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Schools: Admissions

John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many fully subscribed schools in England (a) applied for and (b) received capital funding from their local authority for expansion (i) between 1997 and 2006, (ii) between 2006 and January 2008 and (iii) since January 2008. [201590]

Jim Knight: The Department is continuing to support huge capital investment in schools. Over CSR07 this will total £21.9 billion. This is invested through a combination of our strategic, targeted and devolved programmes to local authorities and schools. Investment priorities take account of a number of factors, including the need to expand schools—which is subject to the local decision making process. Accordingly, the Department does not collect information centrally on the number of applications to local authorities for capital funding to support school expansions.

Available data show that (i) between 1999 (the first year for which information is available) and 2006, there were 20 approved proposals from schools to enlarge and increase the admission number by 27 or more, 16 approved proposals to enlarge sixth forms, and 444 smaller expansions; (ii) between 2006 and January 2008 the figures were 22, 36, and 102; and (iii) since January 2008, the figures are nine, four, and eight. We do not have figures on which of these schools were over-subscribed, or which involved a capital cost.

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Additionally, since 2004 the Department has also operated a funding mechanism whereby successful and popular schools can, with or without the support of their local authority, apply for funding toward to the cost of expanding by a form of entry. Provided they meet the criteria set out in guidance, capital support will follow provided the expansion is agreed through the local decision making process. 22 such expansions have been agreed, and additional bids are currently being considered.

Schools: Cricket

Hugh Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (1) how many (a) primary and ( b) secondary schools in England play cricket at least once a week in the summer term; [205153]

(2) how many maintained schools in England have at least 10 competitive cricket fixtures each summer term; [205154]

(3) how much the Youth Sport Trust spent on cricket in schools in each of the last three years; and what those funds were spent on. [205155]

Kevin Brennan: This information is not held centrally. The 2006/07 School Sport Survey found that 90 per cent. (up from 85 per cent. in 2003/04) of maintained schools in England provided cricket during the academic year. The survey also found that 56 per cent. (up from 45 per cent. in 2003/04) of schools were linked to a local cricket club.

Inter-school competition will be further enhanced by the national network of Competition Managers, which will be in place from January 2009.

As a registered charity, the work of the Youth Sport Trust is to help build a better future for young people through sport. They are working with the network of school sport partnerships and sports colleges across the country to ensure all young people have access to at least five hours of PE and school sport by 2012. Their remit is not to fund individual sports, so they have not spent any money directly on cricket, or any other individual sport.

Sixth Form Education: Finance

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families pursuant to the Answer of 28 April 2008, Official Report, column 238W, on sixth form education: finance, on what date he plans to publish the KPMG report on the funding gap between school sixth forms and further education colleges; and if he will make a statement. [203907]

Jim Knight: The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) Statement of Priorities, published in November 2007, stated that introducing a standard common 16-18 funding system for schools, colleges and providers will help us to narrow further the funding gap between school sixth forms and colleges. The KPMG independent research report on the 16-18 FE/School Sixth Form Funding Gap is available on the LSC’s website from 8 May 2008. That report highlights the progress made in closing the gap from more than 14 per cent. in 2004/05 by 8 per cent. points in 2008/09. The LSC will be contacting
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external stakeholders by e-mail advising of the publication of the report and also giving the website link.

Sure Start Programme: Internet

Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families pursuant to the answer of 1 May 2008, Official Report, column 707W, on Sure Start programme: internet, what proportion of expenditure on updating the Sure Start website was attributable to staff salaries in (a) 2006-07 and (b) 2007-08; and how many staff are employed to update the website. [204781]

Kevin Brennan: A contracted editorial resource was used, at the cost of £55,375 for 2006-07 and £63,305 for 2007-08, to provide editorial services and to update the Sure Start website. None of these costs were attributable to civil service staff salaries, however there are civil service salary costs for the project management of the Sure Start website. The proportion of time spent by two civil servants managing the Sure Start website equates to no more than £22,535 for 2006-07 and the same for 2007-08.

Truancy: Lancashire

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families what percentage of pupils in secondary education in (a) Chorley and (b) other areas in Lancashire were classed as persistent truants in the most recent period for which figures are available. [204982]

Kevin Brennan: The available information relates to persistent absentees (pupils who are absent for more than 20 per cent. of possible sessions of attendance) and is given in the table.

State funded secondary schools ( 1,2) : pupil absence 2006/07
Number of enrolments ( 3) Percentage of persistent absentees ( 4)

Lancashire local authority area



Parliamentary constituencies in the Lancashire area:













Lancaster and Wyre



Morecambe and Lunesdale









Ribble Valley



South Ribble



West Lancashire



Rossendale and Darwen



Blackpool, North and Fleetwood



(1) Includes middle schools as deemed.
(2) Includes maintained secondary schools, academies and city technology colleges.
(3) Number of enrolments in schools between from start of the school year until 25 May 2007. Includes pupils on the school roll for at least one session who are aged between 5 and 15. Excludes boarders. Some pupils may be counted more than once (if they moved schools during the school year or are registered in more than one school).
(4) A persistent absentee is defined as missing more than 63 sessions in the year—typically, missing more than 20 per cent. of the school year.
School Census

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Council Tax: Valuation

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the Valuation Office Agency uses its automated valuation model to value newly built homes for council tax purposes. [202561]

Jane Kennedy: No. I also refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 21 April 2008, Official Report, column 1669W.

