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Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what armament will be carried by the Tyne Class OPVs. 
Mr. Ingram: HMS Tyne will be the first of the three new River Class Offshore Patrol Vessels to be built. Each vessel will be fitted with one 20 mm BMARC KAA Gun and two 7.62 mm General Purpose Machine Guns. In addition, the crew will have access to small arms, including SA 80 Rifles and 9 mm pistols.
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations he has received from the Indian Government concerning expressions of interest to purchase HMS Invincible. 
Dr. Moonie: The Ministry of Defence has received no representations from the Government of India concerning the availability of HMS Invincible for purchase.
Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how long the refit of HMS Vanguard will take; and what is the estimated cost. 
Mr. Ingram: The refit of HMS Vanguard is scheduled to take around two and a half years to complete including trials and training. The total cost of the refit is estimated to be approximately £217 million including materials, but excluding the costs for any additional essential work identified during the course of the refit.
Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence at what standby notice HMS Sheffield will be available between 2003 and 2004. 
Mr. Ingram: On current plans, HMS Sheffield will be held at Extended Readiness, commensurate with force levels endorsed within the Strategic Defence Review, from November 2002 until September 2004. Extended Readiness provides the flexibility to vary the notion of availability.
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Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when each of the remaining Type 42 destroyers will be paid off. 
Mr. Ingram: On current plans, the operational decommissioning dates for the remaining Type 42 destroyers in the Royal Navy are as follows:
|Type 42 destroyer||Planned operational decommissioning date|
Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if all type 22 and type 23 frigates will be refitted with the 114 mm Mark VIII Mod I gun. 
Mr. Ingram: It is planned to install the 4.5 inch (114 mm) Mark VIII MOD 1 gun on type 22 batch 3 frigates and on all type 23 frigates.
John Thurso: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what his policy is on consent to applications received from (a) UK forces and (b) overseas forces for the use of depleted uranium-based ammunition at Cape Wrath range; 
Dr. Moonie: The use of depleted uranium ammunition is not and never has been authorised at Cape Wrath range. We have no intention of changing this policy.
Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will list the (a) number and (b) type of collaboration agreements between universities and colleges and industry; and if she will make a statement on the benefit of these agreements. 
Margaret Hodge: The most recent description of collaboration between higher education institutions and business is the Higher EducationBusiness Interaction Survey report by the Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies of the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, published in December 2001, copies of which have been placed in the Library. This survey was
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commissioned by the Higher Education Funding Council for England on behalf of stakeholders including the Department for Education and Skills. The report can also be found on the internet at www.hefce.ac.uk/Pubs/hefce/ 2001/0168.htm. Interactions and collaboration between higher education institutions and businesses can bring a number of benefits, for companies, for institutions, for employees and for students.
Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what action she is taking to address potential over-crowding in medical schools. 
Margaret Hodge: Following a review of the medical workforce, published in December 1997, and the commitments made in the NHS Plan in July 2000, the number of places available to study medicine in England will increase to almost 6,000 in 200506. Of the additional places, over 40 per cent. will be at new medical schools. The extra places were approved by an implementation group chaired jointly by the Chief Executive of Higher Education Funding Council for England and the Chief Medical Officer for England following bids for additional places by medical schools. The General Medical Council also considered the bids for quality and delivery of teaching provision. The increases will be implemented, in stages, over seven years in line with the capacity of medical schools to accommodate the additional students.
Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many out of school clubs which received new opportunities funding since such funding was available (a) have subsequently closed and (b) are operational. 
Margaret Hodge: Information is not available in the form requested.
The New Opportunities Fund Out Of Schools Hours Programme has created over 146,500 new out of school hours child care places in England since April 1999. Most of these projects are still receiving funding from the Fund but of those projects that have submitted their end of grant reports, over 90 per cent. of places are still in operation.
Between 1999 and 2004 £225.5 million is being made available to help start up new out of school hours child care in England.
Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the cost has been of the Fast Track Scheme, including the costs of advertising. 
Mr. Timms: The Government have invested the following funds in creating the Fast Track Teaching Programme, a new career route for some of the highest calibre future teachers:
(2) Estimated end-year forecast
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This represents the total investment to date in fast track, including: national advertising; targeted marketing; application materials; assessment and selection; enhanced initial teacher training; bursaries; ICT; additional professional development events; marketing to schools; and the investment needed to build a highly personalised system of job-broking, career management and professional development.
Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the cost has been of the welcome back bonus scheme; and how much of that cost has been paid to returning teachers. 
Mr. Timms: The information is not available in the form requested. Local education authorities pay welcome back bonuses to teachers and then claim reimbursement of this expenditure from my Department. The first reimbursements will be made this month. We do not yet have final claimant numbers. £117,280 was allocated in the current financial year to publicise the bonus and establish the administrative arrangements for the scheme.
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills which local learning and skills councils have appointed specialist officers in basic skills. 
Margaret Hodge [holding answer 28 February 2002]: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State's grant letter to the LSC for 200203 highlighted the importance of tackling the legacy of poor basic skills, and asked the LSC to implement its adult literacy and numeracy strategy, to meet the target of raising the literacy and numeracy skills of 750,000 young people and adults by 2004 and set out the key priorities for the LSC in 200203 including taking responsibility for tackling the woeful legacy of poor basic skills.
The LSC has confirmed that there is at least one person in each local LSC with specific responsibility for basic skills.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will make a statement on the value and effectiveness of knowledge transfer initiatives sponsored by her Department. 
Margaret Hodge [holding answer 28 February 2002]: The Department for Education and Skills, in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry, supports knowledge transfer through projects in higher education funded under the Higher Education Innovation Fund, which incorporates the earlier Higher Education Reach- Out to Business and the Community Fund. Many of the projects funded under these initiatives introduced new organisational and structural arrangements intended to lead to systematic and sustainable improvements in relationships between higher education institutions and business. As the earliest projects have only been running for just over two years it is still too soon for full evaluation. Early indications suggest that these initiatives are helping to improve the capacity of higher education institutions to carry out knowledge transfer.
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