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As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking how many people are paid at the rate of the national minimum wage in each constituency. (22369)
Estimates for the number of jobs paid at the national minimum wage are not available from the Office for National Statistics. Estimates for the number of employee jobs paid below the national minimum wage are available, but only for all employee jobs by Government Office Region, which is the lowest geographical breakdown published by ONS. I attach a table showing the number of all employee jobs earning less than the national minimum wage by Government Office Region in April 2009, the latest period for which figures are available.
A guide to measuring low pay and associated articles can be found on the National Statistics website at:
|Estimates of jobs paid below the National Minimum Wage by Government Office Region in April 2009|
|Government Office Region||Thousand||Percentage|
| Guide to Quality:|
The Coefficient of Variation (CV) indicates the quality of a figure, the smaller the CV value the higher the quality. The true value is likely to lie within +/- twice the CV-for example, for an average of 200 with a CV of 5%, we would expect the population average to be within the range 180 to220.
* CV>5% and <=10%
** CV>10% and <=20%
Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE), Office for National Statistics. 2009
Andrea Leadsom: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) what assessment he has made of the effects on high performance engineering and the motorsport industry of the decision by Edexcel to withdraw as an awarding body for the BTEC First Diploma and BTEC National Award in Vehicle Technology (Motorsport) qualifications; 
(2) whether he plans to take steps to ensure that the BTEC First Diploma and BTEC National Award in Vehicle Technology (Motorsport) qualifications form part of the apprenticeship and advanced apprenticeship frameworks in motorsport. 
Mr Hayes: BTEC qualifications in Vehicle Technology for the motorsports industry will continue to be available from Edexcel. The two qualifications referred to in this question will continue until they are replaced by Edexcel with more flexible, unit-based qualifications by the end of this year.
It is the responsibility of sector skills councils, in this case SEMTA, and other representative bodies to determine the content of apprenticeship frameworks. We expect sector skills councils to work with employers to ensure that the range and content of apprenticeship frameworks fully meets the skills needs of their respective industries. This allows the market to determine the content of apprenticeship frameworks and keeps apprenticeships focused on meeting business skills needs.
Grahame M. Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the likely geographical distribution of successful applications to the Regional Growth Fund; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Prisk: The objectives and criteria for the Regional Growth Fund are set out in the Local Growth White Paper 'Local growth: realising every place's potential', which was published on 28 October and introduced to Parliament by an oral statement given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills made on that day, Official Report, column 408.
The Regional Growth Fund is a challenge fund and not ring-fenced or pre-allocated in any way to keep it flexible and responsive to the economic development needs of the country. All areas of England are eligible to bid for the Regional Growth Fund. However, one of the main objectives of the Regional Growth Fund is to strengthen the private sector in areas currently over- reliant on the public sector. Clearly those areas without such over-reliance will therefore have a weaker case.
Mr Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills in what circumstances a bid for funds from the Regional Growth Fund would be considered as meeting the exceptional criteria for funding of over £2 million. 
Mr Prisk: The Regional Growth Fund is open to bids from the private sector and public private partnerships subject to a minimum bid threshold for applications of £1 million. There are no separate criteria for bids over £2 million.
Mr Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what advice his Department has issued to small and medium-sized enterprises seeking to make pooled bids for funds from the Regional Growth Fund. 
The website provides access to the application form and guidance, and an e-mail address and a series of local telephone numbers from where further information about the fund can be sought and questions answered. This Department is also organising a number of events across the country where potential bidders can get advice on the fund and on making quality bids.
Mr Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what arrangements he has put in place for (a) receiving and (b) evaluating pooled bids from small and medium-sized enterprises for funds from the Regional Growth Fund. 
On receipt, bids will be registered and evaluated by a cross-departmental team of economists and appraisers, ahead of being put to the independent advisory panel, chaired by my noble Friend Lord Heseltine. Final decisions on which bids to support will be taken by Ministers based on advice from the advisory panel.
Mr Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate he has made of the likely number of small and medium-sized enterprises that will apply for funds from the Regional Growth Fund in (a) 2010-11 and (b) 2011-12. 
Mr Prisk: The Regional Growth Fund is new and while we anticipate several hundred applications from a wide variety of bidders, no estimation has been made of the likely number of bids to generate from small and medium-sized enterprises.
The £1 million minimum bidding threshold allows for flexibility and encourages innovative proposals. We expect some bids will comprise packages of smaller projects from SMEs which collectively make a compelling strategic proposal. In future bidding rounds, proposals will also be accepted for strategic investment programmes, which allow managed onward investment for growth of potential businesses.
Bill Esterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment his Department has made of the likely implications for the public purse of (a) his proposed part-sale of Royal Mail and (b) the proposed treatment of Royal Mail pension fund liabilities in the (i) short-term and (ii) long-term. 
Mr Davey: The reforms we are proposing are there to secure the universal postal service, which Richard Hooper identified in his report as being under threat. It is too early to speculate on the likely proceeds that we will receive from the sale of Royal Mail. It will depend on the market value of the company at the time of sale, and the stake that we decide to sell in the first instance.
We intend to transfer the historic liabilities of the Royal Mail Pension Plan (RMPP) into a new pay-as-you-go public service scheme. As at March 2010 the RMPP had a deficit on an ongoing funding basis of £8.4 billion. In practice pensions will be paid as they fall due. On transfer, we expect payments of around £1 billion per annum will be required. We estimate payments will fall below £1 billion per annum after around 25 years.
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what proportion of
students entering higher education paid their fees before the end of their course in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Mr Willetts: The latest available information from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) shows in the 2008-09 academic year, 30% of full-time English domiciled entrants and 52% of part-time English domiciled entrants to English higher education institutions paid their tuition fees fully from their own funds in the first year of their course. Figures on whether entrants pay their fees from their own funds for the full duration of their course are not available. Figures for the 2009-10 academic year will be available in January 2011.
These figures include students who were not eligible for financial support for the cost of their tuition fees from the Student Loans Company. For example, figures include students on postgraduate courses, other courses not eligible for student support, or students who already hold an equivalent level qualification who are not eligible for tuition fee loans for a second undergraduate course.
Mr Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the annual average cost of tuition for an undergraduate student at a state-funded university was in the latest period for which figures are available; and what proportion of the cost of such tuition was funded by (a) his Department and (b) the student. 
Mr Willetts: Government fund the costs of higher education tuition through grants made by the Higher Education Funding Council for England and through the provision of subsidised fee loans to students. The average annual costs of a undergraduate student is around £7,000 per year, made up of around £4,000 in teaching grant and £3,000 in student fees.