Previous Section Index Home Page

22 Jun 2006 : Column 2048W—continued

Library Facilities

Anne Snelgrove: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what funding the Government are providing for the improvement of library facilities. [79185]

Mr. Lammy: Government funding for public libraries is paid, un-ringfenced, as part of the Local Government Financial Settlement administered by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

It is for the 149 library authorities in England to decide upon the level of funding required to sustain and improve their services bearing in mind their statutory responsibility to make comprehensive and efficient provision.

The public library statistics published by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy show that library authorities made net expenditure (excluding capital charges) of £817,216,604 in 2004-05 (the latest figure available). The comparable figure for the previous year was £781,990,546.

Additional examples of funding for improved public libraries from within my Department’s portfolio are the £120 million of National Lottery support for the People’s Network, around £130 million of DCMS Private Finance Initiative Credits for library or part library projects, and the ongoing DCMS funding of £2 million per annum for the Framework for the Future Action Plan programme. I also look forward to the Big Lottery Fund’s £80 million community library funding programme which will be launched later this year.

My Department is also responsible for sponsorship of the British Library, the UK's national library. Grant in aid funding to the British Library over the 2004 Spending Review period is as follows:

£ million


Estimated outturn








DCMS Annual Report 2006

22 Jun 2006 : Column 2049W

London Olympics

Derek Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what committees have been established within the (a) Cabinet, (b) London Organising Committee for the Olympic games and (c) Olympic delivery authority to examine the legacy for (i) the site of the London 2012 games and (ii) the International Olympic Committee. [79566]

Mr. Caborn: The legacy of the Olympic games, including its wider economic, social, health and environmental legacy, is included in the remit of MISC 25 (the Cabinet Committee on the Olympic games) and in that of the Olympic Board (comprising the Government; the Greater London authority; the London Organising Committee for the Olympic games; and the British Olympic Association; with the Olympic delivery authority attending as observers).

Museums (Public Funding)

Anne Snelgrove: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what public funding is available from the Government for the improvement and modernisation of museums. [79186]

Mr. Lammy: DCMS annual funding for museums in 2005-06 was £444,828,000. This was made up of two streams: £414,828,000 was provided to national museums and £30 million to the Renaissance in the Regions programme.

In addition, the Department provides funding to the DCMS/Wolfson Fund for Museums and Galleries and the Designated Challenge Fund. Both have two year funding rounds and between 2004-06 the DCMS provided £2 million to DCMS/Wolfson Fund and £3,799,991 to the Designated Challenge Fund. The Subject Specialist Networks received £248,000 for 2004-05.

Museum and Gallery statistics published by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance show local authority museums, through the Local Government Financial Settlement, had a net expenditure of £177,250,000 in 2005-06.

However, the majority of this museum funding is not ring fenced for specific improvement work. Although DCMS is encouraging museums to improve their services across the board, it is for the museum itself to decide what funding is needed to sustain ongoing services and what can be spent on special improvement and modernisation.

New Opportunities Fund

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to her answer of 30 January 2006, Official Report, column 59W, on the New Opportunities Fund, if she will update the information on the number of (a) awards and (b) payments made from the New Opportunities Fund for physical education and sport since 2004-05. [79703]

Mr. Caborn: The table shows awards and payments made by the New Opportunities Fund for physical
22 Jun 2006 : Column 2050W
education and sport since 2004-05. These figures do not include awards for all activities for young people and other grants which have funded sport indirectly.

Awards made (£) Payment made (£)




Year to date



The Public

Mr. Bailey: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what Caroline Felton's remit was in carrying out her recent study of The Public arts organisation in West Bromwich on behalf of Arts Council England; and what conclusions her report came to. [79234]

Mr. Lammy: Caroline Felton was commissioned by Arts Council England to produce a stocktake report on The Public in January 2006. She was asked to make recommendations about a range of issues relating to the organisation's current situation and its future challenges. The report's recommendations covered changes to the management team and other key personnel.


