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Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 26 June 1991


Skill Centre, Cardiff

Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what consultations he has had with (a) the chairman of the South Glamorgan TEC, (b) Astra Training Services and (c) the Cardiff city council as planning authority and ground landlord concerning the future use of the skill centre land and buildings at Western avenue, Galealflor.

Mr. Jackson : My Department has had no consultation with the organisations listed. Negotiation about the sale of the freehold of land and buildings owned by my Department are being conducted on my behalf by King and Company.

Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what proposals he has for extending, redeveloping or disposing of the skill centre land and buildings he owns and leases at Western avenue, Galealflor, Cardiff.

Mr. Jackson : The land and buildings at Western avenue, Cardiff, are in the process of being marketed by King and Company. It will be for the purchaser to decide any future plans for development. The leasehold interest in the site at Western avenue, Cardiff, was conveyed to Astra Training Services Ltd. on completion of the sale of the training businesses.

Job Clubs

Mr. Battle : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will list by address all the job clubs (a) in Leeds metropolitan district and (b) in Leeds, West constituency.

Mr. Jackson : Questions on operational matters in the Employment Service executive agency are the responsibility of Mike Fodgen, the agency's chief executive, to whom I have referred this question for reply.


Mr. Leighton : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment by how many unemployment has increased since October 1990.

Mr. Jackson : Between May 1991 and October 1990, the level of unemployment, seasonally adjusted, in the United Kingdom, rose by 539,400.

Foreign Exchange Services

Mr. Nigel Griffiths : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if his Department has surveyed tourists about the charges levied by businesses providing a foreign exchange currency service.

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Mr. Forth : I have made no such surveys, but I am aware of complaints made by overseas visitors to Ministers and to the tourist boards about the insufficiency of information on the exchange rates and commission charges applicable. Commission and other charges and exchange rates offered by foreign exchange currency businesses are best determined by competition in the market. However, the Government believe that for competition to be effective the customer should have adequate information concerning the exchange rates and commission charges that apply.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry proposes to make regulations shortly under part III of the Consumer Protection Act 1987 which will set out requirements on how bureaux de change display their exchange rates and other charges.

National Union of Mineworkers

Mr. Cryer : To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what is the cost so far of undertaking the legal action by the trade union certification officer against the president and secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Forth : The prosecution was brought by the independent Certification Officer for Trade Unions and Employers' Associations, to whom detailed questions about such matters should be addressed. I understand from the certification officer, however, that the total legal and professional costs arising from the preparation and conduct of the prosecution case are likely to be in the order of £17,000. The costs arising from the preparation and conduct of the defence are not yet known.


Research and Development (EC Funding)

Mr. Morgan : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what is the total amount of receipts for each standard region of the United Kingdom from ESPRIT, RACE, BRITE and other European Community framework funds for research and development.

Sir Wyn Roberts : Unfortunately it is not possible to provide a regional breakdown for allocation of EC funds. However, United Kingdom organisations are very successful in securing funding from the Community's R and D programmes, obtaining approximately 20 per cent. of the funding available under the Community's European R and D framework programme.

Educational Psychologists

Mr. Gareth Wardell : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will list for each of the last 10 years, and for each local education authority (a) the number of educational psychologists employed ; and if he will also represent (a) as a ratio per 100 of children of school age resident in the local education authority area.

Sir Wyn Roberts : This information is not held centrally.

Local Government

Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will give the date and time of publication of his document "The Structure of Local Government in Wales"

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and indicate (a) the date and time at which he intends the document shall be available at the Vote Office and (b) the date and time of its provision by his Department to the Vote Office.

Mr. Nicholas Bennett : The consultation document "The Structure of Local Government in Wales" was sent to all Members representing Welsh constituencies on Monday 17 June. Fifty copies of the document were delivered by hand to the Vote Office for release at 3.30 pm on the same day, and copies were also placed in the Library of the House. At the request of the Vote Office, a further 50 copies of the document were sent on 20 June, and a further 100 copies on 24 June. Distribution of the document to a wide range of public and private sector bodies began immediately after completion of my right hon. Friend's statement to the House on 17 June.

