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Rural Awareness

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when her Department will introduce measures to raise rural awareness through staff (a) training, (b) development and (c) secondments as part of overall rural proofing measures as set out in the Countryside Agency's report, Rural Proofing in 2001–02. [54416]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Minister for Rural Affairs on 9 May 2002, Official Report, column 274W.


Parthenon Marbles

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent discussions she has had with the Government of Greece concerning the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Athens. [53822]

Tessa Jowell: I received a letter from Professor Evangelos Venizelos, Minister of Culture of Greece on 21 June 2001, and I replied to him on 15 July 2001. I have had no discussions with the Government of Greece on this matter.

European Capital of Culture

Kevin Brennan: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will announce the name of the person chosen to be Chairman of the European Capital of Culture 2008 Advisory Panel. [55454]

Mr. Caborn: On 8 May my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced the appointment of Sir Jeremy Isaacs, the former chief executive of Channel Four and general director of the Royal Opera House, as the chairman of the European Capital of Culture 2008 Advisory Panel.

The broadcaster Sue MacGregor and Judith Mayhew, Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee at the Corporation of London, will be deputy chairs. Further appointments to the panel will be announced shortly.

National Lottery

Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment she has made of the effect of the current allocation process for lottery funds on the accumulation of unspent funds; and if she will make a statement. [56141]

Mr. Caborn: The National Lottery has raised approximately £12.65 billion for good causes since its launch in November 1994, around £9.1 billion of which has been spent by the National Lottery distributing bodies. This leaves a balance of about £3.55 billion which distributors have not yet drawn down from the National Lottery Distribution Fund, although at the end of March 2002 distributors' total commitments stood at over £4.12 billion, some £570 million more than the balance held in the fund.

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Government accounting rules, and the financial directions issued to the distributing bodies by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, prevent distributors from drawing down money from the Distribution Fund before it is needed to cover expenditure incurred by grant recipients. We will, however, examine how the financial directions might be modified to allow distributors a greater flexibility in managing the funds allocated to them, to enable more funds to be committed and to allow funds which are already committed to be transferred more quickly to grant recipients.

Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what factors underlay the decision to reject the recommendation of the Rothschild Commission on Gambling that a charitable foundation would be the most appropriate and effective system for allocating Lottery money; and if she will make a statement. [56142]

Mr. Caborn: Following publication of a White Paper on the National Lottery in 1992 and the consultation which followed it was concluded that establishing the Lottery as a charity would blur the lines of accountability, and that under charity law many of the good causes beneficiaries which were not charities would not be eligible for funding.

Given the substantial sums of money involved—far in excess of those estimated by the Rothschild Commission—separate distributing bodies for each of the good causes were considered more appropriate, using existing bodies where possible so as not to duplicate expertise or run counter to existing strategies.

Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make it her policy to ensure that all young people aged seven to 21 years have the opportunity to participate in arts and sports through Government or Lottery funded programmes; and if she will make a statement. [56143]

Mr. Caborn: One of the Department's four strategic priorities is to enhance access to a fuller cultural and sporting life for children and young people. To meet this aim DCMS is working closely with DfES and Lottery distributors to deliver a number of key initiatives, including: a sporting entitlement to ensure that all children have access to two hours a week of high quality school sport and physical education; the school sports co-ordinator programme, specialist sports colleges and the New Opportunities Fund Sport and PE in School Programme to improve sports provision in schools; Creative Partnerships, a new initiative linking schools with cultural organisations which is being established in 16 deprived areas across England; Space for Sport and Arts which will improve facilities in primary schools in deprived areas; and the music entitlement which will give all primary school pupils the opportunity to learn a musical instrument.

Sue Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment she has made of the impact of the underspend of Lottery money for good causes on long-term sales of tickets; and if she will make a statement. [56140]

Mr. Caborn: No specific assessment has been made. However, the Government regard it as important that the public should have confidence that Lottery funding is

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bringing the maximum benefit to good causes, and have asked the distributors to take steps to transfer committed funds to grant recipients as quickly as possible.

Crystal Palace Sports Stadium

Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on Sport England's plans in respect of Crystal Palace sports stadium, with special reference to the financial implications of surrendering its lease. [57088]

Mr. Caborn: Sport England has conducted a strategic review of all its national centres to ensure that they, and the resources required to run them, are utilised to the best effect. Sport England will shortly be meeting the London borough of Bromley, which owns the freehold of the Crystal Palace centre, to discuss a number of issues including the future development of the centre. I understand that no firm decisions have yet been taken in respect of the centre's future.

Anglo-Italian Meetings

Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on how many occasions in the last six months members of her Department have met their Italian counterparts; and what subjects were discussed. [56894]

Mr. Caborn: I can confirm that neither Ministers nor officials have taken part in any bilateral meetings with their Italian counterparts during the last six months.

However, DCMS Ministers and officials regularly meet their counterparts from European Union member states, including Italy, at a wide range of EU meetings. These include formal and informal meetings of the Council of Ministers, working groups, committees and meetings on specific issues such as sport, tourism, cultural and audiovisual policy. We also meet in other forums, such as the Council of Europe, the World Anti-Doping Agency and UNESCO.


Medical Officers (Reservists)

Paul Goggins: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether medical officers from the reserve forces are to be called out for mobilised service in support of deployed operations; and if he will make a statement. [57611]

Dr. Moonie: The Government have authorised the compulsory call out of anaesthetists, general surgeons and orthopaedic surgeons from the volunteer reserve forces to support military operations in the Balkans and

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Afghanistan. Initially we plan to call out five consultant anaesthetists and two consultant orthopaedic surgeons to report in mid-June and four consultant general surgeons to report in mid-July. Each individual will be mobilised for a period of no more than three months, which allows a little over two months deployment in an operational theatre with the balance comprising pre-deployment training and post-tour leave. We expect to have to continue using similar, or possibly slightly higher, numbers until next spring. The requirement will be reviewed regularly to ensure that the numbers called out are the minimum required to support operations.

Data Protection Act

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence 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. [53386]

Dr. Moonie: I refer the hon. Member to the answer my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary for the Lord Chancellor's Department (Mr. Wills) gave on 25 April 2002, Official Report, column 446W to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Hall Green (Mr. McCabe).

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