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7 Jan 2003 : Column 115Wcontinued
Mr. Jim McNulty : Local authorities in England report the numbers of households on their housing register (excluding tenants awaiting a transfer) as at 1 April in their annual housing investment programme returns. The latest reported information, for 2002, is as follows:
West Midlands Government Office Region 95,000
England 1,093,300 For information about other parts of the United Kingdom, I refer my hon. Friend to my right hon. Friends the Members for Torfaen (Mr. Murphy), Airdrie and Shotts (Mrs Liddell) and Hamilton, North and Bellshill (Dr Reid).
Mr. McNulty: The Government set out its vision for improving the standard of public open spaces in the report "Living Places: Cleaner, Safer, Greener', published on 31 October. Living Places set out a number of ways in which the Government are already offering support, including financial, to local authorities, as well as other delivery agencies, so that they can better manage and maintain high quality public spaces.
In addition Living Places also contained a package of measures specifically aimed at urban green spaces. In particular the Government recognises the need for better use of existing support and to attract new resources for urban parks and green spaces. We will be working closely with relevant Government Departments, agencies and the new CABE Space unit to address this issue.
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Mr. McNulty: As the Deputy Prime Minister mentioned in his reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Bethnal Green and Bow (Ms King) on 16 December 2002, Official Report, column 612W, the office of the Deputy Prime Minister is considering whether overcrowding-including in rented accommodation-is best tackled through a more modern set of standards or through the new Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS), on which the office hopes to legislate when Parliamentary time allows. Provisions to introduce HHSRS will form part of the Housing Bill which we intend to publish in draft during this session.
Lynne Jones: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many extra-care sheltered housing places were available in (a) 1997 and (b) 2001; how many are expected to be available in 2005; and what information he has collated on the waiting times for places in such schemes. 
Mr. McNulty: Information on sheltered, or extra care housing was collected for Housing Investment Programme purposes until 2000. The number of very sheltered housing places was 18,041 in 1997 and 20,269 in 2000. Up to date figures will shortly be available from the supply mapping exercise undertaken by local authorities as part of the preparations for supporting people.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Darlington (Mr. Milburn) has announced a target of increasing the levels of extra care provision by 50 per cent. on 1997 levels by 2006. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister will work to ensure that the number of places available in 2005 is at least in line with this target.
Margaret Hodge: Information on non-completion rates for higher education students broken down by subject is not held centrally. For full-time first degree students who began their studies in 1999/00, the overall non-completion rate for the UK was estimated by the Higher Education Funding Council for England to be 17 per cent. the second lowest rate in the OECD.
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|Total known ethnicity||121,981|
1 Full-time and part-time staff; covers staff whose primary employment is teaching, research, or teaching/research.
Higher Education Statistics Agency.
Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much will be spent on (a) entertaining, (b) Christmas decorations and (c) other festive activities this Christmas season by his Department and Government agencies answerable to his Department; and of this sum, how much will be spent in Ministers' (i) private offices and (ii) official residences. 
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Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how agreements between the LSC and each college will be reached for the three year development plan; who will advise whether the targets set are realistic for an individual FE college; and what support will be offered to those FE colleges who receive less funding as a result of failing to attain their targets. 
Margaret Hodge [holding answer 16 December 2002]: From September 2003, colleges will agree a three year development plan, including challenging improvement targets, with the LSC. The LSC will agree targets with each college, drawing on benchmarking data and an assessment of individual capacity to improve. The LSC will consult with colleges at the end of January on the structure of the new development plans, and the detail of how targets would be agreed and how performance will be measured. Guidance on the new arrangements will be published in May 2003.
Mr. Denis Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what proposals he has to change the method of calculating entitlement to educational maintenance allowance for students whose parents live apart. 
Margaret Hodge: We have gained useful experience through running the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) pilots. In light of this, when the scheme is extended to all areas in England in September 2004, there will be changes to the income assessment. This will no longer take account of the income of a parent who lives apart from the young person. Instead, the assessment will be based on household income and follow the same principles used by the Inland Revenue for calculating entitlement to the new tax credits.
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how the educational attainment of school children in current and former coalfield areas compared with the national average in each year since 1997. 
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The definition of a coalfield area taken from the coalfields task force report, June 1998, is: a ward where 10 per cent. of resident males in employment at the time of the 1981 census of population were engaged in the energy and water sector. In these areas, this sector overwhelmingly comprises coalmining.
The information required on the educational attainment of seven, 11 and 14-year-old pupils in current and former coalfield areas is currently not available for the period requested. Achievement in coalfields areas for the whole period will be available in the new year as part of the Government-wide neighbourhood statistics project being co-ordinated by the Office for National Statistics. Once available the Department will write to my hon. Friend and place a copy of the letter in the Library.
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