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CULTURE, MEDIA AND SPORT

Foot and Mouth

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) what discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues in (a) the Treasury and

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(b) the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions concerning the economic impact on the tourism industry of foot and mouth disease; [153744]

Mr. Chris Smith: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the statement I made in the House on 14 March 2001, Official Report, columns 1021-36 and to the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Environment on 20 March 2001, Official Report, columns 191-210.

My hon. Friend the Minister for Tourism, Film and Broadcasting has met with industry representatives to discuss the economic difficulties facing the tourism industry on a number of occasions in the last few weeks; she also visited Devon on 14 March to hear firsthand from tourism businesses. I similarly visited Cumbria on 16 and 17 March, and have had a number of meetings with tourism representatives and with ministerial colleagues.

Hinduja Brothers

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport who is responsible for making the VAT payment on the donation given by the Hinduja brothers to the Faith Zone of the Millennium Dome. [153733]

Janet Anderson [holding answer 14 March 2001]: The New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC), having recently reviewed its papers on the Hinduja Foundation's contribution of £1 million to the Faith zone, concluded that VAT is chargeable in respect of that contribution. NMEC reached this conclusion on the basis that an allocation of free tickets to the Hinduja Foundation represented a benefit. The Company made a voluntary disclosure to HM Customs and Excise. NMEC has now brought this payment into account for VAT purposes and will make the appropriate payment when all related aspects are agreed with HM Customs and Excise. NMEC is satisfied that in respect of the earlier treatment of the Hinduja Foundation's contribution, and the latter allocation of tickets, there was no deliberate attempt by NMEC staff to avoid VAT. There was an innocent error which, having been identified, is now being corrected.

Churches

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what representations he has received on the grant to churches awarded in the recent Budget; how churches can apply; and if he will make a statement. [154567]

Mr. Alan Howarth: My Department has been charged by the Chancellor with taking forward the development of the new grant scheme for listed places of worship. The announcement has attracted considerable interest, and my officials have taken numerous inquiries since the 7 March. It is my intention that the scheme should be operational as early as possible and I will make a further announcement in due course.

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Underwater Archaeology

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what additional funding will be made available to English Heritage to take account of new responsibilities in relation to underwater archaeology. [154233]

Mr. Chris Smith [holding answer 16 March 2001]: English Heritage's overall grant in aid will be increased by £7 million in 2002-03, and £9 million in 2003-04, partly to take into account the transfer to English Heritage of functions relating to underwater archaeology. English Heritage will also receive £350,000 per year, which represents the sum currently spent by DCMS on underwater archaeology.

Communications White Paper

Ms Blears: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what response the Government have received to the White Paper "A New Future for Communications"; and if he will make a statement. [155263]

Mr. Chris Smith: Some 250 organisations and individuals have submitted general responses to the White Paper which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and I announced on 12 December last year.

The overall thrust of the White Paper was largely welcomed by respondents, and it was notable that the overwhelming majority expressed support for the creation of a new single regulator, an Office of Communications (OFCOM).

More specific issues attracted a range of views. These responses are being placed on the Communications White Paper website (www.communicationswhitepaper.gov.uk), except where the respondent requested otherwise.

In addition, some 6,500 letters and e-mail messages have been received specifically in support of Christian broadcasting and these are also being taken into account.

A summary of these responses by independent consultants, David Graham & Associates, has also been published on the website and copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

ENVIRONMENT, TRANSPORT AND THE REGIONS

Air Pollution

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will give details of the 2001-02 charging schemes for local air pollution control under Part 1 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and Local Authority-Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control under the Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999. [154043]

Mr. Hill: Charges to cover the costs of local enforcing authorities in regulating processes which are subject to Part I of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 were introduced in April 1991. Interim charges for processes which are subject to the Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999 were introduced in August 2000.

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With the approval of the Treasury, and following consultation with local authority associations and industry, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions has made revised schemes for England in respect of Environmental Protection Act and England and Wales in respect of the Pollution Prevention and Control Act. The schemes specify the scale of fees and charges to take effect from 1 April 2001.

The initial application fee will be unchanged and the annual subsistence fee will be increased by £1 for both schemes. For those processes transferring, in due course, to local authority control under the Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999 there will be an increase of £56 in subsistence charge to cover the production of new technical guidance.

The Secretary of State was unable to justify an increase in the basic fees and charges from 1 April 2001 because not enough local authorities are undertaking cost accounting for their functions under Part I of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and there is insufficient financial information.

The schemes will be laid before both Houses and copies placed in the Libraries.

Civil Servants (Accommodation)

Mr. Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what the policy of his Department is towards providing accommodation for departmental civil servants in London. [153784]

Ms Beverley Hughes [holding answer 15 March 2001]: My Department does not provide living accommodation for staff working in London or anywhere else in the country. Where there is a business need for staff to work in London, and where this results in their having to move home, staff may be able to benefit from a range of allowances available. For example, financial assistance can be provided towards the costs of searching for new accommodation and towards the costs incurred in moving home. An exception to this involves "Duty Officers" who work a shift system and provide a DETR presence during the weekends and nights. These Duty Officers are not provided with a permanent residence but with temporary sleeping accommodation within one of our headquarter buildings.

Dual-fuel Vehicles

Mr. Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what action he has taken to encourage vehicle manufacturers to produce vehicles with dual-fuel tanks; and if he will make a statement. [154005]

Mr. Hill: My Department sponsors the Energy Saving Trust's Powershift programme that provides grants towards the cost of purchasing cleaner fuel vehicles. Thanks to Powershift and the low level of duty on gas fuels, more vehicle manufacturers and aftermarket converters now produce dual-fuel vehicles that can run on both LPG and petrol. My Department is also in close touch with vehicle manufacturers, encouraging them to introduce production-line dual-fuel vehicles. I am pleased to note that several vehicle manufacturers are considering doing so.

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RAM Scrap Incidents

Mr. Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when the Health and Safety Executives database on RAM scrap incidents was established; and how many incidents of radioactively contaminated scrap metal have been recorded on the data base. [154227]

Mr. Meacher: In 1996 the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB), HSE and the Environment Agency jointly established the Ionising Radiations Incident Database (IRID). This is essentially a voluntary notification scheme under which 'non nuclear' industries report, to NRPB, radiological incidents which could involve occupational or public exposure. IRID does not solely include information about scrap metal incidents. The database is operated by NRPB and HSE holds no separate database.

The first IRID report, "IRID--Ionising Radiations Incident Database--First Review of Cases Reported and Operation of the Database", published by NRPB in 1999, ISBN 0 85951 436 6, recorded 10 incidents categorised as "recycling of materials".


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