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10 Feb 2005 : Column 1801W—continued

Vehicle Pricing

Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the difference in the purchase costs of new vehicles between the UK and (a) other European countries and (b) the USA. [211899]

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Mr. Sutcliffe: In July 2004 my Department published DTI Economic Paper No.9: The Benefits from Competition: Some illustrative examples", available at:

The paper included an assessment of the effects of action by the competition authorities and changes in the competition regime on new car prices in the UK. In so doing the Report made reference to the reports of the European Commission on price differentials within the European Union, the latest of which was published on 29 July 2004 (

The DTI paper reported that new car prices in the UK had reduced, on average, by about 10 per cent. between April 2000 and October 2003 and that the European Commission research shows evidence that the disparity between new car prices in the UK and the rest of the Union had decreased.

My Department has made no assessment of the difference in the purchase costs of new vehicles between the UK and the USA.

Wind Power

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what research projects she is supporting in wind power generation. [213870]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: DTI grants have been paid to a number of projects at present supporting wind power with its contribution totalling some £3,472, 210.
Wind Power Generation

AMEC Services Ltd.Offshore wind turbine and bird activity at Blyth136,240
Garrad Hassan and Partners Ltd.UK contribution to concerted action on Offshore Wind Partners Ltd. Energy Deployment—phase 274,030
NEG Micon Rotors Ltd.Large multi-part offshore blade development495,000
NEG Micon Rotors Ltd.Review of control algorithms for offshore wind turbines47,955
Garrad Hassan and Partners Ltd.Finite element modelling of offshore wind turbine support structures22,180
Insensys Ltd.Improved performance of wind turbines using fibre optic structural monitoring139,970
QinetiQDesign and manufacture of radar absorbent wind turbine blades112,600
Euro-Projects (LTTC) Ltd.Opportunities for reinforced thermoplastic composites in offshore wind structures48,500
NEG Micon Rotors Ltd.Fully integrated resin distribution system225,000
Hayes McKenzie PartnershipMicroseismic and infrasound monitoring of low frequency. noise and vibration from wind farms25,045
Seacore Ltd.Offshore wind farms proposal to reduce costs of foundations and installation999,912
SEtech(Geotechnical Foundations Engineers) Ltd.FINPILE—improving the lateral stability of monopile foundations49,178
Scott Wilson OceansInnovative foundation designs for offshore wind turbines39,800
SLP Engineering Ltd.The application of suction caisson foundations to offshore wind turbine917,000
Caley Ocean Systems Ltd.Boat access system prototype—offshore wind turbines68,300
Hovemere Ltd.Mobile wind lidar for offshore wind farms71,500


Brixton Prison

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what representations she has received on employer's liability insurance cover for prison education staff at HMP Brixton; and what measures are taken to ensure that Reed Education adheres to employment law. [214995]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The Secretary of State for Education and Skills has not received any representations concerning this matter. Officials at the Department for Education and Skills investigated an allegation that
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employer's liability insurance for prison education staff at HMP Brixton had expired on 1 December 2004. It transpired that this was not the case and that during the period of 1 December 2004 to 30 November 2005, the education staff at HMP Brixton were covered by employer's liability insurance.

HMPS ensure that contractors take out liability insurance of £5 million. HMP Brixton's contract with Reed Learning states that,


Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the total expenditure by her Department on external consultants was in (a) 1996–97 and (b) 2003–04; and what the estimated cost of employing external consultants will be in (i) 2004–05, (ii) 2005–06, (iii) 2006–07 and (iv) 2007–08. [211673]

Derek Twigg: Within the Department for Education and Skills the total cost of consultants charged to administration budgets was £8.216 million in 1996–97 and £4.7 million in 2003–04. The cost charged to programmes is not recorded centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

To provide estimated costs for consultants for 2004–05, 2005–06, 2006–07 and 2007–08 would require a departmental trawl at disproportionate cost.

Contract Awards

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many contracts in her Department have been granted to (a) EDS, (b) Fujitsu and (c) EDS and Fujitsu jointly in each of the last two years; whether they were open to competition; for what they were granted; for how much, and over what period of time; and if she will make a statement. [211609]

Derek Twigg: During the last two years (2003, 2004) the Department for Education and Skills has not awarded any contracts to (a) EDS or (c) EDS and Fujitsu jointly.

One contract was awarded to (b) Fujitsu to undertake the proof of concept of the Cybrarian Project. The objective of this project was to assist in decreasing the digital divide by facilitating access to the internet and to learning opportunities for those who currently do not, or cannot, use the internet because of lack of skills or confidence or because of physical or cognitive disabilities. Fujitsu was awarded a £465,000 contract, following an Office of Government Commerce S-Cat exercise, to develop and produce demonstrator systems and tests. The exercise was completed by Fujitsu in autumn 2003.

School Leavers (Easington)

Mr. Cummings: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many school-leavers in the Easington constituency went on to (a) higher education, (b) further education and (c) full-time employment in each year since 2001. [214927]

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Dr. Howells: Information on 18-year-olds entering HE is collected by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) and is available at constituency level. The number of 18-year-olds entering HE from Easington constituency for each year since 2001 is given in Table 1. The numbers have been rounded to the nearest five.
Table 1: The number of 18-year-olds entering HE from Easington constituency since 2001

End of calendar yearNumber of people

Estimates of the percentage of 16-year-olds participating in education and LSC funded work based learning (WBL) are not available below local education authority (LEAs) level. The number of 16-year-olds participating in full-time education for end 2001 (2001/02 academic year) in Durham LEA was 4,200 (rounded to the nearest hundred) or 66 per cent. of the age group. The number of these young people participating in education and WBL was 5,500 or 87 per cent. Estimates for end 2002 and end 2003 (provisional) are due to be published in March 2005.

Information on 16 to 19-year-olds in employment (both full- and part-time) is available at parliamentary constituency level from the Office for National Statistics. Table 2 shows the numbers and percentages in Easington constituency since 2001. However, sample sizes are very small due to the narrow age band and small geographic area. Therefore, the employment rate is volatile and care should be taken when interpreting the figures. The numbers are rounded to the nearest thousand, with the rates calculated from unrounded numbers.
Table 2: Percentage of 16 to 19-year-olds in employment in Easington constituency


(52)The employment rate for 2003–04 is not available as it would be disclosive", as it is based on a sample of less than 3.

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