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Warship Preservation

Mr. Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make it her policy that (a) HMS Whimbrel and (b) HMS Zenith be preserved in Chatham Dockyard. [52876]

Dr. Howells [holding answer 26 April 2002]: The Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust have no knowledge of any plans to seek the preservation of either HMS Whimbrel or HMS Zenith at Chatham. Neither were built at Chatham—HMS Whimbrel was a sloop built at Yarrow in 1942 and HMS Zenith a destroyer built by Denny's in 1944. Both were sold after the war to the Egyptian Navy. The trust's research suggests that neither ship served with the Chatham Division of the Royal Navy during the Second World War.

The trust's current museum collecting policy does not foresee the acquisition of further ships. Not only would there be difficulty in locating them (the trust's three dry docks are occupied with their existing ships) but the trust does not have the financial resources available to support further major vessels.

Mr. Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions she has had with the Egyptian ambassador to London on (a) HMS Whimbrel and (b) HMS Zenith. [52877]

Dr. Howells [holding answer 26 April 2002]: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has had no such discussions with the Egyptian ambassador to London.

Announcements (Timing)

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on the process by which she decides whether an announcement is too controversial to be made in a pre-election period. [52890]

Dr. Howells [holding answer 26 April 2002]: The Prime Minister publishes standard guidance on this matter before each election. The guidance published on 21 March 2002, referring to the English local elections to be held on 2 May 2002, made it clear that


My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State considers each case on its merits in the light of this.

Portable Antiquities

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on the portable antiquities scheme. [52891]

Dr. Howells [holding answer 26 April 2002]: The trustees of the Heritage Lottery Fund met on Tuesday 23 April to consider a bid for the three-year funding of an extension of the portable antiquities scheme to the whole of England and Wales. The fund will make a full, public announcement of its decision following next week's local elections.

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Digital Equipment

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent steps she has taken to communicate to (a) ministerial colleagues and (b) hon. Members, the importance of digital switchover. [52883]

Dr. Howells [holding answer 26 April 2002]: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and I frequently draw the attention of hon. Members and ministerial colleagues to the digital television action plan in correspondence and in responses to parliamentary questions. The action plan sets out the Government's proposals to encourage the switchover to digital television for the benefits it can bring to consumers and to the economy.

Tourism

Mr. Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on the impact on tourism in England of the distribution by the Welsh Tourist Board of its marketing leaflet "Wales–The Big Country"; and what plans she has to enable the English Tourism Council to publish and distribute a similar leaflet in support of tourism in England. [52756]

Dr. Howells: The Wales Tourist Board launched their marketing campaign in December 2001. The devolved administrations now make their own decisions on how best to promote tourism, taking into account local conditions and needs and the extent to which financial support is needed to address market failure in different parts of the country.

A booklet "Hidden England" has already been produced, and is available in Tourist Information Centres in England. I have allocated a further £20 million, matched by £20 million from the industry, for marketing to the overseas markets. The domestic market is already recovering strongly.

We are committed to improving the competitiveness of the English tourism market through an agenda of modernisation and long term strategic reform. We are currently considering how to provide better co-ordination of the marketing of England's tourism assets and will announce plans soon.

Lord Chancellor's Breakfast

Mr. Viggers: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what special traffic arrangements were made for the Lord Chancellor's guests attending his most recent official breakfast, with special reference to obeying traffic lights and parking in bus lanes. [48795]

Mr. Wills: I have been asked to reply.

My right hon. and learned Friend the Lord Chancellor holds an Annual Breakfast Reception. This last occurred not recently but on 1 October 2001, and takes place as part of the ceremonies to mark the Opening of the Legal Year, in Westminster Hall immediately following the Judges' Service held in Westminster Abbey.

That is the only official Breakfast which the Lord Chancellor holds.

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The most recent formal legal occasion was the annual Silk Ceremony on 10 April, when 113 new Queen's Counsel attended in Royal Gallery to make their formal declaration of Office before the Lord Chancellor upon taking Silk.

