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Departmental Policies (Battersea)

Mr. Linton: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to the constituency, the effects on the Battersea constituency of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [158762]

Mr. Chris Smith: Since May 1997 my Department has introduced and developed a variety of initiatives which will impact on my hon. Friend's constituency which promote our objectives of access, excellence, education, and creativity and employment. We have published strategies to take this forward including "Tomorrows Tourism" and "A Sporting Future for All", which was recently followed up by "The Government's Plan for Sport". We have tackled the issue of social inclusion taking forward the recommendations of Policy Action Team 10 on Arts and Sport and developing social

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inclusion policies across all our areas which is recognised within the most recent progress report Building on PAT10.

We have given more support to the cultural and sporting infrastructure. The Spending Review 2000 secured a doubling of the budget for sport and the largest ever increase for the arts: an increase of 80 per cent. from £186 million in 1997-98 to £336 million in 2003-04. In taking forward our aim to develop the educational potential of culture and sport £40 million has been allocated to developing Creative Partnerships; we have established through lottery funding, the £30 million National Foundation for Youth Music; and secured an additional £130 million for primary schools sports and arts facilities through the Space for Sport and the Arts programme. With £120 million of central Government and Lottery funding we will be providing a school sports co-ordinator in one-in-four secondary schools to work with local primary and special schools to improve sporting provision and physical education for children in the most deprived areas. We have delivered free access to national museums for children and the over 60's and additional money will be provided to allow this to be extended to everyone in December 2001. We have commissioned a taskforce which is currently considering the issues facing non-national museums in the regions.

We have made improvements in the way the Lottery is spent to ensure a fairer distribution. The introduction of the New Opportunities Fund for spending on health, education and the environment has made a real difference to communities everywhere. For instance it has invested £120 million to support the People's Network, which will enable all 4,300 public libraries to offer free public internet access through UK online learning centres; and a further £50 million to stimulate development of content to support the Network.

We have set up a Regional Cultural Consortium in each of the English regions outside London to champion culture and creativity, including heritage, sport and tourism, and to draw up regional cultural strategies identifying regional objectives and priorities.

We have published a Green Paper on "Culture and Creativity: The Next Ten Years", setting out how individual creative talent can be given the support it needs from childhood to flourish; how artists and cultural institutions can be freed from bureaucratic controls; and how the freedom to explore and enjoy creativity and culture can be made available to all.

Through its commitment to public service broadcasting, the Government have helped to foster an environment in which a creative, commercially successful broadcasting industry provides a wide range of UK-made, high-quality, original programmes catering for all viewers and listeners. We have ensured a secure funding base for the BBC and S4C, while giving them the freedom to develop commercial operations which complement and support their public service remit. We have made clear in the Communications White Paper that public service broadcasting will continue to have a key role to play in the digital future. The Government have introduced free television licences for people aged 75 or over from 1 November last year.

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In delivering these initiatives we aim to make cultural and sporting activities inclusive ones, boosting participation and improving the quality of life for all.


According to the information supplied to us by the distributing bodies for the national lottery awards database, there have been 92 national lottery awards to Battersea, totalling £13,579,536. This includes two awards from the Millennium Festival totalling £60,000.

Twenty-four Millennium Award Winners have been identified from Battersea and between them they have received grants totalling £69,821.

Information on the number of beneficiaries of free television licences by constituency is not available, but estimates based on the 1991 Census indicate that there were approximately 4,900 people aged 75 or over living in the Battersea constituency.

There are of course other initiatives in the wider context of the region which may have an effect on the Battersea constituency. These are:

Broadcasting Act

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if the Broadcasting Act 1996 is in conformity with the European Convention on Human Rights. [159274]

Janet Anderson [holding answer 27 April 2001]: The courts decide whether legislative provisions are compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. No declaration of incompatibility has been made in the domestic courts under the Human Rights Act 1998 as regards any provision of the Broadcasting Act 1996; nor has there been any finding of incompatibility in respect of that legislation by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. A statement about compatibility with Convention rights of the provisions of new broadcasting legislation will of course be made by Ministers, as required by the Human Rights Act 1998.

Millennium Dome

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many people from the north-west visited the dome. [160098]

Janet Anderson [holding answer 1 May 2001]: The New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) has advised that exit polls of dome visitors conducted by MORI in January, April and August 2000 found that 4 per cent. of visitors to the dome, or around 260,000 people, came from the north-west.

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Additionally, NMEC's records show that bookings made by the North West Education Region, covering a similar area to the postcode area, under the free schools initiative totalled 20,226 or 3 per cent. of such bookings in the UK. The same Education Region also made 8,500 bookings (or 2 per cent. of such bookings in the UK) under the special offer available to schools for paid visits.

Entertainment Budgets

Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the entertainment budget was for his Department in the years from 1997 to date. [160096]

Mr. Chris Smith: The table shows expenditure by my Department on hospitality. The figures exclude the Department's Agencies and NDPBs.


(22) Spend to date

Regional Tourist Boards

Mr. Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions he has had on the provision of additional funding for the marketing function of regional tourist boards. [160128]

Janet Anderson: The Department and the English Tourism Council (ETC) have had frequent discussions about additional funding for the Regional Tourist Boards (RTBs). The ETC have recently received £3.8 million in additional funding for an advertising and promotion campaign, as part of the recovery plan following the foot and mouth outbreak. More than half of this funding is being passed to RTBs for public relations and marketing work. The Department has also been involved in discussions with DETR on the use of additional funds being provided to Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) as a response to the impact of foot and mouth disease, some of which the RDAs may choose to use to support promotional activities by the RTBs.

Tourism (Loans)

Mr. Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the provision of an interest free loan scheme to tourism businesses. [160129]

Janet Anderson: As a member of the Rural Task Force, my Department has fed in suggestions on what help can be given to tourism businesses affected by foot and mouth, including loan schemes. A package of financial measures to help affected businesses was announced by my right hon. Friend the Minister for the Environment, and Chairman of the Rural Task Force, on 20 March. In addition, on 6 April the Department of Trade and Industry announced that tourist and retail businesses suffering cash-flow problems will now be able to apply for loans of up to £250,000 under the Small Firms Loan Guarantee Scheme with much greater flexibility over their repayments.

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