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(i) reducing single use shopping bags through a retailer commitment to a programme of action to reduce the environmental impact of carrier bags by 25 per cent. by the end of 2008;
(ii) extending national information and awareness campaigns to promote waste reduction and re-use measures; and
(iii) continued support for the Waste and Resources Action Programme's home composting scheme, which will distribute a further one million supported compost bins by 2008 alongside engagement with householders to promote the on-going use of their compost bins.
These, and other measures set out in the strategy, will collectively help to achieve the target of a 29 per cent. reduction in the amount of household waste not re-used, recycled or composted by 2010 in England.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will make a
statement on the outcome of the 59(th) annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission. 
Jonathan Shaw: At this years annual meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), the UK and other anti-whaling countries were able to sponsor and secure several key resolutions: calling on Japan to halt its lethal scientific research programme; promoting the non-lethal use of cetaceans; and reaffirming the continued need for the IWC moratorium on commercial whaling. This last resolution subsequently served us well in the Conference of Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, enabling us to defeat proposals aimed at eventually allowing trade in whale products to take place.
My hon. Friends and ministerial predecessors, the hon. Members for Brent, North (Barry Gardiner) and for Exeter (Mr. Bradshaw) respectively, have recently jointly written to all hon. Members to inform them about the outcome of this years IWC meeting.
Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will provide funding for the workshop on wildlife trade on the internet to be established following the fourteenth meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. 
Joan Ruddock: The UK presented the proposal to convene a workshop to look at the scope of the problem of wildlife trade on the internet at the recent CITES Conference of Parties. The proposal was adopted by consensus by CITES Parties. DEFRA also announced at the Conference that it would be providing £15,000 towards the cost of organising the workshop once the initial data-gathering exercise on the scale of the problem of illegal trade on the internet has been completed.
Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has to bring forward measures to require timber procured for use in the (a) public and (b) private sector to come from sustainable sources. 
Joan Ruddock: Central Departments in England are already required to seek to purchase timber and timber products that derive from legally harvested trees grown in sustainably managed forests. They are advised to do this by making the supply of legally harvested timber a condition of contract and by giving preference to sustainably produced timber if offered. From April 2009 Departments will be required to demand that timber from sustainably managed forests or timber licensed under the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade scheme only be supplied. From April 2015 Departments will be required to demand that timber from sustainably managed forests only is supplied.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will continue to promote responsible timber
procurement to the wider public sector and to the private sector at home and abroad whenever suitable opportunities arise.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many and what percentage of staff in his Department are making additional voluntary contributions to their pensions; and what steps he has taken in the last year to encourage more people to make such contributions. 
Pension scheme members receive an annual benefit statement showing the pension built up to date, and also a projection of pension on retirement if the member continues in service to scheme pension age. The benefit statement provides details of the civil service pensions website where staff can obtain further information, including on options for making additional voluntary contributions to boost their pension.
Mr. Mullin: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what assessment he has made of the impact of the education maintenance allowance on recruitment to work-based learning programmes; and if he will make a statement. 
The Learning and Skills Council has commissioned a review of the effect of the extension of education maintenance allowance to work-based learning programmes through the Association of Learning Providers. The objectives of the review were to liaise with learning providers and key partners in the regions to identify key issues, areas of good practice and how these can be expanded to national level.
The review identified that although starts on the Entry to Employment (E2E) programme were down nationally at the beginning of the 2006-07 year in comparison to the same period in 2005-06, these have now recovered and recruitment is in line with 2006-07 projections,
A series of dissemination events took place to share good practice with the work-based learning provider network. The Learning and Skills Council will be undertaking an evaluation of the first year of extension of education maintenance allowance to young people in non-employed work-based learning and a full report is expected to be available in January 2008.
Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills pursuant to the answer of 20 June 2007, Official Report, column 1823W, on nanotechnology, what the split is between specialist and directed (managed programmes) nanotechnology funding and responsive mode nanotechnology funding within the research councils. 
Mr. Denham: The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) commits on average £30-35 million each year on nanotechnology in responsive mode, and in 2006-07 EPSRC supported £5.5 million of managed activity focused on nanotechnology.
The National Environment Research Council (NERC) currently supports grants on nanotechnology worth approximately £0.5 million from responsive mode and approximately £1 million through two separate directed programmes: the environmental nanoscience initiative (jointly funded by DEFRA, the Environment Agency and the national environmental research (NERC) and the environment and human health programmejointly funded from NERC; the Medical Research Council (MRC); Wellcome Trust; the Economic and Social Research Council; the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), EPSRC, MoD, DEFRA and the Environment Agency.
