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Students receiving first maintenance payment.
The first release of this information will be on 27 October 2009, and this will cover the processing and payment up to and including 18 October. This will be followed by a further two updates at weekly intervals. The information will be made available on the Student Loans Company website.
All eligible students who applied by the deadline had payments approved; some were interim payments. Those who have received an interim payment, but have provided the correct evidence by the end of August, will receive any additional payments they are entitled to by the end of October.
Mr. Evans: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate he has made of the number of students studying for higher education qualifications concerning (a) physics, (b) chemistry, (c) biology and (d) media studies. 
|Enrolments( 1) in physics, chemistry, biology and media studies by level of study UK higher education institutions: 2007-08|
|Level of study|
|Subject of Study||Postgraduate||Undergraduate|
|(1) Covers students of all domiciles enrolled on full-time and part-time courses.|
1. Figures are based on a HESA Standard Registration Population.
2. Figures have been rounded to the nearest five.
Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA)
John Mann: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps the Government are taking to protect UK internet users from computer viruses and malicious software. 
Mr. Timms: The Government acknowledge that viruses and malware are a significant problem for UK internet users. We have supported initiatives-in particular Get Safe Online-that encourage users to adopt technological measures and good on-line behaviour to avoid becoming victims.
This was a theme that was also covered in the Digital Britain Report. The report announced the creation of a Tripartite Initiative between Government, business and law enforcement to work together to tackle low level crime. It also announced new activity by the Office of Fair Trading to deal with scams conducted through the internet. Law enforcement officials work with banks and the internet industry to identify the sources of the problems, seeking to have such sites removed and to identify those responsible.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills how many people have traded in their cars under the car scrappage scheme in the West Midlands since the introduction of the scheme. 
Ian Lucas: Using data based on the locations of dealerships and data for scrappage transactions which have been completed and vehicles delivered, there have been 15,190 completed scrappage transactions in the West Midlands.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills how many car dealerships have accepted cars under the car scrappage scheme in the West Midlands since the introduction of the scheme. 
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what plans there are for the future of the car scrappage scheme; and if he will make a statement. 
Ian Lucas: On 28 September 2009 the Government announced plans for a further £100 million of funding for the scheme. This would mean that the scheme will cover up to 400,000 transactions. It will come to an end on 28 February 2010 or when the funding runs out, whichever is the sooner.
Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate he has made of the additional revenue accruing to the motor industry as a result of the car scrappage scheme since the introduction of the scheme. 
Ian Lucas: A BIS assessment of the UK scrappage scheme has estimated a short term stimulus to the value of UK vehicles sales worth approximately £2.1 billion. On 28 September 2009 the Government announced an extension to the scheme. The revised cumulative figure is currently expected to be £2.8 billion by the time the scheme comes to an end.
John Penrose: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) what (a) regulations and (b) other proposals for new regulation the National Economic Council Sub-Committee on Better Regulation has considered since its establishment; 
(2) how many times the National Economic Council Sub-Committee on Better Regulation has reported to the National Economic Council its conclusions on (a) regulation and (b) proposals for new regulation since its establishment; 
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on the funding package for the National Skills Academy for Creative and Cultural Skills in Thurrock; and if he will make a statement. 
Kevin Brennan [holding answer 28 October 2009]: The NSA Creative and Cultural has a key role to play in the regeneration of the Thames Gateway through transforming the delivery of skills to meet business needs in this important sector. It will be play a valuable role in the development of technician skills in the Performing Arts in the run up to the 2012 Olympics and will provide a centre of excellence in these skills not available elsewhere. I discussed the Creative and Cultural National Skills Academy with my hon. Friend the Member for Stevenage (Barbara Follett) the then Minister for Culture and Tourism, during the recess.
Peter Luff: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what progress has been made on the proposed Quantum Technology Partnership in South Worcestershire; what involvement (a) his Department and (b) the regional development agency have had with the project; and if he will make a statement. 
