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17 Jan 2008 : Column 1399Wcontinued
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what meetings he has had with trade union officials since 1 July 2007; on what dates; and with which trade unions. 
David Cairns: Ministers meet many people as part of the process of policy development. It is not normal practice to disclose details of such meetings.
Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many regularly funded organisations are supported by Arts Council England. 
James Purnell: In 2007-08 Arts Council England supported 990 regularly funded organisations.
Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport which Arts Council England regularly funded organisations were informed in December 2007 that their funding was to be reduced. 
James Purnell [holding answer 16 January 2008]: Arts Council England operates at arms length from the Government and decisions about which arts organisations to fund are entirely for them. They have said the following in response to requests to see the names of the organisations listed in their proposals:
Our proposals for non-renewal of funding cannot be made available until our National and Regional Councils make final decisions. This information is considered confidential and commercially sensitive during the response period. This is especially so in the case of a recommendation that might be overturned by the National Council or a Regional Council. Regularly funded organisations who have a right to respond to our recommendation, should be able to do so freely without fear that our intention to reduce or stop their funding is potentially unnecessarily, and without their consent, released into the public domain. A full announcement will be made at the beginning of February.
Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what criteria Arts Council England uses when assessing the artistic quality of the work of their regularly funded organisations. 
James Purnell: Arts Council England operates at arms length from the Government and decisions about which arts organisations to fund are entirely for them.
In October 2006 Arts Council England published guidance on how it assesses artistic quality. A copy of the guidelines will be placed in the Library of the House.
This is also available on Arts Council Englands website at:
Arts Council England is reviewing these guidelines this year following the publication of the McMaster Review.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps the Government have taken to support the creative industries in the West Midlands since 1997. 
James Purnell [holding answer 15 January 2008]: My Department has sought to co-ordinate action across government in support of the creative industries. In November 2005, we established the Creative Economy Programme which brought together DCMS, DTI (as it then was), industry representatives and Government bodies such as the Arts Council, the UK Film Council and the Design Council. We will shortly launch a strategy document for the creative industries which will set out the challenges that Government and industry will need to address in order to sustain and grow this vitally important sector of the economy.
Key agencies in the West Midlands with responsibility for growing the creative industries, including the Regional Development Agency Advantage West Midlands, Culture West Midlands, Business Link, the Learning and Skills Council, Arts Council England, Screen West Midlands and Skillset, have come together to form the Creative Industries Strategy Group. This group is developing a regional Creative Industries Manifesto, which will help raise the profile of the sector nationally and internationally; it will also work to bring key initiatives to the region, such as national centres of excellence or major events.
In addition, since 1997, funding from the European Regional Development Fund has supported a number of projects, including business support and venture capital projects, related to the development of the creative industries in the region. Projects in the 2000-06 Objective 2 Programme have included the establishment of the Advantage Creative Fund (£1.6 million), Business Support for Creative Industries in Birmingham (£2.5 million) and the West Midlands Media Production Fund (£3.7 million).
Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what procedures are in place to ensure that licence fee moneys are not used to subsidise BBC America (a) directly and (b) indirectly; and if he will make a statement. 
James Purnell [holding answer 15 January 2008]: Under the terms of its charter and agreement, the BBC is prohibited from using licence fee revenue to fund any commercial service or any service aimed primarily at users outside the UK. The BBCs Fair Trading Guidelines, available on the BBC website, set out the BBCs approach to complying with its obligations to keep licence fee revenue separate from its commercial operations.
Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport which activities his Department define as sports; and when the list of activities included within his Departments definition of sport was last revised. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State wrote to the Local Government Association on 23 December 2007 confirming that the definition of sport in the new performance measurement framework will remain largely unchanged from the definition currently used for the DCMS public service agreement on moderate intensity sport and for the Comprehensive Performance Assessment. A copy of this letter has been placed in the House Library.
The definition of sport will continue to measure sport and active recreation such as recreational walking and cycling. From April 2008 the definition of sport will also include measurement of some lighter intensity sports and physical activities such as yoga, bowls and pilates for those aged 65 or over; as these activities place a degree of physical demand on that age group.
This broad definition supports the Governments aim of getting 2 million more people more active by 2012.
Sport England are developing a new strategy on how they will build a world-class community sport infrastructure. As part of this work Sport England will review which sports fall within their funding remit. Her Majestys Treasury is leading on a cross-Government physical activity strategy for all, which will look at policy, funding and delivery of wider physical activity.
Mr. Mullin: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans he has to regulate greyhound racing; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: The Government welcome the recent report by Lord Donoughue into greyhound racing, and we endorse the view that the industry needs to introduce significant reform if it is going to meet the welfare standards expected in the 21st century. While any regulation would be a matter for my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Department for the Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, we agree with the recommendation in the report that the industry must aim to be self-regulated. I hope that everyone involved in administrating, promoting, funding and providing gambling facilities for the sport will work together to develop a collective response to Lord Donoughue's recommendations.
Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the availability of funding to swimming clubs in Greater London. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: Swimming clubs in London are eligible to apply for lottery funding from Sport England's London region, which has £29 million for investment in community projects in 2004-09, of which approximately £15 million remains to be allocated.
Swimming is also part of the Exchequer-funded community club development programme (CCDP), which provides investment in equipment and facilities in clubs. Six clubs in London have benefited from the CCDP programme.
Sport England has also awarded £247,500 of lottery funding to the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA) between 2007 and 2010 to fund three coaches to raise the standard and quality of coaching in identified swimming clubs in London. A fund of £750,000 (comprising £375,000 from Sport England and £375,000 from the Learning Skills Council) has been established for coach qualification bursaries in 2007-09. Swimming coaches linked to clubs in London have the opportunity to apply for grants from this fund to support their personal professional development.
Sport England has also awarded the ASA £8.8 million over four years to support the delivery of its 2005-09 national strategic plan. This enables it to
allocate resources to its London regional development staff whose role is to deliver development programmes (including the PE and School Club Links programme) and lever further investment into swimming from the public, private, voluntary and charitable sectors, which will benefit clubs. The ASA runs workshops to update clubs on funding opportunities, and publishes a quarterly newsletter for clubs with details of potential avenues for club funding.
Jessica Morden: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate his Department has made of the percentage of households which (a) have no television licence, (b) do not have a television and (c) have a television but are unlicensed. 
James Purnell: This is a matter for the BBC. I have, therefore, asked the BBCs Head of Revenue Management to consider the question raised by my hon. Friend and to write to her direct. Copies of the reply will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what research his Department has undertaken on levels of debt of looked-after children on graduation from university. 
Kevin Brennan: During the consultation on our Green Paper Care Matters: Transforming the Lives of Children and Young People in Care children and young people told us that they faced financial barriers to entering higher education, including a belief that they will not be able to meet the additional costs. This is supported by research evidence from the Institute of Education and the Frank Buttle Trust which showed that young people who have been looked after typically have higher levels of debt on graduation than their peers and identified significant variations in the level of financial support offered by different local authorities.
The consultation confirmed the support for our proposal to introduce a £2,000 higher education bursary for care leavers to ensure that they get a minimum level of financial support. Eighty three per cent. of young people at the Care Matters consultation events thought the bursary was a good idea and 73 per cent. thought it would encourage more young people who were looked after to go on to higher education.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many people in his Department are responsible for liaising with the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills. 
Following the Machinery of Government changes last year, three separate Departments were
established with clear demarcation of responsibility. However, we have sought to maintain effective communication links across the three new Departments to minimise disruption to our customers. A range of officials in DCSF are in regular discussion with the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills across a number of issues, covering both policy and the provision of corporate services. The issues being discussed and number of people involved varies.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what efficiency savings his Department was required to make as part of its spending review 2004 (SR04) targets; what efficiency projects have been undertaken in the Department in pursuit of those targets; on what date each was initiated; and how much each was predicted to contribute to the SR04 target. 
Kevin Brennan: The Department is jointly committed with the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS), to the efficiency target set originally for the Department for Education and Skills (DFES).
The DFES target is 2.5 per cent. a year over the spending review 2004 period. This means being able to demonstrate cumulative gains against our baseline of £1.45 billion in 2005-06, £2.9 billion in 2006-07 and £4.35 billion in 2007-08.
Details of the specific initiatives which contribute to our Gershon efficiency target are set out in our Efficiency Technical Note, which is available on the Departments website:
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families with reference to the answer of 19 July 2007, Official Report, column 531W, on Departments: cost effectiveness, what the target is for efficiency savings to be divided between the two newly created Departments. 
Kevin Brennan: Machinery of Government changes within the Department have resulted in the Department for Education and Skills (DFES) target being split between the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) and the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF).
Treasury are keen that there is a shared responsibility for the overall target and that this is agreed formally. Both DCSF and DIUS permanent secretaries have set out their continued commitment to the overall target. However, it is important for governance and accountability purposes that each Department knows which initiatives within the programme it is responsible for. We have calculated an indicative split of the Gershon Targets and progress towards them is outlined in the autumn performance reports for each Department. The Department published its autumn performance reports in December 2007, which are available on our website:
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families whether any of his Department's special advisers have declared a conflict of interest. 
Kevin Brennan: Special advisers are appointed under the terms and conditions set out in the Model Contract for Special Advisers. Copies of the Model Contract are available in the Libraries of the House.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what meetings he had with executives of the OCR exam board in each of the last three months; and what was discussed at such meetings. 
Kevin Brennan: My right hon. Friend has not had any meetings with the executives of the OCR exam board in the last three months.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how frequently he meets executives of the OCR exam board. 
Kevin Brennan: My right hon. Friend has not met the executives of the OCR exam board, and as of 14 January 2008 no meetings with the board are scheduled.
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