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The Government are committed to rebuilding apprenticeships. 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.
Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what recent assessment he has made of London Metropolitan University's contribution to widening participation in higher education. 
The performance of individual institutions towards widening participation is shown by performance indicators published annually by the Higher Education
Statistical Agency (HESA). These performance indicators show how a university performs against its benchmarks. Benchmarks show what a university with similar circumstances could be expected to achieve.
The performance of London Metropolitan University is shown in the following table. The table shows that the London Metropolitan University is exceeding the benchmarks for young people participating from both state schools and colleges and from lower socio-economic backgrounds. It performs below the benchmark for participation from low participation neighbourhoods.
|Table 1 : Performance indicators for London M etropolitan university concerned with widening participation|
|Academic y ear||% from state schools or colleges||Benchmark (%)||% from NS-SEC classes 4,5,6 & 7||Benchmark (%)||% from low participation neighbourhoods||Benchmark (%)||% from low participation neighbourhoods (POLAR 2)( 1)||Benchmark (%)|
|(1) There was a change in methodology in 2006/07 for the low participation neighbourhood indicator which has produced a break in the time series as figures using different methods cannot be compared. Figures for the 2005/06 year have been re-calculated to show some time series comparison.|
"Performance Indicators in Higher Education", published by HESA.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how much the Student Loans Company has repaid following overpayments by people with student loans; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Lammy: The Statistical First Release Student Loans for Higher Education in England, Financial Year 2007-08 (Provisional) includes the amounts the Student Loans Company has refunded to borrowers from 2005-06. Consistent data are not available for earlier years. This document is published by the Student Loans Company and is available on the SLC website at:
For income contingent loans, because there is a time lag between student loan deductions being made and the Student Loan Company (SLC) receiving information from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), it is possible for people to overpay before the SLC becomes aware that their repayments should stop. Because of this, borrowers are advised to monitor their own repayments so they know when they are likely to come to the end of repaying their loan. If they do not, they could overpay.
The SLC is exploring number of measures to help customers avoid overpayment, including giving them the option to make final repayments outside the tax system, via direct debit, to ensure they do not overpay. The SLC has also introduced new guidance and tools, including an on-line calculator, to help customers work out their loan balance, and therefore when they are likely to repay their loan in full. This facility is also available by telephone.
In the main, MS loans are repaid by direct debit (or standing order), which continue to deduct repayments so long as there is a balance outstanding on the customer's account. SLC administers these loans directly, issuing customers an annual statement. This reduces the likelihood of overpayments being made, although it is still possible for them to occur in some circumstances.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many graduates he estimates will complete the repayment of their student loans in the next (a) three months, (b) six months and (c) 12 months. 
The Statistical First Release Student Loans for Higher Education in England, Financial Year 2007-08 (Provisional) includes figures of borrowers who have fully repaid loans in the last three years. This document is published by the Student Loans Company and available on the SLC website at:
Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what proportion of people who started training under Train to Gain did not complete their course in the last period for which figures are available. 
Mr. Simon: The percentage of people successfully completing a Train to Gain qualification is measured using the Train to Gain success rate. This can be used to infer the percentage of people who do not complete their qualification, which will include those learners that did not finish their course.
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much aid the Government has given to the Cameroon Parliamentary Caucus for Environmental Protection in each of the
last five years; what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Caucus against its objectives; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: The UK Government have made no financial or other contributions directly to the Cameroon Parliamentary Caucus for Environmental Protection. A Department for International Development (DFID) funded projectthe Forest Governance Facility (FGF)co-hosted two meetings with the Caucus between March 2007 and summer 2008 on issues relating to (1) environmental policy and legislation in Cameroon and (2) wetlands management and conservation. The FGF also provided some assistance in kind to the Caucus secretariat including print cartridges, reams of paper and the printing of one edition of their newsletter. This did not exceed a value of £200.
Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the merits of requiring each project funded by his Department to publish data on its (a) budgeted and (b) actual expenditure online; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Michael Foster: The Department for International Development (DFID) makes information about project funding available through two portals, the AiDA Development Gateway and the OECD Development Assistance Committees Creditor Reporting Systems (CRS). These can be accessed through the following links:
Mr. Hurd: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what guidance his Department issues on whether members of staff may claim for travel in first class carriages on trains if there are no seats in standard class. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Employees of the Department for International Development (DFID) must travel by the most efficient and economical means when travelling on official business. Staff are required to travel in standard class carriages for rail journeys within the UK, unless they are expected to work during the trip, when first class travel is allowed. Where no standard class seats are available, staff are permitted to travel first class where this provides the most economical means of meeting the business need.
James Brokenshire: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many people were (a) prosecuted and (b) convicted for an offence under sections 139 and 139A of the Criminal Justice Act 1996 in 2007; and on how many occasions the maximum sentence of imprisonment was imposed. 
Maria Eagle: Information showing the number of persons proceeded against at magistrates courts, found guilty, sentenced, and sentenced to immediate custody at all courts for offences under sections 139 and 139A of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 (as amended by the Offensive Weapons Act 1996) and under section 1 of the Prevention of Crime Act 1953 in England and Wales in 2007 are shown in the table.
If it was found that the courts were sentencing at, or near, the maximum for any offence with any degree of frequency this would cause us to look at the maximum penalty to see if it were set high enough to cater for the cases coming before the courts. It is likely that the courts would draw our attention to any such cases and indicate that they did not consider that their powers were sufficient.
More offenders are being sent to jail for the number of offences resulting in immediate custody rose from 1,125 in the last quarter of 2007 to 1,386 in the same period of 2008. On average there was a 40 per cent. increase in the number of prisoners serving a sentence for possession of an offensive weapon between the same periods.
|Number of persons proceeded against at magistrates courts, found guilty, sentenced, sentenced to immediate custody and given the maximum custodial sentence at all courts for offences under sections 139 and 139A of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 and section 1 of the 1953 Prevention of Crime Act, England and Wales, 2007( 1,2)|
|Offence||Statute||Proceeded against||Found guilty||Total sentenced||Number sentenced to immediate custody||Given the maximum determinate custodial sentence|
|(1) The statistics relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences the principal offence is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.|
(2) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.
(3) The maximum determinate sentence for possessing an article with a blade or point in a public place or at school was changed from two to four years by the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 for offences committed on or after 12 February 2007. Data held on the Ministry Courts Proceeding Database do not identify the date the offence was committed so it cannot be determined which maximum sentence offenders would have been eligible for. The maximum used here is two years. No offenders received a four year custodial sentence.
Evidence and Analysis UnitOffice for Criminal Justice Reform.
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