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James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills pursuant to the answer to the right hon. Member for Horsham of 19 June 2008, Official Report, column 1187W, on Dorneywood: official hospitality, what use his Department has made of Dorneywood for official engagements in the last 12 months. 
Mr. Simon: My right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has the use of Dorneywood as an official residence. The Chancellor and the Trustees have made Dorneywood available to other Ministers to use for official engagements.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what recent discussions he has had with the Learning and Skills Council on delays in education maintenance allowance payments for students in further education colleges. 
Mr. Simon: Ministers from the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) hold regular meetings with the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), which includes discussion of learner support and Education Maintenance Allowances (EMAs). The latest meeting took place with the LSC on 21 October 2008.
The LSC is responsible for the delivery of EMA and is providing regular updates on performance. The position as it relates to delivery of EMA is set out in my right hon. Friend, the Minister for Schools and Learners' letter of 8 October to the chair of the Children, Schools and Families Select Committee.
Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how projects funded by the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) are selected; what independent assessment is undertaken of applications for funding; and what evaluation is undertaken of the value for money of ETI funding. 
Mr. Simon: The Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) commissions technology projects that have the capability, when subsequently deployed, to reduce CO2 emissions and provide reliable, affordable energy. The ETI engages in a wide consultation process to identify the key project areas where ETI funding would make a substantial impact. These project areas are then published on the ETI website, and potential project consortia are invited to respond. Detailed technical proposals are assessed by selection panels of specialists, independent of the proposal. The value for money of a project is decided on the basis of a number of factors including the CO2 impact and the provision of affordable and reliable energy, in addition to the benefit offered by the project to the wider industry.
Mr. Lammy: Foundation degrees are validated and quality assured by universities and they undergo the same rigorous quality assurance procedures as other higher education qualifications. The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) safeguards the standards of higher education qualifications by working with higher education institutions to define academic standards and quality.
To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what criteria are used to determine whether further education college courses for people
with learning difficulties are eligible for public funding; and what contingency arrangements are in place to help people on these courses that have recently lost funding. 
Learning plans for learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities are individualised to support the learners need, maximise their chances of progression and to ensure positive outcomes from their programmes of study. This includes the promotion of employability and independent living skills where appropriate.
Where possible the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) expects programmes for learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities to include approved qualifications and ensure all learning is accredited.
In cases where low quality provision may have to be replaced, contingency arrangements will be handled by the local LSC office who negotiate alternative provision with local partners to minimise any disruption to the learner.
Mr. Rob Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what Government grants are (a) available to and (b) planned to be introduced for universities for improving and widening social access to higher education. 
Mr. Lammy: The Government make available some £350 million each year through the widening participation premium in the institutional funding distributed by the Higher Education Funding Council. In addition, by paying the up front costs of tuition fees and providing extra support for students from families on modest incomes, the Government have committed well over £1 billion a year to enable universities to improve and widen social access to higher education. But whatever the level of funding provided by the Government, institutions that draw from a narrow social base will ultimately lose out if they deny themselves access to talented students from all backgrounds. That is the fundamental case for both widening participation and fair access.
|HEFCE researching funding|
These events consist of official dinners and events for foreign leaders and other dignitaries, receptions for business leaders, community and charity representatives and sportsmen and women. In the past few years, an increased programme of events at Downing street has been introduced in order to give access to as many people as possible, including children and regular receptions for a wide cross-section of the community.
Dan Rogerson: To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to the answer of 17 September 2008, Official Report, column 2229W, on the Cabinet: meetings, if he will notify the hon. Members for North Cornwall, Worthing West, South West Devon and Perth and North Perthshire in advance of the publication date of the costs associated with holding the Cabinet meeting in Birmingham. 
Mr. Carswell: To ask the Prime Minister how much champagne was ordered by the Prime Ministers Office for consumption at events at (a) 10 Downing Street and (b) Chequers in each of the last six months. 
Peter Bottomley: To ask the Prime Minister if he will list (a) his special envoys and (b) their (i) professions, (ii) responsibilities as envoys and (iii) dates of starting and ending their roles. 
Mr. Vara: To ask the Prime Minister to whom or which Department the Prime Ministers Special Representative on Energy Issues reports; what his terms of reference are; and from which Department he would draw expenses, should any be incurred. 
The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the ministerial appointments press notice issued by my Office. A copy has been placed in the Library of the House and is also available on the No. 10 website at:
In addition, my right hon. Friend the Member for Cynon Valley (Ann Clwyd), who has served since 2003 as the Prime Ministers Special Envoy for Human Rights in Iraq, continues to perform her very important role.
They are entitled to claim reasonable travel and subsistence expenses incurred as part of their work. These expenses are paid in accordance with existing departmental guidelines on allowances and subsistence.
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