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Written Answers to Questions

Monday 15 December 2008

Innovation, Universities and Skills

Charity Research Support Fund

Adam Afriyie: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how much funding his Department allocated to the Charity Research Support Fund in each year since its creation; and what planned expenditure on the fund is for each year to 2012. [242774]

Mr. Lammy: The Department provides funding via the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). HEFCE’s quality related (QR) block grant for research to higher education institutions includes a “charity support element”. This element is calculated by reference to charitable research income, but is distributed as part of the QR block grant rather than as a separate fund.

Current and historic amounts of QR allocated this way are as follows:

£ million
Academic year 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09

England total




The amount to be allocated for 2009-10 and any subsequent year will be determined by HEFCE in due course, having regard to the resources available for distribution at the time.

Further details of the method of allocation of QR is available in the HEFCE publication ‘Funding higher education in England: How HEFCE allocates its funds’.

Climate Change

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what assessment his Department has made of its capacity to adapt to climate change; and what plans he has to publish a climate change adaptation strategy. [241174]

Mr. Lammy: The cross-Government Adapting to Climate Change Programme increases Government's capacity to adapt by ensuring a coordinated approach across all Departments and the public sector. This includes implementation of the adaptation aspects of the Climate Change Act, such as development of the national climate risk assessment. Information about the programme can be found at:

Work already undertaken by DIUS that will help us to build our capability to adapt to climate change includes: supporting the research councils' “living with
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environmental change” initiative; a £1 billion interdisciplinary research and policy partnership programme; convening a high level forum tasked with using cutting edge business practice to align the skills system behind the challenges and opportunities of a low carbon, resource efficient economy; and publishing the Science and Innovation White Paper including proposals on fostering private and public sector innovation which will help us to identify technological and social solutions needed for climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Departmental ICT

Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what the cost was of buying (a) laptops, (b) mobile telephones and (c) personal digital assistant devices for new Ministers in his Department and its predecessors following each change in Ministers since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [240429]

Mr. Simon: Following a competitive procurement exercise run by the Cabinet Office, DIUS adopted the Public Sector Flex contract with Fujitsu Services. Under this contract every member of the Department, including the ministerial team, has been issued with a lightweight, encrypted laptop in place of a desktop PC. The laptops are leased from Fujitsu under the terms of the contract. Mobile phones are supplied to the Department as part of a corporate contract that includes rental and call costs. The cost of a Blackberry device used by Ministers in DIUS is £100. Three Ministers have made use of this facility since the creation of DIUS.

Departmental Official Hospitality

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how much his Department spent on Ministerial hospitality in each financial year since his Department was established. [241235]

Mr. Simon: According to our records the following has been spent on ministerial hospitality since the creation of DIUS in June 2007:






All spending on official entertainment is made in accordance with the principles set out in Managing Public Money.

Departmental Temporary Employment

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills with reference to the answer of 29 October 2008, Official Report, column 1129W, on departmental temporary employment, how many staff were recruited through each company in each year; and for how long on average staff recruited through these companies worked for the Department in each year. [242308]

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Mr. Simon: In the Department, the number of people that have been employed through the agencies each year are as follows:

Reed Hays Total

July 2007 to December 2007




January 2008 to October 2008








Information on the average duration of appointments could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Education Maintenance Allowance

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how much the average education maintenance allowance payment to eligible undergraduate students was in (a) 2005-06, (b) 2006-07 and (c) 2007-08. [243987]

Mr. Lammy: Undergraduate students are not eligible to receive the education maintenance allowance (EMA).

The EMA is for 16 to 19-year-olds in a programme of full-time further education, up to level 3, that meets the criteria for valid provision as determined by the Learning and Skills Council.

Education: Prisons

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how much (a) per prisoner and (b) in total was spent on providing education in prisons in each of the last five years. [243279]

Mr. Simon: The information requested in the question is not collected centrally.

The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills' total budget for offender skills and employment includes allocations for prison libraries and Heads of Learning and Skills. Taking that total budget, and including funds passed to the Youth Justice Board for education in young offender institutions, and dividing by the prison population at 30 June each year, produces an average spend per prisoner.

The average amount spent per prisoner on education by this Department is set out in the following table.

Financial year Average cost per prisoner Total budget (£ million)
















Higher Education: Admissions

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many students who were formerly children in care were admitted to a university in 2007. [241743]

Sarah McCarthy-Fry: I have been asked to reply.

The information requested is not collected centrally by the Department.

