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Ms Keeble: When will the information be published on the regional games, which will be extremely important in the run-up to 2012? Will that focus not only on elite sport but on wider participation, so that all the 10-year-olds who are starry-eyed about the Olympics get a chance to take part? May I make an early bid to have one of the regional finals in my county?

Tessa Jowell: My hon. Friend has been a powerful advocate for Northampton’s hosting of the UK school games. Next year’s games are to be held in Coventry. I think that 11 cities around the country are bidding—including Bath, I must add, before the hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Foster) rises to make that point—and the decisions on the remaining cities will be made next year.

Mr. John Whittingdale (Maldon and East Chelmsford) (Con): Is the Secretary of State aware that the chief executive of the Central Council of Physical Recreation told the Select Committee two weeks ago that the hiving off of an additional £340 million from the main lottery to the Olympics will leave Sport England without the resources necessary to generate the legacy of participation which was a main plank in our successful Olympic bid? Will she put in place the national strategy and the necessary funding to ensure that we achieve a successful legacy right across the country, which is what we all want?

Tessa Jowell: Yes, of course we are determined to do all we can to ensure that the whole country has the opportunity to benefit from the Olympic legacy. The hon. Gentleman refers to evidence, and it is correct to say that £340 million from existing sports lottery distributors is part of the lottery contribution to funding the 2012 games, but it is misleading to portray that money as being taken away from wider work to promote participation and grass-roots sport. Some of the money from Sport England, for example, is being used to fund the new aquatic centre, which will be designed specifically to promote community use as a legacy; the velodrome is being treated similarly. Other spending by lottery distributors will go to Olympic-related projects, not only in London and the east end, but around the country. Both the hon. Gentleman and I are determined to make sure that the whole country benefits from the Olympics, and the comment to which he refers is unnecessary scaremongering.

Derek Wyatt (Sittingbourne and Sheppey) (Lab): Will my right hon. Friend put into the public domain the criteria on which cities can bid for the UK youth games and the regional games? Will she consider, as part of the Olympic legacy, an Olympic sports day for the nation?

Tessa Jowell: The details have been widely circulated to local authorities, but so that there will be no doubt, I shall be happy to place a copy in the Library.

Pete Wishart (Perth and North Perthshire) (SNP): The Secretary of State knows that the national lottery provides financial support for many of our grass-roots sports initiatives that encourage young people to participate in sporting activity. Will she therefore rule out any further raids on the national lottery to pay for overspends on the London Olympics?

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Tessa Jowell: No, I will not—[Hon. Members: “Oh!”] I am not in a position to do that. As the hon. Gentleman—indeed, the whole House—knows, provision has been made in the joint venture agreement so that in the event of further funds being needed to support the Olympic games, there is a formula, unspecified in its detail, to enable sharing between London and the lottery. It would be irresponsible of me to give the House the undertaking that he asks me to give.

Mrs. Gwyneth Dunwoody (Crewe and Nantwich) (Lab): My right hon. Friend will, I know, be as proud as we are in Crewe that we have two disabled children going to Beijing as part of the Paralympics team. Will she do everything she can to encourage disabled children and children with special needs to prepare for the Olympics in 2012, and to make them as proud as we are of our existing team?

Tessa Jowell: I thank my hon. Friend, and I know how strongly she has argued for that. I can assure her that the elite programmes being established for our young athletes to take part in Beijing and in 2012 and beyond make no distinction between able-bodied athletes and young disabled people.

Hugh Robertson (Faversham and Mid-Kent) (Con): But is not my hon. Friend the Member for Maldon and East Chelmsford (Mr. Whittingdale), the Chairman of the Select Committee, right: is not Sport England, the Government quango responsible for these matters, widely regarded as a failing institution in need of urgent reform? The last eight chief executives of sport governing bodies whom I have met have all complained about it. Is it not the case that the Big Lottery Fund has no money earmarked in the 2006-2009 period for mass participation payments, and that the Government have cut the amount of lottery funding going into sport from £397 million in 1998 to a paltry £260 million last year—a cut of one third? When will they make proposals to deal with mass participation sport in this country?

Tessa Jowell: I had hoped that the hon. Gentleman would come to the Dispatch Box to congratulate schools throughout the country on exceeding the target for getting young people to do two hours a week of high-quality sport and PE, and that he would congratulate the local authorities and community clubs that have made such heroic efforts to improve their facilities. [Hon. Members: “Answer.”] To deal specifically with the hon. Gentleman’s point, I am proud to be part of a Government who, since the launch of the school sport programme in 2000, have seen investment of £3 billion in sport. I am proud to be part of a Government who have overhauled Sport England and given it a clear focus on two things: first, boosting participation, ensuring that another 400,000 people a year are getting active and taking part in sport; and secondly, overhauling the outdated facilities that are the only resort for too many people who want to exercise. We have a remarkable story of success—

Mr. Speaker: Order. Next question.

