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Drop-out rates for foundation degree students have not previously been calculated. However, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) will be publishing a document on foundation degrees later this year which will include drop-out rates as well as other statistics.
Figures for Train-to-Gain are not yet available given the recent nation roll-out of the programme in August 2006. Figures are not available for the Workstep programme funded by the Department for Work and Pensions through Jobcentre Plus.
Phil Hope: The Sector Skills Development Agency has set up a task group to provide a forum to address any issues of concern between the Federation of Awarding Bodies and the Sector Skills Councils. The group met on 31 October to discuss productive working relationships and to address issues of concern. The group have committed to identifying good practice models to ensure that skill needs can be met effectively through vocational learning and qualifications.
In addition, Sector Skills Councils lead the Diploma Development Partnerships which have been established to specify the content of the new Specialised Diplomas. Awarding bodies are working closely with the Partnerships to develop qualifications to meet the Diploma specifications.
Mr. Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what discussions he has had with his colleagues in the Department for Trade and Industry on the future of centres for vocational education. 
Phil Hope: Officials from the Department for Trade and Industry have been invited to sit on the Steering Group for the development of the New Standard for Employer Responsiveness. I envisage that in future, and over time, all Centres of Vocational Excellence will need to meet this new standard.
Phil Hope: This is a matter for the Learning and Skills Council as they lead on the delivery of Centres for Vocational Excellence (CoVE). Mark Haysom, chief executive of the Learning and Skills Council, will write directly to the hon. Member with the information on the costs of funding CoVEs over the next three years.
Hywel Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effect of the reduction in train services calling at the commuter station of Severn Tunnel Junction; and if he will give guidance to First Great Western on maintaining services to rail users who depend on this station. 
Mr. Tom Harris: The level of service to operate from December 2006 from Severn Tunnel Junction towards Bristol in the morning was specified to meet actual and forecast demand. I expect First Great Western (FGW) to listen to the views of its passengers and stakeholders and to investigate whether changes can be made to services to meet their needs where this proves to be necessary. In this case I understand that, in response to local opinion, FGW is planning, subject to the rail industry timetabling process, to arrange for additional services to stop at Severn Tunnel Junction in the peak hours with effect from the May 2007 timetable change.
Gillian Merron: In April this year we introduced free off-peak local bus travel for older and disabled people. And, as announced in the Queen's Speech, we are now introducing a Bill that will extend this free off-peak travel to anywhere in England from April 2008.
The Government are encouraging motorists to use public transport by investing in and supporting better services, providing better
information on sustainable travel choices, and thus helping to make public transport a realistic and attractive alternative for many journeys. More passengers are choosing to travel by rail year-on-year, and we will shortly be setting out proposals for further improving bus services.
(a) The estimate for Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) evasion derives from the results of the Department's national roadside survey in 2005, which implies a 4.7 per cent. VED evasion rate in stock. This, in turn, would equate to a national figure of 1.5 million vehicles.
(b) Our latest estimate (2005) for uninsured driving is based on a comparison of the vehicle register, maintained by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and the Motor Insurance Database. It is that there are about 2.1 million vehicles (about 6.5 per cent. of the UK vehicle fleet) being driven by uninsured drivers.
(c) In March of this year the police conducted a national check on compliance with driver and vehicle requirements. This involved the random stopping of nearly 6,000 vehicles (cars, light goods vehicles and motorcycles). The figure for non-compliance with driver licensing requirements was 1.6 per cent. At a national level this could equate to something in the region of one million people driving without a valid licence.
Mr. Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the level of car ownership was per household in (a) Hartlepool constituency and (b) England in the last year for which figures are available. 
Dr. Ladyman: According to data from the National Travel Survey, in 2005 25 per cent. of households in England did not have regular use of a car, 43 per cent. had access to one car and 33 per cent. had access to two or more cars.
Figures for Hartlepool are not available from the National Travel Survey. According to the 2001 Census, 39 per cent. of households in Hartlepool did not have regular use of a car, 42 per cent. had access to one car and 18 per cent. had access to two or more cars.
Dr. Ladyman: This Department, through its Maritime and Coastguard Agency, is taking an active part in the development of a means of monitoring carbon dioxide emissions from ships. This includes contributing to discussions at the International Maritime Organization (IMO), who have been tasked with developing a greenhouse gas emission limitation or reduction strategy.
John Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the possible impact of increased tolls on the Dartford Crossing on (a) the proposed toll regime for the Thames Gateway Bridge and (b) traffic projections and forecasts for the bridge. 
Dr. Ladyman: The existing Dartford Crossing and the proposed Thames Gateway Bridge serve significantly different purposes. The Dartford Crossing mainly serves long-distance strategic traffic, whereas the Thames Gateway Bridge is intended mainly for journeys of a local nature. Modelling and analysis suggests that there would be very little interaction between the two.
John Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether (a) the Mayor of London and (b) Transport for London was consulted prior to his recent announcement regarding a proposed increase in the Dartford Tunnel tolls. 
The Government announced on 19 November 2006 that they would be consulting on proposed changes to the charging regime at the Dartford-Thurrock river crossings. The announcement stated that the consultation would be launched in
December. It will be through this process that we take the views of the Mayor of London and Transport for London.
John Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will re-open the public inquiry on the Thames Gateway Bridge following his announcement of possible changes to the tolling regime for the Dartford Crossing. 
Dr. Ladyman: The Secretary of State would only consider re-opening a public inquiry where significant new evidence has come to light. In this case, modelling and analysis has suggested that there would be little interaction between the usage of the existing Dartford crossing and the Thames Gateway bridge.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will launch a campaign over Christmas and the New Year period to discourage people from drinking and driving; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Ladyman: Communications warning of the dangers of drink-driving form part of the Department's THINK! road safety campaign, which is investing some £3 million in anti drink-drive messages this financial year.
Our Christmas campaign launches in December. It has been carefully planned to ensure the advertising is placed on media channels throughout December that are popular with the prime target audience (young men aged 17-29) and which also target all adults. We shall use a range of communication activities, including:
TV and cinema advertising;
cinema ambient advertising;
in-pub ambient advertising (washroom advertising and Pub TV advertising with interactive Bluetooth messages);
Dr. Ladyman: As of 31 October 2006, 35,409 approved driving instructors (ADIs) on the register have passed the hazard perception test. This equates to 87 per cent. of ADIs on the register. 5,419 (13 per cent.) are yet to pass.
Mr. Binley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the number of approved driving instructors who will not have passed the hazard perception test by 31 December 2006. 
This would leave 1,419, or 3 per cent., who would not have passed by the end of December. There may be a last minute rush from ADIs to complete the test. Some ADIs may take this opportunity to cease instruction voluntarily.
Mr. Binley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans the Government has to take action in respect of approved driving instructors who have failed to pass the hazard perception test by 31st December but who continue to teach. 
Instructors can continue to instruct up to the date of the publication of the tribunal decision. However, should any instructors whose appeal is rejected by the tribunal continue to instruct, the Driving Standards Agency will make investigations with a view to prosecution for illegal instruction.
Mr. Binley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consideration his Department has given to extending the 31st December deadline for approved driving instructors to pass the hazard perception test. 
Mr. Binley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what consideration was given to allowing existing approved driving instructors (a) exemption and (b) extension in relation to the hazard perception test. 
Dr. Ladyman: When the hazard perception test (HPT) was introduced as a requirement for new Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs) in November 2002, existing ADIs were not required to pass the assessment.
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