There was traffic disruption in front of the Houses of Parliament on 10 April, caused by a demonstration unrelated to the Ceremony.

LORD CHANCELLOR'S DEPARTMENT

Crown Courts

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what the cost in 2000–01 was of (a) the maintenance of each of the Crown courts in England and (b) administering each of the Crown courts in England; and what the average cost per case heard was of each of the Crown courts in 2000–01. [50693]

Mr. Wills: (a) The table provides the cost of maintenance of each of the Crown (and combined) courts in England for the financial year 2000–01. The figures reflect gross cash expenditure and are based on routine maintenance works only. They do not include figures for any major maintenance/building enhancement works. Figures for the combined courts reflect the total costs of the buildings including non-Crown court areas. For information purposes, the average cost of maintenance per square metre of each court centre is also included.

(b) A significant proportion of the cost of administering the Crown court is paid for as central overheads and is not held in a format which can identify the individual costs of each court centre. To do so otherwise would incur disproportionate costs to the Department. For information purposes, however, the total cost of administering the Crown court in 2000–01 across England and Wales was £281 million. This figure excludes legal aid costs. The total number of cases disposed of during the same period across England and Wales was:


Based on the total number of disposals (112,046) the indicative average cost figure per case is £2,544. However this does not take into account the relative weighting of each of the different types of cases.

Circuit/Combined court centreExpenditure (£)
Midland circuit
Coventry91,019
Derby80,341
Lincoln31,884
Northampton84,883
Nottingham136,815
Stafford92,347
Stoke on Trent83,409
Warwick5,632
Warwick Office12,147
Wolverhampton86,925
North Eastern circuit
Bradford129,062
Great Grimsby58,462
Kingston upon Hull87,632
Leeds172,813
Newcastle upon Tyne174,700
Sheffield125,097
Teesside106,031
Northern circuit
Bolton55,192
Burnley31,733
Carlisle49,576
Liverpool280,152
Manchester Crown and County courts259,674
Preston216,270
South Eastern circuit
Basildon 76,932
Canterbury59,738
Chichester64,512
Croydon99,755
Hove Trial centre64,397
Lewes87,338
Maidstone143,436
Norwich88,303
Oxford93,153
Peterborough54,431
Wales and Chester circuit
Warrington70,505
Western circuit
Bournemouth119,860
Exeter55,543
Gloucester24,645
Newport (IOW)39,190
Plymouth79,320
Portsmouth214,395
Salisbury32,708
Southampton108,349
Swindon39,873
Taunton66,342
Truro55,646
Weymouth and Dorchester8,772
Weymouth and Dorchester Offices4,192
Winchester38,488
Total expenditure4,241,618

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Circuit/Crown court centreExpenditure (£)
Midland circuit
Birmingham122,407
Hereford11,681
Leicester94,067
Lincoln (Castle)25,413
Shrewsbury26,783
Worcester81,511
North Eastern circuit
Doncaster68,025
Durham21,105
Newcastle upon Tyne Offices21,405
York35,788
Northern circuit
Lancaster5,745
Manchester185,145
Preston27,627
South Eastern circuit
Aylesbury10,145
Aylesbury Offices
Blackfriars127,207
Bury St. Edmunds2,285
Cambridge10,304
Central Criminal court39,321
Chelmsford106,293
Guildford45,461
Harrow100,506
Ipswich25,195
Isleworth50,101
Kings Lynn9,704
Kingston upon Thames153,011
Luton77,083
Middlesex Guildhall93,660
Reading90,753
Snaresbrook253,546
Southend8,257
Southwark137,407
St. Albans33,402
Wood Green115,554
Woolwich160,975
Wales and Chester circuit
Chester61,469
Knutsford17,444
Western circuit
Bristol201,600
Gloucester28,607
Total expenditure2,685,992

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