|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
17 Dec 2007 : Column 921Wcontinued
Mr. Kidney: To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speakers Committee on the Electoral Commission, what investigatory powers the Electoral Commission has; and what further powers the Commission has requested. 
The Electoral Commission informs me that it can require registered political parties, recognised third parties, permitted participants at a referendum, regulated donees and candidates to
provide information relating to their financial affairs. A person authorised by the Commission may enter the premises of a registered party, recognised third party or permitted participant to inspect and copy their financial records.
The Commission has called for wider investigative powers to enable it to obtain information from any source that has relevant information.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speakers Committee on the Electoral Commission, what processes are in place for liaison between the police and the Electoral Commission when dealing with serious breaches of electoral law. 
Peter Viggers: The Electoral Commission informs me that arrangements are in place with the Association of Chief Police Officers, individual police forces and prosecution authorities in regard to electoral malpractice. This includes a single point of contact on election issues in each police force in England, Wales and Scotland to deal with such matters.
Mr. Tyrie: To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speakers Committee on the Electoral Commission, what guidance the Electoral Commission has given to political parties on making donations via intermediaries and declaring the original donor. 
Peter Viggers: The Electoral Commission informs me that it publishes Donations and loans: guidance for political parties in Great Britain, which is available on its website, www.electoralcommission.org.uk. This details the reporting requirements on donations to political parties, including those made on behalf of others.
Similar guidance has been given to political parties in Northern Ireland.
Mr. Tyrie: To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speakers Committee on the Electoral Commission, what guidance on compliance with legislation is provided by the Commission to registered treasurers of political parties. 
Peter Viggers: The Electoral Commission informs me that it provides a range of guidance for registered treasurers of political parties, covering donations, loans, campaign expenditure, policy development grants and statements of accounts. These publications are available on the Commissions website at www.electoralcommission.org.uk
Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what his Department's policy is on the selection of (a) real and (b) artificial Christmas trees for his Department's festive decorations; and how real trees are disposed of. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: The Department's policy is to use real Christmas trees. The trees are recycled.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will take action to encourage cinemas to show greater numbers of UK films. 
Margaret Hodge [holding answer 10 December 2007]: The UK Film Council provides funding aimed at bringing a wider choice of films to cinemas with a specific emphasis on British films.
For example, they have rolled out the digital screen network, providing 240 screens nationwide with state of the art digital projection equipment in return for a commitment to screen more British films. The success of the first Summer of British Film season this year, with seven classic British films digitally restored and shown in cinemas, is a direct result of this initiative.
The UK Film Council has invested a further £2.5 million to assist the distribution of 53 British films and co-productions. They have given £45 million from the national lottery to British film production, resulting in worldwide revenues of £410 million since.
The UK Film Council also gives £7.9 million a year to regional film bodies across England (e.g. Film London), all working to create a clear film strategy for each English region and provide cash support for production.
Government have also established a new tax relief framework which directly targets filmmakers producing cultural British films. As of September this year more than 100 films were certified as British for the new tax relief, more than 30 claims had been received by HMRC and around £35 million of tax credit had been paid out.
Andrew Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what percentage of new buildings approved by his Department were built to the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (a) very good and (b) excellent standard in each of the last five years; and what the construction cost of those buildings was. 
Margaret Hodge: DCMS has not constructed any new buildings within the last five years.
Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many confirmed data security breaches there have been in his Department in the last 36 months; and what action was taken after each occurrence. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: I refer the hon. Member to the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 21 November 2007, Official Report, column 1179. The review by the Cabinet Secretary and security experts is looking at procedures within departments and agencies for the storage and use of data. A statement on departments procedures will be made on completion of the review.
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much was spent by his Department (a) in total and (b) on staff costs on promoting equality and diversity in each of the last three years for which figures are available; and how many people are employed by his Department for this purpose. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport employs three members of staff, one part-time grade B, one full-time grade C and one full-time grade D, to promote equality and diversity in the Department.
Information about the total cost of promoting equality and diversity in the Department could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the office costs for his Departments special advisers for 2007-08 are expected to be, including costs of support staff; and how many full-time equivalent civil servants work in support of such special advisers. 
Margaret Hodge: One civil servant supports the special advisers in my office. This civil servant provides administrative support of a non-political nature in accordance with the Code of Conduct for Special Advisers and the Civil Service Code.
