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Government Car Service

Lord Hoyle asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Falconer of Thoroton: Responsibility for this matter has been delegated under the terms of the Framework Document to the Government Car and Despatch Agency. I have asked the Chief Executive, Mr Nick Matheson, to write to the noble Lord.

Letter from Mr Nick Matheson, Chief Executive, to Lord Hoyle:

"Lord Falconer of Thoroton, Minister of State at the Cabinet Office, has asked me in my capacity as the Chief Executive responsible for the Government Car and Despatch Agency to reply to your Parliamentary Question about the weighting given to purchasing cars manufactured in this country.

In establishing whether a particular car is suitable for use by the Government Car Service I have to be satisfied that I am achieving value for money, that I meet the guidelines set by the Prime Minister and that I comply with European Union procurement regulations. I cannot favour one manufacturer over another purely on the grounds of the country of manufacture of a particular vehicle."

Lord Hoyle asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Falconer of Thoroton on 6th July (WA 148), which of the cars listed are supplied to the Northern Ireland Office by the Government Car and Despatch Agency for the use of Ministers and senior officials; and whether they will list the number, type and make of each car.[HL3315]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: I refer the noble Lord to my answer of 24 July 2000 (col. WA 16.)

Northern Ireland: Discrimination Law

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to introduce measures to make it unlawful for public authorities in Northern Ireland to exercise their public functions in a way which is indirectly discriminatory against members of religious or racial groups.[HL3756]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: General law on race and religious discrimination is a matter for the devolved administration. Any change in the law to make it unlawful for public authorities to act in a way which led to indirect discrimination on religious or racial grounds would therefore be a matter for the devolved administration, subject to the Secretary of State's consent to any provisions relating to reserved matters. The Secretary of State has no proposals to amend the provisions of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 relating to discrimination by public authorities.

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Football: Funding of Competitions

Lord Harrison asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether through the Football Foundation, they will support and help to fund the establishment of a fourth division of the Football League from the existing Nationwide Conference, with an appropriate promotion and relegation system, to assist the development of teams in the lower divisions.[HL3766]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Although it is for the Football Foundation to make its own decisions on funding, the Government does not envisage that it will make funds available to establish a fourth division of the Football League. The foundation is a funding body, and decisions on the constitutions of football's competitions are matters for the sport's governing bodies.

Tourism

Lord Harrison asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, in recognition of its importance to Britain's economy, they will add tourism to the title of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.[HL3649]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Tourism expenditure was about £64 billion last year and about 1.8 million people are employed in tourism-related jobs, so the industry is indeed very important for us all. We do not think a change of name for the department would significantly change the status and success of the industry. We are confident that we can sponsor tourism vigorously alongside the arts and sport as part of the Government's broader cultural policies.

Unemployment

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their estimate of the impact upon the level of unemployment of the increased state spending recently announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.[HL3667]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Government's macroeconomic framework is designed to deliver high and stable levels of growth and employment; this platform of economic stability has already delivered an increase in employment of over one million since the election. The new spending plans are set within prudent limits and meet the clear fiscal rules to ensure macroeconomic stability. The Government have adhered to the fiscal spending envelope for the next three years set out in Budget 2000. Within this, current spending is planned to rise by 2.5 per cent a year in real terms, in line with the neutral assessment of trend growth in the economy, and net investment will more than double to 1.8 per cent of GDP by 2003-04.

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Department for Culture, Media and Sport: Management Review

Baroness Anelay of St Johns asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they accept any or all of the recommendations of the Montagu review, the external investigation into management of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport; and, if so, when and how they will be implemented.[HL3784]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The peer review of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport set out a wide range of proposals. Some have already been implemented, or are in the process of implementation. Others require the department to consult other organisations (for example, the Treasury and the NDPBs sponsored by the department) before a decision can be made on their implementation. The review is part of a continuing programme of action to improve the management of the department, as part of the overall Civil Service modernisation programme. Action prompted by the review will be incorporated within that wider programme.

Broadcasting: Regional Programmes

Baroness Anelay of St Johns asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are their plans to require commercial broadcast companies to provide a minimum broadcast time of regional programmes.[HL3785]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Government will publish a White Paper later this year which will set out our proposals for reform of broadcasting and telecommunications regulation. We invited ideas for issues to be addressed in the White Paper and we are presently reviewing the responses. Proposals to review the requirements for regional programming will be considered in that context.

Sudden Deaths in Sport

Baroness Anelay of St Johns asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What estimate they have made of the incidence of sudden death in sport among (a) males and (b) females.[HL3590]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Her Majesty's Government is concerned that such deaths occur in apparently fit and healthy people who are taking part in what should be beneficial sporting activities, and this issue is being investigated.

The National Sports Medicine Institute of the United Kingdom (NSMI) has convened a working party made up of leading experts in the field of exercise medicine to look at the issue of screening for causes of sudden death in athletes. Once the findings of the

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working party are published this will give a clearer idea of any issues that need to be taken forward in this area.

Sports Dispute Resolution Panel

Baroness Anelay of St Johns asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress they have made in setting up the independent Sports Dispute Resolution Panel; what costs have been incurred by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in setting up and administering the work of the panel; who are the members of the panel; what is their remit; and when they began their work.[HL3481]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Sports Dispute Resolution Panel (SDRP) is a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee, independent of government, set up by the principal sports organisations representing competitors, governing bodies and sponsors of sport. The current members of the company are the British Olympic Association (including the Athletes Commission), the Central Council of Physical Recreation, the Institute of Professional Sport, the Institute of Sports Sponsorship, the Northern Ireland Sports Forum, the Scottish Sports Association, and the Welsh Sports Association. SDRP is currently funded by an annual grant of £40,000 from the UK Sports Council.

SDRP's remit is to provide an independent and effective service for the speedy resolution of sports disputes in the United Kingdom and to promote best practice within the field of sports dispute resolution. SDRP offers arbitration, mediation and advisory services on any sports-related dispute, including those involving doping, selection and commercial contracts. The service extends to providing suitably qualified persons to chair or sit on governing body disciplinary tribunals and review panels.

The service is delivered through SDRP's standing panels of arbitrators and mediators, supported by a part-time secretariat. There are currently 99 members of the Panel of Arbitrators and 36 members of the Panel of Mediators. They are drawn principally from the legal profession and include retired judges, part-time judges, Queen's Counsel and Centre for Dispute Resolution (CEDR) accredited mediators.

SDRP commenced its work in October 1999 following the appointment of its first part-time director, Jon Siddall. Four referrals have been received to date, with others expected shortly.


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