Acute Beds

Mr. Barry Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what was the number of acute beds in national health service hospitals in each health authority in each year since 1979.

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Mr. Nicholas Bennett [holding answer 23 May 1991] : The figures, from 1974, are shown in the following table.

For more than 20 years it has been a policy of both Labour and Conservative Governments to rationalise the provision of beds in the NHS to take account of changes in medical practice. These changes have led to patients having shorter stays in hospital, for instance in maternity confinements. Furthermore, elective surgery is increasing being undertaken on a day case basis.

Bed numbers are no indication of the level of health care ; rather, the crucial factor is the number of patients treated. Between 1979-90, the number of in-patients treated has risen by 36 per cent., compared with 6 per cent. between 1974-79, the number of out-patients rose by 28 per cent. compared with a fall of 3 per cent. between 1974-79 and the number of day cases has risen by 246 per cent. since 1979.

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for raising this question and I am sure that he will agree that it would be nonsense to base success in the NHS on a bed number rather than on quality of service promised to patients.

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Average daily available acute<2> beds                                                                                                                     

               Health authority                                                                                                                           


              |Clwyd        |East Dyfed   |Gwent        |Gwynedd      |Mid          |Pembrokeshire|Powys        |South        |West                       

                                                                      |Glamorgan                                |Glamorgan    |Glamorgan                  


1974          |1,459.9      |770.2        |1,682.9      |675.9        |1,965.6      |218.8        |293.2        |2,091.4      |1,607.1                    

1975          |1,455.6      |763.5        |1,663.3      |673.8        |1,933.5      |220.2        |293.8        |1,986.3      |1,562.3                    

1976          |1,437.1      |754.3        |1,586.1      |678.6        |1,906.0      |218.7        |296.6        |1,931.5      |1,569.2                    

1977          |1,424.3      |779.7        |1,579.1      |688.6        |1,939.2      |220.0        |303.3        |1,941.7      |1,549.4                    

1978          |78           |1,404.7      |765.8        |1,567.2      |686.3        |1,933.3      |233.1        |304.0        |1,879.7                    

1979          |1,420.5      |761.8        |1,517.9      |686.2        |1,915.8      |245.7        |292.2        |1,864.9      |1,428.3                    

1980          |1,434.4      |763.9        |1,541.1      |687.8        |1,886.6      |246.5        |240.4        |1,826.3      |1,447.8                    

1981          |1,391.1      |740.9        |1,548.9      |681.7        |1,859.4      |248.7        |226.8        |1,818.4      |1,455.1                    

1982          |1,400.8      |742.2        |1,535.4      |683.6        |1,842.4      |254.2        |229.2        |1,820.3      |1,440.4                    

1983          |1,399.3      |741.6        |1,515.1      |670.4        |1,846.1      |264.1        |241.5        |1,864.1      |1,450.0                    

1984          |1,371.2      |708.1        |1,478.9      |685.6        |1,844.1      |260.9        |237.4        |1,851.4      |1,398.2                    

1985          |1,342.6      |690.1        |1,466.2      |716.5        |1,835.5      |261.1        |237.7        |1,839.3      |1,421.3                    

1986          |1,337.2      |694.9        |1,388.7      |718.7        |1,813.5      |266.6        |221.0        |1,751.0      |1,448.0                    

1987          |1,354.9      |692.9        |1,388.0      |705.1        |1,784.4      |258.0        |220.3        |1,753.7      |1,399.9                    

1988          |1,307.1      |691.1        |1,382.6      |681.7        |1,878.3      |266.1        |195.5        |1,733.1      |1,336.7                    

1989-90<1>    |1,189.6      |645.4        |1,354.8      |680.8        |1,744.3      |261.9        |194.4        |1,699.5      |1,268.5                    

<1> Data produced on financial year basis only.                                                                                                           

<2> Excludes geriatrics, younger disabled, obstetrics, GP maternity, mental illness, mental handicap, adolescent psychiatry, mental illness children,     

psychogeriatric and elderly mentally infirm.                                                                                                              


Cash Benefits

Mrs. Gorman : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will commission a study into the impact on incentives to work of providing demand-led cash benefits for families, where extra income is received with the addition of each new child.

