HC Deb 24 April 2001 vol 367 cc242-5W
Mr. Ian Stewart

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will set out, including statistical information relating as directly as possible to the Eccles constituency, the effects on Eccles of his Department's policies and actions since 2 May 1997. [157284]

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 strategies to take this forward including Tomorrow's 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 areas. We have delivered free access to national museums for children and the over-60s and additional money will be provided to allow this to be extended to everyone in December 2001. We have commissioned a taskforce which is currently considering the issues facing non-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 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. In delivering these initiatives we aim to make cultural and sporting activities inclusive ones, boosting participation and improving the quality of life for all.


According to the information supplied to us by the distributing bodies for the national lottery awards database, there have been 33 national lottery awards to Eccles, totalling £2,022,071. This includes an award from the Millennium Festival of £340,000.

Five Millennium Award Winners have been identified from Eccles and between them they have received grants totalling £16,117.

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 7,000 people aged 75 or over living in the Eccles constituency.

£120 million of central Government and lottery funding is being invested in setting up a network of 1,000 School Sport Co-ordinators. These Co-ordinators will based in families of schools, in areas of greatest need, linked wherever possible through local education authorities to Specialist Sports Colleges. They will provide opportunities for young people to compete regularly for their school and take part in a wide range of sports. By 2004, there will be about 250 families established with 1,000 secondary schools and up to 6,000 primary schools benefiting directly from this programme. Eccles has School Sport Co-ordinators at Ashton-on-Mersey School.

Under the Space for Sport and Arts scheme, Salford local education authority has been allocated up to £2.2 million towards providing improved facilities for sport and arts in primary schools which can also be used by the wider community. Moorfield and St. Peter's CE primary schools in my hon. Friend's constituency have been chosen to develop schemes under the SSA.

On 21 February, Chris Smith announced the 16 areas in which it is hoped Creative Partnership pilots will be developed. Salford is one of these areas. The Arts Council of England, which is delivering the initiative, will be consulting schools and creative organisations in each location over the next few months to establish which bodies and schools will be involved. Details on how schools and cultural organisations can take part in Creative Partnerships will be available from the Arts Council from early May. Funding for the initiative will come on stream in April 2002.

Salford Library Authority, which covers the Eccles constituency, received an award of £55,000 from the DCMS/Wolfson Public Libraries Challenge Fund in 1998–99. The funding was given for a public library ICT project. It is not possible to say what percentage of this funding benefited the Eccles constituency.

English Heritage have awarded St. Mary the Virgin, Eccles, £159,046.

There are of course other initiatives in the wider context of the region which may have an effect on the Eccles constituency. These are: North West Arts Board received £14,061,000 in 2000–01 from the Arts Council to support arts and cultural activity across its region. In 2001–02 this will increase to £15,491,266 or by 10.17 per cent. The Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester has benefits for Eccles constituents with the introduction of free access for children and the over 60s.