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Religious Broadcasting

Donald Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether in the course of her consultations on the draft Communications Bill she plans to meet representatives from the Christian broadcasting industry to discuss the statutory ban on religious organisations holding several categories of broadcasting licence. [70728]

Dr. Howells: I met representatives from the Centre for Justice and Liberty on 21 March 2002 and discussed a range of issues concerning religious organisations and broadcasting licensing.

Mr. Fisher: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if it is her policy to seek to regulate religious broadcasting by (a) placing limits on ownership, (b) regulation and (c) legislation. [72406]

Dr. Howells: Yes. We have set out our position on religious broadcasting in the document "The draft Communications Bill—The Policy".

Libraries

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport which libraries have (a) opened and (b) reopened since 1997; and what sources of public funding are available to them. [71167]

Dr. Howells: The number of library openings and re-openings is not held centrally. However, the total number of libraries in England between 1996–97 and 2000–01 was:

Number
1996–973,083
1997–983,053
1998–993,037
1999–20003,031
2000–013,032

The figures in the table reflect only branch and central libraries open for at least 10 hours a week. They do not include static libraries open for less than that duration, mobile libraries or special services provided by English library authorities to senior citizens' homes and others in sheltered housing schemes. In 2000–01 the figures for these two types of provision were, respectively: 130 static libraries open for less than 10 hours, 465 mobiles and 16,819 outlets in institutions.

Core funding for public libraries is provided through the Environmental Protection and Cultural Services block.

It is for local authorities to decide how much of their EPCS funding to allocate to their libraries in line with their statutory duty to provide library services that are

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comprehensive and efficient.Core funding for public libraries is provided through the Environmental Protection and Cultural Services block.

It is for local authorities to decide how much of their EPCS funding to allocate to their libraries in line with their statutory duty to provide library services that are comprehensive and efficient.

National Foundation of Youth Music

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment has been made of the success of the National Foundation of Youth Music in increasing the participation of young people from low-income families in its activities. [71926]

Dr. Howells: Youth Music has established 19 Youth Music Action Zones in the most deprived areas of the country, and its programmes have already reached over 270,000 young people.

All Youth Music programmes are evaluated. Youth Music's ongoing programme of Youth Music Action Zones (YMAZ) began in August 2000 and an interim evaluation of each of the zones was carried out from December 2001 to April 2002.

Website

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport for how long she retains documents referred to in parliamentary answers on his Department's website. [72284]

Dr. Howells: My Department will seek to retain any document held on my Department's website referred to in a parliamentary answer for at least the life of that Parliament and while the document remains valid.

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether it is her policy to ensure that documents referred to in parliamentary answers are available via her Department's website. [72292]

Dr. Howells: My Department makes all publications available through the Department's website. Other documents, if referred to in a parliamentary answer, may be published on the website if it is felt relevant and useful to do so.

Tourism

Virginia Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps she will take to encourage people to holiday in the United Kingdom. [72400]

Dr. Howells: This year the Government are spending £72 million on tourism, of which £54 million is available to the British Tourist Authority (BTA). The BTA promotes Britain as a tourist destination in 27 countries

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and is currently running the 'Only in Britain, Only in 2002' campaign in our seven biggest overseas markets with television, radio and press advertising.

On 13 May we announced that we will be working with the English Tourism Council to improve the marketing within the UK of England as a tourist destination.

BBC

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) what representations she has received regarding the BBC's digital curriculum proposition; and if she will make a statement; [72337]

Dr. Howells: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is considering the digital curriculum proposal in accordance with the Department's published guidelines on proposed new BBC public services. The proposal has been subject to a period of public consultation which closed on 22 July and a substantial number of comments have been received. My right hon. Friend will now assess the response to the consultation and reach a decision as soon as possible.

Wembley Stadium

Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when she will publish the Government's response to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee's sixth report entitled "Wembley National Stadium Project: Into Injury Time". [72964]

Tessa Jowell: I am today publishing the Government's response to the Select Committee's sixth report entitled "Wembley National Stadium Project: Into Injury Time". The response is available on the DCMS website (www.culture.gov.uk) and copies of the response have been laid before Parliament and deposited in the Libraries of both Houses.

