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Figures do not distinguish between spouse and other settlement visas. This information could be obtained only by mutual search of Post's records, at disproportionate cost.
Figures for both spouses and unmarried partners, rounded to the nearest five.
Mr. Bradshaw: Following discussions with the incoming Interim Administration, we expect to renew diplomatic relations with Afghanistan on 22 December and to re-designate the Office of the British Representative in Kabul as an embassy, headed by a Chargé d'Affaires. We last had permanent diplomatic representation in Kabul in 1989. We did not have normal government-to-government dealings with the Taliban regime.
Mrs. Fitzsimons: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement about the certificates he has signed under section 28 of the Data Protection Act 1998, covering personal data processed by (a) the SIS and (b) GCHQ. 
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Mr. Straw: On 8 December I revoked Data Protection Act exemption certificates dated 30 July 2000 and issued new ones. I have placed copies of the new certificates, and a statement outlining the reasoning behind their issue, in the Library of the House.
Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had regarding the implications of European Union enlargement on regional structural fund programmes in Wales. 
There have so far been no specific discussions on the implications of EU enlargement for the Structural Funds programmes in Wales. However, as the Minister in the DTI responsible for the Structural Funds, I represented the UK at an informal meeting of EU regional policy Ministers held in Namur on 13 July under the Belgian Presidency of the EU, at which the Structural Funds was the main item on the agenda. More recently, I also touched on the subject with Michel Barnier, European Commissioner responsible for Regional Affairs, during his visit to the UK in early November. On both these occasions I put forward the current UK position that there should be a thorough review of the purpose and added value of the Structural Funds, and of the balance between the role of the EU and that of member states in providing assistance to lagging regions, before we enter into a debate about the implications for different member states, nations and regions of possible future Structural Funds regimes.
Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 21 June 2000, Official Report, column 230W, on small businesses, how many of the improvements listed have been instigated; and what is his assessment of (a) the costs and (b) benefits to business therefrom. 
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Solicitor-General if she will make a statement on the circumstances in which major trials have been delayed recently owing to commitment of Counsel to other cases for which they have agreed to be instructed which are listed at the same time. 
The Solicitor-General: It is important that major trials are conducted expeditiously in the interests of justice. Decisions as to the timing of trials are for the judges to determine, bearing in mind the representations that they receive. I am aware of the case to which this question refers, the name of which I am omitting since the matter
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is sub judice; however, I hope that the following information will be of assistance. The trial was originally fixed to commence on 2 October 2001. Application was made on behalf of one defendant for that date to be vacated due to serious illness rendering him unfit to stand trial. The matter was investigated by the Crown Prosecution Service and an independent medical report confirmed the position.
The case was therefore listed again before the trial judge to fix a new date. At this hearing it was clear that the first defendant would not be fit for trial for a period of six months. All parties, prosecution and the four defendants, were agreed that it was in the interests of justice that all should be tried together. However, when Counsel for the Crown sought a listing on the first available date in April 2002, six months ahead, Counsel for another defendant opposed this, on the grounds that neither he nor his junior, who had represented their client from the first appearance before the Crown court, would be available until the end of October 2002, and it would be unjust to deprive him of both counsel in those circumstances.
The Counsel for the prosecution opposed a delay of this length. In the event, the trial judge, having accepted that a delay until April was unavoidable because of the first defendant's illness and having weighed all the competing interests, ruled, with, she said, great reluctance, that the trial should be fixed for 4 November 2002.
Llew Smith: To ask the Solicitor-General if she will make a statement on the legal implications for the United Kingdom of the adjudication of the United Nations International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea, Ireland v. United Kingdom, on the Sellafield MOX plant, given on 3 December in Hamburg. 
By its order of 3 December 2002, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea "pending a decision by the Annexe VII arbitral tribunal" prescribed a provisional measure that Ireland and the United Kingdom "shall co-operate and shall for this purpose enter into consultations forthwith in order to:
(b) monitor risks or the effects of the operation of the MOX plant for the Irish Sea;
(c) devise, as appropriate, measures to prevent pollution of the marine environment which might result from the operation of the MOX plant."
