|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment her Department has made of reports that a Sri Lankan Government Minister was involved in disrupting a political rally by the United People's Movement in Colombo. 
Dr. Howells: We understand that on 9 January a peaceful and legal demonstration by the United People's Movement in Colombo was cancelled after disruption and intimidation. The demonstration organisers have alleged that a junior Minister in the Sri Lankan Government was involved in the disruption. The Minister in turn has denied the allegation.
There has in recent weeks been an increasing level of restriction on the freedom of expression of some individuals and sectors of the Sri Lankan media that advocate a peaceful resolution to the conflict. We call on the Sri Lankan Government to uphold international standards and the rights of those involved in journalism and legitimate democratic debate.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she has had with her counterparts on the United Nations Security Council on the deployment of an international presence of military personnel and human rights monitors along the Chad/Sudan border. 
We regularly discuss Sudan and Chad with our Security Council partners. The UK has been active in pressing the UN Secretary-General to follow up the request to him in UN Security Council Resolution 1706 to deploy a multi-disciplinary force to the border areas of Chad and the Central African Republic. On 22 December 2006 the Secretary-General presented a report to the Security Council with preliminary recommendations on the issue. The Secretary-General is to authorise the immediate return to the region of his technical assessment mission; this had visited in November but had been unable to complete its work for security reasons. Following the
latest round of discussions on a peacekeeping force for Chad, the Security Council adopted a Presidential Statement on 17 January, asking the Secretary-General to submit updated recommendations on a UN force by the middle of February. It also asked him to send an advance mission to start making preparations for the deployment of such a force.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps are being taken by her Department to engage with Sudanese rebel movements to press upon them the importance (a) of taking all necessary steps to ensure combatants comply with international humanitarian law and of holding accountable those who fail to do so, (b) ceasing support for militia and Chadian self-defence groups responsible for attacks on civilians and (c) ending the recruitment and use of child soldiers. 
Mr. McCartney: We remain in contact with a range of Sudanese rebel representatives based outside Darfur. Access to military commanders within Darfur is more difficult, but the then UK Special Representative for Darfur, Rod Pullen, met groups of them in August 2006 and officials from our Embassy in Khartoum held follow-up meetings in October 2006. We use our contacts with the rebels, as with the Government of Sudan, to press them to stop fighting and to resume a political process; to respect international humanitarian law; and to provide safe and unrestricted access to humanitarian agencies. We call on those responsible for supporting attacks on civilians in Chad or elsewhere to stop doing so. And we have made it clear to all sides that the recruitment and use of child soldiers is wholly unacceptable and in contravention of their obligations under the Abuja Security Protocol of 8 November 2004, which commits both movements and the Government of Sudan to stop recruiting children as combatants.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions she has had with her counterparts at the UN Security Council on pressing the Government of Sudan to cease support for armed groups responsible for attacks on civilians in Chad. 
Mr. McCartney: We regularly discuss Sudan and Chad with our partners in the Security Council. We continue to press the Government of Sudan to adhere to the NDjamena and Tripoli ceasefire agreements, which require the disarmament of, and cessation of support for, armed groups responsible for attacks on civilians in Chad. We support the deployment of a peacekeeping force to Chad to help protect civilians. On 17 January the UN Security Council adopted a presidential statement requesting that the Secretary-General immediately deploy a further assessment mission to finalise recommendations for this force, and to deploy an advanced mission in the meantime.
John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) if she will press her counterparts at the UN to provide funding for an office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Chad to monitor the border with Sudan; 
(2) if she will press the UN Security Council to call for the immediate establishment of an office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Chad with a mandate to monitor and report publicly on human rights violations throughout the country, including in the context of conflict. 
We understand that the preference of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is to operate from within an integrated mission, given its wider approach to the situation, rather than in a stand-alone position. Therefore we are not lobbying the Security Council for the establishment of a stand-alone office, but we are pressing for a multi-dimensional presence in Chad.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many letters to her Department sent from hon. Members during Session 2005-06 remain unanswered, broken down by those which are (a) one, (b) two, (c) three, (d) four and (e) over six months old. 
|11 May 2005 to 8 November 2006|
The Cabinet Office, on an annual basis, publishes a report to Parliament on the performance of departments in replying to Members/Peers correspondence. The Report for 2005 was published on 30 March 2006, Official Report, columns 75-78WS.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what research she has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the relationship between internet gambling and problem gambling. 
I have not directly commissioned research that looks into the relationship between problem and internet gambling specifically. However, the Responsibility in Gambling Trust, a charitable organisation which commissions research into problem
gambling, is currently funding a number of research projects that look into internet gambling, such as Oxford Universitys web-based survey of the clinical and psychological characteristics of internet gamblers. This study looks at the psychological characteristics of internet gamblers, the extent and range of their gambling activities, and examines clinical and psychological features that might be relevant to the development of problem gambling.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment she has made of the (a) availability and (b) quality of problem gambling services targeted at (i) children, (ii) adolescents, (iii) women and (iv) ethnic minorities. 
