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24 Oct 2005 : Column 62W—continued

Wind Farms

Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what research he has undertaken on the potential for large scale offshore wind farms. [17607]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 17 October 2005]: In 2003 the DTI, along with the Carbon Trust, published the findings of the Renewables Innovation Review, which looked at all areas of the renewables industry including offshore wind. A copy of the Renewables Innovation Review and supporting documentation can be found at
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Sir Menzies Campbell: To ask the Prime Minister what recent discussions he has had with President Putin on (a) human rights and (b) reports of disappearances in Chechnya; and if he will make a statement. [19416]

The Prime Minister: Together with European Commission President Barroso, I discussed human rights with President Putin during the EU-Russia summit on 4 October. We also discussed the situation in the North Caucasus at some length. We underlined the need for human rights to be safeguarded in the fight against terrorism and discussed with President Putin prospects for the forthcoming parliamentary elections in Chechnya.


Welsh Language Act

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many Departments of state have yet to comply with the Welsh Language Act 1993 in not having adopted a language scheme; and if he will make a statement. [20304]

Mr. Hain: Although Crown bodies are not required to have a Welsh language scheme, it is the Government's practice to comply with the principle that, in the conduct of public business in Wales, the Welsh and English languages should be treated on a basis of equality.

Welsh Language Board data indicate that nine Government Departments currently have approved schemes. Two are actively preparing schemes (one of these is a replacement scheme following merger of departments). The Board has issued notifications to a further three departments, asking them to prepare a scheme.

Youth Crime

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether he has met the Secretary of State for the Home Department to discuss issues of youth crime in Wales. [20569]

Mr. Hain: I keep close contact with my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary on all policing matters in Wales. The Government are supporting a wide-ranging programme to tackle youth offending and to prevent children being drawn into crime in the first place. This includes tackling deprivation and working with families and education services, along with on-going implementation of the 10-year anti-drugs strategy. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister recently announced a major new drive to increase the take-up of parenting contracts and orders, as part of our strategy for fostering respect in society.
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Cultural Industries (South-West)

8. Linda Gilroy: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment she has made of the contribution of cultural industries to the economy in the south-west region. [20221]

Mr. Lammy: The cultural industries make a significant contribution to the economy in the south-west. The South West Regional Development Agency estimates that creative sector employment accounts for around 4 per cent. of the regional workforce, and there are strong TV and film production, computer graphics and interactive media clusters in this area. I am confident that with continued help and support at national and regional level, the cultural industries will continue to be successful.

Licensing Act

9. Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent assessment she has made of the implications for binge drinking of the changes proposed by the Licensing Act 2003. [20222]

James Purnell: We believe that the new licensing regime will allow a more responsible attitude to drinking to develop through removing the current arrangements which encourage people to drink as much as possible before last orders and create flashpoints for conflict through late night queuing for transport and fast food.

The new Act will give the police and local authorities more effective, rapid and better targeted powers to tackle problem premises.

16. Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment she has made of the likely health impact of the implementation of the Licensing Act 2003. [20230]

James Purnell: Licensing reform is not primarily aimed at addressing health problems associated with alcohol—those are complex issues that are more appropriately being dealt with through the Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy and the measures set out in the Health White Paper. Nevertheless, we believe the Act will help us tackle the problems covered by irresponsible drinking including the effects on health. Our monitoring of the impact of the Act will include effects on heath.

18. Lynda Waltho: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what opportunities will be given to local organisations and residents to contest licence extensions or renewals under the new Licensing Act 2003. [20232]

James Purnell: The Licensing Act 2003 brings in new opportunities for residents, police and others to seek a review of a licence at any time that problems occur. This contrasts with the current regime whereby only 0.2 per cent. of alcohol licences are revoked and a court based renewal process that does not engage local people and is often intimidating.
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10. Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment the Department has made of the decision to open up 25 per cent. of BBC production to independent companies. [20223]

James Purnell: We will assess the BBC's proposals against the goal of delivering the best possible programmes for licence payers, and respond in the White Paper. We believe that goal will be met by balancing competition from independent producers with a supporting and thriving base of in-house production.

19. Mrs. Cryer: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what further initiatives the Government will take to promote ongoing public involvement with the BBC following the review of its charter. [20233]

Tessa Jowell: As explained in the Green Paper, we will establish a new BBC Trust" which will embody the public interest and reflect the views of the licence fee payer. Part of the Trust's remit will be to ensure communication and consultation with licence fee payers through a rolling programme of quantitative and qualitative research, viewer forums and decision-making based on direct engagement with the public.

Mr. Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the cost in real terms of the BBC licence fee has been in each of the last 30 years. [19838]

James Purnell: The value, as at April 2005 (the date of the latest licence fee increase), of the colour television licence fee for each of the last 30 years was:

Colour TV licence feeValue at April 2005 prices

The upratings are based on the percentage changes in the all items Retail Prices Index from the month of the licence fee increase (or April of the relevant year in years where there was no increase) to April 2005.

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Mr. Michael Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will ensure future decisions on extending local BBC services are based on (a) public value and market impact tests, (b) the conclusions of Ofcom's review of local television services and (c) public consultation on the role for commercial media. [18601]

James Purnell: The Green Paper on BBC Charter Review makes clear that all new services and significant changes must be subject to public value and market impact assessments. Policy in this area will be set out in more detail in the forthcoming White Paper.

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