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Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many employees in her Department requested training to improve their (a) literacy and (b) numeracy skills in each year since 2002. 
Jim Knight: DEFRA runs a centrally funded Adult Further Education scheme which offers 100 per cent. funding to members of staff who wish to do a GCSE level qualification for numeracy, literacy or another key skill area. Every applicant who has applied for a numeracy/literacy qualification or course has had their costs fully funded centrally.
We are also supporting a number of employees for whom English is not their first language through 'English for Speakers of Other Languages' (ESOL) courses. Delegates can take nationally recognised tests at two levels, the higher of which is the equivalent of a GCSE pass at grade A-C.
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DEFRA operates devolved learning and development budgets so there may be additional staff who request (and obtain) numeracy and literacy training from their own business unit budgets, however, these are not recorded centrally at present.
Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she is taking to promote uptake of the national tests in adult literacy and numeracy among employees of her Department. 
These include the dissemination of promotional material and information, including posters, CD Roms and leaflets across DEFRA sites via our network of Training Co-ordinators and through close liaison with the PCS Union Learning Representatives (ULRs).
Presentations and facilitated discussions have been undertaken at a Training Co-ordinators conference, where co-ordinators were informed about the national tests and were given the opportunity to test their numeracy and literacy skills. These sessions were intended to enable the co-ordinators to encourage uptake among staff in their local business areas in DEFRA.
DEFRA have also held numerous 'drop-in' sessions in York and London where staff could find information and talk to learning and development advisers about all aspects of learning and development, including numeracy and literacy.
Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much her Department spent on in-house training on (a) literacy and (b) numeracy (i) in total and (ii) per head in each year since 2002. 
DEFRA operates a centrally funded Adult Further Education scheme which offers 100 per cent. funding to members of staff who wish to do a GCSE level qualification for numeracy, literacy or any
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other key skill area. Every applicant who has applied for a numeracy/literacy qualification or course has had their costs fully funded.
DEFRA has spent £3,200 on in-house training in literacy and numeracy under the Adult Further Education scheme since the financial year 2003 (the first year for which figures are available). This can be broken down into financial years as follows:
|Cost per head (£)||Literacy||Cost per head (£)|
|2005 (to date)||4||560.70|||
We are also supporting a number of employees for whom English is not their first language through 'English for Speakers of Other Languages' (ESOL) courses. Delegates can take nationally recognised tests at two levels, the higher of which is the equivalent of a GCSE pass at grade A-C. The courses are funded by the Learning Skills Council.
In the current financial year DEFRA is also assisting six members of staff in undertaking London Public Sector Apprenticeships which contain modules on numeracy and literacy. These are also funded by the Learning Skills Council.
Additionally, literacy and numeracy skills are embedded in DEFRA's programme of centrally funded in-house communication skills and financial management courses which will assist the development of an individual's skills in these areas. Unfortunately, it is not practical to cost out the literacy and numeracy elements in these courses.
DEFRA operates devolved learning and development budgets so there may be staff who request (and obtain) numeracy and literacy training from their own business unit budgets which are not recorded centrally at present.
The Milk Development Council's Datum website shows the highest annual average farm gate milk price for the past 12 months was 21.62 pence per litre (ppl), the average price was 18.96 ppl, and the lowest 17.11 ppl.
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Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the average (a) farm gate price of a litre of milk, (b) cost of producing a litre of milk and (c) retail price for a litre of milk was in each year between 1984 and 2004. 
|Excluding any retrospective bonus payments made by purchasers||Including retrospective bonus payments made by purchasers|
The table shows monthly average farm gate milk prices in pence per litre for the last thirteen months for the United Kingdom, and weighted annual averages for 2001 to 2004. The average prices are calculated from monthly surveys of milk purchasers conducted in England and Wales by DEFRA, in Scotland by SEERAD and in Northern Ireland by DARD. The size of the sample surveyed is estimated to account for 99 per cent. of milk production this month. The farm gate price is the average price received by producers, net of delivery charges. No deduction has been made for superlevy.
The University of Manchester report The Economics of Milk Production England and Wales 2002/03", commissioned by DEFRA and the Welsh Assembly Government, calculated the average weighted cost of production to be 18.33 pence per litre. However the report also found that there is a huge disparity in the costs of production and profitability between the most and least efficient dairy farmers. The 25 per cent. of
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farmers with the lowest cost of production were producing milk for an average 12 pence per litre less than the 25 per cent. with the highest costs. Data on production costs broken down by year are not available.
|Pence per litre|
|2005 (average to September)||61.4|
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