|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans she has to bring the level of Government grant-in-aid to the English Tourist Council into line with that to the Scottish, Wales and Northern Ireland tourist boards. 
Dr. Howells: Government aid to the Scottish Tourist Board, the Wales Tourist Board and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board per head of the population has always been much higher than that to the English Tourism Council (ETC) over the last decade. Each administration now makes its own decisions on funding that take into account local conditions and needs and the extent to which financial support is needed to address market failure in different parts of the country.
Direct comparisons of Government grant do not, of course, provide the whole answer. In England, the local authorities also spend over £90 million each year promoting tourism. DCMS's £1 billion expenditure on arts, museums, galleries, sport etc. also directly benefits tourism. In addition, Government funding to English tourism is set to increase from £10 million in 200102 to £12 million in 200203 and £12.5 million in 200304. Visitor spending in England is higher, at £222 per head of the population, than that in Scotland (£160 per head) or Wales (£92 per head) and total spending by tourists in England has grown faster in recent years.
29 Nov 2001 : Column: 1083W
Mr. Caborn: The recommendations set out in the Elite Sports Funding Review are directed at both the Sports Councils and my Department. Implementation of many of the recommendations is already being progressed by the Sports Councils in co-operation with the national governing bodies of sport. The remaining recommendations are being carefully considered within the context of my Department's spending review.
Ms Shipley: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how indoor sports facilities will be affected in the West Midlands by the New Opportunities for School and Community Sports Lottery funds. 
Mr. Caborn: £61,274,000 has been provisionally allocated to local areas in the West Midlands and the large majority of this funding will be used to provide new or modernised sports facilities. The proportion of this funding used for indoor and outdoor facilities will be decided by local partnerships led by LEAs, as they develop bids that best meet local priorities and strategies.
Mr. Caborn: Full details of the severance package for the former Chief Executive of Sport England will be disclosed in Sport England's accounts which will be laid before the House as soon as possible.
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will list the press notices issued by her predecessors on each day between 10 September and 10 October 2000 on subjects which are the responsibility of her Department. 
Mr. Morley: During the period from 10 September to 10 October 2000, a total of 38 press releases were issued by the MAFF press office. I have also established that the environment and rural affairs press group issued 12 press releases for this period while part of DETR.
29 Nov 2001 : Column: 1084W
Please note that this included 33 press releases from activities formerly identified as MAFF related and 12 press releases from the recently merged environment press office, now part of the DEFRA press office.
Mr. Sayeed: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will make a statement on the Government's procurement policy and what plans there are for Departments to join together to (a) reduce procurement costs, (b) increase efficiency and (c) operate green procurement policies. 
Mr. Morley: The Government's procurement policy is that all public procurement of goods and services is to be based on value for money, having due regard to propriety and regularity. Value for money is not the lowest priceit is defined as the optimum combination of whole life costs and quality to meet the user's requirement. The Office of Government Commerce (OGC) was created to lead a wide-ranging programme to modernise procurement in central civil Government. DEFRA is supportive of and committed fully to working with the OGC in delivering this wide-ranging programme. One of the areas in which OGC is encouraging a joined-up approach is in the aggregation of requirements and wider use of existing agreements. This will make a significant contribution to (a) reducing procurement costs and (b) increased efficiency.
With regard to (c) the joint HM Treasury/DETR (now DEFRA) note, on environmental issues in purchasing, explains how Departments can pursue their "green" strategies within the above procurement policy framework. In particular, it explains how environmental issues can be reflected in specifications.
Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what plans the Government have to improve national bio-security; how much money is allocated to target (a) airports and (b) containers arriving in ports in the current financial year; 
29 Nov 2001 : Column: 1085W
Mr. Morley: All consignments of fresh meat imported into the UK from other EU member states must have been produced in accordance with the harmonised Community rules laid down in Council directive 64/433/EEC. Imports from third countries must have been produced to standards at least equivalent to those in the directive. Among other things, this directive sets out the licensing, structural and veterinary supervision requirements to be applied in abattoirs, cutting plants and cold stores.
All meat imported into the UK from third countries must enter at designated UK border inspection posts (BIPs) where it is subject to veterinary inspections. All consignments are subject to documentary and identity checks and at least 20 per cent. of consignments undergo physical checks. These ensure import conditions are met and that the products remain in a satisfactory condition during transport. In line with Community rules, random spot checks at destination may be carried out on consignments of fresh meat imported into the UK from other EU member states.
New arrangements have been introduced across all enforcement agencies involved to improve the sharing and analysis of information about known or suspected illegal imports. We are building up a database of details which is enabling us to target enforcement action and to make best use of available resources. Our national regulations have also been amended to assist local authorities in seizing suspected illegal imports when they are found at point of sale. The Food Standards Agency is also encouraging local authorities to ensure that checking for illegal imports is part of their routine inspection of food premises.
Alongside this we have introduced improved publicity to ensure that travellers are aware of the restrictions on what may be imported. Posters have been placed at main airports and we have asked UK travel agents and airlines using UK airports to make information about import controls available to travellers. Recognising that it is most effective to inform travellers before they leave for their journey to the UK, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has been active via British embassies abroad, providing information directly to travellers and via travel agents and local media.
We are keeping these measures under review and will make improvements as necessary. In addition, we are looking at a wide range of other options to ensure the rules on imports are enforced effectively and efficiently. These include, for example, the possible use of sniffer dogs and x-ray machines at ports and airports and changes to administrative structures.
Apart from a small number of ports that import only animal products not intended for human consumption where import controls are operated by the state veterinary service, local authorities are responsible for controls at ports in their areas and the financial information requested is not held centrally.
We are taking every opportunity to drive home the importance of observing high standards of bio-security on and around farms. We have used interviews in the national and local media and placed advertisements in the local and farming press. We have produced a video demonstrating a practical approach to bio-security. This has been made available to all livestock farmers and
29 Nov 2001 : Column: 1086W
others in the industry, accompanied by a leaflet and letter from Jim Scudamore, the chief veterinary officer. Special bio-security arrangements have been applied within restricted infected areas and subject to stringent enforcement.
In the Animal Health Bill currently before Parliament, we are emphasising the importance of bio-security by linking the payment of compensation on infected premises to compliance with disease control measures. In addition, recommendations on future national bio-security measures may emerge from the independent inquiries into foot and mouth established by the Government.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|