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21 July 2008 : Column 796W—continued

Serious Fraud Office
Financial year Average working days lost per person

















Lost Working Days

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Solicitor-General how many working days have been lost due to industrial action by employees for which the Law Officer’s Department is responsible in each year since 1997. [218057]

The Solicitor-General: The following tables provide the details of the number of working days lost due to industrial action. These are broken down by the different Departments as records are not held in the same way. Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office has lost 22 working days due to industrial action since its creation in April 2005.

Attorney-General’s Office, Treasury Solicitors Department and HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate
Financial year Total days lost





Figures for earlier years are not available.

Crown Prosecution Service( 1)
Calendar year Total days lost















(1) The HR recording system counts industrial action as special leave without pay. The figures above will therefore include genuine cases of special leave.

21 July 2008 : Column 797W

Serious Fraud Office( 1)
Financial year Working days lost





(1) The SFO records only show the number of industrial actions which SFO staff participated in, not how many staff were absent from work on these days.

Prosecutions: Hunting Act

Mr. MacDougall: To ask the Solicitor-General what training on the provisions of the Hunting Act 2004 staff of the Crown Prosecution Service receives. [220796]

The Solicitor-General: Prosecutors in the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) do not receive specific training on the Hunting Act 2004. However, the CPS has provided guidance for prosecutors on the Hunting Act 2004. The guidance provides advice on: the offences created under the legislation; the statutory defences available; police powers; and the evidential and public interest issues that arise. The guidance is kept under close review, and it is updated to take account of developments in case law and any other relevant changes.

In addition, all prosecution decisions are subject to the evidential and public interest tests, set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors.

Serious Fraud Office: Manpower

Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Solicitor-General what proportion of Serious Fraud Office staff are (a) lawyers, (b) accountants and (c) police officers; and what the equivalent numbers were on 31 December 2007. [215308]

The Solicitor-General: The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) does not keep separate records of the number of police officers or accountants that it employs. Both police officers and accountants can work in the capacity of financial investigators at the SFO. On 18 July 2008, the following numbers of staff by category specified was as follows:

Job role Number of staff Proportion of total staff( 1) (percentage)







(1) Based on 299 permanent members of staff in post on 18 July 2008.

On 31 December 2007, the following numbers of staff by category specified was as follows:

Job role Number of staff Proportion of total staff( 1) (percentage)







(1) Based on 300 permanent members of staff in post on 31 December 2007.

Culture, Media and Sport

Arts: Leicester

Sir Peter Soulsby: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many projects and organisations in Leicester have received Arts Council funding in the last 12 months. [215731]

21 July 2008 : Column 798W

Margaret Hodge: According to the Arts Council, in 2007-08, 11 organisations in Leicester received grants on a regularly funded basis and nine projects were funded through its Grants for the Arts programme.

Arts: Wales

Hywel Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much was spent by publicly-funded bodies for which his Department is responsible on the promotion of Welsh culture overseas, in each of the last five years for which figures are available, broken down by country. [216916]

Margaret Hodge [holding answer 7 July 2008]: My Department provides grant in aid to VisitBritain to promote Britain, including Wales, abroad.

It is not possible to disaggregate precisely how much of the campaign material, or its cost, could be regarded as promoting specifically Welsh culture but VisitBritain supports a wide range of Welsh cultural events, through its international media campaigns, and website, including the National Eisteddfod, the Ruthin Festival and the Festival of Daffodils.

VisitBritain works closely with Visit Wales and other culture and heritage partners in Wales to help ensure the widest possible promotion of cultural events in Wales, and Britain as a whole, for the international visitor. VisitBritain's Los Angeles office is currently working with Visit Wales to promote cultural messages about Wales around the film ‘Edge of Love’, the Dylan Thomas biopic which received funding from the UK Film Council.

Betting Shops

Mr. McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many betting shops in each region have been visited as part of the Gambling Commission Annual Visit Programme since September 2007; how many such shops in each region were found to be at risk of non-compliance with each of the Gambling Commission’s three licensing objectives; what enforcement action has been taken; and if he will make a statement. [219545]

Mr. Sutcliffe [holding answer 17 July 2008]: The Gambling Commission has provided a regional breakdown of the number of betting premises visited as part of their compliance programme. Additional visits may have been made outside of the compliance programme to other betting premises to consider, for example, a specific complaint.

