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23 Oct 2000 : Column WA1

Written Answers

Monday, 23rd October 2000.

Education Action Zones

Baroness Blatch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Bach on 11 November 1999 (WA 196-198) regarding evaluation reports on Education Action Zones, whether they will indicate what progress has been made in the publication of such reports.[HL4206]

The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Baroness Blackstone): We intend to publish a progress report in the next six months.

Baroness Blatch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Bach on 11 November 1999 (WA 196-198) regarding a statement of private sector contributors to each Education Action Zone, whether they will indicate what progress has been made in providing such a statement. [HL 4205]

Baroness Blackstone: Details of private sector donations are contained within the annual audited accounts for each zone. These are laid in the Libraries of Parliament by the National Audit Office.

Millennium Dome

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

    On what basis the moneys promised to the Millennium Dome company by commercial sponsors have not yet been paid in full.[HL3987]

The Minister of State, Cabinet Office (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): The New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) has advised that, under the terms of the contractual arrangements with sponsors, the following payments are outstanding or due as indicated:

Tesco£500,000--was due for payment on 1 March but withheld while issues raised by Tesco were being resolved in discussion with NMEC. NMEC considers that these issues have now been resolved.
L'Oreal£365,322--due on contract signature. Advised by NMEC to be imminent with no outstanding issues.
BskyB£500,000 payment due in October 2000. £500,000 payment due in December 2000.
Mars£250,000 payment due in December 2000.
Coca Cola£250,000 payment due in December 2000.
BA£100,000 payment due in December 2000.

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

    Why the Millennium Dome was advanced a further £43 million from the funds of the Millennium Commission on 3 August; and[HL3879]

    Whether they consider that the sum of £43 million advanced to the Millennium Dome on 3 August was a grant or a loan; and what were the terms express or implied under which the money was advanced; and[HL3880]

    What undertakings were given to the Millennium Commission by Lord Falconer of Thoroton and the Government as a condition of the grant of £47 million being made from Lottery funds to the Millennium Dome in August.[HL3986]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Millennium Commission does not have the statutory powers to make loans and has never offered loans to the New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC). Grant made to NMEC will be repayable from any operational surplus or asset disposal achieved after the organisation has met its other contractual liabilities.

On 3 August, in light of the £53 million receipt from the then expected sale of the Dome to Dome Europe plc, the Millennium Commission announced a grant of up to £43 million to the New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC). In doing so, the commission allowed NMEC to realise the potential of the funds due from the sale of the Dome in order to allow the Dome to continue trading, and to facilitate the deal with Dome Europe. The grant to NMEC was awarded subject to a number of conditions, including that the income from the sale would be given directly to the Millennium Commission; that there would be continued regular and detailed reviews of NMEC's financial position; and that the management team would be strengthened.

On 13 September, the Millennium Commission made a further grant of £47 million to allow NMEC to continue operating the Dome to the end of the year and to deal with the company's specified expected liabilities. NMEC's new executive chairman has been investigating the scope of possible further liabilities, but the board is confident that the company can operate the Dome until the end of the year and achieve solvent liquidation thereafter, within the level of Lottery grant available.

Lord Luke asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why the Millennium Dome was advanced a further £47 million from the funds of the Millennium Commission on 5 September; and [HL3882]

    Whether they consider that the sum of £47 million advanced to the Millennium Dome on 5 September was a grant or a loan; and what were the terms express or implied under which the money was advanced. [HL3883]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Millennium Commission does not have the statutory powers to make loans and has never offered loans to the New

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Millennium Experience Company (NMEC). Grant made to NMEC will be repayable from any operational surplus or asset disposal achieved after the organisation has met its other contractual liabilities.

On 5 September, the Millennium Commission announced that it had offered to the New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) a grant of up to £47 million in order to facilitate the deal with Dome Europe. The Millennium Commission's decision was based on the findings of PricewaterhouseCoopers' independent analysis of NMEC's financial situation. This grant offer fell away when Dome Europe decided not to pursue its bid, as the purpose of grant could not be achieved.

