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Committee Mandates

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the mandate of the Committee on Experts on the Transit of Electricity through Grids is; how many

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times it has met over the last 12 months; what the UK representation on it is; what the annual cost of its work is to public funds; if he will list the items currently under its consideration; if he will take steps to increase its accountability and transparency to Parliament; and if he will make a statement. [61709]

Ms Hewitt: I have been asked to reply.

The role of the committee is to mediate in disputes between network operators over conditions for the use of electricity transit lines, as set out in Article 3 of Council Directive 90/547/EEC of 29 October 1990 on the transit of electricity through transmission grids.

The committee has not met in the past 12 months. The UK representation is provided by the National Grid Group plc. There is no UK public funding of this committee. There are no items currently under consideration by the committee.

The Commission's current proposals for liberalising the European energy market would repeal Directive 90/547/EEC and so remove the legal base for this committee.

There are no plans to increase accountability and transparency as it is about to be dissolved.

Mobile Phone Masts

Mr. Norman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what steps the Department has taken to monitor the mobile phone industry's adherence to its 10 voluntary commitments on siting and erection of mobile phone masts. [59633]

Mr. McNulty: I have been asked to reply.

The then Minister for Housing, Planning and Regeneration met representatives of the five mobile phone network operators on 8 May 2002 to discuss their progress in meeting their commitments and to discuss the audit arrangements that they have put in place to assess continuing compliance with the commitments.

Work currently under way to revise the Code of Best Practice on Mobile Phone Masts is building on the commitments and on our guidance in Planning Policy Guidance Note 8 (Telecommunications) to improve consultation on mast proposals with local communities and local planning authorities. The Working Group established to take that work forward will monitor the operation of the revised Code and effectiveness of the commitments themselves.


International Baccalaureate

Mr. McLoughlin: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what funding is available for scholarship support relating to International Baccalaureate study at the United World college. [63183]

Mr. Miliband: The Department has no direct involvement in and does not fund any scholarship programmes relating to the International Baccalaureate.

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Infant Classes

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the (a) average infant class size was in each year since 1997 and (b) total number of infants in classes in each of these years was. [62855]

Mr. Miliband: The requested information is shown in the table.

Average size of infant classes(1),(2) in England

Number of classesNumber of pupilsAverage class size

(1) One teacher classes

(2) Position in January each year

(3) Provisional


Annual Schools Census

Music and Ballet Assisted Places

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many pupils were educated on the music and ballet assisted places scheme in each academic year since 1997; and at what cost in each year. [62782]

Mr. Miliband: The music and ballet scheme has been renamed the music and dance scheme. The information requested is given in the following table:

Academic yearNumber of aided pupilsTotal cost (AY) £ million

(4) Estimate

Connexions Card (Proof of Age)

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans he has to use the connexions card as the basis for a national proof-of-age scheme for young people. [63213]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: The primary purpose of the connexions card is to encourage young people to continue in learning, after the age of 16. However, the features of the card mean that it can be used for proof-of-age purposes by young people, if they wish.

Medical Students

Mr. Rendel: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many students in absolute numbers and as a percentage of the total were admitted to study medicine in UK medical schools from (a) independent schools, (b) public sector schools and (c) abroad, broken down by medical school in each year since 1997. [59776]

Margaret Hodge [holding answer 10 June 2002]: The information requested has been placed in the Libraries.

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Medical Degrees

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, pursuant to the answer of 29 April 2002, Official Report, column 581W, on medical degrees, how many medical degree places were offered by higher education institutions; and how many of these places were taken up by pre-clinical medical students, in each year since 1997. [59552]

Margaret Hodge [holding answer 24 May 2002]: The latest information is shown in the table.

Students accepted to pre-clinical medical courses in the UK

Planned intakeAccepted applicants(5)

(5) Home and overseas domiciled students accepted via the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

Aberdeen Bacterial Culture Collection

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what support is being given to the maintenance and development of the bacterial culture collection in Aberdeen; and whether the level of that support will increase in the current year. [62028]

Ms Hewitt: I have been asked to reply.

Support from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) for the bacteria culture collection—the National Industrial and Environmental Culture Collections (NIECC)—in Aberdeen totalled £197,000 over the 12 month period to 31 July 2002. BBSRC is currently reviewing future funding for the collection in the light of a significant decrease in demand for cultures from UK industry and academic centres over the last three years.



Mr. Truswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what changes there have been in (a) cash and (b) real terms in the state pension between 1998–99 an 2002–03. [44030]

Mr. McCartney: Between 1998–99 and 2002–03 Basic State Pension has increased from £64.70 to £75.50. This is an increase of £10.80 in cash terms.

If the Basic State Pension had been uprated in line with prices, the value in 2002–03 would have been £70.95. There has been a real increase of £4.55 in Basic State Pension between 1998–99 and 2002–03.

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many cases have arisen in the past two years in which persons approaching pensionable age have been incorrectly advised in writing by the Benefits Agency that their additional pension will be nil. [60485]

Mr. McCartney: The information requested is not available.

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Winter Fuel

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the winter fuel payments advertising campaign. [46471]

Mr. McCartney: This year's Winter Fuel Payment advertising campaign has closely mirrored campaigns from previous years which gave people two routes for claiming; a Helpline and a claim form on press adverts. During the press advertising the Department gathered information from people who rang the Winter Fuel Payment Helpline to find out where they had found out about the Helpline.

As of 15 March 2002, 278,643 claim forms had been issued from the Helpline of which 217,678 had been returned along with 4,494 internet forms. The Helpline had also received 22,915 coupons in response to national press advertising.

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