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18 Apr 2006 : Column 187W—continued

University Grant

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many students from (a) Romford, (b) Havering, (c) Greater London and (d) England received the full university grant in each of the last five years. [62988]

Bill Rammell: The new Maintenance Grant, and the equivalent Special Support Grant, of up to £2,700 are being introduced for new full-time students who start their course in September 2006 or later. Data on the numbers of students in receipt of the full Grants are, therefore, not available yet. However, we anticipate that around 30 per cent. of new full-time students in England in 2006/07 will receive the full grant, while around 50 per cent. will receive either a full or partial grant.

No estimates are available at a sub-England level.


Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how she proposes to apply the exemption from value added tax for new buildings for (a) city academies with community use and (b) other youth and education facilities with community use; and if she will make a statement. [62601]

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Jacqui Smith [holding answer 30 March 2006]: There is no specific exemption from VAT in relation to new buildings for youth and education facilities. However, where youth and education facilities are owned and used by charities for the purpose of non-business activities, VAT on a new build at zero rate may apply. This would include academies which are charitable companies. In such cases, new build facilities, or parts thereof, can be zero rated for VAT, provided that they are used exclusively for core education activities or for other activities where no charge is made. VAT relief also applies to those parts of the building used for business-use provided this does not exceed 10 per cent. of the total use.

Vocational Diplomas

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what steps the Government are taking to encourage students to pursue vocational diplomas. [62990]

Phil Hope: We are working with 14 to 19 partnerships around the country so that schools and colleges are in a position to offer five of the new specialised diploma courses from September 2008. We are also working with the Connexions Service so that young people have the information that they need about the new diplomas. We are planning a major communications campaign next year to coincide with the publication of the first five diplomas.

Substantial resources are already going into initial teacher training, work force remodelling, improved teaching practice and workforce development through mainstream schools and post-16 budgets and through our existing qualifications budgets. Money spent on workforce development to support delivery of specialised diplomas, on which we are engaging the Quality Improvement Agency and the Specialised Schools and Academies Trust (SSAT), will be £5 million in 2006–07 and £45 million in 2007–08.

Voluntary State Organisations

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what her Department's policy is on allowing staff to join (a) the Reserves, (b) the Special Constabulary and (c) other voluntary state organisations; and if she will make a statement. [59811]

Maria Eagle: The Department is committed to members of staff volunteering in their local communities and provides release time to undertake such activities.

The Department allows its staff to join (a) the Reserves, (b) the Special Constabulary and (c) other voluntary state organisations.


Anti-viral Influenza Drugs

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many anti-viral drugs for influenza are held per capita in England. [62640]

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Caroline Flint: We do not keep records centrally regarding the number of antiviral drugs available in the national health service to treat seasonal influenza.

We are purchasing a sufficient quantity of oseltamivir (Tamiflu) to treat the 25 per cent. of the population who might fall ill with pandemic influenza. We currently have 7.3 million treatment courses and deliveries will be complete by September 2006.

Apnee Sehat Initiative

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1)what assessment she has made of South Warwickshire Primary Care Trust's Apnee Sehat initiative; and what representations she has received on this initiative; [59836]

(2) whether she has viewed the South Warwickshire Primary Care Trust's Apnee Sehat DVD; [59837]

(3) whether she plans to visit the Apnee Sehat projects developed by South Warwickshire Primary Care Trust; [59838]

(4) if she will take steps to disseminate the Apnee Sehat initiative to areas with a high percentage of people of South Asian origin. [59839]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department has been fully supportive of the production of this prime example of locally led positive action to improve the health of people particularly at risk of heart disease and diabetes. The Secretary of State will consider any invitation to visit such initiatives, and will take any suitable opportunity to ensure that others are aware of them.


Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance she has issued to (a) primary care trusts and (b) hospital trusts on dealing with referrals by GPs for hearing tests by an audiologist. [62592]

Mr. Byrne: The Department has issued no guidance with reference to referrals by general practitioners for hearing tests by an audiologist.

BCG Vaccinations

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether schools in the Peterborough city council area will be included in a BCG inoculation programme. [53807]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The change in Bacillus Calmette Guerin (BCG) vaccination policy set out in the Chief Medical Officer's letter of 6 July 2005, states that children who would otherwise have been offered BCG vaccination through the schools programme will now be screened, tested and vaccinated if appropriate. It is therefore the responsibility of the primary care trust to arrange suitable screening opportunities outside of the school setting.

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps she is taking to ensure that there is sufficient BCG vaccine available to inoculate teenage children; and if she will make a statement. [62825]

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Caroline Flint: The chief medical officer's letter of 6 July 2005 announced the end of the universal Bacille Calmette Guerin (BCG) vaccination programme for all children between 10 and 14 years of age in favour of an improved targeted programme.

Contracts are in place for the continued supply of BCG vaccine for those who require it.

Bowel Cancer

Mr. Godsiff: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when her Department plans to roll out the screening programme for bowel cancer (a) across England and (b) to the West Midlands. [62651]

Ms Rosie Winterton: The Government have stated their commitment to a national bowel cancer screening programme, for which funding has been agreed. On 30 January 2006, the new Health White Paper, Our health, our care, our say: a new direction for community services", reaffirmed that the programme will be rolled out from April 2006.

Five programme hubs across England will invite men and women to participate in the screening programme, send out the faecal occult blood (FOB) testing kits, interpret kits and send results out. 90 to 100 local screening centres will provide endoscopy services for the 2 per cent. of men and women who have a positive FOB test result.

NHS Cancer Screening Programmes are currently assessing where the five programme hubs will be located. The English bowel cancer screening pilot site at the Hospital of St. Cross, Rugby, Warwickshire, is expected to become the first programme hub when national roll out begins. It is hoped to establish the other four programme hubs by March 2007, with announcements to be made in due course.

NHS Cancer Screening Programmes are currently assessing strategic health authority bids for their local endoscopy units to become local screening centres. Announcements will be made in due course.

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