Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has for a national database maintaining records of (a) e-mails, (b) Voice Over Internet Protocol telephone calls and (c) instant messages; and if he will make statement. [283859]

Mr. Hanson: The Government have no plans to build a national database maintaining records of e-mails, VoIP telephone calls or instant messages. This was made clear in the public consultation “Protecting the Public in a Changing Communications Environment” which was published by the Home Secretary on 27 April 2009.

14. Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent discussions he has had with internet service providers on maintaining records of electronic communications; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Hanson: The Home Office has regular discussions with a wide range of communications service providers. These discussions include the implementation of the EU Data Retention Directive, and potential future policies set out in the recent consultation document, “Protecting the Public in a Changing Communications Environment”.

Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has for a compulsory register of mobile telephones; and if he will make a statement. [283858]

Mr. Hanson: We have no plans to introduce a mandatory registration scheme for mobile phones and would want firm evidence of the effectiveness of any such scheme before deciding whether legislation, as proposed by some European member states, was appropriate.

22. Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans have been made for total Departmental Expenditure Limits in real and cash terms for 2010-11 and 2013-14. [286213]

Mr. Byrne: Departmental budgets are set until April 2011. The exceptional economic uncertainty we now face means that it would not make sense to set budgets now for 2014, less than half way through the current spending review period. The Chancellor will set out economic and fiscal forecasts at the time of the Pre-Budget report, when he will return to this issue.

Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will bring forward legislative proposals to permit the export of graphite nuclear waste to the United States; and if he will make statement. [283860]

Mr. Kidney: There are currently no proposals to bring forward legislation to permit the export of graphite nuclear waste to the United States of America.

The Government’s policy, as set out in the Command Paper 2919, is that radioactive wastes should not be exported from the UK except in circumstances where is to be treated so that its storage and/or disposal is more manageable; where other countries have the ability to deal with it appropriately; and where it will not add materially to their existing radioactive waste legacy.

Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills when his Department intends to consult on the wider application of the Kent County Council Act 2001 and the Medway Council Act 2001 for the regulation of markets and occasional sales.

Kevin Brennan: A consultation on measures to tighten the regulation of markets and occasional sales was recommended in the Gower Review of intellectual property. However, the Department’s resources are limited and current efforts are focused on providing targeted help and protection for consumers struggling to make ends meet as a result of the global downturn. It is therefore not possible to give a specific timeframe for implementing this recommendation.

Mr. John Whittingdale (Maldon and East Chelmsford) (Con): Does the Secretary of State accept that in many communities the local newspaper is as important as the local post office, the local shop or the local pub? Given the number of closures, which he has already referred to, and the fact that journalists are being laid off, offices are being centralised and newspapers are becoming more distant from their local communities, there needs to be urgent action, in particular to relax the competition rules so that markets are judged more broadly in terms of media consumption, and also to encourage local newspapers to take part in consortiums for the provision of regional news, while at the same time perhaps addressing the problem in the broadcast market for news.

Andy Burnham: The hon. Gentleman, as Chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, is quite right to say that we need to look afresh at how best to provide local news in future and to consider other ways of working—perhaps local newspapers working with media at a regional level or other possibilities that might include considering the role of regional development agencies and the Learning and Skills Council. Those are all ideas that I am perfectly happy to consider.

The hon. Gentleman raised specifically cross-media ownership rules. He will know that, as part of the “Digital Britain” interim report it was proposed that there be now a review by Ofcom and the Office of Fair Trading on the appropriateness of current rules, given the structural change in the media industry. That work will come forward as part of the final “Digital Britain” report, but the views that he has placed on the record today will obviously be heard as part of that.

1. Mr. John Whittingdale (Maldon and East Chelmsford) (Con): What steps the Government are taking to prevent the recruitment of young people to dissident republican groups. [269403]

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Mr. Shaun Woodward): Dissident republican groups have nothing to offer but violence and suffering and are funded by criminal activity. Resources for the prevention of recruitment are shared between the Police Service of Northern Ireland, the Northern Ireland Executive and the Northern Ireland Office.

Mr. Whittingdale: Is the Secretary of State aware of reports that dissident groups are using social networking sites, websites and blogs to recruit young people, some of whom may be as young as 13? Will he say what he is doing to tackle that and, in particular, whether he will consider taking down any offensive material promoting terrorism or violence that appears on social networking sites, or blocking access to any such websites?