Hugh Robertson: But what the Secretary of State does not answer is why the amount of money going into sport through the national lottery, according to a
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parliamentary written answer that she gave me, has been cut from £397 million to £260 million. Key components of the Olympic bid are the mass participation benefits that will arise from the post-games use of the stadiums. The Secretary of State gave me a personal assurance that VAT would not be levied on their construction. The organisers were clearly given the same commitment, because they made no allowance for VAT in the budget. Will she confirm to the House that a possible VAT bill of a quarter of a billion pounds will not be levied by the Treasury on the 2012 Olympics?

Tessa Jowell: This is quite disgraceful. I had a conversation with the hon. Gentleman in which, in complete frankness, I told him what the position was at the time— [Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Tessa Jowell: Perhaps the hon. Member for Faversham and Mid-Kent (Hugh Robertson) would like to listen to the answer. Let me deal first with the VAT point. The candidature file did not include VAT on construction of venues for 2012 because at that time the position of the unspecified delivery body, which had not been legislated for or given effect, could not be anticipated. A cross-Government group signed off London’s plans and agreed that it was the right approach not to anticipate at that point the VAT status. The issue was not raised by PricewaterhouseCooper, who advised us on the costs, nor were issues in relation to VAT at that point identified by the Treasury or by departmental accounting officers—[Hon. Members: “Oh!”] However, what I did do when we won the bid was to initiate an immediate review of the costs and funding needs of the games. As the hon. Gentleman will be aware, the costs of the Olympic park have been significantly reduced. The funding needs of the games—including VAT, the need for security and so forth—are a matter of continuing discussion within Government. That is the position, delivered to the hon. Gentleman on the Floor of the House rather than in corridor conversations.

Jim Dobbin (Heywood and Middleton) (Lab/Co-op): Is my right hon. Friend aware that I have a new deal for communities in my constituency called “New Heart for Heywood”, which is part-funding a new sports village complex? I know that she has both eyes on the Olympic games at present, but could she move one of them towards Heywood to keep up to date with progress on that development, whereby my local young people may well play a part in the Olympic games in 2012?

Tessa Jowell: My hon. Friend is absolutely right. Clearly, our participation ambitions for young people will be met only if they are playing sport in modern facilities. Every Member of the House should be an advocate of that in their communities, as is my hon. Friend, whom I congratulate.

Mr. Don Foster (Bath) (LD): The issue of VAT on the Olympic buildings is of crucial importance to everyone in this House. If the Secretary of State is unable at present to confirm whether VAT will be paid on the buildings, given that £1 billion is at stake, will she at least agree to come before this House as a matter of urgency and make a statement on that issue?

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Tessa Jowell: I am a subject of this House on any matter to do with the funding of the Olympic games, or any other aspect of them. This is a large and complex project and a major issue that we are working through. The International Olympic Committee has expressed its utter satisfaction with the progress being made in the planning of the games. I will answer to the House at any point on the issues as they arise.

Paul Farrelly (Newcastle-under-Lyme) (Lab): Schools in my constituency are generally fortunate in having their own sports fields, but some schools in inner-London boroughs such as Hackney do not have a single blade of grass. Will my right hon. Friend consider working with the Department for Education and Skills, local education authorities and the Olympic partners to install playable surfaces in inner-city schools so that their pupils have a dowry from the Olympics right away?

Tessa Jowell: My hon. Friend is right. However, I would point to the London borough of Lambeth, which, although it does not have acres of open space, has a participation rate by young people running at about 90 per cent. Yes, the facilities have to be there, but so too does the determination to get young people involved.

Premium Line Competitions

4. Norman Baker (Lewes) (LD): What discussions she has had with (a) Ofcom and (b) the Department of Trade and Industry on premium line competitions run on ITV. [99149]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Mr. Shaun Woodward): Regulation of premium line television competitions rests with independent regulators Ofcom and the Independent Committee for the Supervision of Standards of Telephone Information Services. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman knows that last month ICSTIS announced a review of the quiz television sector, including premium line competitions.

Norman Baker: I thank the Minister for that answer, but is it not clear that many of the so-called competitions on programmes such as “The Mint” are nothing other than crude money-raising scams designed to replace lost advertisement revenue? Is he aware that it is possible to make up to 150 calls a day at 75p each, so that someone could spend more than £100 making futile calls to such programmes yet not even get on to them? Is it not time that ITV should be forced to publicise how much profit it is making from these lines, and will the Minister urge it to do so in time for the investigation by the Culture, Media and Sport Committee?

