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Higher Education: Medicine

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills which university medical schools admitted students aged under 21 years for training leading to qualifications as a doctor with less than the equivalent of (a) three Bs at A level, (b) three Cs at A level and (c) three Ds at A level; how many such students were admitted in each year since 2001; and which university medical schools plan to admit students under the auspices of the widening participation scheme. [207714]

Bill Rammell [holding answer 2 June 2008]: Several medical schools run schemes to encourage applications from bright students from disadvantaged or non-traditional backgrounds, but data on admissions, costs and student outcomes for these schemes are not collected centrally.

Information on the pre-entry qualifications of students entering first degree courses in medicine is shown in Table 1. Comparable figures prior to the 2002-03 academic year are not available.

Table 1: UK Domiciled entrants aged under 21 years, to first degree courses in medicine, by qualifications on entry( 1) —Based upon UCAS tariff score from A levels from students reporting A level as their highest qualification on entry, 2002/03 to 2006/07: English higher education institutions( 2)
Of which: those with scores equivalent to:
Academic year Entrants with A levels as highest qualification on entry Less than Bs( 3) /300 tariff points Less than 3 Cs( 4) /240 tariff points Less than 3 Ds/180 tariff points


























(1) In 2002/03 the UCAS tariff replaced A level scores. The tariff covers a wider range of qualifications though it is
possible to identify those students with the tariff equivalent of 3 grade Bs (300 points), 3 grade Cs (240 points) or 3 grade Ds (180 points). However, tariff score contains an unlimited number of eligible qualifications, not just the student's best three A levels.
(2) Excluding the Open University.
(3) Including students with less than 3 Cs/240 tariff points and less than 3 Ds/180 tariff points.
(4) Including students with less than 3 Ds/180 tariff points.
Figures are on a HESA Standard Registration Populations basis and are rounded to the nearest five.
Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) Student Record.

Sign Language: Training

Stephen Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what reports he has received of the level of training of sign language interpreters in Wales; and if he will increase provision for sign language interpreters training in England. [209523]

Bill Rammell: The Department is not aware of any reports on the level of training of sign language interpreters in Wales.

The Department recognises the need for sign language interpreters. However, the Government are not the employer of British sign language professionals. FE Colleges were established as independent organisations following the enactment of the Further and Higher Education Act in 1992. As such they are responsible for their own HR arrangements, including recruitment and deployment of specialists such as sign language interpreters, and decisions on appropriate sign language training. Wider FE providers are also generally independent organisations, similarly responsible for their own HR arrangements. We expect all FE learning providers to organise their work force to meet local circumstances and learner and business needs.

Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

Business: Yorkshire and the Humber

John Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many business registrations for value added tax there have been in (a) Leeds Metropolitan District, (b) Leeds West constituency area and (c) Yorkshire and Humberside in each year since 2000. [209740]

Mr. McFadden: VAT registration data provide the only accurate indicator of the level of business start-up activity.

The number of new VAT registrations in Leeds metropolitan district, Leeds, West constituency and Yorkshire and the Humber Government office region are shown as follows for 2000 to 2006. Data for VAT registrations and de-registrations in 2007 will be available autumn 2008.

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Number of new VAT registrations and VAT-registered businesses
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007

New VAT registrations

Leeds metropolitan district








Leeds, West constituency








Yorkshire and the Humber Government office region








All VAT-registered businesses

Leeds metropolitan district









Leeds, West constituency









Yorkshire and the Humber Government office region









BERR National Statistics publication 'Business start-ups and closures: VAT registrations and de-registrations 2006' available at: htm

Although the number of new VAT registrations in each area has fluctuated between 2000 and 2006 the total number of VAT registered businesses has increased in all areas over the period. The stock of VAT registered businesses in the Leeds metropolitan district has increased by 1,685 (9 per cent.) between the start of 2000 and the start of 2007; in Leeds, West constituency there has been an increase of 290 (21 per cent.); and in Yorkshire and the Humber Government office region there has been an increase of 14,860 (12 per cent.).

VAT registrations do not capture all business activity. Businesses are unlikely to be registered if they fall below the compulsory VAT threshold, which was £60,000 at the start of 2006. Only 1.9 million out of 4.5 million UK enterprises (43 per cent.) were registered for VAT at the start of 2006.