Mr. Caborn: Any person who seeks help from the NHS for a gambling problem will be offered support and, if necessary, treatment to help them overcome their addiction, regardless of their age, gender or ethnicity. There are also a number of specialised addiction services outside the NHS, some of which are dedicated to the prevention of problem gambling and treatment of problem gamblers. The charity GamCare runs a 24-hour helpline and provides face-to-face counselling. Its services are open to all problem gamblers, and it makes special provision for women, such as female only group counselling.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what research she has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the effects of gambling on an individual's (i) health, (ii) family, (iii) workplace and (iv) financial situation. 
Mr. Caborn: Under the Gambling Act 2005, I commissioned the Gambling Commission to undertake a major UK gambling prevalence study. The last prevalence study was commissioned by GamCare in 1999. The current study is now under way and will report in September 2007. It will measure the prevalence of participation in all forms of gambling, estimate the prevalence of problem gambling and investigate the socio-demographic factors associated with gambling and with problem gambling. The Gambling Commission has undertaken to carry out a prevalence study every three years. They also work closely with a number of other organisations which carry out research into gambling and problem gambling. For example, last financial year (2005-06) the Responsibility in Gambling Trust (RIGT), commissioned research to the value of £163,796.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment she has made of the impact on gambling addiction of the implementation of (a) the Gambling Act 2005 and (b) the Licensing Act 2003. 
Mr. Caborn: The Gambling Act 2005 puts the protection of vulnerable people at the heart of gambling regulation for the first time. There are a number of measures under the Act designed to help prevent problem gambling.
For example, from September 2007, abiding by a social responsibility code of practice will be an explicit licence condition for all remote operators. Breaches will trigger penalties including unlimited fines or even loss of licence.
These social responsibility measures include: age verification systems to prevent children from gambling; self-exclusion procedures; positive intervention to help problem gamblers; and conditions on the provision of credit by operators and the use of credit cards.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will increase the financial contribution paid by gambling operators and service providers towards funding research into problem gambling, prevention and intervention programmes for people with a gambling addiction. 
Mr. Caborn: We have set the industry a target of raising £3 million each year for problem gambling treatment, education, public awareness and research, from when the Gambling Act 2005 is fully implemented in September 2007. I have reserve powers to impose and set the level of a statutory levy on gambling operators and I will consider using these powers if there is evidence that they are failing to meet their social responsibility duties under the Act.
Mr. Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport where her Department publishes information about Government auctions which it arranges or to which it contributes in (a) Blackpool, (b) Lancashire and (c) the North West; and when the next such auction will take place in each area. 
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much was allocated to the Heritage Lottery Fund from the National Lottery Distribution Fund in each of the last three years; and how much will be allocated in 2007-08. 
Mr. Caborn: The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) receives a one-sixth share of money arriving in the National Lottery Distribution Fund (NLDF) from the Lottery operator. It also receives a share of investment earnings from the NLDF balance. HLF is not allocated a sum, rather it receives a share of what has accumulated.
We do not know, therefore, what the value of the HLFs share will be in 2006-07 or 2007-08 because this will depend on variable factors, such as sales of Lottery products and returns on investments. The value of HLFs share of income in the last three years was
£246 million in 2003-04, £266 million in 2004-05 and £270 million in 2005-06. My Departments current projections for the income of which HLF will receive a share is that it may fall by about 8 per cent. in 2006-07 and 2.5 per cent. in 2007-08.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps her Department has taken to ensure that awareness of Highland 2007, the Year of Highland Culture, is raised throughout the United Kingdom. 
Mr. Lammy: Promotion of Highlands 2007 is the responsibility of the organisation itself, its partners and its many Scottish and British supporting agencies. DCMS does not directly promote such events but I am happy to take this opportunity to promote awareness of Highland 2007.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what measures she is taking to promote actively the employment within (a) her Department and (b) public sector bodies for whom she has responsibility of people with mental illnesses in line with the advice and codes of practice produced by the Disability Rights Commission. 
Mr. Lammy: DCMS is accredited with and operates under the Two TicksPositive About Disabled People scheme, in which we guarantee to interview all job applicants with a disability who meet the minimum criteria for a job vacancy and consider them on their capabilities.
Our agency and non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs) are responsible for ensuring that they comply with employment legislation and codes of practice and have adopted their own procedures accordingly. In line with the Equality Duty of the Disability Discrimination Act each of our NDPBs has developed its own Disability Equality Scheme. Furthermore we continue to work with them to share best practice and provide guidance across all the equality strands.
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what measures are in place for liaison between her Department and the Department for Communities and Local Government to protect sporting and recreational grounds from being developed for housing. 
Mr. Caborn: My Department and Sport England liaise closely with the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) on the annual publication of statistics relating to the numbers of planning applications made in relation to playing field sites. These statistics will include where relevant planning applications relating to housing developments. In addition, we and Sport England are in regular contact with DCLG about planning issues and their impact on provision for sport.
Leaflet on the National Lottery
Translated into Hindi and Punjabi.
Leaflet on the Licensing Act 2003
Translated into Turkish, Greek, Bengali, Punjabi, Gujerati, Urdu, Chinese, Arabic and Kurdish.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|