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22 Jan 2004 : Column 1402Wcontinued
Hilary Benn: Staff in my department have reported losing 39 staff security passes during 2003. In addition a further four have been reported lost as a result of burglaries and theft of handbags and jackets outside of the office.
Hilary Benn: The response to an international invitation, which had sought outline proposals for private sector participation and investment in possible development of air access, is being considered in consultation with the St Helena Government. An expert assessment of four expressions of interest in the possible venture was received last month. As the next step, we shall soon decide whether any or all of the existing proposals offer a suitable basis for proceeding further.
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|Project title||Country||Value(£ million)||Purpose|
|Rural Access Programme||Nepal||33||To improve poor people's access to the goods and services that they value in targeted hill areas through an improvement in basic transport, an increase in access for rural populations and the development of a strategy for the future organisation of infrastructure development in these areas.|
|Support to Rural Feeder Roads||Ghana||27||To improve access to services and markets in rural areas resulting from development of a sustainable rural road network.|
|Bhairab bridge||Bangladesh||22||To facilitate accelerated economic growth and reduced poverty in North East Bangladesh by the construction of a 4 lane road bridge over the Meghna river.|
|Institutional Dev Comp of Road Rehabilitation II & III||Bangladesh||19||To reduce the total cost of road transport by improving the road network through more effective design and construction of roads and more effective programming and implementation of road maintenance and improvement of operations of the Road Highways Department.|
|Rural Transport Project Phase II||Vietnam||19||To ensure an increased flow of people, goods and services in rural Vietnam by improving basic access for rural areas and providing a strategy for sustainable maintenance of rural roads nation wide|
Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many classroom assistants were employed in schools in Warrington North (a) in 1997 and (b) at the last date for which figures are available. 
Mr. Miliband: The full-time equivalent number of teaching assistants 1 in maintained schools is recorded in January of each year on the Annual School Census. In Warrington, North constituency there were 120 teaching assistants in maintained schools in 1997 and 230 in 2003.
Alan Johnson [holding answer 20 January 2004]: Fees for post graduate, part-time and overseas students in higher education are currently unregulated. Such students make up around 50 per cent. of the total. Fees for full-time undergraduates are currently set at a standard rate of £1,125 per year (for 200304): the Higher Education Bill contains provisions to allow higher education institutions and further education colleges that provide higher education to vary their fees for these students up to a maximum of £3,000, provided they have an access agreement approved by the Office for Fair Access.
Approximately 80 per cent., of further education provision for adults is subject to variable fees. Public funding through the Learning and Skills Council assumes a learner or employer contribution of 25 per cent. to the basic cost of the course. However, colleges are free to vary the fee charged between 0 per cent. and 75 per cent. of the basic cost. No fees may be charged for the 20 per cent. of provision not subject to variable fees. This comprises provision for adult learners on income based benefits and literacy and numeracy courses.
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|Ward||Local authority||Index of multiple deprivation score||Rank of index of multiple deprivation||Taking part inNSFS/dateexpected to join|
|St. Hilda's||Middlesbrough||81.28||7||March 2004|
|Grangetown||Redcar and Cleveland||80.38||9||March 2004|
|Portrack and Tilery||Stockton-on-Tees||78.41||15||March 2004|
|Beswick and Clayton||Manchester||77.58||17||Yes|
|Regent||Great Yarmouth||77.30||19||Autumn 2004|
|Eden Hill||Easington||76.99||21||Autumn 2004|
|Walker||Newcastle upon Tyne||75.57||30||March 2004|
|Monkchester||Newcastle upon Tyne||75.37||31||March 2004|
|Park End||Middlesbrough||75.31||32||March 2004|
|Elswick||Newcastle upon Tyne||74.59||36||March 2004|
|Nelson||Great Yarmouth||74.33||37||Autumn 2004|
|West City||Newcastle upon Tyne||73.92||40||March 2004|
|Southey Green||Sheffield||73.36||43||Autumn 2004|
|Noddle Hill||Kingston upon Hull, City of||72.91||50||Autumn 2004|
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much was spent on school meals per head by each local education authority in the last year for which figures are available. 
Mr. Rendel: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills on what amount of debt he has based his estimate of the length of time it will take the average graduate to complete graduate repayments after 2010; and what the change would be in this time if the annual income threshold for repayment was raised to (a) £18,000 and (b) £20,000. 
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Alan Johnson [holding answer 19 January 2004]: The estimate of the length of time to repay is the average across all students who take out a loan. This is different from the length of time it will take for some notional average graduate to repay. The estimate is from a model which simulates student loan repayments, based on assumed distributions of: length of time in Higher Education; size of means-tested loan taken out; size of fee loan, net of any fee remission; and borrower lifetime earnings. Some borrowers will repay more quickly than this estimated average and some less so.
As part of a package of reforms announced with the introduction of the Higher Education Bill, any debt outstanding after 25 years would be written-off. The threshold would increase to £15,000 in April 2005 and be increased with inflation from April 2010 onwards. The average time to repay would be around 13 years.
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Under the same approach to uprating the threshold, the average time to repay would be around 15 years with an £18,000 threshold and around 16 years with a £20,000 threshold.
Mr. Rendel: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will estimate the additional cost to the Student Loans Company of administering student loans if top-up fees are introduced; and if he will make a statement. 
Alan Johnson: The introduction of deferred fee loans will have a small effect on the Inland Revenue and the Student Loans Company. Any extra costs will be largely a function of the numbers of graduates repaying loans after 2010. There is also the need to monitor what fees a student is incurring for what courses. There will be one-off development costs to the SLC of introducing the change. DfES would meet the cost. No figures are yet available. Information on the proposals is set out in the Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA), copies of which are in the House Libraries.
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