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Departmental Policies (Woodspring)

Mr. Sedgemore: 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 Woodspring constituency, the effects on Woodspring of her Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [216017]

Mr. Caborn: The Department's aim is to improve the quality of life for everyone through cultural and sporting activities, to support the pursuit of excellence and to champion the tourism, creative and leisure industries. The Department's policies and actions have had a significant impact on Woodspring since 2 May 1997.

In order to achieve our challenging targets for increased participation in sport and physical activity, we have invested in thousands of new and refurbished public sports facilities. In 2002 we launched the first ever comprehensive national physical education, school sport and club links strategy with an investment of £459 million. A school sport partnership involving five School Sport Co-ordinators and 35 Primary Link teachers is based at Wyvern in Woodspring. To achieve our challenging targets for increase participation in sport and physical activity, we have invested in thousands of new and refurbished public sports facilities. Sports facilities in Woodspring have benefited from 10 Sport England Lottery grants totalling £2,218,978.
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We have increased our national funding to the arts in real terms by 60 per cent. from £199 million in 1998–99 to £367 million in 2004–05. Between 1998–99 and 2003–04 Arts Council England, South West grants increased from £4.3 million to £12.2 million. In 2005–06 the total Arts Council England investment in the South West will be £14.1 million. Woodspring has benefited from this increased funding to arts projects, organisations and individuals.

Culture Online was launched in 2002 to increase access to, and participation in, arts and culture. Many of its projects are aimed at children of school age and at audiences that might not otherwise participate in arts and culture, including those who do not easily have access to arts and culture, people from deprived communities and people with particular educational or physical needs. People in Woodspring will be among those who benefit from Culture Online. Between 2002 and 2004, £13 million was allocated to fund 20 Culture Online projects.

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-made, high quality original programmes catering for all viewers and listeners. We have ensured a secure funding base for the BBC and Channel 4, 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.

Our support for, and promotion of, the film and broadcasting industries through the work of the Regional Screen Agencies have contributed to the general success of film-making and television activity outside London. Last year 24 productions were shot in Somerset adding £333,000 to the local economy, including Woodspring.

In November 2000 we introduced free television licences 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 Woodspring with at least one person aged 75 or over claiming the winter fuel payment in 2003–04 was 6,085.

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 11pm on new year's eve to 11am 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 Gambling Bill will, when implemented, transfer responsibility for licensing gambling premises to local authorities. Local people and businesses will be able to
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make representations about applications for licenses and local authorities will be able to decide not to issue licenses for casino premises. These changes will give local communities, including those in Woodspring, a greater say in the regulation of gambling in their area.

Tourism in Woodspring has benefited from Government-funded marketing activity. In April 2003 we established VisitBritain with a new domestic marketing remit for England, and we gave strategic responsibility for tourism development to the Regional Development Agencies, including South West Regional Development Agency. These changes, together with VisitBritain's successful marketing activities in promoting Britain abroad as an attractive tourist destination, benefit all parts of the country, including Woodspring.

English Heritage has awarded grants worth £57,885 to five buildings and organisations in Woodspring since 2 May 1997, including Tickenham Court, Clivedon and the Nailsea Glassworks, Nailsea.

In common with all of those in the United Kingdom, the public library branches in Woodspring constituency are connected to the internet through the People's Network which was funded through a £120 million Lottery grant and which has put all the United Kingdom's public libraries on-line. In addition, the Department is funding the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council with £5 million over three years to implement the Framework for the Future Action Plan and Library Improvement Programme, which is designed to encourage improvement across the public libraries sector in England.

The Department has been an energetic advocate of the community and informal learning value of public libraries. North Somerset council has recognised this value and as part of a consortium (including North Somerset, Somerset County and the Unitary Authorities of Bath and North-East Somerset and South Gloucestershire) took part in an initiative called Foursite Internet for a new Era the result of which was the installation of 24/7 phone lines, internet access by mobile phone and a web catalogue system, which was shared across the consortium. Libraries in Woodspring benefited from this project which received a total award of £147,750 from the DCMS/Wolfson Public Libraries Challenge Fund in 1998–99.

Information from the National Lottery distributors indicates that since 2 May 1997 Woodspring has benefited from over 176 awards totalling over £9.3 million. Of these, 21 awards worth over £1.4 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.

Freedom of Information

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what her policy is in respect of the publication (a) on the departmental website and (b) by placing copies in the Library of (i) all or (ii) only a selection of the information disclosed in response to Freedom of Information requests since January. [215193]

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Mr. Caborn [holding answer 10 February 2005]: My Department intends to publish all information disclosed in response to requests made since January under the Freedom of Information Act, save where it is impractical to do so. My Department will be enhancing its online Publication Scheme to ensure that members of the public are able to find material which has been released. My Department does not intend routinely to place copies of such information in the Library of the House.

Historic Buildings

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent discussions she has had with English Heritage concerning its budget to retain and restore houses and other structures deemed to be of historic value. [215808]

Mr. Caborn: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State met English Heritage's chairman on 6 December 2004 to discuss its budget. The Minister for Heritage and DCMS officials also have regular meetings with English Heritage to discuss budgetary issues. Its financial settlement for the next three years includes £12 million of capital for investment in Apethorpe Hall and other historic sites in English Heritage's care.

Ministerial Stationery

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much has been spent on official Ministerial (a) business cards, (b) headed paper and (c) compliment slips in each year since 1997. [214961]

Mr. Caborn: Ministers do not have discrete headed paper, compliment slips or business cards. Ministerial correspondence uses the same headed paper and cards as those used by officials. The annual cost of print for such items is circa £9,400.

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