Previous SectionIndexHome Page

National Lottery (Social Exclusion)

5. Ann McKechin (Glasgow, North) (Lab): If she will make a statement on the impact of the national lottery on social exclusion. [10627]

The Minister for Sport and Tourism (Mr. Richard Caborn): Lottery distributors take into account the need to reduce economic and social deprivation when making awards. Many lottery-funded projects have helped regenerate inner cities and create employment and, importantly, have strengthened communities.

Ann McKechin: Can my right hon. Friend assure me that projects such as the Realise organisation in my constituency, which tackles the problem of worklessness in our area, particularly the need for basic literacy and numeracy and the needs of people who suffer from addiction, will continue to receive support from the national lottery programme to ensure that areas can be regenerated?
11 Jul 2005 : Column 554

Mr. Caborn: Very much so. Hon. Members should take a leaf out of my hon. Friend's book. She has lobbied hard and been very proactive in getting lottery money into her constituency, and she has instigated a number of events to encourage local organisations to secure funds. That is why her constituency has received over 400 awards—just under £50 million—and I congratulate her on that. On the Big Lottery Fund in particular, the answer is yes. As we have indicated, 60 or 70 per cent. will be going to community groups and charities, so the type of scheme that she describes will continue to get such funding in the future.

Mr. Siôn Simon (Birmingham, Erdington) (Lab): Will the Minister consider constituencies such as mine? In the past, when we have asked why we are so massively under-represented in the amount of lottery money we have received, we are told, "Because you are not applying for enough." Will my right hon. Friend re-examine the mechanisms so that constituencies that may not be applying nevertheless get some of the benefits, which they are certainly paying into?

Mr. Caborn: That is a question of administration. My hon. Friend should have a word with our hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, North (Ann McKechin), who tabled the question. He could learn a lot from her, as she has been extremely active in that regard. Since 1998, we have encouraged more lottery money to be given in much smaller grants—around £5,000—and half of the money that is now dispensed is in such grants. We are therefore hitting many more organisations with lottery money, which has been welcomed. Nearly half the total amount awarded has gone to the 100 most deprived local authorities. We are trying to ensure that it is dispensed equitably, but it is for organisations to apply. We have taken many steps to make that as simple as possible, and the procedure for applying to the Big Lottery Fund will be much simpler than previously.

Licensing Act

6. Dr. Vincent Cable (Twickenham) (LD): What recent discussions her Department has had with the Home Office on the impact of the implementation of the Licensing Act 2003 on alcohol-related antisocial behaviour. [10628]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (James Purnell): I had a bilateral meeting with my right hon. Friend the Minister for Policing, Security and Community Safety at the Home Office on 19 May and our two Departments regularly discuss these issues. The Home Office is represented on the high level group that steers the implementation of the Act. Both Departments agree that we should implement the Licensing Act 2003 as a key element of the Government's wider programme for tackling alcohol-related antisocial behaviour.

Dr. Cable: Is the Minister aware of the latest Government figures suggesting that there has been a 150 per cent. increase in alcohol-related attacks on police officers in London over the past three years? What would be the position of a local authority that declined to issue late-night licences until a funding mechanism
11 Jul 2005 : Column 555
has been agreed with nightclub owners and other licensees fully to fund the additional cost of late-night policing?

James Purnell: As the hon. Gentleman knows, those offences happen under the current legislation, which does not have enough powers to deal with problem pubs. As we discussed earlier, there will now be much greater powers. We are also, through the Violent Crime Reduction Bill that is going through this House, bringing in powers to deal with problems that happen outside premises.

In response to the hon. Gentleman's particular question, the current legislation has a presumption against blanket restrictions, but his local authority could use the powers on saturation. I am happy to write to him about that if it would help.

Mr. Kevan Jones (North Durham) (Lab): Does my hon. Friend agree that one of the biggest problems is the sale of alcohol to youngsters, which plagues many council estates and other estates in my constituency? What can he do to ensure that local councils use the powers that the Bill is giving them to restrict sales to minors and to address the fact that it will, for the first time, be illegal for people to purchase alcohol for supply to minors?

James Purnell: My hon. Friend raises a vital point. We have to change the culture whereby it is acceptable for nine, 10 and 11-year-olds to be drunk on a Friday night by ensuring that we crack down on off-licences that are selling to youngsters and stop people buying on their behalf. He will be glad to know that, in response to campaigning from members of this House—he was one of those who participated in that—the fine for selling to under-age drinkers has gone up from £1,000 to £5,000, that there is now a fixed penalty notice scheme for dealing with people who sell to under-age drinkers and, most importantly of all, that under the Violent Crime Reduction Bill there will be a power instantly to close down for 48 hours an off-licence that is doing so. There will be much greater powers, and I commend my hon. Friend and other Members who have campaigned for them.

Hywel Williams (Caernarfon) (PC): What problems does the Minister foresee in implementing the Licensing Act 2003, given the Government's failure to produce the proper forms in Wales and the temptation for some licensees to think even of trading without a licence?

James Purnell: Initial applications under the Act were slow. Between 3 and 5 per cent. had applied in May. That went up to about 10 per cent. in mid-June, it was 25 per cent. last week, and it is now up to 33 per cent. Applications are starting to pick up, although there is still some way to go. I was glad that we recently had a meeting to discuss this. We have made it clear that we have no objection to anyone using Welsh forms or submitting their application in Welsh and I encourage people to use those powers if they want to. As the hon. Gentleman and other Members requested, we will prescribe the use of a Welsh form in future and for anyone who applies after the Act comes into force.
11 Jul 2005 : Column 556

Museums and Galleries

7. Andrew Gwynne (Denton and Reddish) (Lab): How many visitors there were to national museums and galleries in the last period for which figures are available; and if she will make a statement. [10629]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Mr. David Lammy): In 2004–05, there were around 36 million visitors to museums and galleries sponsored by my Department. Since the introduction of free admission, the number of visitors has continued to rise.

Andrew Gwynne : Will my hon. Friend comment on the news that, a result of the Government's free admissions policy, the museum of science and industry in Manchester had a record year last year, with almost 500,000 visitors through its doors? That has massively extended access to its valuable collections. Will he extend his congratulations to all involved on that fantastic achievement?

Mr. Lammy: I congratulate Manchester's museum of science and industry on excellent results in getting that number of people to visit it and see the exhibits. We should also recognise that, a few years ago, one of the challenges for museums was to ensure that the poorest socio-economic groups attended our museums. Nationally, the figure has risen by 8 per cent., and I am pleased that it has gone up in Manchester as well.

Mr. Hugo Swire (East Devon) (Con): The staff at our national museums and galleries are clearly doing an excellent job, particularly in the light of recent events. Does the Minister agree that as important as the number of people who come to see our great works of art is the fact that those works of art are free of any stigma? With that in mind, why are the Government still dragging their feet by not introducing legislation to achieve the restitution of Nazi-looted works of art, which they committed to do following the report by the Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport back in 2000?

Mr. Lammy: It was right to consider the panel's work on such an important issue and we shall present our plans shortly.

Next Section IndexHome Page