Defence Establishment Closures (Support)

Mr. Alan Reid: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his Department’s policy is on financial support for (a) economic development, (b) training and (c) environmental improvements in an area in which a defence establishment has been (i) closed and (ii) mothballed; and if he will make a statement. [79461]

Mr. Watson: The Ministry of Defence keeps its estate under constant review to meet present and planned future requirements, with a view to disposing of surplus assets as quickly as possible. Pending a final decision and subsequent disposal action, any redundant sites will normally be closed and/or mothballed to reduce unnecessary expenditure. The need for financial support to assist the disposal of a site is considered on a case by case basis, usually to maintain the property to an appropriate standard to meet environmental and health and safety requirements, consistent with the most likely disposal strategy. Limited opportunities may also exist for temporary commercial or military training uses while in disposal.

Other Departments provide direct financial support for economic development regionally or to communities. However, the closure of defence establishments can often provide new opportunities for civilian re-use and development. It is therefore the usual practice of the Ministry of Defence to work closely with the local authority and other stakeholders—amongst others English Partnerships, Regional Development Agencies, and in Scotland the Scottish Executive, the Enterprise bodies and the Welsh Assembly in Wales—to consider the most appropriate future use.

22 Jun 2006 : Column 2051W

Mr. Alan Reid: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much financial assistance his Department gave to the Cowal area after the closure of the US Navy base at the Holy Loch for (a) economic development, (b) training, (c) environmental improvements and (d) other purposes. [79494]

Mr. Watson: Holy Loch closed over a decade ago and a substantive answer will take a little time to research from archive. I will write to the hon. Member and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.

Merlin Helicopters

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the trials which will allow RAF Merlin helicopters to land on naval ships are expected to be complete. [77608]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 15 June 2006]: Trials are being carried out into the feasibility of extending the operating capability of the RN Merlin Mk1 helicopters from Carrier Vertical Striker (CVS) platforms (HM Ships Illustrious and Ark Royal). Information from these trials will also be used to assess the feasibility of operating RAF Merlin helicopters from naval platforms.

There is no fixed completion date for these trials.


Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what evaluation his Department has made of the RG31 vehicle; and what assessment has been made of the possible advantages of this vehicle compared with the Snatch armoured Land Rover. [78216]

Mr. Ingram: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 16 June 2006, Official Report, column 1528W, to the hon. Member for Aldershot (Mr. Howarth). Compared to Snatch, the RG31’s size means it cannot access areas of the urban environment that Snatch is able to.

Search and Rescue Services

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the statement of 7 June 2006, Official Report, column 46WH, on MOD search and rescue services, whether the alternative military unit will be based at RNAS Culdrose; whether his statement that the squadron needs to remain at Culdrose referred to the (a) 771, (b) all squadrons presently based there and (c) the future search and rescue squadron; and what his plans are for the 771 Squadron. [77476]

Mr. Ingram: The statement of 7 June 2006, Official Report, column 146WH, on MOD Search and Rescue Services, referred only to the future of the roles currently carried out by 771 Squadron RNAS Culdrose and can be further clarified as follows. The Search and Rescue role will be part of the joint MOD and Maritime and Coastguard Agency future UK
22 Jun 2006 : Column 2052W
helicopter Search and Rescue Capability. The use of Culdrose itself as a future Search and Rescue base will be fully assessed taking into account all relevant factors. The best means for ensuring the continuation of the separate Maritime Counter Terrorism role will be fully assessed in due course and the future basing of this role will be part of that assessment.

International Development


Mr. Andrew Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what estimate he has made of the percentage of people in Burma living in poverty. [77799]

Mr. Thomas: Reliable data about poverty in Burma are scarce, but Burma is one of the poorest countries in Asia, comparable to Cambodia and Laos on available measures and is almost certainly not on track to achieve any of the Millennium Development Goals. A household survey from 1997 found that 23 per cent. of people (11.2 million) had an income below subsistence level. The percentage of poor people earning less than $1 US a day is likely to be significantly higher than this. The same Government survey found that 70 per cent. of household expenditure was on food, an indicator of the vulnerability of poor people in Burma. There is widespread malnutrition, with one in three children aged 5 being moderately to severely malnourished. In 2001, 109 of every 1,000 children died before they reached the age of 5, double the East Asia and Pacific regional average. Maternal mortality is among the highest in the region. Only 40 per cent. of children complete five years of primary education.

