HC Deb 04 March 1996 vol 273 cc8-9
7. Mrs. Clwyd

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage what is the closing date for responses to the consultation document, "Informing the Debate". [16357]

Mr. Sproat

The Government's discussion with interested parties is now effectively complete. We shall shortly announce our proposals, which Parliament will then be able to debate fully.

Mrs. Clwyd

Following the Government's humiliating defeat—yet again—in the House of Lords on the issue of listed sporting events, will the Minister assure the House today that mainstream television channels will be granted full access to those events in the future?

Mr. Sproat

The Government are strongly and sympathetically aware of the concerns expressed by Members on both sides of both Houses. If the hon. Lady follows the proceedings in the other place tomorrow, she will no doubt get an answer to her question.

Mr. Whittingdale

In considering responses, will my hon. Friend the Minister pay particular attention to the views of the governing bodies of the sports concerned? Does he accept that the market created following the advent of Sky has resulted in millions of pounds going to sports that those sports would otherwise not have received?

Mr. Sproat

My hon. Friend is quite right. A sport such as cricket, for example, receives about 40 or 50 per cent. of its funding from television rights. In respect of the question from the hon. Member for Cynon Valley, it is interesting that the Sports Council—totally uninfluenced by the Government—has greatly developed its views from those expressed in its letter of 16 January to those in its letter of 22 February, which I hope hon. Members will have a chance to see. That letter places strong weight behind my hon. Friend's point.