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Ecclesiastical Heritage

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what contribution his Department makes to the preservation of Britain's ecclesiastical heritage. [153777]

Mr. Alan Howarth: The Department fully recognises the importance of this country's ecclesiastical heritage, and contributes to its preservation in England through grant in aid to English Heritage, which funds conservation work for places of worship listed Grade I and II. The Heritage lottery fund, too, has contributed substantial sums from the national lottery to repairs and new facilities for historic churches throughout the country. The Department further supports the Churches Conservation Trust's work in caring for historic churches no longer in use for regular worship. We will shortly be introducing a new UK-wide grant scheme for listed places of worship which will substantially increase the amount of public support for repairs to our heritage of fine ecclesiastical buildings.

Channel 4

Mr. Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will make a statement on the role of Channel 4 in a multi-channel broadcasting environment. [153915]

Janet Anderson: As the Government made clear in the White Paper "A New Future For Communications", published last December, we will maintain Channel 4 as a public service broadcaster in the multi-channel environment with a remit which complements and provides competition to the BBC and the ITV companies. We will also ensure that Channel 4 continues to provide distinctive and innovative programming.

Royal Parks Agency

Mr. Gareth R. Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what payments the Royal Parks Agency has received from the London marathon in each of the last five years. [153962]

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Mr. Alan Howarth: Responsibility for the subject of this question has been delegated to the Royal Parks Agency under its chief executive, William Weston, I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from William Weston to Mr. Gareth R. Thomas, dated March 2001:



£

Event feePolice costs
199636,225n/a
199746,808.51n/a
199885,106.38n/a
1999140,0007,019.57
2000142,8007,320

In addition, in 2000 the Agency received £1,672.35 in respect of reinstatement costs.

Millennium Dome

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the budgeted figure was for the proceeds of the auction of the content of the millennium dome; and what figure was achieved. [154235]

Janet Anderson [holding answer 16 March 2001]: The New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) budgeted £2 million after commission but before auctioneer's fees from the sale of the dome's surplus content. Subject to final reconciliation, the auction realised £3.2 million after commission but before fees.

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much Millennium Commission funding remains to be drawn down by the New Millennium Experience Company; and if he will make a statement. [154238]

Janet Anderson [holding answer 16 March 2001]: The New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) has so far drawn down £10 million of the £47 million grant from the Millennium Commission. £37 million remains.

Canals (Foot and Mouth Disease)

Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the impact of the closure of British Waterways' canal network on the long-term viability of canal-based tourism operators. [154218]

Janet Anderson [holding answer 16 March 2001]: The decision to close access to all its waterways located in affected and restricted areas from the beginning of the month to help limit the spread of foot and mouth disease was made by British Waterways.

19 Mar 2001 : Column: 65W

The Government have established a taskforce chaired by my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Environment to consider the implications of the outbreak of foot and mouth disease for the rural economy. The implications for the canal network (and other waterways) will be within the ambit of this group, which will be considering actions to help those caught up in the crisis and measures to help the rural economy once the outbreak has been eradicated.

Culture and Creativity

Judy Mallaber: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans he has to widen access to culture and to support the creative talent of people of all ages. [154772]

Mr. Chris Smith: I am tomorrow publishing a Green Paper entitled "Culture and Creativity: The Next Ten Years". The paper looks forward to a future in which individual creative talent is given the support it needs from childhood to flourish; in which artists and cultural institutions are freed from bureaucratic controls; and in which freedom to explore and enjoy creativity and culture is available to all.

The Green Paper sets out how the Government seek to secure that future, both through cultural policy initiatives--such as creative partnerships between schools and cultural institutions and free access to national museums and galleries--and through the key role culture and creativity play in the Government's educational and industrial policies.

Copies of the Green Paper have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FOOD

Pigs Directive

Sir Richard Body: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what steps he has taken to persuade the Commission of the EU to enforce the Pigs Directive (91/630/EEC) in respect of countries that have failed to take action in accordance with it. [154020]

Mr. Morley: Where we have hard evidence of a failure to enforce EU welfare rules, we do not hesitate to bring the matter to the attention of the EU Commission. However, while allegations of this kind are made from time to time, the evidence is not usually provided.

Animal Welfare

Mr. Baker: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, pursuant to his answer of 21 December 2000, Official Report, column 330W, on animal welfare, if a date and agenda have now been set for the next meeting of the interdepartmental group on animal welfare. [154245]

Mr. Morley [holding answer 16 March 2001]: The next meeting of the interdepartmental group on animal welfare is scheduled for early April. The agenda is likely to include items on the Protection of Animals (Amendment) Act 2000, WTO and animal welfare and the Review of the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976.

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FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS

Civil Servants (Salary Increases)

Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the average percentage increase in salaries of non-industrial civil servants, excluding members of the senior civil service, was in his Department for 2000-01. [152796]

Mr. Wilson [holding answer 14 March 2001]: The headline pay settlement for Foreign and Commonwealth Office staff was 2.5 per cent. on the pay bill and, together with the additional funds from staff turnover, staff in post received performance-related increases averaging 4.5 per cent.

2001 Census

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the result was of his review of ethnic minority origin categories for the 2001 census; and what measures he will take to include the Irish in Britain among the categories used for monitoring recruitment and other activities that may benefit from equal opportunities best practice. [153808]

Mr. Wilson: There was no review of ethnic minority origin categories for the 2001 census. My Department follows Cabinet Office guidance with respect to the use of ethnic minority origin categories for monitoring purposes. New guidance is expected shortly which will include the Irish in British category. Our ethnic monitoring questionnaire will be updated over the next year and the new categories will be used from April 2002, in line with Cabinet Office guidance.

Plutonium

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the expanded plutonium disposition planning group. [154204]

Mr. Wilson: There has been no formal expansion of the G8 plutonium disposition planning group (PDPG). However, on 9 March in Brussels, the Russian and US co-chairs of the PDPG gave a briefing on the state of the plutonium disposition programme to other interested Governments and industry representatives.

Russia and the US gave presentations on the development of the programme so far, and took questions.

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 12 February 2001, Official Report, column 47W, if the paper on fuel leasing to which the United Kingdom is committed under the action points agreed in the meeting of the Plutonium Disposition Planning Group held in Rome on 6 and 7 February has been produced; and if he will place a copy in the Library once it is ready. [154230]

Mr. Wilson: A provisional version of the paper on fuel leasing has been produced and is awaiting comments from the rest of the G8. The UK will then revise the paper in the light of these comments.

It is a document communicated in confidence between Governments.

19 Mar 2001 : Column: 67W


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