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Written Answers to Questions

Friday 30 November 2001


"Time for Reform" Consultation Exercise

Ms Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when she expects legislation to be introduced to implement the recommendations of the "Time for Reform" consultation exercise. [19449]

Mr. Caborn: We remain fully committed to the policies set out in the White Paper "Time for Reform" and intend to introduce legislation to reform and modernise the alcohol and public entertainment licensing laws as soon as parliamentary time permits.

Ministerial Visits (North-East)

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many times since November 2000 Ministers from her Department have visited (a) the Teesside area and (b) Middlesbrough, South and Cleveland, East constituency to meet with locally based businesses. [19070]

Mr. Caborn: Ministers from this Department visited the Tees Valley area on four occasions since November 2000 and met a number of individuals and organisations which included locally based businesses. None of these visits were to the Middlesbrough, South and Cleveland, East constituency.

Film Industry

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent action she has taken to support and develop the UK film industry. [19068]

Mr. Caborn: The Government set up the Film Council in October 1999 to develop a sustainable UK film industry. It has since launched the following initiatives:

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In addition the Film Council, through the British Film Commission, continues to promote inward investment from the international film industry into the UK. The British Film Institute is driving forward the strategy for film culture and education in the UK. The Film Council also co-funds film activities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his March Budget, extended to 2005 the tax relief for film. This will help encourage investment in British film production.

Sports Clubs

Mr. Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions she has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer about tax relief for community and amateur sports clubs. [18494]

Mr. Caborn: My Department has been in regular dialogue with HM Treasury and the Inland Revenue following my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer's announcement in his Budget speech of his intention to consult on a tax relief for community amateur sports clubs. My officials have also been in close dialogue with representatives of Sport England, the Central Council of Physical Recreation and the National Playing Fields Association on this issue.

Following the pre-Budget report this week, the Government are pleased to announce that the Treasury is today launching a consultation document on the best way for tax relief to help community amateur sports clubs that make a positive contribution to their local communities. The Charity Commission has also today announced that it will recognise as charitable community amateur sports clubs that promote participation in healthy recreation by the provision of facilities for the playing of particular sports. This development should enable many community amateur sports clubs to obtain charitable status and the tax relief that goes with it. My officials have been in discussion with the Charity Commission about the potential impact of this development.



Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much the UK will pay to NATO as its share of NATO's overall costs in (a) 2001–02, (b) 2002–03 and (c) 2003–04; and what the equivalent figures are for other NATO member countries. [19822]

Mr. Hoon: The Ministry of Defence pays the UK's contributions to NATO's Military Budget and Security Investment Programme. It also makes a very small payment towards the Civil Budget, to which the major contributor is the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The estimated net expenditure for the current financial year is £113 million. Subject to exchange rate and other technical variations, we would expect the next year's payments to be of the same order. In the subsequent year, ceilings have still to be agreed for NATO's budget year 2003 which is the major influence on our financial year 2003–04 payments.

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We do not have figures for other NATO countries. However, their payments are made in accordance with the agreed cost shares for each budget.

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how often the NATO-ESDP Working Groups on capabilities have met; and if he will make a statement. [19823]

Mr. Hoon: The NATO-EU Ad Hoc Working Group on Capabilities has met eight times, including its inaugural meeting on 28 July 2000.

The group was set up following the Feira European Council in June 2000. The group has enabled useful exchanges of information and dialogue between the two organisations on capability development issues, in addition to the extensive staff contacts that have taken place on the development of the Headline Goal and the Defence Capabilities Initiative.

Departmental Report

Mr. Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he plans to publish a report on his Department's performance during financial year 2000–01. [20351]

Mr. Hoon: Information about the Ministry of Defence's (MOD's) performance during the last financial year is contained within the MOD Performance Report 2000–01, which will be laid before the House on 30 November, as Cmd 5290. Copies of this report will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Operation Veritas

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he expects that the extra £100 million allocation announced in the Chancellor's pre-Budget report will fully cover the costs associated with Operation Veritas in the current financial year. [19827]

Mr. Hoon: The extra £100 million has been made available by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer to cover new equipment and immediate operational requirements needed for operations in Afghanistan and the campaign against international terrorism.

We are at a relatively early stage of Operation Veritas. The financial data on the costs of the operation are still being gathered. I hope to be able to provide the information in due course.

European Security and Defence Policy

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which defence projects in the EU have been (a) initiated and (b) brought forward as a result of the aspiration to achieve the objectives of the European Security and Defence Policy. [19829]

Mr. Hoon: Decisions to initiate or accelerate defence projects are driven by a wide range of factors. These encompass both national priorities and the relevant commitments of nations towards international bodies such as NATO and the EU.

The European Council has agreed that the capability objectives of the European Security and Defence Policy and those of NATO will, for the countries concerned, be

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mutually reinforcing. It is therefore neither practical nor necessary to categorise project initiatives solely under a European Security and Defence Policy or NATO heading.

EU Defence Spending

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the EU member states which are increasing their defence spending in real terms over the next three years. [19830]

Mr. Hoon: The UK is committed to increasing its defence expenditure in real terms between financial years 2000–01 and 2003–04. Other countries' defence spending plans are a matter for them. EU member states have committed themselves to real increases in defence capability over the next few years, in particular at the Capabilities Improvement Conference in Brussels on 19–20 November.

HMS Gannet

Sandra Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the reasons were for the timing of the decommissioning of Squadron 819 at RNAS Prestwick. [17655]

Mr. Ingram: The planned date for the reduction of HMS Gannet to a Forward Operating Base remains 31 March 2002. In order to achieve this drawdown in practical terms it has been necessary to reduce the supporting infrastructure and move the Anti-Submarine Warfare helicopters based at HMS Gannet in stages, at the same time re-appointing the personnel of 819 Naval Air Squadron (NAS) associated with these aircraft. This resulted in the decommissioning of 819 NAS on 1 November 2001.

Sandra Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Royal Navy personnel are based at HMS Gannet; and what was the cost of their (a) accommodation and (b) subsistence for each of the last 12 months. [17656]

Mr. Ingram: There are 210 service personnel serving in HMS Gannet. The total accommodation and subsistence costs for the past 12 months are as follows:


Accommodation costsSubsistence

Sandra Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Royal Navy personnel will be based

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at HMS Gannet, Prestwick from April 2002; and how they will be accommodated. [17657]

Mr. Ingram: The Scheme of Complement for the HMS Gannet Forward Operating Base, from 1 April 2002, will be 82 RN personnel. They will be accommodated in either Service Family Accommodation (Married Quarters) for married and accompanied individuals, or Substitute Single Service Accommodation for those who are either unmarried or are married but are serving unaccompanied.

Sandra Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost is of the lease of the HMS Gannet site at Prestwick airport; and how long the lease has to run. [17658]

Mr. Ingram: There are two leases at the HMS Gannet site—one for the domestic site, known as Greensite and one for the operational site. The current leases for these two sites are due to expire in November 2013 and July 2019 respectively. Because the cost of the leases is commercially confidential, I am withholding the information requested under Exemption 13 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

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