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19 Nov 2007 : Column 548Wcontinued
Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many and what percentage of people over 65 he estimates will qualify for assistance in switching over to digital television in (a) Eastbourne, (b) East Sussex and (c) England. 
James Purnell: The information is not available in the form requested.
A household will qualify for assistance from the Digital Switchover Help Scheme if one person is aged 75 or over, is entitled to disability living allowance or attendance allowance (or equivalent benefits under the industrial injuries or war pensions scheme) or is registered blind or partially sighted.
Information on the number of households where the qualifying person is aged between 60 and 75 in Eastbourne, East Sussex and England is in the table.
|Area||Number of households|
| Notes: 1. Eligibility for help from the Digital Switchover Help Scheme will be by benefit unit rather than the whole household definition used by the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG), the Scottish Executive, the Welsh Assembly Government and the Northern Ireland Office to forecast future household growth. The scheme definition of eligible households mirrors Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) definition of a benefit unit: a couple (which from December 2005 includes gay couples) and any dependent children. It excludes adults deemed to be non-dependents who, if eligible, will be able to claim assistance from the help scheme in their own right. 2. The estimates use data from the Department for Work and Pensions Client Group Analysis for November 2005 adjusted by changes in future household and benefits growth for the period from 2005 until the date switchover takes place in the relevant area. 3. The figures do not include households where the person qualifying for help under the scheme is registered blind or registered partially sighted who qualify on grounds of registration rather than on grounds of age or entitlement to disability benefits. 4. The figures for Eastbourne are for the Eastbourne parliamentary constituency.|
Anne Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport for what reasons his Department decided to hold a consultation on altering its guidance on the flying of the Union flag from UK Government buildings. 
Margaret Hodge: The Department carried out a consultation on altering the current guidance on flying the Union flag from UK Government buildings in line with a commitment in the Governance of Britain Green Paper.
Although, the relevant guidance only applies to Government buildings, the impact of the changes is likely to affect other public organisations, because many choose to follow the Government lead. The consultation seeks views on giving Government Departments more flexibility on when to fly the Union flag.
Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the (a) budget and (b) remit is of each non-departmental public body sponsored by his Department; who the chairman is of each; and to what salary, including bonuses and expenses, each chairman is entitled. 
Margaret Hodge: The information requested can be found in the DCMS publication DCMS Public Bodies Directory 2007, copies of which are also available from the Library and online at:
Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will bring forward proposals to improve the independence of the Press Complaints Commission. 
Margaret Hodge: The Government supports self-regulation of the press and believes that there is no case for Government intervention. Accordingly, the Press Complaints Commission already is a body which is independent of Government.
Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what guidance his Department has given to the Press Complaints Commission on the definition of the public interest. 
Margaret Hodge: We have offered no such guidance to the independent Press Complaints Commission (PCC). The definition the PCC use is published as part of the Editors Code of Practice.
Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the provisions of the Code of the Press Complaints Commission on harassment and privacy; and if he will seek a strengthening of the provisions of the Code in those respects. 
Margaret Hodge: Given our commitment to self-regulation it is for the industry to take the appropriate decisions. Amendments to the Code are a matter for the independent Press Complaints Commission and the Committee dealing with the Editors Code of Practice. However, both harassment and invasions of privacy are already forbidden by the Code, unless they can be justified in the public interest.
Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will assess the adequacy of arrangement for regulation of the press. 
Margaret Hodge: We maintain a watching brief on this issue and are generally satisfied that the Press Complaints Commissions Code of Practice is both adequate and appropriate for its purpose.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent estimate he has made of the number and proportion of young people who cease participating in sport after leaving school. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: The following table shows the percentage of people in each age category, who have participated in at least one active sport in the last four weeks. Active sport is defined as all forms of physical activity which, through casual or organised participation, aim at expressing or improving physical fitness and well-being, forming social relationships, or obtaining results in competition at all levels.
|Age (years)||Percentage participating|
To tackle the drop off in activity levels we have a public service agreement, to increase sports participation in adults aged 16 plus among priority groups by 3 per cent., by 2008. The priority groups include women, people with a physical or mental disability, people from black or minority ethnic groups, and people in socio-economic groups C2, D or E.
The recently announced additional funding of £100 million for school sports will help target the 16-19 age group (including those in school and further education), enabling them to access three hours of sporting opportunities.
Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent assessment he has made of the impact of ticket pricing policy and arrangements in the event entertainment industry on access to cultural events; and if he will make a statement. 
Margaret Hodge: The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) published a report on ticket agents in the UK in 2008. OFT examined consumer concerns around pricing and found the main issue for consumers was information about prices. The OFT has been in discussion with the Committee on Advertising Practices on reforms to its code, and is waiting to see the impact of future legislation and changes to the code, before considering whether further action is needed.
The DCMS survey, Taking Part: The National Survey of Culture, Leisure and Sport, Annual Report 2005-06, looked at attendance and participation in cultural and sporting activities. Only 6 per cent. of those questioned cited cost as the main barrier to visiting an arts event. DCMS plans to carry out a more detailed review of this issue as part of its next report on the Taking Part survey.
Paul Rowen: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether he has plans to include upgrades for video games in a review of the classification of video games. 
Margaret Hodge [holding answer 13 November 2007]: Under the current classification system, a producer's upgrade or addition to a video game means that it is a different product from a previously classified game. It therefore has to be classified separately.
