Previous Section Index Home Page

Czech Republic

Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of whether the Benes decrees in the Czech Republic are compatible with the acquis communautaire. [51625]

Peter Hain: The European Commission has made it clear that the Benes decrees are part of history and that those decrees relating to citizenship and property are no longer of legal consequence, and are therefore not an issue for EU accession negotiations. The Commission and Czech Republic are reviewing the other decrees to clarify their legal status.


Mr. Cummings: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he will remove the visa requirements imposed on Slovak nationals for travel to the UK; and if he will make a statement. [51932]

Angela Eagle: I have been asked to reply.

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Winchester (Mr. Oaten) on 3 April 2002, Official Report, column 1063W.

1 May 2002 : Column 785W


Chartered Engineers

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many chartered engineers there are in her Department; and what grades they are. [52471]

Dr. Howells: There are no chartered engineers currently employed within my Department.

ITV Digital

Mr. Colman: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on the future of ITV Digital. [53218]

Tessa Jowell: In my statement on ITV Digital on 26 April 2002, Official Report, column 594, I promised that I would continue to keep the House updated in coming weeks. Since then, the administrator has surrendered the three multiplex service licences held by ITV Digital, and the pay services are no longer available.

As I suggested would happen in my statement last week, the Independent Television Commission is now beginning a re-tendering process, on an accelerated time scale with a view to awarding licences at the end of a six-week period. I understand that, during this period, the ITC will liaise with the administrator and broadcasters providing the digital terrestrial free-to-air services with a view to ensuring that ITV Digital subscribers will continue to be able to receive these channels, including the five main terrestrial channels, through their set top box. We expect that companies interested may wish to use the ITV Digital assets, and that they will liaise with the administrator to do so. There is a real opportunity to benefit from the expertise and technical experience now existing, enabling a successful business to emerge, and ensuring we maintain our world leadership in digital television.

Jane Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what level of financial support Granada and Carlton have received from her Department for introducing digital services. [53603]

Dr. Howells: My Department gives no financial support to Granada and Carlton. To promote the availability of digital free-to-air television services, the Government have set the percentage of qualifying multiplex revenue payable by digital terrestrial licensees at nil for the duration of their licences. This means that the ITV companies do not make payments to the Treasury on the proportion of their advertising revenue attributed to viewing in homes that have digital television.

Pride of Place

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many copies of "Pride of Place" have been (a) sent to end recipients and (b) sold. [52987]

Dr. Howells: "Pride of Place" was released towards the end of March and the Arts Council is still sending out the 3,500 complimentary copies to projects who received awards over the past six years. No copies have as yet been sold.

1 May 2002 : Column 786W

West Coast Main Line

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate she has made of the effect on tourism in the north-west of proposed closures of the west coast main line; and if she will make a statement. [53120]

Dr. Howells [holding answer 29 April 2002]: Any disruption of tourism will be unwelcome, but weekend closures, while disruptive to tourism, are unavoidable if essential work is to take place. Any closures are considered by Railtrack, train operating companies, the relevant rail passenger committees and the Strategic Rail Authority. I am advised the weekend closures are preferable to closures during the week which would cause wider disruption for business as well as leisure travellers. The closures have been planned to avoid the Commonwealth games. The tourism industry, like other business sectors, will be looking forward to benefiting from the main line upgrade. Improved rail services are essential to ensure the long-term health of the tourism industry in the north-west.

Solar Panels

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what buildings owned by her Department have solar panels installed. [53498]

Dr. Howells: All DCMS buildings are leased rather than owned freehold and none presently has solar panels.

Sport (Female Participation)

Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what action the Government are taking to increase female participation in sport. [53422]

Mr. Caborn: The Government are determined to ensure that there is equal opportunity for all. Our policy is aimed at encouraging everyone, including women and girls, into sport. Sport England provides over £6 million of exchequer funding to sports governing bodies and all are required to ensure that they have proposals for the development of women as a condition of funding. Sport England also fund the Women's Sports Foundation (WSF) which is the only organisation in the UK that is solely committed to improving and promoting opportunities for women and girls in sport at every level. More women than ever are finding that regular physical exercise can lead to improvements in health, self-confidence and well-being. Women's team sports such as football and rugby are among the fastest-growing sports in the country.

Data Protection Act

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will place in the Library copies of each version of the internal guidance which have been drawn up by his Department since 1 January 1999 to assist staff in his Department to answer subject access requests under the Data Protection Act 1998. [53387]

Dr. Howells: A copy of the following documents will be placed in the Library:

1 May 2002 : Column 787W


RAF Benson

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many married quarters there are at RAF Benson; and how many of them are (a) under repair and (b) waiting repair; [50818]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 18 April 2002]: There are 599 family quarters at RAF Benson. Of the few that are vacant, two cannot be occupied until repairs are completed. One of the two will be converted for a special needs family.

Approximately 42 per cent. of the properties managed by the Defence Housing Executive (DHE) have repairs raised against them at any one time. These can embrace a wide range of jobs, from major refurbishment such as re-roofing, down to the replacement of a tap washer.

I have received no specific representations about the DHE from RAF Benson, but the DHE is aware of the need continuously to improve the service it provides to all service families. In the area in question, the DHE has changed the firm contracted to provide works service management.

Arms Sales (Africa)

Tony Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what was the value of arms sales to individual countries in Africa in each year since 1997. [51578]

Dr. Moonie: The data requested are set out in the table.

£ million 1997199819992000Total country
South Africa0.111.271.891.404.67
Central African Republic0.010.01
Sierra Leone0.371.061.43

These figures are derived from table 1.13 of the Ministry of Defence publication "UK Defence Statistics 2001". The information is also published in Part III of the Government's annual report on "Strategic Export Controls". Copies of both documents are available from the Library of the House.

1 May 2002 : Column 788W

Figures for 2001 are not yet available.

Next Section Index Home Page