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Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 28 January, Official Report, columns 198-99, how much notice was given to the head teacher of Cowarth Park school of the visit of the naval helicopter on 13 November; and what is the usual period of notice for such visits to schools. 
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weeks notice of the intended visit on 13 November. It is our normal practice to give three to four weeks' notice in such cases.
Mr. Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 28 January, Official Report, columns 198-99, how many naval helicopters on training sorties visited schools in each year since 1992. 
Mr. Soames: This information is not recorded centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, by way of illustration, over the last 12 months, helicopters from RNAS Portland undertook some 20 school visits.
Mr. Arbuthnot: The Vixen system was selected to meet the Army's requirement for an automated electronic warfare--EW--system capable of collecting and disseminating accurate signals intelligence from a high-density, dynamic, electronic environment. A decision has been taken to terminate the contract with the prime contractor, Siemens Plessey Systems--SPS--because tests conducted during 1995 and 1996 demonstrated that Vixen has operational shortcomings. Various technical problems have delayed the project by several years and there is little prospect that these could be overcome by SPS without further significant delay and expense. MOD is considering its legal position and, if appropriate, will pursue a claim for compensation. The cost of the Vixen project has been around £50 million. A limited EW capability is already in service in Bosnia and the procurement of additional commercially available equipment is being considered while longer-term requirements are addressed. The decision to cancel Vixen was taken only after careful consideration of the operational, contractual, financial and industrial implications.
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on the Government's initiatives to promote business sponsorship of the arts. 
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley: The Government's arts pairing scheme, established in 1984 with the intention of bringing new sponsors into the arts, continues to be a success. To date, the scheme has made awards totalling more than £37 million, matching business sponsorship of over £77 million--more than £115 million in new money. Already in 1996-97 the number of awards made is 9 per cent. higher than in the whole of the previous year: over £4.8 million in awards, matching over £10 million in business sponsorship.
Mr. Sproat: English Heritage's historic properties department has six regional offices that between them manage over 400 properties throughout England. The offices are located in London, Tonbridge, Bristol, Northampton and Newcastle and at Stonehenge. Each office is led by a regional director, and the regional structure is headed by a director located in English Heritage's London headquarters.
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley: I am delighted with the great success of the national lottery. Any plans that the operator might have to increase the number of participants would need to be approved by the Director General of the National Lottery who has a duty under the National Lottery etc. Act 1993 to protect the interests of participants.
Mrs. Bottomley: The national lottery has had a huge impact on the British film industry. Already, more than £66 million has been awarded to some 164 projects. This includes nearly £39 million for 106 film productions, 24 of which went into production last year. This is a tremendous achievement in so short a time which I know is welcomed by the film industry.
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Mrs. Bottomley: The introduction of the national lottery has given charities and voluntary organisations in all parts of the United Kingdom an unparalleled opportunity to secure new funding for projects and initiatives across a wide range of activities. The National Lottery Charities Board alone has made 838 awards, worth almost £73 million, to charities and voluntary organisations in Greater London, and a large proportion of the 843 awards, worth almost £230 million, made by the other national lottery distributing bodies for arts, sport, heritage and millennium projects in Greater London have gone to charities and voluntary organisations. These figures exclude grants made to London-based national organisations.
Mr. Sproat: The Government have made it clear that they do not want playing fields which may be needed now or in the future to be redeveloped. The Sports Council has been made a statutory consultee for planning applications affecting playing fields, with strong policies for retaining playing fields, and minimum area and quality standards have been retained for school playing fields where other controls on schools have been removed. We will consider further action if that proves necessary.
19. Mr. John Marshall: To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage if she will make a statement on the work that English Heritage has undertaken to preserve the nation's historic churches and synagogues. 
Mr. Sproat: Grants from English Heritage towards the preservation of historic churches and other ecclesiastical buildings are available for grade I and grade II* listed properties, and grade II listed properties in conservation areas. Over the five years from 1991 to 1996, English Heritage has provided £47.2 million in such grants, and aims to have spent a further £1.2 million in 1996-97.
Mr. Sproat: The national lottery provides a tremendous opportunity for the preservation of historic churches and cathedrals in this country. To date, the heritage lottery fund has made 123 grants totalling £14.3 million to preserve our ecclesiastical heritage.
The heritage lottery fund and English Heritage have also developed a single procedure whereby churches and other places of worship can apply for funding from both sources through a single route: £20 million a year could 3 Feb 1997 : Column: 490
Mrs. Virginia Bottomley:
The national lottery has more than doubled the funds available for distribution by the Arts Council of England, enabling a level of support for the country's arts facilities that has never been seen before. It has enabled the Arts Council to work with, and support, a far wider range of arts projects covering the whole spectrum of arts activity from amateur groups to the commercial sector.
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Mrs. Virginia Bottomley: The national lottery has more than doubled the funds available for distribution by the Arts Council of England, enabling a level of support for the country's arts facilities that has never been seen before. It has enabled the Arts Council to work with, and support, a far wider range of arts projects covering the whole spectrum of arts activity from amateur groups to the commercial sector.
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