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Mr. Rob Wilson:
To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how much has been
spent on widening participation in higher education in each year since 1997; on what schemes that money has been spent; and how much will be spent in each of the next three years. 
Mr. Lammy: This Government remain fully committed to widening access to higher education for people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Widening access requires long-term investment and change across the higher education system. We have reformed student finance, reintroducing grants and raising the income threshold at which repayments start. No one is required to pay a contribution to their higher education up-front. These reforms, together with Aimhigher, have been instrumental in bringing about progress. The proportion of UK domiciled, young, full time, first degree entrants to English higher education institutions who were from lower socio-economic groups rose from 27.9 per cent. in 2002-03 to 29.8 per cent. in 2006-07.
|(1) The unified Aimhigher programme was introduced in 2004. Predecessor programmes were Excellence Challenge, funded by the then Department for Education and Skills, and Partnerships for Progression, funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and the Learning and Skills Council (LSC). Aimhigher is funded jointly by DIUS, HEFCE, the LSC and the Department for Health. Includes money for Aimhigher Associates (£3 million in 2008-09, £9 million in 2009-10, and £9 million in 2010-11).|
(2) Excellence Challenge included Opportunity Bursaries. These were grants to eligible people from lower income families and were worth £2,000 over three years. From September 2001, 26,000 such bursaries were made available at a total cost of £37 million. With the wider reintroduction of grants in 2006, the Opportunity Bursary scheme was withdrawn.
(3) Funded by HEFCE.
(4) Includes student loans RAB charge, fee loans, student support grants, Maintenance Grant, HE Grant, grants for vulnerable students, tuition fee grants, grants for part-time students and access funds and bursaries. The student loans RAB charge estimates the future cost to Government of subsidising and writing off the student loans issued in that year; it does not represent the amount of cash lent to students, which has risen each year since the introduction of student loans. Figures for 1997-2007 are outturn; those for 2007-08 is estimated outturn; and those for 2008-11 are plans.
(5) These figures also include the allocations for improving the retention of non-traditional students, and to widen access and improve provision for disabled students. The figure for 2008-09 is provisional.
(6) The Office for Fair Access forecasts that around £300 million annually will be spent by higher education providers on bursaries and scholarships benefiting students from tow-income and other under-represented groups by the academic year 2008-09.
(7) Not yet confirmed.
(8) Not yet available.
In 2001-04, Aimhigher contributed £10 million a year towards the widening participation allocation. The figure given as the total for each of these years is therefore less than the sum of the parts to avoid double counting.
This Government are totally committed to widening participation in higher education (HE), both for economic reasons and reasons of social justice. HE offers significant earnings and other benefits to
individuals and we want to see a broader range of people to be able and willing to take advantage of these benefits.
(a) in the 1997-98 academic year, 81.0 per cent. of young (to age 21) full-time first degree entrants to HE came from state schools. By the 2006-7 academic year, this had
risen to 87.2 per cent.a rise of 6.2 per cent.;
(b) in the 2002-3 academic year, 27.9 per cent. of young (to age 21) full-time first degree entrants to HE came from lower socio-economic classes. By the 2006-7 academic year, this had risen to 29.8 per cent.a rise of 1.9 per cent. A different method of identifying social class groupings was in place between 1997-98 and 2001-2, but this showed an increase of 0.8 per cent. over that periodfrom 24.7 per cent. to 25.5 per cent.;
(c) in the 1997-98 academic year, 11.4 per cent. of young (to age 21) full-time first degree entrants to HE came from low participation neighbourhoods. By the 2005-6 academic year this had risen to 13.5 per cent.a rise of 2.1 per cent. A new way of identifying low participation neighbourhoods was introduced from 2006-7; and
(d) in the 2002-3 academic year, 44.1 per cent. of 18-20 year olds from higher socio-economic classes participated in HE, compared with 17.5 per cent. of those from lower socio-economic classesa gap of 26.5 per cent. By 2006-7, the participation rate of higher socio-economic classes had fallen to 39.5 per cent and that of lower socio-economic classes had risen to 19.0 per centreducing the gap by six percentage points to 20.5 per cent.
(a) The Aimhigher programme, to raise the attainment levels of young people and their aspirations towards higher education;
(b) Aimhigher Associates, announced by the Secretary of State in April, from this autumn a pathfinder will see undergraduates mentoring pupils from Y9 onwards to support them and encourage them through key transition points and into HE, including with the UCAS application process. The scheme will roll out nationally in 2009; and
(c) the HE recommendations to the National council for Educational Excellenceannounced on 3 October 2008, these recommendations include: Primary schools should ensure older children have the opportunity to visit a university campus. Government support the recommendations and will work with the sector to Implement them.
Increased support for business innovation through the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) including funding for Knowledge Transfer Partnershipswhich will double in number over the next three yearsand support for UK engagement in the Eurostars scheme for research performing SMEs;
Refocusing of the Small Business Research Initiative is making good progress. The reformed model will aim to develop hard technologies and innovative products which better meet the future needs of the buyer Departments and, at the same time, drive an increase in demand for R and D services from early-stage, high-technology, SMEs by supporting them through a critical stage of their development and future growth;
Over the English regions, at least 500 businesses will be given an innovation voucher, as a means for smaller firms to collaborate with knowledge-based institutions, with the aspiration that this will increase to at least 1,000 per year by 2011 as the vouchers are demonstrated to be effective for business;
The rate of tax relief under the SME R and D tax credits scheme was increased significantly from 1 August to support and incentivise SMEs to undertake more R and D and the scheme was broadened to include companies with between 250 and 449 employees;
DIUS's grant for research and development, delivered by RDAs, provides support of up to £250,000 to help small and medium-sized businesses to research and develop technologically innovative products and processes and, between January and June 2008, 120 businesses were offered funding of £10 million through the scheme; and
The FE Specialisation and Innovation Fund will build the capacity of the FE sector to support businesses to raise their innovation potential through knowledge transfer and we are encouraging FE providers to showcase their expertise in implementing innovative business solutions, particularly for SMEs, through a number of pathfinder projects.
In addition, we have also published a Higher Level Skills Strategy that provides an overall framework for driving up the high level skills that contribute to innovation in business. We are also encouraging more HEIs to develop and offer high level programmes for management and leadership as part of the new management and leadership funding for SMEs under the Train to Gain Plan for Growth.
Mr. Vaizey: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much grant in aid was received by Arts Council England in each year since 1997-98 in 2007-08 prices; and what such grants were, excluding funds for Creative Partnerships. 
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