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10. Mr. Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many funding decisions originally planned to be made in financial year 2008-09 by the Learning and Skills Council relating to university projects have not been made in accordance with the originally planned timetable; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Denham: Between 1997 and 2007, this Government has invested more than £2 billion in FE capital. We will spend another £2.3 billion in the current spending review period. This investment has meant more than 700 projects in 330 colleges have been agreed.
Last week the LSC approved eight new capital projects following its assessment of colleges currently seeking approval and we will provide more than £300 million to support these projects. The LSC has also completed its assessment of other colleges seeking approval in principle or detail. I am informed that the LSC has already given 79 colleges the first stage of approval in principle. A further 65 colleges have submitted bids to the national LSC for approval in principle.
As a consequence, there are many more schemes currently in preparation than can be funded in this spending round. For that reason, I agreed with the LSC that they would appoint an independent reviewer
Sir Andrew Fosterto find out how this situation arose and what lessons must be learnt for the future.
Mr. Simon: The expected total DIUS capital budget allocated to the Learning and Skills Council in 2009-10 is £609 million. This is part of our overall investment in FE capital over the current spending review of £2.3 billionwe have brought forward £220 million of this investment into earlier years as part of our response to the economic downturn and we anticipate spending the full £2.3 billion in this spending review period.
However, LSCs assessment of current colleges proposals seeking approval in principle and in detail has demonstrated that there are many more schemes currently in preparation than can be funded in this spending round. We have agreed with the LSC that Sir Andrew Foster will undertake an independent review to understand how this position arose and what lessons must be learnt. The LSC will also now consult with the Association of Colleges and other FE sector representatives to advise on ways of prioritising schemes in the future programme.
13. Mr. Bruce George: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what steps his Department plans to take to increase the number of people beginning apprenticeships. 
We are taking a wide range of steps to encourage more people to take up apprenticeships and for more employers to offer high quality places. In 2007-08 we saw a record high 225,000 people starting an apprenticeship, up from 65,000 in 1996-97. Completion rates are also at a record high with 64 per cent. successfully completing an apprenticeshipup from 37 per cent. in 2004-05. Last year 420 young people and adults started an apprenticeship in Walsall South, the highest number for five years. We also believe apprenticeships can play a key role in our response to the current economic downturn. The Prime Minister recently announced a £140 million package to provide an extra 35,000 apprenticeship places, of which at least 21,000 will be in the public sector. To continue to raise awareness and encourage more employers
to take on or offer more apprenticeships, a national advertising campaign started last month fronted by Sir Alan Sugar.
14. Miss Kirkbride: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what plans he has to encourage more private sector skills training providers to offer skills training to the unemployed. 
This Government is spending £4.7 billion on adult skills this year. Nearly 20 per cent. of the Adult Learner Responsive and Employer Responsive budget was allocated through private providers in 2008-09.
The majority of providers for the Employability Skills Programme are private providers. In response to the downturn, we announced in December an additional £100 million to support at least 40,000 people to have extra employability training. Private providers were eligible to apply to offer this training.
19. Liz Blackman: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what steps his Department is taking to provide assistance for retraining to individuals who lose their jobs. 
16. Dr. Pugh: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what his policy is on the provision of courses in critical thinking and philosophy in English universities. 
Mr. Lammy: The number of philosophy students going into higher education has increased by 15 per cent. between 2003-04 and 2008-09. There is strong demand from students, therefore, and a healthy supply of courses at English universities.
20. Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what assessment he has made of the contribution the proposed new college at Longbridge will make to skills, training and further education in the South Birmingham area. 
Mr. Simon: The impact that skills can have on local economic regeneration is significant. The work undertaken between the Learning and Skills Council, the Jobcentre Plus, Regional Development Agency, local businesses and other partners in the Longbridge and South Birmingham area is a clear example of the difference that skills can make in response to economic challenges.
We recognise that college capital projects such as the proposed development of the Longbridge site as part of Bournville colleges capital plans can also have a significant impact on local economic regeneration. Bournville colleges capital proposals which include the development of a new college at the Longbridge site has been given approval in principle and as part of the approval process, the Learning and Skills Council will have assessed, among other things, the educational case of the scheme, including its skills contribution to the local area.
The Learning and Skills Council has now completed its assessment of colleges seeking approval in principle and in detail which has confirmed there are many more schemes currently in preparation than can be funded in this spending round.
The LSC will therefore consult with the Association of Colleges and other FE sector representatives to advise me on ways of prioritising schemes in the future. As a result, the Longbridge scheme will be subject to the outcome of this consultation.
Mr. Simon: We do not hold centrally data for the number of apprentices there have been in the public sector. The labour force survey estimates that less than 10 per cent. of apprentices are in the public sector but does not provide accurate figures for each of the last 10 years.
Since 1997, we have witnessed a renaissance in apprenticeships from a low point of 65,000 to a record 225,000 apprenticeship starts in 2007/08. Completion rates are also at a record high with 64 per cent. successfully completing an apprenticeshipup from 37 per cent. in 2004/05.
To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what information his Department holds on the number of persons appointed to executive positions in bodies for which his
Department has responsibility in the last five years who previously had careers in the banking industry. 
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills with reference to the written ministerial statement of 4 March 2009, Official Report, column 55WS, on capital spending programmes in further education colleges, which colleges have been given the first stage of approval in principle by the Learning and Skills Council; and which colleges have submitted bids to the Learning and Skills Council for approval in principle. 
Mr. Simon: Capital funding for further education colleges is administered by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC). As the information requested pertains to decisions and records held by the Council, I have asked Mark Haysom, the LSC Chief Executive, to write to the hon. Gentleman with the further information requested. A copy of his letter will be placed in the House Libraries.
Peter Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what recent assessment he has made of the availability of resources to fund capital projects in the further education sector in the West Midlands; and if he will make a statement. 
The Learning and Skills Council (LSC)which administers the programmemet on 4 March where it was decided to give detailed approval to eight schemes, including city of Stoke-on-Trent sixth-form college and Solihull college, both of which are in the West Midlands.
However, from an LSC assessment of the overall programme, it is clear that even at current record levels of funding, not all schemes can be implemented on the time scales originally envisaged. We have therefore asked the council to consult with the Association of Colleges and the FE sector to advise us on ways of prioritising schemes in the future programme. We have also agreed with the council that they would appoint an independent reviewerSir Andrew Fosterto find out how this situation arose and what lessons must be learnt for the future.
Mr. Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what percentage of school leavers resident in (a) West Chelmsford constituency and (b) Essex went on to higher education in each of the last 10 years. 
Mr. Lammy: The following table shows the number of 18-year-old entrants to undergraduate courses from West Chelmsford constituency and Essex local authority. It is not possible to identify the number of school leavers from these areas who did not enter higher education. It is not possible to identify whether entrants to higher education, from West Chelmsford constituency and Essex local authority, attended schools or FE colleges.
|18-year-old undergraduate entrants( 1) from West Chelmsford constituency( 2) and Essex local authority( 2) to UK higher education institutions( 3) , academic years 1998-99 to 2007-08|
|Academic year||West Chelmsford||Essex|
|(1) Covers entrants studying both full-time and part-time courses|
(2) Parliamentary constituency and local authority are defined by full and valid home postcodes, returned by the student to HESA.
(3) Excludes the Open University due to inconsistencies in their coding of entrants across the time series.
Figures are based on a snapshot as at 1 December and are rounded to the nearest five.
Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA)
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