Part of the review being led by Tanya Byron is to assess the effectiveness and adequacy of existing measures to help prevent children from being exposed to harmful or inappropriate material in video games and on the internet, and to make recommendations for
improvements or additional action. The whole classification system for video games is being covered by this review.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what factors are taken into account before a video game is released for sale. 
Margaret Hodge: Producers first test their game using the voluntary Pan European Games Information classification system. This reveals whether it must be submitted to the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), under the terms of the Video Recordings Act.
It must go to the BBFC if it contains live action (rather than entirely computer generated images) or material that is grossly violent or sexual.
If submitted to the BBFC, it is considered and classified against the same publicly available guidelines (these can be found at www.bbfc.co.uk <http://www.bbfc.co.uk>) used for cinema films or DVDs.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what representations his Department received about the link between violent video games and the actions of their users in each of the last five years. 
Margaret Hodge: Records of correspondence are only available for the last three years. Since December 2004, we have received no representations from groups concerned about a link between video games featuring violence and violent behaviour in real life. However, we have received correspondence from some individualsoften through their constituency Member of Parliamentwho are concerned about a possible link.
In December 2004, we received two letters. In 2005, we received 12 letters. In 2006, we received 10 letters. And so far in 2007, we have received 16 letters, eight of which related to the announcement of the review led by Dr. Tanya Byron. This review is considering the effectiveness and adequacy of existing measures to help prevent children from being exposed to harmful or inappropriate material in video games and on the internet, and to make recommendations for improvements or additional action.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether his Department has made an assessment of the effectiveness of mechanisms to co-ordinate international reconstruction and development work in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Thomas: I have been asked to reply.
The Joint Coordination and Monitoring Board (JCMB) is the overarching body for monitoring political and development progress in Afghanistan. It was established to monitor the implementation of the Afghanistan Compact and provide a forum to provide
direction on major policy issues or blockages (e.g. problems with coordination or financing). It meets four times a year and is attended by heads of mission and chaired by the UN Special representative and the Afghan President's senior economic adviser (Professor Nadiri). The latest, sixth JCMB met on 3 October and focused on regional economic cooperation. In addition, various groups meet to co-ordinate international reconstruction and development work in Afghanistan:
Eight consultative groups (sector level) and 22 working groups (line ministry level); all comprising Afghan Government and international community representatives who co-ordinate and monitor the implementation of the Compact, contribute to budget formulation and monitor aid effectiveness within their sector.
The External Advisory Group meets every month and is a forum for donors to discuss progress on the Afghanistan National Development Strategy (ANDS). Chaired by DFID since August 2006, it is a tool for pushing the government on ANDS issues and preserving donor buy-in.
The Policy Action Group was set up by General Richards and President Karzai as a short-term response to security difficulties in the South. It is chaired by Minister of Education Hanif Atmar and UNAMA. There are four pillars: Security, Information, Reconstruction and Development and International.
World Bank-led donor meetings are meetings of donors only, with no Government representation, to discuss Afghanistan national development strategy issues. These meetings are usually focused on economic issues.
DFID has made no formal assessment of the effectiveness of these mechanisms to co-ordinate international reconstruction and development. However, we do believe that they have been successful in moving forward progress against the benchmarks of the Afghanistan Compact. The UN in Afghanistan has the potential to play a stronger role in donor co-ordination. DFID supports this.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the outcome was of UN Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambaris recent meeting with National League for Democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi; what progress has been made towards securing her release; and if he will make a statement. 
Meg Munn: As my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary said in his statement on 14 November:
We welcome the report of Ambassador Gambari to the UN Security Council...The signs of progress are welcome but...the Burmese regime has taken small steps that now need to be followed by larger steps.
The full text of the statement is available on the FCO website at:
The UN Special Envoy Ibrahim Gambari met with Aung San Suu Kyi for one hour on 8 November. Following this meeting Aung San Suu Kyi was able to deliver a message to the international community, welcoming the efforts of the UN in Burma and calling for a meaningful and time bound dialogue with the regime.
Aung San Suu Kyi and a Burmese government liaison officer, Aung Kyi, have held preliminary discussions on the possibility of future talks and she has been allowed to meet some of her National League of Democracy colleagues. To help facilitate a dialogue, we hope that the restrictions placed upon Aung San Suu Kyi will be lifted.
Colin Burgon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what his estimate is of the number of British citizens who reside in the Santa Cruz province of Bolivia; 
(2) which provinces in Bolivia have an honorary British Consul; 
(3) on what date an honorary British Consul was appointed to the province of Santa Cruz in Bolivia. 
Dr. Howells: Honorary Consuls are appointed in areas of a country where there is a community of registered British nationals, British interests and/or a large number of British nationals visiting. Their role, for which they do not receive a salary but are paid an honorarium, is to provide assistance on a range of issues, primarily consular matters.
There are currently 48 registered British nationals in the province of Santa Cruz in Bolivia; the largest number of registered British nationals in Bolivia outside of the province of La Paz. It is the only province in Bolivia with a British Honorary Consul. The first British Honorary Consul to the province of Santa Cruz was appointed in 1977. The present incumbent was appointed in May 2007 when his predecessor, who had been in the role since 1999, relinquished his duties on departure from the country.
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