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Communication Policy

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport which Ministers have met representatives of (a) the BBC, (b) ITV, (c) Channel 4 and (d) Channel 5 to discuss Government communication policy since October 2001. [57847]

Dr. Howells: Since October 2001 my ministerial colleagues and I have met representatives from all four broadcasters, both informally and in the course of our ministerial duties, on a wide range of issues including the development of communication policy. All such contacts are conducted in accordance with the Ministerial Code, the Civil Service Code and Guidance for Civil Servants: Contacts with Lobbyists.

National Lottery

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on the advice that her Department gives people in receipt of Lottery funds on conflicts of interest. [58108]

Mr. Caborn [holding answer 21 May 2002]: The financial directions issued to Lottery distributing bodies require them to devise and abide by a procedure for handling potential conflicts of interest which may arise in the evaluation of applications by the body or individual members of that body. The directions also deal with the avoidance of actual or perceived conflicts when bodies solicit Lottery applications; and with conflicts which might arise in connection with applications from companies or persons which the distributing body owns, controls or is able materially to influence.

In preparing their annual accounts, Lottery distributing bodies are required to comply with UK Accounting Standard FRS8 Related Party Transactions. The objective is to ensure that financial statements contain the disclosures necessary to draw attention to the possibility that the reported financial position and results may have been affected by the existence of related parties and transactions between them.

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Equal Treatment

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what new data series separated by gender, race, disability and age have been commissioned by her Department since August 1997. [58201]

Dr. Howells [holding answer 22 May 2002]: No new data series separated by gender, race, disability and age have been commissioned since August 1997. However, the following data have been commissioned which can potentially be separated by gender, ethnicity and age. Data on disability are not available from these sources.

Wage Costs

Mr. Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to her answer of 2 May 2002, Official Report, column 919W, what her latest assessment is of the wage costs of museums, galleries and arts organisations. [58660]

Dr. Howells: The latest estimate of the total wage costs of museums, galleries and arts organisations sponsored by DCMS is £175 million. This covers the national museums and galleries and The Arts Council of England.

The total is drawn from information supplied by the sponsored bodies on their pay bill during the 2001–02 financial year.

Television Licence Fee

David Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will abolish the television licence fee; and if she will make a statement. [58551]

Dr. Howells: No. The Government believe that, at present, the television licence fee retains distinct advantages over the possible alternative methods for funding the BBC. We have therefore made clear that the licence fee will remain the main source of BBC funding at least until the expiry of the BBC's current royal charter at the end of 2006. Future funding arrangements will need to be considered as part of the charter review process, which will commence in 2004.

Sports Facilities

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many publicly owned playing fields have been sold in each of the last 15 years. [58780]

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Mr. Caborn: Data on the number of playing fields sold is not collected. Sport England do however, monitor the number of planning applications concerning playing fields in their role as statutory consultee. The Government will shortly be publishing combined figures for (a) applications from schools submitted to the Secretary of State for Education and Skills for the disposal or change of use of school playing fields (which are already published monthly), and (b) figures from Sport England giving details of planning applications affecting playing fields which have been referred to them as statutory consultee (which are already published quarterly), along with (c) relevant data from the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much was spent by local authorities on sport facilities in each of the last 15 years. [58667]

Mr. Caborn: Details of the expenditure by local authorities on the construction, conversion and renovation of sports facilities are shown in the following table. Figures for 2000–01 and 2001–02 are not available. (For the purposes of this question the figures relate to built facilities and do not include running costs (eg staffing costs, other overheads)):

£ million

YearIndoor sports and Leisure centresSwimming pools

£ million

YearSports facilities


Mr. Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will publish her response to the recent report of the Tourism Alliance commissioned by her. [58661]

Dr. Howells: The Government have not responded point by point to the Tourism Alliance document "Tourism Spending Priorities", which was published in April. However, the document's recommendations will be taken on board in developing the modernisation programme for the tourism and hospitality industry, including marketing, quality, skills, modernised communication and structural reform. The document identifies a number of key strategic spending issues which we will be considering in the coming months.

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Mr. Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) what funding will be allocated to the regional development agencies in support of the tourism industry in the year 2002–03 by (a) her Department and (b) other Government agencies; [58603]

Dr. Howells: The announcement on 13 May about the structural reform of English tourism represents a radical change and yesterday I held the first meeting of the Steering Group to start considering the detail of how to take our proposals forward. We aim to report the Group's findings this summer.

No decision on the level of funding for marketing has yet been taken—an announcement about resources for tourism will be made at the appropriate time but not in advance of the spending round decisions. We have not sought, nor yet received offers of financial support, but I am sure that the industry will respond well, as it did for the Million Visitor campaign earlier in the year.

Depending on the details of transition to the new structures, we hope to be in a position to start marketing domestically in 2003–04. The precise decisions on dates will of course be for the public-private coalition to decide upon.

Regional development agencies will in future play a stronger part in the strategic leadership of tourism. However, no decisions on funding have yet been taken and the level of that funding will depend on the precise allocation of new responsibilities. We will continue to encourage RDAs to take account of the huge importance of tourism to their regions, both its direct and indirect impacts, when they take decisions about allocating their single pot.

Regional tourist boards are private companies limited by guarantee (one is a trust) and so are independent by nature. They are the natural partners for RDAs, with much tourism expertise, and we hope they will all forge effective working relationships with the RDAs.

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