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3 Dec 2007 : Column 756W—continued

Students: Postgraduate Education

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many and what proportion of postgraduate students at UK universities were from (a) the UK, (b) the EU and (c) outside the EU in each of the last five years. [167145]

Bill Rammell [holding answer 22 November 2007]: The latest available information is shown in the following table. Figures for 2006-07 will be available in January 2008.

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Postgraduate( 1) students in UK higher education institutions, by home domicile, 2001-02 to 2005-06
Home domicile: 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06














Non EU

























Non EU












(1) Covers students on both taught and research courses.
Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). Numbers are on a HESA Standard Registration population basis, and have been rounded to the nearest 5. Percentages may not sum to totals because of rounding.

Students: Standards

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what involvement his Department has with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Programme of International Student Assessment; and if he will make a statement. [161888]

Jim Knight: I have been asked to reply.

The Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) funds England's participation in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).

The study is carried out in England by the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), under contract to DCSF.

The latest round of PISA testing took place in schools in England in November and December 2006. OECD will publish its international report on the findings on 4 December 2007 and NFER and DCSF will also jointly publish a national report for England on the same day.

Vocational Education: Loans

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what the (a) resource cost and (b) cash cost of career development loans is expected to be in each year from 2008-09 to 2010-11. [168984]

Bill Rammell: Career development loans are administered by the Learning and Skills Council through three high street banks. Banks provide the loan capital to individuals on a commercial basis. Government expenditure meets the interest on the loan during the time the individual is on their course and the administration costs for the participating banks.

The following table shows the planned public expenditure for career development loans across the next spending review period

£ million
2008-09 2009-10 2010-11

Cash terms




Real terms (2007-08 prices)




Vocational Training: Gloucestershire

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many Train to Gain places have been made available in each district area in Gloucestershire. [170100]

Mr. Lammy: Train to Gain is a major aspect of the drive to create a demand-led service and does not generate places in the traditional sense. Through Train to Gain, employers can access the advice and support they need to help them identify and then meet the skills their businesses need to succeed. In the first year of its operation, there were a total of 883 learners funded through Train to Gain in the Gloucestershire county council district areas. The breakdown was as follows: Cheltenham 137, Cotswold 155, Forest of Dean 68, Gloucester City 207, Stroud 226 and Tewkesbury 90.


Olympic Games: China

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Minister for the Olympics what steps she took on her recent visit to Beijing to encourage the Chinese authorities to ensure freedom of movement and expression in China for both domestic and international press (a) in the run-up to the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 and (b) afterwards; and how many meetings she has had with Chinese officials at which media freedom was discussed. [169047]

Tessa Jowell: During a meeting with the President of BOCOG and Party Secretary of Beijing, I urged the Chinese Government to make permanent the new regulations for foreign correspondents that were implemented in January 2007. These regulations temporarily lift restrictions on travel and the requirement to seek official permission for interviews, up to and including the 2008 Olympic Games. While these regulations are welcome, we continue to urge the Chinese to lift all media restrictions, both before and after the Games, including on domestic media.

I made similar representations during my previous visit to Beijing in September 2006, and in a meeting with the Chinese Information Minister in London in April 2007.

As part of my most recent visit to Beijing, I also met a group of British and international correspondents to hear their views on how the new regulations are operating.

Home Department

Alcoholic Drinks: Misuse

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what she plans the next steps of the Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy to be; and what stage each one has reached. [169176]

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Mr. Coaker: In June of this year, the Home Office, Department of Health and Department for Children, Schools and Families jointly launched ‘Safe. Sensible. Social’—The next steps in the National Alcohol Strategy which builds on lessons learned and progress made since the Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy for England published in March 2004. The renewed strategy outlines the Government's long-term commitment to tackling alcohol-related harms. New measures outlined in this Strategy include:

We will shortly publish a local strategy toolkit and guidance on the use of tools and powers to help local areas tackle alcohol related harms. We have recently carried out a Tackling Under Age Sales of Alcohol campaign which saw overall failure rates falling to 14 per cent. and will shortly undertake a Responsible Alcohol Sales Campaign. We recently undertook a Confiscation of Alcohol Campaign to support the commencement of new powers (section 27 Directions to leave) available through the Violent Crime Reduction Act to disperse persons who are likely to cause or contribute to alcohol related crime or disorder, and support the use of existing powers in relation to the confiscation of alcohol (Confiscation of Alcohol (Young Persons) Act 1997). We launched Alcohol Arrest Referral Pilot pilots in Cheshire, Ealing, Manchester and Liverpool in October that aim to reduce re-offending by individuals who have been arrested for alcohol-related offending.

