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Graham Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how much (a) his Department and its predecessors and (b) its agencies and non-departmental public bodies spent on hospitality in each year since 1997. 
Mr Davey: For the Department, information for the financial years 2002/03 and earlier can be provided only at a disproportionate cost. However, the information for financial years 2003/04 onwards is as follows:
I have approached the chief executives of the Insolvency Service, Companies House, the National Measurement Office, the Intellectual Property Office and the Skills Funding Agency and they will respond to my hon. Friend directly.
I am responding in respect of the Intellectual Property Office to your Parliamentary Question tabled 06th July 2010, to the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
While the IPO does provide refreshments at some meetings there has been no formal hospitality spend in the period.
I am replying on behalf of Companies House to your Parliamentary Question tabled 6 July 2010, UIN 7437 to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills.
Companies House's financial records do not go back as far as 1997. In each year for which figures are available Companies House spent the following on hospitality:
The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has asked me to reply to your question how much (a) his Department and its predecessors and (b) its agencies and non-departmental public bodies spent on hospitality in each year since 1997.
The Insolvency Service Executive Agency of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills spent the following amounts on hospitality since 1997 as reported in The Insolvency Service Annual Report and Accounts for the relevant financial year:
|(1) The figures for 2005/06 were restated to include the merged costs of Companies Investigation Branch. Figures from 2005/2006 onwards include both The Insolvency Service and Companies Investigation Branch.|
(2) Draft unaudited
I am responding in respect of the National Measurement Office to your Parliamentary Question tabled on 6 July 2010, to the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills asking about expenditure on hospitality in each year since 1997.
Information on such expenditure prior to January 2001 is not readily available and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.
The National Measurement Office and its predecessor, the National Weights and Measures Laboratory spent the following on hospitality, primarily meals and refreshments for visitors to our offices in Teddington:
The substantially high figure in 2009 reflects the fact that responsibility for the National Measurement System and its extensive network of advisory groups transferred to the Agency in April of that year.
I am replying on behalf of the Skills Funding Agency to your Parliamentary Question tabled on 6 July (UIN 7437), to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, concerning spend on hospitality in the Department and its agencies.
The Skills Funding Agency was set up as an agency of BIS on 1 April 2010. Since that date we have not spent any money on hospitality.
Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 19 July 2010, Official Report, column 1WS, on public bodies, what estimate he has made of the cost savings arising from the abolition of each body listed in the statement; and what assessment he has made of the effect on Wales of each such abolition. 
All four bodies have a UK-based remit. SABIP's work programme will be integrated into the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and continuing functions of the other bodies will transfer to BIS. We do not therefore expect the closures to have any impact which is specific to Wales.
Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he plans to take to increase the number of officials seconded from his Department to the EU institutions. 
Mr Davey: As part of the Government's drive to enhance the UK's representation and voice in the EU institutions, work is underway to develop a more strategic approach to the use of secondments of UK civil servants to posts in the EU institutions, where UK experience and insight can add real value. We aim to ensure that these secondments are joined up across Government and appropriately targeted so that our good people are sent to strategically important positions. Short-term secondees from Government to the EU are an important source of immediate advice, and of long-term EU expertise back in Whitehall. Departments will look to help staff prepare for secondments, keep in touch while they are away and fully use their skills and experience when they get back.
Supporting secondments is a valuable investment that can pay dividends, so it is important to ensure that UK secondees are placed in positions that matter in terms of UK priorities. Where opportunities become available in UK priority areas, then consideration will be given to providing a UK secondee.
BIS usually has between six and 10 secondees in the institutions at any one time. Our centrally managed EU secondment programme focuses on BIS priority areas and sending the best candidates as opposed to the total number of secondees. Another consideration is that EU secondments vary in cost according the grade of the secondee, length of secondment and whether the institutions provide living allowances.
Mrs Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what mechanisms he proposes for the allocation of EU structural funding following the abolition of regional development agencies. 
