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30 Oct 2008 : Column 1291Wcontinued
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the Empowerment White Paper's proposals for local government byelaws will give greater scope for waste collection authorities to issue fixed penalty notices for waste offences. 
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether municipal rubbish and recycling facilities are liable for business rates; and what the criteria are under which the liability of such a facility is determined. 
John Healey: All facilities for the management, recycling and treatment of the municipal waste stream are subject to business rates. For the majority of such facilities, the rateable value is arrived at on a rentals plus valuation approach. This is one in which a contractors basis assessment of the existing buildings, plant, machinery, site infrastructure and other site improvements is added to the rental value for the bare site to arrive at its overall rateable value. For a lesser number of facilities, primarily energy from waste and transfer stations, their rateable values are determined by reference to either a full contractors or rentals valuation approach.
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will amend the planning application process for wind farms so as to require assessments of (a) the suitability of topography, (b) meteorological viability and (c) economic viability. 
Mr. Iain Wright: Our planning policy statement (PPS) on climate change expects planning authorities to provide a framework that promotes and encourages renewable energy. The PPS advises planning authorities that they should not require applicants to demonstrate the overall need for renewable energy because new renewable energy projects provide crucial national benefits. Planning authorities are also asked not to question the energy justification for why a proposal must be sited in a particular location as this involves considerations of technical and commercial feasibility (including meteorological and economic viability) which are for the developer concerned.
When determining planning applications, planning authorities should address the planning issues which arise from the proposed location of renewable energy projects, including the suitability of the topography. These concerns are set out in our published planning policy statements and guidance, together with the wider environmental and economic benefits of renewable energy projects that should also be taken into account.
Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government by what criteria the members of the Youth Advisors Panel will be chosen; whether they will be paid; and whether they will be required to complete a declaration of political activity. 
Mr. Khan: The nine members of the Youth Advisors Panel applied and were selected from the national pool of 300 trained Young Advisors to get broad regional representation. Young Advisors are aged between 15 and 21 and work as young consultants in their local communities. The Young Advisors Charity reimburses the panel for their travel expenses and time. They are not appointments which the Commissioner for Public Appointments has a remit to regulate and are therefore not required to sign a declaration of political activity.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what recent steps the Government have taken to encourage local authorities to improve community facilities for children and young people; 
(2) what recent work the Government have undertaken with youth groups and community groups to improve local facilities. 
Beverley Hughes: I have been asked to reply.
The Government are committed to investing in facilities for children and young people. Aiming high for young people: a ten year strategy for positive activities, which was published in July 2007, announced the launch of a programme of capital investment based on new Government investment and the reinvestment of unclaimed assets from dormant bank accounts. Our ambition is that this will lead to new and improved youth facilities in every constituency over the next 10 years. To kick start this process, we have launched myplace to deliver £190 million of Government investment over the next three years, myplace will deliver world class youth facilities in cross-sector partnership, driven by the active participation of young people and their views and needs.
The Childrens Plan, published in November 2007, announced new investment of £225 million for play over the CSR period 2008-11, and in April we committed a further £10 million to this agenda. This will fund up to 3,500 public play areas and 30 staffed adventure playgrounds nationally, with a priority on provision for eight to 13-year-olds. 30 pathfinder authorities will receive on average £2.1 million of capital and £500,000 of revenue each; and every other authority will receive on average £1 million capital and a small revenue grant.
Our aim is that these programmes drive a transformation in the way facilities for children and young people are planned and deliveredparticularly with regard to the role and influence of young people and the level of genuine cross-sector partnership working.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how much public funding has been provided to the Cityware project through the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council; and for what purpose. 
Mr. Lammy: The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has awarded three linked grants for the Cityware project to the University of Bath, Imperial College and University College London. The project aims to develop theories, principles, tools and techniques to take account of people, architecture and technologies in the design of new digital systems.
These grants were funded through responsive mode, where researchers can submit proposals in any area of EPSRC's remit, and were assessed by peer review to be of high quality. The total value of the grants is £1.3 million over the period October 2005 to August 2009.
Derek Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many responses were received to the recent consultation paper on the Artists' Resale Right derogation for deceased artists; how many submissions from artists and others supporting the case for 2010 were received; and when he plans to put the submissions from artists into the public domain. 
Mr. Lammy: Some 400 responses were received to the recent consultation paper on the Artist's Resale Right derogation for deceased artists. About 90 per cent. of the responses supported extending artist's resale right to deceased artists from 2010. In due course we will be publishing a summary of the responses to the consultation.
Adam Afriyie: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what Minister is responsible for his Department's Memorandum of Understanding with the British Standards Institute. 
Mr. Lammy: Responsibility for the Department's Memorandum of Understanding with the British Standards Institution falls within Lord Drayson's portfolio as Minister of State for Science and Innovation.
