Miss Begg: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans his Department has to establish an inquiry into the conduct of the recent Scottish parliamentary elections. 
David Cairns: The Electoral Commission has a statutory obligation to review the Scottish parliamentary elections. This review is to be undertaken under the independent leadership of Mr. Ron Gould. As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State indicated during exchanges following his statement to the House on 8 May 2007, Official Report, columns 22-36, consideration will be given to whether, in light of the conclusions of the review, further investigations are necessary.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Leader of the House if he will make it his policy not to introduce measures for (a) additional state funding of political parties and (b) new expenditure controls unless there is political consensus between the three main parties on the proposed reforms. 
Mr. Straw: The Government are committed to working out the practical arrangements needed to take the regulatory framework for party finance and expenditure to new levels of rigour, transparency, fairness and effectiveness. The precise nature of those arrangements will depend on the outcome of cross-party talks, which are being chaired by Sir Hayden Phillips.
The Government believe that all political parties must play a constructive part in those talks so that a system of party finance and expenditure can be agreed in which the public can have confidence.
The Government have this week agreed with the conclusions of the cross-party Constitutional Affairs Committees report of December 2006 about the key principles on which any reform should be based.
This is a clear indication of the Governments constructive approach to the talks, and their hope that a consensus between the parties can be reached.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Leader of the House if he will make it his policy not to introduce measures on reform of the funding of political parties until the inter-party talks on the funding of political parties chaired by Sir Hayden Phillips have been concluded. 
Mr. Straw: The Government have no plans to introduce measures on reform of the funding of political parties until the inter-party talks chaired by Sir Hayden Phillips have been concluded.
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport which grants for which her Department is responsible have been given to Westminster City Council since 1997; and what the value was of such grants. 
Mr. Lammy: In the Revenue return to Communities and Local Government, Westminster reported that they have received no grants between 1997-98 and 2006-07 from my Department. These specific grants are those inside Aggregate External Finance (AEF) (i.e. revenue grants paid for councils' core services) paid to Westminster and exclude grants outside AEF such as capital grants, funding for local authorities housing management responsibilities, European funding; or where authorities are simply one of the recipients of funding paid towards an area.
These Revenue returns do not therefore detail the money that is paid out by the National Lottery, DCMS non-departmental public bodies and other sources. Departmental data indicate that the following grants were paid to Westminster:
Since November 2005, DCMS has provided funding to Westminster city council to manage the contract for the 7 July Assistance Centrea centre established to offer practical and emotional assistance to victims of the 7 July London bombings and emergencies overseas. The funding is set out in the following table.
The following table shows the number and value of grants on the Departments Lottery Grants Database (which uses information supplied by the Lottery distributors) where the name of the recipient is recorded as either Westminster city council or city of Westminster. Lottery distributing bodies make grant decisions independently of my Department.
|Calendar year||Number of grants||Value of grants to nearest £1,000|
English Heritage has provided grants totalling £239,735 to Westminster city council since 1997, in the following table.
Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the total value of private finance initiative projects included in her Department's balance sheet (a) is in 2007 and (b) was in each of the last five years, broken down by project. 
Mr. Lammy: My Department does not have any private finance initiative projects included on its balance sheet for 2007 or for any of the five years preceding this.
Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the value was of annual private finance initiative payments made by her Department from (a) capital and (b) revenue budgets in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Lammy: My Department has made no private finance initiative payments from either its capital or its revenue budget in the past five years.
Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what value of annual private finance initiative payments by her Department was classified as (a) identifiable and (b) non-identifiable in each of the last five years, broken down by project. 
Mr. Lammy: My Department has made no private finance initiative payments in any of the last five years.
All payments made under PFI are identifiable. Prior to a PFI contract being signed the profile of unitary charge payments is agreed between the contractor and the public sector, subject to the operation of the payment mechanism.
Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what value of annual private finance initiative (PFI) payments was (a) to repay capital and (b) expenditure on other parts of each PFI contract in each of the last five years, broken down by project. 
Mr. Lammy: My Department has made no annual private finance initiative payments in any of the last five years.
Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what financial support her Department gives to (a) museums, (b) science centres and (c) other projects which (i) promote (A) science and (B) engineering to the general public and (ii) are involved in adding value to the teaching of those subjects in schools. 
Mr. Lammy: DCMS supports the teaching of science and engineering in the following ways:
As highlighted in the OSIs review of DCMSs contribution to science and research, DCMSs sponsored bodies play a huge role in delivering public engagement in science through their educational and outreach programmes. DCMS spends £340 million (2007-08) on its directly sponsored museums and allocates £45 million (2007-08) to regional hub museums through the Renaissance in the Regions programme, managed by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA).
Some individual museums have a direct remit for science education, such as the National Museum of Science and Industry (£38.48 million GIA in 2007-08), Natural History Museum (£45.09 million), Museum of Science and Industry Manchester (£4.17 million) and National Maritime Museum (£18.41 million) and a number of other DCMS-sponsored museums, for example National Museums Liverpool, have a significant science and technology-based element to their collections and offer a range of science-based learning activities. In addition, the Department awarded grants totalling £401,000 in 2006-07 through the DCMS/Wolfson Museums and Galleries Improvement Fund to museums with predominantly science-based collections.
DCMS funding has been directed by the Museums, Libraries and Archives (MLA) Council in a number of ways that allow regional museums to promote science and engineering to the general public, or to add value to the teaching of those subjects in schools:
through Renaissance hub fundingmany of the regional hub museums hold significant science and engineering collections;
through the Renaissance Designated Challenge Fundto improve the management and accessibility of collections designated as nationally significant for the benefit of the public;
through the PRISM Grant Fundgrants are awarded to museums and similar organisations in England and Wales for the purpose of acquiring or conserving objects of scientific and industrial importance. A total of £250,000 is allocated to the fund each year.
DCMS does not fund science centres. When the Millennium Commission first provided funding to set
up science centres there was an expectation they would be self-supporting within three years. The DfES and DTI jointly gave science centres a £2 million funding package in 2004-06 to help alleviate short-term financial problems and provided a further £750,000 over the period 2006-08 for project work managed by Ecsite-uk.
Since 2003 the National Museum of Science and Industry and its regional partner museums and galleries have received a total of £960,000 through the joint DCMS/DfES-funded museum education programme (known as Strategic Commissioning) for a series of projects designed to enrich the teaching of science in schools and to support the informal learning of older members and adults with English as a second language from local communities in north London. Through the same programme the Natural History Museum and its regional partners have received £560,000 for project work, which is supporting the teaching of secondary science in schools across England.
MLA through the Renaissance Subject Specialist Networks (SSNs) grant programme enables specific networks of museums and galleries to share knowledge, expertise and collections, with the aim of improving visitors' experiences. Current SSNs include those which promote science and engineering to the general public, or are involved in adding value to the teaching of those subjects in schools.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when the family carers group established by the Disability and Carers Service last met. 
Mrs. McGuire: This is a matter for the Chief Executive of the Disability and Carers Service, Mr. Terry Moran. He will write to the hon. Member with the information requested.
Letter from Terry Moran, dated 18 May 2007:
You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when the family carers group established by the Disability and Carers Service last met.
The Minister for Disabled People, Anne McGuire MP, promised you a substantive reply from the Chief Executive of the Disability and Carers Service.
I can confirm that the group last met on 22 January 2007. The next meeting is scheduled for 17 July 2007.
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