Mr. Woodward: I have been made aware of this, and the police are indeed investigating it. The site itself has vowed to remove materials that it considers illegal, defamatory or fraudulent or that infringe or violate any individual’s rights. There are clearly some legitimate concerns, and obviously the police will act if there is any evidence of activity of a criminal nature going on. The hon. Gentleman makes a very important point. Whether this activity is done on social networking sites or in any other way, these organisations are criminal organisations and we need to ensure that young people realise that they are just that.

Mr. John Whittingdale (Maldon and East Chelmsford) (Con): I warmly congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for South-West Surrey (Mr. Hunt) on initiating this debate on the licence fee. If ever there was a time when it was right to ask again whether the licence fee should continue to increase, it is now. My hon. Friend set out some of the background to the increase in the fee against the rate of inflation, but the BBC’s income is determined not just by the level of the licence fee, but the number of households that pay it, which also has been going up. As a result, the BBC has enjoyed perpetual income increases, year on year, at a time when the rest of the media sector is facing its worst crisis for 50 years.

The media are affected by the recession in the same way as every other industry. As many people who have been in business will know, one of the first casualties in a recession is advertising spend, and there has been a significant drop in advertising expenditure across the board. On top of that, we are seeing a fundamental structural change in people’s consumption of media. More and more people consume media online, and as they move from traditional media outlets advertisers are following them. The result is that every commercial operator is under greater pressure than ever before. ITV has moved from children’s programming and regional programming, and it has now pulled out of arts programming with the ending of “The South Bank Show”. It has also cut drama. Channel 4 has identified a £150 million gap in its funding. Channel 5 is struggling to survive. Every commercial radio station is now considering its economic prospects and wondering whether it will still be in business in a year’s time. As we know, local newspapers are going out of business every week.

All those sectors face competition from the BBC, and that has always been a matter for concern, but the disparity between the amount available to commercial media and that available to the BBC has now become enormous, and it is distorting the market. For the first time, the BBC’s income will exceed the total advertising revenue of the entire commercial sector. That gap will grow to more than £1 billion.

Philip Davies: Does my hon. Friend agree that, as opposed to the BBC press release masquerading as the Liberal Democrat spokesman’s speech, even if the motion were to be passed today, that would not comprise a cut in BBC expenditure? The motion would simply result in the BBC’s not being given a further increase in funding. It is nothing to do with a cut to the BBC’s funding, anyway.

Mr. Whittingdale: My hon. Friend is absolutely right. The Conservatives are entirely familiar with the claim that there will be cuts when in fact we are talking about a slightly reduced increase in expenditure.

Andy Burnham: The hon. Gentleman is of course absolutely right to describe the pressure on established media businesses, but, given that, will the public get the quality of media they deserve if the licence fee is cut? How can the public in this country get the quality of media they deserve and that democracy needs if the licence fee is to be cut?

Mr. Whittingdale: We simply cannot ignore the environment in which the BBC is operating. That is not to say that the BBC does not do masses of things that are essential. However, my question is whether it needs £3.6 billion to do them. The BBC will always point to its comedy, drama, children’s television, regional television and its religion, arts and education coverage. However, just because the BBC produced “Cranford”, “Life in Cold Blood” or “Panorama” does not necessarily justify £3.6 billion. We have to ask whether we need all the channels that the BBC produces. BBC 3 has cost more than £500 million since it was set up, and to be honest I do not believe that the amount of product that has appeared on BBC 3 justifies that amount.

The Secretary of State said that “The BBC is there to provide content that the commercial sector would not”. I entirely agree, but too often the BBC is providing content that looks very similar, if not wholly identical, to the content that the commercial sector provides. One has to ask whether it is justified for the BBC to go on paying the amount that it does in recruiting talent, top salaries, competing against commercial providers and, as my hon. Friend the Member for South-West Surrey said, bidding against commercial television to acquire imported American television or to acquire Hollywood movies—in that case, the only beneficiaries are the Hollywood studios.

