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Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what representations she has received on alternative sources of revenue for the BBC to the licence fee; and if she will make a statement. [67830]

Dr. Howells: Representations about alternative methods of funding the BBC are not recorded separately from other representations about television licensing received by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. In the year from April 2001 to March 2002, the Department replied to 272 letters from Members of Parliament and 611 letters from members of the public about television licensing issues, a minority of which related to alternative funding methods.


Mr. Mark Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what her expenditure has been on the promotion of tourism in Britain in the last 12 months. [67785]

Dr. Howells: The British Tourist Authority (BTA) promotes Britain overseas as a tourist destination. Its baseline funding was £35.5 million in 2001–02 and is £35.5 million in 2002–03. In addition, the BTA received £14.2 million from the reserve in 2001–02 to combat the impact of the outbreak of foot and mouth disease and in 2002–03 the Government committed up to £20 million from the reserve for the "Million Visitor" tourism recovery campaign, to be matched by contributions from the industry in cash and in kind.

Baseline funding for English tourism rose from £10 million in 2001–02 to £12 million this year. The English Tourism Council has also been awarded funds for e-tourism projects: an award of £0.9 million was made in 2001 from the Capital Modernisation Fund and £3.6 million in 2002 from the Invest to Save Budget.

The promotion of tourism within Scotland and Wales is a matter for the devolved Administrations.

Television Technology (Disabled Access)

Mr. Berry: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) if she will make it her policy to

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pursue harmonising measures at EU level to ensure that future generations of set top boxes and digital TVs (a) have a second sound channel built in and (b) support other key access features for blind, partially-sighted and other disabled people; [68304]

Dr. Howells: The Government have no plans to pursue such harmonising measures with the EU. The design features and production of set top boxes are matters for the manufacturers to decide. However, we have launched a joint consultation with the DTI to examine how integrated digital television sets will help achieve switch over. We are seeking comments on what conditions should apply to digital decoders in order to ensure that consumers with disabilities can get all the benefits of digital television. This will inform our future policy decisions on digital television.


Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when she last met the Secretary of State for Health to discuss the role of sport in tackling the problem of obesity. [67937]

Mr. Caborn [holding answer 8 July 2002]: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport has not met the Secretary of State for Health formally to discuss obesity, but is involved in the health inequalities cross cutting review discussions chaired by the Department of Health.

I chair monthly cross-governmental ministerial meetings, attended by Ministers from the Department of Health, where issues relating to sports policy are discussed, including sport and physical activity initiatives which have a role in combating obesity. The last meeting was held on 2 July.

My Department accepts that physical activity has an important role to play in combating the prevalence of obesity. We are committed to increasing the number and quality of opportunities for participation in sport and physical activity by all sectors of the community and especially for pupils in schools, and we are working closely with Department of Health and Department for Education and Skills to help achieve this objective.


Mr. Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what action the Government are taking to encourage local authorities to recognise the role that sports can play in society. [68532]

Mr. Caborn: Local authorities are key providers of sport and recreation and play a central role in the delivery of sport for local communities. The Government has taken significant action to encourage local authorities to recognise the important role that sport can play in society. These measures include forging successful partnerships with local authorities through Sport England to deliver a number of key sports programmes such as 'Active Sports'

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(which helps children and young people achieve more from their sport, delivered at local level by local authorities, sports clubs, education services, schools and governing bodies of sport), and 'Active Communities' (which involves working closely with local authorities and other partners in the community to increase life long participation in sport and to promote the improvement in the delivery of local sporting opportunities and services for the community).

Sport England has also published "The Value of Sport"—a major advocacy tool to help local authorities to respond in a positive way to the Government's Best Value and Modernising initiatives. The document responds to the challenge of 'Why invest in sport?', and highlights the key role of the public sector in enabling and providing sport at the local level. It actively champions the benefits and contribution that sport can make to the broader local authority policy agenda, including health, education, social inclusion, community safety, community regeneration, the economy and the environment.

The Government's Beacon Council Scheme aims to raise standards of local authority services by a programme designed to spread best practice. Beacon Council status recognises councils which are excellent in a particular service or cross cutting area and have good performance across the board. The scheme requires Beacon Councils to share best practice with other councils through a national co-ordinated programme of events. In 2001 the Beacon Council Scheme identified four successful councils excelling in Regeneration through Culture, Sport and Tourism, which were Knowsley, Sunderland, Gateshead, and Nottingham. These successful authorities will use their position as Beacon Councils to promote and share best practice with other authorities. My Department is also encouraging local authorities to develop Local Cultural Strategies by the end of 2002. These strategies will help local authorities express their own cultural visions and priorities in response to the needs and aspirations of local communities. They will provide a strategic overview, recognising the role of cultural services, such as sport, in tackling the wider objectives of social inclusion, regeneration, life long learning, and creating healthier and safer communities. Cultural Strategies will help local authorities to ensure equity and access for everyone to cultural activities.


Marine Regulatory Body

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to establish a marine regulatory body. [68751]

Mr. Spellar: None. The Department's Maritime and Coastguard Agency, which was established in 1988 on the merger of the Marine Safety and Coastguard Agencies, is the UK maritime regulatory body.

Fishing Vessels (Accidents)

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many collisions have taken place between EU- flagged fishing vessels and local vessels where the former is operated under third-party waters access agreements in

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the last five years; what analysis has been made of the effects of those agreements on the mortality rates of local fishermen; and if he will make a statement. [68336]

Mr. Jamieson: There is no requirement for a EU-flagged fishing vessel operating under third country agreements to notify the UK when it is involved in a collision. UK registered fishing vessels are required to report accidents to the Maritime Accident Investigation Branch. The reports do not require information on whether the vessel is operating under third country agreements. We therefore do not have these figures.

Pilotage Act

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what contraventions of the Pilotage Act 1987 there have been in the Humber estuary in the last five years. [68753]

Mr. Spellar: This information is not held centrally.

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which body will determine the competence of a competent harbour authority under the terms of the Pilotage Act 1987; and what criteria this body will apply. [68750]

Mr. Spellar: Competent harbour authorities are those which met the criteria in section 1 of the Pilotage Act 1987. These harbour authorities are obliged under section 2 of the Act to keep under consideration certain general duties as to the provision of pilotage services.

Mrs. Dunwoody: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many times a ship's authorised pilot has debarked inside a compulsory pilotage district in the last five years. [68752]

Mr. Spellar: The Department does not hold this information.

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