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15 Jan 2009 : Column 950W—continued


15 Jan 2009 : Column 951W

As part of our debate on the future of higher education, we have received contributions from a range of individuals and organisations in the sector. These contributions stress the importance of internationalisation, and of ensuring that we maintain our leading position in higher education internationally.

We want to ensure that our higher education system remains world class, and we are clear that international competition will increase. To do this we need to have a long-term approach. We will publish a framework during 2009 which will set out our vision for higher education over the next 10 to 15 years. However, it will not be a rigid plan: it will be capable of being adjusted over time as the world changes, but will set a compelling vision of long-term success.

Institute for Animal Health Pirbright Laboratory

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how much capital expenditure was incurred for each separate project of works at the Institute for Animal Health Pirbright Laboratory in (a) 2007-08 and (b) 2008-09 to date. [240667]

Mr. Lammy: The capital expenditure incurred for each project at the Institute for Animal Health Pirbright Laboratory from 2007-08 to date is set out in the following table.

IAH Pirbright c apital w orks
£000
Project 2007-08 April to October 2008

PSRP

New Lab construction

486

Preliminaries on new lab

5,604

2,125

IS011

3,918

364

Drainage (Vacuum)

397

1,380

ETP containment

112

Insectary

22

Services

9

Infrastructure works

682

185

IAH project costs

1,646

677

Others

Modular laboratory

393


Learning and Skills Council: Finance

Stephen Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what the adult Learning and Skills Council budget for (a) the North West, (b) Greater Manchester, (c) the West Midlands and Birmingham and (d) London was in the latest year for which figures are available. [247548]

Mr. Simon: The London Adult Skills budget for 2009-10 was set out in the latest Grant Letter to the Learning and Skills Council published on 18 November 2008, as £635 million.

The Adult Skills budget allocations process for 2009-10 is currently underway. This involves discussions with FE Colleges and providers, partners and other organisations which will inform final decisions. This ensures that the needs of the local communities are met and that the activity delivered supports the Council's key priorities
15 Jan 2009 : Column 952W
and targets. Mark Haysom, the Council's Chief Executive, will write to the hon. Member with further information including the most up to date figures. A copy of his reply will be placed in the House Library.

Offenders

Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many former prisoners are employed by his Department; and what his Department's policy is on employing former prisoners. [246341]

Mr. Simon: The Department undertakes employment history, Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Disclosure Scotland checks as appropriate. If these checks identify any issues around people with criminal records then suitability for employment is considered with the Department's interest paramount. In addition, all individuals recruited to a regulated post, or to a post where they have access to personal or sensitive data about children or vulnerable adults are subject to an enhanced CRB check.

Although the information is used as part of the recruitment process, we do not then transfer any details on criminal records to the central personnel record and as such the information requested could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Redundancy

Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many staff in his Department left under (a) involuntary and (b) voluntary staff exit schemes in each year since 2005-06; how many of them in each case were paid (i) up to £25,000, (ii) £25,001 to £50,000, (iii) £50,001 to £75,000, (iv) £75,001 to £100,000 and (v) over £100,000 in the year before they left; and how much (A) was spent in each of those years and (B) is planned to be spent on such schemes in (1) 2008-09 and (2) 2009-10 by (y) his Department and its predecessor and (z) each of his Department's agencies. [242252]

Mr. Simon: The Department was created in 28 June 2007. Since its inception, there were seven early releases in 2007-08, at a total cost of £512,000 and two in 2008-09 at a total cost of £90,000. There are currently no early releases planned for 2009-10. Information related to costs is not available in the form requested and could be obtain only at disproportionate cost.

The Department has two agencies. The National Weights and Measures Laboratory has not had any early releases during the period requested and none are planned during 2009-10. However, UK-IPO has had early releases. Since 2005-06, 58 people have left under voluntary exit schemes, including four to 31 October 2008 in 2008-09. The breakdown of the value of payments was (i) 24, (ii) 17, (iii) 6, (iv) 2 (v) 9.

