Helen Southworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what progress has been made by the Science and Technology Facilities Council on implementing its policy to retain key skills at Daresbury laboratory; and if he will make a statement. 
Ian Pearson: STFC is aiming to retain important skills at the Daresbury Science and Innovation campus to resource the range of scientific research investments being planned for its future. I have most recently announced a £25 million investment by St. Modwen, a private sector developer that will be investing in a new (Vanguard House) business incubator facility at Daresbury to accommodate the rapidly growing (over 65) science and technology-based companies at the site, and new start-up science and technology businesses emerging in part from Daresburys own leading scientific research programme. STFC has also tabled proposals for a new computer science centre at Daresbury (Hartree) and, in conjunction with its sister campus at Harwell, a new detector systems centre. These proposed centres would add to the existing Cockcroft Institute for accelerator research and the contribution that Daresbury is making to the preparatory phase of the New Light Source project. Taken together, I believe that the portfolio of facilities and projects at Daresbury will continue to sustain and develop its leading edge skillswhich are highly valued by me and my Department. We are fully committed to the development of the Daresbury Science and Innovation campus as announced in Budget 2006.
Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills if he will make a statement on measures undertaken to date pursuant to the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) pledge to reduce bureaucracy, as indicated on page nineteen of the current LSC Statement. 
Mr. Lammy: The Government are committed to reducing bureaucracy at all levels within further education to release providers' energy to focus on the needs of individuals and employers. Through its deregulation agenda the Department and its intermediaries have already for example:
reduced the number of intermediary bodiesOfsted and the Adult Learning Inspectorate have been brought together in one inspector body, QIA and CEL are being brought together into a single body which will provide support to FE colleges and providers;
reduced the administrative burden on colleges and independent providersthere is now light touch inspection for the best
performers, a reduction in audit requirements is saving about £12 million in administrative time per year and recognition as an awarding body has recently been reduced from an average of 10 months to two-three months;
introduced Impact Assessments of policies on front line delivery.
The LSC is committed to reducing bureaucracy. As a result of the restructuring begun in 2005-06 the LSC expect to realise annual administration savings of £40 million by the end of 2008-09. The LSC are also committed to making administration efficiency savings during the current spending review period of 5 per cent. year on year.
The LSC have made significant administration efficiency savings since it started operations in April 2001. Administration costs as a proportion of total expenditure has fallen from 4.6 per cent. in 2001-02 to an anticipated 1.6 per cent. in 2010-11.
I am writing to you at the request of Bill Rammell in response to your recent question about the LSC pledge to reduce bureaucracy.
In our Statement of Priorities published in November 2007 we highlighted eight areas where we are committed to simplifying the education and training system for the benefit of learners and employers.
The LSC has implemented a reduction in the number of funding streams from six to three which will reduce administrative complexities for FE colleges and training providers and provide a clearer link between policy objectives and funding arrangements. It is expected that this will result in increased access and participation for 16-18 year-old learners and increased awareness of learning opportunities for adult learners.
We are continuously looking for ways to improve this, for example we have just introduced a single Helpline, Assessment and Payment Body to improve the customer (learner) experience, by having a single point of reference, single portal, and single phone number for all interactions in relation to nationally administered financial support programmes for learners.
A common brokerage framework has been introduced to ensure consistency across LSC regions, and to improve the service to employers we plan to go further by transferring the skills brokerage service to regional development agencies (RDAs) to enable its integration with the Business Link service.
This has now been launched as the Training Quality Standard. It recognises provider responsiveness to employer needs and provider excellence in a particular vocational area; two areas that employers have told us are critical for success. It will give employers a simple and straightforward way to compare training providers.
This is a balanced scoreboard of performance indicators that will enable learners and employers to make more informed choices and decisions, thus contributing to improved levels of satisfaction, increased retention rates, greater investment by individuals and employers, a sharper focus on economically valuable skills, and better and more relevant outcomes. A large scale pilot has just been completed and version 1 of the Framework is scheduled for roll-out to all FE colleges and work-based learning providers from August 2008.
The LSC no longer produces 47 local plans with a range of priorities and initiatives but rather brings these together into nine regional plans. These regional plans set out how the LSC's funding will be used to support national priorities as identified in our Grant Letter and Statement of Priorities, and regional priorities identified by regional development agencies.
With the QCA we are developing a simple and flexible structure that allows achievement to be built incrementally through the accumulation and transfer of credit. This will encourage and enable more learning that is appropriate to individuals' and employers needs, For 2008-09 the LSC will be encouraging providers to adopt QCF provision where it is available.
The LSC continues to support the operation of the Bureaucracy Reduction Group (BRG) as the FE sector-led gatekeeper group for bureaucracy. The BRG has scrutinised the operation of a number of the LSC's major programmes and has helpfully identified areas where improvements could be made. For example, its recent scrutiny of Train to Gain resulted in a 10 point action plan to reduce bureaucracy in this programme. The report and recommendations of this scrutiny can be found on the BRG website
In order to continue to tackle perceived bureaucracy and improve efficiency the LSC is developing a Simplification Plan. This will set out the actions the LSC is taking across a range of activities in addition to those highlighted above. It is expected that this will be published in July 2008 and I will send you a copy at that time.
Sir Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what assessment he has made of the effects on perceptions of alcohol consumption of the phasing out of 125 ml measure wine glasses in favour of 175 ml glasses. 