Mr Prisk: The decision on the new arrangements for regional co-ordination of English ERDF following the abolition of the regional development agencies is still under consideration by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, as his Department is the managing authority for ERDF programmes in England. No other structural funds programmes are affected by the abolition.
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will estimate the cost to British businesses of compliance with regulations arising from EU obligations in June 2010. 
Yvonne Fovargue: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills when he plans to publish the report of the (a) administrators and (b) investigators in respect of the collapse of Farepak. 
When a company goes into administration, insolvent liquidation or administrative receivership, the responsible insolvency practitioner has a duty under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 to report confidentially, via a 'D Return', to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State on the conduct of the directors. This is a statutory obligation in every company and the fact that an insolvency practitioner submits a report on a company's director(s) does not necessarily mean that misconduct is alleged. However if misconduct is alleged, the Insolvency Service, on behalf of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, then has a discretionary power to seek the director's disqualification where it is believed to be in the public interest.
D Returns are not published as part of the information contained therein is information about the conduct of directors which is personal data. Disclosure of the personal data of directors of a company would contravene the first Data Protection Principle. In addition, in some cases, prejudice to an investigation is likely to result from disclosure.
The investigation into Farepak was conducted under section 447 of the Companies Act 1985, and carried out by staff of Companies Investigation Branch of BIS. Information obtained under section 447 cannot be disclosed except where the statute expressly permits it and, unlike with the section 432 inspection, there is no provision for publication of reports. The report is very long and detailed. Counsel has been considering the report and supporting information. If any proceedings are initiated as a result of the report, they must remain confidential until they reach court.
Mr Betts: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills which organisations officials of his Department have met to discuss regulation of the debt management sector since 6 May 2010. 
Mr Davey: My officials speak to a wide range of interested parties as part of conducting the business of government. However, since 6 May, those officials have not met any organisations specifically to discuss the regulation of the debt management sector.
Mr Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the likely effects of the implementation of the proposals in the European Commission's communication towards a comprehensive European international investment policy and its proposal for a regulation establishing transitional arrangements for bilateral investment agreements between member states and third countries on the ability of the UK to negotiate and conduct bilateral investment agreements; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Davey: The European Commission's communication 'Towards a comprehensive European international investment policy' is a non-binding document which sets out the European Commission's intentions for future international investment policy. The aims set out in the communication are positive, especially those of providing investors with legal certainty and of prioritising negotiations with the countries they list. The regulation establishing transitional arrangements for bilateral investment agreements between member states and third countries enables member states to negotiate and conclude bilateral investment agreements. The UK Government are committed to ensuring legal certainty for investors and will work with the European Union to this end.
Justin Tomlinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate he made of the proportion of graduates who found employment within a year of graduation in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Mr Willetts: All UK and EU-domiciled graduates are surveyed on their destinations, including employment circumstances six months after graduating; therefore data are available for six months after graduation, but not one year. The latest available data is for the 2008/09 cohort of graduates.
1. "Assumed to be unemployed" includes anyone due to start a job within the next month and not in full-time study, or anyone who is unemployed and looking for employment but not in full-time study.
2. "Not available for employment" includes those permanently unable to work or retired, taking time out to travel, or temporarily sick or looking after family and not in study.
3. "Other" includes those graduates who are not employed but not looking for employment, further study or training, or something else but not in further study.
Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey collected by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). Figures used do not include graduates who do not respond to the survey, or those whose response is an explicit refusal to answer the survey.
Information on the type of employment graduates enter is collected by the Higher Education
Statistics Agency (HESA) via the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey. However, the way in which employment information is recorded does not allow for a split between public and private sector employment.
The best estimate we can make on the proportion of graduates entering public sector employment is based on the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes from those who enter occupations we would expect to have high levels of public employment e.g. public administration and defence, education, and health and social work (though note that these will include some private sector employment as well). The proportion entering these professions since 2003 are shown in the following table.
|Proportion of full-time first degree graduates entering employment in the UK who are employed in the public sector( 1) , 2003/04 to 2008/09|
|(1) Defined as those in SIC categories: public administration and defence, education and health and social work.|
Figures are rounded to the nearest five in line with HESA's publishing conventions.
Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey 2003/04 to 2008/09 published by HESA.
Mr Lammy: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills on what date the independent review of higher education funding and student finance ceased to receive submissions of evidence. 
Mr Willetts: The review's call for proposals was closed on 14 May. My noble Lord, Lord Browne of Madingley, who is chairing the review, has informed me that the review's advisory forum has continued to meet on a regular basis.
Mr Lammy: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the effect on social mobility of (a) the number of funded places available in universities in England in 2010 and (b) the number of university applications made through UCAS. 
Mr Willetts: Evidence shows that there is a strong link between higher education and social mobility. Those with higher level qualifications are more likely to be in work and less likely to be unemployed than those qualified at lower levels. No assessment has been made of the effect on social mobility of the number of funded university places or applicants in England in 2010.
Mr Lammy: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills which 20 universities admitted the most students (a) aged 25 years or more at the point of admission and (b) from black and minority ethnic backgrounds in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Mr Willetts: The 20 higher education institutions with the highest proportion of UK-domiciled undergraduate entrants (a) aged 25 years or over and (b) from black and minority ethnic backgrounds are provided separately in the following tables:
Figures are provided for the 2008/09 academic year and are taken from the Higher Education Statistics Agency Student Record. Data for the 2009/10 academic year will become available from January 2011.
|Table 1: English higher education institutions with the highest proportion of UK-domiciled undergraduate entrants( 1) aged 25 or over, academic year 2008/09|
|Institution||Proportion aged 25+ (%)|
|(1) Covers entrants to full-time and part-time undergraduate courses. Note: Percentages are based on a HESA Standard Registration Population and are rounded to one decimal place. Source: Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) Student Record.|
|Table 2: English higher education institutions with the highest proportion of UK-domiciled undergraduate entrants( 1 ) from minority ethnic backgrounds( 2) , academic year 2008/09|
|Institution||Proportion from minority ethnic backgrounds (%)|
|(1) Covers all-aged entrants to full-time and part-time undergraduate courses. (2) Minority ethnic backgrounds includes students whose ethnicity was classified as black, Asian, mixed or other. Percentages are based on students with known ethnicity and exclude those entrants whose ethnicity information was classified as unknown, refused or missing. Note: Percentages are based on a HESA Standard Registration Population and are rounded to one decimal place. Source: Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) Student Record.|
Mr Lammy: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills which 20 universities admitted the most undergraduates from (a) low-participation neighbourhoods and (b) state schools in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Mr Willetts: The 20 higher education institutions with the highest proportion of young UK-domiciled full-time undergraduate entrants from (a) low-participation neighbourhoods and (b) state school or college are provided in the following tables. Figures are provided for the 2008/09 academic year and are taken from the Higher Education Statistics Agency's Performance Indicators in Higher Education. Further information is available at the following link:
|Table 1: Higher education institutions with the highest proportion of young( 1 ) UK-domiciled full-time undergraduate entrants from low participation neighbourhoods, English higher education institutions, academic year 2008/09|
|Institution||Percentage from low participation neighbourhoods|
|(1 )Refers to entrants aged under 21.|
Percentages are given to one decimal place.
Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA): Performance indicators in higher education in the UK, 2008/09.
|Table 2: Higher education institutions with the highest proportion of young( 1 ) UK-domiciled full-time undergraduate entrants from state school or college, English higher education institutions, academic year 2008/09|
|Institution||Percentage from state school or college|
|(1 )Refers to entrants aged under 21.|
Percentages are given to one decimal place.
Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA): Performance indicators in higher education in the UK, 2008/09
|Entrants from all domiciles to full-time undergraduate courses at UK institutions obtaining a place through the UCAS clearing process, 2006/07 to 2009/10|
Mr Lammy: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the effect of reductions in the higher education budget on (a) the international activities of UK universities and (b) the contribution of such activities to UK foreign exchange earnings. 
