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31 Jan 2005 : Column 630W—continued

Wind Farms

Mr. Beith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what research her Department has (a) commissioned and (b) examined on the impact of wind farms on property values. [210476]

Mr. Mike O'Brien [holding answer 27 January 2005]: Although the Department has not commissioned research into the impact of wind farms on property value, the Department is aware of the survey on the housing market and the impact of wind farms conducted by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS—2004).

CULTURE, MEDIA AND SPORT

Alcohol Advertising

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will introduce legislation to ban the screening of television advertisements for alcoholic beverages before 9 pm. [211721]

Estelle Morris: No. The Government take the issue of binge drinking and alcohol misuse, particularly among young people, very seriously and accepted all the conclusions of the Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy for England. These included asking Ofcom, which has statutory responsibility for the regulation of broadcast advertising, to oversee a review of the rules on alcohol advertising. Ofcom's Code amendments were published on 1 November 2004 and came into effect from 1 January this year. These changes significantly strengthen the rules on broadcast alcohol advertising in many areas, particularly to protect the under-18s.

Civil Servants

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the cost of the enhanced early retirement scheme for civil servants in her Department and its agencies was in each year from 1997–98 to 2003–04 and what the estimated cost will be in each year from 2004–05 to 2007–08; and if she will make a statement. [211646]

Mr. Caborn: The Department has had no early retirement scheme" as such for many years; and has no current plans to institute one. Instead individual cases are considered on their merits under the terms of the Civil Service Pension Scheme.
 
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The table shows the overall early retirement costs for DCMS and The Royal Parks Agency from 1997–98 to 2007–08. The costs cover payments where employees have been granted enhanced early retirement, approved early retirement, or one-off compensation payments.
£

DCMSRPA
1997–98155,27272,919
1998–9972,26962,032
1999–2000145,06046,235
2000–0142,00034,494
2001–0279,60828,576
2002–0358,36220,632
2003–0492,9724,419
2004–0588,0003,436
2005–0681,68172,000
2006–0749,04225,000
2007–0836,77614,000

Copyright

Hugh Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions she has had with the (a) Football Association, (b) the Premier League and (c) the Football League on the effects of the recent European Court of Justice ruling on copyright. [211904]

Mr. Caborn: None.

However, my officials are aware of the European Court of Justice's ruling and are currently exploring the issue with the Football Association, the FA Premier League and Football League to identify any implications it may have on football clubs in England.

Discussions have also been held with officials at the Scottish Executive and the Department for Trade and Industry who have responsibility for copyright legislation.

Country Shows

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the estimated tax payable underthe Licensing Act 2003 is by organisers of country shows which attract attendance of up to (a) 5,000, (b) 10,000 and (c) 15,000; and if she will make a statement. [211591]

Mr. Caborn: There is no tax payable under the Licensing Act 2003. No provisions of the 2003 Act give rise to additional tax liability for organisers of country shows. Fee levels under the 2003 Act were announced on 21 January. They have been set centrally at a level that we believe will allow the full recovery of the costs of administration, inspection and enforcement associated with the new system. There is an additional fee for premises licence applications for exceptionally large scale events (over 5,000 people) unless certain conditions apply. We met with organisers of agricultural and country shows and, on the basis of those discussions, believe from what we have been told that such events can be organised in such a way as to be unlikely to be affected by the additional fee for large scale events.
 
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Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on the impact on rural shows of the increased licence fees for special events. [210480]

Mr. Caborn: We have had useful discussions with organisers of agricultural and country shows and believe from what we have been told that they can be organised in a way so that they are unlikely to be affected by the additional fee for large events. The same should be true for outdoor sports events, flower shows and other popular events that are not in themselves licensable. Where events include licensable activities, we are confident that the events may be organised so that those activities can, in the main, be licensed separately and not therefore trigger the additional fee.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions she has had with (a) organisers of rural shows and (b) rural local authorities on the increased licence fees for special events. [210481]

Mr. Caborn: The draft fee levels payable under the Licensing Act 2003 were subject to a public consultation which ended on 23 December 2004. Views from parties with an interest in fee levels have been considered, including from organisers of rural shows and rural local authorities. In addition we met the Country Land and Business Association and the Association of Show and Agricultural Organisations and concluded, on the basis of those discussions, that they are unlikely to be affected by the additional fees for large-scale events.