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Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) if she will make a statement on the contribution made by the New Audiences Fund to the efforts to widen access to the arts; 
Dr. Howells: Attendance figures at organisations funded by the Arts Council of England increased by nearly 2 million between 19992000 and 200001. The contribution of the New Audiences Programme to this improvement is set out in the 2001 DCMS annual report.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) if she will make a statement on progress towards the Public Service Agreement to devolve decision-making to the regions; 
Dr. Howells: The Regional Cultural Consortiums have all produced regional cultural strategies. The Heritage Lottery Fund in England is now devolved to nine separate regional decision-making committees and by April 2002 the fund will open offices in each English region. The New Opportunities Fund now has a regional team and one representative in each region.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) if she will make a statement on progress towards the Public Service Agreement target to work with the British film industry to implement a new joint funded strategy for the development of the industry; 
(3) if she will make a statement on progress towards the target for improving strategic mechanisms for influencing anti-fraud standards in sponsored bodies; 
(4) if she will make a statement on progress towards the Public Service Agreement target for performance- related funding agreements of non-departmental public bodies. 
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Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what standard performance targets have been incorporated in the funding agreements of her Department's sponsored museums and galleries. 
Number of adult visitors
Number of child visitors
Number of over-60s visitors
Number of website visits
Number of UK and overseas loan venues
Percentage of collection stored in correct environmental conditions
Percentage of collection internet-accessible
Number of learners in on-site educational programmes
Grant-in-aid per visitor
Average days lost sick per employee excluding long-term sickness.
Dr. Howells: In January this year, DCMS published a sectoral social inclusion strategy for libraries, museums, galleries and archives. Counterpart documents on the historic and built environment and on the arts will follow. In its follow-up report to the work of the Policy Action Team 10 on Arts and Sport, published in February 2201, the Department also presented an action plan for disabled people and an outline action plan for people from ethnic minorities.
DCMS is working with the Arts Council of England to develop the £40 million Creative Partnerships programme, bringing together arts and media professionals with children in 16 deprived areas. All pilots will be up and running by April 2002. DCMS is also working alongside Department for Education and Skills, the New Opportunities Fund, Sport England and the Arts Council of England on the Space for Sport and Arts programme. This will fund new or renovated sports and arts facilities in around 300 primary schools in 65 deprived local education authority areas.
The Millennium Commission made decisions on their fifth funding round in June 2001, for projects that reflect the aims and aspirations of ethnic minority communities in the UK. The Commission awarded 10 grants with a total value of £23.6 million. Grants were awarded during 2000 for projects that reflected the aims and aspirations of black communities in the UK.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on the Public Service Agreement target to transfer her Department's responsibility for underwater archaeology to English Heritage. 
Dr. Howells: The Government are supporting a Private Member's Bill introduced into another place in July 2001 by Baroness Anelay of St. Johns, which includes provisions that were originally in the Culture and
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Recreation Bill to transfer underwater archaeology to English Heritage. The Bill has completed its passage through the other place and will shortly be introduced into the Commons.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) what assessment she has made of the margin of failure to achieve the target for reduced sickness absence in the Royal Parks Agency in 2001; 
Dr. Howells: The Chief Executive of the Royal Parks Agency (RPA) is responsible for meeting the targets set for reduced sick absence. He has put in place a strategy to deliver improved performance in this area. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State monitors the performance of the parks through a funding agreement. Should the RPA fail to meet any of its targets the Chief Executive is required to report this to the Secretary of State.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on progress towards the Public Service Agreement target of increasing visitor numbers in major national museums. 
Dr. Howells: Visitors to DCMS sponsored museums and galleries increased by 22 per cent. in 200001. Child visitors have increased by up to 20 per cent. since 1 April 1999 and visits from people over 60 increased by 40 per cent. in 200001. Free access for all to permanent collections held by DCMS sponsored museums was introduced on 1 December 2001.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on progress towards the Public Service Agreement target of promoting quality tourism development. 
