HC Deb 09 April 2001 vol 366 cc410-2W
Ms Moran

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will set out, with statistical information relating as directly as possible to the constituency, the effects on the Luton, South constituency of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [156164]

Mr. Chris Smith

Since May 1997 my Department has introduced and developed a variety of initiatives which will impact on my hon. Friend's constituency which promote our objectives of access, excellence, education, and creativity and employment. We have published our strategies to take this forward in "Tomorrows Tourism" and "A Sporting Future for All", which was recently followed up by "The Government's Plan for Sport". We have tackled the issue of social inclusion taking forward the recommendations of Policy Action Team 10 on Arts and Sport and developing social inclusion policies across all our areas which is recognised within the most recent progress report "Building on PAT10".

We have given more support to the cultural and sporting infrastructure. The Spending Review 2000 secured a doubling of the budget for sport and the largest ever increase for the arts: an increase of 80 per cent. from £186 million in 1997–98 to £336 million in 2003–04. In taking forward our aim to develop the educational potential of culture and sport £40 million has been allocated to developing Creative Partnerships; we have established through lottery funding, the £30 million National Foundation for Youth Music; and secured an additional £130 million for primary schools sports and arts facilities through the Space for Sport and the Arts programme. With £120 million of central Government and Lottery funding, we will be providing a school sports co-ordinator in one in four secondary schools to work with local primary and special schools to improve sporting provision and physical education for children in the most deprived treas. We have delivered free access to national museums for children and the over-60's and additional money will be provided to allow this to be extended to every one in December 2001. We have commissioned a taskforce which is currently considering the issues facing nun-national museums in the regions.

We have made improvements in the way the Lottery is spent to ensure a fairer distribution. The introduction of the New Opportunities Fund for spending on health, education and the environment has made a real difference to communities everywhere. For instance it has invested £120 million to support the People's Network, which will enable all 4,300 public libraries to offer free public Internet access through UK online learning centres; and a further £50 million to stimulate development of content to support the Network.

We have set up a Regional Cultural Consortium in each of the English regions outside London to champion culture and creativity, including heritage, sport and tourism, and to draw up regional cultural strategies identifying regional objectives and priorities.

We have published a Green Paper "Culture and Creativity: The Next Ten Years" setting out how individual creative talent can be given the support it needs from childhood to flourish; how artists and cultural institutions can be freed from bureaucratic controls; and how the freedom to explore and enjoy creativity and culture can be made available to all.

Through their commitment to public service broadcasting, the Government have helped to foster an environment in which a creative, commercially successful broadcasting industry provides a wide range of UK-made, high-quality, original programmes catering for all viewers and listeners. We have ensured a secure funding base for the BBC and S4C, while giving them the freedom to develop commercial operations which complement and support their public service remit. We have made it clear in the Communications White Paper that public service broadcasting will continue to have a key role to play in the digital future. The Government have introduced free television licences for people aged 75 or over from 1 November last year.

My Department sponsors the British Tourist Authority (BTA) which continues to promote Britain effectively as an attractive tourist destination for overseas visitors. The BTA's successful marketing activities are aimed at bringing benefits to all parts of the UK, including Luton, South.

In delivering these initiatives we aim to make cultural and sporting activities inclusive ones, boosting participation and improving the quality of life for all. Luton, South

According to the information supplied by the distributing bodies for the national lottery awards database, there have been 56 national lottery awards to Luton, South totalling £4,896,824.

Twenty Eight Millennium Award Winners have been identified from Luton, South and between them they have received grants totalling £39,779.

Under the Space for Sport and Arts scheme, Luton local education authority has been allocated up to £1.75 million towards providing improved facilities for sport and arts in primary schools which can also be used by the wider community. Farley, Foxdell and St Matthew's junior schools in the hon. Member's constituency have been chosen to develop schemes under the SSA.

English Heritage (EH) have awarded the following grants since 2 May 1997: Heritage Economic Regeneration Scheme Luton (Plaiter's Lea and High Town): 1999–2000–£100,000 offered. 2000–01–£100,000 offered.

Information on the number of beneficiaries of free television licences by constituency is not available, but estimates based on the 1991 Census indicate that there were approximately 5,000 people aged 75 or over living in the Luton, South constituency.

East England Arts received £6,202,000 in 2000–01 from the Arts Council to support arts and cultural activity across its region. In 2001–02 this will increase to £7,116,585 or by 14.74 per cent.