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Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what has been the cost to public funds to date of the regional cultural consortiums; and if she will make a statement. 
(14) The Regional Cultural Consortiums were established in October 1999
(15) Expenditure calculated to 22 June 2001
The Consortiums also receive support from my Department's staff based within the Government offices in the regions. The Regional Development Agencies and the various regional agencies have all been encouraged to help with funding and other means of support.
The Consortiums use their resources to support their strategic role in the regions and promote joint working with other regional partners in order to ensure that cultural and sporting interests make a significant contribution to economic development, regeneration and social inclusion in each region.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will list all applications for local radio licences which are under consideration by the Radio Authority, indicating when each was lodged. 
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Local Analogue licences
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Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans she has to end the current restrictions on religious broadcasters wishing to apply for new radio licences. 
Tessa Jowell [holding answer 25 June 2001]: The White Paper "A New Future for Communications" announced that the Government will bring forward legislation to allow religious bodies to hold a local terrestrial digital licence. The White Paper also invited views on whether the restrictions on ownership of other terrestrial licences by religious bodies should be relaxed, and we are currently considering the responses. The Government will publish details of their proposals in a draft Bill as announced in the Queen's speech.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will state the income to date of the New Opportunities Fund together with cash disbursements made to projects. 
Tessa Jowell [holding answer 25 June 2001]: At 31 May 2001, the New Opportunities Fund had received £814.9 million in income and committed £794.7 million to projects. £189.1 million had been made as cash disbursements to projects. A further £79.6 million in grants was awarded at the June Board meeting, and details of these will be announced in the near future.
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Tessa Jowell [holding answer 25 June 2001]: Department for Culture, Media and Sport appointments follow the rules of the Commissioner for Public Appointments, which state that appointments should be governed by selection on merit and that political activity is not a consideration for appointment.
Tessa Jowell: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister to my hon. Friend the Member for Preston (Mr. Hendrick) on 22 June 2001, Official Report, columns 79W.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans there are for the use of Lottery funds in relation to Her Majesty the Queen's Golden Jubilee celebrations. 
Tessa Jowell [holding answer 25 June 2001]: Voluntary organisations and local groups in the community will be able to apply through the cross- distributor Awards for All scheme for grants of between £500 and £5,000 for Jubilee-related projects. Projects must meet existing criteria and involve one or more of the Lottery good causes of the arts, sport, heritage, charities, health, education or the environment. Larger applications associated with the Jubilee will be considered by Lottery distributors if the project meets the criteria and timetable of an existing programme or scheme.
Tessa Jowell [holding answer 25 June 2001]: My Department has advertised the post for a new Chairman of the BBC, and the deadline for submission of applications is 9 July. The appointments process will follow the rules of the Commissioner for Public Appointments and the position will be filled once those processes have been completed and a suitable candidate has been identified.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will list the number of employees (a) currently and (b) in May 1997 of each of the Regional Arts Boards and of the Arts Council of England. 
Tessa Jowell [holding answer 25 June 2001]: The number of full-time equivalent employees of each of the Regional Arts Boards and the Arts Council of England in May 1997 and June 2001 is set out as follows.
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|Full-time equivalent employees|
|May 1997||June 2001|
|Arts Council of England||240.5||205|
|Regional Arts Board|
|East England Arts||41||35.5|
|East Midlands Arts||36||42|
|North West Arts||46||53|
|South East Arts||29||40.6|
|South West Arts||33||39.5|
|West Midlands Arts||42||45|
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