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30 Jan 2006 : Column 66W—continued

Energy Policy

David Howarth: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what steps he is taking to ensure that the work of the interdepartmental review on energy use in existing buildings led by his Department is made available to the Minister of State for Energy to assist him with his review of energy policy. [44814]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 23 January 2006]: The review of the sustainability of existing buildings which, among other issues, is considering measures to improve the energy efficiency of buildings, is being steered by a project board of senior officials from several Government Departments including the Department of Trade and Industry.

The Energy Review consultation document, acknowledges the need to take account of a number of related exercises including this existing buildings review.
 
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Single Regeneration Budget

Charles Hendry: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the total expenditure on the single regeneration budget has been for each year since introduction in each local authority area. [46680]

Mr. Woolas: The Single Regeneration Budget (SRB) was allocated to regeneration partnerships and funding by local authority area is not collected centrally, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. 1,027 SRB schemes were successful under the six rounds of the SRB including thematic, pan or sub-regional schemes that each embraced several local authority areas. £5.706 billion of SRB funding was allocated over the schemes' lifetime of up to seven years. Details of the schemes have been made available in the Library of the House. These include an indication of their location (except for the thematic or pan-regional schemes) and region and their lifetime funding.

Stonehenge

Robert Key: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the cost was to (a) Wiltshire county council and (b) Salisbury district council of preparatory work in connection with (i) the A303 Stonehenge Road Improvement Scheme and (ii) the Stonehenge Visitors Centre project to the end of July 2005. [45818]


 
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Yvette Cooper: Wiltshire county council is unable to give an estimate of the total cost of its involvement in the future of the A303 through the Stonehenge World Heritage Site, although the major cost has been in staff time. However, it has identified that its specific legal costs in connection with the Public Inquiry over the Road Improvement Scheme were £16,550.

Salisbury district council estimates that in excess of £350,000 has been spent on the Stonehenge project. Approximately 90 per cent. of this figure is in respect of the Visitor Centre.

Thames Gateway Port

Bob Spink: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list (a) formal and (b) informal committees considering aspects of the Thames Gateway Port transport infrastructure; what the (i) objectives and (ii) composition of each is; and whether a possible link to Canvey Island is part of the remit of any of these committees. [45717]

Dr. Ladyman: I have been asked to reply.

There are no committees considering transport infrastructure for the proposed London Gateway port.

On wider Thames Gateway matters, the Thames Gateway Strategic Partnership is chaired by my hon. Friend the Minister for Housing and Planning. It has within its remit the consideration of transport matters across the whole of the Thames Gateway.
 
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EDUCATION AND SKILLS

Apprenticeships

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans she has to extend apprenticeship schemes beyond the age of 25 years. [46082]

Phil Hope: The Department for Education and Skills has already changed the rules so that young people who start a Government-funded apprenticeship at any point up to their 25th birthday can complete it. Beyond that, the Department is currently trialling apprenticeships for adult entry in three sectors: engineering, construction and health and social care, and discussions are taking place to include the IT sector. These trials are due to complete in March 2006, although some programmes may take longer depending upon their starting date. We will decide in the light of these trials how the apprenticeship model can be adapted to the needs of older entrants to an occupation; and what—if any—extra public funding should be made available to support the costs of the learning.

Child Abuse

Margaret Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment she has made of the judgment in Re H and R on the standard of proof required in cases involving allegations of child abuse. [44659]

Ms Harman: I have been asked to reply.

In Re: H and R in 1996 Lord Nicholls of Birkenhead explained that the standard of proof required is that it is the balance of probabilities. In the judgment of Re: U and B in May 2004, given in the Court of Appeal by the past President of the Family Division Dame Elizabeth Butler-Sloss, Lord Justice Thorpe and Lord Justice Mantell, the standard of proof that applies in civil/family cases was rehearsed in some detail and confirmed as the approach explained by Lord Nicholls. Re: H and R should continue to be followed as before.

Child Care

Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what visits abroad Ministers in her Department have made in relation to child care policy since 2001. [43672]

Bill Rammell: Since 1999, the Government have published on an annual basis information relating to Cabinet Ministers' visits overseas costing more than £500. Copies of the published lists for the years 2001 to 31 March 2005 are available in the Libraries of the House. The detailed information you have requested in respect of other Ministers is not collected centrally and to collect it would involve incurring disproportionate cost.

Ministerial travel is conducted in accordance with the Ministerial Code" and Travel by Ministers".
 
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Mr. Paul Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what targets she has set for (a) the establishment of children's trusts, (b) the use of home childcarers, (c) expanding the number of (i) neighbourhood nurseries and (ii) early excellence centres and (d) the use in schools of the extended schools programme; what assessment she has (A) made and (B) plans to make of each scheme; and what progress has been made towards meeting those targets. [43832]

Beverley Hughes: The Government's expectation is that most local authority areas will have a children's trust by April 2006, and all will by 2008. There is progress in all areas towards having children's trusts arrangements in place by 2008.

There is no target for the use of home childcarers. In April 2003, we introduced the Home Childcarers Scheme allowing Ofsted to approve registered childminders to provide care in parents' homes. 300 carers were approved under that scheme. A subsequent PSA target required us to introduce, by April 2005, a light-touch Childcare Approval Scheme. This new scheme was launched in December 2004 and became effective in April 2005. 1,339 carers have been approved under it. Our target for the Neighbourhood Nurseries Initiative was the creation of 45,000 new full-time daycare places for children under 5 in the 20 per cent. most disadvantaged areas by 2004. This was achieved. There are no plans to expand the programme. Our focus now is on the development of Sure Start children's centres, building on neighbourhood nurseries and other early years provision.

107 early excellence centres (EECs) were established and there are no plans to expand the programme. There were no targets for the development of EECs. We expect all EECs to develop into children's centres.

We expect all schools to be making a core offer of extended services including child care, 8am-6pm, all year round, by 2010, with a third of secondary schools, and half of primary schools, doing so by 2008. The vast majority of schools are currently providing some extended services, and all local authorities have received funding in the current financial year, 2005–06, to support the development of extended schools in their areas. The National Remodelling Team is monitoring progress through its work with local authorities.

There has been an evaluation of children's trusts in place since April 2004. It will be completed by the end of March 2007. Two interim reports have already been published and available at: www.everychildmatters.gov.uk/strategy/childrenstrustpathfinders/national evaluation/ whilst three practitioner focused reports will be published in May 2006.

The Childcare Approval Scheme is being run by Nestor Primecare Services Ltd., the approval body, under contract to the DfES. The scheme is being closely monitored as part of the contract management process, overseen by an Inter-departmental Implementation Board.
 
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A comprehensive national evaluation of the neighbourhood nursery initiative began in August 2002, and will run until August 2006. The final evaluation report is due to be published towards the end of 2006.

The 29 pilot EECs were the subject of an evaluation study between 1997 and 2002. The final report of this study was published in November 2004.

The Department is implementing a comprehensive research and evaluation strategy for extended schools, including an evaluation of the impacts of full service extended schools. The findings of the evaluation of the first year of the full service extended schools, and a baseline survey of extended services in maintained schools were published in September 2005. We are collecting annual data from schools to show progress towards the extended school core offer targets published in the Ten Year Childcare Strategy.

Reports on the neighbourhood nurseries, early excellence centres and extended school research and evaluation published so far are available at: www.surestart.gov.uk/research.


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