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Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will list, for each year since 1995, the numbers of flights, including helicopter flights, taken by Ministers within his Department for UK and overseas visits; on how many occasions (a) charter flights were used and (b) first and club class tickets obtained; and who accompanied the Ministers on each trip. 
Mr. Wills [holding answer 21 December 2000]: Ministers are under a duty to make efficient and cost-effective travel arrangements. This Government have given a commitment to publish an annual list of visits overseas by Cabinet Ministers costing more than £500 as well as an annual figure on spend by all Ministers on overseas visits. The list for 1999-2000 was published on 28 July 2000, Official Report, column 969W.
Mr. Wills: The introduction of the employment provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) coincided with the abolition of the option to register as disabled under the provisions of the Disabled Persons (Employment) Act 1944. The data now collected by the Government include the number of disabled people as defined by the 1995 Act. The labour force survey is used to provide a quarterly update of the number of people of working age with a current disability as defined by the Act and their employment status. The 1995 Act uses a wider, more inclusive definition of disability than the Disabled Persons (Employment) Act 1944.
According to the labour force survey (Summer 2000), there are 60,000 people of working age with a long-term disability as defined by the DDA living in Durham County. They account for 19 per cent. of the total working age population of Durham.
Tony Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many learning and skills councils he estimates will be set up; and if they will be (a) statutorily required to publish annual reports, (b) statutorily required to publish annual accounts, (c) subject to the jurisdiction of the Parliamentary or Local government Ombudsman, (d) subject to audit by the National Audit Office, (e) subject to audit by the Audit Commission, (f) statutorily required to admit the public to committee meetings, (g) statutorily required to hold public
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meetings, (h) statutorily required to publish the agendas of meetings, (i) statutorily required to publish the minutes of meetings, (j) statutorily required to publish the papers or documents for meetings, (k) statutorily required to keep and make publicly available a register of members' interests, (l) statutorily required to consult and report to local authorities in their areas on their plans and policies and (m) statutorily subject to scrutiny by local authorities in their areas of operation. 
Mr. Wicks: There will only be one learning and skills council in existence as it is a national body. However, I can confirm that the LSC will have 47 local offices known as local LSCs, this will ensure that the education and training needs of individuals, communities and business will be catered for according to their unique and varied circumstances.
The council is a single unitary body, which will be required by statute to publish an annual report and accounts, which I must and will lay before each House of Parliament. I will also arrange for copies of them to be published as appropriate.
The council will operate within a code of conduct which sets out essential information for its members, committee members and advisers about the organisation's values and its expectations of them as they carry out their duties. The council will seek to follow best practice in making available information to the public and will consult their users on a wide range of issues which may be done by means of public meetings. The council secretariat and local council secretariats will maintain registers of the financial and other relevant interests of its members which will be available for inspection. Those wishing to inspect the registers may do so.
In preparing a plan the local council has a statutory duty to consult the relevant local authority in their area. The Learning and Skills Act 2000 also states that in preparing a plan a local council must have regard to strategies prepared by local authorities under section 4 of the Local Government Act 2000.
Mr. Lepper: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many requests were received by A-level examination boards in England for remarking A-level exam papers in (a) 1998, (b) 1999, and (c) 2000; and what assessment he has made of the changes in grades which resulted from this remarking in each of these years. 
Mr. Wicks: Prior to 2000, data on requests for remarking A-level exam papers were recorded separately by each awarding body in aggregated form for England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Collective data are not available for 1998. For 1999, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority has published a "Report on Enquiries and Appeals", which includes data on requests
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for remarking for England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Copies of the 1999 report have been placed in the Library. It includes an analysis of changes of grade as a result of remarking. The report for 2000 will be published in March 2001, and will give information separately for England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will list the starting salary for honours graduates qualifying as newly qualified teachers, in each year from 1974, at 2000 prices. 
Ms Estelle Morris [holding answer 20 December 2000]: The figures in the following table are at 1999-2000 prices, calculated using the GDP deflator. The figure for 2000 has been uprated using the forecast GDP deflator for 2000-01 of 102.0. For some years, more than one salary is shown. This is where salary increases were staged, or where further increases were awarded. The first figure relates to the salary as at 1 April, except the first 1980 figure which relates to 1 January, and the second relates to the higher salary introduced later in the same year, usually 1 December. The GDP deflator relating to the financial year in which a pay award became effective has been used to calculate the real terms figures.
|Year||Cash value of starting pay for honours graduates||Converted to 1999-2000 prices using GDP deflator|
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Mr. Wicks: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has impressed on the higher education sector the need to make rapid progress on equal opportunities for staff. The Funding Councils, Universities UK and the Standing Conference of Principals launched the Equality Challenge Framework on 1 January 2001 to help higher education institutions improve equality of opportunity for all staff, including compliance with the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000.
Mr. Steinberg: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what is the level of funding for higher education in the current financial year; and what the level was in each of the last five years at constant prices. 
Mr. Wicks: The following table shows the publicly planned funding for higher education institutions in England in each of the last five years and to 2003-04. Figures include capital and are in real terms at 1999-2000 prices.
Student support funding is not included in the figures in the table. In addition to institutional funding, universities and higher education colleges receive funding from private sources and from other Government Departments, for example, the extra £1 billion for science infrastructure in 2002-03 and 2003-04 from OST and the Wellcome Trust, and the extra £250 million Research Council funding announced in July.
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