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Mr. Sproat: The Government are committed to helping support a lively and accessible artistic tradition by continued public subsidy for the arts. We have continued to offer substantial support for the arts despite overall pressures on public expenditure. In November, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced funding of
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£186 million for the Arts Council of England in 1997-98, an increase of £3.2 million over the baseline on which the Arts Council was asked to plan.
It is for the Arts Council of England to determine the allocation of grant in aid to the 10 regional arts boards, including South West Arts. It takes such decisions independently of Ministers, and in the light of relative needs and priorities. In addition, the south-west continues to benefit from the proceeds of the national lottery. So far, the lottery has provided £27,000,000 towards improving and increasing the availability and quality of the arts in the region.
Mr. Ieuan Wyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what is the total amount allocated from the proceeds of the national lottery to the small grants programme set up by the National Lottery Charities Board; and what proportion of such grants have been made to charities whose main or primary purpose is to assist people affected by flooding, fires or other disasters. 
Mr. Sproat [holding answer 22 January 1997]: The National Lottery Charities Board has so far made grants in Wales under its small grants programme worth a total of £511,000. I understand that, under the programme so far, no charities have applied whose main or primary purpose is to assist people affected by disasters such as flooding or fires, so no such grants have been made.
Mr. Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage if she will list the awards made from the proceeds of the national lottery to organisations involved in relieving the effects of national disasters, giving in each case (a) the name of the organisation and (b) the amount awarded. 
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many farmers farm organically; and what percentage this constitutes of the total number of farmers in the most recent year for which figures are available. 
Mr. Boswell: The number of farmers in the UK--principal farmers and partners, whole time and part time--as at June 1995 was 219,000. At the same date, there were 784 registered organic holding--0.36 per cent. of the number of farmers. These figures are, however, prepared on different bases and are not strictly comparable.
Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to his letter of 1 November 1996, reference 101871, what study he has made of Dixon and Tawn's findings on storm surges; and what action he proposes. 
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Further study using actual data gathered from the national network of tide gauges has confirmed that non-random events, such as astronomic tides, influence water level estimates. Their range, between an overestimate of 250 mm and an underestimate of 100 mm, falls within the current allowance for water level estimates used for the design of sea defences.
Mr. Pickthall: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement about the potential impact on United Kingdom exports of plants to Sweden of the New Zealand flatworm. 
Mr. Boswell: Sweden has listed the New Zealand flatworm as an indirect plant pest in its national legislation. We understand that this measure was adopted in order that the Swedish authorities could take action against any consignments which were found to be infested with the New Zealand flatworm. The UK Agriculture Departments, in consultation with the horticulture industry, have drawn up a code of practice to ensure that exported plants are free from the flatworm. The Government are also funding research into the biology of non-indigenous flatworms and methods of controlling their spread.
Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what studies have been (a) undertaken and (b) commissioned by his Department into the side effects of the use of mefloquine as an anti-malarial drug. 
Mr. Malone: My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Health has not undertaken or commissioned any formal studies into the side effects of melfloquine. Following grant of marketing authorisation, based on rigorous evaluation of quality, safety and efficacy by the Licensing Authority and its expert advisory bodies, the Medicines Control Agency has continued to monitor the safety of mefloquine. Data became available from spontaneous adverse reaction reports, published literature and ongoing studies in patients. However, the MCA continue to monitor the safety of mefloquine to ensure that its benefits in treating and preventing malaria outweigh the risk of adverse reactions.
Mr. Thurnham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the savings which would accrue to public funds if local authority residential homes were run at the same cost as equivalent private sector homes. 
Mr. Burns: We have made no such estimate. Published statistics show the different costs to local authorities of care in homes for the elderly in different sectors, but these homes may not be equivalent. We believe that purchasing care from the independent sector would be more cost
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Mr. Thurnham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the real terms percentage increase in funding for personal social services, indicating the figures on which the calculations are based, for each year since 1979, together with projections for such future years as are available to him. 
|Funding for social services||Percentage increase in real terms|
Figures for years prior to 1990-91 relate to the previous local government finance system and are not comparable with figures for subsequent years. In particular, amounts provided through special and specific grants are excluded prior to 1990-91. The figures above should not be seen as expenditure targets. They are one component of the funding provided for local government services and local authorities may in the event spend more or less than the amounts above.
Sir Irvine Patnick: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions his Department has held with South Yorkshire local health authorities regarding drug abuse; and if he will list the funding that is allocated for this purpose by each authority. 
Mr. Horam: The Department has held no discussions with health authorities in South Yorkshire about drug misuse. Information on the total funding allocated by health authorities for combating drug misuse is not available centrally. Funds allocated by the Department to health authorities for this purpose are shown in the tables.
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|Health authority||Allocation 1996-97||Allocation 1997-98|
|Health authority||Allocation 1996-97||Allocation 1997-98|
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