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9 Jan 2008 : Column 636Wcontinued
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the proposed new charge for the collection of household rubbish will be classed as a tax, for statistical purposes by (a) HM Treasury and (b) the Office for National Statistics. 
Angela Eagle: The income collected under the waste reduction and recycling schemes proposed in the Climate Change Bill will be classified as taxation, in accordance with national accounts guidelines. Local authorities will, however, retain the income and will be required to use it to fund rebates to local residents.
Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many confirmed security breaches of databases controlled by his Department occurred in each of the last five years; whether the breach resulted from internal or external sources in each case; how many records were compromised on each occasion; and what estimate was made of the total number of records accessible to the individuals concerned. 
Mr. Lammy [holding answer 17 December 2007]: Except in exceptional cases, when it is in the public interest, it has been the policy of successive governments not to comment on breaches of security.
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how much has been spent by his Department (a) in total and (b) on staff costs on promoting equality and diversity in each of the last three years for which figures are available; and how many people are employed by his Department for this purpose. 
Mr. Lammy: The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills was created in June 2007 and takes promoting equality and diversity extremely seriously. There are legal duties to promote disability, ethnicity, and gender equality which cover all civil servants. This means that all members of the Department have a responsibility for promoting equality, and contribute to this through their daily work. The Department believes that reducing inequality is the key to raising attainment and improving life chances for all learners. The staff and other budgets for the former DfES can be viewed through the Department's annual reports for the last three years.
In the former DfES, and now at DCSF, there is also a small unit of thirteen people dedicated to work on anti-discrimination law, and on Human Resources and
equality, and to mainstreaming equality. That unit also supports the work of DIUS. Resources allocated to that unit for staffing, and for other costs of promoting equalities, are as follows:
|Salary costs||Other related costs||Total|
We are considering the future organisation of and support for equality and diversity work with DCSF colleagues so that we can establish the future staffing requirements for DIUS. All employees are expected to consider how they can promote equality and diversity in their individual capacities and roles.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many staff work in his Department's parliamentary branch; and what proportion of their time is spent on dealing with (a) parliamentary questions and (b) correspondence from hon. Members and Peers. 
Kevin Brennan: I have been asked to reply.
We have six members of staff who deal with the parliamentary business for my Department and the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills. We do not keep a record of the proportion of staff time spent dealing with parliamentary questions.
Correspondence from hon. Members and Peers is not dealt with by the parliamentary team.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what plans his Department has to make use of data on the National Identity Register when it is established; and what the estimated cost to his Department of that use is. 
Mr. Lammy: The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills will be working with the Home Office prior to the introduction of the National Identity scheme to establish how identity information held on the proposed National Identity Register might be used to provide easier access to Departments services for our customers. It is too early in the process to establish the detailed costs and benefits.
Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how much the Government have spent on the UK Near Earth Object Information Centre since January 1999; and if he will make a statement. 
Funding for the Near Earth Object Information Centre based at the National Space Centre in Leicester began in 2001 with a budget of £300,000
over three years. During this period the Near Earth Object Information Centre provided guidance on NEO close approaches and undertook a promotional and outreach programme under the guidance of the British National Space Centre, (BNSC). In 2004-05 funding from BNSC was £25,000 a yearthe level at which it currently stands.
Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what assessment he has made of the performance of the UK Near Earth Object Information Centre against its objectives since it was established; and if he will make a statement. 
Ian Pearson: The Near Earth Object Information Centre is based at the National Space Centre in Leicester. Its principle role on behalf of Government has been to provide reporting on NEO close approaches, where appropriate working with the academic community and undertaking outreach activity including information services to schools, the public and the media.
Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many regional Near Earth Object Information Centres have been set up since 2001; and if he will make a statement. 
Ian Pearson: I understand that the Near Earth Object Information Centre at the National Space Centre in Leicester has a formal working relationship with three centresin London, Edinburgh and Belfast.
Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills if he will make it his policy to plan joint working with the US Administration to address the risk posed by Near Earth Objects; and if he will make a statement. 
Ian Pearson: There are regular meetings between the US Administration, including the State Department and NASA, and UK authorities. There are no current plans to work jointly on Near Earth Objects but the planned exploration initiative between the Science Technology Facilities Council and NASA may provide an opportunity to do so in due course.
Mr. Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what initiatives his Department has launched to use the 2012 London Olympics as a vehicle for promoting upskilling and vocational learning; and who he has appointed to lead them. 
[holding answer 3 December 2007]: We are using the games to drive forward the broader skills agenda to bring about systemic change and ensure a legacy that is felt long term not just in London but nationwide. In the main, this will be achieved using existing initiatives such as Train to Gain, as we help
employers in meeting their skill needs to design, build and deliver the games, and encourage individuals to develop their skills so that they can compete for opportunities and progress within the labour market beyond 2012.
