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Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what guidance she offers to (a) her Department's agencies and (b) those who receive funding from her Department on undertaking regulatory impact assessments before implementing changes of regulations; what such assessment was undertaken by VisitBritain before undertaking changes to the classification system for hotels and guest houses in England; if she will estimate the cost of such changes to the industry; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Caborn [holding answer 18 May 2006]: My Department's sponsored bodies and agencies, in common with those across Government, are made fully aware of the need to assess the possible effects of changes in policy on businesses in their sectors. This includes formal Regulatory Impact Assessments where appropriate, as well as wider cross-Government work on Better Regulation. The tourism sector is also represented on my Department's Better Regulations Task Group.
The Quality Assurance Schemes operated by VisitBritain, the Automobile Association, VisitScotland, and the Wales Tourist Board, are voluntary in nature. Participating businesses pay to be quality inspected, and derive marketing and other benefits from inclusion in the Schemes. The Schemes have, from May 2005, been improved and standardised following work commissioned by VisitBritain and led by Alan Britten CBE. Both inbound and domestic visitors now have confidence in a standardised inspection regime across Britain. This has led to some changes in classification as it affects the descriptions used by hotels and guest houses in their own signage and promotional material.
The changes to the Quality Schemes followed wide industry consultation, and assessments of the cost and benefits to affected businesses. My Department is satisfied that the consultation carried out was more than adequate to reflect the views of affected businesses. The general consensus across the industry was that the changes in classification were highly beneficial in terms of improved consumer certainty when booking accommodation. In addition, my Department considers that the resulting changes to the VisitBritain Quality Scheme (which is funded through grant-in-aid) were primarily operational in nature. It was not, therefore, considered necessary to conduct a formal Regulatory Impact Assessment in these circumstances.
Mr. Lammy: The Royal Parks, with DCMS, have conducted a review of the way in which the maintenance liability is assessed using BS 3811:1984 (the British standard for building maintenance). They have prioritised the list of works requiring repair and developed a works programme accordingly.
Mr. Lammy: Ministers endorsed the Royal Parks Events Strategy in February 2004. Which was drawn up
after extensive consultation with stakeholders and seeks to balance the demand for events with protecting the fabric of the parks.
The number of major events is limited and the impact on the park and park users is always taken into account in considering possible events and weighed against the benefits that the event brings. Event organisers are required to take out a bond to fund any reinstatement necessary after an event.
To protect and enhance our world class natural park environment for the enjoyment of families, children and visitors;
To understand and respond to the needs of our audiences, reflecting diversity of needs and use; enriching lives and enhancing access to culture and sport;
To work with other organisations and volunteers to deliver clear education, health, sport and participation offers;
To conserve and enhance the historic built environment of the Royal Parks;
To deliver greater value for money for the taxpayer through increased income generation and reduced dependency on vote funding; and
To demonstrate organisational excellence.
Mr. Lammy: Although Arts Council England was consulted about the redundancies at The Public, the decision itself was taken by the administrators. The administrators are now managing the day-to-day operation of the building and therefore have responsibility for personnel issues.
Lynda Waltho: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much the Arts Council England has paid the firm Robin and Gorringe in relation to the arts organisation, The Public in West Bromwich, in each of the last 10 years. 
Mr. Lammy: The information requested in this question is commercial-in-confidence and should not be disclosed. In addition, as The Public is currently in administration, it would not be appropriate to release the information at this time.
Mr. Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what arts activity is planned for The Public building in West Bromwich; and if she will list the works under commission. 
Mr. Lammy: Since The Public went into administration, the funders and administrators have been working together to establish a revised and
sustainable business plan for the building within the funding envelope available. Work continues on this business plan.
Access by Marie Sester
Lanscopes by Golan Levin and Zachary Lieberman
Flower of my Secret by Usman Haque
Flypad by Blast Theory
Audio Bounce by Tomas Roope, Andrew Allenson and Rolf Gelhaar Telematic
Embrace by Paul Sermon
Datafall by Miguel Carvalhais and Lia
Regional Voices by Kevin Carter
Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what progress has been made in achieving the Governments target of increasing revenue from tourism to £100 billion per annum by 2010. 
Tessa Jowell: The UK tourism industry's total revenues were £74.2 billion in 2003, the last year for which complete data are available. Although inbound tourism receipts reached a record level of £14.3 billion in 2005, the overall growth target of £100 billion by 2010 remains a stretching aspiration. My Department continues to work towards achieving the target in partnership with VisitBritain and the industry, especially in improving tourism marketing, product quality, and workforce skills.
