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James Purnell: We need to await the conclusions of the pilot switchover assistance scheme project in Bolton and research, which we will shortly commission, on the future intentions among the target groups to adopt digital television and to use the services provided under the scheme before we can publish detailed estimates. We will not have the results of these studies until early next year.
Mr. Don Foster:
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what guidance she has issued
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to local authorities regarding the legality of policies on the minimum pricing of alcohol drinks; and if she will make a statement. 
James Purnell [holding answer 25 October 2005]: Chapter 7.79 of the guidance issued under section 182 of the Licensing Act 2003 offers advice on discounting and sales promotions, including advice on competition law in relation to pricing.
The Government are committed to an early review of the guidance, which was issued over a year ago. It would be sensible to look again at the advice on discounting and sales promotions, and I would value the hon. Member's views as part of that process.
Robert Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment she has made of the implications for the maintenance of the fabric of English cathedrals of the loss of income arising from forced sale to their tenants of rented houses in their closes. 
Mr. Lammy: No specific assessment of this aspect of Cathedrals' financial circumstances has been made. However, the 2001 English Heritage survey of the fabric needs of cathedrals demonstrated that most had overcome the backlog of repairs that had existed in 1991 when the survey had last been carried out. The remaining need is for smaller grants for medium sized cyclical repairs. In 200506, the scheme is providing £1 million to assist cathedrals with their outstanding repair needs.
Cathedrals have received a total of £7.7 million since 200102 from the Heritage Lottery Fund. This money has supported fabric repair and conservation work, new facilities, and community outreach projects.
Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much funding was allocated by her Department to Milton Keynes for (a) capital projects and (b) revenue funding in each of the last five years. 
Apart from the national museums and galleries, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport does not allocate funding directly to any of its sectors. Instead money allocated to it by Parliament is channelled through our various non-departmental public bodies who are responsible for deciding how and where it is spent. For instance the Arts Council has allocated £1.45 million to a number of organisations in Milton Keynes over the last five years, as well as £20 million in capital for the Milton Keynes Theatre and Art Gallery. Similarly Sport England have allocated £800,000 in revenue and £1 million in capital funding and English Heritage £251,000 in revenue funding. Some of the funding which these and other of our NDPBs spend in the surrounding area will also have benefited Milton Keynes.
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Mr. Francois: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what progress has been made, in terms of (a) headcount reductions and (b) cost savings, in achieving the efficiency objectives set for the Department by the Gershon review. 
Mr. Lammy: Progress was reported in Budget 2005 and in the Departmental Annual Report. Further progress will be reported in the Autumn Performance Report and at aggregate level in the Pre-Budget Report.
Mr. Francois: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport who in the Department has been made responsible for achieving the efficiency objectives set for the Department by the Gershon review. 
Mr. Lammy: DCMS intends to publish a White Paper that will contain the detailed proposals for reform of the heritage protection system in spring 2006. The Department will seek parliamentary time for new legislation as soon as practicable after this time.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent meetings she has held with representatives of (a) supermarkets, (b) off-licences and (c) other licensed premises with regard to irresponsible drinks promotions; and if she will make a statement. 
James Purnell: I and my right hon. Friends the Secretary of State, and the Home Secretary, met senior figures from the off-trade on 26 October to discuss the sale of alcohol to children. We shall be having further discussions on the issue of irresponsible sales promotions.
There are ongoing and regular meetings between my Department, the Home Office and the Department of Health with the licensed trade to discuss issues such as responsible retailing. An important development in this regard, as part of the cross-Government Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy, is the drawing up of a Social Responsibility Standards Code. Representatives of all licensed trade sectors are committed to the code, which will be launched shortly.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many IT projects have been developed for her Department since 2001; and whether she has agreed to make public the Gateway Reviews for these projects (a) in full and (b) in part. 
