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House of Lords

Monday, 15th July 1996.

The House met at half-past two of the clock: The LORD CHANCELLOR on the Woolsack.

Prayers--Read by the Lord Bishop of Lincoln.

Lottery Funding: Community Projects

Lord Hacking asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether lottery funds are being denied to community projects, in favour of national projects, in the inner London boroughs.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of National Heritage (Lord Inglewood): No, my Lords. Applications for community-based projects are treated on their own merits and are not assessed by reference to the success or failure of applications for national projects.

Lord Hacking: My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend for that reply. Will he confirm that there are important, and indeed big, community projects which are not currently getting national funds? Does my noble friend agree that generally in the London area community projects are not doing very well in getting lottery funds? Is it not correct that, on figures issued by my noble friend's department, community projects in the borough of Southwark are receiving only 2 per cent. of lottery funds as against national projects; in Islington, 3 per cent; in Camden, 3.4 per cent; and in Lambeth, 5 per cent? What advice can my noble friend give to those who are putting forward those community projects?

Lord Inglewood: My Lords, at the risk of stating the obvious, the key to receiving lottery grants is to apply for them. That is the essential first step. The kinds of points that my noble friend raised have caused concern. I understand that the London Pride Partnership is making contact with the distribution bodies to see whether there is scope for maximising lottery opportunities in London.

Lord Morris of Castle Morris: My Lords, is the Minister aware of the report that far too few inner city sports projects have so far come forward for lottery support? Is there any explanation for that, if it is a fact; and does it matter anyway?

Lord Inglewood: My Lords, I am not aware of the report to which the noble Lord refers. The purpose of the lottery is to try to ensure an appropriately even spread of distribution across the country as a whole, taking account of the particular circumstances and contexts that pertain. If it is the case that there is such a

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substantial shortfall as that to which the noble Lord refers, the steps taken by the London Pride Partnership should perhaps be taken by those who are concerned.

Lord Molloy: My Lords, would it be possible, bearing in mind the Minister's practical reply, for the results of any inquiries to be made known to the House?

Lord Inglewood: My Lords, I am sure that the results of any inquiries made of the distribution bodies will be generally available. If I have any information that would be of particular interest to the noble Lord, I hope he will be assured that I shall contact him.

Lord Skelmersdale: My Lords, my noble friend said that the first step is to apply to the National Lottery Board. Surely the second step is to make sure that you have a very well thought out and costed project. Is it a fact that some applications are not sufficiently well thought out and constituted?

Lord Inglewood: My Lords, there must be examples to which my noble friend refers. However, in certain circumstances the distribution bodies are prepared to provide funds for feasibility studies to enable those who are perhaps less well placed to bring forward a proposal in a properly worked out form.

Lord Strabolgi: My Lords, can consideration be given to changing the rules relating to lottery grants so that the amount given does not have to be balanced by an equivalent amount raised from charity? Are the Government aware that it is very difficult for a museum, for example, that is to be awarded £5 million to have to raise the equivalent amount from charity? Charity resources are finite and limited. I receive complaints from everywhere. Will the Government consider this matter?

Lord Inglewood: My Lords, right from the outset matching funding has been a matter for the distribution bodies. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State has encouraged the distributors to be flexible in that regard for the kind of reasons mentioned by the noble Lord.

Lord Elton: My Lords, in his reply to the noble Lord, Lord Morris of Castle Morris, my noble friend said that it was necessary that there should be an even spread of the yield of the lottery across the country. Is he aware that there is an even spread of schools across the country, and a very widely shared perception that there should be an increase in the encouragement of sport played in and between schools? Could the bodies responsible for distributing the money be reminded of the need to enable teachers to supervise that sport at the cost of replacement teacher time, which is expensive?

Lord Inglewood: My Lords, my noble friend's point is a trifle wide of the Question. It is the case that one of the distributing bodies is the Sports Council, which is interested in the promotion of sport in its widest context. School sport is particularly important.

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As regards the first part of my noble friend's question, in referring to the even spread of lottery distributions I specifically said that it was important to see them in the context of the circumstances that pertain. In the case of national projects, clearly if there is only one such project it will be very expensive and will have to be in only one place.

Air Safety Standards: Foreign Aircraft

2.43 p.m.

Lord Gainford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many foreign airline operators have had their aircraft or operations surveyed in view of increased safety surveillance now being undertaken in the United Kingdom.

The Parliamentary Under-Sectary of State, Department of Transport (Viscount Goschen): My Lords, in January, the Government announced a package of measures to strengthen the oversight of safety standards of foreign aircraft operating to the United Kingdom. Since then the Civil Aviation Authority has carried out nine checks on such aircraft at our request. An audit of the aviation authority in Bulgaria has also been undertaken to measure that state's compliance with International Civil Aviation Organisation standards.

Lord Gainford: My Lords, I thank my noble friend for that Answer. Can he say whether Her Majesty's Government will encourage the publication of names of airlines whose aircraft fall below the required safety requirements, as is done in other countries, particularly the USA?

Viscount Goschen: My Lords, the first point to make is that the aviation industry has been extremely successful but extremely safe. We undertake random checks of foreign aircraft in this country where we have reason to doubt that states are not complying with International Civil Aviation Organisation standards. In those circumstances, we shall invite the CAA to inspect those aircraft. Fortunately, those circumstances are very few. The results of such inspections are usually either that the aircraft are not in the condition that some people might expect in terms of the safety standards--in other words the check was satisfactory--or that measures are quickly taken to put things right. If measures are not taken to put matters right, we shall take action and possibly ban aircraft from that company.

Lord Boyd-Carpenter: My Lords, can my noble friend say how many foreign airlines have been supervised in this way and how many have been adversely reported upon?

Viscount Goschen: My Lords, I can give the figure for the number of inspections carried out since we announced the package of new measures in January. So far, nine inspections have taken place. Where we have

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had specific doubts about the safety condition of aircraft from other countries, the results have been largely satisfactory.

Lord Clinton-Davis: My Lords, can the Minister tell the House what has been the result of those nine inspections? Have there been breaches of the minimum ICAO standards? If so, what sanctions are being applied?

Viscount Goschen: My Lords, I believe I have answered that question. For the nine inspections that have taken place, the results have been largely satisfactory. There have been some minor safety questions raised and in those circumstances the national authorities have taken action to address those questions. I shall be happy to write to the noble Lord with a list of the inspections, the dates and safety concerns that were originally raised and any problems that are outstanding.

Lord Clinton-Davis: My Lords, I am grateful to the Minister for deciding to do that. However, is he aware that there is an increasing practice of foreign airlines being used by UK operators where there is a need to bring in some additional help because of shortage of capacity and that frequently those foreign aircraft do not return to their home base? Does he believe that that is giving rise to some abuse and some considerable difficulty in being able to carry out the necessary inspections to which he alluded?

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