Mr. Jack : The importance of work incentives was taken into account during the development of the 1988 social security reforms. The introduction of family credit--the income-related benefit for working families with children--and aligned benefits assessed on net rather than gross earnings improved incentives for low-income working families. These benefits take the number of children into consideration so there is no loss of incentive if the family increases in size. Now only a very small proportion of working families would be better off not working, and claiming income support.

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Performance Indicators

Mr. Battle : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what steps his Department has taken to involve consumer views in the development of performance indicators.

Mr. Jack : This Department has a long-standing commitment to maintaining good relations with our customers and their representative bodies and have sought their views on the service we provide. Sampling of customer opinion has been carried out annually since 1984 in local offices. Results are analysed and, since the 1989-90 exercise, have been fed into the target setting process. An external survey was commissioned in 1990 to provide a nationally representative picutre which in effect validates the national results of our own customer opinion sampling.

The launch of the benefits and contributions agencies this year, in addition to our two existing agencies, has given us a springboard to improve further working

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relationships with these groups. Managers will have more freedom to respond to the needs of their area and there will be many local initiatives. Nationally, external surveys will in future be undertaken annually and, in addition to specific quality of service targets, the Benefits Agency now has a customer satisfaction target. Their success in attaining this target will be measured by the results of these surveys. The contributions unit, now the Contributions Agency, commissioned a broad-based survey of contributions customers in February 1991 to establish their requirements and priorities ; this will report in July 1991. A regular series of contributions conferences was also established in July 1990. Both of these will be used in the development of targets and performance indicators.

Further details of Benefits Agency and Contributions Agency programmes for this year can be found in their published annual business plans which are available in the Library.

Household Incomes

Mrs. Roe : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will seek to reduce the period between publication of the family expenditure survey and publication of an analysis of household incomes by quintile and decile groups.

Mr. Jack : Once we have received the family expenditure data from the Central Statistical Office, we need to check and analyse data and discuss resulting queries with CSO. The time taken to produce an analysis of equivalised household incomes depends on the extent of the queries and the speed with which they can be resolved. We are actively considering what action can be taken to speed up and improve these processes.

Residential Care Homes

Mrs. Roe : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what progress is now being made to introduce regional variations in the amount of income support payable to meet the fees of private and voluntary homes outside the Greater London area.

Miss Widdecombe : There are no current plans to introduce regional variations beyond the present addition for the Greater London area. Information from the Price Waterhouse survey and other sources does not show a sufficiently secure basis for further geographical variation.

Mrs. Roe : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what information his Department collects on the destination of elderly people who leave residential or nursing homes.

Miss Widdecombe : No such information is collected.

Mrs. Roe : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what evidence he has on whether elderly people have been obliged to leave the residential or nursing homes in which they were living because they were unable to meet the fees.

Miss Widdecombe : We are not aware of any instance in which residents relying on income support have been evicted because they could not afford the fees.

Mrs. Roe : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many representations he has received on the subject of income support levels to meet the costs of residential and nursing homes in the past six months.

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Miss Widdecombe : Several representations have been received recently, both from individuals and representative bodies.


Rail Tickets

Ms. Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will require British Rail to ensure that all return tickets issued from eastern Europe to destinations in the United Kingdom inform customers of the procedure to be adopted for booking return tickets.

Mr. McLoughlin : No.

Ms. Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will ensure that the restriction to London Victoria of facilities to book return rail tickets to Soviet destinations is publicised at all points of entry.

Mr. McLoughlin : No. This is a matter for British Rail.

