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28 Apr 2009 : Column 1209W—continued

State Retirement Pensions

David Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent representations he has received on transitional measures for people who will reach the state pension age before 6 April 2010 and are not affected by the reduction in the number of years’ employment required to qualify for a state pension. [270779]

Ms Rosie Winterton: We are regularly engaged in discussion with stakeholders about the pensions system and pensions reform.

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Following representations, the Government introduced legislation in the Pensions Act 2008 which will help people, particularly women and carers, who have recently reached or are approaching state pension age and who have gaps in their national insurance records to improve their basic state pension.

The measure will allow those who reach state pension age between 6 April 2008 and 5 April 2015 to purchase voluntary class 3 national insurance contributions for up to an additional six years from 1975, provided they already have 20 qualifying years (taking into account home responsibilities protection).

The measure, which came into force on 6 April 2009, will help to mitigate the potential differences in outcomes for people reaching state pension age either side of 6 April 2010.

Culture, Media and Sport


Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what expenditure his Department has incurred on the (a) Active People and (b) Taking Part survey in each year since they began. [270342]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The information requested is as follows:

Active People survey

The Active People survey was commissioned by Sport England in 2005 to measure adult participation in sport and active recreation at a local authority (LA) level. Core costs of the survey are therefore incurred by Sport England.

In April 2008, the scope of the survey was extended to collect data for participation in cultural activities for the purposes of measuring LA national indicators owned by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). This cultural element of the survey is funded jointly (approximately 50:50) by DCMS and two partner bodies (Arts Council England and the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council). The cost to DCMS in 2008-09 was £590,000, which included the cost of boosting the sample size to ensure robust data.

Taking Part survey

The Taking Part survey was commissioned in 2005 and is jointly funded (again, approximately 50:50) by DCMS and four partner bodies (Arts Council England, English Heritage, Sport England and the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council). The survey collects data about engagement and non-engagement in culture, leisure and sport at a national level, and is a National Statistic.

Between 2005-06 and 2008-09, DCMS contributed the following levels to the cost of Taking Part.

£ million









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In addition to supporting core running costs of the survey, these figures include other expenses such as additional analysis, piloting and questionnaire reviews.

Licensed Premises: Closed Circuit Television

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what guidance has been issued by his Department to local licensing authorities on whether the installation of CCTV inside licensed premises may be a compulsory prerequisite of holding a premises licence. [271419]

Mr. Sutcliffe: Installation of CCTV inside licensed premises is not a compulsory prerequisite of holding a premises licence. However, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has issued guidance on the installation of CCTV inside licensed premises which can be found at the following web address:

Public Libraries: Wirral

Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) when Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council informed him of its plans to close 11 libraries; what discussions he had with (a) the council, (b) library users, (c) library staff and (d) the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council on (i) the closures and (ii) consultation on the closures; what assessment he has made of whether the Council's library service is meeting the requirements of the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964; and if he will make a statement; [266089]

(2) what discussions he had with representatives of library users before he took the decision not to intervene in the library closure programme proposed by Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council; [266137]

(3) if he will review his decision in relation to public libraries in Wirral and intervene to prevent Library closures. [266303]

Barbara Follett: Local authorities are not required to advise DCMS of plans to review their library service or reform their estate but, in December last year, following the receipt of letters from concerned residents, the Head of Library Services at Wirral metropolitan borough council confirmed to DCMS officials that the council planned to close 11 of its 24 libraries.

The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA), as the national strategic body for the library sector and a source of best practice advice, has been in discussion with Wirral council about the restructuring of the library service since before Christmas and has shared information with DCMS officials since that time. In February, the Secretary of State requested that Wirral council work with the MLA on the proposed restructure of library services. Following their work, the MLA wrote to the Secretary of State to express their concerns about the closures. As a result he intervened on 3 April 2009, by calling a local inquiry to test whether the council's plans are consistent with their statutory duties under the Public Libraries and Museums Act, 1964. The person appointed to carry out the DCMS inquiry will be announced shortly, and will invite the views of all interested parties. Its conclusions will form part of the DCMS Library Service Modernisation Review, to be published in June.

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The Secretary of State has discussed the decision to intervene with Councillor Steve Foulkes, Leader of Wirral metropolitan borough council. He has not however discussed the council's plans with library staff, library users or their representatives.

As a separate issue, significant concern has been expressed by various stakeholders about the consultation process conducted by the council. If substantiated, this would constitute a procedural rather than a specific statutory duty failure by the council, the remedy for which would be outside the Secretary of State's powers under the Act.

Tickets: Touting

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent steps the Government have taken to combat ticket touting. [271080]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport issued a consultation on ticketing and ticket touting running from 19 February 2009 to 15 May 2009. The consultation appears on its website:

Government will consider any steps needed after the end of the consultation period.