The BBC does not need all the money it receives and, in the longer term, we need to be having a bigger debate necessarily about whether the BBC needs this amount or that amount, but about how we can sustain public service broadcasting in this country. There is a desperate crisis, and it is essential that the BBC is not left as the sole provider of public service broadcasting. If we are to sustain plurality, we must support commercial providers’ continuing to provide public service programming. That might well need public support, and the obvious source for that is the licence fee.

Is it more in the interests of the public and the viewing public in this country that we should go on sustaining BBC 3 or yet another American import, or should we be using that money to ensure that regional news does not just appear on the BBC but continues to be broadcast on ITV? Should there be other providers of children’s programming outside the BBC? I welcome that debate, which Lord Carter is currently conducting, but those points have to be taken into account in this debate.

There is very little time, but I want to finish by saying that I am profoundly disturbed by the comments made by the chairman of the BBC Trust, which was set up to be different from the board of governors. It was supposed to be an arm’s length regulator, yet increasingly the chairman of the trust appears to be a champion of the BBC. When he suggests that it was somehow wrong for the Opposition to table this motion today, I have to say that he is straying on to political territory, which is very dangerous. He is also questioning the right of Parliament to determine the appropriate level of funding for the BBC. Of course Parliament should not interfere in the BBC’s editorial independence, but debating the right amount of public money to go to the BBC is not interfering in editorial independence. It is a function of this House. If the chairman of the trust is suggesting that we should not be having this debate, I believe that he is in severe danger of overstepping the mark. I hope that he will think very carefully before continuing to make that argument.

1. Mr. John Whittingdale (Maldon and East Chelmsford) (Con): What recent discussions he has had on the availability of agricultural labour; and if he will make a statement. [276574]

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Jane Kennedy): May I say on behalf of those who come to Prayers that it is a little disconcerting to have the blinds run up and down during them, particularly as we need all the help we can get these days and Prayers are quite important?

At the end of last year, in response to concerns expressed by the industry about shortages of seasonal labour, the Government announced a 5,000 increase in the seasonal agricultural workers scheme quota for 2009. I am pleased that we were also recently able to address swiftly some practical problems that could have arisen affecting the availability of sheep shearers. I am grateful for the assistance of my Home Office colleagues, and the hon. Gentleman will know that we meet representatives of farmers regularly on all sorts of subjects.

Mr. Whittingdale: I welcome the measures that the Minister refers to, but she will be aware that many people, particularly in the horticultural and fruit growing industries, depend heavily on the seasonal agricultural workers scheme and are concerned about what will happen when Bulgaria and Romania become full members of the European Union. Will she consider extending the scheme to other countries to ensure that there remains a flow of seasonal workers for those very important industries?

Jane Kennedy: I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for raising the matter. We are being advised that there is more confidence among farmers and growers this year that they will have sufficient labour for seasonal fruit and vegetable harvesting, largely due to the economic climate in which they are operating. However, I can assure him that we keep the situation under close review. Indeed, all being well, my noble Friend Lord Hunt of Kings Heath will meet my hon. Friend the Minister for Borders and Immigration in the week after the recess.

Mr. John Whittingdale (Maldon and East Chelmsford) (Con): I, too, express sympathy with the comments of the hon. Member for Thurrock (Andrew Mackinlay) about the need to strengthen the Select Committee system. However, I want to concentrate specifically on the events that occurred in the Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport, which I chair.

I express my thanks and those of the rest of my Committee for the work of the Standards and Privileges Committee. When we made the referral to that Committee, to ask it to try to discover the source of the leak, we did so without huge optimism that it would be successful; on previous occasions, the Committee has not managed to expose sources with the success that it has had on this occasion. We are grateful to the Committee and we hope that the fact that we have been able to discover the source and take action this afternoon will send a message to other Select Committees about the importance of maintaining the confidentiality of their proceedings.

My right hon. Friend the Member for North-West Hampshire (Sir George Young), who chairs the Standards and Privileges Committee, began by talking about the importance of a relationship of trust between Committee members; that, he said, was why leaks should be regarded as reprehensible. I entirely endorse his words, but I take issue with one comment in his report. Having said that the matter was serious for the reason that I have just mentioned, he went on to say:

    “We have to recognise that no-one outside Parliament has complained about the leaking of the draft Heads of Report of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee on the BBC’s commercial operations. It is quite possible that no-one outside Parliament cares.”