Ian Pearson: Under existing legislation, both 125 ml and 175 ml measures may be used for the sale of wine by the glass. We have no evidence that the use of 125 ml glasses is being phased out. Alcohol policy as it relates to health is the responsibility of the Department of Health. It has launched a public education campaign to improve knowledge of the alcohol units contained in everyday drinks, and how drinking can affect peoples health.
Mark Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what assessment has been made of the future effect of the recent reductions in funding for physics research and astronomy projects in the UK on the UK's industry and economy; and if he will make a statement. 
The science budget is at its highest ever level and will enable the UK to maintain its leading position in research excellence, give rise to greater exploitation, as well as helping to build a stronger economy.
Mark Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (1) what progress has been made in the UK towards meeting the Lisbon agenda target that the EU should invest three per cent. of its gross domestic product in research and development by 2010; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) what assessment he has made of the Lisbon agenda target that the EU as a whole should be investing three per cent. of its gross domestic product in research and development by 2010; for what reasons the Government set a target of 2.5 per cent. by 2014; and if he will make a statement. 
Ian Pearson: The 3 per cent. Lisbon target applies to the EU as a whole, not to individual member states. Individual member states need to set targets in relation to their own circumstances. The Government felt that the UK target, set out in the 10-year Science and Innovation Investment Framework in 2004, was an appropriate and challenging target given the level of UK's research and development and the structure of the UK economy. In 2006 the UK spent 1.75 per cent. of gross domestic product on research and development, up from 1.74 per cent. in 2005. As a whole the EU27 spent 1.84 per cent. of gross domestic product on research and development in 2006, the same as in 2005.
Mark Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what assessment has been made of the effect of the £80 million shortfall in the annual Science and Technology Facilities Council fund announced in December 2007; what steps have been taken by his Department to address the shortfall; and if he will make a statement. 
Ian Pearson: We have made no such announcement The STFC's budget will rise by 13.6 per cent. by the end of the CSR period making it the third largest Research Council by budget This amounts to an additional £185 million over that period and a budget in total of £1.9 billion over the same period.
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what recent assessment he has made of (a) overall developments in trans-European student mobility, (b) the European Credit Transfer System, (c) the Europass CV, (d) the Europass Mobility, (e) the Europass Diploma Supplement, (f) the Europass Certificate Supplement and (g) the Europass Language portfolio. 
(a) The Government are keen to see an increase in the numbers of British students who take the opportunity to include a period of study abroad as part of their
course. Within Europe, we have seen a welcome increase this year in the number of UK students taking part in the EU's Erasmus programme. Interim figures for 2007-08 show that well over 10,000 UK students have taken part (including some 2,800 work placement students). And the UK continues to be one of the top destinations for students from other European countries taking part in the programme.
(b) The Government believe there is scope for further adaptation of the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) to ensure that it effectively reflects the greater importance of the assessment of learning outcomes. In response to these and other member states' concerns, the European Commission is reviewing the ECTS users' guide, which is expected to be completed later this year.
Items (c) to (g) refer to the five documents that make up the Europass portfolio, a method introduced by the EU to record formal, informal and non-formal education. The operating agency for Europass in the UK, the National Europass Centre, has been promoting the portfolio in its entirety through organisations such as universities, FE colleges, vocational training organisations and UK accreditation bodies. There is increased interest in the use of Europass and it is expected that the introduction of the European Qualifications Framework will lead to greater take up of Europass documents in the future. The Government believe that Europass will assist in the recognition across Europe of formally or informally acquired skills and encourage mobility within the work force.
Stephen Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what estimate his Department has made of what will be the average personal debt per student at the end of a degree course; and if he will make a statement. 
Student loans have very different features to most commercial loans, Graduates only repay once they are in work and only when their annual income reaches £15,000. Interest is charged at the rate of inflation, so students only pay back in real terms the amount they originally borrowed.
A generous package of support is available to students, particularly those from low income households. In 2006-07 over half of eligible full-time students received a full or partial maintenance grant of up to £2,700, From 2008-09 onwards, the minimum threshold (of household income) for a full maintenance grant of up to £2,835 per year will be extended from £17,500 a year to £25,000 a year; with a partial grant available up to an income threshold of £60,005. This will mean that two thirds of all eligible students in England entering higher education in the academic year 2008-09 are expected to be entitled to a full or partial non-repayable grantcompared to just over half now.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many applicants there were for teacher training in secondary school (a) mathematics, (b) physics, (c) ICT and (d) modern languages in each of the last three years; and how many and what proportion of applicants for such courses in 2009 have been successful. 
The number of applicants to secondary initial teacher training (ITT) is not collected centrally. The number of applications made to mainstream postgraduate ITT is collected; however the number of applications to undergraduate ITT courses is not available. The number of applications for employment based ITT is not collected centrally.
The following table shows the number of applications to postgraduate secondary ITT courses in England for (a) mathematics, (b) physics, (c) ICT and (d) modern languages in each of the last three years for which complete data are available.
|Number of applications|
1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.
2 Some applications for postgraduate ITT courses are made independently of the Graduate Teacher Training Registry and are not included in the figures.
3. Figures include trainees to secondary courses and do not include trainees to middle year's courses.
4. Data are as at the end of the application process so are subject to change.
5. Membership to the GTTR changes between years, therefore the higher education institutes covered may vary.
6. Modern languages include French, Spanish, German, Italian, Russian and other modern languages.
Graduate Teacher Training Registry (GTTR).
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