Educational Institutions

Mr. Evennett: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills which (a) universities and (b) independent training provider institutions have been visited by Ministers in his Department since it was established. [314756]

Mr. Lammy: My noble Friend the Secretary of State has visited the following universities: Loughborough, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment Oxford, Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre Sheffield, Said Business School Oxford, Birkbeck College London, Birmingham, and Imperial College London.

I have visited the University of Edinburgh, Liverpool John Moores University (twice), University of Liverpool, University of Exeter, Bournemouth University, Birkbeck College London, Middlesex University, Arts University College Bournemouth and St. Mary's University College, London. Overseas I have visited Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, USA), Emory University (Atlanta, USA), Howard University (Washington DC), Columbia University (New York), Kazakh-British Technical University (Almaty, Kazakhstan) and Kazakh National University (Almaty, Kazakhstan).

My right hon. Friend the Minister of State for Business, Innovation and Skills has visited Swansea University.



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My noble Friend the Minister of State for Trade and Investment has visited the University of Cambridge, Bangor University (in his capacity of Chair of the Council), Judge Business School Cambridge, Royal College of Physicians, London Metropolitan University Business School, University of Sheffield, London Business School, University of Oxford, Loughborough University and University of Nottingham. Overseas he has visited Hong Kong University Business School and Shri Ramdeobaba Kamla Nehru Engineering College (Nagpur, India).

My noble Friend the Minister of State for Science and Innovation has visited the University of Surrey, University of Leicester, University of Oxford, Imperial College London and University of Cambridge.

My noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Postal Affairs and Employment Relations has visited Thames Valley University, University of Edinburgh, Middlesex University, University of Gloucestershire, University of Bedfordshire, University of Central Lancashire, University of East London and University of Bath.

My hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business and Regulatory Reform has visited Bristol University.

BIS Ministers have also made several visits to employer based training facilities that provide a variety of apprenticeships, onsite training provision and accreditation. They also engage regularly with the Association of Learning Providers, the representative body for Independent Training Provider Institutions, including attendance at their recent conference and have committed to speak at their annual conference later in the year.

Fertility: Freedom of Information

Mr. Amess: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what requests for information on (a) the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, (b) the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, (c) reproductive cloning and (d) stem cell research were made to his Department under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in each year since 2005; and what decision was taken on each such request. [313932]

Mr. Lammy: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) was created in June 2009 from the merger of the former Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) and the former Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills.

A search of all relevant FOI databases for the period was conducted.

During the period specified, only two FOI requests on topics (a) to (d) listed in the PQ have been recorded.

One request was received by the former DIUS on 10 February 2009. The response was that no information was held.

One request was received by BIS on 2 September 2009. All information requested was withheld under section 36 (prejudice to the effective conduct of public affairs) and s22 (information intended for future publication) of the FOIA.



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Fisheries: Compensation

Mr. Hurd: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills with reference to the answer of 21 July 2009, Official Report, column 1142W, on Government departments: accounts, what the nature was of the direction in relation to property and notified regularity and the Icelandic Water Trawlerman Scheme; and if he will place a copy of the letter of direction in the Library. [314827]

Mr. McFadden: The direction authorised the then permanent secretary of the then Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform to make payments under the latest Icelandic Water Trawlermen scheme, which was subsequently launched in July 2009. I have placed a copy of the direction, which my right hon. and noble Friend the Secretary of State issued to the then permanent secretary on 6 January 2009, in the Libraries of both Houses.

Flexible Retirement

David Simpson: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate his Department has made of the number of people who wish to continue working beyond the existing retirement age. [313677]

Mr. McFadden: The age discrimination legislation that we brought into force in 2006 was a significant step in helping older people in the employment market. The age regulations provide for a default retirement age of 65. However, we recognise that many older workers would remain in work past their normal retirement age if given that opportunity and the regulations give them a statutory right to request this opportunity.

According to the seasonally adjusted Labour Force Survey (LFS) in September to November 2009 12.2 per cent. of people at or above state pension age were in employment and this figure has grown in recent years. Other figures showed that 12.5 per cent. of people of that age were economically active and so were in the labour force. Analysis of the July-September 2009 Labour Force Survey shows that 1.8 per cent. of those who are economically inactive and are above state pension age would like to work.

Further Education: Finance

Stephen Williams: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will tabulate the adult learner responsive budget in respect of each further education college in England for the years (a) 2010-11, (b) 2009-10 and (c) 2008-09; and if he will make a statement. [315747]

Kevin Brennan: The Adult Learner Responsive (ALR) budget is one of the funding streams currently supporting learners aged 19 and above across a range of activities, subjects and levels.

For 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11 financial years, the planned total ALR budgets (including employability programmes) were published in the Skills Investment Strategy 2010-11 (November 2009).



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Financial YearAdult learner responsive budget (£ million)

2008-09

1.66

2009-10

1.75

2010-11

1.78



Spreadsheets detailing allocations of all funding streams, including ALR, to all FE colleges and training organisations for the 2008-09 and 2009-10 academic years are provided on the Learning and Skills Council website under “Providers,” “Funding Policy”, and then “Allocations”:

The allocation of the ALR budget (excluding employability programmes) to individual FE colleges for the 2010-11 academic year is currently underway. Initial funding calculations were communicated in January 2010 and provide an indication of the likely level of funding, to inform discussions between Skills Funding Agency account managers and individual FE colleges. After a national moderation process, confirmed allocations will be issued by 31 March.

Google: Copyright

Mr. Drew: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will hold discussions with his French counterpart on steps which can be taken in cases of alleged breaches of copyright by Google. [314823]

Mr. Lammy: I discuss copyright issues regularly with my colleagues in member states and further afield in various forums. However, it would not be appropriate for the Government to intervene or give opinion on specific allegations of copyright infringement, as such considerations are a matter for the courts.

