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22 May 2007 : Column 1177W—continued


22 May 2007 : Column 1178W

Tessa Jowell: In late 2005, in consultation with other stakeholders, I asked the Minister for Sport to chair a separate cost review to take forward the work of the steering group and to examine the Olympic budget in more detail.

The original steering group was not therefore re-convened.

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on what issues her Department was negotiating with the Treasury on taxes, as stated in point 1 of the minutes of the Olympic cost review steering group of 14 November 2005; and whether these negotiations included discussions on VAT. [133666]

Tessa Jowell: In November 2005 the Department was discussing with HM Treasury the tax position of the then proposed Olympic Delivery Authority. This included discussion of VAT.

Mr. Marshall: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much has been spent to date on construction projects in preparation for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. [136286]

Tessa Jowell: The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) officially came into existence on the 30 March 2006, and started work on the 1 April 2006. The vast majority of the construction work is due to start from summer 2008, although a significant amount of preparatory activity has taken place including enabling works, infrastructure delivery, venue design, planning, integration with the Stratford City development, and transport planning. As is consistent with other non-departmental public bodies, the ODA will be publishing its expenditure figures in its annual report, and this will be available before the summer recess.

Derek Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans are in place to ensure that the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be able to be seen in the UK on high definition. [138440]

Mr. Woodward: The London Organising Committee for the Olympic games and Paralympic games and the broadcasters are committed to recording and transmitting the games in high definition.

Playing Fields

Hugh Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what responsibilities Sport England has with regard to the protection of public playing fields. [138706]

Mr. Caborn: Sport England is a statutory consultee on planning applications for proposals to develop playing fields with an area of 0.4 hectares or more. The Department for Communities and Local Government has committed to consulting on reducing this threshold to 0.2 hectares. That consultation is intended to take place later this year.


22 May 2007 : Column 1179W

Playing Fields: Hackney

Hugh Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions have taken place between Sport England and the London Borough of Hackney on the future of the playing fields at Hackney Marshes; and what the outcome was of those discussions. [138707]

Mr. Caborn: The future of the playing fields at Hackney Marshes has been discussed at periodic meetings of the Hackney Marshes Sports Facilities Improvement (Olympic Legacy) Steering Group. These meetings, which began in 2005, are co-ordinated by officers of the London borough of Hackney and the London Development Agency (LDA). Sport England is among the stakeholders contributing to these discussions, which also include the Football Association, the National Playing Fields Association and the London Playing Fields Foundation.

Work with consultants has been progressing to develop a draft sports strategy for the Hackney Marshes to provide new changing accommodation and substantially improved sports facilities to attract increased community participation in sport in the area. The London borough of Hackney and the LDA are planning to announce public consultations on their draft sports strategy within the next few months.

Public Places: Licensing

Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many local authorities have signed up to the new register for licensed public spaces; and how many have done so since March 2007. [138297]

Mr. Woodward: At the launch of the Register of Licensed Public Spaces in England and Wales on 15 January 2007, 106 local authorities signed up. Since then, a further 54 local authorities have provided information to be included on the register, 11 of these since March 2007.

Sports: Chorley

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what progress has been made with proposals for a sporting village in Chorley; and if she will make a statement. [138566]

Mr. Caborn: Sport England is still assessing the potential of Community Sports Hubs (formerly referred to as ‘sports villages’) as a new, innovative and sustainable model for community sports provision. Once feasibility studies are completed and the model proven, Sport England will begin to work with a number local authorities to roll out the concept.

Stonehenge

Robert Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when work will commence on the Stonehenge Visitors Centre; and if she will make a statement. [138404]


22 May 2007 : Column 1180W

Mr. Lammy: Planning consent was granted for the Stonehenge Visitor Centre subject to conditions, one of which is that improvements to the A303 go ahead, as set out in the published Stonehenge Improvement Order 2000. The Government are considering the findings of the A303 Review of Options and will make an announcement in due course on the way forward. Our intention remains that we find a solution for Stonehenge which will respect the status of Stonehenge as a World Heritage Site and which is affordable and deliverable.

Tourists: Australia

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many tourists visited the UK from (a) Australia and (b) New Zealand in each of the last 10 years. [138212]

Mr. Woodward: The following table shows the number of visits to the UK from Australian and New Zealand residents for the latest years for which data is available. These figures include holidays, business trips and visits to friends and relatives.

