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Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions she has had with the Charity Commission on the eligibility of sporting organisations for charitable status. 
Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate she has made of the (a) number and (b) proportion of problem gamblers who gamble largely online; and what assessment she has made of the effect of the implementation of the Gambling Act 2005 on those figures. 
Recent research by RSe Consulting, commissioned by my Department, has found that approximately 900,000 people in the UK regularly gamble by remote means. My Departments own Taking Part survey suggests that nearly 5 per cent. of the population (in England) gambled online last year.
(i) boosting participation in sport; and
(ii) significantly improving the range and quality of facilities.
Mr. Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much her Department spent on support for (a) national, (b) regional and (c) local theatre in each of the last five years; and how much she estimates will be spent in each category in each of the next five years. 
Mr. Lammy: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport does not fund the arts directly, but through Arts Council England, which is responsible for supporting the arts with public money from Government.
|Arts Council England region||2002-03||2003-04||2004-05||2005-06||2006-07||2007-08|
|(1) National expenditure transferred to regional offices in 2005-06.|
|Royal National Theatre||Royal Shakespeare Company|
Support for organisations receiving regular funding from Arts Council England is set up to 2007-08. Future funding is contingent on the outcome of the current Government Comprehensive Spending Review.
29. Michael Fabricant: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners if he will make a statement on the adequacy of the pension funds available to the clergy. 
Sir Stuart Bell: The pension benefits currently available to Church of England clergy reflect steps taken in the 1980s to improve the package. The scheme provides a full service pension of two thirds of the national minimum stipend plus a lump sum of three times the pension. This year, that means a pension of £12,040 and a lump sum of £36,120.
Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has plans to require car hiring firms to provide (a) wheelchair accessible vehicles and (b) vehicles that can transport electric wheelchairs. 
Gillian Merron [holding answer 2 November 2006]: There are no plans to require car hire firms to provide wheelchair accessible vehicles to carry a passenger who remains seated in their wheelchair. However, the effect of the Disability Discrimination (Transport Vehicles) Regulations 2005 (SI 2005/3190), which come into force on 4 December 2006, is to apply the duties in section 21(2) of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (duty of providers of services to make adjustments) to vehicle rental firms in respect of vehicles comprising of eight passenger seats or less.
This means that, from 4 December, firms who hire out such vehicles will be under a duty to take such steps as are reasonable to alter the physical features of those vehicles so as to provide facilities for the stowage of a wheelchair. It will be for vehicle rental firms to determine, within the reasonableness test, how and the extent to which this requirement should be met.
Gillian Merron: Local authorities already provide support for many bus services in areas of low car ownership. It is for individual local authorities to decide which services to support in their area. They should take account of accessibility planning when deciding their criteria for subsidised service support. The Departments Guidance on Accessibility Planning specifically refers to the needs of those without access to a car as one of the factors to be taken into account.
We are currently taking a long, hard look at a whole range of bus issues to assess whether changes are necessary to improve delivery of our objectives, including those on accessibility and social inclusion.
Gillian Merron: The rural bus challenge was first introduced in 1998; five further annual competitions were held, the last being in 2003. A total of £110 million for 301 schemes was awarded to local authorities over that period.
There are currently no plans for further competitions under this scheme, which was aimed at developing and demonstrating the potential for innovative approaches to meeting rural transport needs. It was never intended to provide permanent revenue support for the projects supported. Information from local authorities shows that the scheme has encouraged the development of a large number of successful projects, many of which are now being continued with mainstream funding from
local authorities, including funding from the Department's rural bus subsidy grant, or other sources.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many redundancies there were in his Department in each year since 1997; what the cost of such redundancies was in each such year; how many temporary staff were employed in each such year; and how many staff were seconded by outside organisations to the Department in each such year. 
Through inward secondments, the Department believes that it benefits from the experience of a secondee (through specialist skills not available within the Department) by gaining a fresh perspective on the operation of its business, and establishing links with individuals who can be a useful source of advice to the Department in the future. It also benefits the secondee by providing them with an insight into the operation of government.
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