On an accruals basis there were 53 departures for 2005-06 costing £2,571,000, none in 2006-07 and one in 2007-08 at £55,000. Approximately 89 are expected in 2008-09 at an estimated cost of £6,865,000. There are currently no early releases planned for 2009-10. Information related to costs is not available in the form requested and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.


15 Jan 2009 : Column 953W

Students: Finance

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how much the average maintenance grant payment to eligible undergraduate students was in (a) 2005-06, (b) 2006-07 and (c) 2007-08. [247130]

Mr. Lammy: The information requested is as follows:

Average Higher Education Grant and Maintenance Grant (£)( 1)
England

2005/06 2006/07 2007/08

Higher Education Grant(2)

870

890

890

Maintenance Grant(3)

n/a

2,010

2,090

(1) Figures rounded to nearest £10.
(2) Average amount for those awarded a Higher Education Grant.
(3) Average amount for those awarded a Maintenance Grant.

The Maintenance Grant for living costs was introduced in 2006/07, replacing the Higher Education Grant for new entrants.

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what procedures are in place for informing (a) students and (b) recent graduates about the change to student loan interest rates implemented on 5 December 2008. [247131]

Mr. Lammy: The Student Loans Company (SLC) published details on the change to student loan interest rates implemented on 5 December 2008 on their website and in national newspapers. Borrowers receive details of new interest rates in their statement each year from the SLC. Information on the interest rate change was also published on the Directgov website.

Following the latest reduction in the Bank of England base rate by the Monetary Policy Committee on 8 January 2009, all the specified banks(1) have now reduced their base rates to 1.5 per cent. The SLC has therefore now reduced the interest rate for income contingent loans from 3 per cent. to 2.5 per cent. with effect from 9 January 2009 until further notice. The SLC has accordingly published this information on their website and in national newspapers.

The interest rate for loans taken out before 1998 (known as “mortgage style loans”) is not affected as these loans are governed by different legislation.

Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

Alcoholic Drinks: Sales

Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent discussions he has had with pubcos on their policy in providing discounts on beer sold to (a) traditional pubs and (b) supermarkets. [247159]

Mr. Thomas [holding answer 14 January 2009]: I have not met with Pubcos to discuss their pricing policies. This is a commercial matter for the businesses concerned.
15 Jan 2009 : Column 954W
Ensuring that markets operate freely and fairly is a matter for the independent competition authorities, rather than for Government. The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has the powers to investigate and take action if companies are abusing a dominant position in a market or behaving anti-competitively, including referral to the Competition Commission.

Electric Cables

Chris Huhne: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what the (a) volume and (b) monetary value was of imports to the UK of fire-resistant electric cable from (i) the EU, (ii) non EU countries and (iii) China and India in each of the last five years. [247117]

Mr. Thomas: The information requested is not available because the system of classification used to record trade does not separately identify fire-resistant electric cable.

The UK's imports of all types of electrical wire, cable and other conductors, are as follows:

£ million Metric tonnes

2003

Total imports

1,140

325,839

EU27 countries

971

204,412

Non-EU countries

169

121,427

China

71

37,279

India

5

3,705

2004

Total imports

1,282

353,392

EU27 countries

857

216,763

Non-EU countries

425

136,630

China

72

37,696

India

7

4,116

2005

Total imports

1,298

337,313

EU27 countries

798

186,995

Non-EU countries

500

150,317

China

84

40,312

India

15

6,649

2006

Total imports

1,658

371,494

EU27 countries

968

194,184

Non-EU countries

690

177,310

China

122

44,763

India

26

8,194

2007

Total imports

2,024

442,594

EU27 countries

1,216

243,583

Non-EU countries

808

199,011

China

153

49,990

India

30

8,888

Note:
Standard International Trade Classification (SITC) 773.1—Insulated electrical wire, cable and other conductors, with or without connectors

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