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Innovation, Universities and Skills

Aimhigher Programme

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills which Aimhigher projects are focused primarily on primary school pupils; and what the cost of each was in the last 12 months. [247136]

Mr. Lammy: Aimhigher projects are delivered through the 44 area-based Aimhigher partnerships of schools, colleges and universities. Partnerships submit plans to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), summarising the type of activities they intend to undertake. However, they are not required to detail their activities with primary schools separately and do not set out the costs of individual activities.

From 2004 to 2007, HEFCE supported the ‘Professor Fluffy’ project based at the University of Liverpool. £274,000 was provided jointly from Aimhigher and HEFCE's own funds. The ‘Professor Fluffy’ project aims to raise awareness of higher education at an early age. In 2004, Professor Fluffy started a tour of primary schools in Greater Merseyside. In a project called ‘Professor Fluffy's Greater Merseyside Primary Roadshow’, year five and six pupils take part in a range of activities aimed at raising aspirations and introducing the vocabulary of higher education. The project reaches over 140 primary schools a year in Greater Merseyside of which 30 also participate in a visit into one of the colleges or universities. Professor Fluffy's resources are linked to the key stage 2 national curriculum and include the Professor Fluffy comic book, activity booklet and over 20 curriculum modules, e.g. five modern languages and a variety of STEM subjects. The children, and their parents, are also able to access Professor Fluffy's own interactive website which has had over a million pages viewed over the last couple of years. At the end of the programme each pupil receives a special Professor Fluffy certificate in a ‘graduation ceremony’ to celebrate their participation, together with their very own Professor Fluffy. In addition to the roadshow and university visits, a teachers' pack,
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offering five sessions, will be available shortly for purchase by schools. The Professor Fluffy concept and delivery models have been franchised to over 20 partners across the country. So far, Professor Fluffy has visited over 350 primary schools and talked to 30,000 primary pupils and their parents.

Higher Education: Finance

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills when he expects the higher education funding review to commence; when he expects the results of the review to be published; and what schedule has been set for the implementation of the review's recommendations. [247173]

Mr. Lammy: The assurances we have previously given this House made clear that there would be an independent review of tuition fees, reporting to the House, once we had evidence on the first three years of the variable fee regime. The first three years of operation will not be concluded until this autumn. The timing and duration of the review and the publication of its results will enable us to fulfil the commitment given to the House in 2004 that there will be no vote before 2010 at the earliest, and to enable the review to present Parliament with an evidence-based report covering the full range of the issues it has been asked to consider through its terms of reference. It will then be for the House to consider how to respond to any recommendations.

Part-time Education

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what estimate he has made of changes in the numbers of part-time students from higher education courses over the period of the next higher education funding review. [247174]

Mr. Lammy: Numbers of part-time students in England have increased by over 200,000 to some 770,000 in 2006-07 since 1997-98 and we will continue to support increased HE participation in future. Our grant letters to HEFCE set out the expected growth in core fundable students (in full-time equivalent terms); however, no distinction between full-time and part-time students is made. Our plans allow for an increase of 30,000 full-time equivalent places by 2009-10 compared with 2007-08.

Prime Minister

Intelligence Services

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the effect of the current economic situation on the budgets of the security services. [245843]

The Prime Minister: My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Darling) set out the additional provisions for the single intelligence account for 2008-11 in the 2007 pre-Budget report and comprehensive spending review: “Meeting the Aspirations of the British People” (Cm 7227). Copies are available in the Library of the House.

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Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Prime Minister what preparations are in hand to provide briefing by civil servants to the Official Opposition and the Liberal Democrats in advance of the next general election. [246510]

The Prime Minister: I have written to Opposition parties on this matter.

Northern Ireland

Attorney-General for Northern Ireland: Public Appointments

Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer of 11 December 2007, Official Report, columns 267-8W, on the Attorney-General for Northern Ireland: public appointments, what consultations his Department had in respect of arrangements for the appointment of the Attorney General for Northern Ireland. [245013]

Paul Goggins: The appointment of the Attorney-General for Northern Ireland is a matter for the First Minister and Deputy First Minister.

Departmental Drinking Water

Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland with reference to the answer of 24 November 2008, Official Report, column 881W, on departmental hospitality, which companies provided the bottled water. [243248]

Mr. Woodward: The companies that provided bottled water were as follows:

Departmental Telephone Services

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many telephone numbers for which callers are charged at the rate applicable to 0845 numbers are used by (a) his Department and (b) its executive agencies for public access to services. [246985]

Mr. Woodward: The Northern Ireland Office and its executive agencies use two telephone numbers for which callers are charged at the rate applicable to 0845 numbers. One number is used by the Department and one by an executive agency.


Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland which legal firms have worked on the Billy Wright inquiry; for what periods; who each firm represented; how much his Department has spent on legal fees for the inquiry; how much has been spent in the inquiry in each month since it was established; and when the inquiry is expect to report. [243380]

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Mr. Woodward: I am advised by the Billy Wright inquiry that the following legal firms have worked on it:

Legal firm Period of engagement Representation

Cleaver Fulton and Rankin Solicitors

January 2006

Legal services to the inquiry

John McAtamney and Co

April 2008(1)

David Wright

Crown Solicitors Office

February 2005(1)

A number of prison governors and officers

Treasury Solicitors

April 2007(1)

Northern Ireland Prison Service, and the Northern Ireland Office

McCartan Turkington Breen Solicitors

March 2007(1)

Police Service of Northern Ireland

Diamond Heron Solicitors

January 2005(1)

Prison Officers Association

(1) To date.

In accordance with the Billy Wright inquiry’s published funding protocol, witnesses to the inquiry are also entitled to reasonable legal advice at the inquiry’s expense and a number of firms have represented witnesses:

Legal firm Period of engagement

Bircham Dyson Bell Solicitors

September 2008

Campbell and Caher Solicitors

March 2006

Edwards and Co Solicitors

December 2006

Ferguson and Co Solicitors

February 2007

Hart Coyle Collins Solicitors

August 2007

John J Rice and Company

April 2007

McBurney and Company Solicitors

April 2008

Madden and Finucane Solicitors

September 2007

O'Rorke McDonald and Tweed Solicitors

March 2006

Reid Black and Co Solicitors

July 2005

Trevor Smyth and Co Solicitors

August 2006 to April 2007

Corker Binning Solicitors

November 2007

Donnelly and Wall Solicitors

November 2008

McConnell Kelly and Co Solicitors

June 2005

Morrison and Broderick Solicitors

September 2006

S.C. Connolly Solicitors

November 2007

Some of these firms have represented only anonymous witnesses, some have represented only witnesses seen in public, and some have represented both. For security (to preserve anonymity) and public interest reasons (not all the witnesses of either type have yet been called to give evidence) it is not felt appropriate to release even the names of the ‘public’ witnesses before the end of the hearings. Once witnesses are called to give oral evidence the name of their legal representative is published on the inquiry website.

The total cost incurred by the Billy Wright inquiry for legal fees is £6.89 million.

The monthly spend of the inquiry is as follows:

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Total resource

2008-09 2007-08 2006-07 2005-06 2004-05

































































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