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3 Sep 2007 : Column 1602Wcontinued
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much was spent by his Department on staff away days in the last 12 months. 
Margaret Hodge: No separate record is held of the amount spent on staff away days in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in the last 12 months. The information requested could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much was spent by his Department on (a) staff and (b) communication training in the last 12 months. 
Margaret Hodge: In the Department for Culture, Media and Sport we spent £601,689 on staff training during the last 12 months. We are unable to provide information on communications training as we do not categories information on spend in a way which would enable us to identify expenditure on communications training.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much was spent by his Department on industrial tribunals in the last 12 months. 
Margaret Hodge: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has not spent anything on industrial tribunals in the last 12 months.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what guidance has been given to local authorities to encourage them to fly the Union flag from municipal buildings. 
Margaret Hodge: Local authorities are already able to fly the Union flag on a daily basis from municipal buildings; it is a matter for them to decide. However, as some choose to follow Government guidance, we have updated the flag flying section of the DCMS website (www.culture.gov.uk/flagflying) and informed the Local Government Association. This follows the announcement by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport allowing all UK Government Departments to have the freedom to fly the Union flag when they wish while the Department carry out a consultation on altering the flag flying guidance.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many hotels there are in Cornwall; and how many there were in 1997. 
Margaret Hodge: Statistics on the number of hotels by region are not collected centrally.
South West Tourisms figures show that there were 354 hotels in Cornwall in 1998the nearest year to 1997 for which for figures are available. However, there were 1,316 businesses classified as serviced visitor accommodation. Businesses are so defined when they provide food and other services to their guests. As such, the total of 1,316 includes guest houses and bed and breakfasts, but excludes self-catering establishments and holiday parks. South West Tourism defined a hotel as a business which offers certain services to guests (including a restaurant offering full meals) which are not offered by guest houses and similar establishments.
There were 290 hotels in Cornwall in 2006 out of a total of 1,190 serviced visitor accommodation businesses, deferred on the same basis.
Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the answer of 19 July 2007, Official Report, column 479W, on museums and galleries: West Midlands, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on Renaissance funding within the context of the comprehensive spending review in (a) the West Midlands and (b) England; and if he will make a statement. 
Margaret Hodge: Future funding for the Renaissance in the Regions Programme and all other departmental expenditure is under consideration in the context of the comprehensive spending review.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the answer of 14 June 2007, Official Report, column 1178W, on the Olympic Games, if she will place in the Library copies of the (a) agenda and (b) minutes of each meeting of the cost review group on the dates listed. 
Tessa Jowell: I have been asked to reply as Minister for the Olympics.
Agendas were drawn up for two of the meetings on the dates listed in my previous response and I am arranging for these to be placed in the House Library.
The meeting scheduled for 9 March 2006 did not take place. The minutes for the other meetings will not be placed in the House Library as they are being used to inform the development of our ongoing policy for managing the Olympic project.
Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much was granted to the Yorkshire Tourism Board in each year since 1996. 
Margaret Hodge: The regional development agency for Yorkshire and the Humber, Yorkshire Forward, provided the Yorkshire Tourist Board with approximately £3 million per annum between 2005-06 and 2007-08.
In addition, Yorkshire Forward has provided the York Tourism Bureau with financial support through the York and North Yorkshire sub-regional investment plan process. This equates to a one third share of £2 million for the period up to 2008-09.
For the figures for previous years, I refer my hon. Friend to the answers given to him on 21 October 2004, Official Report, column 823W, and 5 April 2005, Official Report, column 1328W, by my right hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Central (Mr. Caborn).
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much grant in aid VisitBritain received in each year since 1997 at current prices; and if he will make a statement. 
Margaret Hodge: The annual grant in aid paid by DCMS to VisitBritain at current prices was as follows:
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he has made of (a) impact and (b) effectiveness of the use of thermobaric weapons by British forces in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. 
Des Browne: The term thermobaric has no agreed definition and is not used by the MOD. As with all military deployments, we keep our force levels and equipment requirements in Afghanistan under constant review.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his most recent assessment is of the capability of the Taliban and insurgency forces in Helmand Province. 
Des Browne: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 16 July 2007, Official Report, column 17, to the hon. Member for Clwyd, West (Mr. Jones).
