HC Deb 02 July 1998 vol 315 cc240-1W
Mr. Kidney

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what initiatives his Department is supporting for pensioners' concessionary admission charges at arts, leisure and tourist venues. [47678]

Mr. Fisher

One of my Department's key objectives is to widen access to arts, leisure and tourist venues for all groups, including older people. Whilst pricing policies are at the discretion of the governing bodies of individual arts, leisure and tourist organisations to decide, the Department has a number of initiatives in place.

We recently announced a £5 million New Audiences fund which will be used to discover the most effective ways to increase access to the arts for all age groups.

All the national museums and galleries that charge for admission offer concessionary rates for older people. In addition, our Code of Good Access Practice, which we have issued for consultation to the wider museums and galleries sector, asks for views on whether there should be a standard group of concessions, including senior citizens. We hope to publish the final Code in the summer.

Our new Sport for All policy will ensure that sporting opportunities are available to older people.

One of the Tourism Forum Working Groups has been considering widening access for older people. The Group's report will feed into the new tourism strategy which should be published later this year.

New Policy Directions issued on 1 June to Lottery distributors emphasised the importance of access for all. We are also encouraging local authorities to develop and publish leisure strategies to improve planning and policy making on issues such as widening access.