§ 34. Mr. Gareth R. Thomas (Harrow, West)
If he will make a statement on progress made on the children's promise initiative as part of the millennium experience's national programme. 
§ The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Mr. Chris Smith)
Children's promise is one of the exciting and innovative projects within the millennium experience's national programme of events and activities, many of which are already under way across the UK. Children's promise is supported by Marks and Spencer and aims to encourage as many people as possible to donate the value of their final hour's earnings of 1999 for the benefit of the children of the next millennium. The money raised will be distributed by seven of the UK's major charities that work with children.
§ Mr. Thomas
Does my right hon. Friend agree that children's promise is further proof of how wrong the doom and gloom merchants were when they predicted that the millennium experience would not be enjoyed by everyone around the country, but just by those in London? What action is my right hon. Friend taking to promote that excellent initiative?
§ Mr. Smith
I am delighted to say that the take-up of children's promise has already far exceeded expectations. Many companies and individuals have signed up to ensure that we give some of our income from the final hours of 1999 to help children in the next millennium. We are also writing to all Members of Parliament to encourage them to set an example by signing up to the idea. I hope that it will be widely taken up on both sides of the House.