Mr. Carswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the effects on Lynx helicopters of high air temperatures in Afghanistan. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my predecessor on 26 March 2007, Official Report, column 1353W.
Mr. Pope: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much was spent by the Royal Air Force on purchasing, maintaining and transporting horses and ponies for polo in the last 12 months for which figures are available. 
Derek Twigg: The Royal Air Force has not spent any funds on purchasing or, maintaining horses and ponies for polo in the last 12 months. However, service personnel are entitled to payment from public funds for towing a horse box containing their own horses and ponies for authorised official fixtures in accordance with Tri Service Regulations for Allowances. Information on costs relating to such activities is not separately identifiable.
Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures he has taken in response to each of the recommendations of the Board of Inquiry into the Death of Private Alison Croft in October 2002; and what further measures he plans to undertake following the comments of HM Coroner at the conclusion of the inquest into her death on 17 July. 
Derek Twigg: The Board of Inquiry into the death of Private Croft made nine recommendations to reduce the likelihood of such an incident occurring in the future, namely:
better communication between key personnel in the welfare chain and guidance on when to break the in confidence barrier;
provide continuous medical cover at Dalton Barracks to replace ad hoc services;
employment of a military Practice Manager, if a doctor cannot work on a full time basis;
increase the minimum number of padres employed at Dalton Barracks to two;
provide better guidance and training on At Risk Registers;
flagging personnel joining units from Phase 1 and 2 training with significant medical histories to the medical and military chain of command;
issue regular guidance to units on dealing with harassment, bullying or intimidation;
improve induction procedures to ensure new arrivals have clear understanding of welfare support available to them;
provide better training on the prevention of suicide at unit and sub unit level.
All the recommendations have been implemented.
The Ministry of Defence always gives careful consideration to the comments made by the Coroner following the conclusion of an Inquest involving Service personnel. In the case of Private Croft, the Coroner did not make any specific comments on further action required.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he is taking to ensure that 16 Air Assault Brigade is issued with the equipment which it needs (a) for training purposes and (b) to fulfil engagements; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Our priority is to ensure that the armed forces are well-equipped for operations and operational commanders may request additional equipment through the chain of command at any time.
Outside operations, priority is given to equipping units for pre-Deployment Training. Other training and
activities are given lower priority. In some cases the training requirement will exceed the number of items available at a given point in time. These shortfalls in equipment are addressed by the implementation of a range of measures, including the acceleration of the deep maintenance programme and the transfer of equipment between units, to ensure that the priority needs, such as pre-deployment training are met.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what mechanisms are in place to ensure the professional conduct of doctors serving with the military in examining military prisoners; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: I have assumed that the Member is referring to "military prisoners" in the widest sense, i.e. all persons detained by the UK armed forces, rather than simply Service personnel detained in the Military Corrective Training Centre at Colchester or by their unit. The same principles apply to medical examinations regardless of the specific status and location of the detainee.
Military doctors charged with the medical care of prisoners and detainees are required to follow MOD policy directives based on medical ethics as advised by the General Medical Council, UK law and, where relevant, United Nations declarations and international law, including the Geneva Conventions. Initial military training courses for Service doctors cover the medical support to be provided to persons detained by UK forces whilst deployed on operations.
Any failure to comply can result in various sanctions depending upon the nature of the offence, ranging from internal disciplinary measures to investigation by the GMC or criminal prosecution.
We review our policy and training in this area when appropriate.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether requests have been made by troops in the field for enhanced blast devices. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: For reasons of operational security I will not disclose whether there have or have not been requests for specific capabilities. All requirements are kept under constant review. We regularly receive and action requests for a wide range of equipment capabilities from operational theatres. Some of these we can address through existing resources; other emerging requirements are met through the urgent operational requirement process.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what average time a military patient spends on each stage of the patient cure pathway. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth:
Every patient is treated on an individual basis. The phrase patient care pathway is used by Defence Medical Services to refer to the totality of treatment any injured or sick individual
receives, from point of injury or presenting for treatment to discharge from medical care and will clearly vary enormously depending on the injury or illness. Some ailments will be treated almost immediately, while others, such as a serious wounding, can take many months before the patient is fully recovered or an operational medical outcome is achieved. Any attempt to provide an average time spent on the care pathway would be meaningless.
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