Road Crashes

Mr. Peter Bottomley : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list for each quarter starting in the first quarter of 1987 the annual ratio to the distance travelled of the number of fatalities and serious injuries in road crashes.

Mr. Chope : The information requested is given in the table. It is given in the form of a rate of fatal and serious casualties per billion vehicle kilometres. Data for 1990 are provisional.

Twelve month   Rates per billion vehicle kilometres     

period ending                                           

              |Fatal        |Serious                    



Q1            |15.7         |199.4                      

Q2            |15.4         |193.8                      

Q3            |15.2         |190.2                      

Q4            |14.4         |180.5                      



Q1            |14.1         |180.7                      

Q2            |13.8         |175.4                      

Q3            |13.2         |169.5                      

Q4            |13.3         |166.7                      



Q1            |13.4         |162.8                      

Q2            |13.1         |160.4                      

Q3            |13.2         |156.8                      

Q4            |13.2         |154.9                      



Q1            |13.1         |153.3                      

Q2            |13.2         |152.0                      

Q3            |12.9         |150.7                      

Q4            |12.5         |148.0                      


British Rail

Ms. Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will amend British Rail's quality of service objectives to require it to provide facilities to permit reservations to Russian destinations to be made at major British Rail outlets.

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Mr. McLoughlin : No.

Casualty Reduction Campaign

Mr. Peter Bottomley : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will place in the Library a copy of the casualty reduction campaign brief.

Mr. Chope : A copy of the campaign brief has been placed in the Library.

Casualty Reductions

Mr. Peter Bottomley : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what research projects on casualty reduction are being undertaken ; and when are reports expected to be published.

Mr. Chope : Research is being carried out on a wide range of issues in road and vehicle safety. Main research areas on road user safety include driver behaviour, road safety education, pedestrian accident causation, engineering measures for accident prevention, enforcement, and rehabilitation. The vehicle safety research programme includes side impact protection for car occupants, motor cycle safety, pedestrian protection measures in vehicle design, HGV accident investigation, vehicle lighting and signalling systems.

Research reports giving the results of research are published regularly.

Transport Council

Mr. David Shaw : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what was the outcome of the meeting of the European Community Transport Council on 20-21 June.

Mr. Rifkind : I attended the first day of the meeting of the European Council of Transport Ministers which was held in Luxembourg on 20 and 21 June. My hon. Friend the Minister for Roads and Traffic was present on the second day.

I am extremely pleased with the progress made at the Council, especially the agreements reached both on the development of Community railways and the need for safer design of vehicles. The railways agreement is an important step towards liberalisation, allowing access by individual rail companies to the railway systems of other member states for the purpose of international combined transport operations. It will encourage greater use of rail freight services thus acting to alleviate congestion on roads. The Commission reported that its work on the combined transport network was progressing well and a report should be produced by the end of the year. A regulation was agreed, providing for the replacement of public service obligations, in the public transport sector, by public service contracts. The amended regulation will bring greater transparency to dealings between governments and transport undertakings, particularly railways.

Other inland transport matters discussed included transit and international road passenger transport. Ministers agreed that the Commission's mandate to conduct transit negotiations with Austria and Switzerland should be extended indefinitely, with a view to obtaining further concessions. The Council approved in principle a draft transit agreement with Yugoslavia.

I reiterated the United Kingdom's strongly held view that concrete progress is needed on international road

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passenger transport ; the matter will be further considered in the Committee of Permanent Representatives and I hope to be able to report progress as a result of the next Council.

A number of air transport issues were covered by the Council. There was a debate on which airlines should be included in the list of Community air cargo carriers, which forms an annex of the EC air cargo regulation. The Commission informed member states of its intention to have informal discussions with third countries on air cargo. On the question of state subsidies to the airline industry, a Commission report was promised in the near future, while the proposal on technical requirements in aviation was referred back to the Committee of Permanent Representatives for further consideration and finalisation.

