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20 Mar 2003 : Column 897W—continued

Television Programming

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) what recent research her Department has undertaken regarding programming on (a) terrestrial, (b) cable and (c) satellite television channels; and if she will place copies in the Library; [103818]

Dr. Howells: My Department has not undertaken any research in these areas.

Museum Funding

Mr. Moss: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when she expects that funding will be available for Hubs allocated phase two status in the Renaissance in the Region Museum Funding Initiative; how much funding is available for the (a) phase two Hubs and (b) the phase one Hubs; what process the phase two Hubs will be required to undertake in order to receive their funding; and whether this process repeats the initial competition for phase one status and funding. [102534]

Dr. Howells: We will be providing £70 million for regional museums from this year until 2005–06, which will represent a 200 per cent. increase in central Government funding by the end of the spending review period. Extra funding will also be made available to the national museums to enable them to work in partnership with regional museums. Additionally, there will be funds from the Department for Education and Skills to support museums' education.

The funds will be distributed through nine Regional Hubs led by major regional museums. The Regional Hubs selected for priority funding are the North East, South West and West Midlands Hubs, but Resource: The Council for Museums, Archives and Libraries will continue to provide a level of support to all nine Regional Hubs.

Resource will put its recommendations to Ministers on funding allocations for all nine Regional Hubs ready for announcement in April. All Regional Hubs will then be asked to submit a detailed Business Plan by January 2004, setting out their programme of work for 2004–06. This will not be a competitive process and will build on information previously submitted.

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Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many special advisers in the Department (a) have left and (b) will be leaving to work in Scotland for the Labour Party in the forthcoming Scottish parliamentary elections. [103621]

Dr. Howells: The rules relating to special advisers' political activities are set out in the Model Contract for Special Advisers. Further guidance in respect of elections for the Scottish Parliament is set out at paragraph 13 of the Guidance on Conduct for Civil Servants in UK Departments, published by the Cabinet Office on 10 March.

The reasons for a special adviser's resignation are a private matter between the Department and adviser, and are therefore exempt from disclosure under paragraph 12 of the Code of Practice on Access to Information.

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans ministers of the Department have to (a) visit Scotland on official business, (b) announce public appointments and (c) make Ministerial announcements in April. [103655]

Dr. Howells: Departmental business during the campaign period preceding elections to the Scottish Parliament will be conducted in accordance with the Guidance on Conduct for Civil Servants in UK Departments in respect of elections to the Scottish Parliament and National Assembly for Wales, published by the Cabinet Office on 10 March.


Working Group (14-to-19)

Mr. Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what funding has been allocated for the 14–19 working group. [102298]

Mr. Miliband: The total support required by the working group has not yet been finalised. Administration costs in relation to those staff currently assigned to support the group are expected to be £230,000 in 2003–04.

Aim Higher Scheme

Tony Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what opportunities the Aim Higher scheme will provide to schools to access additional funding; and whether it will be open to schools not eligible under the Excellence Cluster scheme in West Cumbria. [103141]

Margaret Hodge: The Excellence Challenge programme, which will be renamed Aimhigher, provides direct funding to schools and colleges in areas of disadvantage to raise attainment and aspirations of young people. We will be expanding this programme to include Excellence Clusters, including West Cumbria, from this September. Areas which are not covered by this programme may benefit from funding through the Higher Education Funding Council's Aimhigher: Partnerships for Progression initiative.

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Ballet Schools

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many ballet schools there are in England and Wales; and what Government support is available to pupils. [103044]

Mr. Miliband: My Department does not keep lists of the many small ballet schools in England. The Council for Dance Education and Training holds a comprehensive list of providers.

There are four independent specialist ballet schools in England offering places to exceptionally talented children aged 11 to 19. They all participate in the Government's Music and Dance Scheme (MDS), which provides means-tested support with fees, and they all provide vocational training alongside a good academic education.

Means-tested support for fees and maintenance is also provided for students aged 16+ by three of the MDS schools and a further four private further education institutions through the Department's Dance and Drama Awards.

Schools issues in Wales are a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.

Connexions Service

Mr. Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what grants have been made by the Connexions service to voluntary organisations working with young people for each region in which it operates. [103678]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Connexions Partnerships make both grant awards and contract payments to voluntary organisations. The latest available data are for the nine months to December 2002. It reflects the different stages of development of the 41 Connexions Partnerships that were operating for all or part of the period. Information from Partnerships suggests that grants awards and contract payments will increase further towards the end of the financial year to March 2003.

RegionGrant awards £kContract payments £kTotal payments to voluntary organisations £k
East Midlands13885223
North East28028
North West1,14101,141
South East0128128
South West154532686
West Midlands61369430
Yorkshire and Humberside58553611

Mr. Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what targets he has set the Connexions service for the level of grants it should be making to voluntary organisations working with young people. [103679]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: There are no targets for the level of grants that Connexions Partnerships should make to voluntary and community organisations.

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Under most circumstances, we would expect Connexions Partnerships to enter into a contract with each of their service providers, including voluntary and community organisations. However, in some cases the need for a contract may present a barrier to an organisation's involvement, particularly in the case of some small voluntary or community groups. In such circumstances, Partnerships can allocate up to £30,000 to an organisation as a grant award in any 12-month period. The total amount awarded in this way is subject to an overriding limit of 5 per cent. of the Partnership's DfES grant allocation, although this may be exceeded with the agreement of the local Government Office. While Partnerships are strongly encouraged to make use of this facility, priorities and structures inevitably vary between and within areas, and it is for this reason that we do not set targets.

Mr. Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much has been spent by Connexions, in each region, on (a) purchasing property, (b) renting property and (c) construction and refurbishment work in each year it has been operational. [103680]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The information requested is not collected in the detail and format requested. The following table gives the expenditure of Connexions Partnerships by region for 2001–02 and the first nine months of 2002–03 recorded as "Premises Costs" in their accounts. This expenditure will include items such as rent, purchase of property, refurbishment, construction, fixtures, fittings, local taxation etc.

RegionNumber of partnerships 2001–02Premises costs 2001–02(2)(£ million)Number of partnerships 2002–03Premises costs 2002–03(3)(£ million)
East Midlands126751,113
North East3953
North West31,43852,643
South East16373862
South West21,25861,654
West Midlands31,45962,586
Yorkshire and Humber 28993696

(2) 12 months

(3) 9 months

(4) Reflects the total annual expenditure for the 15 Partnerships that were operating for all or part of the year.

(5) Reflects the total expenditure for the 9 months to December 2002 for the 41 Partnerships that were operating for all or part of the period. Although a further three Partnerships began operations during October and November 2002 they were not required to produce accounts for December, so no information is available for them.

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