HL Deb 08 July 2002 vol 637 cc70-1WA
Lord Laird

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Blackstone on 25 June concerning development of minority language based television, radio and film programmes, how this programme was made available to the Ulster Scots community in Northern Ireland; and, if it was not, why not. [HL4948]

The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Baroness Blackstone)

The Radio Authority issued a press release in May 2001 to advertise the Access Radio pilot project, inviting interested parties to submit a letter of intent. It also wrote to groups which had attended an Access Radio seminar in February 2001 and to community groups that had broadcast under the authority's short-term restricted service licence in the previous year. Fifteen groups were selected from the 200 letters of intent which were received by the deadline. One of these, Northern Visions Radio (NVR) in Belfast, has stated in its promise of delivery, which forms part of its licence, that "under the Good Friday Agreement and the European Charter for Minority Languages NVR will seek to encourage the use of the Irish language and Ulster Scots". NVR commenced broadcasting on 9 March. Their licence lasts for one year.

Skillset, the Sector Skills Council for the audiovisual industries in the UK, works closely with the Northern Ireland Film and Television Commission (NIFTC), the Sector Training Council, in Northern Ireland. The NIFTC welcomes applications for training from all sectors of the community, including those working in minority languages. The NITFC has received no specific approaches regarding training in Ulster Scots in the last two years.