EU Economic Policy: Zimbabwe

Mr. Hands: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what assessment he has made of the compliance by Northern Rock Bank and its subsidiaries with the requirements of EU Regulation 898/2005, as amended, on financial sanctions against members of the Zimbabwean government; [204998]

(2) what discussions he has had with the Board of Northern Rock Bank on the compliance of the bank and its subsidiaries with the requirements of EU financial sanctions against Zimbabwe. [204999]

Kitty Ussher: During this period of temporary public ownership, Northern Rock is managed by its board at arm’s length from Government on commercial principles.

We expect any bank subject to UK law to comply with all relevant rules and regulations.

Gas and Electricity Markets Authority: Consolidated Fund

Mr. Ingram: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will set out the amounts transferred by Ofgem to the Consolidated Fund under section 1 of the Civil List Act 1952 for each of the years 2005-2008; and if he will make a statement. [204070]

Angela Eagle: Ofgem transfers amounts to the Consolidated Fund in respect of the Fossil Fuel Levy. The following amounts were surrendered to the Consolidated Fund for calendar years 2005-08:

£ million







2008 (to date)



Ben Chapman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the effects of demographic trends on the future of the insurance industry. [204189]

Kitty Ussher: It is for the insurance industry to consider future demographic trends when designing products and developing business models.

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) was established by the Government in 2001 to act as the UK’s independent financial regulator. As part of its supervision of insurance
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firms, the FSA takes a risk-based approach to discussing demographic considerations with insurers, for example when assessing the robustness of an insurer’s approach to risk management. The FSA requires insurers to sign off their annual returns through auditors and actuaries. This would typically involve an assessment of the impact of demographic trends.

International Monetary Fund

John Bercow: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent representations he has received on reform of the International Monetary Fund. [204296]

Kitty Ussher: The Government have been heavily engaged with stakeholders in formulating their agenda for the reform of the International Monetary Fund, which the Chancellor then set out at the Spring Meetings of the International Monetary and Financial Committee last month. The Government recognise that solutions to global problems, such as the financial turbulence of the past year, require greater international cooperation, and has therefore been working to build international support for reforms that will deliver a more effective and legitimate International Monetary Fund.

Smuggling: Fuels

Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on how many occasions HM Revenue and Customs staff in Northern Ireland have visited premises which were suspected to be centres for the distribution and sale of fuel either illegally produced or on which the appropriate duty had not been paid in the last 12 months. [204755]

Angela Eagle: HMRC has a regular programme of visits to retail fuel sites and fuel distribution centres. These include visits to both suspect locations and to non-suspect locations. During year ending 31 March they made 284 such visits in Northern Ireland. Some locations were visited on more than one occasion.

It would not be appropriate to disclose the number of visits to suspect locations as this could indicate the extent of intelligence held by HMRC.

This reply covers visits made by HMRC Detection staff only. It does not include any visits made by Direct Taxes, Indirect taxes or any other HMRC staff.

Tax Yields

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the change in levels of revenue which would accrue if all non-personal tax relief was allowed at the standard rate only. [205163]

Jane Kennedy: Estimates of the revenue impact of changing the rates at which all non-personal tax reliefs are allowed under the relevant tax regimes to the standard rate of income tax are not available. Latest estimated costs of tax expenditures and structural reliefs are published on the HMRC website at:

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Unfair Practices: Sales Methods

Mr. Evans: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how much his Department has spent (a) to raise public awareness of and (b) on consumer protection measures relating to fraud associated with illegal share sales boiler room operations in the last 12 months; [204155]

(2) what estimate he has made of the number of cases of fraud involving illegal share sales boiler room operations in 2007. [204156]

Kitty Ussher [holding answer 8 May 20 08]: The Treasury does not undertake consumer protection activity or raise awareness of boiler room frauds directly. The Financial Services Authority has a specific statutory objective to protect consumers, which includes advising and protecting investors against boiler room frauds.

Expenditure on the prevention of boiler room fraud cannot be disaggregated from other crime prevention or awareness raising work by the agencies concerned, such as the Home Office, Financial Services Authority or City of London Police.

However, the FSA are able to estimate that the budget for enforcement staff working on unauthorised businesses (of which boiler rooms account for 60 per cent.) numbers 20 staff. They estimate that this will equate to around £20,000 hours at a cost of £650,000 for 2008.

The FSA have in the last 12 months taken part in a total of 11 broadcast media appearances on the issue, including a number of radio interviews and TV appearances on programmes such as the Money Programme and the BBC News at 1. The Police have likewise been working with the media, for example targeting publications that cater to the most at risk groups.

In the last 12 months, the FSA have also opened 250 boiler room inquiries, and the names of 215 boiler room firms have been added to their unauthorised firms list, an average of 18 per month. No estimate of cases of fraud involving boiler room operations in 2007 is available. However, the Office of Fair Trading published a report in December 2006 entitled ‘Research
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on impact of mass marketed seams’, which did assess the number of victims of high-risk investment scams more widely. The number of victims of boiler room fraud specifically could not be disaggregated from this total.

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