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7 Mar 2008 : Column 2898W—continued


Written Questions

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many written parliamentary questions have been tabled for answer by his Department this Session; and what the average number of days taken to answer them was. [190240]

Bill Rammell: The Department has so far received 908 questions this Session. The Department’s PQ tracking system is currently unable to break down the data requested regarding response times and to do so would incur disproportionate cost. However, the software used to monitor and track PQs tabled for both this Department and the Department for Children, Schools and Families is being upgraded at the moment and a new enhanced system is close to implementation.

Richard Younger-Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many and what proportion of Parliamentary questions from hon. Members for answer on a named day received by his Department and its predecessors have received a (a) holding answer and (b) substantive answer by the named day in each year since 2001. [190296]

Bill Rammell: The information requested can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Higher Education: Females

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what research his Department has undertaken on the impact of removing funding for equivalent or lower level qualifications on women; and what discussions he has had with the Minister for Women on this issue. [177596]

Bill Rammell [holding answer 10 January 2008]: Nearly 60 per cent. of students are women. The proportion of students studying for equivalent or lower level qualifications who are women is the same. But our policy of redistributing grant will widen participation and mean that more of the ten million women of working age who do not have a first higher-level qualification, especially those from non-traditional backgrounds, will be able to benefit from participating in higher education. I have had no discussions with the Minister for Women specifically on this issue which does not discriminate against women, but offers more opportunities for both men and women without a first higher education qualification.

Drinking Water

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many litres of bottled water were purchased by his Department and its predecessor in each of the last three years; and if he will make a statement. [191253]

Mr. Lammy: Hospitality and catering services for the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, since its creation in June 2007, are provided on our behalf by the Department for Children, Schools and Families and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, We do not have separate figures on how much bottled water our Department has purchased.

Official Engagements

Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what the engagements of the Minister of State for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education were for (a) 5 , (b) 6 and (c) 7 November 2007; who he was scheduled to meet; to whom invitations were issued; what issues were discussed at each meeting; which officials travelled with him on those dates; what transport was used; and which hon. and right hon. Members were informed that he would be visiting their constituencies. [178643]

Bill Rammell [holding answer 29 January 2008]: Ministers and civil servants meet many people as part of the process of policy development and advice. It is not normal practice to disclose details of such meetings.

Physics: Degrees

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many first degree physics undergraduates there are; and what the equivalent figures were in (a) 2003, (b) 1998 and (c) 1993. [189317]


7 Mar 2008 : Column 2899W

Bill Rammell: The latest available information is given in the table. Due to a change in the methodology for recording subject in 2002/03, comparisons between figures for 2001/02 and earlier, and those for 2002/03 onwards cannot be made; Comparable figures for the 2007/08 academic year will be available in January 2009.

Latest figures from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) show that applicants who were accepted to full-time first degree courses in physics in 2007/08 increased by 10 per cent. compared to the previous year.

Number of first degree physics undergraduates( 1) English higher education institutions( 2) —academic years 1994/95( 3) , 1998/99, 2003/04 and 2006/07
Academic year Physics students

1994/95

7,730

1998/99(4)

8,035

2003/04

7,795

2006/07

7,835

(1) Includes both full-time and part-time undergraduates from the UK and overseas.
(2) Figures from the Open University have been excluded from the analysis.
(3) Figures for first degree physics students are not available for 1993/94 academic year, only for physical sciences as a whole. Therefore, comparable figures for the 1994/96 academic year have been provided as an alternative.
(4) In 2002/03 the methodology for recording subject of study was changed on the student record. Aside from the introduction of a new coding frame, JACS (previously a system called HESACODE was used), students were apportioned between their subjects of study rather than being assigned on a headcount basis to their major subject. As such, comparisons between figures for 2001/02 and earlier, and those for 2002/03 onwards cannot be made.
Note:
Figures are on a snapshot basis as at 1 December excluding those writing up, on sabbatical or dormant and are rounded to the nearest 5.
Source:
Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA)

Space Technology: Finance

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what support the Government has provided to the UK space sector since 1997. [191893]

Ian Pearson [holding answer 6 March 2008]: Information on funding for civil space by the partners of the British National Space Centre was provided to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee for its inquiry into UK space policy, and published in the Committee’s seventh report of session 2006-07. The figures provided to the Committee, with the addition of the 2006-07 figures, are as follows:

£ million

1997-98

183.18

1998-99

184.99

1999-2000

172.62

2000-01

177,38

2001-02

169.18

2002-03

160.20

2003-04

188.65

2004-05

197.94

2005-06

20761

2006-07

217.88

Note:
The figures are expressed in cash in the year of expenditure.

