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Mrs. Maria Miller: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (1) how many and what proportion of female students with children attending a higher education institution are part-time students; 
Mr. Lammy: The Department has not commissioned research which is focused solely on women who wish to study for part-time degrees. However, the Department has commissioned the following projects which contain substantial information on this group:
University is Not Just for Young People: Working Adults' Perceptions of and Orientation to Higher Education, (DIUS Research Report 08 06), published in April 2008, which studied the attitudes and intentions towards HE of working adults (aged 22 to 55 with no university level qualification).
Alternative Routes Into and Pathways Through HE, publication expected early spring, which studied people who had entered HE through routes other than direct entry from school with A levels, or who were studying in modes other than full-time for a first degree in an HE institution. This included a substantial number of women studying part-time for a degree.
Futuretrack: Part-time Students, a project jointly funded with Higher Education Careers Service Unit (HECSU) which is a longitudinal study tracking people studying part-time. The work has also involved a literature review of part-time study and analysis of HESA records. The final report will not be published until 2011, though an interim report is expected in spring this year.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Post Study Work Scheme in achieving its objectives; and if he will make a statement. 
Paul Farrelly: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what assessment he has made of the merits of increasing funding for research councils to provide financial support to postgraduates unable to secure funding in the current economic situation. 
Mr. Lammy: Funding is allocated to the Research Councils for the duration of each spending review period. The Research Councils and the research community are best placed to decide how funding is distributed, in accordance with the Haldane Principle.
On 18 November 2008, Research Councils UK, with support from the Science Minister, announced a package of measures in response to the economic downturn. As part of this, the Economic and Social Research Council will bring forward funding for around 30 studentships. In addition, BBSRC will advance funding for an additional 20 four-year studentships in four key priority areas of ageing research, bioenergy, bioprocessing and environmental change.
Sir Peter Soulsby: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what recent progress has been made on his Department's plans to assist the modernisation of the buildings of Regent College, Leicester. 
Mr. Simon: Since 1997, this Government have invested £2.4 billion in redeveloping and modernising further education colleges. In addition we have plans to invest a further £2.3 billion in the next three years.
But the pace of demand for capital funding has increased. Projects and the scale of Government funding that they require are becoming increasingly ambitious. In addition there are signs that the ability of colleges to raise their own funds for proposed projects is being affected by the downturn.
It is for this reason that over the last few weeks the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) has been working closely with colleges that have submitted or are working on bids, to look at the individual current positions before making further funding decisions. As a result of this the consideration of a small number of applications that were due for decisionboth in principle and in detailhas been deferred from December to March.
Mr. Lammy: DIUS is stepping up efforts on energy research and development through a range of commitments from Science and Innovation Budget investments through the Research Councils and Technology Strategy Board and, more recently with the establishment of the Energy Technologies Institute.
Research Council expenditure on energy related basic, strategic and applied research and postgraduate training is expected to approach £300 million during this CSR period, and the Technology Strategy Board currently has a portfolio of collaborative projects on emerging low carbon energy technologies worth £90 million, with further competitions planned for later this year. The Technology Strategy Board is also expanding its portfolio in areas relating to the low carbon agenda through a range of initiatives including innovation platformsthe one focused on low carbon vehicles is coordinating over £100 million of public sector support to accelerate the market introduction of ultra low carbon vehicles.
Mr. Lammy: The Department has published a booklet entitled The Allocations of the Science Budget 2008/09 to 2010/11 in December 2007. This sets out in some detail the overall strategic priorities for the research base and the related funding decisions, together with the rationale behind them. This is available at:
At the same time the seven research councils published their own delivery plans for the same period. These delivery plans set out each council's approach to research priorities, sustainability, economic impact, international
aspects, specific financial commitments and targets for efficiency and effectiveness. These are available at:
The Government explained in their response to the IUSS Select Committee in June 2008 that they did not intend to publish their specific interactions with councils on the allocations process, not least because these relate to commercially confidential negotiations with international partners and suppliers.
Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what recent representations he has received on the obligations placed on researchers supported by research council grants to enter into research collaboration agreements to incorporate their intellectual property with companies. 
Research Councils have recently clarified their position on intellectual property through a revision to the common grant condition (GC21) on Exploitation and Impact (formerly Commercial Exploitation). This states that the ownership of intellectual property, and responsibility for its exploitation, rests with the organisation that generates it.
Mr. Simon: There will be real challenges in responding to the skill needs of the nuclear industry over the next few years. These include managing the decommissioning programme and balancing the potential requirements for a new civil nuclear power programme with defence skill requirements.
