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Mr. Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will review the (a) appropriateness of the conditions for and (b) effectiveness of the operation of the car allowance scheme for Arts Council England staff. 
Mr. Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the answer of 30 November 2009, Official Report, column 374W, on Arts Council England: reorganisation, what the breakdown is of the expected efficiency savings of £6.5 million annually from 2010-11. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: Ongoing assessment of various aspects of the Gambling Act 2005 has been undertaken since its introduction and through its continuing implementation. This has included an administrative burdens measurement exercise, conducted by my Department in 2008 and verified by an industry expert panel, which concluded that the administrative costs imposed by the Gambling Act 2005 were £56.6 million per annum less than those imposed by the old regime.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps have been taken to reduce the size and cost of the Gambling Commission since the introduction of the Gambling Act 2005. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: My Department's current funding agreement with Gambling Commission sets a target of achieving 3 per cent. value for money efficiency savings, year on year, over the period 2008-09 to 2010-11. In 2007-08 the Commission's total expenditure was £ 16.699 million. This fell to £15.291 million in 2008-09. The Commission had a maximum of 300 employees that figure has reduced to 221. While it is right that the Commission continues to drive efficiencies, I am sure that the hon. Member would agree that the Commission must have adequate resources to discharge its responsibilities effectively.
Mr. Sutcliffe: I have regular discussions with a wide range of stakeholders and partners including local government, trade associations, individual businesses and those concerned with problem gambling, as well as the Gambling Commission itself, about all aspects of gambling regulation, including the role of the Gambling Commission.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent discussions he has had with the Chief Executive and Chairman of the Gambling Commission on the effectiveness and costs of the commission; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: My most recent meeting with the chair and chief executive of the Gambling Commission was held on 18 November 2009 where we discussed a range of issues relating to gambling regulation, including Gambling Commission's costs and priorities.
Mr. Sutcliffe: The Hampton Implementation Review of the Gambling Commission in 2009 suggested that, if the Commission's plans were implemented, it would be in a strong position to demonstrate the Hampton principles throughout its work.
The Commission's response to the review is available on their website. The implementation of those plans is a key programme in the Commission's current business plan and they are making good progress on these measures. I will ask the chief executive of the Gambling Commission to write to the hon. Member with further details of how it is responding to specific points raised in the Hampton Review. Copies of this letter will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
The Commission has undertaken a number of simplification measures and these, together with future plans, are set out in a Gambling Commission annex to my Department's 2009 Simplification Plan which can be found on the DCMS website here:
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent discussions he has had with the Gambling Commission on (a) quantifying the level and (b) assessing trends in illegal gambling in the UK. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: I have not had recent discussions with the Gambling Commission about the overall level and trends in illegal gambling in the UK. There are a number of activities that could be classed as illegal gambling and I have discussed some of the priority areas such as underage betting and sports betting integrity with the Commission.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much has been (a) allocated and (b) spent in relation to the Cultural Olympiad in each parliamentary constituency. 
Margaret Hodge: Pursuant to my answer of 5 January, Official Report, column 44W, many of the Cultural Olympiad initiatives, such as the London 2012 Open Weekends and the projects within the Inspire Mark Programme, are designed, delivered and financed by local organisations and such information is not held centrally.
Three Major National Projects of the Cultural Olympiad-Artists Taking the Lead; Stories of the World; and Unlimited-are now launched. There are over 144 cultural Inspire Mark projects (sourcing funds estimated at £19.8 million so far) taking place across the UK. During the two London 2012 Open Weekend celebrations in 2008 and 2009, there were over 1,400 events across all the regions of the UK. We hope that
many communities will get behind 2012 projects to build momentum behind the Cultural Olympiad as we approach the Games.
Susan Kramer: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on what date he plans to make a statutory instrument introducing car parking charges in Royal Parks where charging is not currently in force; if he will hold a meeting with representatives of Royal Park users in Richmond Park before making such an instrument; and what estimate he has made of the sums likely to be raised from car parking charges in each Royal Park in the first 12 months after introduction of charging. 
Margaret Hodge [holding answer 11 January 2010]: I am considering a number of changes to park regulations, including introducing parking charges in Bushy and Richmond Parks. I intend to make a decision soon after considering all the evidence.
There has been extensive consultation about the proposals and representatives of Royal Parks' users have met senior officials from the Agency to discuss these issues. The hon. Member has also raised issues with me in person.
The most recent estimate is that parking charges in Richmond Park could deliver an income of around £345,000 net a year. Parking in Bushy could deliver £86,000 net, although this is expected to rise to over £100,000 when a car park, that is currently being located, is opened.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the answer of 14 December 2009, Official Report, column 672W, on Royal Parks: parking, what plans there are to introduce car parking charges in Royal Parks under such regulations. 
Margaret Hodge [holding answer 11 January 2010]: Parking charges are already in place in most Royal Parks. I am considering a number of changes to the park regulations, including introducing parking charges in Bushy and Richmond parks. A consultation exercise has been undertaken. I am considering the results of this and other evidence and I expect to make a decision shortly.
Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many free swimming sessions have been provided per eligible resident by each local authority participating in the scheme in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Mr. Sutcliffe: Figures for the number of free swims per 1,000 eligible residents within each local authority participating in the free swimming programme will be published as part, of the next release of data on 5 February 2010.
Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will bring forward proposals to (a) provide new funds and (b) direct existing funds into projects to increase tourism associated with the London 2012 Olympics. 
In terms of existing funding, VisitBritain will shortly be publishing their marketing strategy for 2012 which will look at ways to integrate 2012 games messages into everyday work. In essence this means that every aspect of tourism work will feature the 2012 games.
Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will make it his policy to ring-fence funding allocated to regional development agencies for the promotion of the tourism industry. 
Margaret Hodge: The regional development agencies (RDAs) budgets are set as part of the spending review process. In CSR 2007, the RDAs were given budgets over three years to help them prepare their corporate plans for this period.
Six Government Departments contribute towards the RDAs' single budget and the RDAs are then free to spend according to their regional priorities. This policy is consistent with the Government's determination to decentralise decision-making wherever possible. We do not ring-fence funding for specific purposes.
Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent discussions (a) Ministers and (b) officials in his Department have had with their counterparts in the Home Office on the effect on the tourism industry of the cost of visas. 
Margaret Hodge: The Government strives to strike the right balance between maintaining the most secure and effective border controls in the world, and ensuring that the visa fees structure does not inhibit the UK's ability to attract those migrants and visitors that make a valued contribution. The Home Office reviews fees and charges annually to reflect changes to operating costs and to its strategic approach. Fees are set following a full discussion with departments, including DCMS.
As part of that process, my officials attend regular meetings of the cross-Whitehall Fees Committee, chaired by the Home Office, which last met in December. The Minister for identity at the Home Office and I also met in December to discuss the impact of visa processes on UK tourism. This followed our discussion at a meeting of the ministerial group on tourism in November. We will continue to work together to ensure a proper balance between effective border controls and a vibrant visitor economy.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the monetary value was of fines imposed under the provisions of the Video Recordings Act 1984 in each year since that Act came into force. 
|Value of fines imposed (£)|
Ministry of Justice
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