7 Mar 2008 : Column 2900W

Students: Bankruptcy

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many undergraduate students resident in (a) Suffolk, (b) the East of England and (c) England declared themselves bankrupt in each year since 1997. [187615]

Bill Rammell: Provisions were included in the Higher Education Act 2004 to prevent student loans being written off on bankruptcy (mortgage-style 1oans from July 2004 and Income-contingent loans from September 2004). Currently student loans are not exempt from individual voluntary arrangements (IVAs).

The increase in student loan borrowers with bankruptcies and IVAs should be seen in the context of the increases among the general population. Figures from the Insolvency Service show that between 2002 and 2006 the number of individual bankruptcies in England and Wales more than doubled; the number of IVAs increased seven-fold.

Up to 2004 only combined figures for bankruptcies and IVAs are available from SLC data. After the change in legislation SLC ceased to record bankruptcies, as student loans are excluded from bankruptcy debts and are not written off on discharge from bankruptcy. Figures from 2005 show IVAs only.

Available data are shown in the tables.

Students with publicly-owned student loans who notified the Student Loans Company (SLC) of their bankruptcy or individual voluntary arrangement (IVA) while studying( 1) . Students domiciled in Suffolk, East of England Government Office Region and England. Calendar years of bankruptcy or IVA 1997 to 2004
Suffolk( 2) East of England( 2) England( 3)

1997

(4)

(4)

10

1998

(4)

(4)

10

1999

(4)

(4)

20

2000

(4)

(4)

20

2001

(4)

(4)

10

2002

(4)

(4)

10

2003

(4)

10

50

2004

(4)

10

110

(1) Figures are rounded to the nearest 10 borrowers. Students on postgraduate initial teacher training courses can be eligible for loans, and therefore figures may include some who took out loans for postgraduate study. (2) Income-contingent loans only. Information on mortgage-style loan borrowers who are bankrupt or have IVAs is not available by local authority or Government Office Region. (3) Mortgage-style and income-contingent loans. (4) Nil or less than five. Source: Student Loans Company

Students with publicly-owned student loans who took individual voluntary arrangements (IVA) while studying( 1. ) Students domiciled in Suffolk, East of England Government Office Region and England. Calendar years of IVA 2005 to 2006
Suffolk( 2) East of England( 2) England( 3)

2005

(4)

(4)

30

2006

(4)

(4)

20

1 Figures are rounded to the nearest 10 borrowers. Students on postgraduate initial teacher training courses can be eligible for loans, and therefore figures may include some who took out loans for postgraduate study. 2 Income-contingent loans only. Information on mortgage-style loan borrowers who are bankrupt or have IVAs is not available by local authority or Government Office Region. 3 Mortgage-style and income-contingent loans. 4 Nil or less than five. Source: Student Loans Company.

7 Mar 2008 : Column 2901W

Students: Finance

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills pursuant to his request to the Higher Education Funding Council for England of 7 September on funding for equivalent and lower qualifications as additional degrees, what assessment he has made of the effect of his decision upon (a) women returners, (b) older men, (c) disabled students and (d) black and minority ethnic students. [175798]

Bill Rammell: Our policy is a progressive redistribution of £100 million in institutional funding by 2010 away from students who already have a first HE qualification and want to study another one at an equivalent or lower level towards first time entrants which will enable more of the 20 million people of working age without a first HE qualification to participate in higher education and enjoy all the benefits it brings. Within that group without higher level qualifications, there are millions of women returners, older men, disabled students and black and minority ethnic students who will all have more opportunities as a result of the ELQ policy. The majority are likely to be mature learners from non-traditional backgrounds who want to study part-time.

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills pursuant to his request to the Higher Education Funding Council for England of 7 September on funding for equivalent and lower qualifications (ELQ) as additional degrees, whether ELQ students of medicine and veterinary science will be (a) publicly funded and (b) exempt from the withdrawal of funding; and if he will make a statement. [175799]

Bill Rammell: We have always recognised that there may need to be exceptions to our general policy to redistribute institutional funding for ELQ students towards other students for particular subjects. We are not going to rush into making special arrangements, other than those subjects we have already identified as requiring support in the public interest—such as medicine, initial teacher training teaching, science (including veterinary science), technology, engineering and maths subjects, area-based studies, and modern foreign languages. But we are asking the Funding Council each year to look at subjects which might in future be regarded as key because of their economic or social significance, and in cases where there is evidence of a fall in demand, advise us on the best way forward. The first review will start in December 2008.

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how he plans to fund the 50,000 higher education student places for 2008-11 announced in the comprehensive spending review; and how many of these students will be first-time entrants. [175800]


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