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Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many universities require candidates for admission to undergraduate courses to sit an aptitude test; what his Departments policy is on the matter; and if he will make a statement. 
Bill Rammell: HE admissions, including the use of entrance tests, are a matter for higher education institutions themselves. The Government do not have the power to direct institutions in the use of tests nor do they hold data centrally on admissions tests.
The number and range of entrance tests has, however, recently been the subject of research by the Supporting Professionalism in Admissions programme of work, who found that a relatively small number of institutions use tests (14 per cent.) and only 0.43 per cent. of courses in the UCAS schemethere has not been a great burgeoning in usage.
It is a fundamental principle that universities should decide whom they should admit. It is important, however, that universities are open, clear and transparent about their admissions systems and policies.
We do not want to see a proliferation of admissions tests for tests sake. We would be concerned if additional tests were to impose burdens that particularly affect applicants from under-represented groups and or schools that are less familiar with preparing leavers for higher education.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what research his Department (a) has commissioned, (b) plans to commission and (c) has evaluated on the impact of top-up fees on university drop-out rates; when his Department last undertook a review of the matter that took into account (i) UK and (ii) international research; and if he will make a statement. 
Bill Rammell: Student retention rates at higher education institutions in this country compare very well internationally. The UK ranks fifth in the OECD for first degree completion rates, out of 23 countries who report data in this area. A university education is now open to more students than ever before and the Government are totally committed to providing opportunities for all people to achieve their potential and to maximise their talent. The improved student finance support package, from academic year 2008-09 onwards, demonstrates that commitment.
It is too early to determine whether the introduction of variable tuition fees has had any impact on drop-out rates in higher education. The most recent information on the standard measure for non-completion dates from 2005-06, prior to the introduction of variable tuition fees in 2006-07. However, we will explore this issue further when more relevant data are available and feed this into the evidence base for the independent review of variable fees.
|Table 1 : Proportion of UK-domiciled full-time first degree starters at higher education institutions in England, who are projected to neither obtain an award nor transfer to another institution.|
| Source: Performance Indicators in Higher Education, published by HESA.|
Mr. Lammy: This is a question best addressed to those responsible for collecting and paying artists resale right. I suggest my hon. Friend contacts the relevant collecting societies, who may be able to provide a breakdown of the payments they have made.
Derek Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many resold artworks have been subject to the artists resale right since February 2006; and what those works cost in total. 
Mr. Lammy: According to independent research commissioned by the UK Intellectual Property Office, between 15 February 2006 and 31 July 2007, some 4,700 works sold at auction were eligible for resale right, having a value of approximately £162 million.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what estimate he has made of the cost of abolishing university tuition fees for all undergraduate students from England studying at English universities. 
Bill Rammell: There are no plans to abolish university tuition fees for all undergraduate students from England studying at English universities. The income from such fees generates about £2.5 billion annually for universities and it helps them to tackle the challenges we identified in framing the new fee and student support arrangementsto maintain and improve high standards, to expand and widen access to meet rising skill needs, and to compete globally. Record numbers of undergraduate students are going to universities both generally and from non-traditional backgrounds since we introduced our reforms in 2006.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (1) how many and what proportion of part-time undergraduate students in England received a fee grant in the latest period for which figures are available; 
Bill Rammell: Information from the Student Loans Company shows that, in the academic year 2006-07, of English domiciled part-time students, around 44,000 received fee grants and 46,000 received course grants. Each total represents around 10 per cent. of part-time undergraduate students. Part-time students need to be studying at 50 per cent. of the intensity of a full-time student to apply for both a fee and course grant.
This Government were the first to introduce statutory support for part-time students, in 2000/01. In 2006-07, we introduced the most generous package of financial support ever for part-time students in England. This included increasing the maximum fee grant by 27 per cent. and an above-inflation increase in the income threshold for receiving this support. English-domiciled part time students in 2006-07 received £11 million course grant and £27 million fee grant, compared with £9 million course grant and £19 million fee grant in 2005-06.
The part-time package is different from the support available to full-time students because it has been designed to meet the particular needs of part-time students. Unlike full-time students, many part-time students are in full-time employmenttwo-thirds according to the Woodley report, published at the end of 2004. That report also found that 36 per cent. of part-time students receive full fee support from their employer.
Derek Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what estimate has been made by the Government of the contribution made by artists' beneficiaries to the UK art market. 
