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The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Hilary Benn): I am pleased to tell the House that annual Government spending on flood and coastal erosion risk management will rise to a minimum of £650 million in 2008-09, and £700 million in 2009-10, reaching £800 million by 2010-11 as I announced on 2 July. These figures compare with a forecast spend of some £600 million in 2007-08.
These figures are the minimum we propose to spend in each of the coming years but it is too early to determine whether this will be the final allocation, or whether it will be possible to go further. We will need to take account of the independent lessons learned review into this summer's floods, chaired by Sir Michael Pitt.
The Minister for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education (Bill Rammell):
On 5 July 2007 my right hon.
Friend, the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills, announced that the minimum threshold of family income for a full maintenance grant would be increased from £17,500 to £25,000; and that the threshold for eligibility for a partial maintenance grant should rise to £60,000. This will mean that one third of eligible students entering higher education in 2008-09 will be entitled to a non-repayable grant of up to £2835; and another one third to a partial grant. Once these measures are fully implemented we estimate that 50,000 more students each year will receive full grants and over 100,000 extra students each year partial grants.
I placed a memorandum in the Library on 2 July giving details of the increased loan, grant and fee rates for the 2008-09 academic year. These are unchanged. However the detailed tables also included in the memorandum gave income thresholds for the maintenance grant and non means tested element of the student loan which have now been raised. I have now placed a revised memorandum in the Library which includes revised tables which make clear the levels of support available to new entrants in 2008-09, as well as tables of support for continuing students.