Moving on to the marine sector, agreement was reached on a revised presidency compromise on inland waterway cabotage, with a decision on derogations for the new German La"nder. There was a disappointing lack of progress on maritime cabotage liberalisation despite the clear treaty obligation for liberalisation to be agreed, and implemented, as part of the completion of the single market. My hon. Friend the Minister for Roads and Traffic announced that the United Kingdom was withdrawing from the Loran C negotiations, partly because of the uncertainty of concluding an agreement within the time scale the United Kingdom had set for a proper transition, and partly because a more competitive offer has been received from the Racal electronics group to update its existing Decca system.

The Council adopted a directive on roadworthiness tests for cars which will help to ensure that vehicles throughout Europe are maintained to safe standards. A resolution on road safety, asking the Commission to draw up a report outlining a Community road safety strategy, which should include measures on vehicle standards and equipment, was also adopted. Agreement in principle was reached on the driving licences directive which will provide for mutual recognition of driving licences throughout the Community and harmonisation of driving test standards in member states. The directive will enter into force in 1996.

Some progress was made on the seat belts directive and the Committee of Permanent Representatives will consider it further with a view to a decision later this year.


Sir John Stanley : To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the further noise alleviation measures to which his hon. Friend, the Minister of State referred on 19 June, Official Report, column 348 ; and whether or not they included compensation.

Mr. Freeman : My reference was to measures mentioned in Kent county council's paper "International Rail Services Noise Protection" which suggests action that could be taken where railway noise increases and exceeds specific levels at certain times of day or night. The suggested action includes the provision of noise barriers or sound insulation for people's homes. It is these physical measures which British Rail will be discussing with the council.

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Justices of the Peace

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Attorney-General if he will list by year for the last five years the number of justices of the peace in Doncaster by ward ; and what steps have been taken over the last five years to increase the proportion of young justices of the peace, women justices of the peace, justices of the peace from ethnic minorities and justices of the peace from under-represented wards.

The Attorney-General : The present number of active justices of the peace in Doncaster by totalling the numbers for the wards in each parliamentary constituency is as follows :



Doncaster, Central |71           

Don Valley         |74           

Doncaster, North   |43           

The figures for the last five years could be obtained only at disproportionate cost and would not be likely to show any appreciable difference. Over the last five years the Lord Chancellor's Advisory Committee for Doncaster has continued, as required by the Lord Chancellor, to seek out men and women from all backgrounds and walks of life so that the bench broadly reflects the local community and is balanced in terms of age, sex, occupation and residence within the area.

The methods adopted by the committee towards achieving this aim have been by way of notices and articles in the local press, letters to all parish councils, major employers, political organisations, trade unions and magistrates on the active and supplemental list.


Sardar Sarovar Dam

Mrs. Clwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the answer of the Minister for Overseas Development on 12 June, Official Report, column 570, whether the independent team appointed to review the Narmada dam will include in its review consideration of proposals to (a) lower the height of the dam by 67 ft in order to reduce submersion and displacement by half and (b) resettlement and rehabilitation of 50, 000 people displaced by irrigation channels in Gujarat, in addition to resettlement of oustees in Madyha Pradesh.

Mrs. Chalker : The World bank has informed us that the independent review team's terms of reference will not cover consideration of proposals to lower the height of the Sardar Sarovar dam. The team will consider all resettlement proposals. Bank staff estimate that the number of people affected by irrigation channels will be around 5,000 to 10,000.

Mrs. Clwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether detailed plans have now been drawn up on how to provide drinking water for 10 million people from the Sardar Sarovar dam, funded by the World bank.

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Mrs. Chalker : Detailed plans have been drawn up for the provision of drinking water for people in the existing townships nearest to the dam ; detailed plans are being developed for people in areas further afield.

Mrs. Clwyd : To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the proposed compensatory afforestation for the Narmada dam, funded by the World bank, (a) will ensure a continued source of non-timber forest products, as well as that the total number of trees is maintained, (b) will be located close to the areas where forest will be submerged and (c) will be located so as to minimise the effect of the loss of existing forest on the micro-climate in the area.

