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Economic Recovery

10. Mark Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the potential contribution of the cultural sector towards economic recovery. [278197]

Barbara Follett: The cultural sector is already addressing the economic and social impacts of the recession and continues to contribute to recovery. The creative industries represent 6.4 per cent. of GVA and over the past decade have been growing faster than the economy as a whole. This comes at the end of a decade of record Government investment in culture.

Last month we published “Lifting People, Lifting Places”, outlining how Government can offer further support, by developing employment opportunities in culture and the creative industries, measures to transform town centres and other approaches to building the new economy with culture and creativity at its heart.

Digital Switchover

11. Alun Michael: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps he is taking to ensure that understanding and usage of audio description by elderly people is promoted as part of digital switchover. [278199]

Mr. Bradshaw: Audio description is referred to across Digital UK’s communications campaign and on its website. It is also included in the information and materials distributed by Digital UK to a range of charities. Digital UK and the Switchover Help Scheme also work in partnership with the Royal National Institute for the Blind who run their own awareness campaigns.

Community Sport

12. Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the effect of the recession on community sports clubs. [278200]

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Mr. Sutcliffe: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for Romford (Andrew Rosindell).

Local Media

13. David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the outcome was of his Department’s recent summit on local media; and if he will make a statement. [278201]

Mr. Bradshaw: The local media summit on 28 April 2009 explored the issues and challenges facing local and regional news and media. This will be taken forward in the final Digital Britain report due to be published shortly.


14. Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many sports clubs in receipt of public funds field under-18 cricket teams to play competitive fixtures. [278202]

Mr. Sutcliffe: This information is not held by my Department. The England and Wales Cricket Board have been awarded £37.8 million to deliver their 2009-13 plan for the whole of cricket, the largest award made to any sport. Through the PE and School Sport Strategy for Young People we are also investing £25.5 million in a new network of competition managers, who will co-ordinate inter-school competition for a variety of sports, including cricket.

Community Arts: Coventry

16. Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much funding his Department allocated to community arts programmes in Coventry in each of the last three years. [278204]

Barbara Follett: Arts Council England (ACE) invested £1,579,691 in regularly funded organisations in Coventry in 2006-07; £1,722,974 in 2007-08 and £1,823,059 in 2008-09. Many of these organisations are actively engaged in community arts and a proportion of their core funding supports this work. ACE also awarded grants for the arts awards of £5,000 in 2006-07; £14,218 in 2007-08 and £5,000 in 2008-09 to projects with a specific focus on, or element of, community arts.

UK Television Content

17. Derek Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent discussions he has had with commercial broadcasters on their funding of original UK television content. [278205]

Mr. Bradshaw: My predecessor my right hon. Friend the Member for Leigh (Andy Burnham) had regular discussions with all the commercial broadcasters to discuss a wide range of issues, including their funding of original UK television content.

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18. Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the effects of the recession on the tourist industry; and if he will make a statement. [278206]

Barbara Follett: The position is mixed. While spend in some areas appears to be down, other parts of the domestic tourism industry have received a boost from favourable currency exchange rates. There are still significant opportunities opening up from which the industry will benefit. These include the unprecedented decade of world class sporting events on which we are embarking, and in particular the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games.

It is clear however that these remain challenging times for the industry.

Horserace Betting Levy Board

19. Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what progress has been made on the appointment of a new chairman of the Horserace Betting Levy Board; and if he will make a statement. [278207]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The chair position was first advertised in March 2009. We received fewer applications than we would normally expect for such a role and we therefore re-advertised the position, with a closing date of 19 June. Recruitment consultants have been engaged to help us make the most of this additional time. The new applications attracted, together with those received earlier, will be assessed on an equal basis against the original selection criteria.

Play: Finance

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much funding each of the 89 local authorities awarded funding under the National Play Strategy in December 2008 has received. [276975]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: I have been asked to reply.

63 local authorities began receiving play funding from April 2008. This was the first wave of the children's plan play capital investment programme. The National Play Strategy, which was published in December 2008, announced that Government would be accelerating the capital programme so that all of the remaining 89 top tier local authorities in England would receive funding from April 2009 as wave 2 of the investment programme. This means that all 152 local authorities will be receiving play capital, and associated revenue, funding during the 2009-10 financial year.

The conditions of grant letter, issued in February 2009, outlined that local authorities would receive their capital and revenue allocations in two equal payments during 2009-10. By the end of May, local authorities received the first payment of this financial year. Tables which show the allocations for each local authority to the end of the current financial year have been placed in the House Libraries.

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Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Climate Change

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of his Department’s potential gross (a) costs and (b) savings arising from its climate change adaptation measures in the next three years. [277723]

Gillian Merron: It is not currently possible to provide estimates of the potential costs and savings over the next three years. The Government are undertaking a climate change risk assessment and economic analysis, which will provide estimates of the costs and benefits of adaptation to the UK. This analysis will be presented to Parliament within three years of the Climate Change Act 2008 coming in to force.

Departmental Cost Effectiveness

Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to page 61, paragraph 15.6 of the 2009 Value for Money Update, which activities (a) in the UK and (b) overseas have been designated as lower priority activities; and what estimate his Department has made of the savings to be made in respect of each such activity by 2010-11. [277489]

David Miliband: A full breakdown of all allocative efficiencies (the reassignment of resources from lower to higher priority areas) achieved for 2008-09 and forecasts for 2009-10 and 2010-11 are scheduled to be published in our 2009 departmental report next month. The report will be available in hard copy and on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website. A copy of the report will be placed in the Library of the House.

Departmental Data Protection

James Brokenshire: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many notifications his Department made to the Information Commissioner in the year ended 30 April 2009 in respect of the loss or mishandling of personal information or data; what was notified in each such case; and how many individuals were the subjects of personal information or data in respect of which such notifications were made. [278735]

Gillian Merron: In 2008-09, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office reported no losses of personal data to the Information Commissioner.

