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Lembit Öpik: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills how many post offices have been closed in (a) Montgomeryshire and (b) England in each year since 2005; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Evans: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what procurement process the Post Office followed in selecting Camelot as its partner and agent for the provision of bill payment services; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what payments the Sector Skills Development Agency has made to public affairs companies to date. 
Kevin Brennan: The Sector Skills Development Agency (SSDA) commenced operations on 1 April 2002 and closed for business on 31 March 2008. During that period the SSDA spent the following on publicity and marketing. This information cannot be broken down further to account for what was paid to public affairs companies.
|Publicity and marketing budget|
Mr. Evennett: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills how much funding his Department and its predecessors have provided to further education colleges to help students with learning disabilities in each of the last three years. 
Kevin Brennan: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills allocates funding to the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) for the provision of further education (FE) and training for adult learners aged 19 and over. For 2008-09 financial year the total LSC adult participation budget was £3.17 billion.
Investing in FE and skills training for learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities (LLDD) remains a priority and we remain committed to maintaining the opportunities for these learners. This means making sure the right level of support is available so that FE colleges and training organisations are able to meet the needs of these learners to access mainstream provision or employment.
There is no separate budget for the delivery of provision for adult learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities (LDD). They are supported through a range of provision depending on the level of skills and support they need.
Additional Learning Support (ALS) funding is provided to FE colleges and training organisations to support the additional costs associated with learners with LDD to undertake mainstream provision. It is not possible to disaggregate this information between those who have a learning difficulty or a disability. Investment in ALS for
post-19 learners in each of the last three academic years for which information is available (2006/07 to 2008/09) is approximately £160 million. This includes ALS claims recorded on the Individual Learner Record. However, the recording of claims below £5,500 is not a mandatory requirement and some smaller ALS funding will therefore not be included within the figure referred to above.
Mr. MacShane: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will bring forward proposals to grant high-ranking universities more flexibility in relation to the setting of the level of university fees. 
Mr. Lammy: The Independent Review of Higher Education Funding and Student Finance, which is being led by Lord Browne of Madingley, is currently looking at the balance of contributions to the cost of higher education between students, graduates, taxpayers and employers. The review has recently launched a call for proposals asking for suggestions for the future higher education funding system, and is expected to report by this autumn. It would be inappropriate for me to pre-empt its recommendations.
Ms Dari Taylor: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what requests for assistance his Department has received from Corus in relation to Teesside Cast Products. 
Mr. McFadden: The Government have created a fiscal stimulus in areas of public spending that will directly increase demand for steel and feed through the supply chain. Along with its partners in local government and the regions, the Government have brought forward billions of pounds worth of infrastructure spending across the UK.
We also committed £400 million to the car scrappage scheme to underpin the vitally important automotive sector, another very large user of steel. However these measures were aimed at boosting domestic markets more generally and therefore were not specifically targeted at assisting Teesside Cast Products, whose output of slab was sold almost entirely for export.
Subsidies for short time working-this request was initially made, through the CBI, on 27 November 2008 and was in relation to all Corus UK sites and not just Teesside Cast Products. The Government declined this request on the grounds that we have extensively examined the economic case for UK wage subsidies and concluded that this is not a feasible, cost effective or sustainable option, nor would it guarantee that plants, like Teesside Cast Products would stay open in the long term.
Export subsidies-Coras raised the issue for potential export subsidies in July 2009 to help bridge the gap between cost of producing slab at Teesside Cast Products and the price that could be achieved for the product on the world market. The Government refused this request as export subsidies would be illegal under the EU state aid rules.
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what proportion of people in Leeds North West constituency
aged (a) between 16 and 18 and (b) between 19 and 24 years have not been in education, employment or training in each year since 1997. 
Kevin Brennan: Estimates are available at local education authority (LEA) level for 16 to 24-year-olds(1) not in education, employment or training (NEET), using the Annual Population Survey (APS). These are given from 2000 to 2008 in table 1. Due to small sample sizes we are unable to produce reliable estimates for geographies smaller than LEA, or for small age groups from the APS. Due to incomplete data, estimates are not available prior to 2000.
Please note that the estimates in table 1 are subject to large sampling variability and should therefore be treated with caution and viewed in conjunction with their confidence intervals(2) (CIs), which indicate how accurate an estimate is. For example, a CI of +/-3.0 percentage points (pp) means that the true value is between 3.0 pp above the estimate and 3.0 pp below the estimate.
We are able to provide estimates for 16 to 18-year-olds NEET from records maintained by Connexions services. Table 2 shows the number and percentage of 16 to 18-year-olds not in education, employment or training in Leeds local authority from 2006 to 2008. These data are not directly comparable with the figures given in table 1 or the annual estimate of the proportion of 16 to 18-year-olds NEET in England published annually by DCSF. Connexions data are not available at this level of detail for years before 2006.
Reliable estimates cannot be provided at parliamentary constituency level for any age grouping from either this data or other sources. No data are available at local authority level for 19 to 24-year-olds.
(1) Age used is the respondents academic age, which is defined as their age at the preceding 31 August.
(2) Those given are 95 per cent. confidence intervals.
|Table 1: People aged 16 to 24 not in education, employment or training in Leeds LEA|
Data for 2000 to 2003 are from the Annual Local Area Labour Force Survey, the predecessor to the Annual Population Survey, and covers the period from March of the given year to the following February.
Annual Population Survey
|Table 2: People aged 16 to 18 not in education, employment or training in Leeds LA|
1. Estimates are an average of the figures provided to Connexions at the end of November, December and January. They include all young people known to Connexions who were aged 16, 17 or 18 on these dates.
2. The number of 16 to 18-year-olds known to Connexions includes those whose education establishment is located in the local authority area, regardless of where the young person resides.
3. 16 to 18-year-olds known to be undertaking a gap year, or in custody, are not recorded by Connexions as NEET.
4. The number and percentage of 16 to 18-year-olds NEET have been adjusted to assume a proportion of those whose current activity is not known are NEET.
5. The figures above cannot be compared with DCSF's headline measure of proportion of young people NEET. The headline measure uses a range of data from different sources to estimate the proportion of the population that is NEET, and relate to the young person's academic age.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills which Minister approved the decision to classify the audit reports of the Union Modernisation Fund as commercially confidential. 
Mr. McFadden: The audit reports are prepared using the standard terms of engagement for independent accountants involved in the verification of public sector grant claims. These terms were agreed between the Government and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).
My hon. Friend the Member for Bradford, South (Mr. Sutcliffe), the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Employment Relations, announced the Government's response to the public consultation on how the Union Modernisation Fund should operate and the intention to use the standard terms of engagement agreed with the ICAEW for the administration of the Union Modernisation Fund.
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what meetings Ministers in his Department have had with representatives of the Unite trade union in the last 12 months. 
Mr. McFadden: In the last 12 months my noble Friend the Secretary of State has met Unite representatives on four occasions, my noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Postal Affairs and Employment Relations has met them four times, my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for Regional Economic Development and Co-ordination twice, my hon. Friend the Minister of State for Further Education, Skills, Apprenticeships and Consumer Affairs four times, my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business and Regulatory Reform four times, my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley, South (Ian Pearson), the then Economic and Business Minister three times and I have met them four times.