My right hon. Friend will not be surprised that I slightly dispute that. The leak occurred online, appearing on mediaguardian.co.uk. Most news distribution is done online in the world that the Culture, Media and Sport Committee looks at; indeed, as observers will know, that is the cause of problems for the traditional media.

The report appeared at about 10 am, I think. I was at a meeting of the British Screen Advisory Council, an umbrella body for media organisations. I was approached by representatives of ITV and the BBC within 35 minutes of the report’s appearance, and I was called by the chief executive of Channel 4 within two hours. I simply say that the report was of great interest to a number of people in the media. It also had a degree of market sensitivity because we were dealing with the independent production sector, which was going to be affected by our recommendations.

I fully agree with my right hon. Friend that the relationship of trust is paramount, but I would not like him to think there were not other good reasons why we felt that the leaking of that particular heads of report was indeed a serious matter.

In its report, the Committee rightly draws attention to failings of members of my Committee’s staff. That is fully accepted by those members of staff, and they will take its recommendations very seriously. As Chairman of the Committee, I should like to put on record the extent to which we depend on those staff and how professional and dedicated I have always found them. It is not just my Committee that enjoys that degree of support; I think that any hon. Member who is involved in Select Committees would agree that generally we are extremely well served by our staff. I was slightly surprised to discover that some of our papers were being circulated by e-mail not only to people involved in our present inquiry but to some of our advisers in other inquiries. I am not sure what our adviser on heritage and planning made of the heads of report on the BBC’s commercial operations. In future, we will be much more restrained in circulating material; I think that that lesson will be well learned in all Select Committees.

The hon. Member for Torbay (Mr. Sanders)—in this context, I would say my hon. Friend—has made a gracious apology to the House. When I first asked all members of the Committee whether they could give any indication of how the leak occurred, he was clear that he had no knowledge of how it came about. I said to him at the time that I fully accepted his assurance, and I fully accept it this afternoon. It is extremely unfortunate that the leak occurred within his office, but he has made it plain that he had no knowledge of it and that it was not under his instruction. That is fully accepted by me and, I think, by all members of the Committee. Although I think I am right in saying that he told the Standards and Privileges Committee that our inquiry into the BBC’s commercial operations did not “float his boat”, he is nevertheless a valuable member of our Committee who participates in other areas of our activities. We are very glad that he does so and look forward to his continuing to do so in future.

8. Mr. John Whittingdale (Maldon and East Chelmsford) (Con): What steps he is taking to tackle illegal distribution of intellectual property. [279008]

The Minister for Higher Education and Intellectual Property (Mr. David Lammy): The Government work to tackle IP crime in three main areas. First, we have to get the legal framework right, so I have been working with my ministerial colleagues on the “Digital Britain” agenda, particularly on the problem of file sharing. Secondly, we have to co-ordinate enforcement activities. That is why I have set up a new ministerial group to deal with issues of enforcement and to support the IP group. Of course, we also have to raise capacity and awareness.

Mr. Whittingdale: Does the Minister agree that online piracy represents a threat to the survival of the TV, film and music industries? What progress has he made in persuading internet service providers to take action against illegal file sharers by adopting a graduated response? Can he confirm that the Government will legislate to back up any action that is agreed?

Mr. Lammy: The hon. Gentleman is right; this important issue is challenging Governments across the world. Indeed, over the weekend elected politicians have been standing on that agenda in Sweden, and he will be aware of issues that have been raised in France. In this country, we have said that it is important to move to notification, which will reduce file-sharing activity so that people know that what they are doing is illegal, and we will move towards legislating to compel internet service providers and rights holders to work together.

Mr. John Whittingdale (Maldon and East Chelmsford) (Con): Although I share some of the reservations expressed by my hon. Friend the Member for South-West Surrey (Mr. Hunt), I welcome a number of measures proposed in the report, in particular support for regional news programming, for tackling illegal file sharing, for assisting commercial radio and for relaxing the restrictions on newspaper mergers. Does the Secretary of State agree that all these matters are already very urgent? If we move to a world with ever-increasing broadband speeds reaching more and more households, that will increase still further the economic pressure on traditional media and will make the problem of online piracy even greater, so does he acknowledge that the players in the industry—all those involved—have been discussing these issues for months, and that any consultations that are to take place need to happen very quickly indeed? If there is to be legislation, and I believe there should be, we need to get that on to the statute book as fast as possible and before the general election.

