HL Deb 17 March 2005 vol 670 cc68-9WS
Lord McIntosh of Haringey

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Tessa Jowell) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I am publishing today the department's five-year plan, Living Life to the Full. Copies will be deposited in the House Libraries and the plan will be available on the DCMS website.

The plan sets our course for the next five years and builds on the significant progress that we have made in recent years. It sets out our achievements, our goals and the practical steps we will take to achieve them in the years ahead.

The fabric of this country and the quality of life we all experience are improving rapidly. The average proportion of household income spent on leisure nearly doubled between 1977 and 2002. We all expect more choice and higher quality. At the same time, opportunities are expanding to enjoy the arts, visit museums and galleries, to play sport, to travel, access the world's best media and prosper in the creative industries.

We have come a long way. In 2001 we introduced free admission to national museums and galleries—resulting in a record number of visits—34 million last year. Creative Partnerships—bringing the experience and stimulation of culture to young people in deprived areas—will see 450,000 young people involved by this time next year. We recently published the BBC Green Paper setting out the framework for a strong BBC independent of government. We are investing £1 billion in sports facilities to benefit every community. Working in partnership with the Department for Education and Skills we have ensured that more than a half of all children in school do a weekly minimum of two hours PE and school sport, which is up from a quarter in 2002. We are putting our wholehearted support behind London's bid to bring the Olympics to this country in 2012.

But there are still too many people who do not know about the opportunities available to them or who are not able to afford the cost of their talent: parents who cannot afford to support their children in making the most of their creativity and skills; adults who do not know how to get involved in local cultural and sporting opportunities; and young people who miss out on formative experiences.

In the plan we make 10 commitments covering the key areas where the department, working together with our partners in our sponsored bodies, in local government, in the voluntary and private sectors, can make a real difference.

We will work to build a comprehensive offer to young people on culture—known as Creative Sparks. We will review how National Lottery money has been spent so far on arts, sport, heritage and film projects, and then consult about how proceeds should be spent in these areas after 2009. We will continue to improve our support for élite athletes, rewarding success with the talented athlete and 2012 scholarships. We will persuade nearly half a million adults per year to become physically active. We will complete our programme to replace outdated licensing and gambling laws, balancing personal freedom and prosperity with strengthening protection for the vulnerable. We will provide a virtual high-street for tourism and leisure offering an information and booking service to on-line users.

The title of the plan is Living Life to the Full. Quite simply that is what our sectors can offer—the ability for everyone to live their lives and develop their talents to the fullest extent. So the aim of our five year plan is straightforward, yet ambitious—making the quality of life in this country world-class and giving everyone the chance to taste it.