Stephen Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what proportion of 17 to 20-year-olds have entered part-time higher education; and what proportion entered to undertake (a) first degrees and (b) other undergraduate qualifications in the most recent period for which figures are available. 
Everyone with the talent and ambition to enter higher education should be able to benefit from the opportunity and to choose the pattern of study
which best meets their needs. The numbers entering part-time higher education are at record levels and part-time study is particularly popular with adults over the age of thirty.
The Higher Education Initial Participation Rate (HEIPR) is the sum of the HE initial participation rates for individual ages between 17 and 30 inclusive. It can be broken down to cover those aged 17 to 20. In the 2006/07 academic year, the participation rate for 17 to 20-year-olds entering part-time higher education courses was 1.5 per cent.
The figures in the following table show participation rates for 17 to 20-year-olds entering first degree and other undergraduate courses broken down by mode of study.
|Higher Education Initial Participation Rate (HEIPR) for 17 to 20-year-olds by level of study and mode of study, UK higher education institutions and English, Scottish and Welsh further education collegesAcademic year 2006/07|
|Level of study||Full-time||Part-time||Total|
| Notes: Due to rounding components may not sum to totals. The HEIPR covers English-domiciled first time entrants to higher education courses, which are expected to last for at least six months, and who remain on their course for at least six months. Source: Underlying data for "Participation Rates in Higher Education: Academic Years 1999/20002006/07 (Provisional)". Statistical First Release, published by DIUS (2008).|
Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what information he holds on the number of university departments which have closed in the last five years; how many he expects to close in the next five years; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Lammy: The precise information requested is not collected centrally. Higher education providers are free to decide which departments should open, close, contract or expand in the light of student demand, their relative strengths and competition from other providers.
However, in relation to departmental closures involving vulnerable subjects of strategic importance, it has been our policy for some time that HEFCE and institutions should have early conversations to enable the transfer of provision between institutions to protect the interests of students and to seek to maintain capacity at regional and national level. The Government are pleased with the collaborative approach which institutions and the council have successfully adopted in relation to sustaining strategically important vulnerable subjects.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what the timetable is for publication of the reports by the nine higher education review groups. 
DIUS has received the nine contributions to the HE Debate. I have been impressed not only by the quality of input, but also by the scale of consultation
each contributor has managed and I am grateful for their hard work. We will be publishing these contributions soon.
The debate that has been started by these strands of work underlines the ability of the higher education sector itself to think radically and creatively about the future. But many other people too have a huge interest in the success of our universities and colleges. That is why the next stage in the debate is for a group of people whose cultural activities, businesses, public services depend on the success of our universities to articulate their perspective on what a world class higher education sector would look like in 10 to 15 years' time to support their needs. They will also provide challenges and responses to the recommendations that the original contributors put forward. In addition, the National Student Forum will provide the student angle.
Mr. Rob Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what assessment he has made of the effect of levels of undergraduate student debt on the number of applications for postgraduate courses in each of the last three years. 
Mr. Lammy: We have not made any specific assessment. There is a wide variety of postgraduate courses, and the decision to undertake postgraduate studies is influenced by a range of factors, and not just debt.
Income contingent student loans are not like commercial loans. Student loans only attract an interest rate linked to inflation, so borrowers will repay no more, in real terms, than they borrowed. Borrowers repay at a rate of 9 per cent. of their income over a threshold of £15,000 a year. Repayment is progressive and therefore rises as income does. No payments are due if a borrower is not earning or income falls below the threshold.
The Government's student support is generally targeted at undergraduates, to widen access and provide the opportunity to study for a first degree. Students of the Post Graduate Certificate in Education are, however, eligible for means-tested support.
The Research Councils offer postgraduate awards; and career development loans are also available.
Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many cases the Alton specialist domestic abuse court has before it; and what plans he has to expand the court's capacity to handle all sentencing. 
Bridget Prentice: Alton and Andover specialist domestic violence courts hear all DV cases listed for trial in the North Hampshire area. There are currently 13 cases listed before the Alton specialist domestic violence court to be heard by December 2008. Those cases then requiring reports before sentencing are transferred to Aldershot or Basingstoke magistrates courts where probation and custody services are available. There are no plans to change these arrangements.
Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) which organisations provided media monitoring services to (a) his Department, (b) its agencies and (c) its non-departmental public bodies in each of the last three years; and what the total cost of each contract was; 
(2) which organisations provided media monitoring services to (a) his Department, (b) its agencies and (c) its non-departmental public bodies in each of the last three years; and what the total cost was of each contract over that period. 
Mr. Wills: Details of organisations providing media monitoring services are outlined in the following table.
Media monitoring services include clippings of newspaper articles on subjects relevant to the Department that are compiled on a daily basis and summaries of broadcast news programmes throughout the day. In common with other Government departments of a similar size, the Ministry of Justice monitors a wide range of media to ensure Government policy is reported accurately and inaccuracies are rebutted.
(1) Department does not hold own contract with Durrants or MMU, served by MoJ contract.
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