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Wanless Report

Mr. Laws: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many representations he has received on the interim conclusions of the Wanless report on health funding; what representations he has received from other Government Departments; and if he will make a statement. [23249]

Mr. Andrew Smith: Consultation on Derek Wanless' interim report "Securing our future health: taking a long-term view" began on 27 November 2001. Several representations have already been received from a range of organisations and individuals. The Government will publish a full list of responses to the consultation when Mr. Wanless' final report is published.

18 Dec 2001 : Column: 201W

Civil Service Pay

Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received in respect of the harmonisation of civil service pay and conditions; what proposals he is considering in respect of the reform of civil service pay scales; and if he will make a statement. [21454]

Mr. Andrew Smith: I have received representations from the Council of Civil Service Unions (CCSU), proposing a national framework agreement on civil service pay. Discussions between the Treasury, the Cabinet Office and the CCSU are continuing to explore whether this would be useful in the context of existing pay arrangements which delegate responsibility for pay and grading to Departments and agencies. I have also received correspondence from hon. Members forwarding more than a hundred representations on this issue from their constituents. Departments and agencies have put forward proposals for reform of their pay scales during the current pay round, which are now being implemented.

Phone Bills (VAT)

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will reduce the VAT payable on telephone bills for pensioners; and if he will make a statement. [23330]

Mr. Boateng: Long-standing agreements with our European partners permit reduced rates of VAT only for a prescribed list of goods and services. Telephone services are not included on this list.

Tax Law Rewrite Project

Barbara Follett: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what further developments there have been in the Tax Law Rewrite Project. [24319]

Dawn Primarolo: The Tax Law Rewrite Project continues to make good progress. It will shortly be publishing its twelfth exposure draft, containing more draft rewritten clauses on employment income, pension and social security income. This will be published on the internet towards the end of this month and will be available in paper form early in the new year.

The project has also now started work on rewriting the PAYE Regulations. Representative and professional bodies have suggested in discussion that it would be more helpful if the timetable for this work were revised to allow more time for consultation; and the regulations to be made well before the start of the tax year. In order to meet these suggestions I have agreed the project should now plan for the rewritten regulations to be made in the autumn of 2003, to come into force in April 2004.


Listed Places of Worship

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what is the estimated cost of administering the listed places of worship grant scheme over its first year. [20990]

18 Dec 2001 : Column: 202W

Dr. Howells: The precise details of the contract for the running of this scheme, which could result in approx £30 million going to listed places of worship, are a matter of commercial confidence between ourselves and our appointed contractor, CSL Group Ltd. The contract is set up so that costs are dependent on the success of the scheme, the number of claims processed and the rate at which they are received. As an example, if we were to receive in the region of 10,000 claims over the period to June 2003 we would expect to see costs of around £500,000.

Apsley House

Mr. Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when Apsley house was handed to the nation by the Wellesley family; and how much has been spent out of public funds to (a) maintain and (b) refurbish Apsley house in the last 30 years. [20872]

Dr. Howells [holding answer 6 December 2001]: Apsley house was given to the Government by the 7th Duke of Wellington under the terms of the Wellington Museum Act 1947. The following amounts have been spent on the maintenance and refurbishment of Apsley house:

2001–02 (to date)71,127.25

The information for earlier years could be provided only at disproportionate cost.


Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what action she is taking to encourage UK holiday makers to take holidays in the UK over the coming year. [22905]

Dr. Howells: The Government are working urgently with tourism and other rural stakeholders on an inclusive approach to attracting visitors back to the countryside throughout spring and summer 2002. This is in addition to the strategic advertising and marketing campaigns of the regional tourist boards, such as the Greater London Authority, which has been authorised to switch £500,000 of this year's marketing budget for use in attracting domestic visitors to London. Ministers will continue to attend important domestic events to increase tourism's profile and make people aware of the many good reasons to consider taking their holidays within the UK.

For the longer term, the Government are reviewing the options for stimulating better co-ordination of the public and private sector funds currently spent on marketing tourism in England. Matters relating to the taking of holidays in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland are a fully devolved matter.

18 Dec 2001 : Column: 203W


Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what efforts she has made to increase the use of book-lending facilities in public libraries; and if she will make a statement. [23197]

Dr. Howells: The Government have encouraged better planning, accountability and performance in public library services through the introduction of Annual Library Plans (ALPs) in 1998 and Public Library Standards on 1 April this year. In addition the Government, in partnership with the Wolfson Foundation, have helped to support the reader development work of organisations like Launchpad and the Library Association through the DCMS/Wolfson Public Libraries Challenge Fund, which is administered by Resource. Reader development programmes, for both children and adults, help foster a love of reading and assist in broadening individuals' reading horizons.

Government Art Collection

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what proportion of the Government Art Collection is open for viewing by members of the public. [23074]

Dr. Howells: The role of the Government Art Collection is to promote British art and culture in British Government buildings. In fulfilling this brief some 75 per cent. to 80 per cent. of its holdings are on display in several hundred Government buildings in the UK and around the world, where they are seen by a large number of visitors.

Access to central Government buildings by members of the public to see specific works of art is possible by appointment, depending on current security circumstances. A number of Government buildings in London, as well as the Government Art Collection's premises, are open as part of the Open House scheme during a weekend in September every year. Additionally the Government Art Collection gives regular tours around its premises to specialist groups. The Government Art Collection also lends works of art from its holdings to public exhibitions.

New Opportunities Fund

Gillian Merron: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment she has made of the impact of boundary changes on eligibility for deprivation related funds, with particular reference to the New Opportunities Fund; and what was the outcome of that assessment. [23089]

Mr. Caborn: We have contacted the New Opportunities Fund to request the information required, and I will write to my hon. Friend as soon as it is available, placing copies of my letter in the Libraries of both Houses.

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on what basis the average funding per pupil under the New Opportunities for PE and Sport Fund was determined in respect of (a) Herefordshire council and (b) Birmingham council; and if she will make a statement. [23816]

18 Dec 2001 : Column: 204W

Mr. Caborn: The New Opportunities Fund has provisionally allocated funding to each local education authority (LEA) based on the size of the school population and on the levels of deprivation within the individual LEA.

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