On the employer side, two cluster groups of Sector Skills Councils are leading two areas: one to look specifically at the issues relating to the built environment and environmental improvements for the games; and the other is looking at the staging and legacy aspects of the games. Other specific employer-led initiatives include work by Go Skills with Transport for London to build and diversify their workforce; a programme of media training placements being developed by Skillset; the National Skills Strategy for hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism in England developed by People 1st; and the National Skills Academy for Construction centre on the Olympic site which the Prime Minister announced on 29 November. Individual's initiatives include new advanced apprenticeships in sporting excellence; customer service and hospitality apprenticeships; and the LDA-led personal best programme which is currently being piloted in London but will be offered nationally and is targeted at individuals furthest away from the labour market to improve skills and promote employability.
Shona McIsaac: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many Train to Gain places have been made available in (a) North East Lincolnshire and (b) North Lincolnshire. 
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 498 learners funded through Train to Gain in the North East Lincolnshire Area and 708 in the North Lincolnshire Area.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what proportion of people who started training under Train to Gain failed to complete their course in the last period for which figures are available. 
Mr. Lammy: According to latest figures from the Learning and Skills Council, based on individual learner records between April 2006 and July 2007 229,470 people started learning through Train to Gain. During this same period 12,024 people left their course with no achievement, this equates to 5.2 per cent. of all starts. However, ILR information is still being updated so this figure may change. In addition there will always be learners who are still on programme but are past their planned learning end date. These learners may well complete their programme of learning.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what the evidential basis is for his statement in the answer of 8 October 2007, Official Report, columns 389-90W, on A-level: standards, that improvements in success rates at A-level are a result of additional public expenditure on (a) teachers, (b) support staff and (c) school buildings; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: It is the remit of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority to regulate the public examination system. Their reports on standards over time have shown that standards in A levels have been maintained. It therefore follows that improved successes must be down to improvements in schools and young people's hard work.
Ofsted report that standards of teaching are continuing to improve. This would not have been possible without the investment that has seen the numbers of regular full-time equivalent (FTE) teachers in the maintained sector in England rise from 400,300 in 1997 to 439,300 in 2007. In addition the number of support staff employed in our schools has more than doubled, with the latest figures showing that 308,200 FTE school support staff were employed in all maintained schools in England in January 2007. This represents a rise of 174,300 since 1997.
Furthermore, there is research to show that capital investment can lead to improved pupil performance and that investment is a strong leaver on pupil and teacher motivation. Details have been placed in the Library. The Government remains committed to improving educational achievement, and to providing capital funding to improve schools and raise standards, with support for capital investment in school buildings of £21.9 billion in total over the three years 2008-09 to 2010-11, including PFI credits.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what proportion of children identified as gifted and talented have achieved three A grades at A-level in each of the last three years. 
Jim Knight: The proportion of students aged 16 to 18 identified as gifted and talented in maintained schools who achieved three A grades at A level in 2006 was 29.6 per cent. The corresponding figure for 2007 was 29.1 per cent. These figures do not include young people attending post-16 institutions. National data on gifted and talented pupils have only been collected since 2006.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families pursuant to the answer of 12 December 2007, Official Report, column 717W, on assessments: standards, whether it is his policy that all Key Stage national tests should be marked at addresses within the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Knight: The recruitment, training and management of external markers for national curriculum tests at key stages 2 and 3 is a matter for the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority. Markers of all national curriculum tests must have an address in the United Kingdom for delivery of scripts.
Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families pursuant to the answer of 21 November 2007, Official Report, column 952W, on CfBT, what services are provided to his Department by CfBT Education Trust. 
Jim Knight: CfBT Education Trust provide the following services to the Department:
Managing the delivery of a range of services for gifted and talented learners aged four-19 and their educators; Providing subject specific support to schools for the foundation subjects to support teaching of the new secondary curriculum from September 2008;
Delivering the Out and About Package of How to guidance, resources and continuous professional development modules for teachers/the wider workforce and others.
Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) how many children in the care of local authority social services are (a) from the EU and (b) from outside the EU; 
(2) how many children (a) were in the care of local authority social services, (b) came into care as unaccompanied asylum-seeking children and (c) have gone missing from care in each of the last three years. 
Kevin Brennan [holding answer 7 January 2008]: Information on the number of children looked after by local authorities who (a) come from the EU and (b) from outside the EU, is not collected centrally by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF).
The number of children looked after who:
(a) were in the care of local authority social services at 31 March 2005 to 2007 was as follows:
These figures account for all children looked after at 31 March, excluding children looked after under an agreed series of short-term placements.
(b) came into care as unaccompanied asylum-seeking children i.e. started to be looked after during each of the years ending 31 March 2005 to 2007 was as follows:
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