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24 Mar 2009 : Column 337W—continued

The 1 March 2009 figure given is the most up to date available.

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer for what reason the decision to keep open the HM Revenue and Customs office in Chorley was rescinded in February 2008. [264884]

Mr. Timms [holding answer 20 March 2009]: As part of the review of HMRC offices in the Blackpool/Preston urban centre HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) published a proposal to retain its office in Chorley in May 2007.

During the period of feasibility work after the proposals were published HMRC business units, including Local Compliance, revisited their plans for delivering their long-term operations and decided that they could operate more effectively by consolidating elsewhere. This work also showed that staff in Chorley could be more effectively accommodated in larger teams in other offices. The final decision to withdraw business operations, except Enquiry Centre services, from Chorley was announced in February 2008.

Revenue and Customs: Surveys

Grant Shapps: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much HM Revenue and Customs has spent on staff surveys in each of the last five years; and which organisation carried out each such survey. [265393]

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Mr. Timms: HM Revenue and Customs has conducted eight surveys following its creation.

The cost breakdown by financial year excluding VAT is:










From 2005-06 to 2007-08 the surveys were conducted twice yearly by HMRC. A sample of staff were surveyed in-house with an external research agency (BMRB) contracted to deliver the analysis and reporting of the survey.

In late 2008, ORC were appointed by the Cabinet Office as the external provider to deliver a civil service wide pilot survey across nine Government Departments which involved a census of HMRC staff.

Tax Credit

Steve Webb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 22 January 2009, Official Report, columns 1638-39W, on tax credit, what estimate he has made of the number of claimants who would have their tax credit award reduced to zero in each scenario in each of the next six years. [265043]

Mr. Timms: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him on 23 February 2009, Official Report, column 332W.

Taxation: EU Action

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will have discussions with his EU counterparts on steps to ensure that products of the same type sold in EU member states are subject to the same tax treatment in all member states; and if he will make a statement. [265775]

Mr. Timms: Within the EU, the structure and rates of specific taxes are generally a matter for member states, consistent with the principle of subsidiarity. In relation to VAT, rules on some aspects of tax structure and minimum rates of taxation have been agreed by the Council of Ministers by unanimity with a view to ensuring the smooth functioning of the Single Market, in line with the provisions of article 93 of the treaty establishing the European Community. This includes the principle that the common system of VAT should, even if rates and exemptions are not fully harmonised, result in neutrality in competition, such that within the territory of each member state similar goods and services bear the same tax burden.

VAT: Children’s Car Seats

Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he plans to review the rate of value added tax charged on plug-in children's car seats; and if he will make a statement. [265531]

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Mr. Timms: Children's car seats, including plug-in car seats, have been subject to the reduced VAT rate of 5 per cent. since 12 May 2001. This is the lowest rate possible under EU VAT agreements, signed by successive Governments.

Children's car seat bases are subject to the standard rate of VAT. All taxes are kept under review and changes are announced as part of the normal Budget process.

Innovation, Universities and Skills

Animal Experiments

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what funds his Department has allocated to research on and development of alternatives to animal testing since 1997. [263284]

Mr. Lammy: Between 2001 and 2007/08 the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Medical Research Council (MRC) provided £11,348,000 to support research into the replacement, refinement and reduction of animals in research through response mode funding and strategic programmes. Figures are not available prior to 2001. In addition, these Research Councils fund the National Centre for Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs), established in 2004. Between 2004/05 and 2007/08 the NC3Rs received £5,525,000 from the Research Councils as well as £660,000 funding from the Home Office. The two Research Councils have allocated £12,804,000 to the NC3Rs for the period 2008/09 to 2010/11 and the Department has provided an additional direct grant of £100,000.

Departmental Billing

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what percentage of invoices from suppliers his Department settled within 10 days of receipt in the last four months. [266246]

Mr. Simon: The percentage of invoices from suppliers settled by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills within 10-days of receipt, in the last four months, is shown in the following table.


November 2008


December 2008


January 2009


February 2009


Foreign Students: USA

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills pursuant to the Answer of 11 March 2009, Official Report, columns 544-45W, on foreign students: USA, when the arrangements on grants for English-domiciled students travelling to the United States to study were introduced. [265053]

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Mr. Lammy: The Education Act 1962 introduced the mandatory awards system for higher education. The University and Other Awards Regulations 1962 made under the Act gave local education authorities discretion to make payments

Gifted Children: Higher Education

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what proportion of young people identified as gifted and talented went on to higher education in the latest year for which figures are available. [264927]

Mr. Lammy: The Government remain committed to widening participation in higher education and to securing fair access for gifted and talented students. It is an economic as well as a social imperative that everyone who can benefit from higher education has the opportunity to do so. Widening participation is about spotting and nurturing talent, with schools, colleges and universities working together to ensure that all those with the potential and merit to benefit from higher education are able to do so.

The gifted and talented flag was not introduced into the National Pupil Database until 2006 and we do not yet have data on HE destinations that can be linked to this flag.

The National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth (NAGTY) catered for the national top 5 per cent. of 11 to 19-year-olds from 2002 to 2007. It has now been replaced by the Young Gifted and Talented (YG and T) Learner Academy.

NAGTY's 2006 Student Exit Survey Questionnaire showed that, of those completing the questionnaire:

Higher Education

Stephen Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills (1) which higher education institutions are in risk category (a) 1 and (b) 2; [261911]

(2) if he will publish his most recent risk assessments relating to institutions in the university sector. [261912]

Mr. Lammy: I refer the hon. member to the reply given on 16 March 2009, Official Report, column 905w.

Higher Education: Admissions

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many first-time male entrants to higher education first degree courses there were in each year since 1998. [264928]

Mr. Lammy: The latest available information is shown in the table. Figures refer to male entrants whose highest qualification on entry was below higher education level.
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Although this excludes entrants who already hold a HE qualification, this does not exclude those who have attended HE in the past, but not received a qualification.

Male first-time( 1) entrants( 2) to first degree courses, UK higher education institutions, academic years 1998/99 to 2007/08
Academic year Male entrants





















(1 )Covers entrants whose highest qualification on entry was below HE level. This does not exclude those who may have attended HE in the past without gaining a qualification. Includes entrants with a missing highest qualification on entry.
(2 )Covers entrants of all domiciles to both full-time and part-time first degree courses.
Figures are based on a snapshot basis as at 1 December and have been rounded to the nearest five.
Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).

Low Impact Building Innovation Platform

Paul Rowen: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how much has been allocated to the Low Impact Building Innovation Platform in each year since it was established. [260589]

Mr. Lammy [holding answer 4 March 2009]: The Technology Strategy Board, funded through the Department's innovation budget, supports the low impact building innovation platform. The low impact building platform was launched in May 2008 with an initial budget of £30 million over three years. Following the Prime Minister's announcement on 28 January of the retrofit for the future challenge, a further £10 million was added to the budget giving a total of £40 million.

In financial year 2008-09 £3.3 million has been committed to projects under the platform. In the summer of 2009 three funding schemes totalling £24 million will be opened under the platform: Retrofit for the future—£10 million; Demonstrator monitoring—£10 million; and design and decision tools—£4 million. It is expected that the bulk of these funds will be committed to projects by the end of financial year 2009/10. The remaining funds from the £40 million budget are expected to be committed in financial year 2010-11 on other programme activities.

Mathematics: Research

Adam Afriyie: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how much funding was allocated by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to the mathematical sciences research programme in each year since 2001; and what allocations it has made to the programme for future years. [264626]

Mr. Lammy: Expenditure by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) through its mathematical sciences research programme since 2001 is shown in the following table:

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Expenditure on Maths programme
















These figures are for research and do not cover studentships or fellowships. For the following three years, expenditure is forecast to be:

Expenditure on Maths programme








These figures include expenditure on existing grants and expenditure arising from new grants. In 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11 EPSRC expects to commit £16 million, £14 million, and £14 million respectively to new grants through the mathematical sciences programme.

Expenditure on these grants will take place over a number of years.

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