We have also gone out to tender for the independent review on the effectiveness of the alcohol industry's social responsibility standards document in contributing to a reduction in alcohol harm, we expect the review's findings to be published in April 2008. In addition, the Department of Health are taking forward the independent review the relationship between alcohol price, promotion and harm, we expect the review's findings to be published in the summer of 2008.

We are currently drawing up plans for a wide ranging communications campaign to promote a sensible drinking culture by challenging the tolerance of drunkenness, raising the public's knowledge of units of alcohol and ensuring that everyone has the information they need to estimate how much they really do drink, and developing a range of new kinds of information and advice aimed at people who drink at harmful levels, and their families and friends.

We believe that through a combination of continued tough enforcement of the law and the promotion of a sensible drinking culture, we can continue to see significant reductions in alcohol-related crime and disorder.

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Animal Experiments

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for what reasons her Department has decided to end the work of the Research and Alternatives Sub-committee of the Animal Procedures Committee. [169586]

Meg Hillier: The Animal Procedures Committee is an independent non-departmental public body and as such the Home Office plays no role in decisions about the work of its sub-committees. However the Committee has now wound down its Research and Alternatives Sub-Committee following the transfer of the Home Office budget for research into alternatives to the National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs). The decision to transfer the budget was announced on 21 May 2004, Official Report, column 69WS and implemented a recommendation of the House of Lords Select Committee on Animals in Scientific Procedures which reported in July 2002.

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will make a statement on the use of carbon dioxide to destroy animals regulated under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. [169882]

Meg Hillier: Schedule 1 to the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 lists exposure to carbon dioxide gas in a rising concentration as a method of humane killing of rodents, rabbits and birds up to 1.5kg provided the process of killing is completed by one of the methods listed in the schedule.

The Animal Procedures Committee completed a review of Schedule 1 of the 1986 Act and published its report and recommendations in December 2006. The scientific evidence relating to this killing method continues to evolve and following on from their report the Committee has agreed to monitor and consider new research into the use of carbon dioxide for the purpose of killing with a view to making further recommendations on whether the current use of carbon dioxide for killing specified laboratory animals should remain a Schedule 1 method. On receipt of their findings we will consider what, if any, action to take.

The full Animal Procedures Committee report on Schedule 1 and the Home Office response is published in the Report of the Animal Procedures Committee for 2006 [HC41].

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for what reason the Animal Procedures Committee has been asked to consider the criteria for the discharge of genetically altered animals from the controls of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. [169885]

Meg Hillier: The Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 makes provision for the protection of animals used for experimental and other scientific purposes and subjected to regulated procedures which may cause pain, suffering distress or lasting harm. As genetically modified animals are assumed to be potentially more prone to pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm as a
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result of the genetic alteration than the background strain from which they are derived their production, breeding and use is regulated under the 1986 Act.

It has, however, always been accepted that there will be some lines of genetically modified animals that are not predisposed to these harms, and administrative provision has been made for the discharge of such animals (at least for breeding purposes) from the controls of the Act. However, in practice, no such lines have, so far, been discharged from the controls of the Act.

In view of this, and as the current discharge criteria were formulated some years ago, the Animal Procedures Committee has been asked to advise on whether the discharge criteria should be revised in the light of the current state of knowledge regarding refined methods of welfare assessments and phenotyping of genetically altered animals. Should they so advise, the aim would be to remove any unnecessary obstacles currently preventing strains being discharged from the controls of the 1986 Act without weakening the provisions for the welfare of protected animals.

Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what infringements there have been of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 since 1997; and if she will make a statement. [169590]

Meg Hillier: The number of infringements since 1997 is detailed in the following table. This information is collected annually and since 1999 is contained in the annual Statistics of Scientific Procedures on Living Animals Great Britain, copies of which can be found in the House of Commons Library. Infringement reporting changed in 2000 when three new classifications were introduced.

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