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8 Dec 2004 : Column 527W—continued

Departmental Pay

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment he has made of the gender pay gap among staff in his Department. [200829]

Mr. Charles Clarke: My Department's equal pay analysis of 2002 pay identified no statistically significant variations in pay between genders and the minor differences identified were addressed in the three year pay deal 2003–2005.

My Department's gender analysis of the 2003 pay award identified no sign of any bias in the results.

Education Maintenance Allowance

Mrs. Anne Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many extra 16 to 18-year-olds he expects to stay in education as a result of the education maintenance allowance in Cambridge. [201267]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: Since the start of the academic year, as of 31 October 2004, 1,207 young people in the Cambridgeshire local authority area have received payments under the national EMA scheme. The number is increasing at a steady rate and we expect it to continue to do so. In 2004/05 across England we expect the number of 16 to 18-year-olds participating in education to increase by 35,000 (3.8 percentage points) as a direct result of EMA. By 2006/07, when EMA is available to all eligible 16 to 18-year-olds, an additional 72,000 young people will be in further education. If the same participation increase is applied to the east of England region an additional 7,900 16 to18-year-olds will be participating in further education by 2006/07. Estimates are not available at local authority level.

Education Finance

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills with which companies (a) producing and (b) distributing video games he has held discussions on financing educational facilities. [203119]

Mr. Charles Clarke: I have not held any meetings with companies (a) producing or (b) distributing video games in which we have discussed any specific proposals for financing educational facilities.

My Department maintains a working relationship with representatives from the games industry and is keen to find opportunities for collaboration, and ways of using games technologies to create innovative educational content.

As part of this overall approach, I hosted a discussion on 2 November 2004 for some of those involved in the video games industry, including relevant trade associations.

School Playing Fields

Tom Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many school playing fields have been sold in England and Wales in each of the last five years. [201649]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: Section 77 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 was introduced in England on 1 October 1998 to stop the indiscriminate
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sale of school playing fields that occurred in the 1980s and early to mid 1990s. As the legislation only applies to England, we have no records of how many school playing fields have been sold in Wales. The sale of school playing fields in Wales is a matter for the Welsh Assembly.

Applications to sell school playing fields are only approved where it is clear that any proceeds will be used to improve school sports provision or education facilities. All applications made since 16 July 2001 are scrutinised by the independent School Playing Fields Advisory Panel to make sure that they meet our published criteria. The Panel comprises representatives from the National Playing Fields Association, the Central Council of Physical Recreation, Learning through Landscapes, the National Association of Head Teachers and the Local Government Association.

The figures requested are shown in the following table. In 15 of these 109 applications new or replacement sports pitches of the same size or greater were to be bought from the proceeds. A further 41 applications involved land at closed or closing school sites and in 39 of the remaining 53 cases, the proceeds are to be used to improve sports facilities, such as new all-weather pitches, sports halls or improved grass sports pitches. In the remaining 12 cases, the proceeds are to provide better education facilities at schools, such as new classrooms and performing arts facilities.
Calendar yearSports pitch applications approved
2004 (to 26 November)14

1. The table comprises applications from local authorities, foundation, voluntary and former grant-maintained schools to sell school playing fields capable of forming at least a small sports pitch.
2. All sale proceeds are to be used to provide new or improved sports or education facilities at maintained schools.
3. "Sports pitch" means an area of open grassed land which is equal to, or larger than, the Football Association's recommended 2,000m(4) area for games played by under-10s and which has a configuration making it suitable for sports, whether laid out as a sports pitch or not.

Vocational Education/Training

Mrs. Anne Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans he has to expand vocational education and training for adults in Cambridge. [201266]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The responsibility for local education and training provision rests with the Learning and Skills Council. Mark Haysom the Council's Chief Executive will write to my hon. Friend with the information requested and a copy of his reply will be placed in the Library.
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Mr. John Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the dates since 1 January when he and his Ministers discussed with the Department for Constitutional Affairs the change in revenue that might occur if arrangements were not made immediately to approve an 80-year closure period for decennial population censuses for England and Wales; and what estimate he has made of the (a) gross and (b) net revenue in the next decade from the 1911 and 1921 censuses being released online as soon as practicable. [202018]

Mr. Timms: It is government policy that all decennial census returns should remain closed for 100 years. This is in order that public confidence continues to be maintained through the confidentiality assurances that are provided when citizens are required to complete their census forms.

It would be premature to consider what revenue might be raised from making the 1911 and 1921 censuses available online so far in advance of their release dates. There have been no meetings between Treasury and DCA Ministers on this matter and it would not be appropriate to prepare revenue estimates at this time.

Departmental Efficiency Technical Notes

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which of the departmental Efficiency Technical Notes (ETN) required by the report, "Releasing Resources to the Frontline—Independent Review of Public Sector Efficiency", were submitted to (a) the National Audit Office and (b) the Audit Commission for scrutiny; on what date each first draft was submitted for scrutiny; how many submissions of subsequent drafts there were for each ETN, broken down by Department and on what dates each were submitted; on what date each was signed off by the (i) National Audit Office and (ii) Audit Commission; if he will make a statement on the nature of the outstanding concerns of the National Audit Office and the Audit Commission over those ETNs not yet signed off; and when he expects sign-off to be achieved. [203158]

Mr. Timms: The NAO and Audit Commission provided advice to central Government on draft ETNs submitted by Departments in September 2004, against agreed criteria—clarity of savings, measurement methods, data quality, service continuity, and readability. Departments subsequently published their ETNs at the end of October 2004. The NAO and Audit Commission will be asked to provide further scrutiny but have not been asked to sign off the content of ETNs. The scrutiny covered the main Departments of Government, namely Cabinet Office, Crown Prosecution Service, Department for Constitutional Affairs, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Department for Education and Skills, Department for International Development, Department for Transport, Department of Health, Department of Trade and Industry, Department for Work and Pensions, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Home Office, HM Revenue and Customs, HM Treasury, Ministry of Defence,
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Northern Ireland Office and Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (for both main programmes and local government).

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