Individual civil servants salary details are not disclosed in order to protect the privacy of the individual concerned.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the cost was of redundancies in his Department in the 12 months preceding (a) 30 June 2004, (b) 30 June 2005 and (c) 30 June 2006. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: There have been no redundancies in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in the period from 30 June 2003 to 30 June 2006.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will list the statistical information which his Department has responsibility to collect; and in each case whether that information is collected on a (a) national or (b) regional basis. 
Margaret Hodge: The Department has responsibility to supply tourism statistics for the UK to the statistical office of the European Commission (Eurostat) in line with the tourism statistics directive. This requires information at both a national and regional level on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis. The data are collected by the Office for National Statistics and by the National Tourist Boards and are supplied to Eurostat by DCMS.
The Department also collects and publishes a series of regular and ongoing statistical products under the professional management of the Head of Profession for statistics. Statistical information collected and produced outside the professional management of the Head of Profession for statistics, including by the Department's non-departmental public bodies, is not listed.
The Department currently publishes two products classed as 'National Statistics':
Taking Part: The National Survey of Culture, Leisure and Sport; and
Alcohol, Entertainment and Late Night Refreshment Licensing Statistics.
Information for Taking Part is collected from private households in England and results are primarily published at a national level, though some information has also been published by Government office region where possible.
Alcohol, Entertainment and Late Night Refreshment statistics are collected from licensing authorities in England and Wales and are published at both the aggregate England and Wales level and on an individual authority basis.
The Department has also previously published a third National Statistics productBetting Licence Statistics. However, this publication is being reviewed in light of changes in gambling laws.
The Department also annually publishes two non-National Statistics products:
Creative Industries Economic Estimates; and
Television Exports Statistics.
Creative Industries economic estimates are published at a UK level only, and are based on business information collected by the Office for National Statistics. The television exports survey collects information directly from members of the Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television (PACT). Published results therefore relate to the total exports across PACT members only.
Statistical information on the number of venues in England and Wales staging live music has also been collected on an infrequent basis. This information was last published in 2004, with an update to be released later this month.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the review commissioned from the National Audit Office by the BBC Trust on the BBC's preparedness for digital switchover, with particular reference to the effect of the timing of future procurement on the BBC's ability to apply all the lessons of the Copeland experience. 
James Purnell: The NAO report is part of a programme of value for money work agreed with the BBC Trust by the Comptroller and Auditor General, under the new Charter and Agreement arrangements, and responsibility for considering audit reports and deciding on any follow-up action rests with the Trust.
I have seen the NAO report and the BBC response and note that the Trust will ensure that where possible the Copeland lessons are taken account of in the contract for the help scheme.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps the Government has taken to raise the profile of British film. 
Margaret Hodge: Last year, the UK Film Councils Distribution and Exhibition Fund provided £527,405 to enable British films reach a wider audience.
In addition, the Film Council has rolled out the digital screen network (DSN). This has provided 240 screens nationwide with state-of-the-art digital projection equipment in return for a commitment to screening more British and specialised films. A total of 1,305 different British/specialised films have played across the network to date with 94,277 film showings.
The Film Council also operates an annual £2 million Prints and Advertising Fund to assist the wider distribution and better marketing of British films. Last year they also paid out £4.1 million with the New Cinema Fund and £5.9 million with the Premiere Fund, both for production.
Film festivals in the UK are often a showcase for British film. The recently announced Film Festival Fund will allocate £4.5 million over three years to UK festivals.
Sandra Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps he is planning to take in response to changes in the level of activity in the (a) gaming industry and (b) seaside arcades and bingo halls since the introduction of the Gambling Act 2005. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: My Department is engaging in a constructive dialogue with the British Amusement Catering Trade Association, the main trade body which represents the gaming machines sector, the Bingo Association and other trade bodies with an interest in the sector. I have made it clear to these organisations that I will be happy to consider any evidence they can provide, in relation to the difficult trading conditions that some operators say they are currently experiencing, and any proposals for remedial action.
However, the Governments principal priority remains to protect the public. We will need to be satisfied that any proposals put forward for remedial action by the industry do not have an adverse impact in terms of the licensing objectives of the Act.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|