HC Deb 22 June 2001 vol 370 cc7-9W
Mr. Hendrick

To ask the Prime Minister what plans he has relating to the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Her Majesty the Queen's accession to the throne; and if he will make a statement. [408]

The Prime Minister

I am pleased to be able to announce that Her Majesty the Queen has approved a number of recommendations for the programme of celebrations during 2002, the focal point of which will be the "Jubilee weekend" covering 1 to 4 June. As I announced on 23 November 2000, Tuesday 4 June will be a bank holiday in place of the spring bank holiday that would otherwise fall on 27 May 2002 and Monday 3 June will be an additional bank holiday for the Golden Jubilee.

Following the recent reorganisation of Government Departments, the Ministerial Committee set up last year to help co-ordinate arrangements with Buckingham Palace is now being chaired by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

This significant national anniversary of 50 years of the Queen's reign will offer people of all ages and cultures and from all walks of life the opportunity for celebration, and the events surrounding the Jubilee will provide numerous opportunities for voluntary and community service. It should be a time for looking forward as well as back—including at the great changes that have taken place in the nation's life during Her Majesty's reign.

The main features of the programme approved so far by Her Majesty are as listed. Further details will be announced later.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh plan to travel as widely as possible around the United Kingdom during the year 2002, including visits to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. These tours around the UK will be focused on the summer months. The Queen will visit each English region, although it will not be possible to visit all cities and counties. The outline itinerary is as follows:

1–2 May

  • South West of England (including Cornwall, Devon and Somerset)

7–8 May

  • North East of England (including Tyne and Wear and Durham)

10 May

  • South East of England (Buckinghamshire and Berkshire)

23–29 May

  • Scotland

1–4 June

  • Jubilee Weekend in Windsor and London

7 June

  • South East of England (West Sussex)

11–13 June

  • Wales

27 June

  • Visit to the Armed Forces, Portsmouth

2–3 July

  • West Midlands (including Staffordshire and Warwickshire)

11–12 July

  • Yorkshire and the Humber (including West Yorkshire and the East Riding)

17–18 July

  • East of England (including Suffolk and Norfolk)

24–26 July

  • North West of England (including Merseyside and opening the Commonwealth Games in Manchester)

31 July-1 August

  • East Midlands (including Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire), and Yorkshire and the Humber (North Lincolnshire)

4 August

  • Close the Commonwealth Games in Manchester

5 August

  • North West of England (Lancashire)

In addition, there will be a number of London visits.

To help local communities mark and celebrate the Jubilee, lottery funding will be available from the Arts Councils, the Sports Councils, the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Community Fund, and the New Opportunities Fund. Voluntary organisations and local groups in the community will be able to apply through the cross-distributor "Awards for All" for grants of between £500 and £5,000 for Jubilee-related projects. Projects must meet existing criteria and involve one or more of the lottery good causes of the arts, sport, heritage, charities, health, education or the environment. I hope people will take advantage of this opportunity to use lottery money as a means both of celebrating the Jubilee and providing a lasting legacy for their communities.

The official Golden Jubilee website is being launched later today at http://www/goldenjubilee.gov.uk/. In due course it will include details of celebrations and events taking place throughout the United Kingdom during 2002, including the Queen's programme of visits. It will also provide members of the public with a central point for inquiries, suggestions and comments on any aspect of the celebrations. By the autumn of this year, it will incorporate, or give access to, other sites containing information about the plans for the Jubilee.

The Queen has accepted a recommendation for the design for a Golden Jubilee Emblem which members of the public, commercial and public services and manufacturers may use, at no cost, to "brand" events, services, souvenirs and other items connected with the Jubilee. The Emblem, together with guidance on its use, will be obtainable from the Golden Jubilee website. A copy of the Emblem has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

The Queen has made it clear that she wishes there to be no undue expenditure from public funds on the celebrations. The Queen has asked that those organisations or individuals wishing to celebrate the Golden Jubilee with some form of donation be encouraged to give either to one or more of the following five charities of which Her Majesty is Patron: Banardo's, CRUSE Bereavement Services, I CAN (national education charity for children with speech and language difficulties), the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution, and the Soldiers, Sailors and Air Force Association (SSAFA)—or to the British Commonwealth Ex-Services League, of which the Duke of Edinburgh is Grand President. Further details will be available in due course on the Golden Jubilee website.