Derek Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what assessment has been made by the Government of the impact of the EU Artists Resale Rights Directive 2001/84/EC on the UK art market. 
Mr. Lammy: The Government commissioned the Intellectual Properly Institute to produce an independent report on this issue. I refer my hon. Friend to my written statement of 2 April 2008 (column 59-60WS).
Mr. Lammy: The Government commissioned independent research on the impact of artists resale right on the UK art market. This, and other research, has concluded that the UK art market had grown significantly over this period.
Mr. Thomas: When the cluster munitions convention comes in to force, it will be for affected countries to provide assistance to cluster munitions victims, and to seek support from international partners if necessary. The UK is already one of the world's leading donors to humanitarian demining, and since 2001 the Department for International Development (DFID) has spent over £70 million on clearing landmines, cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war, and helping victims in the worst affected countries. For example, DFID has contributed over £3.5 million towards clearance of the 40 square kilometres of southern Lebanon contaminated by unexploded cluster munitions during the conflict in 2006. One of our major partners, the Mines Advisory Group, has alone cleared over 17,000 unexploded sub-munitions in southern Lebanon since August 2006, allowing thousands of people to return home safely.
John Battle: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what (a) type and (b) value of aid his Department is giving to the Sheikh Zayed Regional Eye Care Centre in Gambia; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether any estimate has been made of the number of Iraqi Christians (a) displaced and (b) killed since March 2003; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has registered some 280,000 Iraqi refugees throughout the region. Of the total registered, approximately 42,000 are Christians.
The International Organisation of Migration (IOM) estimates that out of an assessment of over a million individuals, approximately 55,000 are Iraqi Christians who have been internally displaced since 22 February 2006.
It is not the UK's policy to provide direct assistance to any particular religious group in Iraq. Rather, we channel our assistance through established international organisations, notably the UN, with the mandate to provide protection to all refugees regardless of ethnicity or religion. We are committed to alleviating the humanitarian situation, both for internally displaced people in Iraq and for Iraqi refugees in the region. We have committed over £149 million in humanitarian assistance to international agencies working in Iraq and the region since 2003including £17 million for this year.
Mr. Andrew Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans he has to continue the support by his Department of the subsidy for the purchase of seed and fertiliser in Malawi for farmers. 
Mr. Douglas Alexander: The UK Government are providing £20 million to support the Government of Malawi's inputs and maize markets programme over four years (2007-2011), and indirectly about £5 million of support goes to agriculture and the inputs programme through DFID Poverty Reducing Budget Support.
As our support for the inputs and maize markets programme nears an end, we will review the programme in the light of Government of Malawi plans for the future. The President of Malawi has stated publicly that there should be a review of the programme after the election in 2009.
Colin Challen: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what meetings he has held with representatives of the space industry on the development of earth observation satellites to undertake monitoring work on global weather patterns to reduce the impact of natural disasters in the last 12 months. 
Mr. Thomas: Although I have not held a meeting specifically to discuss the use of satellites in monitoring global weather patterns, I did meet representatives of UKSpace in June last year to discuss the benefits of space technology to development more widely. Department for International Development (DFID) officials have also met representatives of the space industry more than once over the past year. In October 2007 DFID hosted a Space for Development seminar, which included representatives from the British National Space Centre and the space industry.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many people are employed by the British Railways Board (Residuary); what that body's budget was in 2007-08; and when she expects the body to be wound up. 
Mr. Tom Harris: BRB (Residuary) Ltd.'s annual report and accounts for the year ending 31 March 2008 is currently being audited by external auditors. When this audit is complete, these accounts will be published on the company's website at www.brbr.gov.uk and will contain full financial results along with the number of staff employed for the period.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will take steps to establish a strategy to tackle age discrimination and promote age equality in the provision of goods and services (a) by the Department and (b) within the sector for which she has policy responsibility; and if she will make a statement. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Our aim is transport that works for everyone. In line with anti-discrimination legislation the Department for Transport has produced race, disability and gender equality schemes. We intend to unify these schemes into a single Equality Scheme which will also take account of other areas in which we wish to promote equality of opportunity: age, religion or belief, sexual orientation and human rights.
We have also developed regulations and issued good practice guidance to help deliver services that meet older people's mobility and personal security needs, as well as sponsoring a wide ranging research programme. Regular consultation and assessment help us monitor the effectiveness of our policies.
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