In 2005-06, the BBSRC spent £3.328 million on nanotechnology through responsive mode and £1.039 million via directed initiatives. In addition, BBSRC funds research into the six nanotechnology application areas electronics, communications and informatics; drug delivery systems; instrumentation, tooling and metrology; novel materials; sensors and actuators; tissue engineering, medical implants and devices. Expenditure on these applications in 2005-06 was £8.868 million via responsive mode and £5.331 million via directed initiatives. BBSRC also funds nanotechnology and related research via core strategic grants to institutes and through studentships, to a value of £4.817 million in 2005-06.
Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills whether his Department classifies responsive mode nanotechnology funding in the same category as direct nanotechnology funding. 
Mr. Denham: The research councils are responsible for determining the classification of their funding into various categories, including the distribution between responsive mode and directed/managed funding. The technology programme funding is through directed/managed programmes.
Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many long-term grants for nanotechnology of (a) over four years duration and (b) over £5 million in value the Government has funded in the last 10 years. 
Mr. Denham: The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council has funded seven grants over four years in duration. The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council has funded 17 nanotechnology or related grants in the last three years, which have a duration of more than four years. It has also funded 12 institute core strategic grants projects with spend in four or more years on nanotechnology or related research. The Medical Research Council funds four long-term programmes of research in its institutes on nanotechnology. The technology programme has funded 18 nanotechnology grants of over four years duration.
The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council has funded seven nanotechnology grants worth over £5 million, and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council has funded one large nanotechnology-related grant over £5 million value in the last three years. The technology programme has funded two grants over £5 million.
Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how much of the £100 million invested in nanotechnology on collaborative research and development since 2005 was associated with (a) nanotechnologies and (b) micro-technologies. 
A portfolio of 56 collaborative research and development projects, broadly divided into 30 micro technology projects and 26 nanotechnology projects (although some have a cross-shared interest). The approximate division of support is £16.4 million (against £333 million project costs) for micro technology and £14 million (against £32 million project costs) for nanotechnology; and
Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (1) what assessment he has made of the impact of responsive mode funding for nanotechnology research on the research base; 
Mr. Denham: The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) undertook an analysis of the nanotechnology research base at its nanotechnology theme day in 2005. This led to the development of the EPSRC nanotechnology strategy. The theme day report is available on the EPSRC website,
The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) Tools and Resources Strategy Panel is responsible for the BBSRCs strategy for bionanotechnology. It considered BBSRC's remit and
investment in this area in December 2004. BBSRC has also contributed to development of the EPSRC nanotechnology strategy. In 2007, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) published a report on "Nanotechnology: from the science to the social" which presents an overview of the research landscape (available on ESRC website at http://www.esrcsocietytoday.ac.uk/).
The Taylor report commissioned by Lord Sainsbury in his capacity as Science Minister reviewed other countries' expenditure. Following the publication of that report officials undertook a series of visits to micro and nanotechnology centres of excellence and businesses in the US and Europe between 200land 2003 to investigate the range of funding mechanisms used. As a result the micro and nanotechnology manufacturing initiative was launched in February 2004.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what role his Department will play in helping the Government to meet their targets on creating trust schools and academies. 
Mr. Denham: A number of universities and colleges are already working with academies and trust schools. The Department is looking forward to working with the Department of Children, Schools and Families to raise awareness among universities and colleges of the opportunities to work with trust schools and academies, and the benefits that school partnerships can bring to both schools and their partners.
Bill Rammell: A number of views about the future of tuition fees and the financing of universities have been expressed to the Government. We promised at the time of the 2004 legislation that the fee cap would not be lifted in real terms until an independent commission had examined evidence from the first three years of the new fees regime. That remains the case. Draft terms of reference for the commission were published in January 2004.
Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what the (a) average and (b) maximum student loan was in (i) Cornwall, (ii) the south-west and (iii) England in each year since 1997. 
|Students domiciled in Cornwall local authority, the south-west Government office region, and England, academic years 1999-2000 to 2005-06|
|Average value of income-contingent loan (£)|
|Academic year( 1)||Cornwall local authority||South-west Government office region||England|
|(1) Data are not available prior to 1999-2000.|
1. Figures are for students domiciled in the area shown, and are rounded to the nearest 10.
Student Loans Company
The maximum amount of maintenance loan to which a student is entitled is dependent upon where they are living during their study, rather than their domicile, The rates are given in the following table:
|Maximum student loans for maintenance in 2006-07|
|Location of study||Full year rates||Final year rates( 1)|
|(1) The amounts of loan are lower in the final year as students leave higher education at the end of the summer and will not need financial support over the summer holiday.|
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