Mr Willetts: The Department has several bilateral education programmes with countries such as China and India and a multilateral programme involving a variety of countries. These programmes help to support the UK's educational institutions to engage internationally. They are not exclusively about higher education, although this is a major element. The programmes are funded until March 2011. Decisions on future funding will be taken in the spending review. The latest available estimate of the value of international higher education activity to the UK economy is £5.3 billion according to "The impact of universities on the UK", a report published by Universities UK in November 2009.
Mr Lammy: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 7 July 2010, Official Report, column 320W, on higher education: finance, whether he has undertaken an equality impact assessment on the proposed reduction in the university modernisation fund. 
The Department has not undertaken an impact assessment of either the original decision to set up the university modernisation fund (UMF) or the
decision to refocus it on the highest quality proposals. The bids made to the fund were for significantly fewer than 20,000 places and were of variable quality. It is for universities to decide who to accept for the additional 8,000 full-time and 2,000 part-time places provided by the UMF, not the Government.
However, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) carried out a full sector impact assessment on 28 May 2010. The relevant sections on equality and diversity are reproduced here. The full document is available on the HEFCE website at:
Increasing provision in areas where there is clear evidence of demand will widen overall access to such courses. It will support HEIs in delivering their own equality and diversity (E&D) strategies by increasing the volume of provision they have available, especially in supporting those groups protected by equality legislation which have historically been considered to be underrepresented in the subject areas covered by the process, such as women. Analysis of current recruitment data by HEFCE has shown that the relatively small additional numbers of new entrants (10,000) will not have a significant impact on the make-up of the typical student body.
In order to calculate the 10,000 new entrants, in each HEFCE-funded institution we have identified populations of fundable undergraduates who commenced a programme of study in 2008-09. The current sector profiles in respect of the E&D groups have been calculated based on these populations. Note that none of these students will be directly affected by the policy.
Assuming that the new entrants recruited will be similar to those students recruited in 2008-09, the E&D profiles of the 10,000 new entrants have been modelled. Note that this modelling is based on proposals received and accounts for the institution, mode, level and price group of the proposed new entrants. The current E&D profiles have been compared to those of the 10,000 new entrants:
|Equality and diversity group||Proportion of 2008-09 entrant population (percentage)||Proportion of 10,000 new Entrants population (percentage)|
The impact of this initiative on the make-up of the student body is not likely to be significant: section 8 shows relatively minor differences in the proportion of the populations that each E&D group represents.
Positive impacts might be expected among some groups, such as those known to receive DSA or from a low participation neighbourhood. Given the size of the differences, and the range of other external factors that might contribute to any variation in these proportions, negative impacts will be limited. Within the relatively short timescales demanded of this initiative, it would not be possible to mitigate these minor effects.
We are generally reassured that student recruitment policies are robust, but in light of our duty to promote E&D, we should take all reasonable steps to remind HEIs of their duties under the legislation.
Mr Willetts: The coalition Government are funding 1,190,000 full-time equivalent places in 2010-11, including the 10,000 places announced as part of the University Modernisation Fund. No funding decisions have been made for 2011-12; these will take place following the Spending Review this autumn.
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent assessment
he has made of the performance of the Institute for Learning against its objectives. 
Mr Hayes: The Institute for Learning (IfL) is an independent professional body set up in 2002 by teachers in FE for teachers in FE, and in partnership with unions and employer membership bodies, with the aim of raising the standards of professional practice in post-compulsory education and training in England. It is governed by a national council consisting of elected members and representation from key national stakeholders. As such it is for them, rather than BIS, to judge IfL's performance.
Mr Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many licensed premises and bars in (a) Bexleyheath and Crayford constituency, (b) the London borough of Bexley and (c) Greater London were declared bankrupt in each of the last five years. 
Mr Davey: Official corporate insolvency statistics are not currently available broken down by geographical region. Table 1 shows the number of bars (for 2007-09) and licensed premises (for 2005-06) that were declared insolvent in the whole of England and Wales for each of the last five years.
