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Mr. Simon: Since 1997, this Government have invested £2.4 billion in redeveloping and modernising further education collegesincluding support for North Nottinghamshire College. In addition we have plans to invest a further £2.3 billion in the next three years.
23. Sir Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills when he next expects to meet representatives of the construction industry to discuss skills levels in that industry. 
Mr. Simon: The Department is in regular touch with representatives of the construction industry about the industry's skills base. We are working closely with them to tackle key current issues like ensuring support for apprentices, and also the longer term skills challenges the industry faces.
Margaret Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what recent steps he has taken to improve the employment-related skills levels of people with low skills. 
Mr. Simon: This Government are committed to giving real help to people who want to improve their skills levels during this difficult time. Alongside existing programmes and training provision, we have announced new measures to provide employment-focused training for people facing or at risk of redundancy, as well as those who have been out of work for a longer period of time:
£158 million, comprising funding from Train to Gain and the European Social Fund, which will allow training providers to deliver a holistic service to support individuals facing redundancy and employers.
£83 million to provide 75,000 additional places in colleges and other training providers for people who have been out of work for more than six months.
£140 million to fund an additional 35,000 apprentices nationally in both the public and private sectors.
Mr. Rob Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what the total amount of compensation claims in respect of which legal proceedings are complete made against (a) his Department and (b) public bodies for which his Department is responsible in the last 12 months was; and what the nature of each of the 10 highest such claims in each case was. 
Mr. Simon: One compensation claim was settled at some £71,000 (including costs) in the past 12 months. The claim arose out of a case of a former employee contracting mesothelioma as a result of asbestos exposure. Another claim was settled and paid just over 12 months ago for the same condition although the solicitors costs at some £16,000 for that claim were paid within the last 12 months.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what expenditure his Department has incurred in providing transport for Ministers between Parliament and departmental premises in each year since the Department was established. 
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (1) how many days off in lieu were granted to staff in (a) his Department, (b) its agencies and (c) its non-departmental public bodies for working (i) in lunch breaks and (ii) at other times outside contracted hours, in the last year for which figures are available; 
(2) what the policy of his Department and its agencies is on granting staff time off in lieu for working (a) in lunch breaks, (b) in evenings and (c) at other times outside contracted working hours; and if he will make a statement. 
As part of flexible working arrangements, employees from Grade 6 to Executive Assistant can take time off in lieu for extra hours worked or adjust their working week to make up for shortfalls or excess hours work on a particular day. All flexible working arrangement records are held locally and a central record is not kept and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. Flexible working arrangements are not available to members of the senior civil service.
Mr. Lammy: We have no plans to assess the effect of introducing a graduate tax for repayment of financial support made to higher education students. A graduate tax was considered alongside variable and fixed fee options as part of the student finance review in 2002 and the White Paper The future of higher education in 2003.
A number of disadvantages were identified including: the cost of a graduate tax (which is greater than variable fees and loans), the lack of any mechanism for early additional repayments and the slower rate of repayment of a graduate tax when compared with loans.
Government concluded that the Graduate Contribution Scheme based on variable fees of up to £3,000 set by higher education institutions presented the best option for both students and universities and this was subsequently enacted via the Higher Education Act in 2004.
Mr. Rob Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many advertisements to attract students were placed by each university in each year since 1997; which universities placed such advertisements; how many were placed (a) in print newspapers and magazines, (b) on a website and (c) on television and radio; and at what cost in each case. 
Mr. Lammy: The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills was formed in June 2007, following the Machinery of Government changes, and as a result we are only able to provide information from June 2007.
Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what consideration the Higher Education Funding Council for England will give to the effect on local area regeneration of establishing a university in north Northamptonshire. 
Mr. Lammy: The Higher Education Funding Council for England will shortly publish its criteria for the assessment of proposals for new higher education centres. In our new University Challenge policy document launched last year we set out the full range of benefits which such centres can bring to local communities, including local and regional regeneration. The strongest proposals for new centres should be able to demonstrate the full range of benefits which our policy is designed to promote.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills if he will make it his policy to minimise the number of redundancies at the London Metropolitan University; and if will make a statement. 
Mr. Lammy: London Metropolitan University is a company limited by guarantee under the Companies Acts. As such the Secretary of State has no powers to intervene in how London Metropolitan University chooses to operate its employment policies.
Mr. Rob Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (1) what proportion of research projects commissioned by the research councils in each of the last five years are collaborations between different disciplines; 
Mr. Lammy: Research councils define multidisciplinary research as research that brings together knowledge and modes of thinking from two or more disciplines or established fields of study. The proportion of research supported by each council classified as multidisciplinary research is set out in the following table:
|Multidisciplinary research as a proportion of research funded, ( approximate )|
1. Individual Councils use different ways of classifying multidisciplinary research and of collating relevant data. In addition, BBSRC, MRC, NERC and STFC also fund their own institutes and centres, which are intended to foster multidisciplinary research. Data on these are not included.
Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many and what proportion of (a) full-time and (b) part-time students attending higher education institutions with children under the age of three receive a childcare grant. 
Mr. Lammy: The childcare grant is available for full-time, higher education students with dependent children in registered or approved childcare; it is not available to part-time students. In academic year 2007-08 there were 3,700 students with at least one child under three who were receiving childcare grant. While information is available on students who receive a childcare grant, information is not held centrally which identifies students with children under three who do not apply for a childcare grant. Therefore the proportion of students with children under three who receive a childcare grant is not known. Students receiving childcare grant make up around 1 per cent. of higher education students applying for some form of student finance support.
Mr. Lammy: In the 2006/07 academic year 1,765 students were admitted to English Higher Education Institutions from Manchester Withington parliamentary constituency. This figure covers entrants to courses of all levels and modes and has been rounded to the nearest five. This figure has been taken from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) student record and is based on a standard registration population.
David Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many offers of financial support by the Technology Strategy Board have not resulted in grants being awarded because matching funding requirements were not met in each month since June 2007. 
Mr. Lammy: For the period in question there were three projects that received an offer of grant from the Technology Strategy Board, but where no grant was paid due to the inability to provide the matched funding required.
Dr. Palmer: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps her Department has taken to ensure that the target animal batch safety testing of veterinary vaccines (a) is not taking place under any existing licence and (b) will not be permitted under any future licence unless an application for a waiver has been rejected by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate or the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Inspectorate has identified a specific reason why an application cannot be made. 
Meg Hillier: Under current arrangements, target animal batch safety testing of veterinary vaccines is authorised under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 in project licences covering a range of safety tests, rather than on a product by product basis.
The obligation on a project licence holder to seek a waiver to the requirement for such tests would be triggered by project licence standard condition 6 which requires that the minimum number of animals of the lowest degree of neurophysiological sensitivity is used in procedures causing the least pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm.
The role of the Animal (Scientific Procedures) Inspectorate, which is aware of the technical requirements, is to advise on whether and under what terms proposals for animal use should be authorised and to inspect to ensure compliance with the terms and conditions of the relevant project licence.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans she has to issue new guidance to the Association of Chief Police Officers on the issuing of penalty notices for disorder; and if she will make a statement. 
The Government will be issuing revised operational guidance on the issuing of penalty notices for disorder to police forces in due course. Additionally, ACPO have issued guidance to police officers on the use of penalty notices for disorder in respect of certain offences.
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