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agreement is no longer considered appropriate and there is no plan to publish another one. Agency Performance Targets are set by Ministers for each financial year and achievement against these targets is monitored regularly.
Bob Russell: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what financial assistance will be given to local authorities for the remaining two months of the current financial year to establish permanent sites for travellers; what plans he has to continue such financial provision in the next financial year; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. McNulty: The gipsy sites refurbishment grant is a three-year programme announced in July 2000 by my right hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich and Woolwich (Mr. Raynsford) (the then Minister of Housing). As part of the Spending Review 2000, that £17 million grant was to be made available to local authorities for the refurbishment of authorised gipsy sites over the three year period 2001 to 2004.
The grant funding is approved and allocated annually for works to be carried out throughout the financial year. A total of £8.112 million was approved for the 200203 round of the gipsy site refurbishment grant. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister will pay a maximum of 75 per cent. of the total approved costs.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the (a) annual budget and (b) powers of the proposed Access Regulator for higher education institutions will be; and if he will make a statement. 
Margaret Hodge [holding answer 29 January 2003]: The Access Regulator will work within the Higher Education Funding Council, as set out in "The Future of Higher Education" (Cm 5734), and will have the power to withdraw approval for variable fees, or impose financial penalties, where Access Agreements are not fulfilled.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what his estimate is of the (a) cost and (b) annual budget of the Arts and Humanities Research Council; and if he will make a statement. 
Margaret Hodge [holding answer 29 January 2003]: We announced in "The Future of Higher Education" that our aim is for the Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRB) to become a full Research Council by 2005. Our estimate for AHRB expenditure on running costs in the current financial year is £3.4 million. Total support for the AHRB from the Government and the Devolved Administrations in 200203 will be £63.2 million.
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Rather than set new legal requirements, we want to help schools stop bullying. We have made available on request our free pack and video for schools entitled "Bullying: Don't Suffer in Silence". In addition, Ofsted inspectors ask about the incidence of bullying in the schools they inspect, and the school's response to the bullying.
Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much Government expenditure was directed towards reducing the rate of bullying in schools in each of the last three years. 
In England, we provided over £600 million to schools and local education authorities between 19992000 and 200102 to raise behaviour standards. It is not known how much was used for anti-bullying work, as expenditure decisions were taken locally. We have also funded the Department's anti-bullying pack, published in December 2000. In addition, we are providing around £190,000 a year towards the Parentline Plus helpline for parents of pupils who have been bullied, and we are also funding anti-bullying research by ChildLine£120,000 in total, including a conferenceand an external evaluation of the usefulness of our anti-bullying pack to schools that have ordered it. The evaluation will enable us to review, and where appropriate, enhance the effectiveness of our support to schools in reducing bullying. The cost of the evaluation is £20,000.
Mr. Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when (a) he and (b) his predecessor last met representatives of the Local Government Association's Education Executive; and when he next expects to meet them. 
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Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Department provides guidance to schools and LEAs on the subject of counselling in the event of sudden death, serious incidents, or emergencies during educational visits. Our pack for schools, "Bullying: Don't Suffer in Silence", also deals with counselling as an anti-bullying strategy.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will list for each local education authority in England the amount of formula-funded allocations per pupil for (a) primary and (b) secondary education in the provisional settlement for 200304. 
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what action he is taking to increase the provision of technical craft skills training for (a) plumbing, (b) mechanics, (c) construction and (d) joinery. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: We are already doing much to improve the quality and availability of provision and the direct partnership between employers and the education and training system. By June we will have set out our national skills strategy and delivery plan setting out how we will further boost numbers of young people acquiring technical and craft skills across the economy and how we can get more adults to acquire vocational skills and qualifications.
The Learning and Skills Council is engaged in substantial adult skills pilots in each of the occupational areas mentioned. These pilots are nationally managed and locally delivered through a consortium of local LSCs, the development-phase Sector Skills Councils, employers and providers. The pilots are proving highly successful in identifying and overcoming barriers to employer-led training programmes, and when mainstreamed will enable large numbers of adults to train or re-train for technician skills which are currently in very high demand. The Council offers substantial support for adult trainees through its heavy subsidies (of between 50 per cent. and 75 per cent. of full cost) towards college and other provider fees. In all the Council provides several hundred million pounds of subsidy towards the training of technicians every year, and provides progression routes to high level skills and HE.
A new Standards Unit has also been established within my Department to focus specifically on improving the quality of teaching and learning. The Unit will concentrate on developing best practice materials in up to four curriculum areas in the
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We are currently setting up, through the new Sector Skills Development Agency, a network of Sector Skills Councils (SSCs) that will bring together employers, trade unions and professional bodies to work with government to meet the skills needs of their sector. SSCs covering plumbing, mechanics and construction (which includes joinery) sectors are in development phase.
We are wholly committed to Modern Apprenticeships (MA) as a quality work-based learning route for young people, increasing the supply of skills at craft, supervisory and technician level across industry. We have adopted a challenging target for MA entrants by 200428 per cent. of young people to begin an MA by the age of 22and are working with the LSC to ensure all MAs meet the highest standards and to encourage take-up among employers and young people. A new Modern Apprenticeship Task Force will take a key role in promoting MA to employers and thereby contributing to increased take-up. Provisional figures for 200203 show that the number of young people engaged in Foundation Modern Apprenticeships in construction (which includes joinery) and plumbing has increased dramatically.
Our national skills strategy and delivery plan will set out how Government Departments, the Learning and Skills Council, Sector Skills Councils, Regional Development Agencies and other agencies will work even further together to deliver the economy's skill needs.
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