Statistics for personal insolvencies, including bankruptcies, are available to local authority level on The Insolvency Service website. However, sufficient detail to identify bankruptcies where the debts are primarily the result of trading, by industry and region, is not readily available.
|Table 1: Insolvencies in England and Wales( 1)|
|Compulsory liquidation||Creditors' voluntary liquidation||Trading-related bankruptcy orders||Receivership||Administration||Company voluntary arrangement|
|(1) Number of bars (for 2007-09) and licensed premises (for 2005-06).( 2 )Not Available at this level of detail. (3) Data only available for Q1-Q3 2006 due to a change in industry classification. (4 )Data only available for Q3-Q4 2007 due to a change in industry classification.|
The Insolvency Trade Classification (ITC) was used to classify trading-related bankruptcies (and company liquidations) until end September 2006. More recently, the Standard Industry Classification 2003 has been in use and there have been associated changes to the method used to identify traders among bankrupts and company liquidations by industry. From September 2006 until June 2007 there is no information available by industry. The period covered should not, therefore, be treated as a consistent time series.
Jeremy Lefroy: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether he plans to bring forward proposals for regulation of interest rates charged by lenders on consumer finance. 
Mr Davey: I recently announced a joint BIS and HM Treasury review of consumer credit and personal insolvency and this Department will be issuing a formal call for evidence following the summer recess. The review will provide a framework within which to consider coalition commitments on consumer credit such as our proposals on interest rate caps on credit and store cards.
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) recently considered the possible introduction of price controls on interest rates on products such as pawnbroking, payday loans and home collected credit as part of its review of high cost consumer finance products. The review concluded
that price controls would not be a suitable solution to the concerns the OFT identified.
Our call for evidence will give industry and consumer groups the opportunity to provide evidence on how they think the findings of the OFT review should be taken forward, including those on interest rates.
"The Government has said that RDAs responsibilities for inward investment from overseas will come to the national level. There will remain a need for delivery of support at a local level to potential and existing foreign direct investors.
UKTI is considering, in the context of the current spending review, how local knowledge and relationships will best be accessed. The Government will take into account inputs from a range of interested parties including, wherever possible, local enterprise partnerships themselves: they will have views on what they may wish or be able to contribute to the delivery process."
Mr Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for Basildon and Billericay of 16 June 2010 on his constituent Mr Ervine Okuboh. 
Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 20 July 2010, Official Report, column 298W, on motorsport and aerospace, what steps he plans to take to put into effect the policy commitments made in the Government response to the Business, Innovation and Skills Select Committee's Sixth Report of Session 2009-10, HC 173, Full speed ahead: maintaining UK excellence in motorsport and aerospace, Cm 7867. [R] 
On 13 July, "A Strategy for Sustainable Growth" was published which will be developed further during the summer. We will be looking to ensure that our approach to specific sectors such as automotive and aerospace reflects our overall strategy. At the Farnborough International Airshow on 19 July, the Secretary of State announced that he will chair regular meetings with aerospace business leaders to focus on major strategic issues facing the aerospace sector. This will set the direction for action by a wider business/Government Aerospace Growth Partnership group to be chaired by myself, involving ADS (the industry trade association) and representatives from across the UK aerospace supply chain. Together these groups will play a key role in meeting our objective of creating the conditions for growth and innovation within the aerospace sector. In
developing the agenda to be addressed by these groups, we will take account of the recommendations made in the Select Committee's report.
In addition, I have met representatives of the motorsport industry recently and discussed how best to engage with that sector. This is an ongoing process but my initial view remains that the Automotive Council is the best way for Government to engage with the motorsport industry as a whole. We will be working closely with key UK automotive companies through the Automotive Council to stimulate new technologies and build stronger supply chains.
Alison McGovern: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the effect of the decision to end the North West Development Agency on projects in Wirral South which have been allocated funding by that agency in 2010-11. 
Mr Prisk: The regional development agencies have been given allocations for 2010-11 and subject to the continuing affordability of their overall programme they will be seeking to deliver those grants which have been approved by their boards for this financial year.
