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Bill Rammell: Information on the breakdown of variable fees charged by institution and course are not currently available. In 2006, of the 124 higher education institutions planning to charge additional fees for UK and EU full-time undergraduate students, all but eight were planning to charge £3,000. Additional information on the actual level of charges and the extra income generated will be available early next year.
Bill Rammell: A-levels are not the only route into HE, nor should they be. Students access HE through a wide variety of progression routes, including Access courses, and other vocational and non-vocational qualifications. Higher education institutions also take account of other factors, for example previous experience and personal qualities, when considering the best candidates for the course in question. Ability to successfully complete a course remains an essential criterion for selecting candidates.
In 2005/06, there were 188,735 English domiciled entrants to full time first degree courses at UK higher education institutions, who had A level or equivalent qualifications on entry. Of these, 2,400 (1.3 per cent.) had a tariff score of less than 80 (two E grades at A level give a tariff score of 80). Figures for 2006/07 will be available in January 2008.
Mr. Boris Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (1) how much was spent on Train to Gain brokers in 2006-07; and what percentage of the overall Train to Gain budget this constituted (a) nationally and (b) in London; 
Mr. Lammy: Train to Gain is a new service that has completed its first year of national operation. In this time more than 52,000 employers have engaged with the service resulting in more than 240,000 learners. The total budget for Train to Gain was £288 million of which £25.4 million (8.8 per cent. of the total budget) was allocated to brokerage. This figure included one-off set-up costs associated with the new service. London received £4.66 million for brokerage (which equates to 18.3 per cent. of the overall brokerage budget).
The LSC contracts with 17 organisations that provide skills brokerage services to employers as part of the wider Train to Gain Service in England. Three of these organisations operate in the London region.
Mr. Lammy: The Skills Pledge is a voluntary public commitment by the leadership of a company or organisation to support all its employees to develop their basic skills including literacy and numeracy, and work towards relevant valuable qualifications to at least level 2 (equivalent to five good GCSEs). If companies or organisations want to go beyond this and extend the commitment to help staff gain wider skills and additional qualifications as well that is welcome. The Skills Pledge is open to all employers in England.
As at November 2007, the available information indicated that there were nine companies or organisations in Gloucestershire which have signed the Skills Pledge. We do not collect separate information on companies or organisations.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his policy is on whether (a) the European Commission should provide an alternative to an Economic Partnership Agreement at the request of any African, Caribbean or Pacific country and (b) any alternative offered should provide no worse market access to the EU than is enjoyed under the Cotonou preferences. 
Mr. Thomas: It remains the UK position, as set out in 2005, that the European Commission should be ready to provide an alternative to an economic partnership agreement (EPA) at the request of any African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) country and that any alternative offered should provide no worse market access to the EU than is currently enjoyed under Cotonou preferences. We are not aware of any ACP country that has requested a permanent alternative to an EPA.
There is currently a discussion with the ACP and EU member states on what market access ACP countries should receive for a temporary period, until they sign an EPA, if they have not done so before Cotonou expires on 31 December 2007. It remains the UK's position that we do not wish ACP countries to receive worse market access to the EU on 1 January 2008 than they currently receive under Cotonou preferences.
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department (a) has taken and (b) intends to take by (i) 2012 and
(ii) 2020 in relation to adaptation to the effects of climate change as they affect his Departmental responsibilities; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Thomas: The Department for International Development has helped developing countries prepare for the impacts of climate change through a £20 million contribution to UN funds for developing adaptation strategies and piloting adaptation projects. We have carried out climate risk assessments of our own programmes in China, India, Bangladesh and Kenya. We have also committed £5 million for climate information on Africa and £74 million for climate adaptation research to build knowledge on how best to respond to climate change impacts in developing countries.
We are also working closely with the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and other government departments to jointly influence the international negotiations on climate change. This is to ensure that there is agreement in the post-2012 framework on international adaptation: what is needed, who will do what and how it will be financed. We are also working to ensure that adaptation will be sufficiently and effectively financed through the international system post-2012 by analysing needs and possible sources of finance, and developing pilot approaches for financing adaptation in countries susceptible to the effects of climate change.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how the Government is co-operating with its international partners to meet the financial shortfall in the 2007 Humanitarian Action Plan for the Democratic Republic of Congo. 
Mr. Thomas: The 2007 Humanitarian Action Plan (HAP) for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is costed at US$687 million which includes both emergency and early recovery activities. Donors have contributed US$437 million to the HAP so far. Around US$100 million of these contributions have been made through the DRC Humanitarian Pooled Fund, which provides the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator complete flexibility in targeting funds to meet the most critical humanitarian needs.
The UK is one of the largest humanitarian donors to the DRC. In 2007 the UK has provided some £35 million for humanitarian projects. This accounts for over 10 per cent. of the needs as expressed in the HAP. £30 million of our 2007 funding has been channelled through the Pooled Fund.
The establishment of the Pooled Fund has made it easier for other donors to contribute to the HAP and the numbers of donors contributing to the fund increased from six in 2006 to eight in 2007. DFID played a key role in establishing the Pooled Fund and encourages other donors to contribute to it. This is therefore one important way in which DFID has co-operated with its international partners to address the shortfall in humanitarian funding for DRC.
In addition, as a member of the Good Humanitarian Donor group in the DRC, DFID participates actively with other donors in regularly assessing humanitarian assistance priorities and how shortfalls in funding can be addressed.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what progress has been made by the International Finance Facility on immunisation bonds; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Malik: The International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm) has made impressive progress in its first year of implementation. In November 2006 IFFIm raised $1 billion from the international bond markets. Of the $1 billion raised, approximately $912 million will be disbursed by the end of 2007, through the GAVI Alliance (formerly the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation).