Social sector spending in Burma fell steadily during the 1990s and the authorities now spend less than $1 per person each year on basic health care and education combined. This is one of the lowest levels of public investment in the world. Public sector salaries are a long way below a living wage and teachers, doctors and other public servants are forced to either supplement their income through unofficial charges or undertake additional income earning activities. Most poor people rely on informal, private healthcare providers, often receiving poor quality or ineffective treatment as a result. Although education has traditionally been highly valued in Burma, its quality is being undermined by under-investment in the crumbling public education system. HIV/AIDS is a major public health risk in Burma. Burma is one of three countries in Asia with a generalised HIV/AIDS epidemic: 420,000 people are estimated to be infected with the virus and prevalence continues to rise. Prevalence in pregnant women exceeds 2 per cent. indicating that the epidemic has spread from high-risk groups into the general population.

Many of the poorest and most vulnerable people live in the border areas and ethnic nationalities are among the poorest and most socially excluded people in Burma but there is considerable poverty throughout the country, in both rural and urban areas.

22 Jun 2006 : Column 2053W


Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the amount of aid China distributes in relation to the size of its gross domestic product; and what discussions he has held with the Chinese authorities of its joint aid programmes. [79427]

Hilary Benn: There are no Government figures available for China’s official development assistance. DFID has established close contact with the Department for Aid to Foreign Countries within the Ministry of Commerce. This Department leads on China’s aid programme. Along with the United Nations Development Programme, we have made it clear that DFID would be prepared to provide assistance and advice should China decide to establish a formal aid agency. We have not yet had a response from the Chinese Government. Our main discussions with China on international development issues have focused on its growing role in Africa. These discussions cover not only aid, but also trade and investment. There is a possibility that a joint UK/China aid project will be implemented in Ghana.

Disaster Risk Reduction

Mark Simmonds: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what percentage of his Department’s budget was spent on disaster risk reduction in each region in each of the last three financial years; what percentage is planned to be spent in each region in the next three financial years; and if he will make a statement. [79276]

Hilary Benn: Much of DFID’s support for disaster risk reduction (DRR) is integrated into wider development programmes so we do not have specific data detailing the percentage of DFID’s budget spent on DRR.

In my speech on humanitarian reform in December 2004, I committed DFID to giving higher priority to DRR. DFID is providing significant bilateral assistance for DRR programmes in countries susceptible to disasters. For example, we are providing over £60 million to support disaster preparedness in Orissa, India, and we are supporting the Government of Bangladesh’s Comprehensive Disaster Management Programme. We have committed to allocating 10 per cent. of the value of our humanitarian response to each major natural disaster to prepare for and mitigate the impact of future disasters, where this can be done effectively. Under this policy, DFID has committed £7.5 million in the tsunami-affected region.

DFID is also increasing funding to the international DRR system. We have provided £3 million to the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction and have recently agreed a £4 million programme with the World Bank on mainstreaming DRR into the Poverty Reduction Strategies of several disaster-prone countries. In 2005, we committed £15 million to support the community level DRR work of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and several international non-governmental organisations in Africa and Asia.

22 Jun 2006 : Column 2054W

International Development Committee

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what International Development Committee recommendations his Department has (a) accepted and (b) implemented since 2001-02; and if he will make a statement. [77508]

Hilary Benn: DFID does not keep a central record of all those recommendations by the International Development Committee which it has accepted or implemented and to obtain this information would incur a disproportionate cost. However, copies of DFID’s responses to IDC reports are available in the Libraries of the House and in these responses, the Government make clear whether they accept the Committee’s recommendations.

Next Section Index Home Page