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CULTURE, MEDIA AND SPORT

Promotional Campaigns

Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will list the television, newspaper and radio advertising and other promotional campaigns conducted by (a) his Department, (b) its agencies and (c) its departmental public bodies, in each of the past five years, showing for each the expenditure incurred by his Department; and if he will make a statement. [153418]

Mr. Chris Smith [holding answer 12 March 2001]: The Department and the Royal Parks Agency have incurred no expenditure on television, radio and newspaper advertising and other promotional campaigns in the last five years.

Information on campaigns run by the Department's non-departmental public bodies is not held centrally.

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Digital Television (Wales)

Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the impact of the efficiency savings he asked the BBC to make on spending by the BBC on provision of digital services in Welsh. [154256]

Janet Anderson: None. Such an assessment would be a matter for the BBC's Board of Governors who are responsible for ensuring that the BBC meets the requirements of its Royal Charter and Agreement and any commitments made by the Corporation, including commitments on services for Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the English regions.

Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the future budgetary needs of S4C to meet the demands of expanding programming required by converting to digital television. [154255]

Janet Anderson: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport last year considered a bid for additional funding for S4C, following the Authority's assessment of its future budgetary needs. Departmental spending limits and competing priorities precluded our meeting the bid, but annual increases in S4C's grant in line with the Retail Prices Index, under the provisions of the Broadcasting Act 1996, are maintaining the real value of the grant. The

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1996 Act has also given S4C the power to develop commercial services, enabling it to generate additional revenue to supplement its public service fund.

Foot and Mouth

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the impact of foot and mouth on (a) the British tourist industry and (b) tourism in the South West; and if he will make a statement. [154301]

Janet Anderson: I refer the hon. Member to the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State in the House on 14 March 2001, Official Report, columns 1021-36. The overall economic impact on the rural tourism industry in England following the foot and mouth outbreak is running at approximately £100 million a week and could grow. South West Tourism has estimated that the impact to tourism in the South West is currently running at around £17 million a week.

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many tourism businesses have been directly affected by the issuance of form C notices under the foot and mouth procedures. [154237]

Mr. Chris Smith [holding answer 16 March 2001]: There are no figures available for the number of tourism businesses directly affected by the issuance of Form C notices under the provisions of the Foot and Mouth Disease Order 1983 which prohibits the movement of animals into or out of an area within an 8 km radius of the place of a suspected outbreak. There is, however, overwhelming evidence of a very adverse impact on tourism businesses throughout the country as a result of visit cancellations.

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will estimate the weekly cost to the tourist industry in Shropshire of the impact of the foot and mouth outbreak; and if he will make a statement. [154486]

Janet Anderson [holding answer 19 March 2001]: There are no figures currently available to make an assessment of the weekly cost to the tourism industry in Shropshire following the foot and mouth outbreak. However, the overall economic impact on the rural tourism industry in England is running at approximately £100 million a week. The Heart of England Tourist Board has estimated that the impact to rural tourism in the 12 counties that make up their region, including Shropshire, is currently running at around £10 million per week.

Free Television Licences

Mr. Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will make a statement on progress on applications for free television licences for people aged 75 years and over and the timetable for issuing licences and refunds. [154274]

Janet Anderson: The BBC, as Licensing Authority, has statutory responsibility for the administration of the television licensing system, including free licences for the over-75s. TV Licensing carries out the day to day administration as agent for the Corporation.

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The target turnaround time for verification of entitlement to the free licence is one week, provided the application form is completed correctly and the details match those provided to the BBC by the Department of Social Security. Where the details do not match, further information needs to be requested from the applicant and the time taken to verify the application will vary according to the individual case. The timetable for verifying refund applications is the same as for free licences, but short term licences for people approaching the age of 75 have been available since April 2000, so refunds should now be the exception rather than the rule.

The BBC has indicated that approximately 2.95 million free licences and 1.1 million refund cheques have been issued since the introduction of the concession last November. The majority of applications now being received are from people currently aged 74; approximately half a million such applications have been validated and free licences will be issued when the applicants turn 75. Approximately 86,000 applications are currently awaiting validation but the majority of these are from people under the age of 75. 11,000 applications submitted prior to November last year have still to be verified and action is being taken to clear these by the end of this month.

Applications by housing managers on behalf of over-75s who have previously benefited from the £5 Accommodation for Residential Care (ARC) concessionary licence are being processed as the current ARC licence falls due for renewal.

Arts Council for England

Mr. Maclennan: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when the present term of office of the chairman of the Arts Council for England expires; and when, and by whom, an announcement was made regarding his successor. [154780]

Mr. Alan Howarth: Gerry Robinson's first term as Chairman of the Arts Council of England expired at the end of January 2001. He was reappointed to a second three-year term in February 2001, which expires at the end of January 2004.

Advertising Campaigns

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the total cost of advertising campaigns run by his Department and its predecessor and its agencies was in each year since 1992; and if he will give the projected advertising budget for the current year. [154753]

Mr. Chris Smith: The following table shows the cost of newspaper advertising to attract candidates for the many public appointments for which I am responsible.

Year£
1996-970
1997-980
1998-99242,700
1999-2000139,501
2000-01(28)85,823
2000-01(29)90,000

(28) Spend to date

(29) Planned spend


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Additional expenditure information on advertising by my Department and its agencies is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Regional Arts Boards

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions he has had with the Regional Cultural consortiums regarding the Arts Council for England's commitment to integrating the regional arts boards. [154754]

Mr. Chris Smith: Discussions have not yet begun with the Regional Cultural Consortiums about the Arts Council of England' s proposal for the integrating of the regional arts boards. The proposals made by the Arts Council will be formally discussed with stakeholders, including the Regional Cultural Consortiums, in due course.

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions he has had with (a) the Arts Council for England and (b) the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions regarding the council's commitment to integrating the regional arts boards. [154755]

Mr. Chris Smith: I discussed the proposals with the Chair and Chief Executive of the Arts Council shortly before they were announced, and I can confirm that DETR have been informed. I am looking forward to receiving formal detailed proposals in due course, and will of course consult with colleagues further on those once I have received them.

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions he had with the Arts Council for England concerning the future role of the regional arts boards prior to the council's announcement of 15 March; and if he will make a statement. [154756]

Mr. Chris Smith: I have discussed with the Chairman and Chief Executive of the Arts Council the proposals they announced on 15 March and will formally consider the detailed proposals in due course.


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