Mr. Woodward: As the hon. Gentleman knows, the review that was announced by ICSTIS last month will look into a number of issues, including the transparency of the service, on-screen statements, concerns about excessive use, prize fulfilment and free web entry offers. It is important that the review be undertaken properly. Of course we are aware that some people have made representations about these particular programmes. Equally, it is important for the
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hon. Gentleman to realise that ITV has stated categorically that it meets all regulations, standards and codes of practice. We agree, however, that we need to ensure that these services are trusted. For that reason, it is important that the review should take place. I am sorry that it cannot be hurried to produce its findings in time for inclusion in the Select Committee report, but it is important that it do its work properly.

Mr. David Anderson (Blaydon) (Lab): While my hon. Friend is having his discussions with Ofcom about the continuing dumbing down of ITV, will he take the opportunity to raise the real worry that digital switchover could well result in the end of regional news programmes on ITV?

Mr. Woodward: I am aware of my hon. Friend’s concern about these issues; indeed, he has already written to me about them. We shall come to this subject later on in today’s questions.

Sir George Young (North-West Hampshire) (Con): Does the Minister agree that it should be made crystal clear to people before they ring in that they might be confronted by a premium rate tariff, and that all they might get at the end is a message saying, “Your call has not been selected for answer”? Is it not important that Ofcom should come down tough on some of these schemes for making money?

Mr. Woodward: We could not agree more with the right hon. Gentleman about Ofcom coming down tough in such circumstances. As he knows, the code of practice provides for ICSTIS, when it finds that a breach has occurred, to issue a formal reprimand, to bar access to the services or to impose fines. The right hon. Gentleman should also know that those fines can be as high as £250,000.

Miss Anne Begg (Aberdeen, South) (Lab): The Minister was talking about quiz programmes; indeed, he mentioned the word “programmes” more than once. However, the hon. Member for Lewes (Norman Baker) was referring to the single quiz questions that appear in advertising slots. It is those advertising slots that have given rise to the suspicion that they are a revenue stream for the ITV companies, in place of the advertising that would normally be in those slots. In these cases, however, it is the viewers who have to pay for them.

Mr. Woodward: My hon. Friend makes an important point, and I believe that the ICSTIS review will look into these issues. It also has to be said, however, that despite the feelings of Members of Parliament, there are many people out there who enjoy playing these games. Whether my hon. Friend would wish to take part in them is another issue. However, we should be careful about telling people how to lead their lives.

Digital Switchover

5. Michael Fabricant (Lichfield) (Con): What targeted assistance package will be offered to viewers during digital switchover; and if she will make a statement. [99150]

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The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Tessa Jowell): Given the hon. Gentleman’s enthusiasm for digital television, he will be pleased to know that take-up in the Central region is among the highest in the country, with more than 80 per cent. of first sets now converted. The digital switchover help scheme will provide support with equipment and installation for those who are over 75, have a serious disability, or are partially sighted. Those who are eligible can also opt for a different platform, such as cable or satellite, and receive a contribution towards the cost of equipment.

Michael Fabricant: I am grateful to the Secretary of State for her answer. She will know that this is to be funded out of the licence fee, which is borne by everyone who watches television. She will also be aware, however, that digital switchover will result in the analogue spectrum being sold off, and the Treasury taking all the money. What representations will she make to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to ensure that some of that money is brought back in to the BBC so that the licence fee can be lowered?

Tessa Jowell: That is quite a rich mix that the hon. Gentleman has created. Yes, the Communications Act 2003 provides for the technology-neutral auction of the spectrum that will be released. Yes, discussions are going on at the moment about the licence fee. However, the hon. Gentleman will know that it is the established policy of the Government that, as switchover is a broadcasting cost, the cost will be borne by the broadcasters, and principally by the BBC.

Helen Goodman (Bishop Auckland) (Lab): I am sure that the Secretary of State is aware that appliances left on standby are producing 1 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year. That is enough to heat the homes in the whole of County Durham. Will she take the opportunity of digital switchover to consider introducing regulations to control the sale of wasteful standby televisions?

Tessa Jowell: My hon. Friend makes exactly the sort of point required to demonstrate how climate change and environmental sustainability are, in part, a function of changing our own personal behaviour. That is a very good and practical example of the contribution that we can all make by being more vigilant about ensuring that we do not leave our sets on standby. I do not think that regulation is necessary.

Mr. Adrian Sanders (Torbay) (LD): The Secretary of State has explained the mechanism for support in respect of digital switchover, but what people want to know—in my area, they will shortly be going through the process—is exactly when they get help and where it will be available.

Tessa Jowell: Help will be available through the telephone or in people’s own homes. The Select Committee placed great emphasis on the importance of elderly, vulnerable and isolated people receiving a personal service and individual help with fixing the equipment or providing whatever advice they need. It is interesting to note that the trials showed that one of the most difficult choices that people, particularly elderly people, have to make is deciding on the right kind of remote control. A personal service is appropriate, because it will be a difficult and worrying transition for some people.

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