Mr. Bradshaw: Yes, I certainly agree with that. The time between now and the next parliamentary Session gives us a chance for proper consultation, as hon. Members in all parts of the House would expect when considering legislating on some of these aspects. As I say, the only aspects on which we are proposing consultation, with the exception of the sharing of the licence fee for regional and local news, are those for which we require primary legislation. We want to get on with that as quickly as possible. We hope to publish a consultation document within the next two weeks, and hope that the consultation will be over in the middle of the summer recess, which will give us plenty of time, assuming we get a Bill in the next Session, to make sure that it is on the statute book before the election.

Mr. John Whittingdale (Maldon and East Chelmsford) (Con): I welcome the Minister’s commitment to civil liberties, but will the national security strategy include the establishment of a national database to maintain records of web page visits, e-mails and VoIP—voice over internet protocol—calls and whether the Government intend to introduce a compulsory register of all mobile phones in the country?

Mr. Hanson: If I may, I would like to come back to the hon. Gentleman on the detail of that point. Let me re-emphasise, however, that the whole purpose of the ethics committee that we are establishing is to look at the liberty issues surrounding internet activity under the cyber strategy. We are working through the detail of how we will do that, but I will certainly respond to the hon. Gentleman after this statement. However, the key thing, which those in all parts of the House need to know, is that the liberty of individuals to enjoy their business, their communities and their private lives on the internet is important to the Government, as is, equally, the ability to ensure that they are not subject to crime, terrorist threats or distraction by people who have alternative methods to hand.

Mr. John Whittingdale (Maldon and East Chelmsford) (Con): I congratulate once again the hon. Member for Hendon (Mr. Dismore) on introducing the Bill and on having a good chance of getting it on to the statute book. It is a great achievement to get a private Member’s Bill passed into law. He has been extraordinarily successful in managing to get a large number of other such Bills on the Order Paper, some of which I suspect have rather less chance of being passed. I think he had to get up early in the morning to get this opportunity; it was time well spent.

The best way of getting a private Member’s Bill passed is to pick up a subject that the Government are committed to advancing, but have failed to do so. The Government can then breathe a sigh of relief and use the vehicle provided by the private Member’s Bill. That is exactly what the hon. Gentleman’s Bill does. This country has long been committed to amending the law to allow the restitution of artefacts and artistic objects that were plainly looted. It has been an embarrassment that we have not done so.

The Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport, which I chair, considered this issue a couple of years ago and called on the Government to make the necessary change. We were just one of a long list of bodies to have done so. I thoroughly support the Bill and I am delighted that it is likely to succeed.

One has to accept that the Bill is largely symbolic. We amended provisions in Committee to cover Wales, although there are no national institutions in Wales that would benefit from the Bill. It is nevertheless plainly right that we should extend it across the country. Equally, the one object—the Beneventan missal, where there is clear evidence that it should be returned—will not be covered by the Bill, unless another application is made, because it has already been considered. It may well be that the Bill’s provisions are never used. The Spoliation Advisory Panel has met very few times and the Bill may well pass on to the statute book and lie there. In my view, however, that does not matter. It is the fact that we have made the change that matters.

Many terrible atrocities were committed during the holocaust, and the looting of art is very minor in comparison with some of the horrific events that took place. The difference is that this issue is one that we can do something about and put right. By doing so, we send out a very important signal this morning. On that basis, I congratulate the hon. Gentleman on his Bill.

Mr. John Whittingdale (Maldon and East Chelmsford) (Con): I welcome the consultation paper, and all of this does, of course, represent a complete reversal of the position of the Secretary of State’s predecessor. Does the Secretary of State accept, however, that product placement will do only a small amount to assist commercial broadcasters, who are facing huge economic difficulty, and that we will need to go further and look at other deregulatory measures that will assist all the commercial public service broadcasters to survive?

