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Places of Worship

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) what estimate she has made of the cost to English Heritage of administering the VAT/grant recovery scheme for places of worship; and if she will make a statement; [28915]

Dr. Howells: CSL Group Ltd. are DCMS's appointed contractors for the Listed Places of Worship (LPW) Grant scheme. Initial estimates are that the LPW Scheme could be worth up to £30 million per year. There is no cap on the scheme; all listed places of worship that meet the criteria will receive a grant. This Department has been asked to make a small contribution to the costs of the scheme. We have asked English Heritage to help us meet this commitment, which they have chosen to do through the redirection of £2 million in grant-in-aid from the Joint Places of Worship (JPOW) scheme.

Film Council

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on the criteria employed by the Film Council to assess the suitability of applications to each of its funds. [29429]

Dr. Howells [holding answer 22 January 2002]: The Film Council sets out its criteria for assessing the suitability of applications in the published application guidance for the relevant fund. Each guidance complies with the policy and financial directions issued to the Film Council under sections 26 (1), (3), (3A) and (4) of the National Lottery Etc. Act 1993 (as amended by the National Lottery Act 1998).

In respect of its film financing funds—the development fund, the new cinema fund and the premiere fund—the eligibility and selection criteria are clearly linked back

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to attaining the objectives for the relevant fund. The guidance also states that applications for development or production finance will be assessed on the creative merits of the projects by the head of the relevant fund. Their creative judgment to fund a project is complemented by an assessment of financial and contractual matters all under the control of the Film Council's chief executive officer.

In respect of the training fund the key criteria are that the application meets the various training specifications as set out and that the project meets the objectives of the fund.

In respect of the regional investment fund for England, the Film Council is in the process of delegating decision-making on applications to new regional film agencies. These agencies will operate under a detailed framework agreement which sets out the parameters within which any decisions should be made.

A similar framework agreement which includes parameters for creative, operational and financial criteria is in place with the council's delegate body responsible for "First Light"—a fund for film making by children and young people.

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make an estimate of the value to the Film Council of (a) profit share schemes, (b) shares in copyright and (c) other property or rights received, as a result of grants made under each of the Film Council's funds since 1 April 2000. [29430]

Dr. Howells [holding answer 22 January 2002]: The valuation of film rights is not made under the headings listed in the question. The valuation is made in accordance with the additional disclosure requirements of the accounts direction given by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport for the Film Council's national lottery fund.

The Film Council prepares a valuation of film rights at the end of each financial year. In respect of its lottery funds this valuation is disclosed in its report and lottery accounts. The accounts for 2000–01 were laid before Parliament on 12 December 2001. In 2000–01 the net value of film rights is reported as £12,490,930 against awards made totalling £24,864,352. A detailed breakdown is contained within schedule 1 to the accounts. The valuation for grants made since 1 April 2001 will be undertaken after the end of the financial year as part of preparation of the 2001–02 accounts.

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will list grants made by the Film Council since 1 April 2000 stating for each the (a) amount of the grant, (b) date of the grant, (c) purpose of the grant, (d) company, person or organisation to whom the grant was made, (e) name of the film or project for which the grant was to be used and (f) fund from which the grant was made. [29431]

Dr. Howells [holding answer 22 January 2002]: I am arranging for copies of the information requested by the hon. Member to be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many applications to each fund of the Film Council since 1 April 2000 have been successful. [29428]

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Dr. Howells [holding answer 22 January 2002]: Between 1 April 2000 and 31 December 2001 the following applications to the Film Council have been successful:

These figures exclude awards which have lapsed, been withdrawn or have not been taken up. Some projects have applied for and received separate allocations of funding against specific elements of the same project.

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on the work of the Film Council. [29411]

Dr. Howells [holding answer 22 January 2002]: The Film Council started work in April 2000 with the long term objective of creating a sustainable UK film industry.

It has done this by supporting a range of film productions, and most importantly for the long term, helping the development of films and film-makers. The Film Council is developing close relationships with European colleagues; it has for the first time brought together film interests in each of the English regions; introduced programmes for young people and training for the industry; and it is working up policies on exhibition and distribution and to give practical help for exports.

The Film Council's annual report, which will be published shortly, will give more details of their achievements.

Free Television Licence (Wealden)

Mr. Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many pensioners in Wealden receive the free television licence for people over 75 years of age. [29713]

Dr. Howells: TV Licensing, which administers for the BBC as licensing authority the free television licence scheme, is not able to provide geographical breakdowns of the number of free licences issued. However, estimates based on the 1991 Census indicate that there were approximately 9,000 people aged 75 or over in the Wealden constituency.


Gurkhas (Commemoration)

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will introduce plans to commemorate the military assistance given by Nepal to the United Kingdom in (a) the two World Wars and (b) other significant conflicts. [24748]

Mr. Bradshaw: We rightly commemorate the immense contribution that the Nepalese, through the Gurkhas, have made to the United Kingdom in the world wars and in other conflicts. The Gurkhas, as an integral part of the British Army, are commemorated at Remembrance

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Day. The Nepalese Ambassador is the only non- Commonwealth foreign representative to attend the commemoration. The Gurkha Statue near the Ministry of Defence Main Building, unveiled by Her Majesty the Queen in December 1997, is another permanent reminder of the contribution of the Gurkhas, and the Gurkha Gardens in Winchester is no less important a memorial.

The Gurkhas are also commemorated in a more practical way through the work of the Gurkha Welfare Trust, an independent registered charity, which provides financial, medical and community aid to alleviate hardship and distress among Gurkha ex-servicemen of the British Army and their dependants after they have returned to their homeland of Nepal. The MOD recognises the valuable work that this trust does and makes a substantial annual grant towards its administrative costs.


Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate his Department has made of the cost to its budget since 1 May 1997 of fraud; and if he will make a statement. [27303]

Mr. Straw: The information is as follows:

Cost of fraud in Foreign and Commonwealth Office

FCO (fraud)RecoveredNet loss
May 1997 to March 1998114,3854,396109,989
April 1998 to March 1999102,2026,70595,497
April 1999 to March 200011,18311,1830
April 2000 to March 200116,32615,553773
April 2001 to December 200138,12520,09218,033
Total identified fraud for period 1 May 1997 to 31 December 2001 = 282,221
Total sums recovered to date = 57,929
Net loss = 224,292

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