Identity and Passport Service

Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills whether Cabinet Committee MISC 33 has discussed the procurement of the front office identity services subject to the Identity and Passport Service tender notice 2009/S 247-354963. [315510]

Mr. McFadden: Information relating to the proceedings of Cabinet Committees, including when, how often and for how long they meet, is generally not disclosed.

Lord Mandelson

Mr. Hurd: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on what date Lord Mandelson was appointed a Church Commissioner. [315233]

Mr. McFadden: Lord Mandelson was appointed a Church Commissioner on 5 June 2009, when he was appointed Lord President of the Council.



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Photography: Government Assistance

Bob Spink: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps his Department (a) has taken in the last 12 months and (b) plans to take in the next 12 months to assist the photography industry through the recession. [314494]

Mr. Simon [holding answer 1 February 2010]: I have been asked to reply.

Arts Council England supports photography through its regularly funded organisations and its lottery funded Grants for the Arts programme. In 2008-09 Arts Council England's funding to photography regularly funded organisations was £5,426,330. In 2009-10 this increased to £5,591,311 and will increase again in 2010-11 to £5,746,570.

Additionally, in 2008-09 Arts Council England made 106 photography awards totalling £1,145,574 from the Grants for the Arts programme.

As a direct response to the impact of the recession on arts organisations, the Arts Council also set up the Sustain Programme. The Photographers’ Gallery was awarded £232,000 as part of this scheme.

Post Offices

Peter Luff: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on what dates Cabinet Committee MISC 33 has met in the last 12 months; which additional Government services have been awarded to Post Office Limited as a result of that Committee’s activity; and if he will make a statement. [314578]

Mr. McFadden: Information relating to the proceedings of Cabinet Committees, including when, how often and for how long they meet, is generally not disclosed.

The Government have demonstrated their commitment to putting business through the Post Office. The decision to award the Post Office a new contract for the Post Office Card Account, the decision by the DVLA to award the Post Office the contract for biometric data capture for the 10-year renewal of driving licences, the decision by UK Borders Agency to allow biometric enrolment for ID cards for foreign nationals at the Post Office, and the recent joint BIS/Post Office/Local Government Association conference on encouraging local authorities to make greater use of Post Office services, all demonstrate this commitment.

Peter Luff: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent guidance his Department has issued on the (a) requirement for Government departments to put out to public tender contracts that could be awarded to Post Office Limited and (b) grounds on which the award of such a contract is to be considered; and if he will make a statement. [314579]

Mr. McFadden: The Department is subject to the legislative and best practice frameworks applying to public sector procurement and would conduct any procurement activity accordingly.



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No specific guidance has been issued to other Departments on tendering contracts that could be awarded to Post Office Ltd.

The grounds of award of any contract will differ on a case by case basis but would be governed by the need to meet our legal duties relating to competition and the requirement to deliver best value for money to the taxpayer.

Postal Services Sector Review

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what representations his Department has received on the Hooper report on the postal services sector. [314856]

Mr. McFadden: The Department met a range of stakeholders about the Hooper report. The general consensus of stakeholders was that Royal Mail must modernise if it is to secure its future and that the Hooper report's package of recommendations would secure the universal postal service.

The Government remain committed to the package of measures proposed by Hooper and we believe that this continues to offer the best prospect for achieving change and modernisation in Royal Mail.

Market conditions have made it impossible to conclude the process to identify a minority strategic partner for Royal Mail on terms that we could be confident would secure value for the taxpayer. When market conditions improve we will return to the issue, and we continue to monitor these conditions.

Royal Mail: Pensions

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent discussions his Department has had with the Communication Workers Union on Royal Mail's pensions deficit. [314855]

Mr. McFadden: The Department has meetings with representatives of the Communication Workers Union on a regular basis at which a range of issues are discussed, including Royal Mail pensions.

Students: Disabled

Mr. Harper: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) how many individual applications for disabled students allowance have been made in the academic year 2009-10; and how many and what proportion of the received applications have (a) been processed and (b) resulted in an award being paid to the applicant on time; [307710]

(2) what estimate he has made of the number of applications for disabled students allowance made in the 2009-10 academic year which (a) had not been reviewed and (b) were still pending a decision about an award on 1 December 2009; [307711]

(3) pursuant to the answer to Lord Addington of 5 November 2009, Official Report,House of Lords, column 372, on disabled people: student loans, when he expects the Student Loans Company to complete its review into delays in providing financial support to

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disabled students in the academic year 2009-10; and if he will place in the Library a copy of the completed review. [307714]

Mr. Lammy [holding answer 15 December 2009]: I am advised by the Student Loans Company that, as at 25 January 2010, 19,224 applications had been made for Disabled Students' Allowance (DSAs) for academic year 2009-10.

Of these: 1,361 (7 per cent.) were received in the last three weeks and SLC is working though them to carry out an initial assessment of evidence of the applicant's disability, mental health condition or specific learning difficulty, to confirm their eligibility for DSA support; 5,179 (27 per cent.) are awaiting the result of an assessment at a specialist independent assessment centre to determine the specific help the applicant needs to undertake their higher education course; for 1,662 cases (9 per cent.) SLC is considering completed needs assessment reports; in 4,297 (22 per cent.) cases further information has been requested from the applicant; 218 applications (1 per cent.) were ineligible; payments have been made on 5,642 applications (29 per cent.) and for the remaining 865 (4 per cent.), payment will be made to the student once the necessary equipment or support has been procured and an invoice sent to SLC.

The percentage figures have been rounded to the nearest 1 per cent.. The total may not add to 100 per cent. due to rounding.

I refer you to my written ministerial statement to the House on 8 December. The report and statement can be found at the following URL: