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Michael Jabez Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what guidelines his Department issues on the enforcement of legal provisions in respect of imperial measurements. 
Mr. Lammy: LACORSthe Local Authority Co-ordinators of Regulatory Serviceshas published guidance in the past on enforcement of units of measurement legislation. My officials are working together with LACORSas well as other interested parties across Governmentto provide updated guidance to reflect the changes to the Units of Measurement Directive (80/181/EC) which will be implemented into UK law later this year, and to ensure that enforcement in this area remains proportionate and in the public interest.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what steps his Department is taking to provide retraining for highly skilled workers who have been made redundant. 
It is essential for the UK economy and for the individual themselves, that highly skilled workers have the opportunities and support to retrain for the jobs of the future. The £50 million Economic Challenge Investment Fund announced earlier this year will support them in a range of professional development courses, and access to specialist advice and guidance, as will the tripling of the number of professional and career development loans also recently announced. I am also aware that a number of universities are using savings
from the reduction in VAT, announced last year by the Chancellor, to support those who have been made redundant or are at risk of being so.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (1) with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Bristol, West (Stephen Williams) of 9 May 2008, Official Report, column 1266W, on higher education: EU nationals, how many times the Student Loans Company has successfully enforced repayment of loans from students domiciled in the EU but not in the UK using (a) external trace agents, (b) international debt collection companies and (c) EC regulation 44/2001; 
(2) how many times the Student Loans Company has attempted to enforce repayment of student loans from students domiciled in the EU but not in the UK using (a) external trace agents, (b) international debt collection companies and (c) EC regulation 44/2001. 
Mr. Lammy: EU students became eligible for tuition fee loans when they were introduced in 2006/07. The first full cohort of EU borrowers will graduate this summer, and will become due to start repaying their loans from April 2010. However, a small number have left their courses early, and became due to repay in either April 2007 or April 2008.
Effective collection of student loans across the EU is underpinned by EC regulation 44/2001, which allows the Student Loans Company (SLC) to obtain judgments in UK courts which can be enforced by courts in other EU countries.
Up to 3 March 2009, the SLC had contacted 54 EU borrowers in order to start this legal process. They were students who had studied in England and who are now resident overseas, but have not complied with the overseas repayment rules. Since attempting to enforce payment in this way, the SLC has had correspondence from 45 of the 54. SLC continues to pursue the remaining nine to enforce repayment.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what steps he is taking to ensure that courses for people with learning disabilities are tailored to their needs. 
Mr. Lammy: Higher education institutions and further education colleges have a duty under Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) legislation to ensure that reasonable adjustments are put in place for disabled people and through the disability equality duty to proactively promote disability equality in the public sector. Although course provision and delivery is a matter for the education institutions themselves, Government expect institutions to take account of the needs of disabled learners as part of an inclusive approach on these matters. I am pleased to say that the National Student Forum has been active in this area, ensuring that the voices of disabled students are heard.
Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what his latest assessment is of the effects of the recession on the number of young people over the age of 18 who are not in education, employment or training. 
Mr. Lammy: The proportion of young people who are "NEET" has fallen over last 10 years. The current economic climate will, of course, make it more difficult for some people to find employment. That is why this Government continue to take action on this agenda.
The New Opportunities White Paper outlines commitment to ensure persistent NEETs have the right support and incentives to move off benefits, or out of inactivity, into education, training or work. We are raising the participation age for education and training to 18, have reformed and expanded apprenticeships, introduced 14-19 diplomas, and are spending £175 million on entry to employment this year.
Mr. Lammy: We have set out the wide range of benefits which new university campuses can bring to people and places in our new University Challenge policy document published last year. We are very pleased with the interest which that has generated. However, we have had no discussions with the University of York on the development of the Heslington campus and any decisions on the merits of this and other similar development proposals have to be taken by the relevant authorities.
Mr. Rob Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether it is his Departments policy to offer staff (a) additional leave entitlement for Christmas shopping and (b) Christmas bonus payments. 
Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what costs his Department incurred in administering each type of community sentence in each of the last five years; and what the average administration costs per offender was. 
Mr. Straw: Probation Boards and Trusts meet the cost of delivering Community Sentences through their grant as they see fit to meet their statutory duties. The Criminal Justice Act 2003 established the new Community Order as a single community sentence with a number of elements in respect of offences committed after 4 April 2005. This replaced the separate community sentences which existed previously. From 2005 to present, cost exercises have been carried out by Probation Boards/Trusts annually and have produced the planned cost of a range of activities. Probation Boards and Trusts spent £614 million in 2007-08 supervising around 244,000 offenders. It is not currently possible to separate the cost of supervising offenders on community sentence as probation caseloads also include significant numbers of offenders who have been released from a custodial sentence or released temporarily into the community. Work is in hand in the National Offender Management Service to ensure that all offender services delivered in custody and in the community are properly specified and costed so that commissioners can ensure that resources are targeted effectively to protect the public and reduce re-offending.
Mr. Straw: Specialist domestic violence courts are based on a partnership approach to domestic violence by the police, prosecutors, court staff, the probation service and specialist support services for victims. Agencies work together to identify, track and risk assess domestic violence cases, support victims of domestic violence and share information better so that more offenders are brought to justice.
There were seven specialist domestic violence courts in 2004. Thereafter we have funded an additional 18 specialist domestic violence courts in 2005, 14 in 2006, 25 in 2007 and 40 in 2008. There are therefore currently 104 specialist domestic violence courts.
|Number of specialist domestic violence courts|
Court cells were used to accommodate prisoners overnight between January and June 2007, and again in February 2008. Invoices to the value of £2.54 million have to date been paid to escort contractors who staffed the cells. This figure does not include marginal costs such as medical care or utilities
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many staff in his Department (a) were disciplined and (b) had their employment terminated as a result of a poor sickness record in each of the last 12 months.
Mr. Wills: In the Ministry of Justice (excluding NOMS), the managing attendance policy aims to create an improved attendance culture. Managers are expected to demonstrate understanding towards absence where appropriate, and to take action when absence reaches unacceptable levels.
There are three levels of sanction available in attendance cases; first written warning, final written warning, and dismissal. Central records are held by the number of sanctions issued rather than by the number of staff (ie a member of staff may have received a sanction at more than one level). The following table gives the number of sanctions issued, and of those the terminations, for each of the 12 months ending January 2009.
|Disciplinary sanctions||Of which, employment terminated||Medical retirements|
|Medical inefficiency||Unsatisfactory attendance||Medical retirement|
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