The GAVI Alliance is currently spending IFFIm funds in 43 of the poorest countries on immunisation activities to tackle vaccine-preventable diseases such as yellow fever, polio, measles, maternal and neonatal tetanus. IFFIm funds are also being spent on strengthening the health systems of these poor countries. Some of the early results achieved by the GAVI Alliance since 2006 through IFFIms funding have been:
Immunising more than 100 million children under the age of five against polio.
Helping poor countries target 26 million women with immunisation against maternal and neonatal tetanus by 2007 and early 2008.
Yellow fever immunisation activities in 12 West African countries that will strengthen health systems and support vaccine security and affordability to prevent approximately 687,000 deaths between now and 2050.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the effect on regional integration of a country signing an economic partnership agreement outside their regional grouping either individually or as a small grouping. 
Mr. Thomas: In regions where all countries are not able to sign an economic partnership agreement (EPA), the European Commission will consider agreeing a sub-regional EPA with the countries that are ready and would like to sign. With the deadline only a few weeks away and with some countries wanting to sign an EPA even though the full region is not ready, this is a pragmatic way forward to ensure as many countries as possible can benefit from duty free quota free access into the European Union markets from 1 January 2008. If a sub-regional EPA is signed, other countries in the region should be able to join the EPA as soon as they are ready. The effect on regional integration will vary depending on the extent of existing regional integration in the area and the scope of neighbouring agreements. The UK is considering the impact of these on a case by case basis.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what his policy is on the recent statement by the General Affairs and External Relations Council of the EU that all parties should agree to pursue trade negotiations within agreed timeframes in outstanding areas. 
Mr. Thomas: The UK's 2005 position paper on economic partnership agreements stated that investment, competition and Government procurement should be removed from the negotiations, unless specifically requested by an African, Caribbean or Pacific (ACP) regional negotiating group. The UK has strongly pushed for this with the Commission and among other European Union member states. At the General Affairs and External Relations Council we reached a compromise stating that the ACP should negotiate on these areas within an agreed timeframe. The conclusions do not state that the ACP is obliged to conclude negotiations on these areas.
Mr. Thomas: DFID provided £109.9 million of bilateral aid to Sudan in 2006-07. None of this aid was provided directly to the Sudanese Government and the majority was delivered as humanitarian assistance. Figures for 2007-08 will be available in June 2008. Data are not available on a November to November basis.
Mr. Andrew Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what controls he has put in place to ensure that the allocation of £700 million aid to Uganda over the next 10 years is applied to (a) poverty reduction, (b) tackling corruption, (c) strengthening human rights and (d) other purposes for which it was intended. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: DFID signed a Development Partnership Arrangement (DPA) with Uganda on 22 November. This specifies that poverty reduction, tackling corruption and strengthening human rights are the key shared commitments on which our partnership is based. Under the provisions of the DPA there will be annual partnership talks to monitor and assess performance against these commitments.
The DPA sets aside an indicative allocation of £700 million over the next 10 years which is subject to the partnership commitments being met. In the event of a breach there are a range of provisions which include changing the way DFID delivers its programme as well as the possibility of reducing aid. The specific arrangements for disbursing and monitoring our
development assistance will follow the comprehensive guidelines for project and programme management that are set out in DFIDs Blue Book of rules, systems and procedures.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what guidelines have been developed by the UK Search and Rescue Advisory Group; and if he will place a copy of those guidelines in the Library. 
Mr. Malik: The UK International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (UKISARG) has not developed specific guidelines. However, the Group has established common principles and standards to ensure that the member organisations are able to operate in a consistent, effective, professional and accountable manner. UKISARG member organisations must comply with UKISARG specific standards as well as the Principles of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Response Programmes and current International Search and Rescue Group (INSARAG) guidelines.
Principles of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Response Programmes:
Rob Marris: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps his Department (a) has taken and (b) plans to take by (i) 2012 and (ii) 2020 to adapt to the effects of climate change as they affect his Departmental responsibilities; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Wills: The Ministry of Justice is awaiting the cross-Government Adaptation Policy Framework, which will set out our overall intentions in relation to adapting to the effects of climate change. This is expected to be published in the spring of 2008, and is in response to the Climate Change Bill. In the meantime, my Department has developed design guidance for new construction projects to reflect the need to have buildings capable of dealing with the major impacts of climate change in northern and western Europe. Measures are also being taken to achieve carbon reduction targets that will have the additional benefit of mitigating against certain effects of climate change. Finally, the likelihood of rising water levels is also taken into account in planning and acquisition of new sites.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will review the adequacy of funding of support services for women affected by sexual crime in Peterborough constituency; and if he will make a statement. 
Maria Eagle: The Victims Fund was established to provide injections of funding for a wide range of services for victims and witnesses. It was not intended to provide core long-term resources or substitute for local funding. Grant recipients for previous years accepted their award under the agreement that it was for one year only. The resources from the Victims Fund for 2007-08 have already been allocated under the principles of open competition and are not subject to review.
There has been no reduction of funding from central Government for the specialist sexual violence and childhood abuse sector this year. Out of the £3 million package, £1.25 million has been allocated through the Victims Fund with the remainder used for funding the umbrella organisations, independent sexual violence advisors and sexual assault referral centres.
Peterborough Rape Crisis applied for a grant from the 2007-08 Victims Fund but was unsuccessful against other bidders. Each application was considered on its own merits and assessed against the published criteria. The Victims Fund received over two hundred applications and a separate assessment of the impact of each unsuccessful bid is not within the scope of the grant scheme. It was also open to the organisation to apply for funding where eligible, under the various other programmes.
The majority of funding is devolved to local areas and there is extensive work under way to try to improve the stability of local specialist sexual violence and childhood abuse services. This includes having a strong focus on sexual offences in the Making Communities Safer PSA to help influence local priorities.
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