EU Institutions: Manpower

Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has made a projection of trends in the proportion of the staff of European Union institutions made up of UK nationals over the next (a) 10 and (b) 20 years. [270844]

David Miliband: There have been no specific projections made. The Government are clear that it is in the EU and UK's interests to be fully represented and to have UK officials working at the heart of the EU's institutions.

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EU Relations

Mr. MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with (a) the European Commission and (b) his counterparts from other EU member states on the EU’s (i) policies and (ii) strategies for promoting democracy. [278079]

Caroline Flint: For the EU, democracy is both a core value and an essential aspect of internal and external policies. There is growing agreement among EU member states on the need to develop an EU consensus on democracy that sets out the EU vision. The aim of the consensus would be to implement existing EU policies on democracy more effectively, focusing on consistency, coherence and co-ordination in the use of the instruments available to the EU. It would bring about change in as much as EU activities will be designed and implemented in ways that support democratic processes and strengthen democratic principles. The consensus would also clarify the EU’s position and make it more visible so that not only third countries, but also EU citizens, know what we mean when we talk about democracy and the principles and values that sustain it.

The UK is working with the Czech presidency of the EU along with other EU member states, the Council Secretariat and the Commission to draw up this coherent EU approach. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has played an active role in the EU working group and will support the upcoming Swedish presidency in working towards Council Conclusions in November 2009 with the aim of developing an EU consensus.

European Union

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on what dates he had (a) discussions and (b) meetings with the European Union Special Representative for Afghanistan on the situation in that country in the last 12 months. [274806]

Bill Rammell [holding answer 12 May 2009]: My noble Friend, the Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, Lord Malloch-Brown, met with the EU Special Representative (EUSR), Ettore Sequi, on 25 November 2008 during his visit to the UK. Senior officials, including representatives from both our embassy in Kabul and the UK's Permanent Representation to the EU (UKRep) regularly meet with the EUSR to discuss Afghanistan. Most recently, our ambassador to the Political and Security Committee, Tim Barrow, met the EUSR on 8 May 2009.


Mrs. Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the Government's decision to explore contacts with the political wing of Hezbollah on Hezbollah's (a) actions, (b) policies and (c) structure. [278662]

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Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of his Department's performance in encouraging Hezbollah to renounce violence and play a constructive, democratic and peaceful role in Lebanon and the wider region. [278683]

Bill Rammell: On 9 January 2009 our ambassador in Beirut attended a meeting of British parliamentarians with the Lebanese Foreign Affairs Committee. Representatives of all members of the National Unity Government were present, including one MP from Hezbollah's political wing, Ali Amar. During this meeting the ambassador urged all sides to show restraint during the crisis in Gaza, and the importance of all sides respecting the terms of UN Security Council resolution 1701. In the course of normal diplomatic business, staff at our embassy in Beirut have also met Hezbollah politicians on a number of occasions. However, there have been no official meetings since 9 January.

We continue to believe that occasional and carefully considered contacts with Hezbollah's politicians, including its MPs, will best advance our objective of urging Hezbollah to reject violence and play a constructive, democratic and peaceful role in Lebanese politics, in line with UN Security Council resolutions.

India: Prisoners

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations his Department has received regarding the detention by the Indian authorities of Dr. Binayak Sen; and what steps he has taken as a result. [278334]

Bill Rammell: In 2009 we have received six letters from members of the public and one parliamentary question regarding the detention of Dr. Binayak Sen by the Indian authorities.

Working with EU colleagues in India, we have registered our concern with the central Government, writing to the Ministry of External Affairs, the National Human Rights Commission and a number of senior political leaders about the case.

Dr. Sen was granted bail on 25 May 2009. The EU has sent observers to the various stages of his judicial hearings so far and plans to attend the next trial session expected to be held in June 2009.

The rights of human rights defenders including Dr. Sen, were discussed at the EU-India Human Rights Dialogue held on 27 February 2009. Our high commission in New Delhi and EU colleagues will continue to monitor this case in cooperation with non-governmental organisations in accordance with EU guidance for the protection of human rights defenders.

Kosovo: Foreign Relations

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made on establishing diplomatic relations with the Republic of Kosovo; and if he will make a statement. [273846]

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Caroline Flint: The UK established its embassy in Pristina on 18 February 2008, the day after the Declaration of Independence of the Republic of Kosovo. The current British ambassador to Kosovo is Mr. Andrew Sparkes CMG.

Kosovo's Chargé d'Affaires to the UK was appointed on 20 October 2008. The embassy of the Republic of Kosovo in London was officially opened on 2 March 2009.

North Korea: Nuclear Power

Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on whether the plutonium production reactor at Yongbyon in North Korea was based on the published blueprints of the first generation Magnox reactors developed by the UK Atomic Energy Authority; what recent discussions he has had with the International Atomic Energy Agency on that reactor; and what representations he has made to the government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea on its announcement on the testing of a nuclear device. [278418]

Bill Rammell: We do not know whether the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has drawn on plans of British reactors in the production of its own reactors. The reactor at Yongbyon, while much smaller, has generic similarities to certain UK Magnox reactors, design information for which has been in the public domain for over 30 years.

The International Atomic Energy Authority provides regular reports to its board of governors, of which we are a member, on its activities in the DPRK. In addition to public statements from my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary, I expressed the Government's strong condemnation of the nuclear test to the DPRK ambassador to London on 25 May 2009 and again on 1 June 2009. Our ambassador in Pyongyang made representations in DPRK to the Director Europe at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 2 June 2009 to reiterate our concerns. We are working with partners at the UN Security Council to deliver a strong response to the test.

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