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Fair Trade Fortnight

Mr. Lazarowicz: To ask the Advocate-General what steps she is taking to encourage participation by her Department in Fair Trade Fortnight from 4 to 17 March. [33555]

The Advocate-General: The Office of the Advocate- General for Scotland provides legal advice and services to the Government and has very limited requirements for goods which are subject to fair trade schemes. However, the Department for International Development is providing £120,000 to the Fair Trade Foundation over three years from 2001 in support of the foundation's efforts to target new groups through its annual Fair Trade Fortnight. My hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for International Development will be attending the launch of this year's campaign on 4 March.


New Millennium Experience Company

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the cost was to the New Millennium Experience Company of commissioning Anthony Gormley's Quantum Cloud; and who currently owns the sculpture. [27895]

Tessa Jowell: The cost to NMEC of commissioning and installation was £1.2 million. The sculpture is owned by Anthony Gormley.


Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on how the quality of libraries is determined, and on the results of evaluations undertaken in each local authority in the past 10 years; and if she will make a statement. [35246]

Dr. Howells: The Government have encouraged better planning and accountability in public library services through the introduction of annual library plans in 1998. This process was strengthened still further in April 2001 with the introduction of public library standards. From 2001, ALPs have been used as the main vehicle for assessing the quality of library services, as library authorities are required to use them to report on their current position against the standards and their plans for meeting them in the future. In addition, all local authority services, including libraries, are subject to best value, and best value reviews provide a further valuable insight into the provision and plans made by authorities for continuous improvement in their library provision. Before the introduction of the annual library plans, public library standards and best value, there was no on-going check of library authority plans and performance.

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Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much the Government have spent on library book funds per annum per local authority in each of the past 10 years; and if she will make a statement. [35195]

Dr. Howells: Funding for public libraries generally is provided through the Environmental Protection and Cultural Services (EPCS) block and through council tax. In the latest Local Government Financial Settlement (for 2002–03) the funds for the EPCS block were increased by 4.2 per cent., a real terms increase of 1.7 per cent.

It is for library authorities to decide how much of their funding to allocate to their libraries, and then to the purchase of books and other materials, in line with their statutory duty to provide library services that are comprehensive and efficient.

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) how many libraries have closed in each of the past three years in England and Wales; [35802]

Dr. Howells: A register of all library openings and closures in England is not held centrally. However, DCMS was glad to note the opening of the new Epsom Library at the Ebbishall Centre in May 2001 with more floor space and longer opening hours.

The total number of libraries in England for the last three years has been:


The figures reflect branch and central libraries only. They do not include mobile libraries or special services provided by English library authorities to senior citizens' homes and others in sheltered housing schemes. In 1999–2000 the figures for these two types of provision were, respectively, 440 mobiles and 14,617 outlets in institutions.

Library provision in Wales is properly a matter for the Minister for Culture, Sport and Welsh Language and the National Assembly for Wales.

Sports Funding

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will list the sources of the £2 billion investment in sport that she announced on 3 February, broken down by (a) the financial year in which it is to be paid, (b) the financial year in which it is to be accounted for, (c) the method of distribution of the funds and (d) whether it had been announced before. [34767]

Mr. Caborn [holding answer 8 February 2002]: The current sources of funding for sport are as follows:

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Working Conditions and Practices

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many people are employed in her Department on a job share contract; and what percentage of vacant positions was advertised on this basis in the last 12 months. [35356]

Dr. Howells: There are currently no staff employed on a job share contract in the Department.

All vacancies advertised state that

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Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many cases of work-related stress have been reported in his Department; how much compensation has been paid to employees; how many work days have been lost due to work-related stress, and at what cost; what procedures have been put in place to reduce work-related stress, and at what cost, in each of the last three years; and if he will make a statement. [35940]

Dr. Howells: My Department's independent staff counselling service report that over the past year they have dealt in confidence with three work-related stress cases. Details for the previous two years are not available. No compensation has been paid out over the past three years. While levels of sick absence are closely monitored, we do not have records to identify which absences through stress are work-related; therefore the cost similarly cannot be identified. However, my Department is committed to meeting the targets for reducing the number of working days lost generally due to work related injuries and illness in line with the Government's Revitalising Health and Safety initiative. To this end my Department introduced a new stress management policy last year providing staff and managers with guidance on identifying and managing stress more effectively, and this month we are launching a dedicated Health and Well-Being intranet site for all staff. A full review of work-life balance polices has also been conducted recently. The costs involved in these initiatives are not available.

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment has been made of the effect of the working time directive on her Department's employees; how many employees are working in excess of 48 hours per week; what steps she is taking to reduce this number; and if she will make a statement. [35899]

Dr. Howells: The results of working hours surveys conducted in my Department, including the Royal Parks Agency, indicate that there are occasions where a small number of senior staff are working voluntarily in excess of 48 hours per week. However, no staff are doing so on a regular basis save for a group of horticultural staff in the royal parks who are on all hours worked contracts and have signed an "opt out" agreement. The actual hours worked by staff in different parts of the Department are monitored regularly against conditioned working hours to identify any developing trends and/or potential problem areas. Where these arise, divisional business plans and work demands may be adjusted, and individual staff offered time management training. My Department has also conducted a review of personnel policies with the aim of achieving a better work-life balance for all staff. This review took account of the results of the working hours surveys and of responses to work-life balance questions posed in last year's annual staff attitude survey.

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