On 13 September the Millennium Commission made a further grant of £47 million to allow NMEC to continue operating the Dome to the end of the year and to deal with the company's specified expected liabilities. In doing so, the commission sought assurances that arrangements are introduced to ensure that contingencies and provisions in the budget are used only as essential and with the commission's prior consent, and action plans are developed for managing and mitigating the risks identified; that NMEC's management capacity is significantly stregthened, and NMEC attends regular monitoring meetings with the Millennium Commission. NMEC's new executive chairman has been investigating the scope of possible future liabilities, but the board is confident that the company can operate the Dome until the end of the year and achieve solvent liquidation thereafter, within the level of Lottery grant available.

Nandrolone

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

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord McIntosh of Haringey on 27 July (WA 69), when they will publish their response to the United Kingdom Sport Report on Nandrolone which was published in January.[HL4028]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: We are waiting for UK Sport to report on the developments that have taken place since the publication of the original report in January. The Nandrolone Committee, established by UK Sport under the chairmanship of Professor V H T James, has continued to receive further information and decisions of hearings as they have become available. UK Sport has also been working with the food supplement industry on the issues highlighted in the report and met with the leader of the Aberdeen University research team that has been looking at dietary supplements on behalf of UK Athletics.

British Museum South Portico

Baroness Jeger asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Who was responsible for the use of imported French stone in the south portico of the British

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    Museum when Portland stone had been contracted; and what action is being taken and at what cost to rectify this mistake.[HL4110]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Trustees of the British Museum decided to continue constructing the south portico in French oolitic limestone after receiving the results of petrographic tests, from which they concluded that the French stone was fit for the purpose and that it was within the original specification: "Oolitic limestone--Portland stone from the basebed or similar." That specification and the subsequent use of the French stone were approved by English Heritage, which gave further advice on the steps to be taken to improve the colour match with the surrounding stone by washing away the embedded dust. The washing has now been completed. The trustees remain fully confident that their decision was right.

The museum has withheld payments under the contract amounting to £300,000. The cost of washing away the dust is estimated at £15,000.

Parliamentary Cost Comparisons

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will give, separately, the total cost of each House of the United Kingdom Parliament and of the European Parliament, for the most recent year for which figures are available, indicating in respect of each the annual cost per Member.[HL4175]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I refer the noble Lord to the Answer I gave the noble Viscount, Lord Tenby, on 5 July (Official Report, WA 133).

Population Breakdown: Ethnic Minorities

Lord Willoughby de Broke asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Based on the most recent census figures, what percentage of the British population consists of ethnic minorities; what is the breakdown in percentage terms between those minorities; and what percentage is the minority of Irish descent.[HL4157]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter to Lord Willoughby de Broke from the National Statistician and Registrar General for England and Wales, Office for National Statistics, Mr Len Cook, dated 23 October 2000.

As National Statistician and Registrar General for England and Wales I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking, "based on the most recent census figures, what percentage of the British population consists of ethnic minorities, what is the breakdown in percentage terms between those minorities, and what percentage is the minority of Irish descent." [HL4157]

23 Oct 2000 : Column WA5

The 1991 Census is the most recent census and the percentage of the population of Great Britain (54,888,844) from an ethnic minority background was 5.5 per cent. The breakdown in percentage terms between those minorities was:

Percentage
Black Caribbean0.9
Black African0.4
Black Other0.3
Indian1.5
Pakistani0.9
Bangladeshi0.3
Chinese0.3
Other Asian0.4
Other0.5

There was no explicit category of 'Irish' in the ethnic group question in the 1991 Census, although space was allowed for people to describe their ethnic group in their own words if they felt that none of the pre-coded categories applied.

In statistical material published after the 1991 Census, the numbers of people 'born in Ireland' were presented as a proxy for data on 'Irish' as an ethnic group. The percentage of persons who stated they were born in Ireland in response to the Country of Birth question was 1.5 per cent. This includes those born in the Republic of Ireland and in Northern Ireland.

The above figures were calculated from data published in Table 6 of the 1991 Census Report for Great Britain Part 1, laid before Parliament in 1993. This report is available from the House of Commons Library.



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