§ Mr. Webb
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when she informed the BBC of the Government's proposal to lift the ban on ownership of a digital audio broadcasting programme licence by religious broadcasters while applying such a ban on ownership of a multiplex licence. 
§ Dr. Howells
[holding answer 24 May 2002]: The BBC would have been informed of the Government's intentions for religious broadcasting at the same time as everyone else, with the publication of the White Paper "A New Future for Communications" in December 1999. I should clarify that our proposals published recently with the draft Communications Bill propose the lifting of the restrictions on religious bodies owning local digital broadcast licences, and not national digital broadcast licences.