998, for which the Commissioners are responsible, are covered more than twice over by the Commissioners' assets. Those on service from 1998 are met from the new scheme administered by the Church of England Pensions Board and funded by contributions from parishes. Actuaries provide regular advice on the financial position in both cases.

Bishopstone Estate

29. Mr. Key: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners what income has been derived from the Commissioners' estate at Bishopstone, Wiltshire, in each of the past five years. [101635]

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Mr. Bell: The income for the Bishopstone estate has fallen by just over 14 per cent. during the last five years as a result of the general downturn in agricultural incomes. The Commissioners, in common with other large estate owners, do not publish precise income figures for their estates, as this information is commercially sensitive.


Proportional Representation

27. John Robertson: To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission what recent discussions the Commission has had with the Scottish Executive regarding proportional representation in Scotland. [101633]

Mrs. Browning: I have been asked to reply.

I understand that Commissioners and staff regularly meet members and staff of the Scottish Executive. However, no discussions have taken place on the subject of proportional representation in Scotland.


Youth Fitness

13. Syd Rapson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the Department's strategy is for improving youth fitness. [101467]

Mr. Caborn: The Government's £459 million investment over the next three years in PE and sport in schools will increase youth participation and fitness.

Game Plan recommends that participation needs to rise to improve the fitness of the whole population. We are working with the Department of Health to deliver this.

Access to Music

14. Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what measures she proposes to give greater access to (a) ballet and (b) classical music concerts to persons in social classes C1 and C2. [101468]

Dr. Howells: In our latest funding allocation to the Arts Council of England, we have asked the Arts Council to put strategies in place to ensure that world class art is accessible to as many people as possible. This will be reflected in the Funding Agreement which is currently being negotiated with the Arts Council. It will now be for the Arts Council to develop measures to address these issues, building on the success of initiatives like Creative Partnerships, the New Audiences Programme and the National Touring Programme.


15. Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, who will fund the proposed Stonehenge visitor centre. [101469]

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Dr. Howells: The new Stonehenge visitor centre will be primarily funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, DCMS and English Heritage. English Heritage will conduct a fund-raising campaign to cover part of the cost.

2012 Olympics

16. Dr. Ladyman: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment she has made of sites for sailing events for a bid to hold the Olympics in London. [101470]

Mr. Caborn: The Arup report on the costs and benefits of staging the Olympic Games in London in 2012 considers a number of venues that will be required should we win the right to stage the games. Some of the venues, including a venue for sailing, will be located outside the London area. All the venues will be subject to further assessment if the Government decide to support a bid.

Lottery Grants

17. Mr. Bill O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps she is taking to simplify the application process for lottery grants; and if she will make a statement. [101471]

Mr. Caborn: As part of the Lottery Funding Review, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is considering a number of proposals further to simplify application processes and will make an announcement in the summer.

International Sporting Events

18. Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on the Government's policy on bringing international sporting events to the United Kingdom. [101472]

Mr. Caborn: The Government remains committed to attracting more international sporting events to the UK. The Department will take forward the recommendation of the Strategy Unit to create a strategy for bidding for mega events. We will consider with UK Sport how best to assist organisations at the bidding, delivery and evaluation stages of major sporting events.

Capital of Culture

19. Mr. George Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what reports she has received from the independent expert panel who will judge Liverpool's bid to be designated European Capital of Culture. [101473]

Dr. Howells: The independent Advisory Panel, chaired by Sir Jeremy Isaacs, considered all 12 bids carefully and thoroughly against the criteria laid down by the ED and the Government. The panel thought that all the bids were of a very high standard but the six shortlisted bids are those which the panel considered to be the strongest overall. As my hon. Friend knows, Liverpool's bid has been shortlisted.

The Panel will now consider the shortlisted bids in more detail. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will wait for further advice and recommendations from

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the panel before reaching any conclusions about which city should be the UK's nomination for European Capital of Culture 2008.


John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what action she is taking to ensure that internet access in public libraries can be by broadband. [101461]

Mr. Caborn: The £100 million, Lottery funded, People's Network programme has enabled internet connections to 99 per cent. of UK libraries so far. It was a condition of the funding that broadband connections should be made, where possible. Through business plans received from library authorities, Resource: The Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries, estimate that around 85 per cent. of our libraries will have broadband internet connectivity of 2 mega-bytes or more. The remaining 15 per cent. of libraries are in areas where it is very difficult to install broadband currently.


Translation and Interpreting Services

John Mann: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many Government contracts for (a) translation and (b) interpreting services are put out to tender. [101579]

Mr. Boateng: The information is not held centrally.

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