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9 Nov 2005 : Column 562W—continued

Tomahawk Missile

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the Royal Navy vessels which (a) are fitted and (b) are scheduled to be fitted with Tomahawk cruise missiles. [26027]

Mr. Ingram: [holding answer 8 November 2005]: HMS Spartan, HMS Trafalgar, HMS Turbulent, HMS Trenchant and HMS Triumph are capable of launching Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAM).

HMS Sceptre, HMS Tireless, HMS Talent, HMS Torbay and the submarines of the Astute class are also programmed to receive the capability.

Type-23 Frigates

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 26 October 2005, Official Report, column 37W, on the D530 Mark 2 naval gun, what defence Type 23 frigates have against fast-attack craft until the gun is fitted; and if he will make a statement. [25172]

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Mr. Ingram: As a defence against fast attack craft, Type 23 Frigates are currently equipped with two permanently mounted DS30B manually operated 30mm Gun Systems, an outfit of pedestal mounted General Purpose Machine Guns and, dependant on whether the ship is deployed to a high threat area, two M323 7.62mm Gatling Miniguns. These arrangements will be further enhanced by the fitting of the DS30M Mark 2 Automated Small Calibre Gun.

Typhoon Fighter Plane

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the total cost was of his trip in July to discuss the sale of BAE Systems' Typhoon fighter planes to the Saudi Arabian defence forces; and if he will make a statement. [25286]

John Reid: I visited the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia shortly after my appointment as Defence Secretary to discuss a wide range of bilateral and multilateral defence and security issues, including Counter-Terrorism and Developments in the Middle East. En route I met with and was briefed by Commander British Forces (Cyprus). The total cost of this visit (including the operational visit to Cyprus) is estimated to have been around £45,000.

Urban Warfare Training

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how much time was spent on urban warfare training for infantry units in (a) 2003 and (b) the last 12 months; [23315]

(2) how many infantry battalions have received urban warfare training in the last 12 months. [23316]

Mr. Ingram: I can confirm that elements of 38 of the 40 Army Infantry battalions have received urban warfare training since October 2004. Two battalions did not undertake such training owing to operational commitments but will do so in the forthcoming months.

A certain amount of urban warfare training is organised on an individual unit basis by each of the Infantry battalions and records are not held centrally. Details of the time spent on such training during (a) 2003 and (b) the last 12 months could, therefore, be provided only at a disproportionate cost.



Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps she is taking to encourage children in (a) Romford and (b) Greater London to participate in athletics; and what funds have been allocated for such purposes. [25888]

Mr. Caborn: The Government's National School Sport Strategy aims to increase participation in physical education and sport in schools, which includes athletics. The national strategy is being delivered through the national network of school sport partnerships. The overall aim is that by 2006, 75 per cent. of pupils in partnerships spend a minimum of least two hours each week on high quality PE and sport.
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Schools in the constituency of Romford are linked to three school sport partnerships. These are Coopers Company and Coborn school sport partnership, Davenant Foundation school sport partnership, and Emerson Park school sport partnership.

Coopers Company and Coborn school sport partnership has to date received a total of £853,627, with a further £618,280 pending. Davenant Foundation school sport partnership has to date received a total of £446,156, with a further £89,518 pending. Emerson Park school sport partnership has to date received £324,403, with a further £413,250 pending.

Essex county sports partnership has a target to make 11 links between school partnerships in their area and athletics clubs, and has been provided £18,000 to support the development of these links.

Information from the latest national survey of school sport partnerships shows that 91 per cent. of all schools provided athletics during the 2004–05 academic year. 33 per cent. of schools had links with athletics clubs.

Information for Greater London is not held in the format requested.

The results of the survey were published in September and copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Departmental Policies

Mr. Kemp: 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 Houghton and Washington, East constituency, the effects on Houghton and Washington, East of her Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [25515]

Mr. Lammy: 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 Houghton and Washington, East since 2 May 1997.