Number of premises visited since 1 September( 1)

London and South East




North East


North West and North Wales




South West and South Wales


(1) As at 31 May 2008.

21 July 2008 : Column 799W

In many cases, time has been taken as part of an initial compliance visit to further educate operators about compliance with the requirements of the Gambling Commission’s licence conditions and codes of practice.

Repeat visits have then been used to establish whether appropriate steps have been taken.

To date, there have been nine referrals of bookmakers licensed to operate betting shops for further investigation under section 116 of the Gambling Act by the Gambling Commission’s enforcement team. For operational reasons it would not be appropriate to go into the detail of these ongoing cases. If formal regulatory action is taken, details will be published on the Gambling Commission’s website at:

Cultural Relations: Finance

Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what funding his Department plans to provide to the Connections through Culture initiative in the next three years. [219727]

Margaret Hodge: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport will continue its commitment of £100,000 per annum to China: UK Connections through Culture for a second term, 2009-12.

Departmental Alcoholic Drinks

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what measures are in place in his Department to monitor expenditure on alcohol for hospitality purposes. [219603]

Mr. Sutcliffe: All expenditure on hospitality (inclusive of alcohol) is governed by the Department’s general finance and accounting rules, where budget holders are required to scrutinise and agree areas of spend in accordance with clearly defined guidelines.

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what purchasing process is used by his Department for the procurement of alcohol for hospitality purposes. [219950]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The purchasing of alcohol is normally connected with departmental events, which is procured through either in house or external caterers according to pre-determined specification used when asking for quotations for hospitality. It is normally supplied on a sale or return basis. For ad-hoc requirements the purchasing can be undertaken using the Government Procurement Card, in accordance with normal departmental guidelines for using the card.

Departmental Official Cars

Stephen Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport which make and model of car he has chosen as his Ministerial car to be provided by the Government Car and Despatch Agency. [217751]

Mr. Sutcliffe: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Transport on 16 July 2008, Official Report, column 414W.

21 July 2008 : Column 800W

Departmental Procurement

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what his Department's policy is on requesting discounts from its suppliers in return for swift payment of invoices. [220438]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The Department does not have a specific policy on requesting discounts from its suppliers in return for swift payment. However the majority of goods and services are purchased through the OGC “Catalist” frameworks, where discounted rates are already secured as a result of the volume of Government spending activity.

Departmental Retirement

Mr. Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many employees of his Department have been asked to retire on reaching 65 years of age in each year since 2000. [218406]

Mr. Sutcliffe: In the Department for Culture, Media and Sport the default retirement age was 60 until 1 October 2006 when it became 65. In 2008 two employees retired at reaching 65. No other employees have retired on reaching age 65 since 2000.

Digital Broadcasting

Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what proportion of (a) the UK, (b) England, (c) Wales, (d) Scotland and (e) Northern Ireland (i) was covered by a minimum acceptable digital radio signal in (A) 2006 and (B) 2007 and (ii) will be so covered in 2008. [216534]

Margaret Hodge [holding answer 7 July 2008]: Digital radio is available nearly universally across the United Kingdom over satellite and the internet, and over Freeview to approximately 73 per cent. of the population. But the principal means of receiving digital radio is on the digital audio broadcasting (DAB) platform and coverage varies between multiplexes: the two national multiplexes, one commercial and one BBC, and the 58 individual local multiplexes.

DAB coverage is principally measured by population rather than geographic area, but there is no single definition of a “minimum acceptable digital radio signal”. However, I understand that approximately 90 per cent. of the UK population currently have some access to DAB services on at least one multiplex. The BBC are in the process of building a number of new transmitters to ensure that their multiplex reaches at least 90 per cent. of the population by the end of this Charter period in 2012, and I have asked them to write to the hon. Member setting out the detail of their existing and planned coverage.

The coverage data which Ofcom have gathered in relation to the other multiplexes are set out in their Communications Market Report and are summarised in the following table. Data for 2008 are not yet available.

The Digital Radio Working Group has identified both population and geographic coverage as crucial to the success of DAB and I welcome their proposal to examine these matters further in working towards their final report to me at the end of the year.

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UK England Scotland Wales N Ireland


National commercial multiplex






Combined local commercial multiplexes(1)







National commercial multiplex






Combined local commercial multiplexes






n/a = not available
(1) These figures show the potential coverage if rolled out to 100 of the licensed area.

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