Scottish Executive

Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many formal and official inter-ministerial meetings her Department has held with the Scottish Executive since May 1999, broken down by (a) Scottish Executive department, (b) subject and (c) date. [72711]

Dr. Howells: My right hon. Friends the Secretary of State and the Minister for Sport regularly meet the Scottish Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport at the Sports Cabinet meetings. These were held on:


My right hon. and noble Friend the Minister for the Arts met with the Scottish Deputy Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport on 25 April 2002 to discuss Design Champion issues.

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In addition Ministers in DCMS and the Scottish Executive are in regular contact on policy issues by telephone, e-mail and letter.

Free Television Licences

Mr. Flook: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many households are entitled to free television licences in Taunton; and if she will make a statement. [73272]

Dr. Howells: TV Licensing, which administers the free television licence scheme for the BBC as Licensing Authority, is not able to provide geographical breakdowns of the number of free licences issued. However, estimates based on the 1991 Census indicate that there were approximately 8,500 people aged 75 or over in the Taunton constituency.

Science and Discovery Centres

Dr. Naysmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans she has to assist the funding of science and discovery centres; and if she will make a statement. [72324]

Dr. Howells: The Government have currently no plans to assist the funding of science and discovery centres. The Millennium Commission, together with the Wellcome Trust and the Wolfson Foundation has on Monday 22 July launched a £33 million fund for science centres and museums to allow them to renew or replace high quality science, education and technology exhibitions.

"A Force for Our Future"

Ross Cranston: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what progress has been made on implementing the recommendations contained in the Government's statement on the historic environment: A Force for Our Future. [73437]

Dr. Howells: Since A Force for Our Future was published in December 2001 the following has been achieved:

December

The Listed Places of Worship Grant scheme was launched.

March

Paradise Preserved, a guide to local authorities and cemetery managers on the care of the built and natural history of cemeteries was published.

April

The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment put in place arrangements for providing advice on all post-war listing proposals.

May

The Heritage Lottery Fund's Strategic Plan for 2002–07, agreed with the DCMS, DEFRA and then DTLR was published. Entitled Broadening the Horizons of Heritage it sets out proposals, among other things, to ensure that everyone can learn about, have access to and enjoy their heritage.

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The Quinquennial Review of English Heritage was completed with the full involvement of the DTLR (now OPDM), DEFRA, HMT and DfES. English Heritage are taking forward the recommendations as part of their modernisation programme;

The review of PPG 15 'Planning and the Historic Environment' and PPG16 'Archaeology and Planning' commenced with full involvement from the sector.

Heritage Link, an umbrella organisation for the voluntary organisations working in the sector was established. It will be formally launched in December.

The Construction Industry Training Board set up a heritage working group with full participation of the Building Skills Action Group and English Heritage to coordinate the promotion of heritage skills. English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund are promoting training in conservation craft skills by making it a requirement that all projects over £1 million produce a Training Plan, and by supporting training, including Modern Apprenticeships, as part of wider projects. HLF also support stand-alone projects for training volunteers in heritage skills.

June

The consultation document People and Places: a draft social inclusion policy for the built and historic environment, was launched by the Secretary of State, during Architecture Week.

July

The National Heritage Act 2002 Act came into force. This allows English Heritage to operate in overseas countries and to become involved in underwater archaeology in territorial waters adjacent to England. A Statutory Instrument specifying the boundaries of English territorial waters is being drafted in consultation with he Devolved Administrations and other relevant bodies.

The Statutory Order extending the definition of Treasure was laid before Parliament in July. It comes into force in January 2003 subject to its successful passage through both Houses.

English Heritage hosted a workshop with key players in the sector to consider how to take forward the consultation on how to broaden access to the historic environment. This was informed by the National Trust leaflet "Making History Matter".

English Heritage published a consultation document Making the Most of our Civic Heritage—some guiding principles for decision makers—at the Local Government Association Conference in June.

Sustainable Communities: Delivering through Planning, sets out the Government's plans for transforming the planning system.

DEFRA have agreed that English Heritage become a distributor for the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund, alongside the Countryside Agency and English Nature. Together they will disburse over £30 million to mitigate the impact of aggregates extraction.

The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment has distributed Our Street: Learning to See and From One Street to Another to every school in the UK.

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This is only the beginning of the process. We and the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister are working closely with the sector to take this forward. We will publish a full progress report in December.


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