Total inbound visits
T housand
Australia New Zealand

1996

650

132

1997

684

148

1998

603

166

1999

728

193

2000

111

174

2001

694

151

2002

702

137

2003

723

144

2004

787

174

2005

919

210

2006 (provisional data)

911

221

Source:
International Passenger Survey (ONS)

VisitBritain

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment she has made of the impact of VisitBritain’s recent decision on staff redundancies upon her Department's target of creating a £100 billion tourism industry by 2010; and if she will make a statement. [138846]

Mr. Woodward: VisitBritain intends to improve focus on new and emerging markets, reflecting developments in customer demand. DCMS was fully informed of the reorganisation. These changes will improve VisitBritain's ability to promote Britain to overseas visitors, and to support the tourism industry's progress towards the target of £100 billion turnover.

Defence

Aircraft Carriers

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the decision regarding the future aircraft carriers will be made; and if he will make a statement. [137777]


22 May 2007 : Column 1181W

Mr. Ingram: The main investment decision will be taken when we are confident that we have a robust, affordable deal. We are making good progress, together with industry, including on the possible joint venture between BAE Systems and VT Group.

Armed Forces: Casualties

Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many armed service personnel (a) died and (b) were killed between 1 April 1998 and 31 March 2004. [138527]

Derek Twigg [holding answer 21 May 2007]: Between 1 April 1998 and 31 March 2004, there were 906 deaths among regular UK armed forces personnel. Of these, 522 were killed by accidental or violent causes (excluding coroner-confirmed suicide and open verdict deaths).

Armed Forces: Housing

Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what percentage of accommodation provided by his Department to those of the rank of (a) General, (b) Lieutenant General, (c) Major General, (d) Brigadier, (e) Colonel, (f) Lieutenant Colonel, (g) Major and (h) Captain is considered to be of Standard 1 condition; [137728]

(2) what percentage of accommodation provided by his Department to those of the rank of (a) general, (b) lieutenant general, (c) major general, (d) brigadier, (e) colonel, (f) lieutenant colonel, (g) major and (h) captain is considered to be of Standard 4 condition. [138313]

Derek Twigg: Service Families Accommodation (SFA) is provided in accordance with the published Tri-Service Accommodation Regulations. The Standard for Condition of each Type of SFA, along with the Army ranks entitled to it, is shown in the following table:

Percentage
SFA Rank Standard 1 for Condition Standard 2 for Condition Standard 3 for Condition Standard 4 for Condition

Type 1

General, LtGen

29

46

25

0

Type 2

Maj Gen, Brig, Col

46

41

12

1

Type 3

Brig, Col, LtCol

54

40

6

0

Type 4

Major

53

42

4

1

Type 5S

Major

36

53

5

1

Type 5

Captain and below

57

40

2

1

Note: All figures are rounded to the nearest whole per cent. Some Type 5 Special SFA is not categorised, so the percentage figures do not add up to 100.

The Type of SFA offered to Captain (and below) can be affected by their number of dependants.


22 May 2007 : Column 1182W

Armed Forces: Manpower

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures apart from retention initiatives his Department is implementing to increase armed forces manpower. [138775]

Derek Twigg: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 10 May 2007, Official Report, columns 346-47W.

Armed Forces: Voluntary Organisations

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 20 March 2007, Official Report, column 749W, on Armed Forces: voluntary organisations, on what basis the fee was waived for the charity event organised by Sergeant Biddiss and held at RAF Brize Norton in March 2006. [137547]

Derek Twigg: I will write to the hon. Member and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.

Armed Forces: Winter Sports

Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which ranks of the armed services attended the Army Ski Championships in 2007. [137127]

Derek Twigg [holding answer 14 May 2007]: All Army ranks from private soldier to Major participated in the Army Ski Championships, with predominance on the lower ranks—Private, Lance Corporal and Corporal. The Officials organising the event ranged in rank from Sergeant to Brigadier.

A number of senior officers made brief visits to the Championship including the Chief of the General Staff in his capacity as the President of the Army Winter Sports Association.

Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how the costs of holding the 2007 Army Ski Championships were met. [137130]

Derek Twigg [holding answer 14 May 2007]: The costs of the Army Skiing Championships are met from a combination of public, commercial sponsorship and non-public funds. The non-public element included contributions from the Army Winter Sports Association funds, Army Sports Lottery grants and individuals.


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