Mr. Bradshaw: Yes, the hon. Gentleman is absolutely right to highlight that this will not be a panacea for commercial broadcasting. There are a number of things we can do to help ease the plight of commercial broadcasting further, and we are looking into them. Ofcom has in the last year relaxed the rules on the responsibilities of commercial broadcasting, such as in respect of news in the regions. As the hon. Gentleman will know, we have imaginative, sensible and practicable solutions to the problems and pressures facing regional news and other important areas of commercial broadcasting.

19. Mr. Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what representations he has received on rights of appeal against a coastal access report under the provisions of the Marine and Coastal Access Bill; and if he will make a statement. [283396]

Huw Irranca-Davies: Following concerns raised during the Pre-Legislative Scrutiny of the Bill and during its passage through the House of Lords, we brought forward schedule 1A to the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949, as inserted by schedule 19 to the Marine and Coastal Access Bill. This will enable those with a relevant interest in affected land to make objections should they believe the proposals in Natural England's coastal access reports fail to strike a fair balance on certain grounds.

Licensing Act

Mr. John Whittingdale (Maldon and East Chelmsford) (Con): I am grateful for the opportunity to debate the Culture, Media and Sport Committee’s report on the Licensing Act 2003. The Committee held a wide-ranging inquiry into the Act. We had four public evidence sessions and received a wide range of submissions, and I would like to put on record my thanks, and those of Committee members, to our staff and to our legal adviser, Sara John.

The principle of post-legislative scrutiny is a good one, and it would be helpful if more Acts could be looked at two or three years after their implementation to see whether the objectives set out when a Bill was first introduced have been achieved. No one could possibly argue with the objectives of the 2003 Act. The four licensing objectives clearly make common sense and the Act’s intention, which was to streamline the process and make it easier to reduce costs, is one we all supported.

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T5. [284365] Mr. John Whittingdale (Maldon and East Chelmsford) (Con): Does the Minister accept that the blanket requirement to find 3 per cent. a year efficiency savings is particularly difficult for smaller local authorities such as Maldon district council? Will he confirm that there may be some flexibility in the imposition of that target that takes account of the size of the authority, as well as of its record in having already achieved savings?

Mr. Denham: That is an interesting question coming from someone who advocates a 10 per cent. cut in local government expenditure, which would have cut my Department's budget by £1 billion this year. There is a responsibility right across local government, as in other areas of government, to achieve the maximum efficiency and the best possible value for money for our citizens. I believe that the targets we have set are achievable, but I have to say that the destruction that the hon. Gentleman would wreak on local government is something we do not want to see.

Mr. John Whittingdale (Maldon and East Chelmsford) (Con): The Minister will be aware that the fact that a private investigator had intercepted the telephone calls of a large number of people was well known at the time. He will also be aware that the chairman of News International gave a categoric assurance to my Select Committee that no other journalist, beyond Clive Goodman, had any involvement in or knowledge of that matter. Can the Minister say whether he is aware of any evidence to contradict that statement? When my Select Committee reopens its inquiry, as it has decided to do, will he ask the Metropolitan police to provide us with any information that they have that is relevant to this case?

Mr. Hanson: The allegations came to light today, we are examining them with the Metropolitan police and I obviously concur with what the hon. Gentleman has said.

3. Mr. John Whittingdale (Maldon and East Chelmsford) (Con): What plans he has to extend the availability of small business crime reduction grants; and if he will make a statement.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Alan Campbell): The £5 million small retailers capital grants fund will help secure small independent retail shops in areas that are at most risk of crime. There are no plans to extend the scheme, but other aspects of the retail crime action plan are helping to tackle retail crime in every area.

Mr. Whittingdale: Is the Minister aware of the Federation of Small Businesses survey that found that crime against businesses costs small firms about £13,500 each? Although I am sure that the businesses within the 50 priority areas have taken up the opportunity with enthusiasm, I think it curious that they bear a remarkable similarity to a list of Labour local authorities. Why do not businesses in areas such as my constituency in Essex have the same opportunity to apply for help?

Mr. Campbell: The criteria for the scheme were deprivation, crime rates and the proportion of the small retailers that we were most interested in helping. The criteria were agreed by the retail crime steering group, and the FSB is not only an active member, but it agreed with the criteria and the principle. I should point out that Chingford, which is part of the seat of the hon. Gentleman's right hon. Friend the Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Mr. Duncan Smith), is not a Labour area.

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