Dr. Howells: Using the performance measure of the level of expenditure in the United Kingdom by domestic and overseas tourists, the target for 2000, £29.1 billion, was exceeded with an outturn of £38.9 billion.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment she has made of improved performance as a result of redeveloped funding agreements with non-departmental public bodies. 
Dr. Howells: It is too early to make a full assessment because the new funding agreements came into effect in April of this year. Regular six-monthly reports on the funding agreement targets will be monitored by the Department and will feed into the assessment of progress towards the value-for-money target in the DCMS 200104 Public Service Agreement.
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Dr. Howells: The Department is on schedule to meet its current Service Delivery Agreement target to review 50 per cent. (by expenditure) of its services and activities by December 2004. We completed a review of facilities management, accounting for 8 per cent. of spend, in 19992000; the function was contracted out. We are about to carry out a review of the core functions of policy-making and sponsorship of non-departmental public bodies. This review will account for a further 40 per cent. and will be completed during 200203. Information technology support (5 per cent.) will be reviewed in 200304, when contracts are up for renewal.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on progress towards the Public Service Agreement target for long-term savings in the support for heritage, sport and tourism. 
Dr. Howells: The Department is currently conducting the second stage of a Quinquennial Review of Sport England and the first stage of a review of English Heritage. These reviews will examine, among other issues, the scope for improvements in efficient, effective and responsive service delivery. Following the reconstitution of the English Tourist Board as the English Tourism Council (ETC), resources have been freed up to allow an increase in support to the English Regional Tourist Boards of over a third.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on progress towards the Public Service Agreement target of ensuring that public service broadcasters sustain the quality and range of their output. 
Dr. Howells: On 13 September 2001, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State gave the BBC approval to launch three new digital television channelsBBC4 and two children's channelsand five new digital radio channels. The approval was subject to conditions, including commitments to high quality, interactivity and the use of home-grown talent and productions. The new channels should educate and inform as well as entertain, and they should attract a wider range of viewers to all digital services. On 4 December 2001, my right hon. Friend received an application from the BBC to launch BBC3, a channel targeted at younger people, which will be considered in accordance with the published criteria for BBC new services.
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Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on progress towards the Public Service Agreement target for the number of new educational sessions undertaken by arts organisations. 
Dr. Howells: The land to the north of the British Library at St. Pancras has been temporarily transferred to the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, for purposes connected with the channel tunnel rail link. Once the land is returned to DCMS, disposal will be considered in the light of available opportunities.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on progress towards the target for the reduction of running costs as a proportion of the departmental expenditure limit. 
Dr. Howells: On the basis of my Department's current expenditure limits for the financial years 200102 to 200304, the average annual reduction in running costs is forecast to be approximately 4 per cent.
Dr. Howells: The Department remains committed to co-ordinating the Government's interest in the Millennium following an array of successful celebrations during the year 2000. After the closure of the Millennium Experience on 31 December 2000 which was operated by the New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC), the Department has continued to worked closely with the Millennium Commission which is distributing over £2 billion of Lottery funds. The commission has invested carefully and the projects it has funded will leave a lasting legacy for generations to come.
The commission's projects have created an estimated 13,300 permanent jobs and many capital projects have also acted as a catalyst for the regeneration of key areas throughout the country. Projects have levered in significant additional funding from a wide variety of sources, and the capital projects programme has constituted 1.35 per cent. of the total UK construction industry by value since 1994.
A study into the economic impact of the Millennium Experience at Greenwich which was jointly commissioned by NMEC, English Partnerships and the London borough of Greenwich, has established that the Dome eventually generated contracts worth more than £500 million for UK companies; generated £385 million in direct spending by visitors on transport, accommodation, catering etc.; provided work for over 7,700 people in construction and over 5,000 in management and operation between 1997 and 2000; and led to the regeneration of nearly 300 acres of formerly derelict, contaminated land.
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Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on progress towards the Public Service Agreement target to raise standards of care of museum collections and public access to them. 
Dr. Howells: Since 1999, the Designated Museums Challenge Scheme has provided support for each museum with designated collections. £15 million has been awarded to help improve the care of and access to those collections, in recognition of their outstanding importance. The number of museums in the scheme was increased to 62 in 1999.
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