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18 Jun 2007 : Column 1446W—continued

Digital Broadcasting: Border Television

Mr. Jamie Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what involvement her Department has had with Border Television in preparation for the digital switchover in Copeland in October. [142843]

Mr. Woodward: Digital UK is in regular contact with the editorial team and management at Border TV. Border TV offers a vital local service to viewers in the region, and Digital UK's regional manager for the Border TV region, John Askew, regularly appears on local news programmes to explain to viewers what they can practically do to prepare their homes for the switch.

In addition, the local news features a regular programme entitled “Ask Tim” whereby viewers send in their questions to the presenter who answers them on air. The digital TV switchover is regularly featured as a topic on “Ask Tim” and this is largely down to the ongoing and constructive relationship between Digital UK and Border Television.

Digital Broadcasting: Copeland

Mr. Jamie Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether her Department has collated data on the number of digital (a) televisions and (b) receivers sold in Copeland since the announcement in 2006 relating to digital switchover taking place there in October. [142844]

Mr. Woodward: Digital UK is speaking to retailers on a monthly basis to assess how much kit they are selling and the feedback from this process is included in the Whitehaven monthly progress report.

According to the Q1 2007 Digital UK Tracker, 70 per cent. of primary sets in Copeland have already been converted. A further 27 per cent. of other sets have been converted. The proportion of the total number of sets converted is 49 per cent. We expect many people to wait until very near the time of switchover until they buy their equipment.

It should be noted that there is currently no availability of Freeview in Copeland and that the only method for going digital before the switchover is satellite. It is only by switching off the analogue signal that Freeview can be made available to homes in Copeland.

Mr. Jamie Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what methodology was used to decide that Copeland would be the first area in the UK in which digital switchover would occur; and if she will make a statement. [142848]


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Mr. Woodward: Copeland was chosen as it offers an ideal environment in which to refine plans for the national switchover programme. The area is a clearly defined one with little broadcast overlap. Copeland has a good demographic mix, 16 per cent. 65+, 6.6 per cent. 75+, 21.4 per cent. registered disabled, living in a mix of private/rented housing/multiple dwelling units.

The area will benefit significantly as the Whitehaven, Gosforth and Eskdale Green transmitters do not provide digital terrestrial TV currently.

Digital Broadcasting: Finance

Mr. Jamie Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much digital switchover implementation in October will cost the public purse, broken down by main budget heading. [142841]

Mr. Woodward: The cost of switchover in Whitehaven in October will be met by the broadcasters. In addition, it is estimated that up to £1 million of the £603 million budget for the Digital Switchover Help Scheme (which is funded through the licence fee) will be applied in Whitehaven.

Digital UK

Mr. Jamie Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what (a) regulatory and (b) oversight role her Department has over Digital UK. [142849]

Mr. Woodward: Digital UK is an independent organisation set up by the Public Service Broadcasters (BBC, ITV, Channel Four, Five, S4C and Teletext) and the multiplex operators. DCMS works closely with Digital UK to deliver a successful switchover.

Schools: Sight Impaired

Anne Snelgrove: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what provisions she plans to put in place to improve the access to sport in schools for blind and partially sighted children. [143016]

Mr. Caborn: The National School Sport Strategy aims to increase the proportion of all schoolchildren who spend at least two hours each week on high quality PE and school sport. The strategy includes a variety of measures to encourage take-up among children and young people with special needs and disabilities, including those who have visual impairments.

For example, the Youth Sport Trust has recently been working with disability sport organisations, including British Blind Sport, to develop new resources for teachers and coaches working within our network of 100 multi-sport clubs for young disabled people. This network of clubs is scheduled to grow to 450 by 2009 to cover every School Sport Partnership in the country.

Swimming Pools: Finance

Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what financial assistance is available to fund community swimming pools. [143129]


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Mr. Caborn: Financial assistance for community swimming pools is available through Sport England's Community Investment Fund (CIF). Applicants need to meet CIF criteria and show strong links with Sport England Regional Sports and Amateur Swimming Association strategies. Since 1997 swimming has been the biggest recipient of lottery funding, having attracted £249 million of which £242 million has gone to community swimming.

Duchy of Lancaster

Departments: Training

Mr. Heald: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster pursuant to the answer of 21 May 2007, Official Report, column 1122W, on departments: training, how much expenditure was incurred on services provided by each of the two firms referred to in the last year for which figures are available. [141702]

Hilary Armstrong: Cost incurred using these suppliers in 2006-07 will be available only when the Department's resource accounts are fully audited and laid before Parliament. This is expected to be before the 2007 summer recess.

Minister for Women

Equal Opportunities: Ethnic Groups

Ms Abbott: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what steps the Government are taking to address inequalities faced by ethnic minority women in the workplace; and if she will make a statement. [140849]

Meg Munn: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Edmonton (Mr. Love) on 14 May 2007, Official Report, columns 520-21W.