Ms Rosie Winterton [holding answer 16 October 2009]: The Quantum Technology Partnership is intended to bring together QinetiQ, universities and industry to create a world class centre for the industrial exploitation of quantum technology research. AWM has been working with the partners to develop the project over the past 12 months. The agency has employed a specialist project manager to support the partners, and has also commissioned economic impact work and contributed to the costs of some of the property aspects of the project.
In January AWM received an application for funding of up to £10 million towards the project. The project received outline approval on 6 August 2009 and a full application is expected to be received for appraisal later this month. Subject to satisfactory appraisal and approval by the Agency's Investment Decision Group a funding agreement could be in place in January 2010.
A public consultation on the funding and management of UK civil space activities has just closed. Respondents were asked to state whether there is there a case for considering different institutional arrangements for funding and managing UK civil space activities and if so, what possible alternative models might the Government consider.
Mr. Evans: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills how much the Government spent directly or through indirect support for projects relating to space exploration in the latest year for which figures are available; and how much it intends to spend in the next 12 months. 
In 2008-09, the UK spent a total of £14.6 million on the programme directly in the UK and through subscription to ESA. In 2009-10 the UK is expected to spend £16.1 million on the programme. Expenditure for 2010-11 is subject to a future decision by STFC.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills how many students received non-repayable maintenance grants from (a) Richmond-upon-Thames education authority and (b) all English local education authorities in each of the last five years; and what the average grant received by such students was in each case in each of the last five years. 
|Students awarded grants in academic years 2004 - 05 to 2008 - 09 (provisional)( 1)|
|Academic year||Number of students awarded grants||Average (£)|
|(1) Figures cover the higher education grant, the maintenance grant and grants and allowances for children and dependents.|
(2) Provisional 2008/09 data at mid-November 2008. Figures may change as later applications are processed.
Student Loans Company
Grant figures in the table cover the higher education grant, introduced in 2004, the maintenance grant, phased in from 2006, and grants and allowances for children and dependants. Different amounts are available for each type of grant. Figures contain students in each year of their courses. The amount a student receives depends on household income, year of entry to higher education and personal circumstances.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent discussions he has had with the Student Loans Company (SLC) on its research on the number of students expected to enter higher education in autumn 2009; and what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of SLC staffing levels to deal with that number of applications. 
Mr. Lammy: The financial settlement requested by the Student Loans Company (SLC) for financial year 2009-10 assumed an additional 24,000 applications would be received in academic year 2009-10 compared to the previous year. The Department met SLC's 2009-10 financial settlement in full, providing all of the £6.9 million additional costs identified by the Company-including £993,000 specifically to process the expected 24,000 additional applications. Subsequently, the Department provided a further £230,000 following a request from the company to help deal with the larger than expected number of telephone calls received during August to October.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent discussions he has had with the Student Loans Company on the robustness of its complaints system. 
Mr. Lammy: It is important that the Student Loans Company has sound arrangements for dealing with complaints. My officials were involved in the recent review of complaints handling undertaken by the company. In May 2009, I appointed four new assessors to offer independent and impartial decisions on cases that are not resolved within the company. In June 2009, I set performance targets for the company relating to handling of complaints as part of a broad set of robust performance measures.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent representations he has received concerning the operation of the Student Loans Company; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Lammy: I have had a number of representations from customers having difficulty in contacting the Student Loans Company to enquire about their applications for student support for the 2009-10 academic year because the Company has received more telephone calls than it can answer. The SLC has put in place a number of measures to help students follow the progress of their applications, and to address the problems people have had when trying to get through to their call centres. These include: creating 70 per cent. additional telephone lines; adding 144 staff to answer phones, as well as more staff working overtime at the SLC and its outsource providers, increasing call centre operating capacity by around 35 per cent.; reminding students that they can check the status of their application online; and making improvements to answers to the most common enquiries on the internet, and directing callers to these via a recorded telephone message.
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