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Convention on the Future of Europe

Mr. Challen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans are in place to ensure that a public discussion takes place on the Convention on the Future of Europe. [50032]

Peter Hain: Since the Nice Declaration, the Government have been seeking a wide range of views on the future of Europe through regional visits, seminars, radio phone-ins and interviews. I have personally spoken to trade unions, businessmen, academics, students and other members of the public about the future of Europe. I have also undertaken a number of regional visits, including Cardiff last October, Edinburgh last November, Northern Ireland in February and South Yorkshire in March. That listening process is continuing, in parallel with the "listening phase" in the Future of Europe Convention. The coming months will see me making further regional visits, including to Birmingham in May and Liverpool in July. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs plans to visit the Devolved Administrations. There will be other activities focusing on the future of Europe, including a Youth Convention and Europe Day. In addition, a dedicated website providing for open and public discussion on the future of Europe will be established and open for contributions by the summer.

Nepal

Mr. Sarwar: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the situation in Nepal. [50440]

Mr. Bradshaw: We are increasingly concerned about the Maoist insurgency in Nepal. We strongly condemn the Maoists' violence and intimidation against the Nepalese security forces and civilians. We are particularly concerned about recent attacks on food, water and electricity supplies and other economic, development and

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infrastructural targets. We urge the Maoists to disarm, renounce violence, and rejoin the peace process in good faith.

Sri Lanka

Mr. Sarwar: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on progress towards peace in Sri Lanka. [50439]

Mr. Bradshaw: We warmly welcome the progress which the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE have made towards a peaceful settlement of the conflict in Sri Lanka. As we have made clear to all concerned, the UK fully supports the Norwegian-facilitated peace process, and we look forward to the start of direct talks in the near future. We call on all sides to work together in the interests of all Sri Lankans. Any solution must satisfy the aspirations of all communities.

Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what recent meetings he has had with representatives of the Tamil people to discuss human rights issues in Sri Lanka; [49340]

Mr. Bradshaw: We have raised human rights on a regular basis over the last five years with the Sri Lankan authorities at both ministerial and official level and will continue to do so. In March 2001, the Prime Minister and the then Foreign Secretary, discussed the situation in Sri Lanka with President Kumaratunga and then Foreign Minister Kadirgamar. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary is planning to meet the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister in July. We are also concerned about human rights abuses committed by the LTTE, and welcome their recent announcement that they will cease recruiting under the age of 18 and that they are addressing the concerns of the Muslim community. We are in close touch with UK-based Sri Lankan groups, human rights organisations and representatives from all communities in Sri Lanka, including the Tamil community.

Gibraltar

Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he next intends to meet his Spanish counterpart in the next round of the Brussels process. [48851]

Peter Hain: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Putney (Mr. Colman) on 27 February 2002, Official Report, column 1306W.

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CULTURE, MEDIA AND SPORT

National Endowment for Science, Technology

and the Arts

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what proportion of income was spent on administration by the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts in the last financial year. [48881]

Mr. Caborn: Figures for the last financial year, 2001–02, are not yet available. NESTA's published accounts for the financial year to 31 March 2001 show that 9.9 per cent. of income was spent on operating costs.

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans exist for the future funding of the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts. [48882]

Mr. Caborn: Plans for funding NESTA will be considered alongside other options for the future use of lottery funds.

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment has been made of the return or investment made by the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts. [48876]

Mr. Caborn: In accordance with the National Lottery Act 1998, NESTA's endowment is managed by the National Investment and Loans Office on behalf of the National Debt Commissioners. The endowment is invested in Government Bonds and Treasury Bills whose performance reflect prevailing base rates. Since establishment, the endowment has produced an annual average return of 5.25 per cent. The interest on the endowment is invested separately by NESTA in an equities and bonds portfolio managed by Schroders Investment Management. Since establishment, this fund has produced an annualised average return of 3.4 per cent.

NESTA's performance will be considered in its Quinquennial Review in 2004–05.

Sport

Mr. Gareth R. Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what action she is taking to encourage people to participate in sport; and if she will make a statement. [48915]

Mr. Caborn: School sport is a priority for the Government and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport is working closely with the Department for Education and Skills to improve the quality of and access to PE and sport in schools and links to clubs. Sport England's Active Sports programme involves 8 to 16-year-olds across the country in sport through a national network of 45 sports partnerships, while Sport Action Zones encourage participation by all age groups in some of the most deprived areas of the country. Sport England has now awarded over £1.5 billion of Lottery funding, the majority of which has been used to provide facilities for local community sport.

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Sports

Mr. Gareth R. Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many (a) full-time and (b) part-time sports coaching staff (i) her Department and (ii) its agencies have funded in each of the last seven years broken down by sport; and if she will make a statement. [48916]

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Mr. Caborn: My Department does not fund coaching staff directly. The majority of public funding for sport is channelled through UK Sport and Sport England. Comprehensive information on the number of coaches funded from Sports Council grants is not held centrally. The following tables are drawn from records kept by UK Sport and Sport England.

Coaches funded by UK Sport

Sport1997–981998–991999–20002000–012001–02
Athletics2(3)2(3)
Badminton1(2)1(2)1(2)
Curling1(3)
Equestrian2(2)3(2)5(2)7(2)
Fencing3(3)3(3)
Gymnastics10(2)
Ice skating2(2)2(2)2(2)2(2)3(2)
Judo3(2)4(2)4(2)4(2)4(2)
Modern pentathlon4(2)4(2)5(2)
Orienteering1(2)2(2)2(2)2(2)2(2)
Rowing11(2)11(2)
Sailing5(2)
Trampolining1(2)
Triathlon4(2)
Waterskiing1(2)2(2)2(2)2(2)2(2)
Wheelchair basketball1(2)1(2)1(2)1(2)1(2)

(2) Full time

(3) Part time


Coaches funded by Sport England

SportNumber
Athletics38
Basketball168
Cricket167
Football (girls)282
Netball228
Hockey148
Rugby Union191
Swimming67
Tennis80


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