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Barnett Formula (Reserves)

Mr. Wigley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how reserves are treated in the calculation of the Barnett formula. [147057]

Mr. Andrew Smith: The reserve is UK-wide. Policy on access to the reserve is set out in the Statement of Funding Policy published in July 2000, copies of which are available in the Library.

CABINET OFFICE

Special Advisers

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to her answer of 11 December 2000, Official Report, column 48W, under which clauses in their model contract special advisers are allowed to be used by Ministers to cost opposition party policies; and if she will make a statement. [146669]

Marjorie Mowlam: Schedule 1 (Part 1) of the "Model Contract for Special Advisers" sets out the role and duties of special advisers.

CULTURE, MEDIA AND SPORT

European City of Culture

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if joint bids from more than one city are admissible in applications for European City of Culture status. [147433]

Mr. Chris Smith: Under the European City of Culture initiative, a single city usually holds the event though cities from different countries can share the title on the basis of intergovernmental agreement. There is no precedent for two cities from the same country hosting the event in a single year and I am not aware of any joint bids.

The European Union's Decision 1419/1999EC established a new community action which will come into effect in 2005. Each year from 2005 member states can, in turn, make nominations for the designation European Capital of Culture. Last September, I launched the competition to select the city that will be nominated by the United Kingdom as Capital of Culture for 2008. The criteria I have published state that


This reflects the terms of the EU's Decision.

BBC

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans he has to ensure that proposed new BBC services comply with EU rules on state aid prior to being presented for final approval. [147435]

Mr. Chris Smith: I will take account of the EU state aid rules as part of my consideration of the BBC's proposals.

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Football Grounds

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions he has had with the Football Licensing Authority concerning the reintroduction of standing accommodation at football grounds. [147434]

Mr. Chris Smith: My hon. Friend the Minister for Sport met the Chairman and Chief Executive of the Football Licensing Authority on 20 December to discuss a range of issues including the Government's all seater policy. That policy remains in place. Following my hon. Friend's meeting, the authority will be undertaking research on stadiums in Germany with the aim of ensuring that those responsible for ensuring the safety of sports grounds in the UK are fully conversant with the latest design practices overseas.

Visitor Attractions

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the impact on the existing visitor attractions industry of newly-opened lottery funded projects. [147432]

Mr. Chris Smith: The impact of lottery funding is one of a wide range of issues which will be considered at the forum for attractions which the Government plan to hold in mid-March. The forum will bring together the attractions industry and the departmental bodies with an interest in it. The English Tourism Council's publication, "Action for Attractions", published on 16 November 2000, identifies new opportunities for action and will help inform the forum.

Sports Equipment

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what representations he has received from manufacturers of sports equipment regarding quality and safety standards. [147436]

Mr. Chris Smith: My Department is in regular contact with representatives from manufacturers of sports equipment regarding both safety standards and the latest technological developments across a wide range of sporting activities. My hon. Friend the Minister for Sport is currently working with the Sports Industries Federation, which represents numerous trade associations from the sports industry sectors, on various issues surrounding the sports goods industry.

Slapton/Start Bay

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will assess the impact on tourism of the Slapton/Start Bay road remaining closed during summer 2001. [147287]

Janet Anderson: No decision has been made on whether the closed section of the Slapton/Start Bay road between the Monument and Streetgate will remain closed for the summer. This is a matter for Devon County Council's Local Highways Authority. The impact on tourism is one of a number of issues that all the relevant local and regional authorities will be considering in discussions with the other bodies and organisations with an interest, including English Nature and the owners of the adjacent land.

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Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will estimate the increase in the number of tourists visiting Slapton beaches and Start Bay to view the recent storm damage; and if he will make additional funds available to the local authorities to cater for such additional tourists. [147289]

Janet Anderson: We have no plans to estimate the increase in the number of tourists to this area and no additional funds will be made available.

PRIME MINISTER

Diwali Celebrations

Mr. Soames: To ask the Prime Minister how many invitations he accepted and from whom in 2000 for Diwali celebrations. [147291]

The Prime Minister: None.

The Right hon. Member for Hartlepool

Mr. Soames: To ask the Prime Minister what account he has taken of the application of sponsorship principles Nos. 1 and 4, contained in "Guidance to Departments on sponsorship of Government activities", in respect of the intervention by the right hon. Member for Hartlepool (Mr. Mandelson) concerning the citizenship application by Mr. Hinduja. [147286]

The Prime Minister: This is a matter for the review set up under Sir Anthony Hammond QC.

HOME DEPARTMENT

Firearms

Mrs. Lawrence: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the Association of Chief Police Officers' guidelines on the police use of firearms will be published. [147943]

Mr. Straw: I understand that the Association of Chief Police Officers' manual on the police use of firearms has been reviewed and revised to take full account of the introduction of the Human Rights Act 1998 and to help spread consistency and good practice.

With the exception of the specific sections on police tactics, training and equipment where publication might compromise police operations, the manual will be available to the public via the internet on www.acpo.police.uk with effect from 29 January 2001. I will also shortly place a copy of this version in the Library.

Asylum Seekers

Ms Bridget Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his policy is on those asylum seekers who are in receipt of social security benefits and who on or after 25 September 2000 receive a negative decision on their claim. [147944]

Mrs. Roche: Any asylum seeker who is in receipt of social security benefits and whose asylum claim is recorded as refused on or after 25 September 2000 and who would otherwise be destitute, may seek support from

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the National Asylum Support Service (NASS). It is the Government's policy to offer accommodation to asylum seekers which is outside London and the south-east in order to relieve the pressure on London and the south-east.

Asylum seekers who are no longer entitled to social security benefits after 25 September and who apply for a full support package from NASS are likely to be offered accommodation outside the south-east. However, NASS will give due consideration to cases where there are exceptional compelling or compassionate reasons why the asylum seeker should be allowed to remain in the area in which he was living at the time the social security benefits were stopped. In cases where families have children who have attended a particular school for at least 12 months, we will give consideration to enabling those asylum seeker families to remain in their existing accommodation so that the education of those children is not unduly disrupted.

In other cases, however, the expectation is that accommodation will be offered outside the south-east.


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