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Mr. McFadden: In 2005 Government undertook an exercise to measure, for the first time in the UK, the administrative burdens of regulations on businesses and the third sector. The administrative burden as of May 2005 was £13.4 billion. More information can be found at:
Information on the total costs of regulations (not just administrative burdens) to UK industry is not currently held centrally and there is no established methodology for measuring these on a consistent basis.
Robert Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what (a) public and (b) private/public sector partnership support is available to small and medium-sized enterprises in South Wiltshire. 
Mr. Timms: The publicly funded Business Link service provides information and advice to small and medium enterprises, and where appropriate brokers clients on to public and private sector providers of business support.
Northern Arc Ltd. is contracted by the South West Regional Development Agency to provide the Business Link service in South Wiltshire. Northern Arc Ltd. maintains a local presence in the area by running business start-up clinics from their office in Salisbury College. Further information on the Business Link service can be found at www.businesslink.gov.uk/southwest or by telephoning 0845 600 9966.
In addition to this, the South Wiltshire Economic Partnership (SWEP), is a partnership between the district and county councils, local businesses and business organisations. It works in partnership with others to drive forward the growth of the south Wiltshire economy by supporting existing businesses and other organisations and by attracting inward investment. By providing the local business community with a single voice on economic development issues, SWEP also works to influence all levels of government and to provide a focus for the delivery of strategic change. SWEP is administered by Salisbury district council economic development team. More information on the partnership and its activities can be found at:
Mr. Alan Reid: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what Government support and advice is available to community groups who wish to operate their local post office as a community business. 
Mr. McFadden [holding answer 17 January 2008]: Information and support on operating a local post office is available on the Post Office Ltd. website at www.ukpo.com/subpostmaster. In addition, sub-postmasters and community groups are free to seek advice from their local Business Link or RDA about any ongoing retail operations. This would be a matter for the individual retail outlet. Retailers can contact their local Business Link via the national helpline on: 0845 600 9006 or visit their website at:
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what research he has undertaken into the likely effects of the proposed post office closures on rural and semi-rural areas. 
[holding answer 21 January 2008]: It is Government policy, announced in May 2007 in response to the national public consultation on the post office network, to ensure national coverage and reasonable access to post office services with particular regard to vulnerable consumers and to rural and
remote areas. Access criteria have been introduced to achieve this and in developing its closure proposals Post Office Ltd. has also to take into account a range of factors relating to accessibility of service provision and the local impact of changes to it. Under area plan proposals published so far, on average 90.7 per cent. of the population covered will see no change in the branch they currently use and 99.3 per cent. will see either no change or still be within one mile of their nearest post office.
Post Office Ltd. is responsible for implementing the network change programme at a local level. It is developing a rolling programme of some 50 local consultations on detailed area plans, based on groups of parliamentary constituencies. Following final decisions on the proposals for the first area plans after local consultations, individual post office closures are now taking place. Area plan consultations are ongoing and will continue well into 2008.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent representations he has received on his proposals to restructure the post office network; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McFadden: The Department has received a range of representations for Members of Parliament, local authorities and other correspondents about the restructuring of the post office network, both in general terms and in the context of specific proposals included in Post Office Ltd.s area plans. To 18 January, 14 area plans have been published and put to local consultation, consultations on 11 plans have closed and final decisions announced on six plans. In response to comments received during the public consultation period, closure proposals for 15 individual offices have so far been withdrawn.
Mr. McFadden: The Department receives representations on this issue from time to time. However the present pattern of bank holidays in the UK is well established and accepted, and the Government have no current plans to change the arrangements.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what procedures are in place to monitor and audit the public monies remitted to trades unions under the auspices of the Union Modernisation Fund; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McFadden [holding answer 22 January 2008]: In line with normal arrangements for Government funding, all UMF projects are regularly monitored for progress and expenditure to ensure accountability and the protection of public funds. All projects are required to allow site visits by BERR officials. Failure to comply with such monitoring activity may result in sanctions, including withholding or reclaiming of funds.
On completion, each project is required to produce an independent accountants report. The report accompanies the final claim and confirms that the union has expended the sums in respect of which all claims have been made.
In addition, BERR is working with Leeds University Business School to conduct a phased evaluation of the fund. Phase one evaluated the operational effectiveness of the first round of bidding. Phase two will evaluate the success of supported projects and the impact of monies via a series of case studies. An interim phase two evaluation report was published in December 2007.
James Purnell [holding answer 17 January 2008]: I announced in October last year that grant in aid for Arts Council England would rise to £467 million by 2010-11an increase of £50 million over current levels.
Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what changes Arts Council England plans to make to funding criteria and allocation mechanisms; what changes it has made in the last 24 months; and what (a) internal guidance and (b) external guidance has been amended accordingly. 
[holding answer 16 January 2008]: The Arts Council operates at arms length from the Government and decisions about which arts organisations
to fund are entirely for them. Their fundamental criteria are set out in their Royal Charter
to develop and improve the knowledge, understanding and practice of the arts [and] to increase accessibility of the arts to the public in England.
Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport which local organisations in each region received funding from Arts Council England in each of the last three years; how much funding was received in each case; and how much each such organisation is expected to receive from Arts Council England in 2008-09. 
James Purnell [holding answer 16 January 2008]: I announced in October last year that grant in aid for Arts Council England would rise to £467 million by 2010-11an increase of £50 million over current levels.
The Arts Council 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 detail of the organisations listed in their proposals for 2008-09:
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 stage has been reached in his Departments plans to sell the area of land located to the north of the British Library; what recent estimate of the value of the site has been made; and whether the Department will receive a proportion of the proceeds of any such sale. 
In line with Treasury budgeting guidance, DCMS may indeed retain a proportion of the proceeds. The sale also enables the Department to meet almost the entire sum represented by its target for asset sales over 2008-11.
In September 2007, the Prime Minister announced a review into the risk to children of exposure to harmful or inappropriate content in video games and online. The review will also assess the effectiveness and adequacy of existing measures to help prevent children from being exposed to such material and help parents understand and manage the risks of access to inappropriate content.
(a) The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), which operates an internet hotline for people to notify them of child abuse images online. Internet service providers are liable to prosecution if they do not remove sites notified to them by the IWF.
(b) The Home Office Task Force on Child Protection on the Internet, which was set up in 2001 and has published:
Good Practice Guidance for Search Providers and Advice to the Public on How to Search Safely.
Good Practice Models and Guidance for the Internet Industry onChat Services, Instant Messaging and Web Based Services.
Good Practice Guidance for the Providers of Social Networking and Other User Interactive Services.
(c) Cyberbullying guidance, which was launched in September 2007 by the Department for Children, Schools and Families, provides practical help and guidance for parents and pupils on how to deal with any cyberbullying incidents.
(d) The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) which was set up in 2006, combines its enforcement powers with the business sector, Government and other interested organisations all focused on tackling child sex abuse policy. CEOP had some notable successes last year in bringing prosecutions.
(e) The EU Safer Internet Plus Programme promotes a safer use of online technologies particularly by children, and supports those fighting illegal and harmful content ranging from child abuse images to racism. IWF and CEOP receive funding from this programme.
(f) Many internet service providers and mobile companies work in partnership with Government in providing parents and children with practical help and advice on their websites.
Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many regularly-funded theatre-based producing companies in the regions will be supported by Arts Council England in 2008-09. 
Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate he has made of the average expenditure per head by overseas tourists visiting London in the last five years. 
|Average expenditure per visit|
|London (£, current prices)|
International Passenger Survey (ONS).
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