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Information on children looked after by local authorities is collected through the SSDA903 data collection. This collection includes information on children who are looked after, children who are adopted and children who were looked after and have left care. This information has been published in the Statistical First Release “Children looked after in England (including adoption and care leavers) year ending 31 March 2008” (SFR 23/2008), which is available on the Department's website via the following link:

Table G1 contains information on children aged 19 who were previously looked after aged 16 and gives details of their activity at aged 19 which includes numbers and percentages in higher education.

Rob Marris: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (1) how many higher education institutions had agreed access targets with the Office for Fair Access in (a) 2005-06, (b) 2006-07 and (c) 2007-08; [243207]

(2) how many higher education institutions were subject to sanctions by the Office for Fair Access for failing to meet agreed access targets in (a) 2005-06, (b) 2006-07 and (c) 2007-08. [243206]

Mr. Lammy: A higher education institution (HEI) must have in place an access agreement validated by the Director for Fair Access if they wish to charge variable fees. All such access agreements entered into by higher education institutions (HEIs) include indicators to measure progress in widening access. In the first academic year of variable fees (2006-07) 124 HEIs offering full-time publicly funded undergraduate provision had an access agreement. This rose to 128 in 2007-08.

The Director for Fair Access assesses for each year whether each institution has complied with the terms of its access agreement, and where he finds this is not the case he is empowered to impose sanctions. In his assessment for 2006-07, he found that all institutions were compliant with their access agreements, and therefore the issue of sanctions does not arise. The Director expects to publish his conclusions for 2007-08 early next year.

Higher Education: Kent

Dr. Stoate: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what assessment his Department has made of the merits of creating a higher education facility in the Kent Thameside growth area; and if he will make a statement. [242568]

Mr. Lammy: We said in our new “University Challenge” document published in March that locally-focused higher education not only has a role in reversing economic decline but can also be a major component of strategies of population growth, ensuring that new development has access to sources of skills and innovation. The Higher Education Funding Council for England is now looking at the responses to consultation on our new University Challenge policy but it is already clear that this is going to be a very successful policy, which has generated interest in all parts of the country. Decisions on which proposals should be supported will be exclusively for the Council.

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Large Hadron Collider

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what recent reports he has received on the operation of the Large Hadron Collider; and if he will make a statement. [242439]

Mr. Lammy: CERN has recently completed its analysis of the incident that occurred in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) on 19 September which led to a large leak of helium and damage to a number of magnets. CERN has confirmed that the likely cause was a defective electrical connection between two of the LHC's magnets. CERN is now undertaking the necessary repairs to the LHC, and introducing additional precautionary measures so as to avoid further large helium release incidents. The repairs should be completed by end of June 2009.

Learning and Skills Council: Reorganisation

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what the status of Learning and Skills Council (LSC) local partnerships will be following the reorganisation of the LSC. [243375]

Mr. Simon: The White Paper ‘Raising Expectations: enabling the system to deliver’, set out proposals to ensure that the needs of learners (young people and adults) and employers are met by a more responsive system. Responsibility for the planning, commissioning and funding for education and training for 16 to 19 year-olds will transfer to local authorities, supported by a new Young People's Learning Agency. For adults we propose to build on the demand led approach, including through the creation of a new Skills Funding Agency and strengthened advice and support services for adults and employers.

In respect of young people, local partnerships, such as the 14-to-19 Partnerships and Children's Trusts, are all being strengthened ahead of the dissolution of the LSC. At the same time the Government are working to develop stronger local area agreements and multi-area agreement proposals to ensure that all partners are clear on roles, responsibilities and outcomes. Building stronger links between local, regional and national bodies is vital to ensure the outcomes for young people, adults and employers are continuously improved. That is why local authorities will be expected to work collaboratively with one another supported by a slim-line Young People's Learning Agency.

In respect of adult skills, the Skills Funding Agency will also work with and develop existing local partnerships. It will work, for example, in partnership with the Young People's Learning Agency, regional skills and employment boards and other local and regional skills bodies to respond quickly and flexibly to national, regional and local skills needs, including drawing up statements of regional priorities and ensuring that these are reflected in multi-area agreements and local area agreements. The SFA will also work with regional development agencies and local authorities in relation to economic development and worklessness.

We are also encouraging colleges and learning providers to co-operate with each other and with other key partners in order to meet the needs of employers in relation to skills training, and also to ensure that local strategic skills needs are met.

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Our proposals will require legislation, which will be introduced early in 2009, as part of the Children, Skills and Learning Bill. Until the new arrangements are in place, the Learning and Skills Council will continue to be responsible for securing the effective delivery of post 16 learning. More detail on the pre-19 proposals can be accessed via this link,

More detail on the Skills Funding Agency can be found in the recently published 'Adult Skills Reforms: An Update', accessible via this link:

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