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9 Dec 2003 : Column 358Wcontinued
Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills, whether the Minister for Children sought advice from departmental officials subsequent to writing her letter to the Chairman of the BBC about child abuse in Islington; and if he will make a statement. 
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Mr. Charles Clarke: At the point when the letter to the BBC came into the public domain, the Minister of State for Children, Young People and Families consulted Departmental Officials to ensure that she followed the procedures laid down in the Ministerial Code.
Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many of his Department's private finance initiative projects were completed (a) on time and (b) on budget; and of those that overran in terms of (i) time and (ii) budget, who bore the cost. 
Mr. Miliband: Each schools PFI project involves a separate contract between the relevant local authority and a private sector contractor, and, for a variety of reasons, timetables of work may change from that which was envisaged when the contract was signed. It is not possible therefore, for DfES to hold a record of the circumstances of each completion. However, where there have been difficulties, these have generally been brought to our attention by the LEA concerned. These cases have been a small proportion of the total number of completions.
The responsibility for any overrun in terms of time and budget in any PFI project rests with the PFI contractor. Overruns in traditionally funded building projects are fairly commonplace but happen less frequently in PFI projects as the financial consequences of any overrun rest with the private sector.
Mr. Miliband: The Project Review Group (PRG) meets approximately every six weeks. At its meeting on 18 November it considered and approved two schools PFI projects. Currently there are four schools PFI projects to be considered at the next meeting on 16 December.
Mr. Cameron: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much money has been spent in the last six months on advertisements to promote and explain top-up fees; how many advertisements have been broadcast; and what the total planned spending is on this campaign. 
Alan Johnson [holding answer 8 December 2003]: The Department has not run any advertising in the last six months to promote and explain top-up fees. However, it has run advertising to inform those considering applying for a higher education course about the
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student support package available to them and how to apply. This is an annual campaign and was launched last month with radio, magazine and poster advertising costing £240,000.
In parallel, we are also running advertorials in women's magazines for parents of those considering applying for a higher education course. The cost of this is £174,000, giving a total campaign cost of £654,000.
Mr. Flook: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what rules govern the impact on the estate of an individual should he or she die owing student loans acquired to pay tuition fees; and whether he proposes that the forthcoming legislation should change the rules. 
Alan Johnson [holding answer 8 December 2003]: Loan repayments are cancelled if a borrower dies before the loan is paid off. We have no intention of changing that policy in respect of loans for variable tuition fees from 2006.
Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many students have been paying tuition fees in each year since they were introduced; and what proportion of the total student population this represents. 
Alan Johnson [holding answer 8 December 2003]: New student support arrangements came into effect at the start of academic year 1998/99 when new entrants to higher education were expected to contribute towards the cost of their tuition. The amount of the contribution depends on family income.
The number and proportion of students eligible for support in England and Wales in academic years 1998/99 to 2001/02 (latest year for which data are available) who have been assessed to make a partial or full contribution towards the cost of their tuition is shown in the table.
|Number (Thousand)||% of eligible students||Number (Thousand)||% of eligible students||Number (Thousand)||% of eligible students||Number (Thousand)||% of eligible students|
|Full or partial contribution towards the cost of tuition from student/parents/spouse/partner(3)||133||55||263||55||397||58||415||57|
(2) Data for academic year 1998/99 comprise the cohort of students who entered higher education in that year; data for 1999/2000 comprise the 1998/99 and 1999/2000 cohorts; data for 2000/01 comprise those who entered in 1998/99, 1999/2000 and 2000/01; and data for 2001/02 comprise those students still in study from 1998/99 onwards and new entrants from 2001/02.
(3) Includes students who withdrew from their course before the fee due date (and therefore no fee payment was made by the local education authority). In 1998/99, includes estimation for students who, because they did not expect to receive a contribution towards the cost of their tuition from public funds, did not make an application to their local authority.
F503G survey of local education authorities.
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Mr. McWalter: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps he is taking to ensure that there is provision for life-long learning in the Hemel Hempstead area following the closure of courses at the Dacorum campus of West Hertfordshire College. 
Alan Johnson: The Learning and Skills Council has responsibility for planning and funding lifelong learning delivered through further education colleges. The local LSC for Hertfordshire commissioned a Strategic Options Review of West Hertfordshire College, which reported in September 2003. The local LSC will shortly be publishing an action plan for public consultation which will take into account the finding of the review. The local LSC and the college are also working closely with partners to ensure that the needs of all learners in Hemel Hempstead are met.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what visits (a) he and (b) the Minister without Portfolio (i) have made and (ii) plan to make using public funds in connection with the Big Conversation; how many civil servants accompanied (1) him and (2) the Minister without Portfolio in respect of such
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visits; what the cost to public funds was of visits by (A) him, (B) the Minister without Portfolio and (C) civil servants in connection with the Big Conversation; and if he will make a statement. 
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