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Crime (Shrewsbury)

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the effectiveness of banning handguns on reducing crime in the Shrewsbury Division of West Mercia Constabulary. [156515]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The legislation to prohibit handguns introduced in 1997 was a response to the tragic shootings at Dunblane primary school in 1996 in which 16 children and their teacher lost their lives. It was not expected in itself to solve the wider problem of the criminal use of firearms.

I understand that West Mercia Constabulary recorded 17 firearms incidents in the Shropshire area in 1999 and 12 such incidents in 2000. There has been one such incident so far this year. West Mercia Constabulary have not identified any particular problem with handgun crime or other armed crime in the Shrewsbury area.

Organised Crime

Shona McIsaac: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to tackle organised crime; and if he will make a statement. [157530]

Mr. Straw: The Government are making £90 million available over the next three years (2001-2004) to help tackle organised crime. The use of the money will be concentrated against heroin and cocaine trafficking, in support of the Government's strategy "Tackling Drugs to Build a Better Britain", and against people smuggling. Our approach in tackling both forms of crime as set out in the publication "Criminal Justice: The Way Ahead" is to encourage a co-ordinated inter-agency effort and the additional funding will be allocated to Her Majesty's Customs and Excise, the National Crime Squad, the National Criminal Intelligence Service, the Immigration and Nationality Directorate, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the security and intelligence agencies.

These additional funds will provide the means for effective new collaborative operational effort against these forms of organised crime, adding to the measures which we have announced recently for a Criminal Assets Recovery Agency and a High-tech crime strategy, for which we have also provided additional resources.



Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) which buildings and premises (a) owned and (b) leased by his Department use (i) chlorofluorocarbons and (ii) hydrochlorofluorocarbons for refrigeration and other energy needs; and if he will give details of such use and the reasons for it; [153015]

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Mr. Battle [holding answer 9 March 2001]: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office complies fully with the phase-out timetable as agreed in the Montreal Protocol of 1987, and the subsequent revisions laid down by European Commission Regulation 594/91. With the exception of domestic refrigerators (which will be replaced at the end of their natural cycle) all CFC refrigerants and Halon firefighting equipment have been replaced in FCO buildings both at home and overseas.

To date resources have been committed to the eradication of chlorofluorocarbons and Halons, but work is now commencing on the eradication of hydrofluorocarbons. Currently, HCFCs are used extensively throughout the FCO estate, almost exclusively for domestic refrigerators and air conditioning equipment. But extensive use is made of hermetically sealed units which cannot be topped up and therefore pose a minimal risk to the Ozone Layer.

The consortium constructing the new GCHQ building in Cheltenham is using HFC 143A--a zero ozone depleting product which is considered a long-term replacement for CFCs and HCFCs. It is FCO policy that all new buildings under FCO control are charged with synthetic refrigerants. Use of synthetic refrigerant gas is also increasing in larger air conditioning systems, as new or replacement equipment is installed, although progress has been restricted to date by the limited alternatives available in the marketplace.

Information on the use of HCFCs in buildings owned and leased by the FCO, at home and overseas, and on the amount of HCFCs purchased since 1995, is not held centrally and could not be assembled without disproportionate cost.


Museums and Galleries (Free Admission)

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate he has made of the cost in lost admission revenue to each of the national museums and galleries which charge admission fees of introducing universal free admission. [153438]

Mr. Chris Smith: The table shows the amounts of compensation I have currently allocated to the existing charging museums for the next three years. I am though currently finalising with these institutions the final element of compensation to "buy out" the previously planned £1 charge from 1 December 2001.

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£ million

Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester0.4850.6790.692
Museum of London0.1620.2170.323
National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside1.2131.5451.776
National Maritime Museum1.8912.4422.491
Royal Armouries0.5040.7260.740
Imperial War Museum1.4842.4462.500
Science Museum3.9785.7355.849
Victoria and Albert Museum1.3822.1632.206
Natural History Museum4.1755.9276.045
Tate St. Ives0.2530.3550.362

Somerset House

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer concerning the occupation by the Inland Revenue of premises at Somerset House; and if he will make a statement. [156148]

Mr. Chris Smith: I have had no discussions with my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer concerning the Inland Revenue's occupation at Somerset House. The Inland Revenue occupy accommodation in the New, West and East Wings of Somerset House under the terms of a 25 years lease from the Somerset House Trust, who are responsible for the overall management of the building. The Inland Revenue are aware of a proposal made to the Somerset House Trust by Christies to take over the existing lease on the New and West Wings. The response to this proposal is a matter for the Trust in the first instance.

World Athletics Championships

Mr. Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions he has had with (a) UK Sport and (b) the Mayor of London and the Greater London Authority about the costs of staging the 2005 World Athletics Championships. [156364]

Kate Hoey [holding answer 2 April 2001]: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and I meet UK Sport from time to time to discuss a range of issues including attracting major sporting events like the 2005 IAAF World Athletics Championships to the UK. These discussions include the costs and benefits of staging such events in the UK.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and I discussed the 2005 Championships with the Mayor of London on 23 March.

Wembley Stadium

Mr. Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what his latest estimate is of the likely date for the repayment of £20 million lottery funding by Wembley National Stadium Ltd., to the Sports Lottery Fund. [156366]

Mr. Chris Smith [holding answer 2 April 2001]: We expect the repayment of £20 million of the lottery grant awarded by Sport England to be made within the time frame agreed in December 1999, and as set out in the

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recent Select Committee hearing attended by both my hon. Friend the Minister for Sport and myself. Under the agreement, the final payment is due to be made by December 2004.

Digital Television

Mr. Ian Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when he expects the BBC and Channel 4 to join the independent television companies in promoting the new digital kite mark designed to help consumers identify genuine digital televisions; and if he will make a statement. [R] [157040]

Janet Anderson: This is a matter for the BBC and Channel 4. I understand, however, that the BBC is considering how best to raise public awareness of the DVB (Digital Video Broadcasting Project) logo, which distinguishes digital TV sets from analogue TV sets, as part of its ongoing promotion of digital services. Channel 4 has also been promoting its digital services in recent months and has indicated that it is prepared to participate in pan-industry initiatives to promote digital television, including the use of the DVB logo.

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