Carbon Capture Storage

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how much his Department plans to spend on research and development on carbon capture storage technology between May 2008 and October 2014. [208485]

Malcolm Wicks: Carbon Capture and Storage research and development is supported under the Research Councils’ Energy Programme and is a priority for the Technology Strategy Board. Carbon Capture and Storage technology is one of a number of areas which is being considered by the Energy Technologies Institute. Public sector funding for the Research Councils, Energy Technologies Institute and Technology Strategy Board is provided by the Department for Innovation Universities and Skills.

In addition, BERR is committed to spending £2.2 million on the development of an Oxy-Fuel Combustion demonstration system during 2008 to 2010. The Government announced in the 2008 Budget that a new call for project proposals will be made shortly under the Environmental Transformation Fund which will include support for the development of component parts of Carbon Capture and Storage. In November 2007 the Government announced a competition for one of the world’s first commercial-scale demonstrations of Carbon Capture and Storage Technology on a coal fired power plant. The project is scheduled for completion in 2014.

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent discussions his Department has had on the regulatory framework of its carbon capture storage policy; and who will have responsibility for (a) storage and (b) potential liabilities under the policy. [208486]

Malcolm Wicks: We expect to consult shortly on the regulatory framework for carbon dioxide storage in the offshore area. This will include arrangements for storage and potential liabilities. Storage will be the responsibility of licensed operators, who will also be responsible for all liabilities during the entire period of their licence (including a period after the store has been closed to further injection of carbon dioxide, during which its behaviour will be closely monitored).

Gregory Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the licensing regime in the North Sea on the Government’s carbon capture storage policy. [208487]

Malcolm Wicks: Part 1, Chapter 3 of the Energy Bill provides for the storage of carbon dioxide in the UK offshore area, including the North Sea. We expect to consult shortly on the licensing regime that this legislation will make possible. The consultation will help us design licensing arrangements that will effectively interface with other uses of the offshore area, including the production of petroleum in the North Sea.

Departmental Vocational Training

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform for what proportion of its staff his Department has provided vocational training in the last three years. [209428]

Mr. Thomas: Details are not held centrally as learning and development is devolved across the department. Individuals and their Line Managers identify learning and development needs, and the appropriate training to attend, over the course of the year.

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Electricity: Meters

Charles Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what representations he has received from businesses about the implications of the change in the Government's policy on the introduction of electricity display devices; and what his estimate is of the costs to business of this decision. [209841]

Malcolm Wicks: [holding answer 9 June 2008]: The Government announced in April 2008 that it would reach a voluntary agreement with energy suppliers on how displays can be made available to customers in the short-to-medium term. Discussions with energy suppliers are ongoing. My Department has received some representations from individual consumers and from one environmental organisation about this decision, but none from businesses.

This decision should be considered in the context of a possible roll-out of smart metering to domestic consumers and small business customers. It is the Government's view that a display device should be provided with a smart meter in any such roll-out. We are continuing to assess the costs and benefits of a roll-out of smart metering and intend to take a decision as soon as possible after the second report from the Energy Demand Research Project.


Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent discussions he has had on protecting people in vulnerable employment; and if he will make a statement. [209801]

Mr. McFadden [holding answer 9 June 2008]: I have frequent discussions about protecting people in vulnerable employment. In addition, the Vulnerable Worker Enforcement Forum has been meeting under my chairmanship to look at the nature of employment rights abuses, assess the effectiveness of the current enforcement arrangements, and identify possible improvements. A report on the Forum’s work and the Government’s conclusions will be published shortly.

Energy Supply: Trade Competitiveness

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what guidance his Department has issued to major energy suppliers on techniques used to encourage consumers to switch supplier; what recent representations he has received on the topic; and if he will make a statement. [208419]

Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 5 June 2008]: The Government, the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem) and Energywatch encourage customers to use the competitive market in gas and electricity supply, and promote access to that market.

Although it is for gas and electricity suppliers, like other private sector companies, to decide how to market services and products, at Ofgem's recent Fuel Poverty Summit, suppliers agreed to increase the transparency
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of their offers on their websites to facilitate the role of advice organisations, switching sites and other intermediaries. In addition, market leader switching sites providers agreed to provide telephone advice on tariffs to those who do not have internet access.

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