Mr. Lammy: The total book stock held by public libraries across inner and outer London for each year between 199798 and 200304 is shown in the table. These figures are drawn from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy's annual Public Library Statistics (Actuals) which also contain figures for individual library authorities. Copies are kept in the House of Commons Library.
|Total book stock|
Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many representations she has received from police authorities raising concerns about the effects of the Licensing Act 2003 since the Act passed; and if she will make a statement. 
James Purnell: Since the passing of the Licensing Act 2003, my Department has received many representations from the police raising issues relating to the likely effects of the Act. The police have provided frequent and valuable advice to the Government, in particular, in the development of the guidance to police officers on the operation of closure powers in the Act.
Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what guidance she has issued to local authorities on the circumstances in which they should write to residents to inform them of applications for premises licences under the Licensing Act 2003. 
Requirements aimed at bringing licence applications to the attention of interested parties likely to be affected by them are not matters of guidance but of primary and secondary legislation. Under the Licensing Act 2003 (Premises Licences and Club Premises Certificates) Regulations 2005 (2005 No. 42), applicants are required to display a notice prominently at or on the premises and to advertise their application in a local newspaper or newsletter. The 2003 Act also requires that licensing authorities must place details of applications on its licensing register which must be available to the public.
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Nothing in the 2003 Act prevents licensing authorities from taking supplementary action to bring applications to the attention of individuals living in the vicinity of the premises concerned, but that is a matter for them to decide.
We are committed to monitoring closely how the new regime operates in practice and this will include looking at evidence about the effectiveness of requirements such as those on the advertising of applications. Where the evidence suggests that the system could be more effective, we will consider revising the guidance or, if necessary, asking Parliament to amend the legislation.
Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what guidance she has issued to local authorities on the circumstances in which a local councillor may (a) speak on behalf of residents at an open local authority licensing committee meeting dealing with an application and (b) inform constituents by circular leaflet of applications for a premises licence under the Licensing Act 2003. 
James Purnell: As regards (a) , under paragraph 5.32 of the guidance issued under section 182 of the Licensing Act 2003, a local ward councillor may, if asked, make representations on behalf of persons or businesses, or associations representing them. However, it would be expected that any councillor who is also a member of the licensing committee and who is making such representations would disqualify him or herself from any involvement in the decision-making process. The Licensing Act 2003 (Hearings) Regulations 2005 sets out the procedure for who can speak at a hearing. The Secretary of State and I wrote to local authorities on 30 September 2005 about licensing and confirmed that there is nothing to stop a local councillor from making representations if asked to by residents, nor from seeking views of residents on licensing matters, as they would for any other issue.
With respect to (b) , it is the responsibility of the person making the application to advertise this, by displaying a notice and by advertising in a local newspaper or newsletter, in conformity with the statutory provisions. It is for local councillors themselves to decide whether to communicate with constituents about license applications, and, if so, by what means.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) how many licensees have (a) applied for and (b) been granted a new licence to increase their trading hours for serving alcohol under the Licensing Act 2003; 
James Purnell [holding answer 28 October 2005]: Data on applications of the kind requested are not currently available, but my Department estimates that around 190,000 applications for premises licences and club premises certificates were submitted by 24 October 2005about 98 per cent. of the total applications expected.
It would be a significant exercise to gather more detailed information from the 400 licensing authorities, and we believe that this is best done once the transitional
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period is complete and all applications have been processed. However, industry bodies estimate that about 40 per cent. of the 60,000 pubs and bars in England and Wales have not sought a variation, and that the remainder have sought to extend their hours.
James Purnell [holding answer 27 October 2005]: Data on applications of the kind requested are not currently available, but my Department estimates that around 190,000 applications for premises licences and club premises certificates were submitted by 24 October 2005about 98 per cent. of the total applications expected.
It would be a significant exercise to gather more detailed information from the 400 licensing authorities, and we believe that this is best done once the transitional period is complete and all applications have been processed. However, industry bodies estimate that about 40 per cent. of the 60,000 pubs and bars in England and Wales have not sought a variation, and that the remainder have sought to extend their hours.
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