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Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when he received the Treasury documents relating to the five economic tests and the 18 background studies; what discussions he has held with ministerial colleagues on the tests since receipt of the documents; when he expects to complete his analysis of the documents; and what representations (a) he and (b) departmental officials will make to other Departments before a decision is reached on the economic tests. [115391]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Treasury's 18 supporting studies on EMU were sent to Cabinet Ministers on 16 May. My right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and the Chancellor held meetings with Cabinet Members. There was an initial discussion at Cabinet on 22 May followed by a special Cabinet meeting on 5 June. The Chancellor made a statement to the House of Commons on 9 June.

Hotel Accommodation

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will list the amount spent by (a) his Department, (b) its agencies and (c) its non-departmental public bodies on hotel accommodation (i) in the UK and (ii) abroad for (A) Ministers, (B) staff and (C) others; and if he will list the average cost per hotel room, in each year since 1997. [117562]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Government published an annual report on ministerial travel overseas. The total cost of ministerial travel provided in the annual report includes the cost of accommodation. The information sought in respect of accommodation within the UK is not held centrally. All travel is conducted in line with the requirements of the Ministerial Code.

The detailed information requested for (B) staff and (C) others, is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. All travel is conducted in accordance with the requirements of the Civil Service Management Code.


Mr. Kilfoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many contracts his Department has awarded to KPMG since 1997. [113682]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: My Department does not centrally hold a record of Individual contracts. However, our financial records show the following payments made by the Department to KPMG by fiscal year since April 1997.

Value (£)

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Learning and Skills Sector

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills pursuant to his answer of 3 June 2003, ref. 115082, if he will list the members of the independent gatekeeper group to reduce bureaucracy in the learning and skills sector. [117751]

Mr. Charles Clarke: I have appointed Sir Andrew Foster as Chairman of the Bureaucracy Review Group. Sir Andrew's appointment was formally announced by my hon. Friend the Minister (Margaret Hodge) at the Learning and Skills Development Agency Summer Conference on 10 June. The remaining members of the group will be appointed by the end of July and I will ask officials to write to the hon. Gentleman with their names as soon as this is possible.

Partnership Agreements

Angela Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills whether he plans to conclude a partnership agreement with the trade unions representing the staff in his Department. [117459]

Mr. Charles Clarke: There are plans to conclude a partnership agreement with the trade unions representing staff in my Department. Although a formal agreement has not yet been signed, my officials are in active discussion with the trade unions to finalise a meaningful agreement that supports our business. In practice, my Department and its trade unions already work together to achieve shared aims and objectives in an equal, positive and constructive relationship. The Cabinet Office/Council of Civil Service Unions 'Partnership Working in the Civil Service' agreement is available to all staff and managers through my Department's employee relations website.

My Department does not have any Executive Agencies.

PR/Media Consultants

Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what estimate he has made of the cost of (a) public relations and (b) media consultants to his Department in each of the last five years for which information is available. [118606]

Mr. Stephen Twigg [holding answer 10 June 2003]: The cost of public relations consultants to the Department for the past five years is as follows:

The increase over the past two years reflects selective use of PR agencies for a number of campaigns, such as Adult Basic Skills, Aimhigher, Connexions and Millennium Volunteers where key target audiences are difficult to reach through traditional advertising routes. Activity to develop national and local media coverage and targeted communications through external organisations already in contact with these audiences has proved effective.

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The Department has not incurred expenditure on media consultants in this period.

School Federations

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will make a statement on plans to fund and integrate school federations as single collegiate institutions through a legal change in governance arrangements, as outlined in the recent Excellence and Enjoyment document. [117172]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: Collaboration may be more or less formal, ranging from informal information exchange on an ad hoc basis to the legal establishment of formal governance arrangements. There is a wide range of collaborative projects which offer opportunities to primary schools.

From 2002, all maintained primary schools will be able to federate/collaborate under the terms of the 2002 Education Act. Some limited pump-priming funding will be available as outlined on the federation website (

School Funding

Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what modelling was done by his Department to test the new funding system for local authorities and schools, with particular reference to its impact at individual school level. [117872]

Mr. Miliband [holding answer 9 June 2003]: The Government's proposals for a new LEA funding system were first set out in the Local Authority Finance Green Paper of September 2000, and subsequently reconfirmed in last autumn's Schools White Paper and the Local Government White Paper. DfES and ODPM had extensive consultation with external partners throughout all of 2001 and most of 2002, with a three month consultation on a range of options carried out in July 2002. Building on the responses to the consultation, ODPM and DfES explored a large number of options for the distribution of Formula Grant and Education Formula Spending Shares between authorities before determining this year's settlement. In particular, we decided on a minimum like-for-like grant increase of 3.5 per cent. and a minimum like-for-like Education FSS increase of 3.2 per cent. per pupil to ensure that each education authority received a reasonable increase.

Our analysis of options included a detailed assessment of the implications for each LEA and therefore it's schools necessary passporting requirements. However, decisions on council tax and disbursement of funding between schools is a matter for individual local authorities, subject to the general constraints contained in the Fair Funding regulations.

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many schools there are for which education funding for the current academic year fails to cover standstill budgetary pressures, broken down by county. [117635]

Mr. Miliband: Schools will face a range of budgetary pressures depending on a number of factors, namely the specific cost pressures which the school faces and the level of funding which it has received from its local authority.

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Cost pressures vary school by school depending in particular on the staffing profile of the school and changing pupil numbers. Funding depends on decisions by central Government by LEAs.

The increase in funding for each school will depend on a number of factors covering both central and local government responsibility. These are the increase in funding given to the school's authority by central Government; the amount which the local authority decides to increase its Schools Budget by; the increase which the local authority decides to give to the Individual Schools Budget, as opposed to the items within the Schools Budget which are held centrally; and the operation of the local authority's formula which gives different increases to different schools.

School Meals

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps he is taking to encourage schools to develop whole school food policies; and if he will make a statement. [117417]

Mr. Stephen Twigg [holding answer 9 June 2003]: Our Food in Schools programme (run jointly with the Department of Health) supports all aspects of food education within the National Curriculum as well as a range of projects aimed at developing healthy eating habits. We are producing guidance to encourage schools to adopt a consistent approach to teaching about diet, nutrition, cooking, food hygiene and safety, and to reflect this approach in the provision of food that pupils eat at school.

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps he is taking to encourage LEAs to ensure that meals provided on school premises are low in sugar, fat and salt; and if he will make a statement. [118145]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: In April 2001, this Department introduced regulations that set nutritional standards for school lunches together with complementary guidance to assist caterers in preparing school meals. The guidance makes various recommendations for reducing the amount of fat, sugar and salt in school lunches and recommends that foods containing fat and sugar should make up no more than 10 per cent. of the total foods on offer over the course of one week. It is for local education authorities or, where the budget for school meals is delegated to them, a school's governing body, to decide the ingredients and dishes that will be on offer at lunchtime.

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