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Television Licences

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the annual cost would be of charging a television licence fee to all pensioners below the age of 75 years of (a) £25 and (b) £50. [4916]

Dr. Howells: The estimated cost, at current television licence fee levels, of providing concessionary licences for all pensioners below the age of 75 is (a) £425 million a year for a £25 licence fee and (b) £290 million a year for a £50 licence fee, in both cases excluding administrative costs.

Agencies (Staff)

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what is the total number of employees of (a) the New Opportunities Fund, (b) UK Sport, (c) the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, (d) Sport England, (e) the Millennium Commission and (f) the Advisory Committee on Libraries; and how many of these are (i) women, (ii) members of ethnic minorities and (iii) registered disabled. [5124]

Tessa Jowell [holding answer 19 July 2001]: The information is shown in the following table.


Sponsored bodyTotalWomenMembers of ethnic minoritiesPeople who have declared a disability(75)
New Opportunities Fund (NOF)176115245
UK Sport813860
National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA)382550
Sport England444222688
Millennium Commission8957110
Advisory Council on Libraries0000

(75) Under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, people have (from 2 December 1996) no longer been registered as disabled under the Disabled Persons (Employment) Act 1944

Digital TV

Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport by what date every household in Worcestershire will be able to receive digital television by cable or terrestrial distribution systems; and if she will make a statement. [5753]

Dr. Howells: The Government are committed to ensuring that everyone who currently receives free-to-air channels on analogue will continue to do so digitally after the switchover to digital television, whether by terrestrial, cable or satellite means. Maps showing the predicted digital terrestrial television (DTT) coverage from each of the main UK DTT transmitter sites and relays have been placed in both Houses on CD-ROM. These show that parts of Worcestershire are covered by transmissions from the Malvern, Bromsgrove, Ridge Hill and Lark Stoke transmitters. The BBC and ITC, who are responsible for the DTT transmission network, are now considering, in consultation with the digital broadcasters, manufacturers, consumer groups and Government, how to improve the core coverage of all digital television multiplexes across the UK. Cable services are available in Worcestershire, although coverage concentrates on areas of dense population. It is for cable operators to decide on the roll out of their digital services and viability of extending services to non-urban areas.

20 Jul 2001 : Column: 747W


Mr. Tom Clarke: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) how many films were refused British certification in (a) 2001, (b) 2000, (c) 1999 and (d) 1998; [5557]

Dr. Howells: No central record is kept of cases being refused. The Department is, however, aware of the following numbers of films being refused certification:


(76) 1 January to 30 June

The number of certificates issued is as follows:


(77) 1 January to 30 June

No central record exists of the time taken, but the bulk of applications in each of the last four years have been dealt with within two weeks. Some applications take longer to process where, for example, incomplete information is provided by the applicant.

Millennium Dome

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on the disposal of the contents of the dome; and if she will indicate the sum raised. [4969]

Dr. Howells: A sale of contents held in March raised £3.5 million. The New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) is in the process of selling other items by private treaty sales. It is too early to predict the amount raised from the private treaty sales.

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how souvenir items for sale to visitors at the dome were disposed of following the closure of the dome; and for what value. [4970]

Dr. Howells: Some unsold items were sold in February and March, both as part of the auction of dome contents and by retail sales at the same time. Other items are being sold privately. Because the process is not complete, it is not possible to state a value.

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on the role played by Lord Levy in facilitating sponsoring arrangements for the Millennium Dome. [5476]

20 Jul 2001 : Column: 748W

Dr. Howells: Lord Levy was asked to help with advice to the New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) on fundraising in June 1998. Responsibility for negotiating and securing sponsorship rested with NMEC.


Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what action her Department is taking to combat gambling by young people; and if she will make a statement. [6373]

Mr. Caborn: The report of the Gambling Review Body (Cm 5206), which was published on 17 July, makes a number of recommendations intended to control gambling by youngsters, including recommendations that (with limited exceptions) there should be a minimum age of 18 for all gambling and that gaming machines should not be allowed on premises which are not licensed for gambling. We have now started a process of public consultation on the report, and will be reporting our conclusions to Parliament in due course.

Television News Contracts

Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans she has to monitor the award of the new independent television news contract and to ensure continued plurality of news sources. [5462]

Dr. Howells: The award of the new news provider contract for Channel 3 is not a matter for Government. ITV will make the decision to award the contract to one of the two companies that have been awarded nominated news provider status by the Independent Television Commission. It is the responsibility of the ITC to ensure that only companies meeting the required standard are granted such status. This system ensures that ITV has a provider of high quality national and international news that can offer competition to the BBC's national news services and in turn guarantees plurality for viewers.

Sporting Events

Mr. Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when she will respond to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee's report on the staging of international sporting events. [6015]

Mr. Caborn: The Government will respond shortly.

Lottery Funding

Mr. Denis Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what progress is being made to ensure that community groups and local authorities in disadvantaged areas receive an increased share of lottery funding. [6298]

Mr. Caborn: The Government are keen to see a fair distribution of funding throughout the country and has directed distributors to ensure that all parts of the UK have access to lottery funds. In addition, we have asked the community fund to target £100 million of its funds, and the new opportunities fund an additional £50 million to some 50 areas which are both deprived and have received less lottery funding than other parts of the country. The scheme will be UK-wide and will begin in April 2002.

20 Jul 2001 : Column: 749W

Alcohol Sales

Ms Bridget Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what further measures she intends to take to prevent the sale of alcohol in licensed premises to those already intoxicated. [6229]

Dr. Howells: It is already an offence for a licensee to permit drunkenness in licensed premises or to sell alcohol to a drunken person. Anyone on licensed premises who procures or attempts to procure any alcohol for consumption by a drunken person commits an offence; and it is also an offence to aid a drunken person in obtaining or consuming alcohol in licensed premises.

We expect to bring into force shortly those parts of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 which will extend the offence of permitting drunkenness to managers of licensed premises who do not themselves hold the licence, and extend to all bar staff the offence of selling alcohol to drunken persons in licensed premises. At the same time, the new police powers to close down disorderly and excessively noisy licensed premises will be brought into force.

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