To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many local
Train to Gain budgets are (a) overspent, (b) on target or (c) underspent. 
Mr. Lammy: Train to Gain is an ongoing service and as such, performance is updated on a regular basis. Detailed operational information is not held centrally by the Department but is collected by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) and Mark Haysom, the LSC Chief Executive will write directly to the hon. Member with the available information. A copy of his reply will be placed in the Library.
Mr. Boris Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (1) which employers who signed up to the Skills Pledge have been awarded Government contracts in the last five years; 
Mr. Lammy: On 14 June the Government launched the Skills Pledge with commitments from 157 employers with more than 1.7 million employees. Since the launch, employers have continued to register their interest in the Skills Pledge through the Learning and Skills Council's (LSC) Train to Gain website and helpline. The Learning and Skills Council is responsible for the operational aspects of the Skills Pledge, including recording which of those employers making a Skills Pledge are from the public sector. Mark Haysom will write to the hon. Member and a copy of his letter will be placed in the Library of the House. Employers who make a commitment to a Skills Pledge are able to access the support of a skills broker. These independent, impartial experts will help employers identify the skills needed to meet their business needs and any sources of public funding available. Those employers who have already committed to the Skills Pledge are now working through how best to fulfil their commitment, including any requirement for public funding.
As the Learning and Skills Council is responsible for the operational aspects of the Skills Pledge the Minister for Skills, David Lammy, has asked me to respond to your recent parliamentary question; which employers who signed up to the Skills Pledge receive a) all, b) more than 50 per cent. and c) any relevant funding from the public sector.
When a company or organisation registers its intention to make the Skills Pledge, it will have the option of accessing support and advice from a Skills Broker through Train to Gain. In respect of Central Government Departments, we are currently liaising with Government Skills to agree Skills Pledge support and advice arrangements. We are also working with DIUS to finalise criteria for Government Departments and their Agencies accessing public funding through Train to Gain/Skills Pledge.
Of the 156 employers who made the Skills Pledge on the 14th June 2007 those which could be classified as public sector bodies include: 21 Central Government employers, 15 Non-Departmental Public Bodies, 8 Regional Development Agencies, 6 Local Authorities and 8 other public sector bodies.
I hope this information is helpful and please do not hesitate to contact my colleague Gail Bailey on 02476 823269 or by email gail.bailey @lsc.gov.uk if you would like to discuss further.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (1) what proportion of businesses that have participated in the Train to Gain scheme have five employees or fewer; and what percentage of the Train to Gain budget is allocated to those businesses; 
Mr. Lammy: Train to Gain is an ongoing service and as such performance is updated on a regular basis. Detailed operational information is not held centrally by the Department but is collected by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC). Mark Haysom, the LSC Chief Executive will write directly to the hon. Member and a copy of his reply will be placed in the Library
I am writing in response to your recent Parliamentary Questions regarding Train to Gain. I have answered them in turn below.
What proportion of businesses that have participated in the Train to Gain scheme have five employees or less; and what percentage of the Train to Gain budget is allocated to those businesses:
LSC collects employer data by the following size bands: 1-49 employees, 50-249 employees, 250-4,999 employees and 5,000 plus employees. In the first 16 months of Train to Gain, 67% of organisations engaged are from the 1-49 band.
The Train to Gain budget is not allocated by these employer size bands. Instead, Skills Brokers are currently required to achieve a target of 51% of employers engaged being hard to reach which means they have not supported their employees to participate in vocational training leading to qualifications in the previous 12 months, and are not an Investors in People recognised company. Typically, micro and very small organisations are most likely to be hard to reach so a high proportion of employers engaged to date will nave fewer than 50 employees.
How many and what proportion of each level of qualification have been achieved under the Train to Gain scheme in the last 12 months.
The following achievements have been secured the period April 2006-June 2007.
Level 2/3 47,880
Basic Skills 11,680
While it is relatively early in the life cycle of Train to Gain and success rates will change in the next few months as providers submit success data, the current evidence indicates success rates of about 70% for both programme areas.
What proportion of training conducted under the Train to Gain scheme has resulted from the use of skills brokers:
It is early in the life cycle of Train to Gain and the LSC is still collecting and analysing data from providers and brokers. However, early indications are that 30% of learners have arisen from skills brokers who are targeting Hard to Reach employers that tend to be small organisations. This percentage is in line with original DfES and LSC planning assumptions.
Mr. Lammy: Train to Gain is a new service that reached national coverage in August 2006 and is a critical part of the drive to make this countrys skills world class. Skills brokers are contracted for and performance managed by the Learning and Skills Council. It is a contractual requirement that, within 12 months of their appointment, every skills broker meets the new independently assessed City and Guilds accredited skills broker standard as part of the business support profession.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment his Department has made of the (a) effects of acid rain and (b) trends in those effects in (i) the UK and (ii) internationally. 
The research has provided us with a greater understanding of the impacts of acid rain on both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems and there is now evidence of recovery in some of the most acid-sensitive sites in the UK.
Most recent assessments of impacts on terrestrial ecosystems have also shown that there is a continuing reduction, over the last decade, in the areas of sensitive ecosystems across the UK, at risk from damage from acidification.
No direct assessment has been undertaken by the Government of the trends or effects of acid rain at an international level. However, the UK contributes significantly financially, and through provision of scientific expertise, to the work of the UNECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution. The ongoing review of one of the Protocols under the Convention (the Gothenburg Protocol) has highlighted significant reductions in sulphur deposition and consequent impacts on ecosystems across the UNECE region. Aquatic and forest ecosystems have also become less acidified.
Tom Levitt: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which projects in High Peak have been funded by the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund; and what the value is of each project.