Departmental Contracts

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many contracts in her Department have been granted to (a) EDS, (b) Fujitsu and (c) EDS and Fujitsu jointly in each of the last two years; whether they were open to competition; for what they were granted; for how much, and over what period of time; and if she will make a statement. [211610]

Mr. Caborn: My Department has let no contracts to either EDS or Fujitsu in the last two years.

Departmental Policies (Preseli Pembrokeshire)

Mrs. Lawrence: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to Preseli, Pembrokeshire constituency, the effects on Preseli, Pembrokeshire of her Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [211323]

Mr. Caborn: Most of the matters for which the Department is responsible in England have been devolved in Wales to the National Assembly for Wales. However, there are some reserved areas in which the Government has introduced initiatives which affect Preseli Pembrokeshire.

Through our commitment to public service broadcasting we have helped to foster an environment in which a creative, commercially successful broadcasting industry provides a wide range of UK-
 
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made, high quality and original programmes catering for all viewers and listeners. We have ensured a secure funding base for the BBC and S4C, while giving them the freedom to develop commercial operations which complement and support their public service remit. The Communications Act 2003 includes provisions to ensure that public service broadcasting will continue to have a key role to play in the digital future.

In November 2000 we introduced free television licenses for people aged 75 or over. Information on the number of beneficiaries by constituency is not available. However, according to Department for Work and Pensions records, the number of households in Preseli Pembrokeshire with at least one person aged 75 or over claiming the winter fuel payment in 2003–04 was 4,835.

We have changed the licensing laws to allow people to hold and attend commercial dances on Sunday, to make it easier for restaurants to open an hour later, and to relax the alcohol licensing hours from 11 pm on New Year's Eve to 11 am on New Year's Day in all future years; and we have given the police greater powers to take action against under-age drinking and disorderly and noisy licensed premises. The Licensing Act 2003, when fully implemented, will introduce a streamlined, consistent and fair licensing regime for the provision of alcohol, public entertainment and late night refreshment It will provide greater choice for consumers, bring regeneration and increased employment opportunities and protect local residents whose lives have been blighted by disturbance and antisocial behaviour.

The Licensing Act 2003 (Commencement) Order 2003 repealed those parts of the Licensing Act 1964 which allowed the local government electorate in the counties and county boroughs of Wales to requisition polls to decide whether licensed premises should be allowed to open on Sundays. This has removed the uncertainty which businesses in Wales, including those in Preseli Pembrokeshire, faced, allowing them to exercise long-term planning. It also removes a costly administrative burden on local authorities and an artificial difference in licensing controls between Wales and England, which prevented businesses and customers exercising freedom of choice.

The Gambling Bill will, when implemented, transfer responsibility for licensing gambling premises to local authorities. Local people and businesses will be able to make representations about applications for licences and local authorities will be able to decide not to issue licences for casino premises. These changes will give local communities, including those in Preseli Pembrokeshire, a greater say in the regulation of gambling in their area.

No statistics are available for international visits or expenditure by constituency. However, VisitBritain's successful marketing activities in promoting Britain abroad as an attractive tourist destination benefit all parts of the country, including Preseli Pembrokeshire.

Information from the National Lottery distributors indicates that since 2 May 1997 Preseli Pembrokeshire has benefited from over 430 awards totalling over
 
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£17.8 million. Of these, 63 awards worth over £3.7 million were made by the New Opportunities Fund which was established by the Government in 1999. The New Opportunities Fund merged with the Community Fund in June 2004 to form the Big Lottery Fund.


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