Dr. Howells: The Government have been at the forefront of international efforts to strengthen the regulation of the arms trade and to counter the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. We were instrumental in securing an EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports, and are leading the way towards revision of the code, and we regularly urge other countries to adopt stricter and more transparent arms export policies. We are active members of all the key multilateral regimes that work to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass
destruction, including the Missile Technology Control Regime, the Nuclear Suppliers Group, the Australia Group (which deals with chemical and biological weapons), and the Wassenaar Arrangement, which promotes transparency in conventional arms transfers. The UK is also a member of key arms control treaties, such as the Ottawa Convention on Landmines, the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty, the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention.
The Review Conference of the UN Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW) is to be held this June, and the UK, in co-operation with a wide range of other partners, has made positive progress in building support for agreement there minimum common criteria to underpin controls on transfers of SALW.
The Government are committed to pursuing an international arms trade treaty that includes all conventional arms. We believe that such a treaty needs to include a wide range of signatories, including the world's major arms exporters. We are engaging on this with other countries at various levels, including through ministerial contacts, specific events, direct expert-level talks and by using our network of overseas posts. This work will continue with the aim of building the consensus needed for the start of a formal process at the UN later this year.
Dr. Howells: The Government take a close interest in all reports of arms transfers to and from countries whose current activities give rise to issues of potential concern. We are aware of media reports alleging Belarus has re-exported arms brought from Russia to Iran and are monitoring the situation.
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions she has had with the Government of Mauritius on the sovereignty of the British Indian Ocean Territories; and if she will make a statement. 
The Government do not recognise the claim by Mauritius to sovereignty over the British Indian Ocean Territory. However, we have recognised Mauritius as the only state which has a right to assert a claim of sovereignty when the United Kingdom relinquishes it own sovereignty, and successive Governments have given undertakings to the Government of Mauritius that the territory will be ceded when no longer required for defence purposes.
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the income has been from fishing licences in the British Indian Ocean Territories for each of the last three years; and what the expected income is for (a) 2006-07 and (b) 2007-08. 
|Financial year||Income (£)|
Income for the financial year 2006-07, to date, is approximately £45,000. It is difficult to predict exactly the expected level of income for the rest of this year, or for 2007-08. But it is likely to be of a similar level to previous years.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the effect upon religious (a) institutions and (b) activity of the new regulations on religion which came into effect in China and Tibet on 1 March 2005; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. McCartney: The Government are concerned about limitations on freedom of religious belief in China and the treatment of religious practitioners. We regularly raise these concerns with the Chinese Government. We assess that the regulations that came into effect in China on 1 March 2005 are aimed primarily at limiting and controlling the development of religion and religious institutions. Freedom of religion was a focus of the last round of the EU-China human rights dialogue in October 2005. The EU Troika raised freedom of religious practice in demarches on the Chinese Government in Beijing on 29 December 2005 and 15 February 2006. We will continue to raise our concerns about religious freedom with the Chinese authorities.
Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the prospects for a new initiative to resolve the Cyprus problem; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Hoon: A comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem remains a priority for the UK. We welcomed the recent agreement to begin bicommunal discussions on a number of issues of common concern to the two communities. But I would echo the call of the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan for the gap between words and actions to be bridged by the leaders of the two communities. We look forward to further developments and remain ready to do anything we can to facilitate progress towards a settlement.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what tracking she undertakes of asylum seekers returned to the Democratic Republic of Congo after failing to be accepted into the UK. 
Mr. McCartney: As with returns to all countries, neither the Home Office nor the Foreign and Commonwealth Office routinely monitor the treatment of individual Congolese nationals once removed from the UK. However, our embassy in Kinshasa has found no evidence to suggest that unsuccessful asylum seekers are mistreated by the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) authorities on return for claiming asylum. The DRC Government have stated that they have no policy of mistreating failed asylum seekers returning from abroad. Members of the embassy staff and official visitors regularly monitor the general security conditions and human rights situation, including for returned asylum seekers, in the DRC. They would not be removed if it were considered likely that they would suffer persecution on their return.
Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what monitoring her Department undertakes of the treatment of repatriated asylum seekers in the Democratic Republic of Congo; and what her latest assessment has been of their treatment; 
Mr. McCartney: The Congolese Government have stated that they have no policy of mistreating failed asylum seekers returning from abroad. Staff from our embassy in Kinshasa and official visitors regularly monitor the general security conditions and human rights situation, including for returned asylum seekers, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. They have found no evidence to suggest that unsuccessful asylum seekers are mistreated by the Congolese authorities on return for claiming asylum. As with returns to all countries, neither the Home Office nor the Foreign and Commonwealth Office routinely monitor the treatment of individual Congolese nationals once removed from the UK. They would not be removed if it were considered likely that they would suffer persecution on their return.
Margaret Beckett: The final figure for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's budgetary spend will be published in the Provisional Outturn White Paper, which will be published before the summer recess in July. A copy of the White Paper will be placed in the Library of the House.
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