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Mr. Carswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence under what circumstances his Department does not give any indication to suppliers of the amount it is willing to spend on a procurement programme when issuing invitations to tender. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: It is not normal departmental practice to provide programme budget details when issuing invitations to tender. However, the Defence Contracts Bulletin, which is issued in advance of tendering activity, routinely includes value banding information to indicate the approximate value of individual requirements to be advertised as a guide to suppliers who may be considering whether to respond.
Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department charged the Army Benevolent Fund for hosting its Music on Fire event at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in September 2006. 
Derek Twigg: Each application for the use of Ministry of Defence land for fund raising or other purposes is considered on its individual merits and an appropriate system of charges is applied. A charge of £7,041.01 was raised against the Army Benevolent Fund for the use of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, for the Music on Fire event held in September 2006. However, using Treasury Government Accounting Rules this figure represents an abated amount of the full costs that could have been charged.
Derek Twigg: The UK Hydrographic Office structural and ownership options study team was led by officials from the MOD Directorate of Business Delivery, supported by staff on loan from the UK Hydrographic Office, the Shareholder Executive and with external assistance from consultants KPMG.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence who decided the terms of reference of his Department's review of the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office; and whether these terms of reference were delivered to private sector stakeholders when they were published. 
Derek Twigg: The UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) is a Trading Fund within the Ministry of Defence. Departments routinely carry out reviews of Trading Funds from time to time as part of the Ownership role. In February 2007, I announced that we would carry out a review of the structural and ownership options for the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO). This is due to report at the end of the year.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many applications under the (a) War Pensions Scheme and (b) Armed Forces Compensation Scheme have been turned down because of failure to comply with the burden of proof in each financial year since 2002-03. 
Derek Twigg: Information is not held centrally as to the particular reason for rejection of a claim under each scheme and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. No claim under either the War Pensions Scheme (WPS) or the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) will fail where the evidence shows that service is the predominant cause of the injury or illness in question.
Jim Knight: The Education and Inspections Act 2006 gives school staff clear statutory powers to impose disciplinary penalties on pupils for misbehaviour on and off school premises. This legislation complements head teachers' right to exclude and gives schools the powers they need to maintain discipline. We shall continue to give heads, teachers and other school staff our full support in using these powers.
14. Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what recent discussions he has had with Chorley and South Ribble Home Start on assistance for families with young children; and if he will make a statement. 
Kevin Brennan: My Department has supported Home-Start UK since 2001; and currently provides an annual strategic grant of £2.73 million. The grant is to support the infrastructure of Home-Start UK across England. The grant covers Home-Start UK's training and support to its local home visiting services, such as the one in Chorley and South Ribble. Services in local areas are commissioned and funded at the local level, where the need has been identified.
Jim Knight: The Essex local authority is currently consulting on proposals to close Alderman Blaxhill school and to establish an academy on the site of the Thomas Lord Audley school. Officials from my Department have been consulted as the authority has drawn up its proposals. We believe that this may be the most appropriate way forward because we recognise that there is a need to raise standards in the area. But ultimately, the decision to close this school and to implement the proposals are matters for the local authority.
16. Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what steps his Department is taking to help local authorities assess children with special educational needs more accurately and rapidly. 
Kevin Brennan: The Special Educational Needs (SEN) Code of Practice gives statutory guidance to local authorities on assessing children's SEN and sets out the timescale for doing so. We are including an indicator in the National Indicator Set on what percentage of statements local authorities finalise within the 26 week time limit. The national strategies' SEN adviser team provides support and challenge to authorities in meeting their duties in this area.
17. John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what assessment his Department has made of the merits of using outdoor recreational centres to meet the requirement for five hours of sport per pupil per week. 
Kevin Brennan: We are working with the Youth Sport Trust and Sport England to develop plans on what activities could be available locally and I would see outdoor recreation centres having an important role to play in supporting the five hours of sport for all children and young people offer.
18. Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what information he holds on the performance of English schools against international benchmarks; and if he will make a statement. 
20. Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, what recent research he has evaluated on educational standards in English schools against international benchmarks. 
Kevin Brennan: The school funding arrangements recognise that pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds are likely to need extra support if they are to have an equal chance to succeed, and that some schools cost more to run than others. An equitable system balances the different needs of each area with basic funding per pupil. The Department will launch a major review of the distribution of core school funding in January to ensure that we have the right balance for the next decade.
Beverley Hughes: The Education and Inspections Act 2006 placed a new duty on local authorities to publicise accurate information about positive activities. The Government have already provided £9 million to local authorities to help them do this.
The Government announced in Aiming High for young people, published July 2007, continued funding to help local authorities publicise opportunities to young people over the next three years and committed to publish further guidance in this area to support local authorities.
23. Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families if he will take steps to ensure that each child in primary and secondary education attends at least one performance each of classical music, ballet and opera. 
Kevin Brennan: As we stated in the Children's Plan, we will work towards a position where no matter where they live, or what their background, all children and young people are able to get involved in top quality cultural opportunities in and out of school. We intend to run a series of pilots looking at different approaches in different parts of the country, and to establish a Youth Culture Trust to run these and promote cultural activities more widely. Further details will be announced in the new year.
Jim Knight: Every young person should be able to choose rigorous, challenging qualifications that are suited to their interests and enable them to progress. This is the principle that underpins our 14 to 19 reforms. It is for schools and colleges to decide which qualifications to offer their students from the range which are approved for public funding, including the International Baccalaureate. We are currently funding start-up costs for 29 maintained institutions in areas where there is no IB provision at present.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families pursuant to the answer of 29 November 2007, Official Report, columns 919-20W, on academies: Manchester, how many of the (a) lead sponsors and (b) co sponsors of the seven academies in Manchester are publicly funded organisations; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: The following Manchester Academy Programme sponsors and co-sponsors are public bodies; Manchester College of Arts and Technology, Central Manchester and Manchester Childrens University Hospital NHS Trust, City College Manchester, the BBC and Manchester city council.
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Art Technology Group Inc
BEA Systems Inc
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Cisco Systems Inc
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Environmental Systems Research Institute Inc
INPHASE Software Limited
Intel Corporation Intercede Limited
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Qube Global Software
Quest Software Inc
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