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Research and Development

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what contribution will have to be made by the private sector and charitable funding in order to achieve the public and private spending on research and development targets set out in the Spending Review 2004; and what contribution has been secured from (a) the private sector and (b) charitable funding. [200540]

Ms Hewitt: The Science and Innovation Investment Framework: 2004–2014 outlines the Government's ambition to increase the overall levels of R and D in the economy to 2.5 per cent. of GDP by 2014. This is a challenging target, and public and private expenditure on R and D will have to rise faster than the trend rate of GDP growth over the period if it is to be achieved. The Government has made extra resources available in SR 2004 in line with this objective, including an extra £1 billion for the UK science base by 2007–08, equivalent to a real-term increase of 5.8 per cent. This public investment will have to be matched by a similar commitment from business.

The Government is committed to working in partnership with business to raise the UK's investment levels in R and D, and has put in place a number of measures to encourage greater private sector investment in R and D, including the R and D tax credits and funding for collaborative research and knowledge transfer via the DTI's Technology Strategy.

Charity funding for R and D has grown steadily in recent years, and the Government is working in partnership with charities to improve the financial sustainability of university research. In SR 2004, the Government announced additional funding of up to £90 million by 2007–08 to help close the gap between the costs of charity-sponsored research and the funds currently available from universities and charities.

Mr. Dawson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what measures are being taken (a) to prevent the best young scientists from leaving (i) research and (ii) the UK and (b) to attract young scientific talent from abroad. [199952]

Ms Hewitt [holding answer 29 November 2004]: The evidence base for a brain gain/drain is uncertain, with some recent studies showing the UK as a net beneficiary of science, engineering and technology (SET) skills. Therefore, the Office of Science and Technology is taking forward a study to provide a clear and usable definition of the brain drain to ascertain whether the UK SET base is currently experiencing a net brain drain of SET personnel qualified to at least PhD level and to
 
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provide an analysis as to what the future balance of inward versus outward migration of SET personnel might be.

A number of schemes have been implemented in the UK which aim to attract scientific talent from abroad. For example, the Research Councils operate the Dorothy Hodgkin Postgraduate Awards scheme that provides PhD scholarship for students from India, China, Hong Kong and the developing world.

The Roberts Review (SET for Success, 2002) included recommendations that focused on the supply of scientists and improving the attractiveness of research careers. In its strategy for science, "Investing in Innovation", the Government made a commitment to implement measures based on these recommendations. These included increasing Research Council postdoctoral researchers' salaries by around £4,000 by 2005, increasing the average Research Council PhD stipend to £13,000 by 2005, providing young researchers with two weeks a year of transferable skills training, and establishing a new academic fellowship scheme that will provide more stable and attractive routes into academia. The 2004 Spending Review settlement will provide additional funding to extend the average duration of Research Council PhD awards to three-and-a-half years, and further increase the level of Research Council PhD stipends by at least inflation.

The work of the UK Resource Centre for Women in SET (science, engineering and technology) includes sharing good employment practices, and supporting women returners. A contribution from the Department for Education and Skills will enable the Resource Centre to develop a scheme dedicated to encouraging more female SET undergraduates to take up SET professions.

EDUCATION AND SKILLS

Adrenaline

Mrs. Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what guidance is given to (a) schools, (b) other educational facilities and (c) local authority-run centres regarding the administration of adrenaline to children who suffer from severe allergies. [199756]

Margaret Hodge: The DfES and Department of Health have jointly produced guidance on "Supporting pupils with medical needs" in schools. This provides information on management and control of anaphylaxis and advises that training in the administration of adrenaline is given by a health professional. Specific guidance on the administration of adrenaline has not been issued to other educational facilities and local authority-run centres. However, all providers have health and safety responsibilities towards pupils and where staff administer adrenaline they must ensure that the staff are properly trained.

Child Care (Wandsworth)

Tom Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many new full day care places have been created in the London borough of Wandsworth in each of the past three years. [199674]


 
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Margaret Hodge: 918 new full day care places have been created in Wandsworth since 2001. Taking account of turnover, 779 net new places have been created. This has resulted in an increase in the stock of places from 2,741 in March 2001 to 3,520 in March 2004. There are a variety of reasons why provision may close, ranging from childminders taking up other careers once their own children reach school age or changes in family circumstances resulting in career changes, to work-friendly full day care replacing other forms of provision.

Table 1 details the number of gross and net full day care places created in Wandsworth for each year since 2001. Table 2 shows the number of nursery education places taken up by 3 and 4-year-olds.
Table 1

Gross childcare placesNet childcare places
2001–026228
2002–03304304
2003–04615447
Total918779

Table 2

Nursery education places taken up
20026,600
20036,300
20046,200

The number of nursery education places taken up in Wandsworth over the past three years has declined as the population of 3 and 4-year-olds has reduced.

Tom Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps his Department is taking to monitor local authority spending on the promotion of nursery education in the London borough of Wandsworth. [199675]

Mr. Miliband: The information requested is not collected centrally.

Departmental Initiatives (Young People)

Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) if he will list each programme and initiative launched by his Department to help young people since 1997; and which of those programmes and initiatives remain in operation; [200260]

(2) what assessment he has made of the effects of Government policies relating to young people; [200262]

(3) if he will make a statement on his Department's efforts since 1997 in helping young people. [200264]

Margaret Hodge [holding answer 29 November 2004]: The Department for Education and Skills has launched the following programmes since 1997 to help young people through offers of advice, support and positive activities, all of which remain in operation: Connexions; Get REAL; Millennium Volunteers; Positive Activities for Young People; the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy; and Transforming Youth Work.

An important aspect of the Government's strategy is to involve local people in running activities for young people in their area. The Local Network Fund is
 
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managed locally by voluntary organisations and provides funding and capacity building support to community groups working with vulnerable young people. The Neighbourhood Support Fund supports local voluntary and community sector projects in delivering informal learning and self development for hard to reach young people.

The Government made an assessment of services for children, young people and families in the Green Paper "Every Child Matters" published in September 2003. It concluded that, while much progress has been made, there was scope for services to work together more effectively to help every child and young person achieve better outcomes. This view was supported in consultation.

The Government have now legislated through the Children Act 2004 to make changes that will lead to local services working together through children's trust arrangements to improve outcomes for all children and young people. These reforms will span the front line staff providing integrated services, through the processes that support them, to the plans that set their direction and the governance arrangements that sustain them. The Act is the legislative spine for a wider programme of change: we will shortly publish "Every Child Matters: Change for Children" setting out the national framework for local change programmes that will turn the Act into reality.

The Government remain fully committed to helping all children and young people achieve the best possible outcomes and especially to be healthy, to stay safe, to enjoy and achieve, to make a positive contribution to society, and to achieve economic well-being. That is why we have enshrined these outcomes in the Children Act 2004. A more detailed assessment of programmes and initiatives for young people is being undertaken in the course of developing the Youth Green Paper, which is due to be published in the new year.


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