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8 Dec 2005 : Column 1470W—continued

School Sports

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what (a) advice and (b) other support her Department provides to (i) schools and (ii) the Department for Education and Skills to encourage a wider range of sporting activities to be provided in schools. [35516]

Mr. Caborn: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Education and Skills share an ambitious Public Service Agreement target to increase the percentage of 5 to 16-year-olds who spend a minimum of two hours a week on high quality PE and school sport, within and beyond the curriculum, to 75 per cent. by 2006 and 85 per cent. by 2008. Long-term—by 2010—we want to offer children the chance to do at least four hours of sport every week.

The target is being delivered through the national PE, School Sport and Club Links (PESSCL) strategy being implemented jointly by both Departments. Over £1.5billion is being invested over the five years to 2008 to deliver the strategy through nine inter-linked programmes of work.

We have produced a range of guidance documents including:

which provide information and advice to school sport partnerships, schools, sport clubs, local education authorities, national governing bodies, county sport partnerships and others.

The 2004–05 School Sport Survey, the largest in Europe, confirms that the national strategy is on track to meet the public service agreement target. The survey found that overall 69 per cent. of pupils in the 11,400 schools taking part were spending at least two hours in a typical week on high quality PE and school sport. In 2003–04 the figure was 62 per cent.

Copies of the guidance documents and the survey reports have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament.


English Regions

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Leader of the House if he will bring forward proposals for regional question time sessions in the House for each of the English regions. [35515]

Mr. Hoon: I organise the question rota on the basis of ministerial responsibilities. Issues relating to particular regions can be raised with the relevant departmental Ministers. Issues relating to the work of the Government offices for the regions can be raised during oral questions to the Deputy Prime Minister.
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Non-departmental Public Bodies

Mr. Amess: To ask the Leader of the House (1) which of the advisory non-departmental public bodies sponsored by his Department (a) have a statutory base, (b) publish their advice to Government, (c) publish an annual report and (d) lay an annual report before Parliament; and if he will indicate in each instance whether this is under a statutory requirement; [34672]

(2) which of the advisory non-departmental public bodies sponsored by his Department (a) hold public meetings, (b) conduct public consultation exercises, (c) conduct consultation exercises with outside commercial interests, (d) publish a register of members' interests, (e) publish agendas for meetings and (f) publish the minutes of meetings; and whether in each case this is under a statutory requirement. [34673]

Nigel Griffiths: The Office of the Leader of the House of Commons does not sponsor any advisory non-departmental public bodies.

Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Amess: To ask the Leader of the House what the target time is for answering written parliamentary questions. [35973]

Mr. Hoon: Ministers have an obligation to Parliament to ensure that Members receive a substantive response to their named day question on the named day and to endeavour to answer an ordinary written question within a working week of it being tabled.

Ministers and their Departments should make every effort to ensure that the live bundle of questions still awaiting a substantive reply should be kept to a minimum at all times.


UK Passport Fees

Lynne Jones: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission pursuant to his written statement of 17 November 2005, Official Report, column 76WS, on UK passport fees, if he will break down the elements which contribute to the increase; and how much is accounted for by increased production costs. [32856]

Andy Burnham: I have been asked to reply.

The passport fee increase reflects the cost of implementing key anti-fraud measures to combat the rapidly growing threat of passport and identity fraud and forgery. This increase will support enhanced background checks on applicants, the gradual introduction of biometric passports and face-to-face interviews for first-time applicants.

The component elements of the standard passport fee are published on the UK Passport Service official website Reproduced in the table as follows. With the exception of a modest increase in administration costs of £0.22 per application all other aspects of the increase directly relate to costs associated with the service provided to the customer.
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Application processing14.02
Consular protection9.65
Book production5.00
Secure delivery3.00
Anti-fraud initiatives14.51


Devolved Legislatures

Mr. Amess: To ask the Solicitor-General what his policy is with regard to (a) Ministers and (b) officials in the Law Officers' Department giving evidence to the (i) Scottish Parliament, (ii) National Assembly for Wales and (iii)Northern Ireland Assembly committees; and to what categories of document he gives (A) full access, (B)restricted access and (C) no access to the (1) Scottish Parliament, (2) NAW, (3) Northern Ireland Assembly and (4) House of Commons select committees. [34537]

The Solicitor-General: Requests for the attendance of Ministers or officials to give evidence to the devolved legislatures, and for the provision of information to the assemblies, will be considered on a case by case basis. This consideration will reflect: the principles set out in the Cabinet Office guidance Departmental Evidence and Response to Select Committees" (July 2005); the policy outlined in the Department for Constitutional Affairs' Devolution Guidance Note #12 Attendance of UK Ministers and Officials at Committees of the devolved legislatures"; and the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act. The principles underlying the provision of information to House of Commons Select Committees are set out in Departmental Evidence and Response to Select Committees", particularly sections 4B and 4C.

European Court of Human Rights

Mr. Amess: To ask the Solicitor-General how many United Kingdom cases are awaiting hearing before the European Court of Human Rights. [34534]

The Solicitor-General: Oral hearings before the Court are now the exception rather than the rule. There are 88 cases against the United Kingdom pending before the European Court of Human Rights that have been declared admissible by the Court. A further 352 cases have been communicated to the Government on which an admissibility decision is awaited.

I have now ascertained that, regrettably, the information provided in an earlier answer to a question by my hon. Friend the former member for Tooting (Mr.Cox) on the same issue on 26 October 2004, Official Report, column 1104W, was not accurate in that it appears to have included a group of cases known as Widowers cases as admissible which had only been communicated. There are 71 Widowers cases which have been declared admissible and 319 which have been communicated but on which there has not yet been a decision on admissibility.
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