Departmental Rail Travel

Mr. Hurd: To ask the Minister for the Olympics what guidance her Office issues on whether members of staff may claim for travel in first class carriages on trains if there are no seats in standard class. [268567]

Tessa Jowell: The Cabinet Office is committed to minimising travel costs and reducing our carbon footprint.

The Cabinet Office's guidance to staff travelling by rail on official business is that standard class should be used. However, first class travel may be used when travelling over 2.5 hours.

Olympic Games 2012: Contracts

Pete Wishart: To ask the Minister for the Olympics how many complaints the Olympic Delivery Authority has received in respect of its procurement and contract award procedures, broken down by geographic area. [270482]

Tessa Jowell: The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) has received no formal complaints in respect of its procurement and contract award procedures. It does, on request, provide feedback to businesses that have been unsuccessful in an ODA procurement. Details of the ODA's complaints procedure are available on the London 2012 website:

Olympic Games 2012: Finance

Pete Wishart: To ask the Minister for the Olympics (1) what interest rate is attached to the £225 million European Investment Bank loan being considered by the Government in respect of funding for the 2012 Olympic athletes' village; [270488]

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(2) whether a loan from the European Investment Bank for the funding of the 2012 Olympics would need to be underwritten by the Government. [270491]

Tessa Jowell: The European Investment Bank (EIB) has given in-principle agreement to a loan in two parts. Part of that loan would assist with the financing of the social housing arising from the Olympic village; the other part would assist with the financing of the whole Olympic village.

European Investment Bank loans are among a number of options being considered to fund the delivery of the Olympic village.

The terms and conditions for any loan are yet to be agreed in full.

Once a final decision has been taken about the funding of the Olympic village I will make a statement to the House.

Pete Wishart: To ask the Minister for the Olympics what proportion of the 2012 Olympic athletes' village is planned to be funded by (a) public investment and (b) private investment. [270489]

Tessa Jowell: As a number of options for funding the delivery of the Olympic village, remain under consideration, it is not possible to give a breakdown of public/private investment levels in the village project at this time. Once a decision is taken on the funding options, I will make a statement to the House.

Pete Wishart: To ask the Minister for the Olympics to what main budget headings the Olympic Contingency Fund is allocated. [270490]

Tessa Jowell: Detail on the Olympic Contingency Fund is included in the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games annual report 2009. The financial report section of that report includes a description of contingency fund budget headings.

John Mann: To ask the Minister for the Olympics what provision she has made in the Olympic budget for the next six financial years for enterprises related to the London 2012 Olympics. [271799]

Tessa Jowell: The £9.325 billion public sector funding package exists primarily to deliver the venues and infrastructure which will enable the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games (LOCOG) to take place and will leave a valuable legacy of physical regeneration, particularly in East London. The bulk of this funding will have been spent by the time the games take place in 2012, just over three years from now.

This expenditure creates considerable opportunities for UK business. The Olympic Delivery Authority and LOCOG will directly procure £6 billion worth of contracts, and this is expected to generate 75,000 supply chain opportunities. Where existing supply chains are not in place,—approximately 20 per cent. of contracts—these will be placed on CompeteFor, the brokerage service for buyers and suppliers which opens up supply chains to businesses, large and small across the UK. There will also be wider opportunities for businesses in sectors such as tourism, sport and hospitality.

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Northern Ireland

Departmental Disciplinary Proceedings

Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many officials in his Department are suspended; how many are suspended on full pay; for how long each has been suspended; and what the reasons are for each such suspension. [270507]

Paul Goggins: There is currently one member of staff in the Northern Ireland Office suspended. As there are fewer than five cases, details about the cases cannot be released for reasons of confidentiality.

Departmental Official Hospitality

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the Answer of 12 January 2009, Official Report, column 198W, on departmental official hospitality, how much his Department spent on hosting events in each of the last five years. [257270]

Mr. Woodward: The following table shows the expenditure recorded by the Northern Ireland Office, excluding its Agencies and Executive NDPBs, in relation to events it has hosted in the last five years:

Financial year Expenditure on hosting events (£)











n/a = Not available.

The Department records expenditure on hosting events within a general hospitality expenses heading. Since 2005-06, a separate database has been introduced to capture the details and costs of events hosted by the Northern Ireland Office. However, the provision of costs prior to 2005-06 would require a manual investigation of the hospitality expenses heading which could be carried out only at disproportionate cost.

The events include Royal Garden Parties and receptions hosted at Hillsborough Castle, which acknowledge the contribution made by a wide range of people to life in Northern Ireland. These include representatives from the voluntary and business sectors and also the police and armed forces.

Leader of the House

Select Committees: Internet

Mr. Evans: To ask the Leader of the House what recent representations she has received on the submission of evidence to Select Committee inquiries via internet video websites. [271008]

Chris Bryant: None.

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Racial Hatred

Mr. Burns: To ask the Solicitor-General how many (a) prosecutions and (b) convictions there have been for offences relating to acts of racial hatred in (i) West Chelmsford constituency, (ii) Essex and (iii) England in each year since 2000. [271794]

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