HC Deb 19 January 1998 vol 304 cc683-4
27. Miss Kirkbride

How much has been spent on the millennium experience at Greenwich out of public funds. [21471]

Mr. Mandelson

No taxpayers' money is being spent on the project other than that already committed by English Partnerships to prepare the site for development. The New Millennium Experience Company is receiving a lottery grant of £399 million net from the Millennium Commission, of which the company had spent £58.5 million by the end of 1997.

Miss Kirkbride

I understand that the Minister does not want to give us much information about the financial aspect of the millennium dome and the millennium experience, but he has said that he wishes it to be the best of British. Will he elucidate why he needs to find out about the best of British in Disneyland in Florida and why his boss the Prime Minister needs to go to Japan to find experiences that will clearly not be the best of British?

Mr. Mandelson

The hon. Lady cannot have listened to my reply about my visit to Disney. My responsibilities as Minister in connection with this matter have received commendation, most recently from the right hon. Member for Henley (Mr. Heseltine), who in an interview last week said: I think that he's doing it as well as it can be done. It is a difficult and controversial job to do and there's no easy precedent.