In 2002 we launched the first ever comprehensive national physical education, school sport and club links strategy with an investment of £459 million. A further £519 million was announced by the Prime Minister for the strategy in December 2004. In addition, the Government have provided funding for 3,000 Community Sports Coaches to be in place across England and Wales by the end of 2006. As a result of this investment the following initiatives have been implemented in Houghton and Washington, East.

There are two School Sports Partnerships in Houghton and Washington, East—Biddick and Houghton Kepier. The 2004–05 school sport survey showed that 78 per cent. of pupils in Biddick and 76 per cent. of pupils from Houghton Kepier received two hours of high quality PE and out of hours school sport during the academic year. In addition, 14 per cent. of pupils from Biddick and 7 per cent. from Houghton Kepier have been actively involved in sports volunteering in the same period and 27 per cent. from
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Houghton Kepier and 17 per cent. from Biddick have participated in community sports activities through school club links.

Through the Community Sports Coach scheme a full time health and fitness coach will start at the beginning of December to deliver after school sessions to partnerships with Sunderland (including Biddick and Houghton Kepier) and five part time multi skill coaches are currently being recruited to start in the new year to assist with the development of basic Moves clubs and academies. Biddick partnership currently has access to three part time Community Sports Coaches and Houghton partnership to one.

The Government's investment in the Biddick School Sport Partnership has resulted in the partnership piloting the multi skill club programme (a multi skill club was implemented in every primary school). The success of this pilot has enabled multi skill clubs to be rolled out across the country and the aim is to provide 1,600 clubs by 2008. Multi skill clubs provide children with the opportunity to develop basic physical skills in order to lead to sporting success.

To achieve our challenging targets for increased participation in sport and physical activity, we have invested in over 4,000 new and refurbished public sports facilities. Sports facilities in the Gateshead and Sunderland area have benefited from 42 awards from Sport England and the Big Lottery Fund to the total of £19.7 million.

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 2005–06 funding to Arts Council England, North East increased from £5.7 million to £14.4 million. In 2005–06 the total Arts Council England investment in the North East, including grant in aid and lottery expenditure, will be £17.7 million. Houghton and Washington, East has benefited from grants to arts projects, organisations and individuals in the area, ranging from the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art to the Gatehead NHS Trust which received £30,000 for public art commissions for the new NHS treatment centre in Gateshead.

Houghton and Washington, East is part of the Durham and Sunderland Creative Partnership area, which was set up in phase 1 of the programme in 2002. Creative Partnerships aims to give school children and their teachers the opportunity to explore their creativity by working on sustained projects with creative organisations and individuals, including artists, theatre companies, dance studios, museums, orchestras, film-makers and historic buildings. Funding of £65 million was allocated for the period 2002–05 to develop Creative Partnerships, and the programme will receive at least a further £86 million in 2005–08.

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 Houghton and Washington,
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East will be among those who benefit from Culture Online. Between 2002 and 2004, £13 million was allocated to fund 20 Culture Online projects.

In 2002 the Department, working through the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, began investing in regional museums for the first time with the Renaissance funding programme. Since 2003, the North East Regional Museums Hub, led by Tyne and Wear Museums, working in partnership with the North East Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (NEMLAC) has invested £4.7 million in museums in the North East. As a result, 88 per cent. of schools in Gateshead LEA, and 68 per cent. in Sunderland LEA have participated in museum based learning at Tyne and Wear Museums. And since April 2005, museum hub outreach officers in Gateshead and Sunderland have worked with 2,073 people.

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.

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 Houghton and Washington, East with at least one person aged 75 or over claiming the winter fuel payment in 2004–05 was 4,490.

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 Gambling Act 2005 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 Houghton and Washington, East, a greater say in the regulation of gambling in their area.

Tourism in Houghton and Washington, East has benefited from Government-funded marketing activity. In April 2003 we established VisitBritain with a new
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domestic marketing remit for England, and we gave strategic responsibility for tourism development to the regional development agencies, including One North East. 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 Houghton and Washington, East.

In common with all those in the United Kingdom, the public library branches in Houghton 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.

Information from the national lottery distributors indicates that since 2 May 1997 Houghton and Washington, East has benefited from over 230 awards totalling over £9.8 million. Of these, 27 awards worth over £5.2 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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