Equal Opportunities: Public Bodies

Ms Abbott: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality what steps the Government are taking to increase diversity in (a) the judiciary, (b) the police, (c) Parliament and (d) other UK institutions; and if she will make a statement. [140848]

Meg Munn: The Government are committed to increasing diversity and equality of opportunity in UK institutions. The Ministry of Justice is working with the judiciary and Judicial Appointments Commission to increase diversity, for example, by promoting the judicial service and widening the range of people eligible to apply for judicial office. The Judicial Diversity Strategy, setting out the approach, was announced to Parliament by written ministerial statement on 17 May 2006, Official Report, column 25WS. The Judicial Appointments 8(th )Report published in March 2006 showed that the proportion of female judges appointed in the previous year had increased from 31 per cent. to 41 per cent. Between 2001 and 2006 the percentage of female judges rose from 14 to
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18 per cent. The percentage of those from a BME background appointed increased from 5 per cent. to 17 per cent. over the previous seven years.

Colleagues in the Home Office are extremely active in pushing for greater diversity in the police and have introduced a number of initiatives looking at recruitment, retention and progression. These include positive action guidelines on recruitment, and a toolkit looking into the setting of targets for the recruitment of women. Twenty-Two per cent. of police officers are women, and 3.7 per cent. of police officers are from ethnic minority backgrounds. Progress has been made in recruiting minority ethnic Special Constables (6.6 per cent.) and Police Staff (6.9 per cent.) and especially minority ethnic Police Community Support Officers (15.2 per cent.).

In 2002 we introduced the Sex Discrimination (Election Candidates) Act allowing positive measures towards women’s increased participation in politics. This legislation is having an impact. Women now make up 20 per cent. of MPs compared with 9 per cent. before 1997. However, there is still a long way to go: only 2.3 per cent. of MPs are from non-white backgrounds, compared with around 8 per cent. of the population. The Discrimination Law Review is considering the case for widening the scope of positive measures to target the selection of political candidates beyond gender. It is also looking at how to widen the range of voluntary positive action measures available to organisations as employers and service providers in order to prevent or compensate for disadvantage or to meet the special needs of groups protected by discrimination law. Our consultation paper, “A Framework for Fairness”, setting out our proposals for a Single Equality Bill, was published on 12 June.

Refuges: Edmonton

Mr. Love: To ask the Minister for Women and Equality how many recorded cases there were of women being housed in refuges and safe houses in Edmonton constituency in 2006. [140756]

Meg Munn: The information requested is not available centrally at constituency level.

Transport

A303

Mr. Walter: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans are in place to upgrade the A303 to a dual carriageway; and what the likely completion date is of each scheme. [142990]

Dr. Ladyman: I have accepted the Region’s advice that priority for a start on a second strategic route in the South West should be given to either the A303 Ilminster Bypass or Stonehenge, if the current review identifies a deliverable and affordable scheme.

The A303 Ilminster Bypass is included within the 10 year forward programme which forms part of a high quality strategic route to the South West. Subject to regional funding, construction on this scheme could begin in 2014-15 with completion in 2017. The Stonehenge Report is still under review.

The remaining unimproved sections of the A303 are:


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These three schemes are in the Region’s longer-term list of priorities (beyond 2016) and are currently on hold.

Mr. Walter: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many people were (a) killed and (b) seriously injured on the single carriageway sections of the A303 in each of the last 10 years. [142966]

Dr. Ladyman: The number of people killed and seriously injured on the single carriageway sections of the A303 in each of the last 10 years are shown in the table as follows:

Fatal Serious

1997

3

26

1998

6

29

1999

6

21

2000

2

15

2001

6

22

2002

6

28

2003

2

19

2004

6

14

2005

4

11

2006

3

16

Total

44

201


A449: Safety Measures

Peter Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will request the Highways Agency to conduct a full review of the safety of the A449 between Claines roundabout and Ombersley before the agency transfers responsibility for the road to Worcestershire county council. [142599]

Dr. Ladyman: A full safety study on this section of the A449 was carried out in 2004. The resulting recommendations for improvements to the road were promoted at a public exhibition. A safety scheme involving improvement to the elevation of the bends and signing, and the installation of two mobile safety camera sites was completed in 2005. As a result of a follow-up Road Safety Audit of these works, further improvements are to be carried out later this year. These include additional signing and installation of an anti-skid surface and hazard marker posts.

Negotiations are continuing between the Highways Agency and Worcestershire county council about the transfer of responsibility for the A449 to the local authority and no further safety reviews are anticipated.

Airbus A380

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many airports in the UK have the (a) facilities and (b) runway distance to operate the new Airbus A380 when it comes into service; [142994]

(2) how many airports in the UK have the (a) facilities and (b) runway distance to operate the Boeing 747-8 (extended range). [142995]


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Gillian Merron [holding answer 15 June 2007]: Neither the A380 nor the B747-8 require any more runway length than other heavy jets currently in service.

In the UK only London Heathrow airport has so far developed facilities specifically to cater for A380 and B747-8 operations.

The development plans for London Stansted airport also include A380 and B747-8 facilities. Other UK airports have either yet to declare their plans for dealing with these aircraft or are content to operate them with existing facilities.

Automatic Train Protection: Inquiries

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the cost was of the 1999 Health and Safety Commission inquiry into train protection systems. [143705]

Mr. Tom Harris: £1.2 million


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