Mrs. Chalker : Several species of trees will be planted, including those which will provide non-forest products. The total number of trees will be maintained. Afforestation will be close to the areas where forest will be submerged. Trees will be located so as to minimise the effect on the micro-climate of the area.


Nursery Schools

Ms. Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will increase the minimum teaching area in nursery schools to take account of the need to meet in full curricula, equipment and staffing needs.

Mr. Fallon : Minimum teaching areas in schools, including nursery schools, will be considered as part of the current review of the Education (School Premises) Regulations 1981. The results of the review are likely to be available towards the end of next year.

Adult Education

Mr. Rogers : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) what has been the total capital and revenue expenditure on non- vocational and vocational adult education in each of the past five years by local education authority ;

(2) what has been the adult education expenditure in England and Wales for the past five years by (1) local education authority, (2) vocational or non -vocational groupings and (3) age and gender.

Mr. Eggar : This information is not collected centrally.

Mr. Rogers : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many adult education services and facilities are free standing or absorbed into colleges of further education by local education authority.

Mr. Eggar : The following local education authorities in England made nil returns at November 1990 in respect of separate adult education centres outside FE colleges :

Enfield       |Bolton       |Sheffield                                

Harrow        |Manchester   |Bradford                                 

Haringey      |Salford      |Hertfordshire                            

Newham        |Tameside     |Isle of Wight                            

Knowsley      |Trafford     |Shropshire                               

St. Helens    |Doncaster    |Wiltshire                                

Wirral        |Rotherham                                              

Data on the organisation of provision for adults in Wales are a matter for my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Wales.

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School Premises

Ms. Walley : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will give details of the responses made to the consultation exercise on the review of the 1981 School Premises Regulations.

Mr. Fallon : It is not the Department's practice to publish details of responses to such consultations. The views expressed will of course be given careful consideration and taken into account in the review.

Further Education Colleges

Mr. Fatchett : To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will list the representations made since 1 April from local authorities seeking approval

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of expenditure on further education colleges and sixth-form colleges, the capital value of each scheme, and the institutions concerned ; and whether, in any case, ministerial approval has been granted.

Mr. Eggar : The details are given in the table. In several cases, formal ministerial approval has not been needed for the action which the authority has been proposing to take. In other cases, while it has been possible to indicate our likely agreement, formal agreement has to await the details of the proposed contracts. I am unable to specify the values of the contracts concerned ; to do so would be in breach of commercial information supplied in confidence.

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Institution                        |LEA                      |Date of                                            

                                                             |ministerial consent                                

                                                             |(if required)                                      


Swindon College                    |Wiltshire                |14 June 1991                                       


Dudley College                     |Dudley                   |24 June 1991                                       


Brooklyn College of Technology     |Birmingham               |Not required                                       


Bourneville College                |Birmingham               |Not required                                       


Shipley College                    |Bradford                 |Not required                                       


North Devon College                |Devon                    |Not required                                       


Barton Peveril College             |Hampshire                |Not required                                       


Elm Park Tertiary College          |Harrow                   |Not required                                       


Stamford College                   |Lincolnshire             |Not required                                       


Tameside College of Technology     |Tameside                 |Not required                                       


The Peoples' College               |Nottinghamshire          |Awaiting contract details                          


West Hertfordshire College         |Hertfordshire            |Awaiting contract details                          


Bromley College of Technology      |Bromley                  |Awaiting contract details                          


Orpington College                  |Bromley                  |Awaiting contract details                          


Sir John Deanes Sixth Form College |Cheshire                 |Awaiting contract details                          


Taunton's Sixth Form College       |Hampshire                |Awaiting contract details                          


Huddersfield College               |Kirklees                 |Awaiting contract details                          


Waltham Forest College             |Waltham Forest           |Awaiting contract details                          


Chippenham Technical College       |Wiltshire                |Awaiting contract details                          

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