Penny Mordaunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment has been made of the ability of the (a) public, (b) private and (c) voluntary sector to adapt to having an older workforce; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Davey: It is clear that people are living longer and healthier lives. Against the backdrop of this demographic change, the Government want to help and encourage people to work for longer in all sectors and to remove any unnecessary barriers to them doing so. It is the Government's view that older workers bring with them a wealth of talent and experience as employees and entrepreneurs. They have a vital contribution to make to our economic recovery and long-term prosperity. In line with the coalition agreement, the Government will be consulting shortly on phasing out the default retirement age and we will publish an impact assessment alongside that consultation.
James Wharton: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how much One NorthEast spent in (a) the Tees Valley, (b) Tyne and Wear, (c) Northumberland and (d) County Durham in each year since its establishment. 
The Department allocates budgets to regional development agencies (RDAs). The RDAs determine how to spend their budgets, subject to the terms of the Accountability and Financial Framework and their delegated financial authorities. RDAs' investments have been guided by the Regional Economic Strategy and their corporate plans. The Department does not hold
details of spending on individual projects and initiatives supported by the RDAs within their delegated financial authorities.
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps UK Trade & Investment is taking to explore the potential for trade with Kazakhstan in the (a) energy, (b) education and (c) financial services sector. 
In energy UK Trade & Investment is working with major international operating companies including to develop opportunities for UK supply chain companies in the oil and gas sector. Additionally through the Kazakh British Trade and Industry Council UKTI is bringing together UK expertise in the nuclear power sector to respond to opportunities for developing new power generation capability.
UKTI has worked with TVET UK who signed an agreement with Samruk Kazyna to supply technical skills to their new corporate university. With UKTI support, TVET UK is delivering a programme to train volunteers for the Asian Winter Games.
In financial services UKTI supported and facilitated the visit by the Lord Mayor of London to Kazakhstan in July 2009, which itself followed up a previous Lord Mayor's visit in 2007. As part of the follow-up to this visit, UKTI is currently working with the Law Society of England and Wales to hold an event (seminar and trade visit), with a focus on commercial arbitration and public-private partnerships (PPP), during the first half of 2011.
UKTI is also assisting the Regional Financial Centre Almaty (RFCA) with their training needs. One college will begin to pilot foundation degrees in financial services shortly in association with the RFCA Academy, as a result of being on the Lord Mayor's visit last year.
Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether he plans to introduce a programme of retraining for public sector workers made redundant as a result of reductions in departmental expenditure limits. 
Mr Davey [holding answer 28 June 2010]: Each Department is responsible for developing appropriate training for their own staff. BIS offers pre-retirement courses and more general support, including CV writing and interview skills, for staff who are considering exiting the Department on voluntary or compulsory terms.
Chris Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) what criteria were used in reaching the decision to allocate budget reductions for 2010-11 between each regional development agency; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what (a) statistics, (b) analysis and (c) other evidence were used in reaching his recent decision to treat the East Midlands Development Agency in the same category as the regional development agencies in the south and east of England in deciding on reductions in its budget for 2010-11. 
Mr Prisk [holding answer 22 July 2010]: The recent programme budget reductions for the regional development agencies in 2010-11 were informed by the distribution of budgets agreed at the start of the comprehensive spending review (CSR) 2007. However those agencies (East of England, East Midlands, South East and South West Regional Development Agencies) whose regions have seen the greatest growth in their economy over recent years have been asked to absorb a slightly higher share of the cuts. Additionally, the administrative budget was reduced by 10% for all RDAs.
Andrew Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 15 June 2010, Official Report, column 391W, on regional development agencies, what consultants were hired by each regional development agency to (a) lobby and (b) communicate with parliamentary candidates in the period up to the general election; and at what cost. 
Mr Prisk: In the 12 months up to the May 2010 general election purdah period, regional development agencies responded to prospective parliamentary candidates' requests for information and meetings on RDA activity and role within the region where they were made.