The National Skills Academy for Nuclear (NSAN) has a clear remit to develop and promote skills and career pathways within the UK nuclear industry and to ensure that the capacity exists to deliver skills to meet the different skill needs across the civil and defence programmes. It is employer-led, reflecting the breadth of its industry through its board and associate membership.
The NSAN and Cogent, the Sector Skills Council responsible for nuclear, are currently leading on a detailed review and analysis of the future skills challenges and issues facing the sector. This will inform the NSANs five year plan. This will ensure that the NSAN is absolutely focused on addressing both current and future strategic skill needs across the nuclear sector and ensuring that there is capacity available to deliver it.
The Office for Nuclear Development (OND) located within the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) will work to build excellence in the UKs nuclear industry by working with skills bodies, industry employers, other government departments and academia which will ensure a strategic and effective approach to skills development alongside wider policy and decision making.
Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what the (a) longest, (b) shortest and (c) average time taken to repay student loans by university graduates has been. 
Mr. Lammy [holding answer 10 February 2009]: The two types of student loan have different repayment terms. Borrowers with income-contingent loans introduced in 1998 repay 9 per cent. of earnings above £15,000.
Repayments are usually collected through the tax system via employers, alongside income tax and national insurance contributions. Borrowers with the older mortgage-style loans repay instalments, usually by direct debit, when their annual income exceeds the repayment threshold, currently £25,936.
With both types of loan, repayment is due to start in the April after borrowers graduate or otherwise leave their course, if their income is above the relevant repayment threshold. This point is known as the Statutory Repayment Due Date (SRDD). Some borrowers fully repay before they are required to commence repayments.
The average time taken to fully repay mortgage-style loans is six years after SRDD, according to data at 31 March 2008. It is not yet possible to give a meaningful average time taken to repay income-contingent loans, because in terms of repayments the income-contingent loans scheme is still relatively young. The longest and shortest time taken to repay a loan cannot be disclosed as this could potentially identify an individual.
Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (1) what the (a) highest and (b) average monthly repayment to the Student Loans Company has been for students graduating in (i) 2002 and (ii) 2008; 
Mr. Lammy [holding answer 10 February 2009]: Borrowers who graduated in 2002 with income-contingent loans would generally be included in the 2003 repayment cohort, i.e. those required to begin repaying loans from April 2003 if their income was high enough. The average annual repayment for this cohort was £600 in tax year 2006-07, equivalent to a monthly repayment of £50. Repayments are linked to income; borrowers repay 9 per cent. of earnings over £15,000.
Mr. Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many people earning (a) between £15,000 and £34,800 and (b) more than £34,800 are repaying their student loans. 
|English domiciled borrowers|
Student Loans Company
In addition there may be other borrowers who have made repayments that have not yet been recorded at SLC. HMRC receive annual P14 returns from employers, setting out the deductions they have made in the past year. This information is passed to SLC to update borrowers accounts. There will also be some whose earnings have fluctuated during the year and who have therefore made repayments in some months but have earnings below the threshold at the end of the financial year. Such borrowers may apply for a refund of their repayments if they wish to do so.
Borrowers are required to begin repaying their loans in the April after they graduate or otherwise leave their course, if their income is above the repayment threshold. Those below the threshold will include borrowers who have gone on to further study.
Stephen Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what proportion of the Student Loan Book has been sold in accordance with the provisions of the Sale of Student Loans Act 2008. 
Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what the timetable is for the next issue of revised guidance to local authority trading standards departments on weights and measures legislation. 
Mr. Lammy: Weights and measures legislation is the responsibility of the Department for Innovation, Universities and skills, acting through its executive agency, the National Weights and Measures Laboratory.
Neither the Department nor NWML publish comprehensive guidance to local authority trading standards departments on weights and measures legislation. Rather, the practice is to publish draft guidance on any new or amended weights and measures legislation in advance of the legislation coming into force to ensure both business and local authority trading standards departments have an opportunity to familiarise themselves with any changes before they take effect. Final guidance is then normally published when the new or amended regulations come into effect.
Most recently, the National Weights and Measures Laboratory has published draft guidance on changes to specified quantities for pre-packages. Those changes are expected to come into effect in April. NWML will also shortly publish revised guidance on non-automatic weighing instruments.
The following list shows the changes to weights and measures legislation which are expected to be made over the next year, and which will be accompanied by corresponding guidance, with an estimate of the likely timescale:
(i) Changes to specified quantities for non pre-packaged alcohol and unwrapped bread in October 2009;
(ii) Changes to the Measuring Instruments (Intoxicating Liquor) Regulations to allow statistical testing of fixed capacity spirit measuring instruments in October 2009;
(iii) Changes to UK legislation to update it as a result of the changes to the Units of Measurement Directive 80/181/EEC as amended, by December 2009.
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