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Mesopotamia (Antiquities)

13. Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assistance has been provided by her Department in protecting the antiquities of Mesopotamia. [129564]

Tessa Jowell: Officials from my Department were among the first civilians sent to Iraq after the war. They worked within the Coalition Provisional Authority to re-establish the Iraqi Culture Ministry. They also worked on clarifying numbers of items missing from the Iraq museum and on implementing measures, to help prevent on-going looting from archaeological sites.

We have also implemented UNSCR 1483 in reaction to the prohibition of the import of trade in unlawfully removed Iraq cultural property.

Subtitled Films

14. Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps she is taking to increase the number of subtitled films screened in the UK. [129565]

Estelle Morris: The UK Film Council, charged by the Government to create a sustainable British film industry, has announced a cinema access programme to improve access to cinemas by people with hearing and sight impairments. £500,000 of lottery money has been allocated to this programme, of which £350,000 will be used to supply up to 75 local cinemas across England

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with subtitling and audio-description equipment, and £60,000 will be used to provide sub-titled and audio-described film prints for use in cinemas.

Olympic Bid

15. Mr. Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when she expects to announce the name of the chief executive officer of the 2012 London Olympic bid; and if she will make a statement. [129566]

Tessa Jowell: The appointment of the chief executive officer of London 2012 Ltd., the company established to take forward the bid to host the Olympic Games in London in 2012, is a matter for the company itself.

I understand that Barbara Cassani, chair of London 2012, is currently considering candidates for the post.

18. Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on the committee structure for London's 2012 Olympic bid. [129569]

Tessa Jowell: The Board of London 2012 Ltd. has been tasked as the bid committee to prepare the bid to host the 2012 Olympics in London. While a number of executive posts to the board remain to be filled, the board members recently announced by London 2012 Ltd. are as follows:

A stakeholder's panel of the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Mayor of London and Chair of the British Olympic Association has also been established. The stakeholder's panel will have the final right of approval over London's applicant city questionnaire and candidature file.

London 2012 Ltd. will also be establishing a Bid Forum which will allow London 2012 to consult and seek advice from a wider constituency of interested parties from across London and the country.

Mr. Moss: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment she has made of the extent to which the Olympic bid will enhance regional sports facilities. [128654]

Tessa Jowell: My Department has assessed that should the UK win the right to host the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games they will provide the opportunity for a lasting legacy for communities

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through the investment by visiting teams in enhanced sporting facilities for training and preparing for the Games.

In addition I announced in July that during the bidding phase, community facilities across the UK will be improved through further funding of £100 million from the New Opportunities Fund. In England this will be joined with £31 million from Sport England to provide a fund for community sports facilities in each region.

This investment will be used together with the Olympic Bid to galvanise enthusiasm and encourage and sustain increased participation in sport in our communities.

Mr. John Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) how the statement in the Government's response to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee report on A London Olympic Bid, Cm 5867, that special funding streams to meet Olympic costs should be closed by 2013–14, accords with her statement on 15th May, Official Report, column 481, on the length of time that the special London council tax precept will run; [128084]

Tessa Jowell: The Memorandum of Understanding between the Government and the Mayor of London, as published in the response to the Select committee, makes clear that "the Government and Mayor's expectation I that special funding streams to meet Olympic costs should be closed, having provided the necessary amounts, by 2013–14, except that where the Greater London Authority has borrowed to meet capital costs of the Olympics it may be necessary to extend the period during which the Olympic precept is levied to reflect the requirements of the prudential framework for capital finance."

Within that Memorandum, London is required to contribute up to £550 million towards the cost of the staging of the Games, with provision for a further £75 million if needed. The Mayor has said that he will raise this from the London Council Tax from an additional £20 a year charge, or 38p a week, on Council Tax for a band D property, likely to begin in 2006–07 if the bid is successful. On the current tax base it is estimated that this would arise the required £550 million in ten years and a further £75 million within another two years if necessary. However, the Mayor has also advised that during the period from 2006–07 the tax base will increase and so that time period may reduce. In addition, the funding package for the Games allows a £1.2 billion contingency over and above Arup's estimates of required public subsidy for staging the Olympics. The time period for collection of Council Tax would also reduce if all contingencies were not required, and it is the Mayor's expectation that special funding streams should have closed, having provided the necessary amount by 2013–14. In the unlikely event that the full funding package is required, and the GLA has to

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borrow to meet capital costs of staging the Olympics then the period of special funding may extend beyond that dated as allowed for in the Memorandum.

My statement to the House on 15 May on the length of the time that the special London council tax precept would run presented the Government's assessment of a possible worst-case scenario. The Memorandum of Understanding, as I have explained, makes provision for such an eventuality. However, current expectations are that this will not be the se and that special funding streams should be capable of being closed by 2013–14. The Mayor has also advised that current expectations are that in the unlikely event that the full London contribution were required this could be raised in less than 12 years.


16. Diana Organ: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment has been made of the number of (a) domestic and (b) overseas tourists in England this summer. [129567]

Mr. Caborn: The latest figures show that the number of domestic tourist trips in England which include an overnight stay were 31.4 million between April and June 2003.

Figures for overseas tourists visiting England this summer will be available in January 2004. The latest figures for Britain show that, in the three months from May to July 2003, there were 6.9 million visits by overseas residents.

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of Stat for Culture, Media and Sport, what arrangements are in place to promote (a) England and (b) Britain overseas as tourist destinations. [129558]

Mr. Caborn: VisitBritain promotes the whole of Britain overseas, including England, as a tourist destination with £35.5 million Government funding this year and additional partnership funding from the industry. Their current campaigns include a campaign in the United States worth approximately £2 million and a £4 million "City Breaks" campaign in Europe launched last week.

19. Mr. Best: To ask the Minister for State and Culture, Media and Sport what discussions her Department has had with regional development agencies on their progress in co-ordinating regional tourism strategies. [129570]

Mr. Caborn: I recently met the new Chair of the South West Regional Development Agency (who leads for the RDAs on tourism) and discussed the strategic role which the RDAs have been given in the reformed arrangements for tourism. I am looking forward to a forthcoming meeting with all the RDA Chairs to discuss progress. We have issued guidance to the RDAs on how tourism should be covered in their Corporate Plans and Regional Economic Strategies, which includes working together with each other within the new national framework for tourism strategy and marketing and have commented on draft Corporate Plans and related strategies in the light of this.

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