In response to part (b) of the question, as the hon. Member for Burton will be aware, Advantage West Midlands did approach a number of prospective parliamentary candidates before the 2010 general election to ascertain their view of regional economic development,
functions carried out by regional development agencies and their thoughts on the future implementation of economic development and regeneration. This was an information-gathering exercise designed to help AWM gauge local opinion as part of AWM's normal stakeholder relations process. At no time were these meetings used, or intended to be used, for lobbying on behalf of AWM. AWM engaged the services of one consultant at a cost of £850 to undertake this work.
James Wharton: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the (a) administrative and (b) overhead costs of each regional development agency were in each year since 2005. 
In addition 11 (10.4 FTE) staff deal with projects for Plymouth, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly. The agency also employs staff within its central teams who work on projects across the south-west region which involve projects in Cornwall, for example Combined Universities for Cornwall and Business Link and projects in Plymouth, for example Peninsular Research Institute for Marine Renewable Energy. This has the benefit of economies of scale through resource and expertise management. It is not possible to provide a breakdown of these figures. These front-line staff are supported by back-office staff in Finance, HR, IT, Corporate Affairs etc.
George Eustice: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what proportion of the South West Regional Development Agency's budget for 2009-10 was spent in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. 
The Department allocates budgets to regional development agencies. The agencies determine which
projects to support, subject to the terms of the Accountability and Financial Framework and their delegated financial authorities. RDAs' investments have been guided by the Regional Economic Strategy and their Corporate Plans. The Department does not hold details of all assistance given by RDAs within their delegated financial authorities.
Mr Willetts: The SLC informs me that as at 22 July 2010, it employs 688 staff in Darlington (613 permanent and 75 temporary). This equates to 667 FTEs; all temporary staff are full time and of the permanent staff, 546 are full time and 67 part time.
Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what discussions his Department has had with (a) the Chancellor of the Exchequer, (b) the National Union of Students, (c) the Universities and Colleges Union, (d) the Russell Group and (e) other universities on (i) a supplementary tax on graduates and (ii) raising the cap on tuition fees. 
Mr Willetts: Ministers and officials in this Department regularly meet their counterparts in other Government Departments and higher education stakeholders for discussions and advice on a range of issues including general discussions about university funding.
The Independent Review of Higher Education Funding and Student Finance, led by Lord Browne, has been tasked with making recommendations to Government on the future of fees policy and financial support for students in England. The review will consider how to ensure a properly funded university sector in a way which is more financially sustainable than the current system, and it is looking at a wide range of options. It will report in the autumn.
Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate he has made of the range of potential revenues which would accrue to universities in England from (a) a supplementary tax on graduates and (b) raising the cap on tuition fees. 
The Independent Review of Higher Education Funding and Student Finance, led by Lord
Browne, has been tasked with making recommendations to Government on the future of fees policy and financial support for students in England. The review will consider how to ensure a properly funded university sector in a way which is more financially sustainable than the current system, and it is looking at a wide range of options. It will report in the autumn.
Anas Sarwar: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the effects on higher education in Scotland of raising the cap on tuition fees in England. 
Mr Willetts: The Independent Review of Higher Education Funding and Student Finance, led by Lord Browne, has been tasked with making recommendations to Government on the future of fees policy and financial support for students in England. The review will consider how to ensure a properly funded university sector in a way which is more financially sustainable than the current system. It will report in the autumn.
Roberta Blackman-Woods: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the merits of assigning a representative of UK Trade & Investment to Afghanistan. 
Mr Prisk: UKTI recognises the opportunities that exist in Afghanistan, and supports activities where appropriate. Representation within markets reflects business demand. Presently, the requests received by UKTI for assistance in connection with Afghanistan are limited and ad hoc. UKTI has been exploring private-sector interest in the idea of providing a secondee for an in-market scoping exercise, but so far it has been muted.
UKTI will continue to monitor and review the scale of opportunities and level of demand for some form of in-market presence in this market, and to calibrate this with competing demands for resources from other markets.